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A Deer in Leg Warmers: Adventures in Yarn Bombing


If you live in Burlington or have any dealings on lower Church Street, chances are you've seen the new addition to one of city hall's regal deer sculptures. A few weeks back, someone thought it clever to give one of the bucks a pair of leg warmers. Well, I suppose technically, they're ankle warmers. Whatevs.

Anyway, basically, someone took the time to knit a pair of leg warmers and then sew them to the deer. Like, someone sat there and knit them onto the deer, while simultaneously scanning the streets for cops that might not think it too clever to "vandalize" city property.

When I first saw the leg warmers, I chuckled. How can you not? They're ridiculous. And sort of fetching. I'm not saying I'd rock a pair, but for a metal deer sculpture, they're pretty cute. But I walked away wondering what the eff the world was coming to. Now people are getting all fancy and crocheting things onto inanimate objects. It's not enough anymore to grab a can of spray paint and tag some condemned building. I had to learn more about this phenomenon. And because I did very exhaustive Internet research on the topic, I am an expert. Yes! Bomb this, b*tches!

My, that deer is so fashion forward!

The deer-leg-warmer situation is an instance of yarn bombing, which can be defined as graffiti knitting, or krazy kraftsters with too much time on their hands. There are a couple other local examples of this guerrilla knitting around town — a sad little muff wrapped around a tree outside of Radio Bean and a sagging bib of sorts hanging from a telephone pole outside of Viva Espresso. I'm sure there are others, but I'm not hip enough to know where they are.

According to the Wikipedia machine, yarn bombing "is almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places." Hey, Vermont textile terrorists, how about yarn bombing the student ghetto in Burlington, the Kmart plaza on Shelburne Road, or U.S. 7 in Milton and Colchester? That would make life a little prettier, until all the road grit turned the vibrant yarn into a tired pile of dirty spaghetti.

Beep, beep. Knitters are knuts! Especially in Mexico City.

If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say this trend is just about ready to be played out in other, more metropolitan locales. But since every cool thing reaches Vermont by Pony Express about 18 to 24 months after it became rad elsewheres, I'm only just writing about this now.

I'm wondering who this mystery yarn bomber is, and whether he/she is going to strike again (but really, is a dude out there knitting lamp posts and park benches? This proclivity almost certainly is the province of ladydom.) Show yourself, yarn bomber! Unless you look like the Unabomber, in which case, stay hidden. And readers, let me know if you see any other instances of this subversive crafting and I'll give you a lollipop. Made out of yarn.