- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Some bright colors have appeared in the dreary winter landscape near downtown Waterloo.

The statue of Lou Henry Hoover, Waterloo native and former first lady of the U.S., is adorned with a scarf. Although the scarf won’t keep the metal visage warm, it adds a warmth of color to a drab scene. The addition is called yarn bombing, in which knit or crocheted colors are placed in public spaces.

“It’s like putting paint on a white canvas,” Kaci Walczak told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (https://bit.ly/1dVB5kd). She helped crochet and assemble the scarf and place it on the statue.

Some people consider yarn bombing a form of guerrilla art. Although it adds color to a plain or dreary scenery, Walczak is reluctant to call it art in a conventional sense. The emotions it most likely will solicit are confusion, amusement or a combination of both.

“If it’s done right, it’s a big joke,” said Kristine Beenken.

“It can brighten someone’s day,” Walczak added.

The tactic is more common in larger or artistic cities but is becoming more widespread.

“I think it’s becoming more well-known,” said Jessica Struck-Young, co-owner of the Plaid Peacock. “That’s kind of what we’re trying to do it make more people aware of it.”

Walczak and Struck-Young worked on the project at the Plaid Peacock, 316 W. Third St., with knitting and crocheting group the Waterloopers. The group meets the second and fourth Mondays in the evening at the Plaid Peacock. Anyone is welcome to join.

Knitting and crocheting remain popular hobbies, although similar groups have disbanded and long-time hobby shop Crazy Girl Yarn Shop closed last summer.

“I was looking for something to replace the group I was with,” said Brooke Weber, who joined the group for an evening of knitting recently.

“I like to be able to share with people what you’re doing,” Weber said. “It’s fun to show off something you finished - it’s more fun to show people who understand.”

Members bring a bottle or two of wine to share while working, or will buy one at the Plaid Peacock store. All yarn used is donated by members. Some of the yarn has been set aside specifically for yarn bombing projects.

“We want to keep it going,” Struck-Young said.

Crocheting and knitting has gained traction among younger crafters.

“Knitting needles and crochet hooks aren’t just for older people,” Walczak said.

It’s an accessible and affordable, and meeting as a group adds a social aspect to the hobby.

“It’s relaxing too,” said Kim Sittig. “It’s cathartic.”

“Unless you’re doing it around a cat,” Beenken added.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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