Yarn Craze Adds Color To Newtown

It would be odd to find trees wrapped in knit scarves anytime of the year, and even more so in the summer. But visitors to the Fairfield Hills property this weekend might be surprised to find the trees there draped with colorful shawls, thanks to the Cosmic Knittas.

Cosmic Knittas is a local group of five women who have affiliated themselves with international yarn “graffiti” groups that bring smiles to communities through the random distribution of knitted lengths of yarn. And despite the relentless rainfall Friday, June 7, the members planned to fan out, wrapping trees, telephone posts, and street signs with hundreds of yarn “tags,” as the yarn scarves are known.

The yarn tags are the work not only of the Cosmic Knittas, but of knitters from all over the country and as far away as Australia. This weekend’s yarn graffiti operation is the third time that Cosmic Knittas has threaded its way through town. It is by far the largest, with the donations having been solicited through social networking to celebrate what they prefer to call Yarn Graffiti Day, on June 8, but what is officially known as International Yarn Bombing Day.

“The purpose is to add whimsical color to the community,” said one member of Cosmic Knittas, all of whom prefer to create and distribute creations anonymously.

Yarn graffiti usually takes place under the cover of night, with towns awakening to a burst of color in unexpected places. But because the Cosmic Knittas want these worldwide examples to stay in place for the next two weeks, they asked permission of the Fairfield Hills authority. Most of the tags will be hugging trees near the soccer fields at Fairfield Hills, but the Cosmic Knittas also planned to sprinkle many around town.

Not all of the yarn tags will be the usual 36-inch lengths of knitting, explained the members. “We are also placing what we call yarn motifs, things like little individual knitted flowers or squares,” one Knitta said. The Cosmic Knittas are responsible for the yarn motifs placed on the telephone pole at the corner of Church Hill Road and Washington Avenue for the past six months, always on the 14th day. They will add a new motif on June 14.

Yarn graffiti is a wonderful means of cheering a town in need, but it is not intended only for communities recovering from disaster or tragedy, emphasized the members of Cosmic Knittas. The graffiti can appear anywhere, anytime.

Cosmic Knittas has donated yarn tags outside of Newtown, most recently this past April when they supported the Toledo, Ohio “Wear Blue for the Kids” child abuse awareness event. Members hope to continue to branch out beyond their hometown more often.

Unlike the Ben’s Bells or Hearts of Hope that have dotted the landscape in recent months, intended to be retrieved by townspeople, the yarn tags placed by Cosmic Knittas are meant to remain in place, admired by all who come upon them. Cosmic Knittas will collect the yarn tags at the end of two weeks, wash them, and send them off to be enjoyed by another community, somewhere in the world.

“So much work goes into making something, you don’t want to use it just once,” said a Knitta.

The yarn tags are a creative outlet, and a relaxing way to practice the art of knitting, agreed the members.  They encourage other knitters to join them, by contacting cosmicknittas@gmail.com. “Knitting is not just for grannies!” exclaimed one Knitta. “It’s really about celebrating the art of knitting.”

“We want people to come out and view the yarn graffiti,” the members said — before the event unravels.

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