Topeka hosts yarn bombing downtown

As many as 20 volunteers used their own works of art, including sweaters, hats, potholders, dishcloths, scarves and gloves to create unique designs around trees up and down the street.

Michelle Hodges, [email protected], is a senior mass media major.

Downtown Topeka had a yarn bombing event from eighth and Jackson to eighth and Kansas Avenue as part of a redevelopment project to attract visitors to local businesses during construction. Yarn bombing is when a tree is wrapped or decorated in knitted, crocheted, or woven creations that are attached with yarn.

Edie Smith, director of marketing and membership of downtown Topeka, got the inspiration after seeing a yarn bomb display in the art district in Washington, D.C. Smith is part of a marketing team that comes up with ideas and helps with the process for this event.

“It may turn into a yarn tour of Topeka,” said Smith.

As many as 20 volunteers used their own works of art, including sweaters, hats, potholders, dishcloths, scarves and gloves to create unique designs around trees up and down the street. They used anything that was knitted, woven, or crocheted. Some decided to crochet their creations around the branches and trees as they worked.

People as far as Holton attended the event. There were seven downtown locations where people could drop off unfinished projects, such as granny squares, along with extra skeins of yarn to donate for the yarn bombing event.

Eventually they would like to decorate all of downtown Topeka over the Kansas Avenue Bridge and into the NOTO Arts District. The displays will stay up as long as they can. If they start to look worn, they will be taken down, but will stay up for as long as winter.

“Fairlawn Plaza has interest in this project as well,” said Smith.

Topeka’s newest and only specialized yarn store opened March 21 inside of Fairlawn Plaza between Hair Secrets and Kitchen Gallery. Yak ‘N Yarn is owned by Karen Taylor and features woven yarn that was spun by local fiber artists that is available for purchase. Yak ‘N Yarn also has knitting, crocheting and weaving supplies, in addition to needlecraft supplies like embroidery and counted cross-stitch.

They offer open stitch nights where one can bring in current projects or start  new ones and meet other local fiber artists. Yak ‘N Yarn also offers classes for enthusiasts from beginners to intermediates.