LR4: Yarn Bomb Epiblogue

TextIt’s been a few weeks since the yarn bomb was packed and shipped off to Warm Up America, but it continues to live on in the hearts and minds of those who witnessed it for themselves. This weekend, Will Wallin, who participated in every aspect of the installation, including mapping the tree, ladder lugging and tear-down, went for a hike to the tree. Along the way, a couple stopped him to tell him about this magical yarn bomb he missed, just weeks earlier. When he informed them that he’d been a part of its installation, the woman surprised him with an impromptu hug and they both thanked him for it.

Yarn Bomb in the Independent


Just yesterday, the Santa Barbara Independent included a blurb about it in their print edition, almost a month after it went up. I’ve received lots of pics via email from people who visited it and found many more that have been going viral thanks to being pinned and repinned on Pinterest, posted on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and more.

Between all that and WordPress featuring the LR1: Unicycling post on FreshlyPressed, traffic to exploded.


12for2012I received lots of nice notes via email, most of which came with pics attached, but here are two notes I especially liked reading:

From Sharon… “I am the older Japanese woman you ran into on the trail yesterday (Friday). I was walking down, only having made it to the fire road on my hike to the yarn tree. I didn’t know you were the creator when we briefly spoke. I would have told you that I have been percolating a guerrilla knitting project for a couple years now. I wanted to touch your yarn tree and be there in person. Alas, I don’t think I’ll be able to make it before it disappears. I just want to thank you for your creative spirit, your energy, and your determination to make it happen. The group of kids who were coming down after me were still excited about it as they ran down the hill. (color me and my hiking poles jealous). You’ve done a beautiful thing, along with hundreds of knitting and crocheting fingers across the land and sea. I am happy knowing it is now and sad it won’t be after Sunday. Thank you.”

From a woman named Barbara… “Yesterday, two friends (Carol and Simone), my husband and I hiked up Cold Spring Trail to see your Yarn Bombed Tree. What an experience! I did take some photos which I will share later. I just had to initiate this communication. Your tree and your year of goals is amazing. Thank you for your inspiration, Barbara”

Here are some of the pics I received via email:

Wilderness Youth Project

Thanks for the reason to get up the hill. Wilderness Youth Project had a blast 6/15/12.
Andrew Lindsey (click on the photo for the Wilderness Youth Project’s website)

Galina Brouwer

Yes, we made it up there…grueling, as you described. Just when we thought we were there, the hardest uphill climb was yet to come. We made it back in the pitch dark. Thank God for flashlights.
It was just glorious seeing this work of art. We thank everyone involved.
P.S. The photo shows an “orb”…..My friend swears it’s a spirit of sorts.
Peace, Galina

Shaun Beardsmore

Did a trail run up to the tree this week and snagged a cool shot as the sun set, awesome work. I recently starting making beanies so I’ve been working with Yarn a lot too. Great to see creative projects like this around town and beyond. (Visit Shaun’s website for some more cool pics of the bomb)

Alek and Tyler

Heres a photo, theres more on my camera I’ll edit tonight. If u credit me, can u use my website notestomom on tumblr? My mom was killed by a drunk driver last May and I use the site to write to her and raise funds on behalf of her memory for MADD. We’re close to $3000.
It was nice to meet you today. My stepbrother Alek and I were so inspired by your ideas.
Take care,
Tyler (click on the photo to go to Tyler’s Tumblr tribute to her mother)

Jonah Blossom and Amanda Grandfield

Great to run into you on the trail today! I’ve attached some pictures to this email of the yarn tree from today 6/16/12
Thanks again for making this happen– it was such a delight to visit the tree.
Best, Amanda

Amanda Grandfield

Amanda Grandfield took some photos and offered them for sale at her booth along East Beach the following week. (She gave me this one for free!)

John Wiley

FYI we flew past today, snapped more aerials. Thanks again for the fun you’ve brought to our whole community with all your work on this. 🙂
ciao -j (John Wiley)

Pamela and Craig Penner

Steve, thanks for your creativity. Pamela and Craig

Amanda Bailey

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is inspiring and refreshing to hear. I had a little fun with ColorSplash on the last one. Good luck on your future endeavors. Take care!

