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Extreme Knitting: Found Alive and Well In Birmingham

If you’ve been to the town centre recently, you may well have noticed that the columns on the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum have sprouted their very own leg-warmers.

This is an example of extreme knitting and was conducted by the Kings Heath based knitting group Stitches and Hos (ahem) who took over a vacant city centre shop (so many to choose from at the moment) and invited people to take a break from mindless consumerism to knit part of a panel. In the end over 400 people took part to create the striking yet cosy er… column cosies.

Extreme close up: just to prove it’s knitting and not paint.

The giant yarn panels have been knitted in the Olympic colours as part of the London 2012 Festival celebrating the arts in this Olympic year. This project was named K2TOG (Knit 2 Together for those of you unfamiliar with knitting pattern terminology) and the column cosies will remain on display until the end of September, braving the ravages of the British weather.

Extreme knitting and it’s more anarchic cousin guerrilla knitting have a peculiarly British eccentricity about them. They strike just the right note of quirkiness and humour (how can the idea of militant knitters swooping in under the cover of darkness and covering a phone box, a pier or even a Harley Davidson in pink 4-Ply be anything other than comic?). It takes me back to my home village in Warwickshire where the statue on the village green is dressed up as a different character every Christmas.

This project has been particularly heart-warming to me as I have not seen it personally (I am currently housebound by my pesky health) and knitting has been one of my refuges this summer. It also alerts me to the fact that knitting groups are thriving in Brum and I have made my mind up to pop along to some of them and see if any more guerrilla knitting projects are in the pipeline.  I’ll keep you posted on my findings. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could knit a cosy for Antony Gormley’s Iron Man sculpture in Victoria Square? Might cheer him up a bit. Maybe something in dusky pink?

Antony Gormley’s Iron:Man in Victoria Square


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