Hi I'm Nina, a maker with Rock Vandals, and I live on the edge of the earth in Twillingate, Newfoundland! The climate there breeds knitters, plus the yarn shop is open year round. I moved to Newfoundland in 2012 and immediately turned to knitting for comfort during the many ferocious storms. The yarn options, the monochromatic winter months and a penchant for a bit of mischief all inspired me in a new knitting direction though... towards Yarnbombing.
Yarnbombing is a temporary form of street-art where knitting is installed publicly. It can be done for a variety of reasons. I use it to express myself creatively, challenge my knitting skills and make unique gifts for my community. Last year, I upped my game and brought it with me on a 13 month backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. I knit something special for each country I visited, including Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and learned a couple things along the way. Here's my story:
Here are a few lessons from my trip:
1. Using a creative Journal is invaluable. I journaled this year to keep a record of my travels and adventures but I also used the space as a creative notebook. This is where I marked down crafty ideas, future projects, quotes, sketches and little inspirations. Now that I'm home, it can transport me back to Thailand or send me towards my next project with renewed inspiration.
2. Boundaries inspire creativity. While travelling I kept a tiny crafting kit and a minimal yarn stash. It forced me to work within certain boundaries, and as a result I evolved my skills. I learned how to read a knitting chart, do colour work, and make a lotus flower without a pattern. And just in case I felt constrained, I had my journal to keep track of ideas that needed more resources.
3. Knitting is meditative. I knew this before I left but i didn't realize the power it holds over me. It provided comfort in many unfamiliar places, and upped the relaxation in comfortable places. Now, I can especially appreciate its grounding effect.
4. Setting and achieving goals is a feed forward loop. I set the goal of yarnbombing each country I visited in 2016 and this gave me structure and direction for a full year of adventure. With that success in my pocket, I can be ambitious about what crafty goals I set for this year. With no big travel plans on the horizon though, Newfoundland will be my playground.
5. Fibre arts are universal. Regardless of country or culture, fibre arts are celebrated. It's wonderful to know no matter where I land, I can find my tribe at the local yarn shop.
6. Knitting teaches patience. As long as I have my knitting, I can handle prolonged overland journeys, travel delays, detours, and extreme weather. Knitting gives new perspective on 'time' as it sets its own, rhythmic timeline.
7. Knitters are welcome everywhere. There is no other group with a tendency towards carrying sharp, pointy objects and advanced knot-skills that is treated so well! I am very happy to report that at no point in my travels did any airline officials try to 'stick me up' for my knit-kit.
I learned these lessons while traveling but they apply to life at home just as well as life on the road, and to knitters and yarnbombers alike. I'd be curious to hear what life lessons your knitting has brought you over the years, so comment below or reach out through my blog.
Happy making, happy yarnbombing!
Nina Elliott blogs as the Rock Vandal at www.Rockvandals.com. She uses knitting as a form of temporary street-art and aims to surprise and delight those who find her work. She blogs about knitting and street craft and would love to get you tangled up in her 'gang'.