Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Set yourself free!

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
...Scott Adams

It's true. Creativity is about experimenting, playing, exploring, taking a chance, seeing if some little trick will give you the results you are looking for. There are so many options with knitting that there can be something new to learn with each project. As long as you are willing to make a few wrong turns, your destination can be a wonderful, original surprise.

Feel free ...let yourself play!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Knit Your Bit

The response has been strong. Little Red Mitten knitters are working on helmet liners for our soldiers. There are already 4 new hats hanging on our Christmas tree, a fifth hat sitting inspiringly beside the free pattern, and several unfinished hats popping out of knitting bags everywhere ...or at least, within driving distance of The Mitten.

Thanks to my daughter, Sara, for sending this great photo!
Catherine S. is planning a quick trip from Woodstock on Friday to pick up our first batch of helmet liners. She will send them in a parcel to her brother so that he can share with other soldiers in Afghanistan. I imagine that the weather is pretty cold there already - it warms my heart to know we are sending a wee bit of comfort to our fellow Canadians.

Our next deadline will be Dec. 17. The season of giving just got busier :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Sheep in Dog's Clothing

Summer has arrived. No, not the season, but a new, enthusiastic knitter named Summer. She has crocheted for 16 years (more than half of her life) but now she seems to be smitten with knittin'.
Trying to dress a Teacup Chihuahua for winter was her challenge. She bought a book, yarn and needles, asked questions, problem solved and went for it! Her are the results:

Doesn't Shaun the Sheep look handsome?

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Bit of a Rant

Here is an excerpt from my 'talk' to our local University Women's Club last week:

...Gandhi practiced non-violent, non-cooperative protest: he convinced people to spin and weave their own clothes so that British factories would be idle and his people would have rewarding employment.

If we look at North America, spinning and weaving mills were an important part of the fabric of our lives. Everyone knew someone who spun or wove. There was a connection and an understanding about the process ...and about the value of the process. We had control over how we clothed ourselves, and we paid our neighbours to do it. Now, most mills have sold off their machinery to 'developing' countries. We no longer understand or value the skills and the labour that go into the necessities of our lives. Important knowledge and skills are disappearing. Perhaps, like Gandhi, we should be taking back control and making or purchasing locally made items.

With the industrial revolution, factories ended the need for hand knitting, ...but knitters continue to knit. They knit for the love of the craft, for the soothing benefits, for the chance to be creative, for the problem solving and design challenges, for the excuse to commune with friends ...and for a beautiful custom made item.

Knitting, spinning and weaving are "arts with a purpose."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Slow Cloth Movement

When I look at the date of my last blog posting, I realize that I need some "slow" in my life. There needs to be more time in my day to create ...and enjoy the feel of fibre in my hands.

This seemed to be the theme of my reading this month. Both Handwoven, (Nov./Dec. 2010) by Interweave, and the Wheel, (Issue 22) by Ashford, had articles about the "Slow Cloth" movement. This posting borrows heavily from these magazines.

The slow cloth idea was developed by Elaine Lipson with the philosophy that, "It's all about the process." As she watched crafting gain popularity, often with little attention given to quality or skill, she offered an alternative to that mindset.

She identified several basic principles important to her philosophy:
  • We should experience joy in the process.
  • We should have moments of peace while we work, moments of contemplation.
  • We should honour skill, not instant gratification.
  • We should honour diversity and the multicultural history of our textiles.
  • We should honour teachers and our long lineage of creativity.
  • We should encourage sustainability and the wise use of our resources.
  • We should celebrate quality, beauty, community and personal expression.

I think I'll hurry up and slow down. This afternoon, I will take time to enjoy creating with fibre. I will work for the love of it, for the soothing benefits and take advantage of this time to be creative. I hope that you can, too.

You can read more about slow cloth ideas at Elaine's blog: