Knitta, Please!

Hitting the streets with Montrose's craftiest taggers

"I like it when it looks like there's effort, like, 'Man, somebody climbed up on that freeway pole,' " adds Poly.

They hop in the car, the Menil Collection their next target. But things get sidetracked when Poly's daughter calls, complaining about her schoolwork. "That damn family tree," Poly says afterward. "Why do they have to do that? We don't have pictures of grandmothers of ex-husbands."

After three quick stops -- a swatch on the rail of the Menil Bookstore, a cozy on the antenna of a Jetta and another swatch on a bench inside Rudyard's -- the duo pauses to take home a couple of pizzas to their kids, who've begun calling every ten minutes.

A half-finished baby blanket becomes a tree-hugger.
Keith Plocek
A half-finished baby blanket becomes a tree-hugger.

"I was thinking I'd yell at them and say, 'This is important to me!' " jokes Poly when they pull up to the house.

Their next stop is Memorial Park, where AKrylik plans to wrap a tree with the blue-and-green baby blanket she never finished. "I closed it off, put buttons on it and now it's a Knitta piece," she says, holding it up in the light.

After trudging down the path and waiting for joggers to pass, the women put up the four-foot-long swatch in less than a minute, only to decide it's not facing the right way. They take it down, wait for more runners to go by and put it up again.

On the way back to the car, they avoid patches of mud -- "If we were true gangstas, we wouldn't care," says AKrylik -- while bragging about past tags. They've done plenty of car antennae over the last two months -- men seem to remove the cozies faster than women -- and even wrapped the pay-phone cord by the Rudyard's bathroom.

"There's really no message or point," says AKrylik. "It's not an ideological experiment or anything -- just something we thought would be fun and funny at the same time."

These gangsta mamas have big plans: cozies for car bumpers, hats for fire hydrants, carpets for sidewalks and, if only they can get enough people, curtains for bridges and covers for water towers. They recently recruited five new members -- WoolFool, DJ Hooker, Loop Dogg, Purl Nekklas 14KT and GrannySQ -- and want Knitta eventually to become a Montrose icon.

"You know what it reminds me of, except that his things were a little more permanent?" asks AKrylik. "Chicken Boy. It reminds me of Chicken Boy's stuff, because some people know who he is, but for most people it's 'There's that chicken guy sticker.' "

A Chicken Boy cutout, complete with droopy face and coxcomb hat, hangs on the wall at Poison Girl, the bar where Poly and AKrylik return to the scene of their earlier crime. Since they know the owner, they're there for sport, wanting to slip a knit coaster under someone's drink without being noticed. But the bar's not as crowded as they'd like, so they give up and head for the door after one beer.

A doe-eyed bartender looks at them knowingly and says, "Did you see someone tagged our bike rack?"

"That sucks," says AKrylik, bluffing. "Now you're going to have to get a pressure washer to clean it up."

On the way out they throw down a coaster and place an empty beer bottle on top of it. Once outside, they burst into laughter, knowing it wasn't their best work but that it's time to head home.

After all, it's a school night.

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