No one would argue that Stephen Duneier is not a bit crazy. For most, New Year’s resolutions are a burst of inspiration fueled by alcohol and a pretty ordinary goal, like losing weight. Not so Steven. For him, resolutions are a way of articulating a theme for the upcoming year, a way of making sure that days don’t blur into weeks, months and years.
In 2007 he resolved to hike every trail in Santa Barbara, even though he’d never been on a hike before. He declared 2009, “The Year of Biblio-Inspiration”, where the goal was to read fifty books in fifty-two weeks. This year Steve set a number of what he calls “Giving Resolutions” for himself to inspire others and himself to be more caring and considerate by gaining a new perspective.
So far he has traveled to Arizona where he helped Amor Ministries build homes for those in need, volunteered to be a bone marrow donor and stepped in to save a 10 week old pitbull from being euthanized, trained her and found her a permanent home. His attempt to donate blood was rejected after declaring that he’d visited Haiti in the past 12 months. After his sperm was politely declined due to his age and his hair rejected due to its grey color, Duneier mused, “I hadn’t anticipated that trying to do good would make me feel so bad about myself.”
Along with these resolutions, Steve also set a number of “learning” resolutions for himself as well. Duneier says, “I set a goal to learn 12 new things. I’m looking for quirky, seemingly difficult things that most people marvel at, yet could be accomplished if you just make an effort and have the discipline and tenacity to stick with it.” It began with unicycling, slacklining, and jumping stilts, and at his wife’s suggestion he took on knitting. She thought a scarf might be a fun project to start with.
Not so Steve. “Making a scarf is fun, but to be honest,” he said, “but I don’t wear scarves and no one else would want to wear this debacle when I’m done. Instead he decided to take on a project more suited to his somewhat eccentric personality — yarn bombing the lone sycamore tree high up on Cold Spring Trail. Since March 20 Steve has been knitting feverishly so as to have it done in time for International Yarn Bombing Day. Thanks to followers on his blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Ravelry, knitters from around the world have also been knitting and crocheting swatches to be a part of this unique and first of its kind, Santa Barbara event.
It all comes together Friday, June 8th, 2012 beginning at 5:00pm when a group of volunteer knitters and supporters will meet at the Cold Spring trailhead for the 2.5 mile hike up 2,500 feet to the most popular Eucalyptus tree in Southern California. They will be wrapping the 30-foot-tall Santa Barbara fixture with yarn to bring attention to what Steve calls “the beauty of the trails, art for art’s sake and the benefits of a purely analog activity in a digital world.”
Knitters who can help connect the swatches are welcome to participate and observers are encouraged to keep them company. It is suggested that participants bring their own headlamps, food, music, and most importantly, garbage bags.
To date, swatches have been contributed by knitters from California, Montana, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Oklahoma, Alabama, Maine, London, Paris, Bulgaria, South Africa, Chile, Indonesia and New Zealand. “We have already knitted enough to consider this a home run,” Steve added, “but our goal is to make it a grand slam, so I continue to knit and welcome any and all knitted donations right up until the last minute.”
The yarn bomb will remain for only a few days before being removed by Duneier, so those hoping to catch a glimpse of this unique art exhibit in the raw will need to be quick. Once the bomb is defused, all material will be donated to Warm Up America, a North Carolina based non-profit that will turn the material into blankets, hats and scarves for those in need.
To learn more, visit 12for2012.wordpress.com or visit the Santa Barbara Yarn Bomb event page on Facebook.