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If you are local to Nova Scotia, you are probably tired of jokes about the weather these days. Honestly, the only reason for my post today is to replace the picture of icy trees and the grey skies on my blog with something else. (Almost made a joke about pictures of rain instead). 

Now, I totally see how this cold and wet weather doesn’t inspire anyone to knit more warm mittens and hats. For example, I am knitting a sweater for my daughter that I hope she will wear one day with no jacket over it. (Almost suggested that such day might never come).

So today I would like to entertain you with some gifts that I recently made for my teachers and my classmates (I am graduating soon). The three knitted bracelets were gifted before I took pictures of them. Each had a “hidden meaning” (like a symbolic colour or pattern) that was revealed to their owners. I was debating whether I should publish the written notes for the other two gifts but decided to leave them out because the metaphors were based on our shared knowledge and experiences. I will still tell you what they meant in general.

Gifts1

This heart is the metaphor for “the bleeding heart” (values and strong beliefs) that is simultaneously “the heart of gold” (compassion towards others). The deeper meaning is about feeling compassionate towards people whose beliefs are very different from ours, about seeing human beings through the lens of their experiences and struggles, about not making people feel “wrong” when we passionately articulate why we are “right”.

Heart

The second gift symbolizes something that seems simple, just like a ball, but there are many different parts intricately woven together. Sometimes the part is visible, sometimes it’s not, but it’s still there.  And often it’s not easy to put it together but then it holds in one piece, seamlessly. At times it seems almost impossible, unless you are a knitter… or (insert your own word). If at loss, try “a mother”.

Knitted ball

I loved working on these projects. Looking through patterns and knitting was fun but I also enjoyed thinking about the connections and carefully choosing my words to make those gifts meaningful.

As we are waiting for the sun to finally show up (yep, still talking about the weather), maybe you could also warm up someone’s heart with a small unexpected hand-made gift? I bet it will make you feel warmer, too.

p.s. In case you wonder, the heart pattern is here, and the knitted ball pattern is here.

Hello dear knitters, are you staying warm? It’s cold here but also kind of beautiful.

Berries_in_Ice

Yesterday everything was encased in ice but there is not much of it left today.

Tree_in_Ice

The ice started melting but in the process it formed tiny icicles hanging from the branches. When the sun shone through them, they looked like a nature’s Christmas garland.

Tree_in_Ice2

It seems like the best weather to donate a warm blanket to the youth shelter. The blanket squares were made by lovely ladies in one of the senior residence houses. I finished stitching this blanket today and took it out for a photo shoot.

Blanket1

I walked to the nearby park and almost froze my hands off while taking pictures.

Blanket2

On my way back, I wrapped the blanket around my shoulders and it made a long and colourful cape blown by the wind.  I wish I met someone who could take a picture to share with you but the streets were empty. Yep, it is really cold here.

Needles? Who needs them?

Hello dear knitters,

Last fall I learned something amazing about knitting — we don’t really need the needles to knit. Here is the scarf that my 7-year-old daughter made for her teacher using only her little fingers. Here is the video that we used to educate ourselves about this technique. Basically, the knitted fabric is a palm-wide stripe of loopy stockinette stitch that rolls into a tube. The bulky weight yarn is the best for one strand or you can combine two yarns of medium weight to create a more interesting visual effect.

Scarf_Finger_Knitting
I know it’s been around for a while but the awesome thing is that it is so simple, even 5-year-olds can learn it. And who told me about it? A 10-year-old boy who knits (he uses the needles AND the loom).

After looking at the video, I decided that it’s a perfect craft technique to share with school-age children. I set up a few workshops and at least 40 children (in small groups of ten) had a chance to play with the yarn and create bracelets, necklaces, and even one very thick ring using this method.

This experience inspired me to offer two finger knitting classes and two beginner knitting classes for children during the knit night at the Spryfield library. The library staff supported this idea and published the announcement in the library guide.  We decided to have only 6 children at a time (and they need to sign up through the library) so that everyone can have as much support as they needed.

Well, no children came to the first class, although some signed up. I guess it is quite late at night and it was freezing cold that evening. I felt a little disappointed but luckily I had my children with me and they produced these. My daughter made a scarf for her friend and the black and brown bracelet was made by my 5-year-old son — see what I mean? It’s that easy. (I apologize for the terrible picture quality, I had to take it at night because the red scarf was a gift and was gone the next day).

Scarf_Finger_Knitting3
Can you see it better here? Well, I tried.

Scarf_Finger_Knitting2
While the kids were working on their finger knitting, two ladies came and they wanted to learn how to knit. One of them had some experience and the other one didn’t. We all sat at the same table and at the end of the evening the ladies managed to knit a few rows of garter stitch. One of them was saying “I am doing it! I am knitting!”. Ahh, music to the knitter’s ears.

So I started a social group to hang out with knitters at the library but realized that I really enjoy sharing my skills with other creative beings, especially children. Weird, huh? But I am loving it.

Have you tried teaching anyone how to knit or crochet? I would love to hear your stories.

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