I’ve been away for a minute, because spring. In Germany, spring doesn’t just mean Easter and half-term Holidays, it means nature is waking up, and of Course working in the garden. Now I know, the British are known for simply fabulous gardens, but so are many Germans. They love a beautiful garden (of whatever size – from balcony to tea-towel size and bigger), to provide a lovely island of tranquility.
Spring is also the start of the beekeeper year, and I’ve been away for a while, getting my hives sorted. I’m doing a beekeepers course, so I thought I’d drop some bee-themed knits:
While I’ve been away, I’ve been watching fashion historian Amanda Hallay’s The Ultimate Fashion History on Youtube when I’ve been too tired to knit. She goes all the way from Prehistoric fashion to the present day, looking at History, Art, and politics and how fashion responded to the life of the times (Her favourite Quote is “Fashion is not an Island, it’s a Response”).
So, I went to my first fibre Festival this Weekend: Wollandia. And it was awesome. It was an intimate (less than 100 exhibitors) gathering of independent dyers, Spinners and purveyors of other sheep-related goodness. It was Wollandia’s first time too, so we had that in common! The organizer Erica Carnevale did an amazing job.
If this is going to be a yearly event, then I can definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the Pforzheim area (any good sat-nav will get you there). There were independent dyers (whose names I only know from Ravelry and browsing Etsy or its German pendant Dawanda). And of course it’s great to be able to take the yarn into your hands before buying.
Tips for visiting yarn festivals:
Wear walking shoes
Take a friend – or make friends there -complimenting dyers’ work, collecting cards and having a chat always goes down a treat.
Beforehand – look at the exhibitor list and develop a strategy.
Do a full circle and have a good look at everything before starting to buy. Unless you plan to visit a specific vendor.
plan for emergencies: Enough cash on hand? the location of the next closest cash machine may be good to know.
You can’t stifle kindness and creativity! I thought I’d share this story today.
Aspen Poole is a 19 year-old knitter at Vestal High School, who knits (at an amazing pace!) and crafts for charity. She learned to knit through touch at about age seven, as she was born blind.
Like many of us, she uses her knitting to stay focussed.
Several of Poole’s teachers, including her Participation in Government teacher, Brian Donlin, understand knitting helps Poole learn and allow her to knit in class. Other teachers have also adapted to Poole’s unique way of focusing. She was cast as a townsperson who knits in “Beauty and the Beast” and will even knit onstage…
If she doesn’t need to use her hands or type on her BrailleNote, Poole keeps her hands busy by knitting.
I’ve been away from the keyboard for a minute. And it got me thinking: most non-knitters think that we knit to entertain ourselves. But that isn’t even often the main reason we knit (for meditation, to calm, to create, to name a few).
I know quite a few people who get upset if a person knits in their presence. They believe that we aren’t paying Attention, some are even insulted by it. I can totally play board games and knit at the same time!
During the Holiday Season, I’ve been spending time with the Kids on Holiday, and thinking about blog goals for the New Year: more of everything, and consistency really. Same as every year, James.*
*From the classic “Dinner for One” comedy sketch that runs every year in Germany on New Year’s Eve at least 15 times on various TV channels.
In the second week of the course, we have been looking at society’s heroes: Military, pop and cultural heroes. And of course, how these have influenced Fashion, from Bruce Lee’s tracksuit, to the trenchcoat, hoodies and MoonBoots. We were also asked to reflect on our own heroes. And what they would wear.
My hero of the Moment is Binti, from nigerian-american sci-fi and fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor. Binti is a young math prodigy from a future Earth, who leaves her home and Family to be the first to go to University off-world. She’s a member of the southern African Himba People, who cover their Skin and hair with a red clay mix called Ojitze.
In the novel, even though they are skilled craftsmen of futuristic Technologies, they maintain a crucial link through their clothes to their roots. Okorafor describes Binti as being the only one from her ethnic group going to University, so she pretty much stands out (as she does in the general science-fiction/ fantasy landscape) with dark skin, different clothes and hair braided with her family codes and coated with ojitze.
Her clothes and the accessories she takes from home with her basically help her become heroic, and broker a peace between warring civilizations. The collage above, is my visualization of Binti’s ‘running away’ outfit, which is at once a mix of traditional and futuristic: A silky red skirt, a functional orange softshell jacket, anklets to protect against snakes in the grass, her high-tech astrolabe on a chain and mysterious edan (reimagined as a box clutch).
The Textile museum in Nettetal is called “Die Scheune (the barn)” in a lovely old building close to what was previously the toll close to the Dutch border. This area along the Rhine is still a prosperous agricultural area (flat fields and wooded area stretch for miles and miles inviting you to get out a bike, and get rolling!).
Images from The Textile Museum; Spinning wheel from De Pannekookehuus (The Pancakehouse).
Earlier, among other things, a lot of flax was grown in the region. Linen was a commonly used fabric. If you wanted it white, then you had to send it off to Antwerp to have it bleached. Of course the Antwerper craftsmen kept their trade process a secret, and built up a thriving trade, in part making the city the bustling trade centre it was and still is.
The very act of bringing all my stash together made me realize that Stash Therapy can be a cool way of looking at life. First off, I had all this yarn tucked away in three different rooms, not including a container in the cellar. So bringing it all together, is also a bit of consolidation. I can remember, for the most part, how I came by each ball and skein.
I can see how my relationship with knitting took a turn from buying cheap discounter yarns, to higher quality, to organic wool. I can see the risks I’ve taken, trying out non-wool blends, linen, cotton, alpaca-silk.
You’ll see some knitted things in there as well. Those are things I’ve made, and am perfectly willing to frog them and reuse the yarn, if a more interesting idea pops up.
I’ll be doing a Stash Therapy challenge later this month with some Internet knitting galpals. So, I’m excited to have it all out in the open.
Next steps: unpacking and grouping them by colour.