Yarn Bombers Hit City Zoo

June 16th, 2013

Tiger in knitted cowl, discovered at the City Zoo Sunday morning.

Staff and visitors alike were shocked Sunday morning to discover that the City’s Zoo animals had been the target of yarn bombing.

Yarn bombing, other wise called urban knitting or guerrilla knitting, is a type of graffiti that uses non permanent knitwear instead of paint to mark or decorate public spaces. It is illegal in many places.

Giraffes at City Zoo Sunday morning, with "knit-bombed" scarves.

Numerous animals in the zoo we adorned in colourful knitted garments, allegedly put there overnight by a vigilantly group of crafters calling themselves the City Rebel Bombers. Over the past year the group has spontaneously bombed several city parks, the riverfront, downtown and City Hall. Normally, the knitting is just put on benches and trees. This is the first time the group has targeted live animals.

“We were planning to start small, maybe do up some sweaters for the squirrels or the geese down by the waterfront,” said the City Rebel Bombers leader, who cannot be identified, and is known just as Erin. “But once we get knitting, it’s hard to stop.”

Clive the bear at City Zoo Sunday morning in a sweater knitted by the City Reble Bombers.

“Before we knew it, we had cowls big enough for tigers,” said another CRB member, Mary W. via phone at an undisclosed location. “That’s where the idea came from.”

No one is sure how the knitters managed to get the yarn clothing onto the animals. Sully the head elephant was wearing just a trunk covering, three giraffes had on scarves, Tim the Tiger was wearing a cowl, and the zoo’s main bear, Clive was sporting a full sweater.

“Clive’s sweater was the most difficult,” admitted Erin. “Do you know how hard it is to get the measurements for a black bear? We had to guess, and I admit there was a bit of sewing done at the last minute to get everything fitting right.”

Camel at City Zoo during the Knit Bombing.

The reactions of the zoo visitors were mixed. Some were amused and amazed.

“We love it,” said Adele Pinks. “We come every Sunday but this is the first time we’ve seen them in clothes.”

Zebras at City Zoo wearing knitted cowls.

Many visitors were quite alarmed.

“Tigers live in warm climates in nature,” said 15 year old George Crumb. “Their fur is thicker than your fuzziest house cat. They don’t need cowls. He’s probably overheated.”

Zoo staff spent much of the morning removing the knitwear from the animals. According to the official statement by head Zooperson Todd Renburger, the zoo was not aware that the bombing was going to happen, nor did they assist in any way.

Elephant in knitted neck scarf at City Zoo.

“We have no idea how the bombers got in,” said Mr. Renburger. “We’re going to be opening an investigation, checking security tapes, and speaking to all zoo staff. Someone could have been hurt. Luckily none of the animals appear harmed, but we’ll be monitoring them.”

Word was out on all social media sites within minutes of the zoo opening, and crowds were pushing through the doors within the hour. Most of them managed to see the bombed animals before they were stripped of their knitting.

Monkeys in sweaters placed there by the Knit Bombers on Sunday.

“Thanks goodness we got down here in time,” said Jenn McCreany, holding her two young children up to view the Elephant. “This is not just something you’d want to view after on Facebook. The kids are thrilled. We think they should have the animals in knitting every week.”

“Maybe every Sunday at least,” added her husband Matt.

Knit bombed snake at City Zoo


June 15th, 2013

I just realized I never did post a picture of the custom doll I made for my coworker.

He requested that I do a doll for his wife, of a man they know named Bankie Banx, who is a famous reggae singer.

They took it with them on their annual trip to Anguilla where Bankie saw the doll, and by all accounts was not offended. They did not leave the doll with him though.

Here’s Sarah and Bankie (the doll version).

Not knowing what to draw

June 3rd, 2013

I asked my son what I should draw.
My son was reading Macleans magazine. “Stalin,” he said.

Stalin and the Bear

Stalin and the Bear

A portrait of the artist

I need to draw more children, I thought.

A child (and a bear)

And children in action poses.

Run child, run.

The Dog Walker

June 2nd, 2013

Well this week, once again in my studio I pushed aside my sewing machine and only had paper for the cats to sit on. Oh, and I did some drawing.

I wanted to try some other kind of animal – other than bears, I mean. So I did some dogs. Then I added the before and after pictures. Not a very interesting story, but I’m not storyteller. I wish I was. But I’m not. I am an awesome story reader though, if that counts for anything.





Bears and dogs

May 21st, 2013

The park after 6:00 p.m.

The bear and Mr. Twain play cricket.

Sacrifice to Zangboolantar

May 20th, 2013

“Here’s the first illustration,” I say to my son. “What happens before this?”


“The mighty bear snatches the children and hoists them to his shoulders. Suddenly the minor god Zangboolantar appears and tells the bear that he must sacrifice the children on the top of Mount Grabfalder. Two giant purple lightening bolts blast out of the skies and incinerate the children into dust.”


Thanks. Helpful.

More sketching

May 19th, 2013

My favourite web site right now is Brain Pickings. The curator of this information believes in the idea of Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity, an idea that resonates with me like nothing else has before.