We met you on the trail, thanking you for doing this community art. We soooo appreciate the hard work, and enjoyed it tree-mendously!
Thanks again,
Karen and Rick Heimberg

This one was posted on the Multi-Use Trails Coalition’s website (click on the pic to see more there)

Then I discovered pictures posted, pinned, repined and stories being told about the yarn bomb all over the Internet…

A selection of some of the places I found pics, postings and conversations about the yarn bomb:



EdHat submission by Aquaholic (Fantastic pics!)

Jenn Kennedy wrote about it and posted this video too



Stitches and Purls



Elastic Camel Space


Alex Moore

365 ThingsJackieMackie

GR5: Locked and Loaded

400 Square Feet of YarnAfter defusing the yarn bomb, the 400 square feet of knitted pieces were lugged back down the Cold Spring Trail in four large backpacks and shipped off to North Carolina. When the packages arrive, Warm Up America will convert them into blankets and scarves for those in need.

Warm Up America

LR4: The Hurt Locker

Will and PeterJust three people were waiting for Barbara, Jackson and I to help us defuse the yarn bomb yesterday. Dennis Moran joined the crew to see it for himself. Will Wallin and Peter Biava, have been the unsung heroes on this project. As Peter put it, they were the offensive linemen, doing the heavy lifting with little adoration in return. While the others who had lugged the 14′ ladder up were understandably “unavailable” to bring it down, these guys were in it for the long haul. I will forever be grateful for their totally selfless, back-breaking work.

Just three days from Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the heat made the 2.6 hike up the mountain much harder than usual. What took over 60 man hours to put up, took just 6 to completely remove. It had to be carefully done because all the material would be donated to Warm Up America in North Carolina where it will become blankets and scarves for those in need.

RemovalHurt Locker

With all the material removed, the tree looked like a sepia version of a bright color photo. As we took some final pictures before heading back down, I breathed a sigh of relief. No more worrying that I wouldn’t pull it off. No more pleading for help. No more sleepless nights worrying that my yarn would somehow be the cause of a forest fire. No more pressure to get the word out so that others might experience the whimsy for themselves. No more panic over how I’d get the ladder back down. As much as I loved every stage of the project, I was happy for it to be coming to a successful conclusion. All that’s left now are the friendships I’ve forged, the photos and memories, and the pride that comes with having pulled off what seemed an impossible task just three months ago. No stress in that.My Hurt Locker Crew

The Aftermath

LR4: Yarn Bomb Pics

Yarn BombI hiked to the yarn bomb for the seventh time in 8 days. I spent so much time on this project and in 3 days it will disappear forever. These pictures will be all I have to look back on, so I keep searching for the perfect one that captures it all. The problem is, there are so many facets, so many stories, so many people attached to it, and so many nooks and crannies in the tree, that no single image can possibly capture everything on its own. Between John Wiley’s aerial shots, Kolya Hicker’s artistic interpretations, pics sent to me by visitors and friends plus my own pics and video, hopefully even those who can’t make it out there to see it in person can get a good feel for it. Click on a pic and you can quickly go through all the new ones. I think they give a pretty good feel for what it’s like to be out there on the trail, witnessing it for yourself.

As an aside, each day I have run into people who were shocked as they turned the corner to see this explosion of color suddenly rise up from 2.5 miles of desert scrub, and those who were excitedly anticipating what friends had described to them in texts and emails. Only 2 people had read about it on EdHat or The Independent. Most heard about it via word of mouth. (This is a real source of frustration for me. I just don’t understand why the papers, radio and TV have ignored it. As a hiker and Santa Barbara resident, I’d be pissed if this were up there on the trails and no one brought it to my attention. But I digress.) A couple of them had heard about this guy “Steve” who put it together and when they realized I am Steve, they actually asked to take a picture with me. How cool is that?!?!

The smiles people have when they see it; the anticipatory excitement on their faces and in their voices as they push further on our trails than they’ve ever pushed before; the endless curiosity about who, what, where, when and especially, why; the joy they feel when they hear the stories of Yancey and his knitters in Alabama, Dany & Ivo in London, Marcy, the Crochet Grenade, in San Diego, Michele, the former editor of Crochet Magazine, Lara and her tiny flower, etc, etc, etc, has made this one of the best weeks of my life. It’s so rare to share so many moments with so many strangers filled nothing but pure, unadulterated joy. No ego, no envy, no selfishness, no anger. Just a shared moment of “Wow!”

