The Phonebox Cosy tale

13 Jul

On the 8th of July 2009 the Knit the City Yarn Corps stood back, in the heart of police-swarmed Parliament Square and the shadow of Big Ben, to wipe their brows, exhale with relief and put away their tapestry needles and cable ties after another successful yarnstorm.

The infamous Phonebox Cosy stood proud and woolly in the dusk and all was right with the world of graffiti knitting once more.

It was a journey of covert phonebox measuring, panic knitting, strawberry beer sewing, emergency stretched stitch saving, and a run in with the long arm and confused faces of the law.

That Bluestocking Stitcher is so mysterious

Grab a seat by the fire, top up your tea, and we’ll tell you all about it through the medium of interpretive dance words and pictures.

It all began with a big idea, some woolly thoughts and an undying love of London. Mix them all together, grab yourself a tape measure, spend a week with six people knitting like the devil is after them and wants their soul and their stash, and before you know it you’ve got half a phonebox lying on the carpet in a deserted area of the Royal Festival Hall.

Phonebox Cosy template hot off the press and on the floor

Phonebox Cosy template hot off the press and on the floor

Whos up for some sewing?

Secret phonebox cosy formula

Secret phonebox cosy formula

Cut to the big day. Passers by pootling about the National Theatre stop to ask what on earth we think we’re doing. We’re not so sure ourselves.

Before our eyes begin to bleed and our fingers drop off we’re mercifully done.

Flat-packed phonebox cosy

Flat-packed phonebox cosy

At least to the point where we can stop for a pint of strawberry beer or two to fortify us for the yarnstorm ahead. The remaining sewing will henceforth be done on site. Eek!

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

We practised on a less exposed phonebox a half hour before descending on our target. Those of us who attended the practice have vowed to never speak of it again. Due to the horror there is no photo documentation of this part of the yarnstorm. Feel free to watch the latter parts of The Shining and Blair Witch for reference.

Some major adjustments were going to have to made in order to counteract our dreaded enemy the Stitch Sag. Curses!

We arrived on site from all parts of the city. There were police everywhere but when a yarnstorm has been planned this much and worked on this hard it is going to happen. Even if we all get locked up.

Target acquired. We are go.

Target acquired. We are go.

And so we began.

How are we going to get it up there? How about...

How are we going to get it up there? How about...

Halfway into the yarnstorm the ello ello ello of the local constabulary could be heard. Brave Lady Loop stepped up to turn on her cashmere-like charm. After some eye-narrowing, a few head scratches, and a couple of cheeky phone photos ‘for the wife’ who apparently knits too, we are let off with a Stop and Search warning. The search grounds are that we were “seen decorating telephone box for photography session”.

It was at this point the Yarn Corps were particularly glad we’ve chosen to ‘yarnstorm’ rather than ‘yarnbomb’. In London the B word has too much history for us to be flinging it about wrapped in wool.

The evidence: Seen decorating telephone box for photographic session

The evidence: "Seen decorating telephone box for photographic session"

Yarnstorming is not a crime

Yarnstorming is not a crime

Maybe they suspect the telephone is bugged...

Maybe they suspect the telephone is bugged...

It took over an hour. Passersby came up and it hugged it, had their photo taken with it, manically grinned at us and implied we were a bit nutty but it was nice to see.

Snapping tourists

We stood back and admired the woolly wonder of the phonebox cosy for about half an hour. The police hovered.

Yarn Corps designger label, dahhhling

Yarn Corps designer label, dahhhling

One cosy phonebox

One cosy phonebox

You can see the final result in our Yarnstorm the Third post if you click here.

The Yarn Corps sloped off back to the secret wool-lined bunker. The phonebox cosy divided in our swag bags.

Visions of the next yarnstorm are already dancing in our heads…

For the inside story from other Yarn Corps members see:

Lady Loop’s brush with the Fuzz

Deadly Knitshade’s love of London leniency

(Special thanks to Mother of Poirl for taking the photos during the yarnstorming and for helping with technical advice)


30 Responses to “The Phonebox Cosy tale”

  1. BNM July 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    St Stephen’s Tower is looking a bit cold.

  2. holyhandcrafter July 13, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    That. Is. Awesome.

    I am going to knit the minster…

  3. Bend Beanies July 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    Love it! Did you have to pay the ticket or is it just a warning?

