Challenge #01986-E162: Inner Beautification

in fiction •  last year 


Yarn Bombing. Putting hand made yarn stuff in public places. Once done to stop authorities from removing much needed bus stop/shelter. Weird but true. Put your own spin on this. -- Anon Guest

[AN: I could not find any instance of yarn bombing as an avenue of protest. It's mostly a wasteful form of gentrified graffiti.]

As a child of the depression, Cynthia hated waste. She never got more than she needed in the first place, and did her utmost to make sure it got used to its fullest extent. She'd watch the world change around her from endorsing 'waste not, want not' to laughing at her frugal lifestyle to endorsing 'reduce, re-use, and recycle'. Which was basically 'waste not, want not' in another hat.

And she watched as a group of alleged craftspeople covered a bus shelter in their knitting. Which was very wasteful. So she approached them and asked, "Why are you doing that?"

"We're getting rid of our SABLE and turning this eyesore into a work of art," said one of them. "It's called 'yarn bombing'. It's the latest thing."

Cynthia, having seen a large amount of 'latest things', tutted at them. "If I were you, I'd make that lot into a sort of bean bag," she said. "There's people who need to sit and can't because of that... leaning bar. There's people who don't have homes who need a place to lie down. While you're at it - turn some of that into jumpers and beanies for the kiddies who are cold in the winter."

"But this is art," said a different yarn bomber.

"Art's for the rich, and they've got enough of it," grumbled Cynthia. She caught the bus and fumed about what those ignorant young people[1] were doing. Wasting yarn. Wasting their time. Wasting a chance to do some genuine good in the world. She gnawed at the problem in her head so hard that she had to bring it up with her knitting circle. Where she and her fellow octogenarians turned cheap balls of cake[2] into cold weather gear for street kids.

"Wastrels," dismissed Gladys. "Pin some socks to it all."

"Tear it all down," said Judy. "Turn it into socks."

"Turn it into a bean bag like you said," suggested Mari. "Use that... wossname. The stuffing that doesn't die."

"Durafoam," said Amy. "My Angie can get it wholesale."

"Ladies?" said Cynthia. "I think we're about to start a new trend." Each of them had groups on the Facebook. Craftspeople in different areas who were doing little things for invisible people. They each shared patterns and plans and gossip.

This time, they would be yarn bombing society.

There was a mattress now, where there once had been art. It was made mostly out of squares, and each square had a letter of the alphabet. Ariel recognised some of the yarn that had once been her artwork. But she still read the message to Jasmine.

"Hostile architecture hurts the homeless. It hurts the desperate and the needy. Turn your needles towards helping the helpless. And then there's a bee with knitting needles."

Jasmine, visually impaired, felt the mattress. And how some artful macrame had made it virtually impossible to steal it away without hours of work. "That's solidly around the structure. You'd need hours and a cutter to get rid of it."

Ariel took a picture and instagrammed it for her friends. Then googled what 'hostile architecture' was. The news that it existed blew her mind. She told Jasmine, and then phoned Kida, who was also visually impaired.

The anti-gentrification movement had some new allies.

A completely different Judy was on the news. Cynthia watched her on the television as she stuffed a pillow with a beanie, gloves, socks and a jumper.

"Oooh, that's an idea," said their Judy.

"They call themselves Social Justice Grandmas," said the newscaster as B-roll of assorted anti-hostility measures played for the viewers at home, "and they're solving hostile architecture problems one knitting project at a time. Everywhere that the city installs a leaning bar, you will find that they come around with a mattress and a message." And then a shot of their message to the world.

Mari cheered and jumped up and down. "That's ours! That's ours! That's our knitting bee!"

"The message is spreading via Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Groups all over the country have joined this strange outbreak of community vandalism."

There were a couple glueing tennis balls to the spikes that businesses had put on their windowsills. They were interviewed.

"We lived without for a few years," said the woman. "It wasn't at all a way to be."

Her husband said, "They don't want people sitting or sleeping on their buildings, and we can't knit any more."

"It's the arthritis," said the wife. "So we get the wholesale tennis balls and superglue."

"Fast-acting," said the husband.

"Fast-acting superglue. If they tell us off, we tell them off. What're they going to do? Beat up old people in front of God and everyone?"

"Even the police won't do it," grinned the husband. "They try anything, I set up a right howl. Then they're the as--" he was bleeped out.

Cynthia's group laughed.

A really old fellow was up next. "I make ice boxes with me mates," he said. "Five dollars for a bag at the station, and me wife cooks up all kinds of stuff. We gots a garden and she loves to cook. They sell them take-out containers by the hundred. And we puts in knives and forks and spoons."

A shot of some elderly people in a home, painting up an ice box with messages like, Take what you need or Social Justice Geriatrics.

"They're just poor bastards who need a hand," said the old fellow's voice. "And we're old bastards who need something to do."

There was a chain of old ladies in an assembly line, making boxed meals. "Back during the big war, we all helped each other. It wasn't even talked about. Now there's always a war on and nobody's helping anyone."

"High time that changed," said one of her compatriots.

"Hear, hear," said the ladies, on and off the screen.

[1] At this point, it must be noted that Cynthia counted anyone born after 1970 to be 'young people'.
[2] For those not in the know: cake is a large ball of variegated yarn that can become at least one jumper.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / axelbueckert]

If you like my stories, please Check out my blog and Follow me. Or share with your friends.

Send me a prompt [16 remaining prompts!]

Support me on Patreon / Buy me a Ko-fi

Check out the other stuff I'm selling

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Do I insult you by saying this is really weird. I mean that in a good way--unusual, original, peculiar. Both the concept of yarn bombing and wasteful gentrification I found ironic. I don't know if they were meant to be.
I love the yarn and found the knitters' hard nosed utility a little sad. All in all, entertaining vignettes.


I like weird. Weird is good.


Me too :)

I had a bit of trouble telling who was who in this one. But I do love the Social Justice Geriatrics, lol XD


What if it rains? If it had a zipper one could take it off and wash it!


Well... It's already in a shelter so... The whole knotting thing prevents the council from removing them and thus preventing the homeless from having any kind of comfort.

Hello @internutter, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!