BANGOR, Maine — When faculty and students arrived at John Bapst Memorial High School on Thursday, they discovered that several stairwells, a trophy case, the auditorium and other places in the school had been the target of “guerrilla knitting,” which manifests itself by an act known as “yarn bombing.”
In the auditorium, 184-foot swags of knitting, bracketed by 6-foot vertical pieces each embellished with a tassel, festooned all four sides of the mezzanine. A pompom garland snaked along the tops of plaques hung in a hallway, and several stairwell railings sported weavings of crocheted pieces many feet long. The figures on the cheerleading trophy sported tiny mittens and a Barbie-doll-size sweater. The figure on a football trophy carried a petite knit duffle bag and the wings of the victory figure of a Destination Imagination trophy were covered by a small pair of knitted socks.
Rumors flew, school officials said, but mostly everyone was saying, “Wow!” and delighting in the fact that the school — and Bangor — now has something in common with Paris, London, New York City — and Skowhegan, all of which have experienced yarn bombing, an international movement among those who knit and crochet. The action also is known as graffiti knitting, defined as the act of covering things in public spaces with knitted materials. It also was speculated that it must have taken months to produce so much knitting.
But one statement as rumors piled up stood out: “We know Mrs. Morgan had something to do with this.” Kamille Morgan is the adviser of the Simple Gifts program, a club for those interested in crafts, such as knitting and crocheting. Its members, all seniors, are Jondalynn Chasse, Marisa McCray and Sarah Dickens.
“I can neither confirm nor deny that Simple Gifts had anything to do with this,” Morgan said, holding fast to a basic tenet of guerilla knitting — anonymity must be preserved. “However, I hope these random acts of knitting will encourage other students to join Simple Gifts.”
Apparently, it’s working. Two freshman girls approached Morgan about becoming club members soon after they saw the knitting adorning their school. This is crucial, since the current members will graduate in June, and may well be the hidden agenda behind the yarn bombing.
Math teacher Karen Snyder said that even though she doesn’t know who is behind the yarn bombing, she‘s fairly certain it’s an “inside” job. She found snippets of yarn in her classroom and saw bits of yarn fuzz blowing around the hallway. Snyder said that in addition to adding a colorful and creative touch to the halls of the school, those responsible, if indeed they are students, learned many things from knitting. First, she said, they have to “do the math” to figure out how to make an item larger or smaller, such as those minute mittens and sweaters. They have to learn to be organized, how to read patterns and how to concentrate on the task at hand.
“And they have fun!” Morgan said. “They make the world a better place one stitch at a time.”