My square uses a combination of fibres: the main colour is from the Stonehedge Fiber Mill – a farm in East Jordan, Michigan, that has been around for all of 157 years. This worsted weight blend is Stonehedge Fiber’s amazing Shepherd’s Wool Yarn in the Autumn Gold colour way: it is incredibly soft, probably the softest and cushiest blend I’ve ever knit up (more on Shepherd’s Wool Yarn here). Doubling up strands to work the yarn on size 11 DPNs produced a soft, billowy, marshmallowy square.
The Square Story
I wanted to reflect, through my square, on the kindness and generosity of crafters and makers. The square’s streak of bright blue is taken from the mini-skein of fiber that Melissa sent in the mail, and so includes her kind gesture (thank you, Melissa!). One of my favourite knitting stories on this theme is the children’s book Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett. Have you heard of it? (there is an enthusiastic Youtube reading, if you’re interested). Apart from John Klassen’s fantastic illustrations of a community connected by knitting, I think that Extra Yarn is a beautiful story about the intrinsic gift-nature of knitting – one that, as the story explores, threads people together, and comes from an invisible but inexhaustible source of generosity.
Extra Yarn reminds me of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the modern World (1983) which makes the very similar case that a creative process relies on gift-giving and what he discusses as the logic of “the gift” – things freely given with no set conditions for return or reciprocity. These gifts – whether out-of-the-blue ideas, resources, tools, knowledge, time – are meant to circulate, and often have mysterious or unexpected origins (his reading, for example, of The Shoemaker and the Elves sees the tale as an example of gift-logic at work). The continued circulation of gifts is what enables makers to produce and generate new ideas, making acts of acceptance and giving the heart of creativity. What’s more, Hyde suggests that each artist’s unique contribution adds to and enhances the whole (and so Hyde makes the case that artistic works be treated as social endowments and kept accessible to the public).
The message of Extra Yarn and The Gift seemed to echo the underlying spirit of the Knit Together. I was oddly starting to feel as though I was being reminded, by various sources, of an important message. I have come to see and appreciate how much knitting (and knitters) have given me, and the importance of finding ways to share what I’ve learned.
From Extra Yarn. Copyright 2012 Jon Klassen
DPN Tag (a.k.a. would you like to contribute a square?)
Speaking of sharing and circulating… Part of the Knit Together Project includes co-creating a blanket by circulating shared tools: sets of DPNs.
Several DPNs are circulating through a system of tagging; I received these DPNs in the mail and now that I’m done with my square, I’m to tag a few other knitters to participate and find someone to pass the needles along to. In other words, it’s time to set the DPNs free and find them a new home so that the blanket-making can continue.
I thought of the knitting bloggers whose words and works I’ve come to enjoy and learn so much from over the past year. I highly recommend reading these exquisite knitting blogs!
Are you interested and available to join the Knit Together Project? :
(I’ll send the single-set of DPNs above to the first tagged person who agrees in the comments)
To the tagged: The idea is to send an 8″ x 8″ blanket square to Melissa (knittingthestash.wordpress.com) who is collecting all the squares. They will be seamed together, and a draw will be held among the square-contributors to receive the blanket FO(s).
The tag to knit a square (and tag another fellow-knitter) is still extended whether or not DPNs are sent directly to you.
Finally, I completely understand if this is a busy time that may not easily lend itself to an extra blanket square. No worries if you choose to decline. 🙂
All the details + the project’s contact e-mail are available on Melissa’s Knit Together Project Page.
Looking forward, friends. And Happy Knitting to you.