spotted by the entrance to Madison Wool, in Madison , Connecticut.
Calling all craft activist knitters* ! Our friends at afghans for Afghans have a quick campaign on right now, with a call for wool socks and mittens for young people ages 14-21.
The Sleight of Hand mitts give you a good basic mitten shape. You can mix & match the repeating charts as much or as little as you wish, thanks to designer Mary Lou Egan's cleverness. If time is tight, you could colorwork the cuff and do the rest solid.
The deadline, according to their website: "Best if your item can arrive to us by January 24. Please check back for updates."
* Nothing against the crocheters amongst us. You know we carry a torch for the granny square! Crocheted mitttens should be just fine. Not so sure about crocheted socks though....
This is a good time of year to be looking forward, and I’m going to interpret that as thinking about future crafters. A friend recently told us about the Needle Arts Mentoring Program (NAMP), which is dedicated to passing on knitting, crochet, and other needle crafts to youngsters. Facilitated by the Helping Hands Foundation (HHF) and supported by TNNA, whose members generously donate supplies, NAMP now involves more than 5,000 children in 36 states.
For any of us who remember being taught to knit or needlepoint by a mother, grandmother, aunt or anyone else for that matter, and want to pass that feeling forward, it’s not hard to start a program. All that’s needed is a group of kids, mentors, and a place to meet. NAMP can provide startup supplies and mentoring materials. photo courtesy of NAMP
Says Penny Sitler, executive director of HHF, “Many mentors share stories about the benefits of NAMP as they find that the needle arts improve reading and math skills, the ability to focus and follow directions, and self-esteem. NAMP is the perfect way to teach a whole new generation the needle arts. People are continuing to return to the basics, which translates into working with their hands.”
For more information, go to www.needleartsmentoring.org.
And here’s to a crafty new year!
* It's just a bit past the deadline but you can still send a red scarf in to Foster Care to Success for this year's care packages.
What a joy! Here's the yarn bombing at the Arkansas Literary Festival as part of the our book's inclusion, earlier this month. So many photos I want to share that I'm embedding a slideshow. I was so honored to be a guest author! Details of my adventures, and how we planned the yarnbombing, blogged here . Enjoy!
-posted by Gale
I always like to read about London's Craftivist Collective, which has the catchiest of mottos: A spoonful of craft helps the activism go down. In the past they've used sewn banners large and small, instead of knit or crochet tags, to get their messages into the public eye. Hanky-panky stitching they call it.
Embroidery art Jafabrit a.k.a. Corrine Bayraktaroglu
Evidently their "mini protest banner" project inspired a blog follower in Devon to take on a craft activism project of her own—putting up a Be Kind banner in her village bus stop shelter, where hopefully the gentle message infiltrates the mundane schedule listings and posted notices about things for sale.
It also reminded me of an early JafaGirls project, in which they turned a public Yellow Springs lavatory into the Chamberpot Gallery. I guess it has something to do with the captive audience factor. Anyway, the JafaGirls (aka Corinne Bayraktaroglu and Nancy Mellon) have moved on to scores of other yarnbombing projects, often involving other members of their community. Spring is coming. Is there a place for Flower Power in a bus stop near you?
Nancy & Corrine with Mr Plato, in Yellow Springs OH.
Crafting for Charity was one of the first categories Gale and I thought of when we were researching Craft Activism, and we were thrilled to highlight the group called afghans for Afghans in that section of the book. Their next campaign for knit and crocheted objects – due date FEBRUARY 29 – is on, and a4A founder Ann Rubin has been kind enough to do a guest post for us:
Dear Craft Activists,
We'd love to have you join the afghans for Afghans project's campaign for youth in the schools run by NGO Help the Afghan Children!
Our call is for newly knit and crocheted WOOL blankets, sweaters, vests, socks, mittens, and hats for ages 7-16. The girls and boys need to be dressed properly for class so they can focus on their studies and not the cold. Our blankets and garments are practical gifts of friendship and respect during wartime.
In Kabul, a handmade wool blanket warms a child in a hospital.
Campaign details are here for your review —
Our due date is February 29. With time running short, consider making mittens or socks (no crochet socks, please) or a hat. It's easiest enough to whip up one of these items (during the Super Bowl?) and pop it in an envelope to us.
Let us lead you to community knitter Elizabeth Durand's very reliable knitting pattern for 4-needle mittens, and she also provides an on-line tutorial—
Please send only what is requested in our guidelines. Overseas cargo space is precious, and we can only send what is specifically requested and needed in Afghanistan. The current campaign will get to Kabul in time for next winter.
Volunteer Emily packing up mittens at our AFSC Collection Center in San Francisco.
