The organisers behind Kirklees’ inaugural textile festival WOVEN are calling upon the people of Kirklees to pick up their knitting needles and fill the streets with blue yarn bombs.
Coinciding with Worldwide Knit in Public Day on June 8, Kirklees is holding The Big Knit in celebration of the area’s textile heritage. The event will kick off the week-long WOVEN festival.
The Big Knit will centre around celebrating the waterways of Yorkshire, with a collaborative centrepiece in Batley that will be created with the support of YSP resident artist Connor Shields. The event is being sponsored by local textile companies, Wooltex and StyleCraft.
Residents are invited to get creative and knit everything from blue scarves to canal boats to celebrate the waterways, which were used to power mills and transport textile goods around the country.
Today, the waterways are proudly represented on the Kirklees’ Coat of Arms and Connor is calling upon local residents to help him recreate the ‘blue wave’ in the shape of a public knitted sculpture that will be revealed in Batley Town Center on The Big Knit day.
In addition, yarn-bombers are decorating lampposts, bollards, bridges, and statues in the following locations, with more being added on a daily basis:
- Slaithwaite Canal Side
- Lepton Community Hall
- Denby Dale village centre opposite Unravel craft shop and East Hill Woods
- Kirkwood Hospice in Dalton
- Mirfield Library
- Dewsbury at the Creative Craft Centre
- Oakwell Hall Country Park
Speaking about his commission for the event, Connor, who combines industrial objects such as bricks and scaffolding with materials with female connotations, such as knitting, to challenge the idea of working-class masculinity, said:
“I am calling upon all the knitters in Kirklees to knit a blue rectangle that will be part of a larger installation, recreating the blue wave that will run through part of the district.
“Everybody is welcome to take part; one of the main aims of WOVEN is to bring the local communities of Kirklees together and celebrate our district’s textile heritage while showcasing the careers and opportunity it will bring to the area in the future. The ‘Together We Serve’ motto on the Kirklees Coat of Arms will be used throughout the event, encouraging togetherness as we create an impressive sculpture as a community.”
Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin added: “The Big Knit is a wonderfully creative initiative to celebrate our textile heritage and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the results of such a fantastic community collaboration.
“Here in Batley and Spen we already have some absolutely brilliant ‘knit and natter’ and creative craft groups and The Big Knit offers a great opportunity to showcase these skills to a wider audience.
“And if you’re not already involved with a local group, this could be a good chance to make those connections and meet new people. Let’s show them that Batley and Spen can knit with the best of them!”
The yarn-bombs and public art created through The Big Knit event in Batley will set the scene for the Great Get Together event to be held in the town on 21-23 June. Inspired by murdered MP Jo Cox – the date falls on what would have been her 45th birthday – the event is a nationwide initiative that encourages communities to come together and celebrate kindness and respect.
To commemorate the late Jo Cox, pupils from Field Lane Primary School will be yarn bombing a popular route they walk each year.
The Kirklees Big Knit event marks the first of its kind and it is envisaged that this will become a renowned annual event and each year will have a new theme.
Throughout the festival there will be an array of events across Kirklees, from Batley to Slaithwaite, including mill walks, tours and open days; pop up exhibitions; events in theatres, museums and galleries with local artists, music and film; makers’ markets and craft markets, as well as activities for families.
How to take part in The Big Knit
All knits supplied for The Big Knit should be no larger than 30cm in order to connect to the next piece. The shade of blue, length, stitch complexity and design are completely up to the creator. Patches can be dropped off at key locations across the district. For more information on the Big Knit, visit http://woveninkirklees.co.uk/event/the-big-knit/.22nd May 2019