~ Neil Gaiman

It’s the answer I’ve been looking for all my life, to everyone who’s told me that there are no new ideas, that everything has been thought before. This has become like a block in my head, especially with the explosion of the internet – you start wondering if all of humanity is just a blog of breathing, eating, shitting nothingness, repeating memes over and over, each new generation regurgitating the same thoughts, jokes, revelations, loves, hates. You start wondering if there is any point to attempting any sort of art at all.

~ Debbie Millman

Largely, the ideas of networked knowledge, when applied to the facebooking masses, just scare me. I don’t understand it and I don’t want to understand it.


But when I start reading Brain Pickings, I start to feel a sense of calm creep over me and the stress rush out. And then a sense of excitement and inspiration flows into the empty space. There’s a peace in just accepting that there are no new ideas, but that all ideas build on everything known and learned and thought before.

Brain Pickings curator Maria Popovich describes it this way, “Now, implicit to this idea of combinatorial creativity is the admission is that nothing is truly original, at least not in the sense of being built from scratch, and that can be hard. There’s a lot of resistance in the creative ego to that idea. But there is plenty of evidence for this ecosystem of influences and inspirations.”

~ Debbie Millman

Recently, Brain Pickings posted an the amazing speech by Debbie Millman, delivered to the graduating class at San Jose State University. You can listen to it, or read the full transcript here.

She says exactly what I would say to my own children, who are finishing up high school and about to pursue paths of their own. My daughter is about to move to Toronto to study Comic Book illustration. If anyone can make a success of this challenging and exciting career it is my daughter, who is driven, like no one I’ve met before. It brings out all sorts of pride and awe in me, because like Millman, I think I’ve chosen the simpler path in my own life. I’ve “determined what was possible even before is was impossible.”

Millman says, “Our abilities are limited only by our perceptions … Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.”

~ Neil Gaiman.

(Robot entirely copied by Erin at Robotaday.com)

Introducing: The Yermit Waldorf Doll

April 28th, 2013

Finally, the Yermit everyone has been waiting for: The Yermit waldof Doll:

Yermit waldorf doll

Yermit waldorf doll

I know what you’re saying: That doll look like all the other Yermits.

Ya, well, see, I looked up “waldorf doll” in the interwebs, and here’s what I found in wikipedia:

Traditional Waldorf dolls are made from cotton interlock knit fabric and wool stuffing. They are often entirely natural. Typically the trademark long hair of a Waldorf doll is made of mohair or boucle. Some doll makers use alternative hair material such as wool, rayon, and cotton. The facial features of a Waldorf doll vary with the maker. Most Waldorf dolls have small suggestions of noses, their eye and mouth colors are generally varied with each doll.

The bolding is mine. (But please don’t mention that the Yermits might not have “small suggestions of noses” because they’re kind of sensitive on that point.)

Oh hey, here’s a great article about about Waldorf dolls and doll makers. Yup that’s me. Oh but wait, some people in the comments of that article are disagreeing. Colour me shocked.

So, I know what you’re wondering now: When is my child ready for the Yermit waldorf doll?

Well let’s see. According to waldorf mythology, a child is ready to READ when they can reach their right arm over their head and touch their left ear. (I know, I thought it was a joke too the first time I heard it, but go ahead, google it)

It stands to reason that a child is ready for a Yermit waldorf doll when they can grab the Yermit’s left leg and swing it over their right shoulder (says one helpful family member.) (Or when they can change the batteries in the TV remote, says another of my helpful family members.)

No seriously people. My readers need an answer, I tell my helpful family members.

Develop a REAL waldorf doll, everyone says. You mean, I say, a fabric doll with variable facial features and alternate hair material?

Um, ya.

I’m confused.

Oh, here are some more Yermit waldorf dolls. They come with dogs. And their hats comes off and your children can put them back on and this teaches the children how to work their fingers better so they can change the battery in the TV remote more easily. (I know what you’re thinking…)

Yermit waldof doll with dog

Yermit waldof doll with dog

Yermit waldorf doll with white dog

Yermit waldorf doll with white dog

Yermit waldof doll with yellow dog and green hat

Yermit waldof doll with yellow dog and green hat

EDIT: One of my family members just walked by as I was surfing waldorf dolls on pintrest and said, “Those are butt-ugly creepy-ass dolls”. Harsh. But I can’t say I disagree.

Tales from abroad

March 10th, 2013

Ok, well not really abroad. Just down there in the USA. The awesome Leeanna Butcher snagged herself a Yermit Santa for Xmas, I think that Santa really hit it off with some of the other plush in her collection. With her permission, I am posting the following as evidence:

Whoa. Quite the wild party.

Here’s what Leeanna told me about the photo:
I had a lot of fun setting up that photo shoot. :) Evil Burt is actually Merv the Muppet Reporter-a muppet puppet that my husband had made when he was in NYC. He sure does look like Burt’s evil twin!

Leeanna is pretty damned talented in other ways also. Here’s some of her creations…

Miles the pug by Leeanna Butcher

Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro by Leeanna Butcher

If you live near New York you’ll be able to find her at the “Stitched” plush art show: April 13th- May 4th @ Clutter Gallery, NYC


March 3rd, 2013

I think this time of year, I get a strong urge for some colour and fun. I’ll be posting them for sale over the next few days.

Party Cats in a row

Party Cats later in the night