Look, a scarf for Dino

SINGAPORE - With Singapore's hot climate, visitors to the Science Centre Singapore may be surprised to see a 4.8m-tall apatosaurus dinosaur at the entrance with a long brightly coloured scarf made of yarn wound round its neck.

This strange phenomenon is none other than yarn-bombing, a form of street art that employs vivid displays of knitted or crocheted yarn and has made inroads into Singapore.

The apatosaurus dinosaur's knitted scarf is the first of a two-phase yarn-bombing project to publicise the annual Singapore Mini Maker Faire happening in July.

The second phase will involve yarn-bombing the event venue of the fair, held at Senja-Cashew Community Club in Bukit Panjang Road, at an unconfirmed later date.

Last Saturday morning, about 20 knitters came together at the Science Centre and were furiously weaving 250 granny squares together to form the scarf for the dinosaur.

The project is the brainchild of two of the knitters, Ms Agatha Lee, 40, who runs a fabric business, and Ms Goh Kiat Teng, 33, who is part of the fair's organising team.

An earlier instance of yarn-bombing is arts centre The Substation's ongoing creation of a yarn installation to cover two 4.5m-tall pillars at its Armenian Street premises. It is slated to be completed in mid-August, in time for the centre's 24th anniversary celebrations.

The Singapore Mini Maker Faire is organised by the Science Centre. Now in its third year, the annual event showcases creative projects in science, art, craft, engineering and technology.

This year's event will be held from July 26 to 27 at Senja-Cashew Community Club. Around 3,000 participants attended last year's event, which featured more than 50 booths and workshops by about 150 makers.

Ms Lee and Ms Goh met at last year's fair. Inspired by other overseas maker faires which used yarn-bombing to create publicity and awareness, they decided to do it here this year.

"Knitting and crochet are very traditional crafts but showcasing them as yarn-bombing will allow people to perceive them as something modern," says Ms Lee.

Both women have nothing to do with The Substation project, initiated by the arts centre's programme manager Nur Khairiyah Ramli, 27. Ms Lee launched a Facebook group, Yarn Bombing Singapore, on March 27 calling for volunteers and reached out to local maker communities such as Ravelry and Maker Space for knitting contributions.

The group has garnered 100 likes so far, with 14 volunteers posting pictures of their completed works on the page regularly.

Most volunteers knit from home and then deliver their creations to the team to be pieced together.

The first knitting session was held on May 1, with 12 people showing up.

Individuals are free to come up with any designs of their own, as long as their creations are in the shape of granny squares each measuring 10cm by 10cm, says Ms Lee.

Ms Christine Ma, 32, who runs an online craft shop, was excited to be part of the session last Saturday. "I like the randomness of yarn-bombing - the combination of different colours and patterns and having different kinds of people come together to work on a community event."

She found out about this initiative only two weeks ago but managed to knit 24 granny squares to contribute to the scarf on Saturday. While the majority of the volunteers are experienced knitters, others were there to learn the basics of knitting and crocheting, such as recent university graduate Clement Lim, 27.

He found out about the session on local maker community MakerSpace.sg.

He says: "I've always been interested in knitting but never had the opportunity to learn it.

"This session sounded interesting and I think it's really wacky how they plan to clothe the dinosaur."

The scarf, completed at 1pm on Saturday, was then tied around the dinosaur's neck. It measures about 6.2m long and 0.4m wide. Ms Lee says: "I didn't expect the scarf to end up being so long. I'm really happy that so many people managed to come together and create something so big in such short notice."

She adds with a chuckle: "I hope the dinosaur doesn't feel too hot wearing the scarf though."

This article was first published on May 26, 2014. 
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