Monday, August 2, 2010

So your grandmother might have been a proto-hipster

Grandmothers and yarn crafts have a long-established association. However, knitting has apparently been co-opted by a younger, hipper crowd. Today I made my first encounter with what appears to be knitted graffiti. After a short Google search, I discovered that some people indeed use yarn as a medium for anonymous public expression.

I noticed what appeared to be a u-lock attached to the base of a Denver B-cycle station. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that it was in fact not a u-lock, but a knitted facsimile of a u-lock. I was a bit perplexed that someone would have taken the time to produce an item of fairly impressive craft and detail, perhaps spending a few hours to get it right, only to leave the fruit of this effort anonymously to the tender mercies of the public.

After mulling this phenomenon for a while, my initial bewilderment has evolved. I now feel that this type of non-destructive graffiti is probably of a complimentary nature. Imbued with some sort of appreciation for the Denver B-cycle system or bicycling in general, the anonymous creator is literally weaving their work into the bike culture of the city. The action requires considerable forethought, special materials and skills, and a time commitment. I understand the knitted u-lock is a random and transient piece of the urban landscape, but as a bicyclist and denizen of the city I can appreciate the effort involved. In the end, I have likely put too much thought into this, but I am a social scientist after all.

In case you're wondering, for the right price I am available for weddings, bar mitzvahs or parties.


  1. Extremely well written post and an excellent review of this odd fiber arts phenomenon! Those knitters are a strange bunch...

  2. Thanks, G. It's little things like this that provide a rare and transcendent view of the inner workings of our fellow humans.