Knit Together: Blanket square

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My blanket square for the Knit Together Project, organized by the wonderful Melissa at Knitting the Stash, is done.  I had a lot of fun working on this one.

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 gift coverThe 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.

 

extra yarn2

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.

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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?  :

Agnes of Ready to Knit
Karen of Nothing But Knit
Melinda of Knit Potion
Tony of The Yarn Blabber

(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.

 

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16 thoughts on “Knit Together: Blanket square

  1. I love the sentiment behind your square, Shirley! History & tradition, kindness & generousity are all things that attracted me to the knitting & fiber world. And I just added The Gift to my to-read list, too – thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Mandy, for reading. Absolutely – it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy and be part of those things (history especially) through this craft and fiber world (though, I am still very much learning about the fiber world, and your blog has been a great source of information). I really enjoyed the message of The Gift – glad to know it’s of interest! I’m looking forward to learning more about your square + fiber! Happy Making, Mandy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post, thank you Shirley. There is indeed a lot of gift giving in the knitting community, and I have learned so much from knitters who freely shared their advices, tips and techniques. And thank you so much for tagging me: I would be happy to participate in this unique project. I might be the first one to respond 😉 Your square is striking and unique, I love the contrasting color and what it represents.

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    1. Thank you for reading, Agnes. Yes, I can’t acknowledge enough how much I’ve learned from people who have given all of those things you mention, freely. I’ve learned a lot from Ready to Knit, and am so glad there’s a place I can go to catch up on recent knitting trends + news and find fresh inspiration through your projects. Thank you!

      And thank you for contributing a square – I’m so very glad, and know your square will be gorgeous! Feel free to reach me through Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/people/scyeung) or e-mail (handmade.habit@gmail.com) and the DPNs will be on their way to you! Bisous. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shirley!! I ❤ your square!! It's so *cool* to see the Looney Tunis yarn incorporated 🙂 I have been curious as to whether anyone would find a way to blend it in. And your sentiments about the knitting community are wonderful. They remind me of some earlier reading I did of Kate Davies Haps and Clara Parkes Knitlandia . . . there is something about the community building in this fiber world that I love very much. It's been so wonderful getting to know you through this blog and to have you in the project is just perfection.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, again, for sharing this beautiful fiber with me! It was an absolute treat to knit up, like cotton candy! 😀 I will check out the texts by Davies and Parkes, thanks for suggesting them. Knit Together is such a great way of representing and discovering community – it will be so interesting to follow this project in the months and time to come. Likewise, Melissa – it’s been a treat to get to know you through the podcast and blog, too, and I’m very glad to be a part of your project! (I will post you the square in the next couple of days). 🙂

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  4. Oh, my! What a wonderful post! Just reading it feels like a gift. 🙂 I can’t wait to take a look at both of these books, and I’d love to participate in the Knit Together Project. Life is feeling particularly hectic at the moment, so stepping back and doing something to contribute to a project like this will be just the grounding I need, a perfect, tangible way to connect with this amazing knitting community I’m so lucky to be part of. Thank you for tagging me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Melinda, for reading, and participating in the Knit Together! 🙂 I am so glad and excited you’re joining. 😀 Yes – I agree that the project is a very tangible way to see the connections (which I’m very grateful for, too, as I am for all of the knowledge, stories and *wisdom* you’ve shared on your blog). Wishing you a smooth next few days, and sending all good thoughts for next week, Melinda! Thank you, again. 🙂

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  5. Nice! I saw this on Instagram last night, and I just love the striking design… How clever that you were able to incorporate some of the mini-skein, too! Now I’m off to hunt down the books you’ve recommended… “Extra Yarn” looks awesome, just from the illustration you included in your post! What’s your next knitting adventure going to be?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Helen. The fiber Melissa sent is so lovely, I couldn’t help but knit it up right away. 🙂 “Extra Yarn” is a delightful story and Annabelle, its main character, is my knitting heroine. I loved finding a children’s book on and about knitting – the world needs more of this, I think.

      I hope to write about the next project soon; it’s a first go at a blanket. 🙂 How about you? Wishing you many new Beastie projects on the horizon!

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      1. Thanks, Shirley! I actually ended up watching the video you linked to… That book is beautiful! Am I right in thinking it’s actually a British one? If so, maybe I’ll find a copy over here! Have fun with your new blanket project – I’m getting an elite team of Beasties together for a market on Saturday, so it’s full steam ahead here this week 😀

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