Friday, February 5, 2010

Raining Cats and Dogs

In Vancouver, we're sensitive about our reputation as a rainy city. In 1998, many Vancouverites became enraged when actor David Duchovny joked, "Vancouver is a very nice place, if you like 400 inches of rainfall a day."

With the Olympic-sized attention arriving here soon, our rainy self-consciousness has resurfaced.

I thought it might be therapeutic to crochet some raindrops. So I made 14 of them, stitched cat and dog heads on each, gave them names, and felt well-adjusted again.

Raining Cats:

Raining Dogs:

To share this rain therapy, I searched for a public space to hang these raindrops. I chose the Davie Village Community Garden because it's the downtown site of a yarnstorming from sunny last summer:

Photo by ChromaticRat on Flickr

Photo by danielabsilva on Flickr

After some rainstorms, Jessica Glesby's knitted wall has seen sunnier days:

The wooden trellis above the garden, however, remained clear and that was where the Raining Cats and Dogs found their new home last week.

My girlfriend MJ was videotaping while her mom guided my installation of the raindrops. Here's a video of the stringin' up process!

The cat and dog faces are enjoying the sight of human faces looking up at them for a change.

(There are more photos on my Flickr. I'll update this blog post as the Raining Cats and Dogs installation inevitably evaporates.)

As all eyes focus on Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics, I hope these raindrops show that we Vancouverites can be proud of the rain that makes our streets shiny and our lush trees grow.

If we remain a little insecure about our rain, our citizens can try repeating MJ's defiant catchphrase: "Yeah, it rains in Vancouver. So what?"

We're just dancin' and singin' in the rain!

UPDATE - September  9, 2011:

Find out what happened to the last raindrop here!


  1. What a wonderful idea! I love that you've shared this project with the wider community - I hope they appreciate it as much as we do! :)

  2. Great stuff Howie! I too hope that everyone else enjoys your work as much as we do.

  3. Such a cool idea! I love the idea of yarn grafitti. It hasn't taken off down here in Virginia.

  4. fun! i love street/graffiti art :) it would totally make my day to see this on a rainy day.

  5. You are my HERO, Howie!!!! I wish I lived in Vancouver so I can visit your raindrops in person!!!!!

  6. ADORABLE! *plans a trip to Vancouver ASAP*

  7. I've chosen your blog to receive a Sunshine Award. I love your creativity - the raindrop cats and dogs really made me smile (I live in very rainy North Eastern England). Pop over to my blog to read more about your award:

  8. More proof that a lack of sunshine causes insanity. LOL. Nice work!

  9. Oh, these are so great--I love the photos of you with the rain drops, and I hope the installation survives the deluge of visitors to Vancouver. Have fun!

  10. LOVE! I'm going to try to swing by this afternoon to visit some rain while the sun shines. :)

  11. this is the best yarnbombing I've yet seen - so creative! I admire and envy your talent, Howie.

  12. How cute - and is that a little dog named after me (Kristy)??? I've always wanted to take part in yarn bombing!!!

    Totally loving your creative thinking to keep your spirits high!

  13. LOL, very cute!

    Looks like alot of work went into them.

    Well done!


  15. Love them! Next time someone complains about Vancouver being a rainy city tell them to try living in a drought-ridden place. It makes you appreciate rain so much more- especially raindrops with dog and cat faces.

  16. Hey there,
    can you believe it took a NewZealand blogger to hook me up with your site and we live in the same hood...well I am out in the suburbs of Vancouver...anyways love what you have done fun!!
    I saw you on Paisley Jades blog..she gave you a feature spot!

  17. Great post! I love the names you chose...especially the "Bekah" cat. :) Great music choice for the video. You always take such great photos too.

  18. So fun, so lovely, so whimsical, so GREAT!!!! You've made so many people smile, you deserve a cupcake. Since I can't get the cupcake to go thru the computer monitor, I will eat it on your behalf. :o)

  19. I am absolutely IN LOVE with Nancy, but if any of these guys evaporated and made their way to Oklahoma, I would be happy. Awesome work, kiddo!