LR4: Yarn Bomb Photographs courtesy of Kolya Hicker

If you haven’t seen Kolya Hicker‘s work, please check it out on his blog and website. He’s an up and coming photographer/artist studying at the Brook’s Institute in Santa Barbara and specializes in nature and wildlife. I’m a big fan of his and he was kind enough to hike up to the Yarn Bomb with me today to help me capture it in a way only Kolya could. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you like his work, please let him, and others, know.

Halfway There

12for2012 Ballroom DancingI’m at the halfway point in my quest to learn 12 new things and do 12 charitable things this year.

Unicycling, slack lining, jumping stilts, yarn bombing, and drumming have now been checked off, with ballroom dancing and eating right being works in progress on the learning side. That leaves 5 more to be accomplished. (Paragliding has been tentatively scheduled to begin at the end of July.)

SugarOn the giving side, I’ve built homes, fostered a puppy, volunteered to donate bone marrow, did graphic design work for a mitzvah and next Sunday will donate 400 square feet of knitting to Warm Up America, while having my blood, sperm and hair rejected. That leaves 7 more to be accomplished. (I become eligible again to donate blood on December 25th so that will likely be GR12.)

Duneier SlackliningThis is where you come in. I need suggestions for the remaining 12. Is there something you have been wanting to learn, but aren’t ready to take the leap? Is there something you would like to try, but worried it will be too difficult or time consuming? Use me as your guinea pig. Let me pave the way. Is there something you’ve learned that you think others should try too? Is there a charity you know of that could use a hand? Tell me how I can help.

Send me your suggestions. Share your thoughts.


LR4: Yarn Bomb Complete

The last 81 days have taken me on an incredible journey, beginning with the mundane decision to learn how to knit and ending with the whimsical explosion of a yarn bomb 2.6 miles from and 2,500 feet above civilization. Along the way, I have met numerous incredibly generous and supportive people from around the world. I will never again doubt the benefits of social media. To all of you who knitted/crocheted contributions and sent them at your own expense, who gave me a pep talk when I felt overwhelmed and in over my head, who helped me carry a ladder up a mountain in the scorching heat, who documented the journey with photographs, who promoted my goal with friends and family, who sewed pieces to the tree, who kept us company with wine and music, who offered to carpool… I say “Thank you!!!!” I hoped to reach a goal. I dreamed of hitting a home run. I fantasized about a grand slam. Thanks to all that you did to help, WE pulled off a once-in-a-lifetime, tell-your-grandchildren-about-it, what-legends-are-made-of, knocked-it-outta-the-park dream, that I will forever be trying to match. Thank you for coming this far with me on this journey. I sincerely hope you will continue to come along for the ride.

Enjoy the pics and share them with pride. It is your accomplishment as much as mine. (For those in the area, get up there and witness it for yourself before it comes down on June 16th. Click here for details of the hike, complete with a map, pictures and turn-by-turn directions.)
Santa Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn Bomb

Santa Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn Bomb

Santa Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn BombSanta Barbara Yarn Bomb

I’ll add more pics as I collect them from others who bore witness.

LR4: Da Bomb

I’m exhausted and will post details of the bombing tomorrow, but wanted to post some pics I have from tonight’s work (lots more to follow). It’s not 100% complete so I’ll be heading back up in the morning to finish it off. Huge thanks to Will, Peter, Grace, Curtis, Sean, Mackenzie, Hugh, Ian, Laina, Christine, Kevin, Diane, Chase and most of all, my son, Jackson for coming out to help me pull this off. It looks freakin’ amazing!!!!!!!


123Carrying the ladder456789So far

LR4: Yarn Bomb Prep Complete

I finished prepping the sections tonight anKruzel System Completed was itching to get started, so I couldn’t resist a practice run. It’s not much, but I used one of the pieces sent to me by Yancey in ‘Bama to cover the post of the Cold Spring Trailhead sign. No one goes out there at 10 o’clock at night, so you can imagine my surprise when as soon as the yarn touched the post, a fire inspector truck creeped by and as we were taking these pictures, a police car flew by, followed closely behind by an ambulance. Can’t wait til Friday!

Yarn Bomb Trail

LR4: Yarn Pumped

After today’s drum recital I went right back to work sewing randomly sized pieces together to form properly sized sections according to the Kruzel System for Three Dimensional Pattern Organization. It’s a lot of freakin’ work, but I’ve now sewn together and packaged 86% of the maximum coverage. I can’t believe it, but thanks to everyone’s help, I am now very confident that I will not only cover every inch of the tree that I can reach with the 14 foot ladder I’ll be carrying up there, but I will likely also be able to wrap all of the Trail signs leading up to the tree! That’s a far cry from being yarn bummed, huh?

