Saturday, 7 April 2012

Community Yarn Project in the Mountains

When I heard tell of a community driven project that involved covering part of a town in yarn, my ears pricked up and I organised a trip to investigate further! In the rather sleepy, nearby ski town of Les Contamines, here in the French Alps, an English teacher at the college suggested a community yarn bombing project to the Tourism Office and top French yarn manufacturer Bergere de France, and so was born Les Contamies 100% Pure Laine

The aim of the project, which began in October and runs right through until the end of the winter ski season, is to cover items in the town's main square (lamp-posts, benches, railings etc) and also some trees along the ski pistes in knit or crochet as a way of changing the perception of the objects that surround us in a mountain environment. It is part of the events put on by the Tourist Board to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Ski-Cross World Cup

I chatted with the girl in the Tourist Info Centre who told me that the project had been really well received and that local knitting groups as well as passing holiday makers had enjoyed taking part. On the table next to her, sat a huge basket of Bergere de France wool which she encouraged me to take a few balls of (free wool??!! yippeeeeeeee!!!) if I wanted to knit up a piece to add to the display. They even had sets of needles to rent out! I didn't like to tell her that to knit something large enough to go around a lamp-post in dk wool would take me a little longer than an afternoon and unfortunately I didn't have my crochet hooks with me! (but yes, I 'fess up, I took the wool anyway!)

Had I got myself to Les Contamines a little earlier in the season I would certainly have made them a pile of crochet Granny Squares for the project - my preferred yarn bombing ammo - and I would have loved to see the bold colours as a stark contrast against the white snow. Apparently at the beginning of the project, they had a chair lift up that mountain that was totally covered in knit! Would have loved to have seen that!

Here is a quick run down of the requirements for participating, should you fancy organising something similar where you live; this kind of community project would work just as well in an urban environment, as many large yarn bomb installations have shown over the last few years (Google it, you'll see what I mean!):
  • they recommend using acrylic yarn to withstand the harsh weather, plus it dries quicker after rainfall
  • use any stitches you fancy
  • use plenty of colours, with or without motifs
  • use whatever sized needles you wish to obtain a piece 28x47cm
It's great to know there are fellow yarn enthusiasts not too far away and I feel inspired to launch another yarn bomb activity here in Chamonix, all the info on the large piece I did last summer can be seen in this post here. I think something in amongst the woods is in order...

What do you think about yarn bombing and knit graffiti? Would you like to see this where you live? Do you participate in group yarn bombing? Tell me about your yarn adventures!

Lisa x

{all photos ©Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten using Instagram}


  1. Hi Lisa, my sister in law has just started http://lesbossonscré if you fancy having a look and joining in the fun.
    I was in Les Contamines a few weeks ago, they even decorated the foyer de ski de fond!!

    1. ooh thanks for the tip off Emma - I'll deffo check it out! We need to catch up soon, it's been ages!


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