The ruminations of an artist on art & quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

KNITALONG! the book!

by Larissa Brown & Martin John Brown

Imagine my delight and surprise when we received this lovely book at Mrs. Dalloway's (the bookstore where I work here in Berkeley), and found my name among the other knitters on the endpapers!

Awhile ago I was surfing around the web reading knitting and craft blogs and came across the blog Stitch Marker by Larissa in Portland, Or.....and she was asking for knitters to knit a square for an afghan for a charity---and maybe she would also put the square into a book she was writing on the topic of "knitalongs" which she defined as "any organized event where people knit together for a common purpose or goal."

I happened to be leaving the next day on at trip and thought knitting a square would be a good project to work on while I printed out the instructions and found some pretty sock yarn in my stash and added this to my carry-on backpack. I knit the square in airports and finished it just in time---I was in Portland, so decided to drop the sqaure off at the address she had posted on her blog--so we went there, only to find (duh!) that the address was a mail ended up mailing the square after all. In all this traveling and knitting--I never did get a photo of the square....but here is one of the afghans in the book made from these squares.

Larissa writes about this process in her book---"I wrote a plea on my blog to recruit test knitters. Each would choose his or her own sock yarn to make a square. The squares would be mailed to me, and I would assemble them into the Barn-Raising Quilt. I didn't set a sign-up limit. I figured I'd use any extra squares to make blankets for charity. How many could that be? Well...thanks goodness Martin figured out how to automate the sign-ups at, because by the end there were 500 knitters." So--I was one of the 500 knitters! but still my name is credited on the endpapers...

This book also provides an interesting history of "knitalongs" of the past--including ways women tried to reduce the drudgery of knitting socks for a living, or the story of how orphans were compelled to knit for their own "self-improvement" to the tradition of knitting wartime socks--all paired with great knitting patterns the reader can use to create their own projects.

Included are 6 projects where the authors ran online knitalongs and write "we loved the way different knitters working from the same pattern produced finished objects that are so remarkably individual, so we've posted the entire galleries for you to visit at" I heartily recommend you check out their website, as well as purchase this wonderful book!

I have always--since I learned to knit in the 1950's from my beloved Grandmother---been involved with knitting groups, and participated in many co-operative projects---from knitting a scarf that is passed around from knitter to knitter (also a project in this book) to knitting or crocheting squares for a co-operatively made baby blanket---so this book struck a harmonious chord with me. I feel blessed to be alive now in the era of the internet which allows us fellow knitters to connect from all over the globe and create a project together, or be inspired by someone's knitting project--even though they live far away.

Since discovering the world of net knitters and knitting blogs I have made about 6 squares for charity projects and sent them off--and 3 hats! and I have knit one healing blanket for an ailing friend, and I am currently in the process of creating a co-operatively knit "healing blanket" for another very ill friend....and I certainly agree with Larissa when she writes: "Making something for another person is a profound act. In a world where we often become obsessed with "quick gifts" and piling up FOs (finished objects), its easy to forget what a fundamental and meaningful gesture it is to knit something and give it away. Giving is at the very heart of the knitting experience and the culture of knitting together."

Thank you Larissa and Martin for articulating this all so profoundly and for creating this book! Oh, and did I mention that the photos in the book are stunning?

1 comment:

Gretchen said...

How neat to be involved in a project like this!

I love how the blanket turned out.