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More Than Yarn

Yarn may seem like an unusual item to use to bring a community together but that is exactly what it has done in Sumter. Sumter County Cultural Center’s Yarn Bomb project engaged local residents who share the love of crochet to brighten up the Town of Sumter with the help of a Connected Communities grant. Teams of nearly 100 local residents and USC Sumter college students has spent the last several months creating colorful fabric designs to be placed on trees, light fixtures, and building columns throughout the Town of Sumter community.

The project brought together people from all walks of life in the community. Art teachers applied for grants to engage students in the project and volunteers visited senior homes to teach them how to crochet.

Local residents worked together, transcended differences, ignited creativity, and created unlikely bonds. Yarn Squad Leaders meet with teams of volunteers on a monthly basis for crochet and knitting sessions, creating bonds of friendship within the teams.

When asked to share a favorite story while working on the project, Michelle Ross, a Yarn Squad Leader, explained, “There isn’t one story that comes to mind.  The evenings with my team consisted of sharing stories of loss, life challenges, and healing journeys. I often left filled with emotions of inspiration and appreciation of how this project brought people together.”

Ashley Long, another Yarn Squad Leader, summarized the project as, “The project that inspired others to give back to the community.”

Sumter County Cultural Commission Executive Director Melanie Colclough explained, “There are obvious things in the world that makes everyone uniquely different. But, if we take enough time, we would see just how much more alike we really are. This project, helped keep the focus more on our common humanity—so that we can all live together in harmony.”

The Yarn Squad hopes to have the final pieces installed outside Sumter County Cultural Center in the coming months. In addition, they have decided to expand the project and crochet hats and gloves to gift to Sumter’s homeless population. Those interested in getting involved in the project or donating funds to buy additional yarn for the project may contact Melanie Colclough at 803.436.2260.

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