Section Sewing

Prepackaging Sections for the Yarn Bomb

LR4: Coast to Coast Bombing

One of my favorite things these days is the moment when I see a stack of packages come in with the mail. I’m going to miss that when the bomb goes off.

TOP: Today I received another incredible, overflowing box from Cathy in Pittsburgh, PA. Cathy, the huge box made me smile, but the colors blew me away!

MIDDLE: Marcy sent this beautifully intricate piece to me from San Diego, CA. I was psyched that she sent me a piece because she’s an experienced bomber herself. (See her blog for details on her Stop Sign Flowers)

BOTTOM: Responding to my plea on Yarn Bombing Los Angeles’ FB page, Sue sent me 3 awesome pieces, made to spec, from Costa Mesa, CA.

I can’t thank you guys enough for helping me. You’ve all gone above and beyond to help a perfect stranger out, and have inspired me to kick my giving resolutions up a notch as I work on putting into action a “Pay It Forward” idea for the rest of the year. Stay tuned….

Cathy PA 12for2012 Yarn BombMarcy CA 12for2012 Yarn BombSue CA 12for2012 Yarn Bomb

LR4: Bomb Strategy Session

Yarn Bomb StrategyI recruited two of the smartest guys I know, Will and Sean, to help me develop a strategic plan for executing the yarn bomb. Remember, we’re not bombing a square building or straight sign post. What we’re bombing is a living creature that has been growing organically for decades with odd shaped limbs sprouting every which way.

Kruzel SystemSean, an MIT grad, put his overpriced education to the test and devised a brilliant system for breaking the nearly 400 square feet of surface area down into an organized, quantifiable space. I’m dubbing it the “Kruzel System for Three Dimensional Pattern Organization”. I’m hoping this will become the standard for all future tree bombs. Feel free to inquire for details.

Thanks to the Kruzel System, I now see the tree as 53 distinct sections, each with its own set of dimensions for which I can select the right combination of knitted pieces to cover each. After a thorough analysis, it looks like I have 78% of what I need in order to hit a home run on this project and 63% of what I’d need to consider it a grand slam. BUT, I also think that even if I didn’t knit or receive another stitch, I will be able to hold my head high when all is said and done.

GeocachePS While climbing the tree yesterday we discovered a geocache including a notebook for finder entries hiding in the trunk about 12 feet up. We’ll add some pics of the final result to the canister when we’re all done.

LR4: 225 Square Feet of Bliss



Can you find yours?

LR4: Yarn, uh, Project Contribution



Not only was I psyched to receive this contribution from Elizabeth in Oklahoma, but I loved that she hesitated when addressing it to Yarn “Bomb” and elected to go with “Project” instead. Thanks Elizabeth!

LR4: Knit Tide

I have been exchanging messages with an old high school friend since my “Yarn Bummed” post and I’m just going to repost our conversation (with his permission) because it was such an inspiration to me. I hope it means something to the rest of you too.

Knit TideYancey: I think what everyone loves most about the yarn bomb is your enthusiasm so no worries and don’t get bummed, your entertainment value is half the fun in this! I have a feeling this will be a “rally week” and hopefully you’re deluged with Fed Ex packages in the coming days. If you don’t cover the whole tree just cover half of it or stripe that bitch and start a new yarn bomb trend… Keep your spirits high, that’s what got you to this point! Just tell the naysayers the uncovered half is for environmental, tree breathing reasons etc. lol We have a lot of faith in you to pull this off, make your own rules, it’s your party after all… I am shipping 11 units tomorrow, all are around 2×2 foot swatches. I’m just going to send Fed Ex Ground, they should be there by end of week. I assume no signature is required. Showing up is 90% of it, you know that. Even if you don’t cover the whole tree you’ve done more than 99% of us to achieve realistic goals and resolutions in 2012 and that’s quite worthy in and of itself. I live in Alabama these days and most people in these parts are jobless right now, I’m no knitter but had recently seen another yarn bomb and had to participate in this one. I got the old woman down the street to crank these out for me in record time. She needed the money so it was a win win as far as I was concerned! I hope this isn’t misconstrued as cheating! I’ve included in my package the 1 sheet “How to Knit” guide I naively picked up last week at Hobby Lobby thinking I was going to knock a few swatches out myself!!! lol Needless to say, congrats on learning how to knit and keep up the good work brother!!! You’ve brought good karma to all involved if nothing else.
Good luck!

