PORTLAND – This ain’t your grandma’s knitting circle.

Unless your grandma and her pals like to sneak out late at night to yarn bomb the public art outside One City Center.

Overnight Thursday, an art installation just off Temple Street was adorned in a colorful and form-fitting knit ensemble.

The act is known as yarn bombing — “the art of crochet and knit graffiti” — and today is International Yarn Bombing Day. The event encourages knitters from around the world to attempt yarn bombs on the same night. The yarn-bombed art seen outside One City Center on Friday was likely a prelude to something bigger happening overnight.

At the very least, the yarn gives the art a livelier look.

Jamie Levine, 46, and Nancy Thomas, 56, both of Westbrook, waited for the bus near the statue at Temple and Fore streets on Friday. They said the display was attracting a lot of attention from passers-by, many of whom took photos and ran their hands along the yarn.

But Levine and Thomas weren’t smitten with the knitting.

“It’s kind of silly to me,” Levine said. “I think it’s ridiculous, but some artistic folks might think it’s cool.”

Nathaniel Meiklejohn, 32, of Portland stopped by to snap a photo of the display to send to his girlfriend, who enjoys crocheting.

“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “Art on art can’t hurt. It’s not permanent and it’s actually beautiful work.”

Danny Walker, 21, working the morning shift at Dunkin’ Donuts, said the display was the talk of the town. “Everyone loves it,” he said.

Nearby at Arabica, Michelle Fitz said only one person had asked about the display, just out of eyeshot of the cafe.

“I didn’t see it actually on my way into work,” Fitz said, “so I’m a little confused about what it is.”

Last year, a group took its knit graffiti to the shops along Main Street in Freeport, decking out fences, lamp posts, trees, tabletops and handrails with colorful knitted designs and crocheted critters.

Folks who missed the impermanent art can see it in this video from Freeport’s yarn bombing last year:

For more information on International Yarn Bombing Day, go to yarnbombing.com.  

Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

[email protected] 

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

[email protected]