COLUMN: Yarn bombing and Overdude

It was one December that Dewey the Library Elf discovered a new hobby.

It was one December that Dewey the Library Elf discovered a new hobby.

Library Elves, in case you don’t know, get to work when the library closes. You know when the perfect book fairly jumps off the shelf at you? That’s the Elves at work, and the library wouldn’t be the magical place it is without them.

But there are magical people on staff, too, and what got Dewey started was a fabulous knitted dragon left behind by Shawna. Dewey was charmed, but more than that, she was delighted to find a human who believed in magical things. So the next day she got up just before closing and hid among the mythical creature books to wait.

“Psssst!” she whispered as Shawna passed by. At the sight of a small twinkly being, Shawna didn’t jump as you or I might have, because Shawna was used to faerie folk, especially in 398.2.

“Can I help you?” she asked in her best Librarian voice.

Of course she could. Shawna stayed late that night, teaching Dewey how to knit. Of course, she had no idea of the metaphorical dragon she would unleash.

It was a reasonable time to knit, being winter and all, and just before Christmas. Like most beginning knitters, Dewey knit scarves for her friends, who were all delighted—especially Spineworth, who danced through the stacks trailing woolly tassels.

Then she got to Overdude, a grumpy, gnomish thing about the size of your thumb. When you forget your library books under the seat of your car for three weeks, or accidently drop one in a mud puddle? That’s the work of Overdude. As for the cheerful scarf Dewey held out, he wasn’t having any of it.

“Scarves, Schmarves,” he said. “Can’t you make something more interesting?”

So Dewey invited Overdude to look through the knitting books to see what he might like instead. Which is when Overdude found the book about yarn-bombing.

Yarn-bombing is like graffiti—except with knitting. Yarn-bombers knit cozies for tree trunks, traffic signs, and flagpoles. They knit toques for statues and comforters for cars. Although yarn-bombing is cuter than graffiti (and less permanent), what captivated Overdude was its sneakiness. Chortling, he got busy.

The next morning, folks came in to find that their library had taken on a distinctly fuzzy overtone.

“Well, it is the season for warm fuzzies,” Dewey whispered.

“Sure,” Shawna whispered back. “But not this fuzzy. Look! They can’t read the spine labels for the stitchery! The stacks are festooned with fluff! Even the CDs are cableknit!” They watched as a computer user tried to type through a keyboard cozy.

“It will take all year to unravel this yarn,” Shawna moaned. “How will people find their books?”

“I have an idea,” Dewey said. “Can you stay a little late?”

And so it was that, when Overdude awoke from his short winter’s nap, he began to stretch and—“Mmmmph!” he cried from inside what felt like a woolly straightjacket.

They had yarn-bombed his fingers; they had yarn-bombed his toes; they had purled his pointy ears and garter-stitched his gnarly toes. He peered out fuzzily to see Dewey grinning.

“I had a little help,” she admitted. “But now that Shawna has gone home, we need to put things right. If I let you out, will you fix this?”

“Mmmmmmmppppphhhh,” Overdude nodded.

Things began unravelling then, in the best possible way. When Shawna opened the doors on December 24, all of Nelson’s avid readers rushed in to get the perfect books for the holiday. And they did! Everyone was able to check out the book they wanted most, except for one.

“I’d sure like to take out that book on yarn bombing,” Shawna said to herself. But she couldn’t find the book; it seemed to have vanished!

It hadn’t really. At midnight there was Overdude on the library roof, yarn-bombing Santa’s sleigh. But if he thought he could stop the jolly old elf, he was mistaken.

Fifteen minutes later Santa was heard to cry, here he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all—and to all a Good Knit!”

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. The Library will be closed December 25 and 26, and January 1. Happy holidays!

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