Over 15,000 squares have been knitted by people all over the world to yarn bomb Huddersfield Train Station for the Big Rainbow Knit.
The huge, yarn bomb 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.
An initial target of 5,000 squares was set by festival organisers during the first lockdown last year and a Facebook group – The Big Rainbow Knitters – was set up to recruit volunteers to knit brightly coloured squares to feature in the installation. The original target was smashed within the first few months and organisers have been amazed with contributions coming from far and wide including Germany, Finland, Italy, New Zealand and Australia.
The online community now has over 1,000 members and has been a lifeline, especially through recent lockdowns, with many stating it has helped them stay focused and helped with their own mental wellbeing.
So far over 75 000 yards of yarn has been used for the installation which equates to over 45,000 hours of knitting.
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 project 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 inspired to get 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 as well as lots of other locations during the festival.
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 lifeline to so many people. 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 WOVEN will be officially launched by Stuart Hillard, star of BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee, at a special event for invited guests on Friday 4 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.
The Big Rainbow Knit is sponsored by Stylecraft and Rowan.
A sister installation will also be created at Batley Train Station in partnership with the Friends of Batley Station. Batley t’Rainbow will open to the public on Saturday 12 June which is Worldwide Knit in Public Day.
Local knitting designer Sandra Nesbitt and expert Gail Smith have been working on the Big Rainbow Knit project with the WOVEN team. Sandra has been instrumental in the Rainbow Rays project whilst Gail has the huge task of making the 15,000 squares into an installation.