Candy canes have long been associated with Christmas and this year the Southern Highlands village of Bundanoon is showcasing the red and white stripes across town.
The pop-up yarn-bombing project, initiated by Alison Ayres, AKA @Kitty_Knitter on Instagram, has transformed the tiny village, and everyone from the butcher to the baker thinks it is sweet.
Known for her stripes and cheerful colours, Ms Ayers, who became a resident of Bundanoon three years ago, has been a yarn bomber for the past decade.
“I’ve been yard bombing for ten years in various forms and in various countries, [including] a lot of work in Europe,” she said.
“My yarn bombing is all about happiness, smiles, stripes, checks and fun things.
“I thought I could convert the stripes into a Christmas theme and that became candy cane,” she said.
Candy Cane Lane in Bundanoon
After Ms Ayres placed a note on the community notice board, and a post on Facebook, the community responded.
“Women just poured forth. It was just so exciting,” she said
Astoundingly, 21 women from the Highlands region, including Bundanoon, Burrawang and Exeter, Tallong, Wingello and even Penrose, participated.
“A lot of the pick-ups were done wearing masks so now we are out of masks it’s quite fabulous meeting these women on the street for the first time,” Ms Ayres said.
“A large proportion of people think that you sit there, and you knit it onto the pole.
“You’d be amazed how many people think that.
“But really you make a flat panel and put it around the pole.”
Ms Ayres uses pegs to hold the panel to the tree.
“You need a huge darning needle and I do a simple running stitch because of course it needs to come off,” she said.
Although yarn bombing is technically illegal, Ms Ayers suspects the work is left alone because her art is about creating and sharing happiness.
“Nobody gets in my way,” she said.
However, an important component of the process includes removing them before they get shabby.
“With all the pieces I’ve done around the world, I remove them and where possible I repurpose them,” Ms Ayres said.
“The yarn is reused, or sometimes the pieces are sewn together into blankets for the dog’s home.”
Happy to help
Although her knitting skills are “pretty basic”, Athalie Dartnell is one of the women who responded to the social shout-out, participating in Bundanoon’s Candy Cane Lane project.
“It’s a happy thing to be doing, especially after COVID-19.
I just wanted to be a part of it,” she said.
“The bit I found challenging was carrying the white or red wool up the side, and it took me one pole, of the three I made, before I got the idea of how to do it properly,” she said.
Looking back down the main street, Ms Dartnell reflects on the project outcomes, and how she feels about participating.
“I feel really pleased. It makes me happy. It’s a uniformed look and it makes Bundanoon more of a community,” she said.
Bundanoon’s main street is sweet but not sticky
Anthony Smith, a butcher on Bundanoon’s main street, and knows much effort has gone into the project.
“I think there are a lot of people working behind the scenes to generate the Christmas vibe for tourists and locals,” he said.
He is happy the town is opening up for Christmas but added that during the COVID-19 lockdown the locals looked after themselves very well.
“It’s always good this time of the year,” said Mr Smith.
“A lot of people come from all over the place, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, and why wouldn’t you come here?”
“Bundanoon’s a beautiful town.”
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