It’s never easy to start a conversation about energy, and we need fun and interesting ways to do so! Here is a one suggestion. Yarn-bombing energy items.
(I particularly like it because for me yarn-bombing always suggests something to be about using energy efficiently!)
Yarn-bombing is the art of covering things with knitting or crochet. It is usually bright and colourful and invites us to look again and that object that’s been bombed. It is fairly durable, but unlike graffiti, it is easy to remove. Yarn bombing is usually playful, friendly and brings a smile to passers-by.
There are no knitting patterns for yarn-bombing. It could be the first free-style knitting experience someone has! But basically if you can knit or crochet at all (even if it’s just a rectangle shape), you can yarn bomb! (You just have to choose something that could be wrapped in a rectangle!)
The moment that you know how to increase or decrease you are able to cope with more complex shapes.
We found that working on smallish handleable items is a good place to start – choose walking-sticks, saucepans, trowels or table lamps etc. It is fairly straightforward to knit and compare what you’ve knitted with your object to make sure it fits as you go.
You will need:
- Knitting needles and plenty of wool in different colours
- Lots of everyday objects for knitters to chose from
- A group of willing knitters (an existing knitting circle could do this for instance)
- Tea and cake
In two x 1 and a half hour sessions, you can usually start and often finish something like this – and then you have all sorts of objects that make a great display. It is always interesting to see what others have made.
One of the yarn-bombing sessions ran was held in Totnes in August 2015 (see the flier below) We decided to run this project as part of our community musical www.SWIMBYmusical.com
It’s always good to let conversation flow comfortably in a knitting session, but often groups are willing to consider questions too. Here are some questions about energy that you could bring up:
- What are your first memories of electricity?
- What’s it like in a black out?
- What’s your favourite appliance and why?
- What are your top tips for saving money on your energy bill?
Once people are comfortable knitting freestyle it becomes easier to take on bigger challenges. You could choose to yarn bomb something larger together – perhaps a lamp post, or a telephone box, or the fence around a sub-station.
If you want to delve deeper into questions about what we can do to support local energy projects to improve our community’s resilience, it may be worth inviting someone from a community energy or sustainable energy group to come and join in one of these knitting sessions! You could then consider things like:
- What do you think about community energy?
- Can you think of any good places to put solar panels, hydro systems or wind turbines near here?
- What do you think we should do about energy now to protect future generations?
I know it’s ambitious, but I would really love to yarn-bomb the base of a wind turbine! so if anyone out there wants to join me in doing this please let me know! (Here’s a model I made earlier!)