HOW TO MAKE A YARN BOMB
Putting It All Together
One of the most important things I learned in October of 2017 was how to put together the pieces of a yarn bomb.
Two months earlier I had gone to a workshop taught by the crochet artist known as Olek and learned her technique for crocheting the two-foot by two-foot panels she uses in her pieces.
I got a chance to put my newly acquired skill to use by crocheting nine of the panels that were used in Olek’s Nina Simone installation. This is how four of the squares I made looked before assembly:
While they were interesting as is, the question remained: what do you do with them afterwards?
It turns out that Olek has a very specific way to join the pieces, and it accomplishes two potentially contradictory goals:
- it joins the pieces securely
- and with a lot of give
The reasons for joining the pieces securely are pretty obvious: you don’t want your yarn bomb falling apart either as you install it or after it’s installed.
The reason for the give is that over time, the pieces are going to stretch out and sag under their own weight. If the joins have sufficient give, when you put the installation up, you can stretch the assembled pieces out over a broader expanse, and when they are all stretched out, it’s harder for them to sag.
Where it all begins
The first rule of joining crochet pieces for a yarn bomb is that you must thoroughly pull on the edges. It is the first step, and the one that I am most likely to forget. But having seen Olek prepare pieces for joining, I can assure you she pulls them very, very completely, stretching them one way and then the other. She does it with the fervor of someone who has learned a lesson the hard way. So please, even though I don’t always remember to, pull the edges of the pieces you are preparing to join.
Top to bottom
After you have done as I said (and not as I do), put the right sides of the top and bottom of the panels being joined together like so:
Next, secure the yarn to join the pieces onto your crochet hook with a slip knot that slips, and insert the hook through both pieces being joined (for demonstration purposes, I have used all contrasting colors):
Complete a single crochet stitch and chain one. Skip a stitch and then insert the hook into the next stitch
Again, complete a single crochet and chain one. Continue to work across the edge you are joining, ending with a sc in the corner. Fasten off and pull the yarn through.
What the chain-1 between the single crochet joins adds is the ability to more easily stretch the finished piece, making the overall project more flexible and resilient, and those are qualities that are useful not only in crochet, but in life.
Side to side
Once you have all of your pieces joined into columns, it’s time to join the sides. Take your already joined crochet columns:
Then, with right sides together:
Insert your hook (with yarn attached) through the side of the corresponding double crochet stitches
As you did with the top to bottom joins, complete a single crochet stitch and chain one. Repeat the single crochet, chain one join until you have worked your way across the length of the join:
I have only used this technique in one project so far, but I found it totally worthwhile, and even if you don’t make a yarn bomb, you might just find that these techniques are tools you can use to make your own crochet dreams come true.