… and knitting.
Yesterday, I was walking the dog in the Princes Street Gardens when I discovered this:
At first, I couldn’t quite believe it – that someone would go to the trouble of hanging beautifully knitted bunting and pom-poms in Jubilee colours from a random couple of trees. I let the dog off the lead (he is very obedient, and followed at my heels in any case) and walked over. It was then that I realised the pom-poms had a little paper tag attached, directing me to a website.
I was now in two minds, because I really wanted to find out about the sort of person who would voluntarily go around being a little ray of sunshine and then bugger off without bothering to observe the results of his or her handiwork, but taking one of the pom-poms felt like stealing, and I have the modern lawyer’s view that one can’t call oneself an officer of the court and then go around nicking stuff. Not for nothing is one of the oldest jokes in the Western world ‘what do you call twenty lawyers chained together at the bottom of the Tiber? A solution’ (1st century BC, that).
At that moment, a young couple pushing a pram walked past, and their baby noticed the pom-poms. The mother hesitated at first.
‘I think you’re meant to take them,’ she said.
‘Maybe you are.’
So I did take one (although I took the above photograph immediately afterwords, if only to confirm that I wasn’t seeing things). It is, of course, sans two pom-poms — the one I took, and the one the baby immediately started playing with in its pram (the father hung it over his child’s face, like a mobile).
The little card attached to the pom-pom led me to this website, and thereafter to this cultural phenomenon – ‘yarnbombing’, they call it, or ‘yarnstorming’, and people make them for all sorts of events, not just things like the Jubilee. Some of the designs are of staggering intricacy and beauty, and it seems to be in the nature of them that they are meant to just appear, make people smile, then disappear again (sometimes taken by members of the public, sometimes reclaimed by their creators). There are little cards attached — as on the one I found — with a website address, or a note. ‘Made you Look? Made you Smile?’ is one I liked. It reminded me of some of the reemergence of pagan ritual happening around Europe I wrote about last September: like the lovers’ lockets and ghost bikes, it has its own beauty.
I learned that the Jubilee pom-pom now sitting on my desk was made by ‘Shadow Stitch’, a self-described ‘boy knitter’ who focusses most of his attentions around Edinburgh.
Admittedly, I have a sense of whimsy (most of the time well-hidden), but this appeals to it. Call it guerrilla knitting, or whatever, but it made my day. I walked home in the glorious sunshine grinning from ear to ear, the dog following at my heels, wagging his tail as he went.