Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Get Excited and Make Things"

My daughter received an autographed book for Christmas with the inscription,

"Get excited and make things." Wow! What motivating words! And this, from the pen of a sci-fi author - not a craft book as you might have expected.

These four simple words remind us to play, create, learn ...and use our creative talents. It's great to let loose and be creative.

Spinning and weaving (knitting, much more recently) have always been vital to mankind's survival. In fact, the development of clothing is linked with the increased survival rates of infants. It's scary to think that the knowledge and practice of these skills has been farmed out to developing countries and that we are losing our understanding of these skills.

Although spinning, weaving and clothing construction skills have been around for millenia, children (and others) need to ask the question, "How do you make a shirt?" It used to be that everyone knew how it was done because they saw the work done every day.

The making of cloth was one way that the New World achieved independence from the British. Gandhi's goal of having everyone spin for an hour a day was conceived to regain independence for India ...and make for a more peaceful world.

Creativity is important. That and learning more ways to create.
I plan to "Get excited and make things" in 2010! I hope that you do, too.
Matt Jones not Matt Janes :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fleece on Earth, Good Wool to All

Photos are courtesy of Paula (Prairie Piper on Ravelry) whose blog can be found at http://www.apiperknits.blogspot.com/

Teddies for Tragedies
At a recent Friday Night Knitting Night, we had two visitors who talked to us about Teddies for Tragedies. Olga and her mom, Jarry, were busy making simple-to-knit bears for an orphanage in Rwanda. This is an ongoing project involving several people from London, ON who regularly travel to Rwanda.

My 23-year-old son, Andy, just returned from eleven months of teaching and travelling in Rwanda. He noticed how few middle aged and older people there were in this country. Several of the children in his classes were orphaned, either by the genocide or by health issues. These kids spent their vacations at the school doing things like digging with hoes in the yard to make a basketball court.

For orphans, life on their own, with lots of responsibilites, nothing or no one to call their own is just something that they are used to do. That's life ...just get on with it. I can imagine how special the gift of a simple cuddly toy would feel to one of these children. Some local doctors say that it does as much or more good than medicine.

If you are interested in knitting a bear, or more, please check out the website: http://www.teddiesfortragedies.org/

You can drop off your teddy donations at Little Red Mitten and we'll make sure that they get to the right people. There doesn't seem to be a time limit, at this point, but we'll let you know if we hear news of a departure date.

Fleece Navidad,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jumbo Scarf on Local TV

Well, the Jumbo scarf and I are now "famous". Or at least we both made an appearance on the live local Rogers TV show called Inside Elgin last Tuesday.

Our spot was about 8 minutes long divided by a commercial break. In the first half, the interviewer and I talked about the 50 foot scarf that Jumbo now sports, the wonderful people who helped knit it and how I got so involved with knitting that I'd open a yarn shop.

In the second segment, the interviewer pretended to have never "corked" and had me teach him. He was so focussed on the corking that he barely remembered to ask questions! When my tv debut was over, we were given a DVD of the show. It was a little disconcerting to watch myself - is that really what I'm like?!?!?!

In case you are coming to the Jumbo Scarf story a little late, we began knitting the scarf for World Wide Knit-in-Public Day in June 2009. Men, children and ladies of all ages worked on the project. Some really dedicated knitters took a ball of yarn and some needles home and returned with a completed section.
A big thank you goes out to all who helped.
In other local and monumental news, Jumbo is in need of some major repair work ...or is that surgery? The plan is to cover him with a tarp this winter. At the city council meeting, the Parks Director was hopeful that the scarf would be tied around the outside of the tarp. Sounds like our knitting has caught the attention of the powers-that-be. Cool.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why does a yarn shop need a blog?

Welcome to Little Red Mitten's foray into the "blogosphere".
Having never blogged before and never been successful at keeping a diary, I'm hopeful that I've at last found a reason to succeed at this :)

At Little Red Mitten, we are always getting new and interesting things delivered which are then put directly on the shelves. When customers ask, "What's new?" it's always a challenge to know what they haven't seen yet.
1. And so we come to the first goal for this blog: we'll let you know when new products arrive and we'll tell you why you need them! :)
2. Knitting, teaching knitting and most fibre arts are my passions. When I come across interesting articles, tips, quotes, patterns or project ideas, I'll be sure to share them here.
3. If you want to keep up on events, groups, sales or projects at the Mitten, this is the place.
4. Our website ( www.littleredmitten.ca ) generally changes only when there is a new newsletter and a new list of classes. My hope is that blogging will make the website more current and useful to you.

I expect the blog will start out pretty plain Jane (or is that Janes?) But with any luck ...and help from techie types, we'll soon be able to add pictures and excitement to this blog-reading experience.

Hoping to share more with you very soon.
Until then, happy knitting!
Joan (Janes)