Sunday, June 07, 2015

Silly Name for a Serious Bit of History

I've set up a Knit in Public event at Brough Bay for June 13th, the tenth anniversary of World Wide Knit in Public day (wwkipday). Taking your knitting needles and knitting in public hardly sounds revolutionary, especially for those of us known to have our needles at hand and pull them out during meetings or at lunch, but there is a serious intent behind it as well.

First, it is to honour women's work which is often invisible or unrecorded because it was done in the home or consumed or overlooked. Knitting was not just a luxury for folks up here--it was a necessity.  Women (and some men, too) knit for their own use and to make money to support their families. That's why I've picked gansey squares as a project. It gives us a hands on way to remember the fishermen's sweaters that men at Brough Bay would have worn.

Secondly, it gives folks who have grown up in a consumer economy a valuable you can do it yourself lesson: one stitch, one square may not transform a life, but it plants a seed of an idea--doing things with your hands is  good for you.  The thought that goes into designing, adapting,  or following a pattern involves some complex thinking skills.  Not hard, anyone can do it, that is the beauty of it. 

There are experts now that tell us doing something different with each of our hands is a great brain builder.  You don't often get to wear a successful story problem, but the same skills are used in knitting that you use to solve the problems that annoyed me so desperately in school. I never cared whether Train A arrived before Train B, but I could have been persuaded to noodle through a knit pattern. 

So for a little bit of fun and history and revolution, come along to Brough Bay Saturday June 13th. Beginners are welcome. We'll have extra needles and wool, so all you need is your curiosity.


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