Sundance Film Festival was the (Yarn) Bomb!

I spent the last two weeks of January in beautiful Park City, Utah, which turns into a snowy Little L.A. every year during the Sundance Film Festival. One of the best decisions I ever made in life was to start volunteering there. It’s an amazing and unique experience every year, but the BIG BONUS is that I get the hell out of Utah County and can avoid the mid-winter depression that otherwise sets in around that time.

Knowing how busy I was going to be this year, what with the daily volunteer shifts, film watching, celebrity hobnobbing, and squeezing in some freelance work, I didn’t take any craft projects along. It would just make me sad to have taken a project and not touched it for two weeks. But my trip was not entirely craft-free. Let me paint you a picture, as it were, with some new-fashioned photographs. This is a section of Main Street in Park City during the festival.

Sundance Film Festival 2012 - Main Street in Park City

Look closer!

Yarn bombing at Sundance... sponsored by Yahoo!

My heart went a-pitter-patter when I realized that there was some form of yarn bombing in progress! Yarn bombing, for the uninitiated, is essentially knitted graffiti – though its non-damaging nature really makes it more of a temporary art installation. Sometimes yarn bombing is socio-politically motivated (and referred to as “guerilla knitting”) but most of the time it’s just decorative and fun. Upon closer inspection of the wrapping on this lamp post, this one was tagged by Yahoo!, one of the official Sundance sponsors. It’s the first time I’ve seen a corporation sponsor a knitted installation—usually it’s a group of local knitters who organize themselves or work in tandem with local art fairs. But I definitely approve of a corporation using its ridiculous mounds of cash for knitted street  art as opposed to marketing campaigns that involve, for example, the objectification of women. I hopped over to the Festival Co-Op, where the bigger sponsors had display space, and I nearly wet my pants from the YARN BOMB AWESOME!

Yahoo! sponsor booth at Sundance Film Festival 2012

The walls were covered in knitted patchwork. The dimensional letters were covered on all visible sides with coordinated knitting. My favorite part was the array of exercise balls  that were covered with different yarns and patterns – some knitted, some crocheted. What a great idea for sprucing up those exercise balls you have laying around your house that you never use for exercise, anyway! (I am speaking to myself, mostly.)

yarn bombed exercise balls at the Yahoo booth at Sundance Film Festival 2012

The representative at the display booth told me that Yahoo! hired a group from Texas to do all of the yarn bombing. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t hire any Utah locals, especially since I know that there’s a pretty prolific group connected with the Blazing Needles knitting store in Salt Lake City. Nevertheless, Yahoo! had an interesting reason for sponsoring knitted installations in the first place: because telling a cinematic story is like spinning a yarn. Clever.

Also clever was the related sponsor giveaway:

knitted mittens giveaway by Yahoo at Sundance 2012

So fun! Though my fingers are short so there’s a lot of floppy space on the ends. Still, I love the prison-knuckle-tattoo sentiment that these mittens evoke. I hadn’t seen anything like it before the festival. But wouldn’t you know it, on the bus sometime that week, I spotted a similar pair!

Giving decisions a hand with oui and non mittens

Sundance Film Festival: when talking to and taking photos of random strangers is encouraged and expected. This lovely, nameless model who is clearly cooler than me said that she purchased these gloves from ASOS. I couldn’t find these exact ones for sale, but if you search for mittens you’ll find a large selection of trendy knitted styles. Even some with pom-poms sewn on, which is interesting though not entirely practical. Pom-poms… now found on mittens and chandeliers!

chandelier with Yahoo yarn bomb pom poms

I could NOT resist that segue! Now let’s stretch that segue out to involve pom-poms and a big bronze pig.

bronze pigs look better with scarves and pom pom earrings.

Bronze pigs look better with scarves and pom-pom earrings, don’t you think?

During one of the snow storms that didn’t stick due to warmer-than-average temperatures, I caught some of the yarn bombers in action on Main Street. They knit as much as possible beforehand, then whipstitch it onto the intended structure or object.

Yarn bomber in action in Park City at Sundance Film Festival

Guerilla knitting winter wardrobe requirement: convertible knitted mittens.

watching a yarn bomb artist in action

Lamp posts, railings, and tree trunks are straightforward enough to cover in pre-knitted panels of yarn. It’s the more complex objects that are awe-inspring. You know, like food trucks.

Yarn bombed food truck sponsored by Yahoo at Sundance Film Festival 2012

That obviously required some planning! And hopefully the group from Texas was able to assemble this one in a garage. This Yahoo!-sponsored food truck was stationed outside one of the more remote film venues and was giving out small samples of Bertolli soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Knitting AND free food? Yahoo!, you hit my demographic spot on. Thanks. I hope you do it again next year!

About Dame Toadstool

From her humble Midwestern beginnings, Dame Toadstool has developed into a lady of fine taste (as long as you are flexible with the definition of "fine"). She enjoys sarcasm, knitting, subversive cross-stitching, and will never stop using the Oxford comma.
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