Knit Tide 2Me: Now you have inspired me Yancey. Would you mind if I post this note with the pics of ur swatches on my blog? Wud u send me a pic of the woman so i cud post too? Thanks for taking the time to send me this.

Yancey: That’s funny! You’ve inspired me as well, I may just go to the bullfight on acid after all!!! lol My resolutions will definitely be different going forward after reading your blog! The older woman I mentioned is Tracy  and her friend Jenny knitted the one yellow swatch with flowers on it. I don’t even know these ladies that well, I sit on the board of a local Fuller Center for Housing charity in this area and I called the lady who runs that day to day for us and asked her to recommend someone in the area who maybe could use a little extra money and knew how to knit. She hooked me up with Tracy last Wednesday and I found out she lived right down the road from me. I called her and I asked for 7 swatches or as many as she could do and she knocked out 10 and her friend Jenny knitted the one for a total of 11. I paid her for 7 and she and her friend gave me the 4 to donate to the cause!!! You’ve got to love it. You’ve inadvertently spawned some low level economic activity in Alabama and it was most needed I assure you!!!Feel free to post my earlier message and pics of swatches when you receive them if you think it will help the cause!!!! I can’t wait to see the end result….. I can’t make this one in person but I’ll attend the 2nd Annual if you dare….. lol

Me: That is phenomenal! Here i thought i was just being a pain in the ass to everyone, but im discovering its meant something very different to everyone who’s gotten involved. The law of unintended consequences sometimes works in our favor. Well, thanks for getting involved, bringing others into the fold and just being a good guy. We need more of that in this world. Watch for the pics on the blog. Be sure to share them with Tracy and Jenny, and pass along my appreciation.

LR4: Maine Attraction

Maine AttractionThis beautiful piece just arrived from Michele, former editor of Crochet World, in Maine. Be sure to check out Michele’s blog for some great ideas and entertaining articles. Thanks Michele!

LR4: New Arrival from London


Thanks Dany and Ivo!20120522-070517.jpg

LR4: Yarn Bummed

3 weeks to goI hiked up to the target site yesterday to see how far along I am and how much more work is required to pull this off. It’s been a long time since I felt that dejected.

All I could think on the way back down was how badly I will feel if I let down all those who have put their faith in me and worked so hard to contribute to the yarn bomb. I’m worried that I’ve gotten in over my head and that June 8th will mark an incredibly humiliating moment for me and a disappointing moment for those who chose to help me.

Anyway, I still have almost 3 full weeks to knit my fingers to the bone. As for the previously stated May 25th deadline for sending me swatches, forget it! I’ll take whatever I can get right up until I leave the trailhead.

EVERY knitted/crocheted swatch is very much appreciated! Please send them to 1482 East Valley Road, #716, Santa Barbara, CA 93108.

Thank you!!!!

LR4: Yarn Bomb Contribution from Macon

From Lara in Macon, GAJust received a package of swatches from Lara in Macon, GA today including the wild pink one. That piece is going to make some little girl very happy thanks to Warm Up America. I’m going to find a special spot for the flower she included too.

Flower Knitted by Lara in Macon, GA


GR5: Warm Up America

Warm Up AmericaI had been trying to find an organization that would benefit from all the hard work and material that is going in to create the 12for2012 Santa Barbara Yarn Bomb and thanks to Lara, one of our yarn bomb contributors out of Macon, GA, we found it. After the bomb is defused, I will be sending all of the swatches to Warm Up America, a foundation run out of North Carolina.

Flower Knitted by Lara in Macon, GA

Flower Knitted by Lara in Macon, GA

Welcome to Warm Up America! the charity that has warmed peoples’ lives since 1991. It started in a small Wisconsin town with neighbors knitting and crocheting afghans for neighbors in need. Thanks to the creativity of founder Evie Rosen who came up with the idea of having volunteers knit or crochet small sections and then others join them together, the idea quickly caught on. Today Warm Up America distributes warm afghans, caps and other items to tens of thousands of people, thanks to the generosity of knitters and crocheters around the country.

Thanks to the hard work and generosity of Lara and all the other 12for2012 Bombers, lots of people will be warmer next winter.

Learn more about the 12for2012 Santa Barbara Yarn Bomb

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