+1.617.398.0613
A New England December Yarn Bombing

A New England December Yarn Bombing

With apologies to Thomas Oliphant and John Thomas…

"Deck the street with knit & crochet
Fa la la la la la la la la
They do mark "Clues from the Quilt "
Fa la la la la la la la la
Yarn and banners at seven places
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tis the yarn storm now in Melrose
Fa la la la la la la la la"

Oh, yes, a December yarn bombing it was.

Vine Street Melrose History Quilt Yarn storm 2018
The Vine Street Yarn Storm honors the many citizens whose names are on the Melrose History Quilt.

Seven locations in Melrose, MA were hit by a “yarn storm” during December 2018, as part of a the Melrose History Quilt homecoming celebration.

What is a yarn storm?

Also known as a yarn bomb or graffiti knitting, it’s an installation of knit and crochet items with a goal of expressing a public statement or to just personalize a sterile public space.

I’ve participated in a few yarn bombing and public art projects, but this was the first time leading one. From these experiences, here are five things I learned:

  • Define a goal to the yarn bombing (maybe your goal is just to brighten a place!)
  • Involve community ideas about the yarn installation.
  • Organize public knit and crochet sessions for contributors to mix.
  • Identify allies: craft guilds, knitting groups and yarn stores.
  • Ask for permission to install the yarn storm on private property. It doesn’t hurt to mention it to the public works department when installing on public property.

For “Clues from a Quilt,” the yarn storm (I chose a less violent term, although storms can be quite terrifying) kicked off in June, with World Wide Knit in Public Day). Thanks to support from Lucky Cat Yarns, there were monthly meet up sessions evenings and day time sessions at the Melrose Public Library. Winter yarn bombings could benefit from these tips…

  1. Use large base components. Of course, you could have everyone make two inch squares or tiny sea shells and put your yarn bombing together, but similar sizing and larger sizes facilitate joining pieces and making an impact. We asked people to make squares and rectangles using multiples of six inches (i.e. 6″ x 6,” 6″ x 12,” 6″ x 18″), which was perhaps on the small side considering we targeted seven locations in town. Either fewer locations or larger base pieces would create more impact.
  2. Use support structures that can be installed indoors, then set up quickly outdoors. At two locations, the yarn blocks and banners were installed on fences, which went up quickly. At other locations, old campaign yard signs, wooden shipping supports and wire tomato cages were decorated indoors, then set up outside. By joining pieces as they were contributed, it made installation at the end less daunting.
  3. Stitch together contributions as they arrive. We installed the yarn storm during the week after Thanksgiving. Having snowed shortly before Thanksgiving, the soil was pretty hard. Cold temperatures and stiff winds reduced the amount of time mitten-less fingers could properly function.
  4. Plan time for yarn bombing maintenance. Depending on the goal of your yarn installation, keep in mind that winter weather can be difficult on yarn bombings. If you can assign group members to check on the installation, many hands will make light work. For “Clues from a Quilt,” a 42″ tomato cage tipped over in high wind. There wasn’t enough top soil to truly support the taller structure (the 36″ tomato cage did just fine).

“Clues from a Quilt” also included banners to direct people to the web site. If I ever organize another winter yarn storm, those banners will be printed on fabric or mesh to better withstand the wind. Whew! This is one place where you don’t want to skimp on your expenses.

After the homecoming was over, we took down the yarn storm pieces, washing them and storing for the next opportunity to….

"Deck the streets with knit and crochet, 
Fa la la la la la la la la..."

An afternoon of Nuno felting

2018 Felt making class with Alanna Nelson

An Afternoon of Nuno Felting

March 9, 2019

1 to 4 pm in Melrose, MA

$65 includes materials

Play with wool, soap and water to create fabric that is sturdy, beautiful and useful. We’ll talk about several ways to create felt and see examples. Learn how your wool choice impact the final fabric.

Create your own wool fabric about the size of a placemat using wool, water and soap.

No tools necessary. The class fee includes wool and simple tools to create your own felt. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a full apron (waterproof is great)  and clothes that don’t mind getting damp.

Class size limited to four people.
Have questions? Contact Alanna

Reserve your place by sending a check to Tactile Travel Fabric & Fiber, P.O. Box 761092 Melrose, MA 02176 or use the PayPal button below. Be sure to include your email address and/or phone number. Your payment is refundable up to three days before the class, provided that your spot is filled by someone off the waiting list.


Your Name



Melrose Knitting Classes

Melrose Knitting Classes

Word is getting out! More people are learning about the Melrose Adult Education program’s topics and signing up to learn painting, acting, business skills, interior design and craft.  Yours truly will lead a basic knitting skills class on August 5 and 12 from 7 pm to 8:30

  • Basic Knitting Skills: Learn 2 ways to cast on, to knit, to purl, and how to bind off. Understand some of the most common abbreviations in knitting patterns and get ready to work on a basic knitting project! Bring light colored, smooth (no novelty yarns, please) worsted or bulky weight yarn and appropriate size of knitting needle.  This class works for those who have never knit before, or need a refresher class. With your MCAE registration confirmation  Sit ‘n Knit Melrose offers 10% discount on your class supplies. 7 – 8:30 p.m. Offered on Mondays August 5 and 12, 2013. COST: $25.00

I’ll also lead morning and evening sessions for Sit’n Knit’s boot camp series.  Seaming knits, buttonholes and new ways to cast on and bind off will be the feature topics. I’ll let you know when registration is open for these Tuesday classes that begin August 13.Knitting Lessons Melrose by Alanna Nelson

Knit Class this fall in Melrose, MA

As the temperatures cool and the kids go back to school, are you thinking of trying something new?  How about knitting?  The new Melrose Adult Education class listings include knitting this fall, with yours truly launching you onto new knitted horizons.  In five evenings, you can learn the essentials of knitting: knit, purl, cast on, bind off, increase and decrease while creating your own snow friend.  Download their brochure with the entire class listings here.  Meanwhile, I still enjoy my sessions at Sit ‘n Knit. Janet and I have talked about launching a knitting boot camp this fall.  We’ll kick off with a class on seaming (everyone groans, I know).  We can help you be pleased with your end results!  Call the shop at 781.662.9548 for more details.