Chaps who craft: Shadow_Stitch
Yarnbombers are a notoriously shy bunch. After all, half the fun of covering a city in wool is doing it in disguise and under the cover of darkness. One day the streets are dirty and grey, the next they’re a colourful woolly wonderland. One man doing his bit to take the world by yarnstorm is Edinburgh-based Shadow_Stitch (real identity unknown!) and I was lucky enough to track him down to ask him a few questions. Here’s what he had to say about fairy tales, why he tags his work and what it’s like being a man who knits.
Black Cat Originals (BCO): When did you first start knitting?
Shadow Stitch (SS): Just over a year ago. April 9th was my 1st birthday!
BCO: What appeals to you about yarnbombing?
SS: I like getting to express myself and my ideas. It’s fun putting little surprises out around the city for people to find. Hopefully it brightens people’s day and inspires them!
BCO: How do you do it without anyone knowing who you are? Do you have special night-time yarnbombing attire?
SS: It’s rather difficult juggling real life with Shadow_Stitch life. It’s fun though! There’s something quite exciting about getting up at 5am to install a yarnbomb, running home to get changed and heading back out to the day job. I don’t have a special outfit yet. There are plans in the pipeline for a future project. Dark colours are best though!
BCO: Ever run into any trouble?
SS: My giraffe yarnbomb for the first International Yarnbomb Day was a nightmare! I got up at 4.30am and was just stitching the last one on and walking away when security made me remove them. I tried to blag my way out of it but they wouldn’t have it. They made me delete all the photos but I’d thankfully already tweeted one from my phone. I was so proud of it – it was quite gutting!
BCO: Why do you put a tag on your yarnbombs? Most artists don’t seem to.
SS: For me, it’s fun to allow people to follow my work and contact me. Many people find yarnbombs and it inspires them or they love it – tags allow them to tell you that! As a result, many people have managed to get in touch with me and tell me many wonderful stories. I’ve also done a few requests based upon what some followers have suggested after contacting me.
I suppose it also allows a small explanation and directs people to more information – many people see these knitted objects and are intrigued, they follow the tags and it opens them up to the world of yarnbombing! My tags also have my taglines: Shadow, Sunshine, Love and Hiding in the shadows to bring a little drop of sunshine.
BCO: Are you precious about people taking your work off the streets and home with them?
SS: I’m not too precious about people taking them. It’s a bit of a shame if they disappear within an hour or so as people don’t get to see them. If it’s a big yarnbomb with several pieces they tend to last longer. My shadow sunshine love hearts lasted about 40 days! That was quite cute. My Katy Perry iPod was gone within ten minutes, which was a shame as it was quite difficult to install. Climbing statues is not my strong point!
BCO: What’s the best bit of yarnbombing you’ve seen on your travels?
SS: There’s too many to mention! Recently, I took part in Knit Corsham and that was fantastic! It was so fun to see an entire town centre covered in yarn from yarnbombers all around the world!
BCO: Who’s your favourite yarnbombing artist?
SS: I’m probably biased, sticking with my fellow scottish knitter from the west coast – NightKnitPixie. Her work is always so cute! She does a lot of current yarnbombs depending what’s going on in the country or her area, which is really cool to follow. Her ideas are always great and she is lovely when you chat to her! She’s a very friendly wee pixie!
BCO: What will you be yarnbombing next?
SS: I’m currently obsessed with fairy tales! At present, I’m working on about three or four fairy-tale inspired yarnbombs from Alice in Wonderland to Snow White. I’m also about to launch my first competition for people to have the chance to win one of three special edition Shadow_Stitch originals.
Other than with that, I’ve got two new and exciting rather large projects that I’m trying to map out and I will be hosting the second Yarnvent Calendar! I’m so excited for the second year – I’ve got loads of fun ideas with a twist this time! I can’t wait to share and get more people involved in The Yarnvent Calendar this year!
BCO: How do people react when they find out that you’re a man who likes to knit?
SS: It suprises most people, mainly beacuse they always assume I’m a girl, despite me trying to promote that I’m a boy on my profiles. On the whole though, they think it’s cool. I think I throw people because I’m obsessed with small, cute and sparkly things!
BCO: Do you knit in public?
SS: I don’t – gotta keep that identity secret!
BCO: Are you the only yarnbombing man out there?
SS: We’re a rare breed but there are others. Mr Stitch who runs The Yarnstorming Knitwork is an awesome male knitter. I’m proud to be a male knitter and it was fun finding someone else! I’m the Scottish admin for the Knitwork and it’s been fun meeting some other guys over there.
BCO: Does it help with the ladies?
SS: Shadow_Stitch doesn’t have time for that! Not when there’s so much knitting to be done.
BCO: What advice can you give to other men thinking of taking up knitting or another craft but who are feeling a bit shy about it?
SS: I say go for it! At the end of the day, if you enjoy it – do it! The craft was invented by men so why shouldn’t we still be doing it today? It’s 2012 – I think we’re past stereotyping. Plus, that’s what makes yarnboming so much fun – the expression of the individual, regardless of who you are.
BCO: Do you do any other arts and crafts?
SS: I enjoy photography and I like writing. I’m working on ways to combine the three more effectively! I’ve done one yarnstory- that was fun. It was a short six-line story with yarnbombs attached to it. I’d like to explore that again in the future. I’ve normally just got too many ideas at once and I get carried away trying too many things at the same time. I’m quite impulsive, which is a bit of a flaw at times.
What’s the best bit of yarnbombing you’ve ever seen?
- Knit happens with the Yarnbomb Consortium (blackcatoriginals.wordpress.com)
- Monday’s Points of Pinterest: A yarnbombing extravaganza! (blackcatoriginals.wordpress.com)
- Knitting up a Storm. (deeperdazzle.com)
- Queen Victoria Yarnbombed… (offthehookcrochetdesign.wordpress.com)
- Flowery Madrid Yarnbomb (offthehookcrochetdesign.wordpress.com)
- Yarnbomb in is the house! (indianastatemuseum.wordpress.com)
- That’s a Wrap: Yarnbombing with Ishknits (theurbn.com)
- Yarn Bombs! 51 Victims of Knitted Graffiti (emkaytsg.wordpress.com)