Moment: Storybooks not the only source of yarns at the library

Huddled over a round table on the second floor of the Chattanooga Public Library, children armed with a box of tangled, multicolored yarn giggle as they weave together the beginnings of a textile bomb -- not an actual explosive, of course.

Remnants of previous projects are already visible: brightly colored sheaths of wound fiber wrap guardrails, chalkboard supports and table legs. The library has been yarn bombed.

"Yarn bombing is this idea that there are objects that have been created that are not pieces of art," said library programmer Megan Emery, who leads the yarn bombing class.

"By participating in this fiber art of crocheting or knitting, you are able to create a small piece of art that you apply to that object, turning it into an installation piece of art."

The kids start by weaving together long, rectangular pieces individually, threading the yarn in and out through their fingers. As these pieces near completion, the youngsters use special knitting needles to tie each length together.

The result is a yarn sleeve that can be wrapped around and secured to an object such as a parking meter or tree.

Though some treat yarn bombing as a form of graffiti, the process is nondestructive -- you can always take down the yarn, Emery said.

For 12-year-old Allie Spruill, who has been helping lead the group with her experience in knitting and crocheting, yarn bombing is a way to show her creativity.

"I like rainbows, I like color, and I wanted to make stuff colorful, but I didn't know how to do that unless it was with paint," said Allie, who says she isn't very good with paint.

She got hooked on yarn bombing after checking out a library book about it, and Emery said she's been a big help teaching the other kids.

The Saturday afternoon class has already blanketed parts of the library's second floor, and the group got special permission from the Flying Squirrel bar to yarn bomb its patio with wrapped yarn chains and dangling pompoms.

What's the next target for their explosively colored yarn? It's a secret, says Emery.

photo Twelve-year-old Allie Spruill knits together a section of yarn in a "yarn bombing" class recently at the Chattanooga Public Library. "Yarn bombing" is the act of knitting yarn to be fitted around objects in public spaces in an effort to turn something that was never intended to be art into an art piece in a non-destructive way.