Knitting enthusiasts go rogue with yarn-bomb graffiti in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS - As the temperatures fall, we're all reaching for our scarves and hats. But some knitters in the Indy area are bored with those winter staples and are getting creative in a public way.

At Mass Ave. Knit Shop, they make scarves and hats for heads and necks.

But there are also knitters out there who make them for posts, railings, statues and steps.

"I know that there are some groups getting together and that's their specific direction that they want to go in," Mass Ave. Knit Shop’s Susan Brennan said. 

In downtown Indianapolis, this stop sign sports some fiber art.

One anonymous knitter we spoke with said, “I do some tagging, yes.”

That’s what knit graffiti also goes by: tagging. It’s also known as “yarn bombing.” The Indianapolis knitter we spoke with doesn’t want anyone to know she does it.

“Theoretically,” she said, “One could be considered to be defacing public property.”
The movement began in Houston in 2005 by a renegade group called “Knitta Please,” which has inspired copycats all over the world.

“They just like to bring a little bit of what they love -- which is yarn -- into the outdoor world,” our anonymous knitter told us.

The Mass Ave. knitters have made some commissioned pieces that have been temporarily displayed, such as a small house on the Cultural Trail, a piano on Monument Circle and decorations for the IndyFringe festival.

"To me, it is a harmless type of graffiti,” Brennan said. “It can always be cut off, but it's a way of showing art."

The only rule for knit graffiti? Don’t cover traffic signs or interfere with public safety. Otherwise, nothing is off-limits.

In Pittsburgh recently, Mr. Rogers got a sweater. Indiana taggers say: Don’t be surprised this winter if one of our Hoosier heroes gets one too.

“I think every city needs a little more yarn,” our anonymous tagger said.

An official for the Department of Code Enforcement said knit graffiti isn’t comparable to graffiti done with spray paint, so it’s not illegal under the current city ordinance -- but that could change if more of it starts appearing in the city.

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