    • Deadly Knitshade July 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

      It was just a warning. We promised to take the cosy home with us. They kept an eye to make sure we did.

  4. thesockgarden July 13, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    What absolute fun! Going off to share this in the Folksy forum now…

  5. NiftyKnits July 14, 2009 at 6:13 am #

    brilliant – just brilliant.

  6. Tamsyn July 14, 2009 at 6:26 am #

    Love your telephone box 🙂 You all did a fab job, can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  7. Valerie July 15, 2009 at 6:53 am #

    How could anyone object to such a vibrant way to decorate a phone box? It’s such a joyful project. If the police concern themselves with stuff like this, then clearly their priorities are all wrong! Love this knitting project. So much fun.

    • Deadly Knitshade July 15, 2009 at 11:16 am #

      Thanks. 🙂

      Think the police have to ask. They were very nice about it though.

  8. Jeanee July 17, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    this is fantastic!

  9. grrl+dog July 18, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    excellent work..
    subversive but within the law..
    I hope you wont mind if I blog this…full credits to everyone…

    • Deadly Knitshade July 18, 2009 at 11:18 pm #

      Of course we don’t mind. We love you guys! Blog away and send us a link! 🙂

  10. Catherine July 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    This is absolutely wonderful – and what a gorgeous phonebox cozy! I love the details, like the ladybird.

  11. jafagirls July 24, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    I have a soft spot for London having spent my teen years in Wembley, so it is wonderful to read what you are up to back home and in one of my fave cities, and have I mentioned I LOVE this.

    ps. thanks for the tweet, that was sweet 🙂

    • Deadly Knitshade July 24, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

      Glad to be able to remind you of more London-flavoured days. 🙂

  12. jennine August 5, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    You peoples are my heroes! I have a re-kindled inspiration….

  13. Sarah - Jane down the lane August 19, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    GENIUS 😀

  14. renee anne August 20, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    I absolutely love the attention to detail on the door.

    this is taking the world by STORM!!!!


  15. Fiona Wright August 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    “This Phonebox Cosy is dedicated to the memory of June. Whose yarn was nefariously used to knit most of it. We are assured she would have loved it, and probably joined in with the yarnstorm if she’d been there” … how proud am I – my gran “June” loved to knit and knowing something of hers could have caused so much attention would have thrilled her! Brilliant … well done.

    • Deadly Knitshade August 24, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by our blog to let us know. We’re so pleased to be able to do something she would have loved with her yarn. There was so much of it! Rest assured it will be used in many more sneaky yarnstorms. 🙂

      KTC x

  16. pink September 26, 2009 at 2:34 am #

    You people are, simply, THE BOMB. You make me proud to be a knitter!

  17. Marita Olsson January 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    My name is Marita and I am doing a work at school, and I wondering if I can use a picture from you?
    It is one with the telefon booth (knitting grafitti)

    Tank you 🙂

    Marita Olsson


  1. A yarnstorm hits Parliament Square « Whodunnknit - July 13, 2009

    […] The Phonebox Cosy tale « Knit the City Pingback on Jul 13th, 2009 at 22:05 […]

  2. Beach Art « The sock garden - July 15, 2009

    […] […]

  3. Quirk, Strangeness, and Charm | Indoor Street Art by Paul Baines - July 25, 2009

    […] Read the whole story known as the Phonebox Cosy Tale here. […]

  4. graggregator » Blog Archive » Quirk, Strangeness, and Charm - July 26, 2009

    […] Read the whole story known as the Phonebox Cosy Tale here. […]

  5. Yarnbomb with Knit the city @ Leake Street tunnel | Tea Time in Wonderland - August 3, 2009

    […] Dans la categorie art de rue, une autre tendance prend en ce moment son envol. Le Yarn Bombing: ou comment crocheter, tricoter autour du quotidien. Une fleur par ci, un gant ajoute a une statue, un echarpe geante pour enrubanner les lions de Traffalgar Square, ou pourquoi pas, recouvrir entierement une cabine telephonique… […]

  6. photo of the week « Snike Larten - January 23, 2010

    […] This is one of my favourite examples of…yarnbombing, or a form of graffiti based on knitting. Follow the preparation of the phonebox cozy by the Yarn Corps here. […]

  7. Вязанные истории Лондона | Блог о рукоделии и вещах ручной работы - November 26, 2010

    […] Подробности об этой акции можно прочесть на блоге клуба. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: