Saturday, August 24, 2013

Guest-Blogging for Kirby Larson!

CYBERSPACE -- Yesterday, I was honored to be the guest blogger for Kirby Larson's blog Kirby's Lane.

In case you don't know, Kirby Larson is an award-winning children's writer. Her historical novel, Hattie Big Sky, was a 2007 Newbery Honor book. Kirby recently followed up on Hattie's story with Hattie Ever After. If you like historical fiction, you have to read this set of beautifully written books. Check out Kirby's website at

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why I Helped Knit the Bridge

PITTSBURGH -- Yes, standing back from it all (from a philosophical standpoint), it seems looney. Cover a bridge with knitting and crocheting. Why? But then standing back from it (literally) and taking a look, it makes complete sense. Beyond the colors and the patterns and the joy it brings to people who see it for the first time, I see the thousands of hours that it took for hands to knit and crochet the pieces that made up this project.

I was late to the party, even though I was vaguely aware it was going on. Folks have been working at this for somewhere around two years. I got involved about 2 weeks ago by stopping at the Spinning Plates Gallery that had donated their space for the Knit the Bridge project. I took photos, blogged about it, and then I knitted one black panel (12" x 75") that was used to wrap a bottom rail. It took me more than 20 hours (I hadn't knitted for twenty years, so I was slow. And crocheting is faster than knitting). There are, I've heard, 288 bottom rails on the Andy Warhol Bridge. Let's say the average time to make one bottom or top panel is 10 hours. 10 x (288 + 288) = 5,760 hours. The side rails are covered, too. And then there are the actual colorful panels themselves. Some of them were made by groups of folks working together, some of whom were knitting or crocheting for the very first time. Tens of thousands of hours.

I met and chatted with and worked with so many people. One woman came down from Erie on a bus early in the morning, worked all day on the bridge, and then went back to Erie by bus in the evening. Kitty Spangler would know the woman's name. Kitty directed all of us knit wits, and she remembers everybody's name. She's one of those people. I swear she was in two places at once during all of the installation. 

If you haven't seen the bridge, take a look soon. It will be dismantled the first week of September. All of the panels will be put to use -- washed and donated to shelters for people and for animals.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Knit Wits at the Bridge


The Knit the Bridge installation is coming along brilliantly. They need more black acrylic panels to be used to cover the bottom railings. (12" x 75" pieces, if you knit or crochet and live near Pittsburgh. Needed by Saturday.) If they don't get enough, they can't use any. All or nothing. So the call went out throughout the land to yarn folks, and a whole bunch of them, including me, showed up at the bridge to work our black acrylic magic. Thanks to Joan and Deb and Connie and Ruth and loads of other folks whose names I didn't catch.

One woman walking by with her family, on a visit from Minnesota, got roped (yarned) into helping out. She sat with us for an hour and knitted! A guy named Shawn (or Sean) dropped off 4 pizzas.

The second tower wrapping is under way. What's done is awe inspiring in its size and scope. And the stories. One small piece was made by a young woman who has terminal cancer. Her piece is surrounded by work done by others. Knitting groups worked together to create panels. One group of beginners at the JoA
nn Fabric store on McKnight Road pieced together a panel with the help of Deb, an uber-knitter, who also put out the word that we need more help!

Here's how it looked at about 3 p.m. today:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hey Knitters, KNIT THE BRIDGE Needs Your Help!

PITTSBURGH -- Installation began today at the Andy Warhol Bridge. It looks fantastic. BUT, they need help from knitters and crocheters in the immediate Pittsburgh area:

They need BLACK ACRYLIC PANELS, 12" x 75", ANY SIZE NEEDLE, and they need them NOW! In order to cover the bottom rails along the whole bridge, they need about 120 more of those panels. If they don't get enough, they can't use any of what they already have.

Let me know if you can help! I just bought needles and yarn, and after a 20-year hiatus (the last thing I knitted was a baby sweater for my daughter), I'll be knitting this afternoon!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Andy Warhol to Wear a Mr. Rogers Sweater!

PITTSBURGH -- Andy Warhol the bridge, that is. Yes, the bridge will be wearing a sweater.

Knit the Bridge is the organization that is going to yarn bomb Andy Warhol. Knit the Bridge is "a grassroots, community-led arts project that brings the many diverse communities of Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania together to create a large-scale, aesthetically stunning, fiberarts installation on the Andy Warhol/7th Street Bridge.  The installation will be on view from August 12th until September 6th, 2013."

I stopped by the headquarters of this crazy wonderful endeavor this morning as they were preparing to load up all the panels (34" x 72") that have been knitted or crocheted to move them into town to the Andy Warhol/7th Street Bridge. Installation will happen this weekend, rain or shine (except if there's lightning). I'll add pictures when it's done.

Film crew from a local advertising agency.