Photos by Hayley Benton
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From Purl’s Yarn Emporium:
The stealthy stitchers of Purl’s Yarn Emporium are at it again. On Wednesday, Oct. 21, Wall Street in downtown Asheville will be transformed with knit and crochet creations. As with their installations last spring and fall, the stitchers will be adorning many of the parking meters, bollards and other fixtures along the quaint street. This fall, however, they have added a much larger target to their yarn-bombing: the Flat Iron sculpture.
Organized by Purl’s Yarn Emporium, in consultation with city officials, the goal of the seasonal installation is to bring a bit of color and amusement to downtown visitors. According to Elizabeth Schell, one of the organizers: “One thing I love about yarn bombing is how it brings mundane city objects to our attention — objects we pass by everyday with little notice. Covered in warm knitted ribs or crocheted stripes, the parking meter that may normally aggravate us instead makes us crack a smile.”
When asked why they chose to target the flat iron, Schell explained: “We all pass this iconic statue everyday. For visitors to Asheville, the statue is a photo op. But we locals mostly shuffle by unseeing — unless some awesome buskers at the popular spot grab our attention. Covering the iron was a big project. We often questioned if we could really do it. But we hope it helps people appreciate this sweet statue.”
The flat iron sculpture, created by artist Reed Todd in 1997, is stop No. 8 on Asheville’s Urban Trail Walking tour. It took over a dozen stitchers to fully yarnify Todd’s 8-foot-tall sculpture. Measurements were taken and patterns made and many details were discovered. Ever noticed the cross hatches on the giant handle (the 58” tall handle that stitchers chose to reflect with a giant knitted cable)? Or the letter “C” and the number “6” on the back of the iron? The 6 is the weight of the iron (if at normal scale!) and the “C” is the manufacturer’s mark. Both of these details the stitchers decided to accentuate with contrasting colors.
The installation will remain up through the weekend of the downtown holiday parade (Saturday, Nov. 21). Fiber artists hope this will give the community plenty of time to come downtown and check out the whimsical creations — and also patronize all the wonderful shops and restaurants of Wall Street.