Monday, October 22, 2012

For the Love of Libraries

Monday, October 22, 2012 Maybe it is because I live in a suburb of the huge metropolis of Chicago or maybe it is because I have more time to notice these days, but I am finding many exciting, educational and fun activities through our library system. Not only can I take advantage of my own library offerings, but I can also attend a program in any other village/city for little or no cost. Recently, we have attended several offerings that I want to share here. It is the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts this year and I have signed on to their alumni site, but had not yet gotten too involved. Last week I attended a program presented by Juliette Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, portrayed by an excellent historic reenactor. She stood in front of a lovely, artistic panel which brought us to the woods with her little tri-pod campfire on the floor. "Juliette" talked to us like she was there on a camp-out with her "girls" as she called them. She was dressed in a GS uniform of the time, 1912, and it resembled an army uniform. There were people of all ages and genders in attendance, among them many girls from a local trip. It was quite an enjoyable and easy way to be reminded of this historic woman and her many contributions. Of course, I came right home to research for a "crochet" badge. I found the Senior Textile Artist badge
and also found that today there is a way for girls to create their own badge for topic in which they have a particular interest. It's called "Make Your Own." Hmmm, girls really need a crochet badge, but someone else will have to take on that cause! Back in 2003-04 to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Crochet Guild (CGOA), we developed a patch
in collaboration with DRG, a huge publisher of crochet magazines and books. (Now Annies). We invited young people to attend free learn-to-crochet sessions at our annual conference which was held in Chicago. My mother was my scout leader when I was in elementary school and I still have such fond memories of all those activities and outings we enjoyed. I was a girl scout through my freshman year in high school. Scouting was so unpopular at that age, that I had to join a "Mariner" troop in land-locked Ft. Wayne, IN! I have volunteered to be a Daisy Leader and also a girl scout leader (in Mexico) for my daughters. I have attended the World Center, "our cabana" in Cuernavaca, Mexico (one of four worldwide). Scouting means a lot to me, even at my age! Maybe it shaped who I am. Today, the scouts are entirely different, but I like how they have kept up with the times and promote self-esteem to girls in this difficult and bully-prevalent ambience. I still have my sash
It's a treasure that means a lot to me. It looks like I was interested in the arts back then: painting, basketry,sewing, ceramics, etc are the badges I see. Today, there is a broader range of experience for the "new girl scout." Today they have a "jeweler" badge under the category of "craft." and a "drawing" badge under the category of "artist." After spending last weekend with Chloe, our three-year-old granddaughter, looking for pumpkins and ghosts, I guess we were in macabe mode! Yesterday, we enjoyed the "boo-tiful" music of the Dead Composers Society Orchestra at the library. Their program consisted of classical favorites that bring to life the "spirits" of the season. This trio of women is extremely talented and they know how to entertain. On a roll, we went on a "Ghost Walk" in the evening where we learned all about the ghosts that return to Palatine as either earthbound or spirits. The leader of the tour was very knowlegable and also happened to be an English teacher we had known at the high school attended by our girls.
CUVivQBdY4U/UIcS37IMt9I/AAAAAAAACxg/WhRwYPcfnn0/s1600/2012-10-21%2B08.03.55.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear:right; float:right; margin-left:1em; margin-bottom:1em">

