Knit the Bridge

OrganizingWhat is “Knit the Bridge?” It’s the largest attempted yarn bombing in the United States. They are working on trying to get the Guinness World Book of Records representatives to come out and document this marvel. Amanda Gross and her friends from “The Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh” in addition to 1,847 volunteers from all over Allegheny County have knitted and crocheted large panels to cover the bridge. This is no small undertaking, to put it in perspective these are the dimensions of the bridge. The Andy Warhol Bridge, also called the 7th St. Bridge, was built in 1925 and measures 1,061 feet in length, 62 feet in width and is 83.5 feet tall.

The installation will be up from August 10, 2013 – September 7, 2013. Afterwards all the panels will be taken down and washed and donated to homeless shelters, nursing homes and animal shelters. I even made a panel for them, which will go on one of the railings of the bridge.

Please enjoy the Q & A with Amanda Gross:

How did this idea come about? The Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh was yarn bombing trees downtown as part of a proposal for a Pop Up space and I thought it would be awesome to go bigger – plus what’s more Pittsburgh than bridges! I also completed a Masters Degree in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding where I studied the intersection of arts and peacebuilding. A lot of the design, theory, and grassroots community organizing practice for Knit the Bridge comes out of my studies and work.
Will the Guinness World Book of Records be there? One of our guild members has submitted an application on behalf of “Knit the Bridge.” I haven’t heard at this point whether they’ll be there for the installation or not.
How long will the installation stay up? It will be up for 4 weeks.
FoldedPanelsDid you use RED HEART yarn? And if so what kind? All of the community-made panels were made with yarn donated in-kind from the individuals and groups who made them. I’m sure RED HEART yarn was used. We used quite a bit of RED HEART SUPER SAVER black acrylic worsted weight yarn for the railing covers. Folks shopping for yarn might have noticed a shortage of black acrylic in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region.
How much money was needed for the installation and did you use any fundraising websites? The total cost of the project is close to $124,000 which includes both cash needs and in-kind donations (like our cable-ties donated by the IBEW.) International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. We used indiegogo to raise approximately $20,000 and worked with foundations and granting organizations.
Why do you like to yarn bomb?
I think yarn bombing is a bright, positive, way to celebrate community and public space. It’s unexpected, but unlike many other forms of graffiti, people gravitate to it. I think that’s because of our deep historical and cultural connection to fiberart and its association with nurture, warmth, and love. Knit and crochet are extremely accessible art forms. They’re low cost, portable, and are already culturally embedded knowledge in many of Pittsburgh’s communities. And I think people get excited about being able to do work that will be on public display. Yarn bombing is art done for and by the communities that live there.
HoldingPanelsWhat is your next project? Good question. I’m excited to see what ideas and opportunities emerge out of the new connections and networks formed by “Knit the Bridge.” For me this project has been a ay to better know the diverse communities and many networks that make up my adopted hometown. As an artist, I’m committed to living and creating in a way that serves and is responsive to the needs of my immediate context. “Knit the Bridge” is a jumping off point for my work in Pittsburgh.