Thursday, July 28, 2005

Knitting Zen Community

Radio listeners tonight will be delighted to hear that Chris Lydon's Open Source radio show is doing a piece on knitters. [Shout out to Stacy at Stacy's Plate for emailing about it.] Among the postings on the Open Source page, there's a beautiful one by Circles owner, Allison Nevitt. I love it, so I have to share. Here 'tis:

Yes, knitting does feel like a luxury now. Its a luxury to have the time and money to knit. What I see in the community of knitters we have here at Circles, is a strong desire to reconnect, though. Its not about luxury, per se. We talk about the fact that we don’t knit to aspire to the K-Mart or Target asthetic. We knit as a form of self-couture. I think we discuss this to ease the our minds (and those of our partners) about the money we invest in our hobby.

At the core, the reason we are willing to put so much time and money into it is the sense of connection. Connection to a lost time when people made so many things for themselves. Connection to the first person who ever picked up a stick and some string and figured out how to manipulate the tools to create a fabric. There is a connection to the land through the purchase of fibers brought to us by self-sustaining fibers. There is a connection to others as we sit together, make things together and share our lives together. Deep bonds are developed amongst knitters who spend time together regularly. In our fast-paced, over-popluated urban environment it feels essential to pursue something slow and sit with others without an agenda. A knitting circle is the ultimate in open source contact.

Perhaps the deepest connection, however, is to oneself. I’ve watched so many knitters self-observe. The motion of knitting and the movement in and out of concentration creates a rhythm where there are quiet moments. And the work product so clearly reflects our inner state of being. When we are anxious, our knitting is tight, when we are relaxed it is loose. As we try to figure out some set of instructions or correct a mistake we can watch how we handle a challenge or adversity. When we allow others to witness our process, we find acceptance and often very gentlel loving assistance or guidance to a new perspective.

So, while knitting to produce clothing is a luxury, the experience of knitting and what we gain from it may be life supporting. The sharing of the sensual aspects of knitting, the joy of transforming, the embrace of others is all very soothing to the soul. It is nothing short of healing. I have watched knitters help each other through every gritty aspect of life: birth, death (to illness, accidents, murder), abusive relationships, and the list goes on.

They don’t set out to be this for each other. They come together to knit. They are old, young, gay, straight, many races and ethnicities and religions, but in time their lives are knitted together and they care deeply for each other. Then the healing comes organically. Joyous applause when someone has left an alcoholic partner. Silent circles to allow someone to re-enter safely after a loss to murder. They become unafraid to share everything and offer all that they can. When you see this, you know why the knitting is a passion. You cease to care why knitting is now popular, whether it is elitist, whether it should be basic skill set. All these things don’t matter when people find something to pursue that leads them to so much rich exchange with others. Where all the artificial social constructs of separation of erased and healing just happens. Of course they never want to live without that again. Of course, the knitting is a passion. What knitters experience with one another is something lacking in our society. When they knit in a circle, they find their heart’s desire: to connect.

In spite of my previous post about yarn snobbery, the expense of this hobby and the luxury of time, I still find her words very compelling. And I certainly feel this connection to my fellow Stitch & Bitchers.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Alive and Purging

After weeks of packing and moving boxes, we are officially settled into our new (much smaller) home. Thank the Gods/Goddesses/Fairies/Sheep 'cuz I just don't think I could've handled one more box of under-used clutter. We had a huge yard sale, made some dough and donated a ton of stuff to Goodwill. And now I'm working on selling stuff. First on the list -- yarn. Gasp! I know, I know ... it's evil. I'll pay for this. I'll dream about this yarn in the wee hours of the night in July 2007 with the perfect project in mind and wish that I wasn't so impulsive back in July 2005. But alas, there is only so much stash space, especially considering that I share my home with another crafty lady and her crafty toys, a small child and his small child toys, and two kitties and their feline toys. We have plenty of toys. So I'll be selling this batch of yarn:

If you've been hanging out with me for a while, you might remember this is wool from my recycled sweater. The sweater was an enormous men's sweater, so we're talking a hell of a lot of wool. Further, the drape was wonderful, surprisingly supple. Wait ... am I talking myself into keeping it? Although the yarn looks like a brownish-green from a distance, it was spun with many different colors. Here's a closeup. It's just so beautiful.

