By KLTV Newsdesk –
Over 15,000 squares have been knitted by people all over the world to ‘yarn bomb’ Huddersfield Train Station for the Big Rainbow Knit next month.
The huge installation will cover the six main pillars at the front of the train station in St George’s Square and will mark the start of Woven in Kirklees – a celebration of innovation in textiles.
A ‘yarn bomb’ is the act of covering a surface or area in a multitude of bright and colourful knitted squares, to help bring some vibrancy to hotspots in the region.
The festival, which takes place every two years, is funded by Kirklees Council and runs from the 5th – 27th June with a programme of special, themed textile events taking place in various locations across the borough.
Events include demonstrations, talks, exhibitions, family activities, trails, performances, workshops, panel discussions, open studios and walks.
An initial target of 5,000 squares was set by festival organisers during the first lockdown last year and a Facebook group entitled – The Big Rainbow Knitters was set up to recruit volunteers to knit brightly coloured squares to feature in the installation.
The original target was passed within the first few months and organisers say they have been amazed by contributions coming from far and wide including Germany, Finland, Italy, New Zealand and Australia.
Bringing People Together
The online community now has over 1,000 members and many have described it as a lifeline, especially through recent lockdowns, with many stating it has helped them stay focused and helped with their own mental well-being.
One community member said: “Thank you for choosing to do a rainbow. I work in A&E and this last year has been very hard. A little bit of hope is what is needed right now. Thank you.”
Another member of the group, who lives in Germany, but lived in Huddersfield, said: “I treasure the time I spent living in Huddersfield. My children still live there of course. [The project] has allowed me to deal with the recent death of my husband and my mum with her dementia.
“Your project is helping us to feel joined together at a time when everything is torn apart.”
So far over 75,000 yards of yarn has been used for the installation which equates to over 45,000 hours of knitting.
Speaking on the upcoming installation, Gill Bond, Project Manager for the Big Rainbow Knit said “We are totally overwhelmed by the support from our army of knitters and crocheters all over the world and we thank each and every one of them for their contributions, commitment and generosity.
“We never expected the project to become so popular but because of the Big Rainbow Knit, we have created a fabulous online community who help and look out for each other which has been essential for so many throughout this last year.
“We’re all looking forward to seeing the station decorated in bright, rainbow colours and enjoying the festival programme come alive.”
Local communities in villages across Kirklees have also been getting involved by creating their own ‘yarn bombs’ for all to enjoy.
The Rainbow Rays installations will be on display in Shepley, Slaithwaite, Flockton, Lindley, Holmfirth, Meltham, Denby Dale and Bradley and other locations during the festival.
‘World-renowned Textile History’
Councillor Will Simpson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, said: “Kirklees has a world-renowned textile history, and to this day is home to some of the great innovations in textile science, so it’s great to see that the Big Rainbow Knit has gone global!
“It is also fantastic to see local communities involved and contributing to the festival as a whole. We have all experienced real challenges over the last 12 months.
“Mindfulness, creativity, and local community groups have become a lifeline to so many people. The Woven festival comes at the perfect time as we are on the road to recovery and can begin to re-connect with each other once again.”
The Big Rainbow Knit and the Woven in Kirklees festival will be officially launched by Stuart Hillard, star of BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee at a special event for invited guests on Friday 4th June 21 in St George’s Square.
Once the festival has ended the installation will be removed and made into smaller blankets which will then be given to local charities.