Tricks of the thread

Report and pictures by: 
Phyllicia Wang

Think graffiti, but with yarn instead of spray cans.
 
The art of yarnbombing started in 2005 when Texan clothes shop owner Magda Sayeg found a creative way of using up half-finished jumpers and scarfs — by putting them on door handles.
 
The craze took off, with artists plastering street signs and even buses with colourful strands of wool made by knitting or crocheting, reported The Telegraph.
 
Freelance graphic designer and illustrator Kelly Lim, 25, is one such yarnbombing enthusiast here.
 
She first saw it online and was drawn to it because “yarnbombs are so random and unpredictable... they add a burst of surprise and excitement in everyday life”.
 
It helps that Ms Lim can crochet, having taken lessons at seven.
 
“(Because it was) seen as a granny hobby, I was teased by my classmates... and I guess it affected me enough for me to stop for about a year. I picked it up again later, though.”
 
As a fashion design student at Temasek Polytechnic, she even knitted dresses for her final-year project.
 
Her first yarnbombing project was to cover the handlebars of her bicycle.
 
She went on to yarnbomb several statues, including adding Pikachu caps to the bronze figures along the Singapore River in April 2013.
 
The good thing about yarnbombing is that unlike traditional graffiti, it is temporary. But that also presented a challenge for Ms Lim when she first started.
 
“The hard part is actually removing the yarn without cutting the wool,” she said.
 
When coming up with a design, she first considers the colour and after that, it’s “create as I go along”.
 
In January, she posted some yarnbombing ideas on her Facebook page. Art lecturer Lucinda Law, 38, contacted her within hours and Ms Lim agreed to undertake her current project: yarnbombing Ms Law’s Vespa scooter.
 
So far, after about three days and six to seven balls of yarn, the front part of the scooter is complete, with a design of moss and plants.
 
Ms Law described the result as “whimsical, witty and well-crafted”.
 
Ms Lim has turned her skills into a part-time business, but declined to reveal how much she makes from it.
 
She has done commercial work for several shops, yarnbombing items such as a hose reel and even a tree for product displays.
 
She also crochets items such as pouches, coasters and hats, and creates dreadlocks from wool.
 
Ms Lim proudly wears her crochet pieces and dreadlocks and often gets curious stares from passers-by.
 
Said Ms Lim: “Just the other day, I saw this little boy knock into a chair while turning back to gawk at me. I just love kids because they are so honest and don’t bother to hide their interest — most of it being good.
 
“Even in Tokyo Disneyland, I’ve had kids wanting to take photos with me, thinking I’m a mascot.”
 
Retiree Betty Oh, 65, saw Ms Lim when we were doing this interview.
 
She said: “Very cute and special! You should take up hairdressing course!”
 
For more on Ms Lim’s work, go to www.kllylmrck.com