With its finger firmly on the crafty-cool DIY pulse, it’s no surprise the US hipster capital of Portland, Oregon was ahead of the curve when it comes to the #uglysweater trend. Knitting together all things granny chic with edgy street art, over a dozen of downtown Portland’s iconic animal statues get yarn-bombed for the holiday season as part of the uglysweaterPDX project.
Centred around Pioneer Courthouse Square, bronze statues such as the ‘Animals in Pools’ series (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), plus ‘Umbrella Man’ (officially called ‘Allow Me’) and ‘Kvinneakt’ (an abstract female sculpture on the Transit Mall) get enveloped in their festive homemade best - darned, knitted and stitched on by local fibre artists.
It’s a yarn-bombing tradition that’s woven together the Portland community and charmed visitors since 2013. After all, Portlanders have proved to be rather partial to their material possessions – the old Portland International Airport carpet a case in point.
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But back to the crocheted critters. Think deer in cosy knitted booties and legwarmers, seals with jaunty scarves and knitted mermaid costumes (adorable!), baby bears with beanies, and ducks and otters with fetching woollen onesies – all in festive hues and holiday patterns, of course. It’s enough to have you humming “White Christmas” while sipping some eggnog, even in our sweltering Australian summer where the mere thought of donning a prickly knit is enough to make you break out in a (heat) rash.
The yarn-bombed Pacific Northwest animals are on display this year now until Christmas Day, and all statues are within easy walking distance of each other. In Portland over the Christmas period? The statues will undergo wardrobe changes every Thursday throughout the festive season. Don’t forget to tag your yarn-bombing selfies #uglysweaterpdx to get in the Portland holiday spirit.