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Many Paths to Crochet

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 It is really amazing and gratifying to stop a moment and to contemplate how far we have come in the crochet world. To think that back in 1994, when the Crochet Guild was beginning to hatch, we were begging for good patterns, rarely saw a new book, didn't have a conference, didn't have guild chapters...We've come along way baby! During this last week, I've been gasping for breath, running around, busying my mind all due to crochet activity. There is so much to celebrate and October 12 was I Love Yarn Day sponsored by the Craft Yarn Council (CYC). I had the idea of yarn-bombing as a way of showing my love of yarn. I threw out the idea and 3 other chapter members stepped up to join my effort. I had spied a "delicious" set of 3 bronze statues depicting children holding hands and skipping. "How perfect and easy," I thought, "to string chains of squares from hand to hand to lend color to this wonderful sculpture. Concetta and Annie (no last names necessary) are experienced yarn bombers and Concetta kindly contributed THIRTY squares. I made 5 more and also the six-foot chains on which I connected all the squares. Janice said she never does anything "bad" so she was all a-twitter during out late night clandestine journey on October 11 to the local public library. "It feels so good being bad," she said.
I had scoped out the library during daylight and night-time hours. I needed to know how long to make the chains so they would fit between the hands. I checked out the lighting from the parking garage to see how much light shown on the shadows and I decided on a parking place that wouldn't draw attention from the neighbors. We all met promptly at 10:00 PM to complete our task just as the library was closing. It was drizzling rain. I wore black and Janice was nervous. Annie and Concetta reassured us that even if the cops came along, they wouldn't be too worried. We could be thought of as library employees or artists doing our thing. It happens. We had great success and did our decorating without any problems.
The morning after. The library seemed honored to be yarn-bombed and they posted a photo on their Facebook page. We also got a shout out on the Facebook page of the CYC! I've been busily finishing up some more of my signature cabochon pins
using fused glass created by my friend, Debbie. She is having a glass show this week and invited me to add these pins to the mix. It will be catered and BYOB, so should be a fun evening. EXCITING News: A grassroots movement has staarted in Wisconsin to establish a Knitting & Crochet Heritage Museum. A symposium will be held on Nov. 8-10 to discuss the progress and where to go next. There is corporate sponsorship and some big names will be presenting at the symposium. The Vision: Raising the status of knitting and crochet Enhancing the visibility of the art form Making knitting more attractive and relevant to current and future generations Creating a space dedicated to knitting scholarship and public education. In sum, we want to preserve, promote and help knitting and crochet continue to evolve. Goals: To preserve and promote the wonders of the works of our hands: past, present and future To restore the status of knitting and crochet to its historic levels. To increase access to and the accuracy of its documentation in history, costume and textile collections. To create a home for the source materials of the America’s knitting superstars, as well as exemplars from all the ethnic groups who brought their fiber traditions to America with them. To foster the continued development, exploration of, and experimentation with, knitting and crochet as an expressive art form so that they remain relevant and vital elements for future artists and crafters. Objectives: To collect, preserve, document and share knitted and crocheted objects and related study materials. To provide academic research resources and internship opportunities To create display space for both permanent and traveling exhibits, as well as a home for the collections and papers of leading designers, To host workshops and classes and the social interaction that promotes creativity and the expansion of our art. Why? Sadly, beautiful exemplars of vintage and historic knitting and crochet are being lost every day, as attics and trunks are “cleaned out.” Existing institutions are not meeting the needs of our knitting and crochet community for access, accuracy and inspiration. Whether as part of general collections held by historic museums, or more specialized costume and textile collections, knitted and crochet objects seldom get first billing. Documentation of the few knitted and crochet objects in these collections can be incomplete or inaccurate. Articles are seldom available for study, or exhibited to the general public. Recent Developments An Ad Hoc Exploratory Team of knitters nationwide is discussing forming an American institute/ museum to serve the goals and objectives outlined above. With the support of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Dr. Ellsworth Brown, Director, we are planning a one-day symposium Spring 2012 in Madison, WI, to explore the concept, and determine next steps. On June 8- I located the collection of Mary Walker Phillips, safely with her family. I can say the Knitting Heritage Museum was born June 12, 2011 when TNNA’s Yarn Group, the committee that supports knitting and crochet, voted to give the symposium effort $5000, $2000 more than my request. Jim Bryson, one of the Yarn Group leaders, created an endowment fund for the Museum, in memory of Bev Galaskes. AMAZING how far we have come since April 29. There is so much more to do. For more info, contact cityknitsdiva or Knitheritagemuseum at gmail dot com

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ripples of Tradition

At his mother's wake, Tom was telling my friend Debbie that his mother was half-way through the ripple pattern afghan slated for the last grandchild to receive one of Grandma's coveted creations. Tom went on to say that he would love to find someone to finish said afghan as a wedding presentfor his niece, Beckee, because this granddaughter was engaged to be married in October. Serendipity took over and Deb told him she knows just the person, Crochetqueen, who might take on the job of finishing the afghan. The rest is "history."
Beckee's Ripple Afghan: 120 rows, 40 hours I haven't done the ripple pattern in years and crocheting afghans is not my thing, but the sweetness of the tradition intrigued me. Sixteen grandchildren had already received blankets and the bride-to-be was anticipating her afghan. Only 240 rows left to be completed were preventing the circle of love from being closed. No one in the family apparently has crochet skills, so I agreed to take on the job. It is a heartfelt story, and the finished afghan will be treasured for years to come. I gained a new appreciation for the ripple pattern as row by row, hour by hour, I worked on finishing the blanket on time. As the stitch count cemented in my head and the rhythm of my took took over, I wondered what else I could make besides afghans or scarves in this pattern? The experienced crocheter whose afghan I finished had a plan, and it was all laid out in a simple spiral-bound notebook.
Spiral-bound notebook A treasure itself, this notebook is a window into that grandma's life and her thoughts as she crocheted, including notations on a hearing aid and a casino!
Grandma's plan and notes inside As the afghan grew, I saw the plan as a very graphic and symmetric design. Strikingly beautiful, the interplay of the colors used in the afghan challenged me to come up with a color combination that suits my color palette as well as a design for something unique in the ripple pattern.
Pew Pals: little animals tucked into a pouch for entertainment during church When I delivered the finished afghan two weeks before the wedding, Tom and his wife were thrilled! Tom is a kind and gentle soul who, I believe, genuinely appreciated his mother's handiwork and knows the value of tradition in his family. He happily paid me more than I asked for, but it wasn't just about the money for me. To see a family value the creative hands of their beloved mother and to want to see that each and every one of her grandchildren had a lasting memento of her is a beautiful thing. I am glad that I have the skills that make me an important part of seeing this through to fruition!.