BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Bellingham played host to an intergalactic visitor a few weeks ago, and while he was only here for a few hours, he's left a lasting mark.
A knitted R2-D2, created by Bellingham's Sarah Rudder in honor of National Yarn Bombing Day June 9, is quickly making the rounds toward internet-fame, being featured on knitting sites, pop-culture sites, and even making an appearance on Wil Wheaton's Tumblr.
"Knitting used to be lame, and now it's cool," Rudder said. "Being a geek used to be lame and now it's cool."
Rudder said the inspiration for R2, who some have renamed "Yarn2D2", was easy. When she moved to Bellingham four years ago to work at Logos, like many people, she didn't know what those cylindrical-shaped concrete slabs on Railroad Avenue were. But she knew they looked like R2D2.
"I think it's hard to be a person in our generation and not love Star Wars," Rudder said.
Those things, by the way, are called "bollards," which Rudder said she learned through some of the comments left about the photo.
Rudder said she didn't use a pattern to create her R2-D2, she simply measured the bollard, did some math to figure out how many stitches she would need and set to work. Three months and 1,200 yards of yarn later he was ready for his grand appearance.
Rudder only left R2-D2 up for a few hours, she said, but is now starting to make its way around the internet in earnest. After posting the photo to the knitting and crocheting website Ravelry, 53 people put her pattern into their cue within 24 hours.
"I think if I'd done anything other than R2-D2 it wouldn't have gotten the same response," Rudder said. "Sometimes I feel, 'Is that cheap, did I just pick something really easy?' And then I thought, 'No I just really thought that looked like R2-D2."
While she said she did struggle with the decision to claim her art or remain anonymous in the spirit of many "grafitti artists," ultimately she chose to claim it so she could be a resource to other knitters and crocheters interested in creating their own R2-D2.
So where's R2-D2 now?
He's sitting at Rudder's home, waiting to have his arms attached for his next venture to the Farmers Market, which Rudder said she'd like to see happen about once a month, especially when the weather's nice.