By Laurel Busby
The Palisades has been bombed—yarn bombed. Eight women from Dollies Making a Difference, an organization that creates “dollies” and teddy bears for children in need, took leftover knitted toy blankets and decorated five eucalyptus trees in Simon Meadow at the YMCA Pumpkin Patch.
“We yarn-bombed trees to draw attention and bring additional beauty to the meadow for the YMCA pumpkin patch,” said Cindy Simon, a 24-year Palisadian and co-founder of Dollies Making a Difference. “We wanted to make the Patch even more festive.”
The blankets were stitched together in a patchwork fashion to create a temporary art exhibit among the pumpkins. Yarn-and-stick spider webs were sprinkled throughout to add a bit of Halloween flavor. After the holiday, blankets were taken down, washed and re-purposed for other projects.
“All the visitors who came to the pumpkin patch just loved it,” said YMCA executive director Carol Pfannkuche. “People who saw it from the street, stopped to see what it was.”
This is the first known yarn bombing in Pacific Palisades, but it is part of a larger movement. In Los Angeles, the Craft and Folk Art Museum had its façade covered in crocheted granny squares, and a group called Yarn Bombing Los Angeles has a calendar of public yarn bombings. Ojai also has had the patchwork designs and has its own active group of yarn bombers.
The first yarn bombing started in 2005 in Texas, and has since spread to varied locales throughout the world. Yarn bombings are sometimes considered to be graffiti or vandalism, but non-damaging. However, like the one at the YMCA Pumpkin Patch, the activity simply adds beauty to a space.
Simon and her group approached Pfannkuche about adding the knitted creations to the Patch, and the idea was eagerly accepted.
“The YMCA is thrilled to have Cindy creative project,” Pfannkuche said. “We are the lucky recipient of the colorful display.”
Simon and seven other members of Dollies Making a Difference—co-founder and retired Canyon Elementary teacher Dorothy Miyake, Rita Cohen, Pat Bauer, Carrie Scott, Jojo Fleiss, Lindsay Simon and Denise Melas— came together for the effort. The women, who have distributed more than 6,200 stuffed toys since starting the endeavor in 2010, measured the circumferences of the trees, chose the height for the yarn coverings (based on the height of the YMCA ladder) and spent several days stitching them together.
Together with Pfannkuche, who climbed the ladder and secured the top with zip-ties, the women spent two hot October afternoons installing the “bombs,” which are mostly connected with crochet ties. The installation process attracted its own fans.
“People asked, ‘What are you doing? What is this? Is the tree is getting a sweater?’” Simon said. “My favorite comment was ‘I don’t know what this is, but I like it!’”
And the group may not be finished. Look for future yarn bombings in Pacific Palisades.