Dear knitters, rejoice! One more blanket for the youth shelter is done! It was stitched together by the students of Cunard Junior High School in Halifax from these squares.
I love it. It makes sense in terms of design and colours, and let me assure you — it takes a lot of time and effort to produce a blanket of this size. There were some creative solutions, like folding and stitching over the part of the square to make a straight edge. Also, some squares are mysteriously missing on one side… but it’s still beautiful. I don’t know how many students worked on it or how old they were but they did an incredible job. This is the school and it has a special place in my knitting life.
There is a small and very warm Cunard pond right behind the school, with the supervised beach and the volleyball court filled with white sand. There are few things I enjoy more in the summer than watching my children play on that beach while knitting something for them. We also feel super outdoors-y when we bike to the said beach, swim in the pond, and bike back home just before the sunset. Just like that one.
I haven’t decided what to do with the missing part yet… and while I am figuring it out, the blanket will stay with me a little longer, warm and beautiful, just like the children and adults who made it.
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I have to tell you something strange — recently I almost stopped knitting. I knit some things here and there, but in general I don’t pick up my knitting every free minute, as I did before. For the last three months, I was spending every free minute online trying to figure out if my home country, Ukraine, still exists. I won’t go into political stuff here, but you can imagine that a question of that magnitude can distract from.. pretty much everything else.
That’s why I was happy to hear that Phoenix Community Center offered me to teach a knitting class to its clients. The class is scheduled for six weeks, every Monday morning. Some people who signed up wanted to refresh their skills, and some wanted to try knitting for the first time. I started thinking about a useful project that would allow my students to practice basic stitches. When I was buying yarn, Louise from LK Yarns suggested making wristwarmers. I thought it was brilliant, and made one when I came home that very day. (There is no pattern — I cast on 40 sts and knit all stitches until the piece wrapped “snuggly” around my wrist. Sew the seam leaving the opening.)
My students liked the idea and three of them already finished their mitts! Another idea came from an experienced knitter who showed up with a dishcloth in progress. Suddenly, everyone wanted to make one. So we got some cotton yarn and learned to read a dishcloth pattern called Grandmother’s Favourite.
Teaching knitting techniques to a group of knitters with different skill levels is tricky. It’s a bit chaotic, but also very fluid. I am just trying to meet everyone where they are and take it from there. Making samples boosted my knitting mojo a bit, and I was able to finish a sweater that was a WIP (work-in-progress) for almost two years.
I don’t know what it says about me as a knitter, but I have no projects on the needles right now and no interest in starting one. Which is good, because I am going to sew another Ukrainian flag.
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Last Wednesday I spent an awesome morning with Fireside Knitters. It’s a knitting group that meets twice a month, on Wednesday at 10am in the Keshen-Goodman library. It provides an opportunity for new immigrants to socialize and get to know locals who share their craft. There was a translator, a young girl who was crocheting something delicate; there was food from different countries. It was lovely.
In my earlier post, I mentioned this group, supported by ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia) and Keshen-Goodman library, because they knit for charities and they need yarn. I brought some yarn for them, and see that huge orange bag under the table? It’s full of blanket squares. One square is the very first project done by a woman who learned how to knit in this group. And those squares will make a whole blanket that will be donated to Phoenix Youth Shelter.
A few days before I met Fireside Knitters, a person named Dulseigh contacted me and asked for assistance with the knitted items drive for the Metro Turning Point, a shelter for men. I loved her motivation behind it — she was involved in organizing Mother’s Day gifts for all the residents at two of HRM’s Women’s Shelters, so she decided to do something for men as well. There are about 80 clients who stay at the shelter, and Dulseigh hopes to collect hats and mittens that can be distributed in winter. There are no specific requirements for yarn, as long as you can make a pair of men-size mitts or a hat out of it. Dulseigh started a Facebook page, and I see some people signed up, and some people offered to donate yarn. The drop off location for finished items is The Loop. And if you wish to put yarn in hands of people who can turn it into warm hats and mittens, please bring it to the LK Yarns (please mark your package ‘For Turning Point’). Thank you!
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