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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Spinning a yarn about local 'Night Stocking' efforts

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Colorfully fitted with a crocheted wrap, an elm tree near Robe-Ann Park shelterhouse No. 1 (atop the hillside east of the bandshell) is an example of the playful local "Night Stocking" effort. [Order this photo]
Quietly contributing to the fiber of the community while enhancing its subtle beauty is a small group that calls itself the Night Stockers.

Perhaps you have seen their handiwork ...

Check out the tree in front of Dick's Barber Shop on South Indiana Street and you will find a red-and-white striped cozy meant to mimic the time-honored barber pole.

Look for the elm tree on the hillside overlooking the Robe-Ann Park bandshell and you'll find a colorful, finely crocheted example.

Or on your next coffee break, sneak a peek at the blue wrap on the tree outside The Blue Door.

What's that secret they're keeping?

The colorful, tasteful creations utilize fiber arts to impact the landscape. Using fiber and/or fabric in such a playful manner actually has a long history, best typified by artists like Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

Nationally, it is a trend believed to have originated in Texas with knitters trying to find a creative way to use leftover yarn and unfinished kitting projects.

Supposedly it all started in 2005 with one custom-made cozy covering a random door handle, and has grown into an international phenomenon that peaks with International Yarnbombing Day each June 11.

In Greencastle, however, about a half-dozen anonymous but dedicated souls prefer the term Night Stocking to the more sinister-sounding Yarnbombing.

Regardless, the process can be either knitting or crocheting but is always accompanied by artistic vision. The effort is designed to bring joy and whimsy into our lives by placing handmade fiber objects in public places.

"Night Stocking participants are from many walks of life, but each of us is an artist at heart," the spokesman shared. "The group is very loosely organized and participants imagine and install pieces either individually, in pairs, or as a whole group.

"Each member spends countless hours crafting their work and takes full responsibility for the artwork after installation, keeping a close eye on the condition of the art to ensure that it remains in the same beautiful condition as it did when first installed."

Local participants range from children to adults to well, "older children," the spokesman says.

Originally local Night Stockings occurred under cover of darkness, or at least dusk. But the group gradually has adopted a "hide in plain sight" mentality, finding it more fun out in the open. They have little fear of being caught since they don't do anything to damage or deface any property.

In fact, their creations are monitored and not intended to be on permanent display. If someone finds their efforts unattractive or even objectionable, the pieces will be taken down.

"No one should feel that the art is something being imposed upon them until it would eventually disintegrate," the spokesman said.

Careful observers might notice that pieces tend to travel anyway, appearing, changing, disappearing and reappearing in a new location. Those locations intentionally go undisclosed to allow observers to discover the joy of art for themselves.

Meanwhile, another Night Stocker notes the presence of yarn animals at the courthouse.

"We are so thrilled that people have left them there! That coral snake has been up since we very first started. A month or so later we added the others. You have to look real close to find them all," Stocking Supporter added.

Of course, sometimes things tend to disappear when left unattended.

"We realized when we first started that some of our things may be taken," Stocking Supporter said. "I guess one way to look at it is that people really did like it enough to want it.

"We would encourage those who find themselves in possession of our handmade items -- such as the bunny ears, the caterpillar, the ducks and a very special American flag -- will choose to share them with our friends and neighbors again. We can't wait to see where they might show up."

Overall, the Night Stockers are thrilled when their handiwork is noticed.

"We urge your readers to pause momentarily to consider the beauty in our small town," the group's spokesman stressed. "We urge them to notice details that they might miss until they stop, take a breath and search for a hidden surprise.

"Maybe it is a surprise provided by nature. Or perhaps it will be a surprise offered by an anonymous artist. We know that art has a place in the daily lives of our fellow citizens, and we use our small contributions to highlight the greater beauty of Greencastle and Putnam County."

That's our yarn. Consider yourselves Night Stocked.

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I've seen the one at the park....and we LOVE to see it. You know it took some time and I just love to know that people beautify our county :) I'm looking forward to seeing more!!

-- Posted by 1happymom on Wed, Jul 20, 2011, at 9:22 AM

WOW -- this is cool... displaying art in nature's gallery. It is refreshing to see a group of citizens, albeit anonymous, bringing smiles to a community sometimes besieged with news of crime. Please continue to bring us joy!

-- Posted by marvel_s_lee_blessed on Wed, Jul 20, 2011, at 12:13 PM

this group has brought smiles to a lot of usin Greencastle- just remember the intent is to makeyou smile if you dont like it-- it wont be there forever!

-- Posted by talkymom3 on Wed, Jul 20, 2011, at 4:38 PM

Is there an official club that I can join?

-- Posted by schuster on Sun, Jul 24, 2011, at 4:00 PM

Hello schuster.....we aren't really official or a club...just a group of friends and yes- we welcome anyone to join us.....we have even noticed one thing up in town we aren't connected to!

As far as getting together with us....our facebook site is Night Stocking and our email address is NightStockingKnits@gmail.com. Give us a hollar!

Thanks to Mr. Bernsee and everyone else for such a positive article and response!

-- Posted by NightStocking on Sat, Jul 30, 2011, at 8:13 AM

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