What a Weekend!
I say all this because this is one of the weekends that I basically worked through - and loved every minute of it. First I visited the Harlem Knitting Circle (firstname.lastname@example.org). I dropped in at the end of the meeting - hoping to meet the group leader and organizer, Njoya Angrum (http://www.ny1.com/ny1/OnTheAir/nyer_of_the_week.jsp) Even at the meeting's end there must have been at least 75 people in the room - and a lot had already departed! The group filled an entire "Community Room" in the local public library and there were all levels of crocheters, knitters and quilters in attendance. The level of experience and knowledge was obviously high as was the warm welcome for the announcement I made regarding an upcoming event at Knitty City (more on that later). Tables were set up all over and the stage at the head of the room was filled with women quilting. Dawn Nellis, a well known quilting expert, was running a workshop for it and there were a number of women there from her quilting group. Dawn's own work is influenced by her knowledge of African and African American culture and she is, herself, a treasure trove of knowledge and information.
Historial influence captivates my imagination and deepens my interest in handwork immeasurably. I've always known that it's part of my own DNA and when I consider how it links us through our individual and collective pasts, the spirit of the work resonates even more. Who among our group of dedicated craft workers has not breathed a sigh of reverence or cried outright when faced with work of past generations and/or cultures? The "memory" is in our fingers, our hearts and our souls.
This segue does have a reason for being and here it is:
For the past few weeks, I have been completely enthralled and captivated by this new book from Interweave Press - Knitting Out of Africa.(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1931499985/qid=1141045684/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-7849415-3510224?s=books&v=glance&n=283155) The book is beyond incredible and it has sparked a desire to honor the work by honoring the culture that inspired it. Hence, the reason for my visit to the Harlem Knitting Circle. It was to announce an event that is scheduled for next Saturday, March 4th, at Knitty city (208 w. 79th St, (between Broadway & Amsterdam)
The store will be honoring the book by showcasing it and 6 sweaters sent to us by Interweave Press - especially for the event. We will also be hosting women whose work draws inspiration from their culture. We will have a quilter, a crocheter and a knitter in attendance. Anyone who is interested should come. The "show" is free but the inspiration will be priceless. That's it for the "advertisement".
Sunday dawned cold and crisp and I admit that I was tempted to stay indoors and enjoy my 18 month old nephew's presence in our home, but am I glad i ventured forth. I attended the awards ceremony for the Knitting Olympics. Actually, it wasn't so much an awards ceremony as it was a chance for the members of a down town group called Booze and Yarns to convene. Hosted by Corrina Mantlo, the downtown group met to collect items intended for charitable causes and to schmooze and share. Again, the range of people was impressive I was lucky enough to sit between two incredibly gifted people. A wonderful knitter named Alphone Poulin who collaborated on a book called Knitting with a Smile and the founder of the group, Corinna, (www.boozeandyarns.com) Corninna is a rebel with a cause and her formation of this group was due to a desire to share her knowledge and interest and to grow the passion for knitting and neighborhood - and she has succeeded admirably. The group is filled with young, energetic, smart people who obviously have a common ethic. I can't recommend her group and their spirit highly enough!
So there you have it. My idea of the perfect weekend - one spent exploring, learning and sharing - and talking! In between these iimportant visits, I visited Knitty City - nothing can keep me away - ordered some interesting new patterns for the store - conferred with Pearl Chin, the owner and visionary behind Knitty City, helped a few customers (I love doing that since I get to meet other knitters and hear their stories), had dinner with old friends and went to a party where two people told me I had "style" - and they were strangers. I will tell you where the real "style" is - it's in those groups which I was fortunate to attend - it's in their variety, their knowledge, their community and their hands!
Before I close, I have to share a dream I had on Friday night. In the dream I was worrying about losing my way - i was lost in a foreign country - but I found my way home with the help of another woman who told me she had been knitting all her life - and it was that connection between us that prompted her to help me. I told her that knitting had saved my life. So it appears that I have found a way to "knit" in my sleep after all. Have a great week!