Photos: Mall of America hit with the biggest yarn bomb ever


Yarn artist Eric Rieger is installing his largest piece ever.
1 Some 60 feet above the ground, Twin Cities yarn artist Eric Rieger, known as HOTTEA, is installing his largest piece ever. 
Rieger started his artistic life as a tagger.
2 Rieger started his artistic life as a tagger, but after several warnings from law enforcement that he was headed for serious trouble, he remembered how his grandmother had taught him to knit while he was growing up in New Ulm. He began using yarn to weave words onto chain link fences. Gradually his work expended into larger yarn-based installations, and he has worked all over the world — as well as appearing on Sesame Street. 
Rieger peeks over the edge of the cherry picker.
3 Rieger peeks over the edge of the cherry picker as he and an assistant work to release the yarn that was carefully packed in hundreds of bags, and hung from a specially-designed rig hanging high above the atrium. 
Rieger spent several months preparing for the installation.
4 Rieger spent several months preparing for the installation, measuring and clipping the yarn to 60 foot lengths, and then attaching them to large mesh squares. The threads were then carefully folded and secured in plastic bags. The mesh was attached to cables set near the skylight. Over the next few days HOTTEA and his assistant will release the yarn one bag at a time. 
HOTTEA admits it took a while to get used to working in the cherry picker.
5 HOTTEA admits it took a while to get used to riding to the ceiling in the cherry picker, but now after a few days he's getting used to the movement -- and the height. 
Working with 60-foot lengths of yarn has proved challenging.
6 Working with 60-foot lengths of yarn has proved challenging, as they easily get tangled. HOTTEA and his assistant spend a lot of time getting the lines to hang straight. 
A sculpture by Hot Tea, called Time Travel
7 An earlier work by Hot Tea was called Time Travel, made of 5,000 pieces acrylic yarn, and hung in Loring Park as part of Pride festivities in Minneapolis in June, 2016. Visitors were invited to lay under the sculpture to view the piece.