  20. By golly you have outdone yourself for SURE!!!And I am not being partial simply because one is named Nancy...."which is my name", he,he. These rain drops are so cute & hilarious & I love that you installed them for the enjoyment of the world!! Isn't having the Olympics in your town a gas?I lived in Atlanta area during '96 much fun to show your city off to the world. Thankfully your goodwill raindrop ambassadors will make folks feel welcome & happy. They are the kind of rain we all can use. GREAT JOB!!

  21. OK, I just noticed the lop-eared "bunny" walking the black lab...I'm crying tears of laughter here.

  22. Love the smiles on folks' faces as they're upturned to see your work - mirrors the one on mine, Howie!

    Best yarn graffiti I've seen to date ;)

    (lovechild on Rav)

  23. Love love love your whimsical work!!!

  24. Its so nice! Good job Howie, Mj and Mommy =) Obviously everybody loves it! Hopefully when I come to Canada, those raining cats and dogs where still hanging in there :)

  25. Howie this is awesome. I absolutley love the rain drops and even spotted one named Mel. Woohoo! It looks like you had a great time setting up and tell MJ as always her photos are amazing!
    I am totally Jealous of your Gene Kelly moment and hope that your locals get as much enjoyment out of it as we do :)

  26. Sally: Thanks! It's been a treat to take my crochet beyond just the blog this time :) MJ lives several blocks from the Cat&Dog Raindrops, and it's been fun seeing the neighbourhood reactions when I visit.

    ollie: Too kind, thanks! There are many fun-loving yarnbombers in the city, and I'm in awe of the beautiful knit graffiti of Lauren (aka 'Deadly Knitshade') and the whole Knit the City group in the UK.

    ~Feather.Wing~: Thanks Connie! If it's snowing where you are in Ontario, Chris Green on Facebook commented that it should snow kittens & puppies! ;)

    AmyLynn: It would be exciting if you started some graffiti fun in Virginia ;)

    youngmi: When it rains in your Boston, your cute crochet would cast much yarny sunshine!

    TADA's Revolution: If you were in Vancouver, I'd give you and your crochet critters a grand tour of the community garden :D Pandara★♥ the Panda visits there often! She loves entertaining visitors :)

    Jillz: hehe Yes, as soon as your plane lands, drive past the distractingly-lovely scenery, skip the landmark tourist sites, and head directly to the community garden! Yarn priority haha ;D

    Sarah: Thank you! It's an honour to receive Sunshine for some raindrops ;)

    Anonymous: haha Even in the summer, I rarely get out in the sunshine. So yes, it's all a bit loopy here in Woo's world :P

    Amy: I'm glad you liked the pictures of me and the raindrops :) It was kinda embarrassing to pose for them in front of the passerbys though :)

    Kim Werker: I'm thrilled that you made a personal visit to the raindrops today and for the kind mention on your Chochet Me blog! The cats and dogs raindrops can recognize fellow crocheters, u know ;)

    Peta: Thanks! What a generous compliment, especially with all the incomparably-beautiful yarnbombing in the UK :)

    PaisleyJade: Yes, the brown puppy is named after you! These raindrops share the names of some regular encouragers of my crochet adventures. Thanks for the mention on your blog :)

    Heather: It was a bit more work than I planned, with each drop taking about 4 hours to make. But it was worthwhile to see them spreading smiles from their happy new home!

  27. Ascasewwan: "Droughtdrops" doesn't have the same ring to it, that's true :) Yes, we should appreciate the rain here! I don't imagine it being fun to jump into puddles of slush or dry plains....

