Our community yarn bombing project is complete! And it looks absolutely beautiful! We are so grateful to everyone who joined in to make the display.
The yarn bombing project was conceived in partnership with Theatre Alibi as part of their Festival of St Thomas Stories. Theatre Alibi has spent the last three years collecting stories from the local area and has planned a range of celebrations to share them. Our yarn bomb has a floral theme and tells the story of the botanical nurseries that were once an important part of the area’s prosperity. It’s been a wonderful project to get involved with, and over the course of it we have collected even more stories from our community, all interwoven with the story of the yarn bombing itself.
This was our first yarn bombing project and we weren’t sure what to expect. There was a lot to consider and learn; where would the yarn bomb go? How would we put it up? Whose permission would we need to do it? Our Outreach Coordinator, Trudi researched everything we needed to know, contacting local councils, landlords and agencies. Luckily, they were all supportive and a plan started to develop.
Initially we were concerned that we might not be able to get enough knitted and crocheted flowers to make an impact. However, Trudi rose to the challenge and reached out to local community groups including schools, churches, libraries, and care homes. She made sure to include anyone who wanted to participate, whether they could knit or crochet, or instead make pompoms or finger-knitted cord. The response was absolutely lovely! When Trudi visited schools and care homes, she said that the excitement and enthusiasm was wonderful to see.
We also invited our wider knitting and crochet community to join in, even from afar, and again we were touched by the generosity of the donations we received. A knitted or crocheted flower can take a lot of work to make and we appreciated the time and skill that went into making each one. With that in mind you can imagine how overwhelmed we were when we received a message offering an entire floor-length skirt made from knitted flowers and bees! This was kindly delivered to us from Coventry and it fitted perfectly in the shop window.
We received other donations from across the country that were posted to us, often along with lovely notes. The packages were a joy to open!
And our fantastic customers dropped flowers into the shop! Some customers told us that they happened to have made some flowers previously and were pleased to find a purpose for them. Others were made especially for the project, including a special bundle of 103 flowers that were made in honour of a much-loved grandma.
After receiving all of the beautiful flowers the next job was to assemble them into garlands or banners ready to use for the display. This was another feat of organisational skill from Trudi, who planned all the pieces required and coordinated the work that needed to be done. With lots of help from our Gail, local Knit Stop groups and others, we had everything ready.
Of course it rained in Exeter on the day we planned to put the yarn bomb up! But between the showers we managed to get everything up in a busy few hours. We hope that you get a chance to have a look at the display. It runs along Cowick Street, from Exe Bridges North, along to St Thomas church, and at the entrance to St Thomas Pleasure Ground. There will also be displays at St Thomas Primary School and at Theatre Alibi.
The Festival of St Thomas Stories takes place from the 8th to the 10th of July and there are lots of wonderful events to enjoy. We’re so pleased to have been a part of this celebration of our community and grateful to everyone who got involved.
The long-term plan for the display is to reassemble the flowers into a colourful wall-hanging that will have a permanent home with Age UK offices in Exeter.