Through Bemis School of Art I was invited to come and teach classes on yarn bombing for Eagle View Middle School's art day. Working with about 60 6th-and-7th-grade students in four hour-long sessions we yarn bombed two large rocks and two benches in front of the school. 
The day got off to a slow start because the truck that we had hoped to use had transmission issues and was not available. So, eventually, we got a bigger truck. 

Jerry, from CC ground facilities got started in and the first tree cozy went up in record time. Turns out, Jerry's a whiz with cable ties and has a great eye for details.

Then we got the second tree cozy up with only a little pause to remove some branch sprouts that would muddy up the works.

Finally we got the banner strung up and discovered that it was hung too wide. So it came back down and I did some crochet work to the top of the banner while Jerry went off to get some lunch. By the time he got back the problem had been fixed and up it went.

This was by far the largest installation I've done--machinery-wise--and I'm so thankful for all of Jerry's help. I'm not authorized to run a cherry-picker and doubt that I could have done nearly as good a job as he did. 

Since mid-January  I have been going to art classes at Bijou School twice a week and working with students. In mainly one-on-one settings I teach basic fiber arts concepts--how to knit, crochet, loom knit--with a specific eye toward yarn bombing.

Loom knitting has been very popular, but our supply of looms is a bit limited. We started with 8 looms and are now down to 6 (2 walked off and have yet to be returned). 

A few of the guys (that's Bobby in the dark shirt) have really taken to them. Its an interesting pattern. They watch me knit with needles and come tell me they want to learn to do that. After attempting for a few minutes to figure out how to hold the sticks they decide they can't do it. So I sit them down with a loom and they get it right away.

Here's Eric wearing a hat he made. He has a wonderful Afro so the hat needed to be a bit on the large size.
I've figured that if I knit about 4.5' a week I'll have the "Community Kitchen" banner complete in time to panic about other things in the week or two prior to the Community Kitchen's yarn bomb installation. So far I'm a little over 2 weeks in to the banner project and have over 9' done--so I'm right on target. I just finished "I" this evening. I love skinny letters!

The banner measures about 19" tall and will be 22' wide when completed.

And I currently have 13 stripes for the trees on hand. 9 were handed over last Friday at a couple of knit group meetings. The stripes will be stitched together lengthwise and wrapped around the target trees.
Yesterday I met with the facilities manager at a local hospital to get details about a location within the hospital grounds that was suggested as a yarn bomb site. 

One of the things I love about creative work is finding ways around hurdles, but I don't know that I've ever dealt with hurdles quite so high before. And who knew that roofs were so complicated and exacting. And most everything there that is ugly and unsightly has to deal with making sure one thing or another flows in a prescribed manner.

First, there's a waterproof membrane covering the whole surface of the roof. It cannot be pierced, breeched, torn, or adversely affected in any way. It's black and ugly, and there's just nothing that can be done about that.

Next are the drains. If anything I do clogs or adversely affects the drainage of water, I can hand them $1 million dollars, and I may still be in trouble.

And there are flanges at the base of every vertical surface that kick the water onto the roof to be funneled into the drains. That process can't be messed with.

Furthermore, there is a large cooling system on the roof of an adjacent building. I can't do anything to that that would affect the rate of airflow in the system, or whole rooms/wings of the hospital are shut down.

And further out on another building in the complex, but still very much in the sight line, is another air cleaning system. This is where it gets a bit scary. That system cleans and vents air from rooms used for infectious disease patients. So if we work very close that bunch of machinery, we may be exposed to TB or other airborne pathogens.

See, this is why I wanted to meet with the facilities dept. BEFORE coming up with a design for the space. Without all this information, I'd be poking holes in the waterproof membrane, making the building flood, shutting down rooms people need to get well, and exposing myself (and others) to some really bad stuff. Who knew roofs were so dangerous—I mean beyond the idea that you can fall from them and stuff. And I'm totally forgetting about my fear of heights.

In conjunction with the “What If Festival” we are hosting a Knit-In at our yarn bomb site. We’ll be on the west side of the Pioneer’s Museum, 215 S. Tejon, Colorado Springs, CO from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on September 10, 2011.

We'll be assembling and installing our cozy onto a Geek Squad VW Beetle. But come join us even if you aren’t planning to participate in the Geek Squad Beetle Bomb. Be sure to bring your current project (or we’ll force other yarns and tools into your hands).

And plan to hang out at the festival for a bit. There’s going to be a lot of cool stuff going on that day!
On Thursday I went and took some photos and preliminary measurements of our projected car (or one from the fleet).

I just crunched those numbers to come up with a different number:
678, which is the current estimate on how many squares we will need to cover the body portions of the car. Now, that number is a little high because I didn't subtract the area that would be covered by logos and not squares.

Another number:
1, the number of intarsia-knit logos that will go onto the car that are currently completed (see photo below). There will be 3 or 4 total.

Another number:
88, the number of squares I currently have on hand. Most of those I made but I did collect some at my knitting group last Friday, and I know there are many more in the pipeline.

Yet another number:
12, the number of days before the actual event in which we cover a car with knitted squares.

I don't think I'm panicking. I'm pretty sure I'm not panicking. Am I even spelling "panicking" right? Yes. I just looked it up.

I should probably go to bed.
Geek Squad accepted the proposed design today and we are on! For more information, click the "What If . . . Festival" 2011 link to your left.
In my 10 years as an artist I have met others in my profession who feel the need to be very hush-hush about their working process. There's a fear that possesses them, sometimes not without good cause, that someone else will start producing work in "their" style, thus stealing the living they might be making with their work.

I learned much of what I know through conversations (in print, online, and in person) with other artists so my work and teaching style is very open. My feeling is that, if someone is stealing my "style", I just need to keep evolving and come up with a new one.

So, a few months back (during the Acacia Park "Tree Cozy" project), I emailed an internationally known yarn bomb artist (KnittaPlease) to gush over how lovely I thought a specific project of hers was and to ask a few questions that related to that project and our trees. One of her staff members graciously answered my questions and alleviated a lot of the worry I was taking on myself.

Now with this new project, I emailed again. This time, however, I was sure that the information I wanted would probably be proprietary to their process. Apparently they don't feel that it is and again, many of my worries have been quenched. Not all of them yet, but since they invited me to ask any other questions I might have, I did.

I'm breathing much easier this morning. Thanks Karen!
The design concepts for the "What If Festival" project have been submitted to Geek Squad and I'm waiting on approval or redirection. The plan is to have something we can start with agreed upon by Thursday (8/18) so that I can put out the call for help.

I must admit this is one difficult part of the process for me. (There are other difficult parts. I'll write about them as they come up—if I get time.) I want to jump in and get started but have to hold myself back. If I start work on a design that ends up being scrapped, I feel that I've wasted time and materials. So instead, I'm occupying myself by working on pieces the size I will need if the design is approved as is but can be utilized in another project in the works if the direction changes.

Oh the difficulties of staying busy and sane at the same time.