    Cat: I've been waiting for a comment from another cat, thank you! I'm also in the suburbs of Vancouver, in Coquitlam. But we share the same soggy skies :D

    Rebekah: Yes, Bekah the grey kitty (named for you) would probably play well with your blog's blue bird, at least for awhile ;)

    I'm happy that you like the photos! MJ captured the photos of my posed pictures :) She says thanks too!

    Laume: I looked in my email box for a cupcake, but all I got was your crumbs :( Ah well, I hope you enjoyed the cakey goodness on my behalf! Thanks for your kind words :)

    Craft*Suki: hehe If Nancy the black dog evaporates your way, be on the lookout for a tiny black (and slightly pink) rain cloud!

    Miss Julep: Nancy was named after you! Yes, it is Olympic frenzy over here, with everyone adjusting to the closure of streets now reserved for Olympic traffic. It feels like planning a big house party and not knowing if our lil house can accommodate all the guests! :D

    Yes, I didn't realize the dog-walker was wearing a cute bunny hat until I saw the photos! Vancouverites deal with their rain-consciousness in unique ways :)

    Jude: I'm glad you like the passerby's smiles in the video :) I'm tempted to set up a lawn chair in the garden and watch the reactions this weekend :D I've also overheard a few: "They're gonna get stolen" comments, so I'm hoping the raindrops will stay in the garden longer than expected, at least :) Thanks!

    inkberryblue: The work loves you back, merci! I'm lucky that bullies never nicknamed me "Whimsy Woo" ;)

    Anonymous: Thanks from me, MJ and Catalina! I have a feeling that the cats and dogs will have evaporated by summer, as most rain goes. I wonder who will be the last Survivor? ;)

    Mel: Mel the puppy was named after you, Mel the crafty blogger!

    Yes, MJ was amazing as she videotaped the adventures and also took my posed pictures afterward. MJ's mom, Catalina, decided to accompany our adventures at the last minute, but her visual guidance became incredibly helpful.

    No one can compare to Gene Kelly, but he warrants a million tributes! :) Thanks for being so encouraging, so often!

  28. Howie, I love your raindrops they look Brilliant hanging up outside - but I have to ask you, how do you stop yourself getting bored when you are onto your 14th raindrop? perhaps it is just me, or are you a superfast crocheter? (how long did each raindrop take?) I am currently making 12 mushrooms as a favour for a friend, I have made 9 already and can't face doing any more!! any tips?

  29. Elaine: I love your question, thank you!

    With this project, I was racing to finish everything (including editing the video) before the Olympics, so the repetition of the drops was replaced by that time pressure :)

    Each raindrop took about 2 hours to make and each face took around 2 hours. So 4 hours x 14 drops = 56+ hours

    To combat any monotony, I always crochet while doing something else, such as: listening to podcasts or audiobooks, watching/listening to tv/movies, talking to my gf on the phone, or taking too many snack breaks or web-surfing breaks. Also, I appreciate finding any time to work on (and learn more about) a craft I love, even with the repetition :)

    It's wonderful of you to be making so many mushrooms as a favour for your friend! I read somewhere that knitting/crochet a gift for someone is like an extended meditation on that person as you work, and I've found that to be true. So your friend is very lucky, even though you can't face doing any more haha

    I hope you blog about the experience when you've completed everything. You're near the finishing line! :)

  30. I've already seen some pictures on and was thrilled to see more here. I think your idea is awesome! I'd love to see the raindrops myself, but unfortunately it's a bit far for me (I live in Germany).
    Oh, and the Singing in the Rain picture is so funny *g*


  31. that is the best yarn bombing I have ever seen!

    so awesome

  32. LOL, That is Fantastic :) Love it

  33. Oh Wowie Howie, you've done it again! Like everyone else, I love this latest project. Everyone in Vancouver must be singing your praises both in the rain and when it shines!

    You really brought a special smile to my face. I mostly live in Florida which, despite what is printed on the postcards for the sake of the tourists, is far from "The Sunshine State"! And at the moment I am staying in Vermont where, I swear, it snows Polar Bears!

