A Really Big Yarn

30 Miles of Yarn Later “¦
by James Barron
The New York Times, Cityroom Blogs
December 12, 2008

Robyn Love has spent three weeks crocheting something big “” 16 feet tall and 41 feet around. Big enough to fit snugly over a 10,000-gallon water tank on the roof of a Manhattan apartment building.

What she has crocheted is a cozy. Think teapot, size XXXXL.

[Check out the NY Daily News Photos here]

Ms. Love, 43, is an artist who has done large works in wool before. She crocheted blanketlike covers for signposts on Canal Street in Manhattan. She knitted a mile-long yellow stripe for a street in Dallas. “The drivers were dogmatic about following the stripe,” she said, “even though it shifted in the wind and they were almost going off the road.”

In September, she heard from the promoters of the Pencil Awards, graphic design prizes awarded by the London-based charity D&AD. They wanted to commission artwork to spread the word about the contest.

She considered knitting something for a statue in Central Park. But parks officials never called back.

The promoters said, “How about a water tank?”

She said, how about a giant pencil?

Eight cases of yarn later “” 30 miles”™ worth, according to Lion Brand Yarn, which sold it to her at a discount “” she is ready to stretch it over the water tank at 395 Broadway, at Walker Street, starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The design evolved as she worked on it. “It”™s not like I could get out my craft book and look for a pattern,” she said, adding that she had help: “I put out a call for very fast crocheters.”

Six volunteered, and her 10-year-old daughter, Lucy, also did some stitches.

For the last few days, the giant cozy has covered her living room floor. It is not the only cozy in her house, in Sunnyside, Queens: She made a blue and gray cover for her television because the set “was the ugliest thing.” In the bathroom, a red-and-white one covers a spare roll of toilet paper.

“Someone gave me that,” she said. “But doing this, there were times when I did think, I”™m just making a bigger one.”