April Meetings

Greetings SnB’ers

Happy Khmer New Year.

This month’s meeting:
Thursday, April 10, 6ish pm-8:30pm, Joma Cafe, cr 294/Norodom

Tuesday, April 22, 6ish pm-8:30pm, Java Cafe, downstairs

Saturday, May 3, 2:00-4:30pm, Daughter’s Cafe, Street 178

Come on down and enjoy chill-axing in the aircon with us!

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March SnBs

Thursday, March 13, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Joma Cafe, cr 294/Norodom

Saturday, March 22, 2:00-4:30pm, Daugher’s Cafe, Street 178

Thursday, March 27, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Java Cafe, downstairs

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Yarn Storming Cyclos in Phnom Penh

Community, creativity and collective action prevails in Phnom Penh’s first “yarn storm”

“We didn’t want to call it a yarn bomb because of Cambodia’s history.” said Monika Nowacyzk, founder of Cambodia Knits and coordinator of Phnom Penh’s Stitch and Bitch (SnB) community craft group, which recently completed an ambitious effort to decorate 7 of the city’s iconic cyclo taxis with brilliantly colored pieces of knitted fabric.

Yarn stormed cyclos.

Yarn stormed cyclos.

The effort was orchestrated in conjunction with the 2014 Our City Festival, a celebration of architecture art, and ideas in Cambodia’s capital city.  Launched in periodic discussions in the previous months, the SnB group made a creative application and was accepted into the Festival’s program. The yarn storm was a collaborative community effort, integrating the efforts of over 40 knitters, crocheters, embroiderers and sewers. Yarn for the project, a colorful, bulky cotton, was donated by Cambodia Knits from their current inventory and supplemented by other decorative fibers that added increased visual interest. The festival program also included knitting workshops; participants were taught how to knit in a ten minute lesson and their pieces were also integrated into the installation.

New knitters getting a free lesson during the opening weekend of the festival.

New knitters getting a free lesson during the opening weekend of the festival.

Launched as public transport 70 years ago, cyclos and drivers now number only 450 in the entire country, according to the Cyclo Conservation and Career Association (CCCA).  Phnom Penh’s SnB group wanted to  integrate the tradition of the cyclo with the ancient craft of needle working, resulting in a visually attractive, utilitiarian mobile art project.  Throughout the effort, community participation was key— involving cyclo drivers themselves in the installation. Ms. Heidi Holzknect said, “It is quite rare to have a knitting project involve multiple knitters all united with a common vision to building community creativity. As a newly placed Australian volunteer, the project helped me form bonds with other like-minded people and make a very tangible and beautiful contribution to Phnom Penh street life.”

Coordination of pieces helped by a Google docs spreadsheet.

Coordination of pieces helped by a Google docs spreadsheet.

For the project organizers, the effort required significant coordination to ensure that the pieces were knit to size specifications. Early in the project, the team contacted the Cyclo Association to invite their support and then carefully measured to determine the different lengths needed to cover the cyclo’s various parts. With a spreadsheet posted on the internet, project leaders were able to assign different sections, resulting in a total of 91 finished pieces for the final installation on 7 cyclos.  The needle workers represented a wide range of Phnom Penh: expatriates, short-term volunteers, tourists, mothers of expatriates and needle workers from other countries who were connected with SnB. In total, it was estimated that each cyclo required 30 hours of knitting time. The project lasted 6 weeks.

cyclosstormed copy

Cambodia Knits and Our City Festival themed cyclos.

Two cyclos created specifically for the project’s sponsors — Our City Festival and Cambodia Knits — were decorated only hours before Festival’s launch. During the first two days of the festival, there were public installation and knitting workshops where the pieces were grouped by color theme and carefully stitched onto the cyclo’s frames. Pieces that were completed by newly competent knitters were added as final touches.

Our City Festival and Cambodia Knits themed cyclos lead the parade of musicians along Phnom Penh's Riverside.

Our City Festival and Cambodia Knits themed cyclos lead the parade of musicians along Phnom Penh’s Riverside.

The culminating event of the yarn storm included a visually stunning and dramatic premiere in conjunction with Cambodia Living Arts.  A procession of 38 cyclos, led by the brightly decorated bicycle taxis and 20 drummers, created a spectacle as they wound their way through Phnom Penh’s streets and were deployed through the festival week on the streets of Phnom Penh.

knitting gang

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February Meetings (plus one in March)

Thursday, February 6 6:30pm-8:30pm, Artillery Cafe, Street 240 and 1/2
Saturday, February 15, 2pm-5pm, Daughters Cafe, Street 178
Wednesday, February 19, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Java Cafe downstairs, Sihanouk Blvd.
Saturday, March 1, 2pm-5pm, Joma Cafe, corner St. 294 and Norodom

Come one, come all! Bring a project or just come for a chat.

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January SnBs

Saturday, January 4, 2pm-4pm
Tuesday, January 7, 6pm-8:30pm
Thursday, January 16, 6pm-8:30pm

Tuesday, January 28, 6pm-8:30pm

All meetings at Java Cafe, downstairs

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Change in Schedule

Hi all,

We’re changing the Tuesday, December 17th meeting to Monday, December 16th. We’re meeting at 6pm-8pm at Java and we’ll be preparing our first cyclo for the Our City Festival!

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OCF Yarn Storm information

We’re knitting fast and furiously to get as many cyclos stormed as possible and we’re just about done with the first one. There’s still lots of time and opportunity to get in on the action. Information on what needs to be done and how it can be done, can be found here or below.

Have a look at the cyclo photos and decide what part you can commit to. Or commit to making some squares or crocheted flowers or any other additional decoration you can think of. Let us know and we’ll add you to our list of producers.

If you are in PP, you can pick up free yarn from CK for the yarn storm. We have bulky 100% cotton yarn in many colours. As long as you use it for the cyclo decorations, its all yours! We can lend you needles too and help you get started. Drop by our shop (House 116, Street 113, call in advance to check we’re open) and we’ll get you set up. We’re also providing free intro knitting lessons to anyone who is interested during our regularly scheduled SnB meetups. So pop in and have a go!

Storming the Cyclo v.3Storming the Cyclo v.3 2 copyStorming the Cyclo v.3 3 copy

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