    So, I have a special affection for the little black kitty rain drop, "Equador", since my husband is from Ecuador! And a few years ago, during a typical Florida hurricane, a sweet black cat who we named Tempestad ("Storm" in Spanish) came to live with us!

    You, MJ, and Catalina all deserve to set yourselves by a warm fire, put your tootsies up, and sip some sweet hot cocoa as a reward!

    Hey, did the rain wash the color out of your hair? Oh no!


  34. Hi, somebody gave me a hint. I found your blog because of this. Hmmm, I like crocheting men, because they are really seldom.

    Have a nice time.


  35. I heart them! Fabulous work and pretty thrilled to be mentioned too.

    Welcome to the yarnstorm, my friend. :)

    Deadly Knitshade x

  36. Fantastic. How can anyone not love this! Mr "Anchovny" is just bitter he didn't think of anything Quite so brilliantly fun!!!

  37. Fantastic! You make a great Gene Kelly.

  38. rock! That is the coolest yarnbomb I have seen! Any plans to write up the patterns for the cats/dogs and raindrops?

  39. Hi Howie,
    I just stumbled into your page and am stunned. Great performance, cracking idea and beautiful raindrops you have in Vancouver!

    Greets from Europe
    die Kleene

  40. Weird: Yes, snatched the early scoop on this raindrop yarnbombing, fittingly enough :) I'm sure you're creating your own yarn adventures in Germany! Dankeschön!

    Abby: Thanks for the too-kind words :))

    Renee' Thank you for your fantastic support!

    ecuadoriana: Equador the kitty was purposely named after your online name, though with a special Q ;) That's an amazing coincidence that you two have a cat named after a storm!

    I like the fun image of polar bear snowballs descending on you in Vermont right now :) I hope you feed them plenty of salmon!

    My hair colour is dark purple/blue right now, but yes, the colour was literally running down my face during that day. Fortunately, MJ wiped off the colour before my close ups, haha

    Thanks! Say hi to your husband and to little Temestad :)

    Natalia: And Nancy told me that Natalia is her favourite! Another coincidence ;)

    Pfiffigste: As more men crochet, you'll have more to like haha Last night, I walked past a group of knitters/crocheters at the coffee shop, and there was one male crocheter in the group of ten. Seldom just-for now! Thanks :)

    Deadly Knitshade: You're the yarnbombing best-of-the-best! Thank you for inspiring & encouraging so much yarny mischief across the planet! :)

    Marjorie Dawson: I don't know if David Anchovny likes the raindrops, but I'm glad that Marjorie Dawson does! Thank you :)

    JelliDonut: I lack the physique & dancing skills of Gene Kelly, but I'll gladly receive any comparisons to that Hollywood legend haha Too funny, thank you :)

    Spinning Beauty: I might write-up patterns in the future, but I haven't found the time just yet. I'm already finding it a challenge to juggle crochet with my drawing projects! But who knows :) Thanks so much for your support!

    die kleene: I'm glad you stumbled onto my blog, and I hope you revisit often :) Thank you for the kind mention on your blog too!

    mary jane: Anyone named Mary Jane is the best in my book! :D Thank you!

  41. What fantastic yarn bombing! I bet your rain drops cheer up many of the passers by, they may even decide to do a song and dance too!

  42. Hahaha, that's awesome! I live in seattle and I love it when it rains cats and dogs! :)

  43. Jessica: hehe Wow, if passers-by broke out in spontaneous song and dance, I better have the videocamera ready :D Jess the Tabby Cat was named after you, by the way!

    lauracruz: Seattle! We're pretty much twin cities of shiny streets & lush green trees :)

  44. Howie, Thank you for naming the black rain drop kitty, Equador, after me!!! I am so flattered!!!

    If you ever need pics of ferrets to crochet let me know. Peewee the Wonder Ferret and Miss Gumdrop are my fuzzy ferret friends who live with us as well (Well, Peewee died last Nov., but still lives on in our hearts). They said that you could use them as ferret models anytime.

