Thieves have made off with the "yarn bombs" displayed at the Sawdust Art Festival, and their creators want them returned.

The colorful knitted, or crocheted, bombs had been on display at the festival entrance, the food court and the entertainment deck.

When a couple of the designs were vandalized last week, festival officials contacted the needleworkers who created them and suggested that they be removed.

However, when members of Twisted Stitchers knitting class arrived Aug. 4 to take down their art, they were told all of the pieces had been hacked off the previous night.

"I asked [festival General Manager] Tom Klingenmeier to get the word out that the Twisted Stitchers want the pieces returned, no questions asked," said Michelle Boyd, who teaches the class and organized the display.

"One piece did mysteriously show up at Tom's office, but we really would like all of them back," Boyd said.

Boyd not only wants the pieces returned, she wants the thieves identified and punished. She was not pleased that no police report was filed for the theft that, in a letter to the Coastline Pilot, she described as intentional and vicious.

"All of this is so disturbing, awful, shameful and sad," Boyd wrote. "…nothing justifies this horrific behavior toward other artists! Especially an approved innocent, volunteer, donated project like ours. Who would believe something like this could happen in our art colony, Laguna Beach?

"We can only hope the persons responsible are identified and the appropriate actions are taken! Whoever took them down did not even have the courtesy to bag them and leave them at the Sawdust offices for [Twisted Stitchers] club members to retrieve them."

Boyd said Monday that she could not understand the animosity toward the yarn bombs.

"It was no secret that a few artists of the Sawdust Festival had complained about the competition, but we were not selling them," Boyd said. "It was just a fun project."