Monday, June 14, 2010

Why We Knit in Public

It was World Wide Knit in Public Day June 12, ergo we knit in public--on the pedestrian precinct in Thurso and in the education room in Caithness Horizons--to be precise.

The whimsy of a holiday based on knitting is enough to compel some of us to take to the streets, especially if we have already been known to knit in public.

The baby boomer feminist/knitting nana/poet and former part time amateur cattle wrangler now reinvented as late blooming social entrepreneur persuaded some like minded friends to join me for fun and gentle rabble rousing.

We wanted to provide a prompt for some of those closet knitters to take up their needles once again!

We wanted to find those timid I-always- wanted- -to- knit-but first timers.

And we found a few in each category. One young woman learned knit, purl, rib stitch and casting on and off in one lesson! That much took me years.

Another woman joined us in the museum after the rain drove us into the exhibit that Louise had put together almost single handedly. She sat in, knit a flower and held it triumphantly up to the camera. The look on her face says much about what we hoped to accomplish with the day. I'll add her photo here if she agrees to it.

In the formal language of the social entrepreneur, Knit in Public Day was the launch event for my hopeful idea for an intergenerational knitting programme. Northern Loops has survived two rounds of funding cuts as the idea has been refined from its original concept. According to the NESTA folks who gave me a bit of money to test the idea, one of the nice things about Northern Loops is that it is scalable. Its USP in fact is that it is scalable. In everyday language that means the idea is appealing because it can easily be replicated in other places. I am glad that our idea is scalable, but the first step was to sell it on the precinct.

We gave away knitted flowers (Team mates and I used to love flowers. Perhaps in time we will again but having knitted enough flowers to cover a float in the rose bowl parade I have seen enough for a while.) We also gave out brochures and I must have said intergenerational and all age and partnership between senior knitters and young people about a thousand zillion times.
Everyone liked the idea. Maybe we can translate that into action. Maybe we can sustain that action. Maybe. That's what these next three weeks are going to be all about.

Tomorrow two of us are going into the high school to help a beleaguered home ec teacher convince some students that there is some useful reason to learn to knit. Next week I'll be working with older people to hear their concerns. With a little luck and a fair bit of hard work we may get them together and see if Northern Loops intergenerational knitting programme is destined for the big time.
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At 4:02 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Oh, I sure hope it is! Win-win is another word you could use. It's one of Thad's favorites.


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