The yarn knits up at about a worsted weight (4 sts/") on US7s.

If you're interested in purchasing this yarn, give me a holler. I still have to total the yards, but we're talking somewhere around 1200 yards of 100% Irish wool.
I'm planning on putting it up on eBay within a couple days, but I have no idea how to price it. Any suggestions? Knitting gurus, are you out there?

P.S. I have lots to report, with pictures and all. Keep an eye out for updates (in spite of Bloglines being a bit fussy this week).

Monday, July 18, 2005

Poking my Head up in JOY

My Nina-Bean and her little Daughter-Bean and internal Boy-Bean are conspiring to overtake Blogger. Previously a Live Journaler that never wrote, I'm hoping that her new blogspot will give me lots of bloglines fodder. I adore her, and I promise that you will too. She's saaaaassy. Go see.

Okay ... back to my blog-vacation. If I trip over another f-ing cardboard box, all of our worldly possessions are getting thrown onto the lawn. Don't test me missy. I'll do it! I am therefore baned from Blogger until the cardboard monster has disappeared.

Send wishes for the resurrection of my long-lost sanity to:

Insane Mommy
69 Piles of Shit Boulevard
KickScreamSwear, Massachusetts 06969

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Scatter-brained Mommy

The next week or two will be a semi-blog-vacation. In spite of having:

- exciting news to report about my recycled Irish wool that is dry, skeined and will be put on eBay soon;
- starting-ripping-starting-ripping (aka "practicing" short row toes and heels) on Little Man's first pair of Mommy-made socks;
- actually learning how to short row from a couple of very accomplished knitters at my Stitch & Bitch today;
- buying yarn for my non-femmey Not-a-Shawl (actually called Not-Knit-Round Scarf) from Sally Melville's Purl Stitch Book that I will start as soon as I find a spare moment;
- finishing the pale pink Branching Out (which is not yet blocked or photographed, even though I finished it about a month ago) for my Wifey; and
- selecting a yarn for Assig, my SockPal,

I can't seem to blog about any of this. I'm a Mom to a toe-obsessed new kitten. I swear she's teething. She's doing well, by the way. We're in the process of moving to a much smaller place, which I am very excited about. So we're purging and selling and donating tons of unnecessary stuff. Simplifying. De-cluttering. Ahhh ... the zen feeling of wide open spaces ... imagine it for a moment.

Okay, now add a little yarn clutter, a little toddler clutter, and an overly-sentimental wife who insists on accepting every "antique" that is handed down to her, and then refusing to ever part with it. That's my house. But we're making progress. One cherished item in the garbage at a time. By July 17th we have to be fully settled in the new place. Here's hopin' that only half of my current possessions make the trip. If there are any Buddhists out there, please mediate on my de-cluttering and send along some good vibes, k?

Thanks. I'll be back in a bit.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Boys and Big Knitting Machines

Oh how I love a good dose of sexism first thing in the morning. This morning was the only time in the last year that I braved the traffic and drove to work -- and this is the thanks I got.

I'm happily listening to the River, my local independent radio station. They break for news. The boys at the mic start talking about this exhibit at the MassMOCA. Their comment ... "now that's something gramma can't do." Idiots. My Gramma could. But hey, she worked in a factory all her life, and could probably tear your office-dwelling ass to pieces. Just sayin'.

Mind you, I'm all for boys knitting. Breaking down these completely arbitrary gender distinctions is excellent work. But these boys rely on sexist assumptions as a cornerstone of their work. According to them, the only legitimate way for boys to knit is if they have big strong machines to create stitches, and if it involves engineering equations to solve. And of course women wouldn't be interested in that. Puh-lease. Check out this program and then tell me that women aren't interested in engineering.

My problem -- this is a cool artistic endeavor on its own merits.

It could be pitched as pure art. Let's say it all together now ... Art Without Sexism!