Monday, December 6, 2010

Reaching Out with Knitting

Like many others in this class, I had never knitted before the class began. Over the summer, I awkwardly handled my needles, trying so hard to ward off the frustration of not being good at something. Looking back, I think the reason I struggled so much with knitting is because I tried to do it somewhat detached, not putting my whole self into it. I saw it as merely homework that I needed to complete for a grade. I didn't realize that I was learning a powerful skill that would give me the ability to create my own articles of clothing or even objects for the needy. I did not become aware of the power of knitting until I really allowed myself to lose myself in it and experience it without judgment or expectations.
The red scarf I began over the summer had a width of 24 inches. I had no idea what I was doing. I was just trying to knit a scarf. After spending copious amounts of time knitting a scarf with a width of 24 inches, I realized I was getting nowhere. Two weeks of knitting had gotten me around 8 inches in length. One day I showed my freakshow beginner scarf to my godmother, Aunt Carole, desperate for advice. My godmother talked sense into me, informing me that I was wasting time by creating way too much work for myself to enjoy what I was doing. That night, at her house, we ripped out the entire scarf. I felt as if I was destroying my past feelings of frustration and defeat. Then, my godmother and I knitted together. She taught me how to count stitches, and I started my red scarf over (with a width of 8 inches) while she began a beige scarf. We talked and knitted together that night for a few hours, and if felt so good to share that connection with my godmother. She told me about how she knits all of her socks and scarves for herself and others. Her spirit and drive to create was so inspiring.
After my visit with my godmother, I had a completely changed perception of knitting. Instead of homework, I saw it as potentional and options to help others and myself. It's hard to give to charities when all they want is money because I'm a broke college kid. I can barely take care of myself. However, knitting gives me the ability to help out with projects like the Red Scarf Project and the Conway Cradle Care service project by giving my time, efforts, positive energies, and abilities. This handcrafting class has seriously been one of my favorite classes in college, and I feel like I've learned so much...not just because I learned how to knit, but I also learned how to relate such crafts to myself, my community, and the world.

I finished my hat for Conway Cradle Care today, and in the pictures below, I am wearing it along with the red scarf that will be donated to the Red Scarf Project.

In between those two projects, I had made another red scarf identical to the first one which I to La Lucha for their fundraiser to become a non-profit organization. La Lucha is a community space open to all members of the community for creative expression (music shows, art displays, poetry readings, etc.), fair-trade coffee, and meals prepared with local food. It is all ran by donation and aims at educating people about the importance of being conscious of what we consume. I'm excited that my second red scarf was able to contribute to such a wonderful cause!

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