City Living

Slideshow: Xtreme Knitters Rock the Yarn

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On today's show, Sabrina Gschwandtner introduced us to the world of extreme knitting — guerrilla artists who leave knitted "tags" as a new form of graffiti, people who knit with weird stuff like fiberglass and lead, people who get together for massive knitting parties and cover entire park benches with yarn. Wow.

Gschwandtner is the editor KnitKnit, a zine, and the new book KnitKnit: Profiles and Projects from Knitting's New Wave.



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I knit with natural colored roving (an untwisted wool). I have kept myself warm for hours at down to minus 40 degrees. My natural colored wool has no dyes on it; it does not hold ice condensation.

Sent by Mye | 12:44 PM | 1-31-2008

Gschwandtner - wow.... Five consonants in a row, followed by a set of four consonants. That's extraordinary. Forget knitting - I'd blog about that. :-)

Sent by andy carvin, npr | 1:19 PM | 1-31-2008

Oh my god. That is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Sent by jeff pontillo | 3:30 PM | 1-31-2008

I love knitting and I love the BPP, thanks for combining the two!

Sent by Amy | 3:41 PM | 1-31-2008

I live in Houston and have seen the Knittas' work. It's neat to be driving to work and see a bridge railing or stop sign pole covered in a knitting cozy; it brightens up an otherwise aggressively urban landscape with a bit of unexpectedness and whimsy. I always wondered who these clever folks were (and then wonder who the killjoys are who remove the cozies.) - thanks BPP!

Sent by julie | 4:53 PM | 1-31-2008

It is so great to find others out there doing this kind of thing! I do this with tatting and bobbin lace. Keep it going!

Sent by Carol Lindsay | 5:21 PM | 1-31-2008

you're kidding! I have a couple of friends that love to knit and try as I may I've attempted it myself. I think this is a great new wave! I'll forward this to them right away.

Sent by Martha Gomez | 5:31 PM | 1-31-2008

Knitta Please...

Sent by Rodney Borden | 1:00 AM | 2-1-2008

another interesting knitting project, this one contributed to on a global scale.the sweaters are looking for a permanent home in a gallery.

Sent by debbi | 7:24 AM | 2-1-2008

To all the knitters, Thanks for making the world a more beautiful place...brings to mind John Lennon's IMAGINE.

Sent by Lucille Buergers | 9:00 AM | 2-1-2008

this is a truly a beautiful expression! never in a million years did i think there was an underground movement of extreme knitters. very cool.

Sent by Elyse | 12:44 PM | 2-1-2008

whoa- truly awesome!

Sent by sara | 3:17 PM | 2-1-2008

I have knitted for about 50 years. As I got older, I was afraid to tell anyone I was knitting for fear of being tagged an "old lady." Thanks for letting me come out of the closet!

Sent by Jackie | 5:08 PM | 2-1-2008

My favorite bit of knitting activism is the pink tank cozy made in Denmark.

Sent by Melinda | 10:47 PM | 2-1-2008

Rodney Borden = Genius

Sent by matt | 3:01 AM | 2-2-2008

Why would you use wild artic circle animal hair to knit with? Don't they need that hair - and why disturb them anyways? That seems contrary to what this knitta thing is about?

Sent by Sara | 12:40 PM | 2-2-2008

Just to reassure Sara who seems to be worried that knitta's are "disturbing" arctic musk oxen: They *shed* their hair/wool and traditionally, Aleut and other native women collected the "leavings" and spun it for knitting and weaving. It makes the warmest yarn known to humans: kiviut (or qiviuk). No worries, though; the musk ox are still happily producing more makings and native women are working in collectives to earn money by producing and selling this fabulous, luxury yarn.

Sent by Marina McIntire | 8:23 PM | 2-2-2008

the commenter above needs to confront the "grandma knitting" (and what's wrong with that by being out there with her craft. basically that's the message of Sabrina's work. she's very suportive of my Safe Sex efforts

if you're in new york city, you can see it at knitty city yarn shop right now--and add one!

Sent by naomi dagen bloom | 11:17 AM | 2-3-2008

Extreme Needles - size US 50 and up to 32" long - are available through Check them out. They have huge crochet hooks too!

Sent by Rubie | 8:54 AM | 2-4-2008