Fiber artist Melissa Maddonni Haims leaned precariously over the railing of the widow's walk atop historic Mount Pleasant mansion. She was checking her work, a yarn-bombing job commissioned by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.

"You know, usually this takes place in the middle of the night," Haims quipped, as she returned to safer ground.

A fiber artist since 2006, Haims once saw yarn bombing as a way to keep busy between projects. She didn't even bother to take pictures of her work, never thinking she would one day have the opportunity to bomb a historic house.

 

"I've loved it," Haims said of her time at Mount Pleasant. "It was an opportunity to manipulate a space that doesn't usually get touched this way."

Haims and another fiber artist, Rachel Blythe Udell, were chosen by the city to decorate two historic houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Lemon Hill. Their challenge was to call attention to the buildings' spaces and architectural details without damaging them. Spring Forward: Contemporary Fiber Art in Historic Houses opens May 18.