    Stephen Colbert is up your way for the Olympics. Maybe you could crochet him a little Woo Love to cheer him on?

    Stay warm and dry.

    Thank you again for the Equador Kitty shout out!

  45. Well I like Vancouver a lot. But I have to admit I visited when it was sunny!

  46. ecuadoriana: Thanks for your offer for pics of Miss Gumdrop and eternally-cute Peewee :) Fuzzy-Ferret power!

    Yes, Stephen Colbert is attracting huge crowds during his week here! Maybe I could toss a crocheted beaver-snowball at him :D

    Thanks for your inspiration! Equador Kitty says *mewww*

  47. what a wonderful idea I just love it. Now heres a question for you those hats the sweeds are wearing can you get the pattern for that

  48. What a fun idea. Thanks for sharing, it made me smile.

  49. What a fun idea. Thanks for sharing.. It brought a smile to my face.

  50. WOW! I love them. What a great idea to cheer up the world. Thanks.
    We need some of those in Utah.
    Hugz, D'Ann

  51. Pure Genius! If you don't find time to write up a pattern, do you mind if I just try to copy?

  52. These are Wonderful! I love your kitty-cats!

    I'm in drought-ridden Texas, and need some water. I need rain!I haven't seen any yarnbombing, but I'll get busy and practice so that I can start it here!

  53. Anonymous: Wow, I've been hearing a lot about those swede hats! But I'm infamous for my inability to find (or write) patterns haha

    Perry: Thank you Perry! It's been sunny this week in Vancouver, which gave the raindrops installation a chance to dry out from the previously soggy week :)

    Mary Hunt: I'm glad this idea made you smile... twice! :D

    froggy: I think it's time that Utah was yarnstormed by some Gayler Creations ;)

    WillowD: Go for the gold! ;) Soon-to-be-spring will need more raindrops!

  54. Love those raindrops. Will be posting a link on my blog.

  55. What a great project and such fun too, it made me smile a lot. London is a rainy city too but we don't care :-) Rain has never stopped people visiting a fabulous City. I was guided to your site by my friend Enfys who is a talented Crochet designer herself. I hope you will find time to visit her site
    Like you she has a style all of her own.
    thanks again for making my day more pleasant, Juliet

  56. Just found you via Enfys blog. This just put such a huge smile on my face :P Brilliant!

  57. It didn't occur to you to discuss this with anyone at the garden? Your stuff is cute but still rude of you to stick it up on someone's property without talking to them about it.

  58. Enfys: Thanks for mentioning me on your influential blog :)

    julietk: I love the look of London rain in movies! Also, overcast skies = great lighting for photography hehe

    Carmen: I'm happy to hear about your huge smile, thanks! I shall envision a smiling cheshire cat hehe

  59. Anonymous: I understand your point of view. If there was a yarnstorm in my front yard—instead of in a garden open to the community—I might also think it rather rude.

    On the other hand, asking for permission feels inconsistent with the spirit of yarn-graffiti. I hope that the Raindrops make the public garden more cheerful and beautiful, though that is admittedly subjective.

    I'd like to hear more opinions on the matter! Do more people feel that yarnstorming anonymously & without permission is rude?

    Either way, I appreciate your direct feedback, Anonymous!

  60. RE: Yarnstorming

    I think that yarnbombing is OK, graffiti, not so much. Yarnbombing is removable, therefore, if someone had a problem with it, they could easily rectify the situation. It's like guerilla gardening, in my opinion. The intent is to beautify or cheer up a spot on the planet, and not to mark territory, or deface anything, as is the intent of most graffiti. I think it's interesting that really "good" or commissioned graffiti is called a mural!! It's all in the eye of the beholder.

  61. Thanks Howie, and I see them whenever I go gardening there. It is cute, lovely, and simply add a sense of community spirit to this beautiful garden. I guess now all the gardeners, including myself, have to keep up the garden's beauty to match with your raining cats and dogs.

