The Fiber Side of Village Books

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Unnecessary Struggles

My mind is buzzing with new projects - from paintings to public sculptures.  All of these include knitting or other needlework, of course.  This morning I sat in Village Books awaiting the "Sunday morning rush" & trying to jam a gesso'd canvas into a large (but flimsy) embroidery hoop. (Don't ask...)

And it set me thinking.

As an artist and as a woman, I'm constantly trying to do things that require more than two hands.  Stretching canvasses, walking two goats, knitting my Shetland shawl together, frying 14 cheeseburgers for the crew at get the picture.  How is it that we have all arrived at this place in time where we mostly are on our own?  I think of the people I know who farm alone.  We run businesses alone.  Alone, my husband cuts down large trees in the forest.  We drive long distances alone. Build sheds alone. Sometimes we raise children alone.

Long ago, when farming thrived and clothes were made by weaving or knitting and paints were hand-ground, humans were surrounded by EACH OTHER.  And helping was part of what one did.  Nowadays, we have to force ourselves outside of our little spheres and contact each other - by mail (snail or e), by phone, by Facebook, by blog, by walking up the street, by driving across town.

It's harder.  But not impossible.  So I tell myself: don't forget to ask for help.  Don't forget your neighbors.  Don't be afraid to grab a surly teenager & request assistance. Don't go into the forest alone. There is no need.

Think I'll call Kathy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shetland Knitting

In solidarity with experienced and fledgling knitters in Shetland, I've taken back up the "monster shawl" project, a pattern in the beautiful book Country Weekend Knits by Madeline Weston. (This is the opposite side to what's posted on my KnitVision Ravelry site) Shetland knitting & its traditions are being threatened for the usual reason : MONEY.  A mere 130,000 pounds will be saved by cutting the now free knitting lessons provided by Shetland schools.  School children and other citizens from all over the world have written to the Shetland newspapers in protest.

It is rumoured that mega yarn merchants, Jamieson & Smith, are doing something to help out.  I hope this is true.
In Shetland, knitting is a WAY OF LIFE and PROVIDES INCOME - it is no fad.

Find a gorgeous, traditional Shetland pattern in a book or on Ravelry and start knitting.  Post your thoughts here!  Use as much homespun as you can.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why is this SO MUCH FUN?

A Rest Stop in Maine
Dunkin' Donuts in Henniker, NH

NH Sheep & Wool Festival 2010

The Kearns's house in Derry, NH

Merrimack County Savings, Hopkinton, NH

A child at the S&H Festival

Four years old

Sharing the warmth with a friend

Motorcycle at McDonald's in Augusta

Ode to the Festival Folk

Kathy Goldner: freezing but still cheery!

Having just gotten back from the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival in Hopkinton, NH, I'd like to devote this morning to the hardy men & women who devote their lives to freezing their asses off at these events.  These sturdy people risk their sanity month after month to bring you & me fleece & other beautiful, handmade things.  For two days, as part of the Knitting Out Loud team, I watched & listened as our neighbors patiently and winningly recited their mantras.  Generous Sue Carey of Marble Meadows, the unflaggingly cheerful Nancy Brome of Hair of the Dog, spinner & knitter deluxe Eileen McCormick of Prairie Wind and Sarah Pollock &  husband at Spinner's Warren all helped us not to slit our throats in despair and fend off the vicious wind gusts & rain in the open-ended barn to which we'd all been assigned.  (There was some brisk :) business in fingerless mitts and alpaca socks, I assure you!) Check over at the Knitting out Loud blog where I'm sure Kathy Goldner, so much more organized than I, has pictures of beautiful wool & blue noses & fingers.

Now back in Maine, where it remains in the upper 30's, I am happy to be typing in front of the woodstove.  But these heroes of the handmade nation must not go unsung!

More later... ( I yarn bombed a CHILD!)