- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Volunteers have cut down dozens of colorful sweaters that had been wrapped around trees on Iowa City’s pedestrian mall through the winter, though it’s unclear what will happen to the used material.

The sweaters were taken down Sunday during an event marking the end of the second annual Tree Huggers project, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported (https://icp-c.com/PcNWKv ).

The public art project, which began in 2012, aims to brighten the downtown area during the winter through the practice of “yarn bombing.” Knitters are given yarn as well as the measurements of trees.

The newspaper reported there were 135 sweaters on the trees.

Organizers say knitters were asked to return to their individual pieces Sunday to take them down. Any remaining material will be taken down in the next few days.

The Iowa City Downtown District collaborated on the project. Executive Director Nancy Bird said she has seen a rise in participation since its beginning.

“It’s gotten so much traction that we’re just going to keep doing it,” she said.

Last year, organizers turned the sweaters into blankets and shawls for a hospice. They’re not sure what will happen with the sweaters this time. Bird said some local high school students have expressed an interest in using the donated material to do a similar project on their campus.

“We just kind of wait to see what the interest is once they come down,” she said.

Jenny Shepherd of San Antonio called the project interesting as she walked the area Sunday with her daughter, who is a student at the University of Iowa.

“They just add a little bit of color to downtown and all the trees,” she said.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/


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