Monday, 2 February 2015

Same Game; Different Name

Northern Loops has kept on knitting on the first Thursday in Dunnet Church Hall unless the few that gathered there--I am ashamed to say I have not been there myself for some time--adjourned to a warmer spot.

A new knitter moved into town a few months ago. I think some folks expected a showdown like the old days of gunslingers shooting it out on the main street. What would the knitting equivalent of that be? Some folks did take a bit of umbrage that this new knitter acted as if she had just invented knitting for charity and chose to put herself at the centre of the gratitude and the giving, but that is, after all, just a detail. So she staked another day in another church hall and got a handful of knitters and they did what knitters do--made things for people who--we hope--need them and like them.

If Martha Washington and her handful of ladies had not taken a wagon into Valley Forge and knitted and darned and stitched and spun, then that grisly winter would have taken an even more desperate toll than it did.

I confess I took pride in upholding the first law of Maimonides that the best giving is where both the donor and the recipient are anonymous with our charity knitting, but now it is personal with me. I asked my pals to knit along with me for someone we know.

Because she is a private person, I will not put her name or relationship or anything like that here. She does not want to be thought of any differently because of her health issue. I have to respect that if I am going to help.

And helping is what it is all about. In the way of magical thinking, which we all invoke when faced with the too many things we cannot fix, I've learned a new cast on and learned how to use yfwd and skpo to make designs. I've picked designs that mean something to me and to the shawl-ee and asked all my friends to pick designs that mean something to them. And it is wonderful to hear reports of the incredible talent and imagination my friends are bringing to the task. Together we'll come up with the 46 squares that comprise the Herring Girl Wrap (you can find it on Ravelry if you're curious).and certainly all that good will and imagination will work its magic.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Thank you, Wick-ed!

This is my first ever pair of hand made needles. I had the pleasure of spending some time knitting and chatting with Wick-ed--a group of students from Wick High School that are entrepreneuring to learn skills and raise money.

That Saturday some were toiling in the kitchen making bath bombs and candles, a group was rehearsing for a song and dance competition, and some were knitting or crocheting. It was a lovely, semi chaotic medley of energy and enthusiasm.

The needles were a wonderful surprise and reminder of a great day.  Best wishes, Wick -ed. I'll come and see you again some time. Meanwhile, keep stitching.

One Good Stitch Leads to Another

I'm chagrined it's been so long since I've written.

Northern Loops is still ticking along with shawls or other charity-minded bits in the Dunnet Church Hall. Thanks for all that good stitiching and good conversation.

I had an opportunity personally to revisit the goals of Northern Loops in connecting with other knitters at the UK Handkniting Association's Link Up booth at Creative Stitches. I wrote about it in the local paper. It was a pleasure to teach new knitters and knit along with folks whose skills are obvious even in a simple garter stitch and even to listen to the knit stories. Knitting touches lives in so many ways.

Denise and Terry measuring the day's lineage at Link Up in Glasgow

Monday, 27 August 2012

Sorting Wool

The wind is whistling, which is not as bad as huffing or soughing, but bad enough to make indoors look better than outdoors, and the wind has teamed up with the rain to splatter aginst the window.  A very good day for sorting out wool.

I have been given wool of all colours and shapes and sizes for Northern Loops.  With some of the wool, our merry band of knitters have made squares, triangles, flowers, hearts, and larger projects such as blankets and shawls.  Digging through the wool prompted me to reflect on all that work and the various rewards we had all received from the efforts.  Thanks again to all those who gave us the wool and to the madacap band of knitters who made it all happen.

Just as I am sorting out wool I am sorting out my own commitments. Just as I am ready to hand on the wool, I am ready also to hand on the coordination and the vision behind the wool.  A friend of mine recently reassured me that someone steps up to take on an organisation and I look forward to having that happen as Northern Loops moves into someone else's hands.

In the meantime, I have bags of wool labelled--this somehow made it more orderly in my mind--for a friend who knits like mad for charity.  The little bits of wool I might otherwise have overlooked or thought were of no use will make Swiss darned flowers atop a baby's hat, or the face on a clown puppet or the stripe in a T shirt for a Shoebox.  Thinking of that made me happy.  Seeing through someone else's vision is refreshing.

