Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting with woven yarnbombs on my 10” Cricket Loom, placing 3 in San Francisco and 4 in the San Mateo/Belmont area.
While weaving can produce beautiful pieces, I’m not convinced that it’s a great technique for yarnbombing. Here are some pros, cons, and learnings.
- The Cricket Loom is small and portable. I love having crafternoons and DIY nights with friends. Since yarnbombs take some time to craft, it’s great to have company while working on them! My typical method of producing yarnbombs is not ideal for those situations… knitting machines are large and loud. Once you set up the loom’s warp, it’s easy to place it in a bag and carry to a friend’s house.
- Warp + weft = interesting color combinations. I had so much fun experimenting with the interaction of the warp and weft (i.e. the horizontal and vertical threads) on my pieces. Yarn colors would completely change their character when sandwiched between other colors. My favorite effect was created by using variegated yarn for the weft and then matching specific tones from the variegation in the warp, like in the image below.
- Rigid fabric. I always thought knitting was tricky since you have to account for stretch — both when you’re initially fitting the piece and over time as it reacts to the sun/weather. The fabric produced by weaving does not stretch, which means you have to get your measurements super precise or come up with alternate installations techniques, like spiraling. This also means that locations with curves, like “U” shaped bike racks, are off the table. I stuck to signs and street light poles for my woven pieces.
- Large set-up cost = more difficult experimentation/iteration. When you warp the loom, you’re effectively committing to the maximum length of your piece and a large part of the design (the color/layout of your vertical threads) before you start. You can’t change things as easily on the fly or make swatches or test out patterns.
- Woven pieces don’t integrate as well. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason for this, my woven pieces felt more as if they were placed on objects as opposed to becoming part of them or integrating with the location. It could be the types of locations I picked, the fit/sizing issues I mentioned above, the flatter texture, or something else — not sure.
- San Francisco is seemingly allergic to yarnbombs. Maybe my locations were poorly chosen, but all my SF installations were taken down quite quickly after I placed them up. I’ve never had a problem with the longevity of my pieces in the Peninsula/South Bay.
Overall, I found my woven pieces less successful and will be breaking out my knitting machine again for my next installations. If you want to check out my three remaining woven pieces, visit 42nd Ave in San Mateo (@Alameda de las Pulgas and @Olympic Ave) and Hillsdale Ave outside the library.