The Big Rainbow Knit: Revisiting Craftivist Practices through Place-Based Making

Rowan Bailey, Natalie Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Big Rainbow Knit is a project informed and influenced by craftivist practices and culminated in the yarn bombing of Huddersfield train station by local, national and international communities of knitters in June 2021. As a landmark project within the WOVEN in Kirklees bi-annual festival, it became an important force for social cohesion in a Covid-19 context.

This article introduces The Big Rainbow Knit as a specific case study within the wider context of Kirklees Council’s approach to place-based making. As a textile festival WOVEN in Kirklees is made with, by and for local communities. We firstly addresse place-based making approaches in the contexts of craftivism and community practice with the aim of secondly, considering how The Big Rainbow Knit is a manifestation of co-creative participation in the spirit of social cohesion. Thirdly, we consider how the concept of the ‘glocal’ is a means through which to reflect on the links between online and offline platforms. We argue that the hybrid between near and far in a ‘glocal’ milieu allows for a range of voices (active knitters, audiences as recipients of yarn bombing activities and community group engagements with The Big Rainbow Knit) to become more visible as key agents in a place-based process. Collectively, these voices, gathered through a range of feedback mechanisms, have helped to change perceptions and attitudes towards knitting in a local authority context and to offer new insights into the ways in which the making-agency of knit can acquire value through place-based cultural development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTextile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jul 2022


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