    Thanks again.

  62. Annette: Thanks for your perceptive definition of yarnbombing as an expression that is meant to inspire beauty & cheer, yet is easily removed.

    I also read perceptive definitions of yarnstorming from Deadly Knitshade and the Knit the City's Yarn Corps, who similarly feel that yarn graffiti can be seen as a surprise gift that aims to brighten up a space and bring cheer to passers-by.

    Jonathan: Thanks so much for your generous words! MJ and her mom also have two spaces in the same community garden, so maybe we'll all bump into you this summer :) Good luck with this year's bloom!

  63. My friend in Costa Rica sent me your pictures. Sooo clever. I live live in Phoenix AZ.

  64. Thanks Howie, your art never fails to brighten my day, and I have to say your profile pic on Facebook is the happiest rainy day image I've seen!

  65. Magnifique!!
    J'aimerai bien qu'il pleuve comme cela en France!!!
    viens voir mon blog :

  66. I love the thought of Yarnbombing and agree that as long as it's not doing any damage it's all good... now if you were doing something kinky or inappropriate that would be another thing all together. Not only can they be temporary decorations, but they can be little gifts for interested parties who desire them and don't want them to rot in the bad weather.

    On a different subject... is the first picture upside-down or is it just me? I realized that, since it's a reflection on water, the writing on the building shouldn't be right side up (and now that I think of it it should be backwards as well)... and now that I take the time to really read it I realize that the writing is on a sign.. not on the building. Wow... Just making sure I'm not any more nuts than I thought I was.

    See your picture has messed with my head completely... Love your work... feel free to send some rain to Arizona

  67. Kristina: Cool beans, thanks!

    Anonymous: Thank you to Arizonan-you and to your Costa Rican friend for all your support :)

    Louise: hehe And it's great to see you and your brilliant glass creations on my Facebook friend list :)

    Augustine: Quand il pleut à Paris, il doit être beau :) I'll be following your beautiful blog, merci!

    Amethyst: You're right that kinky&inappropriate yarnstorming wouldn't be community-friendly! That would lead to a fascinating blog though haha I like your description of them as "little gifts for interested parties who desire them and don't want them to rot in the bad weather". Coincidentally, MJ told me that three of the Cat&Dog Raindrops have already been adopted. I'll do a proper count this week :)

    Yes, the top rain puddle photo was flipped horizontally and flopped vertically, to make the sign readable. So not only are you not nuts, you are ultra perceptive, yipes! The sign is actually nailed to the wooden trellis, but I should have chosen a shallower depth of field for that shot to get the building blurrier. Can you be my perceptive photography director from now on? :D You'd be a big help!

    Enjoy the Arizona sunshine! Please say hi to Anonymous in Phoenix for me :D

  68. Wonderful!!! Lovely cats and dogs ;)

  69. Your blog is awesome. Your raindrops are STUNNING. I love crocheting - I wish my man would do it, your girlfriend must be totally happy :) Rock on män, keep your way and never stop dreaming. I made a tiny post about you on my blog as your belong to such a threatened species ;) I hope you don't mind.

    Annie (formerly known as Frollein Franetzki-Super-Pixie)

  70. Had to find you again! A friend has been collecting animals for raindrops and now I have to do her raindrops! Has anyone developed a pattern?

  71. I was just reading this post and thinking what cute little doggies and kitties in rain drops. I didn't realize until I got to the bottom of the page that it was "raining cats and dogs". I must be super slow on the draw today.

    Super cute site! I just found it today from a link on! I wish I could crochet stuff like that. Sadly, after I do a chain, I don't know where to go from there. :(

    Keep up the cute and awesome work! Always wonderful to see a man tangled up in the yarn arts ^^

  72. Just found you via Enfys blog. This just put such a huge smile on my face :P Brilliant!


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