A local group of knitters, Thurso Yarnbombers (look for them on Facebook) have been invited by local museum (Caithness Horizons) to make a sea-themed project so I have a bag of creams and blues that I hope will become a part of their project.  I have said that I was too busy to knit for them, but as I sorted through the wool, I reserved for myself the green, knobbly wool that could make some lovely seaweed.  But again I am happy to be sending the wool out to play and staying home myself.

Two giant bags of squares and triangles are set aside for Northern Loops' Dunnet group, the shawl ministry.

The largest bags of all are for a woman who knits almost as much as I breathe.  Many of the squares, triangles, flowers, shawls, and blankets are her handiwork.  When she said, "I love mohair," I added that bag of wool to the one set aside of miscellaneous DK wool.  If the rain let's up, I'll deliver her wool this afternoon.  The rest of the bags will go out in their own time as I meet with my friends and listen to their projects and ideas and hear about where the wool is going. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

A New Deadline for a Good Cause

It has been a week of coincidences.  At our first Northern Loops meeting since my return, I was given some squares done by one of our occasional knitter-visitors.  I thanked her and wondered what I was going to do with them

As I was wondering I received the following email:

Just wondering if anyone in your knitting groups would be able to help with this

To cut through their rather vague website, Alzheimer Scotland are trying to break the world record for a knitted blanket.
They need 4" (10cm) squares knitted.
Any wool, any stitch.
The only snag is that they need them before 30th May, but it takes no time at all to knit one 4" square. Every little helps.
If anyone makes several squares, please can they sew them up, in to strips of ten.
If more than one strip is made, please can the strips be sewn together.

Sorry for the short deadline, I've only just found out about this myself.

Best wishes,

The squares I had received were 4 inches square, so I have a start on a few squares.

Because the time is short, I am using our online communication to reach as many loopsters as possible.  Please do a few squares for Alzheimer's Scotland in the time we have.  I'll collect them and send them on.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Volunteering Takes You Places: Estonia

Alexander Nevsky cathedral looming over old houses in Tallinn city centre

I am just back from a week in Estonia, thanks to support from the following organisations:  (Thanks also to Joanne Kaar. I pinched this notice from her blog because I am not techno savvy enough to do it on my own.)

This trip was organised and funded by:
Arch Network is a Scottish Non Government Organisation promoting learning and development in natural and cultural heritage between Scotland and other European countries..
Culture and Heritage Interpretation and Sustainable Tourism Program (CHIST

I was able to take this trip not because I am rich or well connected but because I work unpaid for something I believe in--preserving our heritage and connecting with each other. It sounds so simple, doesn't it?  But heritage often becomes the thing that everyone knows until no one knows it any more and someone says why didn't somebody do something?

So volunteering is part of that being a somebody who does something.

This is Voluntary Arts and Crafts Week, so get out and see what 2 million people in the UK alone enjoy every day. Tomorrow we are celebrating at Castlehill Heritage Centre with a wooly taster session.  The spinners and dyers will be cooking up things and we'll have felting for necklaces or snakes--to each his or her own.  There will be knitting and crochet and we expect a special guest appearance by the proper star of this wooly event--a lovely ewe and her new lamb.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Latest Addition to Shawl Ministry

I am as always running behind time. Today will be Northern Loops Dunnet and I cannot face my pals without having added at least one photo of their recent contributions--I had forgotten that I had these in my camera!
If you are a knitter, you will quickly spot that this is not knit--it is crocheted. We are not craft snobs--as in that old joke about an American cowboy celebrating his liberal tastes --"I like both types of music-- country and western."

I must confess I learned to crochet first and so sometimes even now when I want something fast or a certain shape or size, I reach for a crochet hook. Take a look at the lovely detailing in Ruan's shawl at the tip. Someone will be very happy to receive this. Tomorrow I will have a post about one of the folks who received a shawl.