Last Saturday, I finally got around to helping out with one of the most captivating projects in Pittsburgh right now: Knit the Bridge, a community-arts yarn-bombing project to cover the Warhol Bridge in handmade afghans.
The afghans were put up by volunteers working all day on August 10th and 11th. Last Saturday and Sunday, black covers for the bottom railings (the final touch) were installed. I went down to help out early Saturday morning. When I arrived around 8:30 am there were already several volunteers there and many more arrived before 9. I figured I’d stay for an hour or two and then go take some photos. I stayed for over four hours and only left because I had to go take care of my doggie (who, incidentally, loves handmade afghans).
I worked with another volunteer to cover four sections of bottom railing from three scarf-like pieces, two knitted and one crochet, that we stitched together into one long piece before installing it on the bridge. Installation is a sewing project, wrapping the fabric around the rail and then using a running stitch to attach them.
Three things I learned from sewing a long piece of black knitted fabric onto a bridge:
1: This is the most beautiful place I will ever do fiber-art. Usually, I knit and crochet on my couch with the TV on in the winter. I am now convinced that knitting outdoors is the best idea EVER. It was a nice cool morning and there was a breeze coming off the river and the sun was shining and people were happy and I could see the river flowing by underneath me and…perfect summer day.
2: Wind is a factor. The wind will blow and your yarn/thread/twine/whatever will wrap around you and get all tangled. You’ll need to keep a close eye on all your stuff. You will get frustrated, but it will be okay, you’ll get over it. (The Knit the Bridge folks are very conscious of things not falling in the river. They keep things in buckets and use carabiners to keep things attached to the bridge.)
3: People assume that you know something about the project and want to talk to you and sometimes take your picture. This was great because I met lots of really interesting people. Some of them had made afghans for the bridge, some of them were just on a walk and were discovering the project for the first time, everyone loved the project. My favorite moment:
Woman: How long have you been helping with the project?
Me: This is my first day.
Woman: That’s what’s so great about this project.
And now for the best part, some photos!! (Actually, the best part is getting out there in person, and do it quick, the afghans come down in early September! Hopefully the photos will encourage you to GO!)