When one enters the West Flamingo Senior Center, 6255 W. Flamingo Road, the prevalence of knitted and crocheted decorations is apparent.
Yarn creations adorn nearly every corner of the center. The railing at the front entrance is covered in yarn. The bulletin board is framed in yarn. The handles on the backs of the chairs are wrapped in yarn.
All of the creations are put together by the prolific, needle-wielding women of the center’s crochet club.
For the women, known as Yarnstormers, bulletin boards are no longer a challenge, and the group is stepping up its game.
The Yarnstormers are planning to adorn a pedestrian bridge leading to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, 3186 S. Maryland Parkway, with crocheted and knitted artwork.
The project is scheduled to be installed Sunday night with a public unveiling at 10 a.m. Monday.
According to Diane Bush, the center’s cultural and recreation supervisor, the project coincides with International Yarnstorming Day, when groups all over the world cover anything from trees and telephone booths to buses and bridges in yarn as a form of temporary public art.
The women worked tirelessly in May to complete crocheted circles of all colors ranging in size from 5 inches to 2 feet, which will be arranged in a half-circle pattern on the bridge to represent a sunrise.
“It was originally done by young people in the middle of the night,” Bush said. “It’s sometimes called yarn bombing, but we don’t like to use the word ‘bomb.’ “
The women range from 50 to 80 years old.
Delores Gill said she became involved in the group after meeting a member in the hospital.
“I asked her where she got that nice hat,” Gill said. “It surprised me when she said she made it.”
Gill has crocheted nearly 40 circles for the project, including 20 in one afternoon.
Veronica Henry said she was eager to see the project completed.
“It’s a nice concept,” she said. “We’re really trying to help Diane with her vision.”
Jeanette Johannes, originally from New York City, said she had never heard of anything like it and was happy to be doing something new and unique.
“I think the bridge was a good choice,” she said. “Hopefully it will cheer up the people going to Sunrise Hospital.”
When the idea was originally pitched to Bush by the Friends of Winchester Art Committee, she showed the women pictures of other Yarnstorming projects done in cities such as Los Angeles and London, where an entire bus was covered in brightly colored yarn.
“If I covered my husband’s car in yarn, I don’t think he’d be too happy with me,” Johannes said, laughing.
Not every member of the crochet club is on board with the idea, however.
There are two distinct factions within the room at the center where the women meet.
Gloria Cyrlin, a longtime member of the club, said she doesn’t agree with the project.
“It’s a waste of good yarn,” she said.
Cyrlin is not alone. A few of the members believe the project is a waste of time and resources.
The club generally spends its hours knitting or crocheting blankets for military wives, helmet liners for servicemen or hats for newborns, and the dissenters have continued to use their yarn rations for these projects.
“This yarn is too nice to be put on a bridge,” Cyrlin said as she spun in a circle, modeling a crocheted sweater another member had recently finished.
Still, other members like Y’vonne Bell are not so quick to dismiss the project as wasteful.
“It’s just another art form,” Bell said. “Another medium, and it’s going to be beautiful.”
The group has enlisted the help of local Boy Scout Troop 238 to help install the artwork.
The Yarnstormers are currently seeking donations of yarn for their projects. Yarn can be dropped off at the West Flamingo Senior Center from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call Bush at 455-7742.
Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Nolan Lister at firstname.lastname@example.org or 383-0492.