Art of Knitted Squares

The yarnbombing trend isn't letting up a stitch. Right now, more than 1000 knitted squares cover a historic building in downtown Ames, Iowa. The project, an art installation called “Intertwine,” is the brainchild of Jennifer Drinkwater, an artist and assistant professor at Iowa State University.

Though the overall visual effect is a huge part of the finished project, Drinkwater also intended for community involvement and audience participation to be part of the overall artistic concept. 

Since last August, she has collected 12-inch by 12-inch knitted and crocheted squares, receiving submissions from 14 states.

"'Intertwine' intentionally blurs the lines between audience and participant and connects 'makers' in a collaborative project," Drinkwater said. "In reaching out to many different organizations, we offer the opportunity for people who do not consider themselves to be artists to contribute to a public artwork and have their efforts included in an exhibition."

In April, the squares were sewn into large panels and installed on the facade of a 130-year-old building that houses Design on Main, the satellite facility of ISU's College of Design. 

And, true to Drinkwater's vision, the project inspired a number of community events, from crochet lessons to regular knitting circles. One elementary school even used the project as part of their art curriculum, donating nearly 100 squares.

The panels will be taken down on June 1, but the project doesn’t end there. After the installation is removed, each square will be dry-cleaned and stitched into blankets that will be donated to local shelters.

“I have a very full heart because of this project," Drinkwater said.  "I feel like I maybe came up with the idea, but it totally snowballed into its own thing because of the hundreds of people who were involved.”

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