This is a special opportunity for us — we're not sure how the rest of the year will unfold because our relief agency partners work in very unstable conditions, which makes planning for reliable transit and distribution very challenging.
afghans for Afghans — in partnership with the American Friends Service Committee — started as a response to the war that unfolded after 9/11. Ten years later, our wool blankets and garments are still needed, and we're determined to continue remembering the Afghan people with the work of our hands and hearts.
Our volunteers meeting with Suraya Sadeed in San Francisco; her schools in Afghanistan will receive our handmade wool gifts.
Each garment means one more child suffering under conditions of war in one of the poorest countries in the world will have a new gift for her or his very own and be warmer and more comfortable in Afghanistan's harsh winter. Our people-to-people project welcomes new participants to keep up the momentum after all these years!
Ann at afghansforAfghans.org
Thanks, Ann, And, of course, you can also follow one of the Sleight of Hand mitten patterns in Craft Activism. Just be sure to use a variation with a ribbed cuff, since the extra warmth is crucial!
Newcomer to crochet that I am, I was completely flabbergasted by the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project we discovered while researching Craft Activism. It turns out that crochet is the way to demonstrate hyperbolic geometry (who knew??), and Christine and Margaret Wertheim, who founded the Institute for Figuring, have created corals, kelps, sea slugs, sponges and other undersea life out of crochet, even filling a gallery of the Smithsonian with their artistry.
Now it turns out that crochet also models the fractal nature of cumulus clouds. (Here in Santa Barbara, the puffy white things tend to look like this.)
But Argentine architect Ciro Najle had quite a different vision in mind. in a recent CultureLab post, editor Kat Austen showed off the work of that artist, who has covered gallery ceilings in Denver and Paris with fabulous crocheted cashmilion wool cumulonimbus representations.
I may have to try to branch out beyond granny squares.
posted by Joan
If you're an Ellen Bloom fan like we are, you already know about the clever art, crochet and crafting she creates. In the book we have just a peek into her colorful world, focussing on her love of the granny square.
In the spirit of the holidays, and with the thought that maybe you have some free time between now and New Year's Day and need something to make, we invited Ellen to guest blog about a fab project she came up with. Enjoy!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
all photos © Ellen Bloom
Holiday Photo Garland By Ellen Bloom
I’m all about CRAFTING. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been involved in some sort of crafty art project. I learned to knit and crochet at age 7 and I’ve never stopped. My Mom helped me with my knitting, sewing and other needlework. My Dad was a master carpenter. He was always building things in his workshop. My brother and I caught the fever. Years later, we’re still practicing our crafts in public and private. My brother, Ken Bloom, builds instruments: and I still knit and crochet. I was proud to contribute my Granny GreenBag pattern to Craft Activism. Being involved with Joan and Gale has been a delight that I hope will continue throughout the years.
photo © Ellen Bloom
The Holiday Photo Garland incorporates a few different crafty skills. I’ve learned quite a bit about photography from my husband, Photographer Larry Underhill . He’s helped me with lighting, composition and photo-computer skills. With a bit of photo ability, some basic crochet knowledge and a paper punch, you too can create your personalized Photo Garland for any holiday or other occasion (I’m thinking birthdays, anniversaries and more)!
all photos © Ellen Bloom
Here’s a link to my blog with full instructions.
One of my friends came up with another brilliant idea for this garland: Suzette suggests that we save beautiful holiday greeting cards sent by friends, cut the best images into a circle and use those for the pictures in the garland. Brilliant!
Thanks Ellen ! Show us what you do with this idea, OK?
posted by Gale
Have you seen this ad? Impressive use of crochet, yes? The UK gets all the fun.
I love the inside of the head view with yarn mucus. Thanks to Stacey of Fresh Stitches for bringing this to our attention. posted by Gale
That's what Corrine, of the JafaGirls said in a FB post to me earlier this week. Chuffed as mintballs! Here's Corrine, on the right, with Nancy and Mr Plato for the book in Yellow Springs OH.
Corrine's from a region of the UK that produces fabulous artists and colorful phrases. Here's a list of what's leaving me chuffed as mintballs:
• both Library Journal and Amazon chose Craft Activism for their Best Books of 2011 lists. Cool beans!
• a visit to the radio station in Northampton MA as a guest on ReadySetKnit with Kathy & Steve Elkins from Webs. Joan joined us by call in. I love a real radio station. You can hear the episode, here. Fun fact: when Steve talks about a yarn, he actually brings it to the recording studio and puts the skeins out in front of them to discuss. I don't know why but I love that.
• Joan made a granny square scarf. She didn't crochet much until we were getting ready to do some book appearances ..and..well..you know what happens. Those granny squares are ridiculously addictive. Love her scarf, based on the Granny Greenbags squares.
• Last Sunday with Ann Weaver was a very good time. We chatted, we sold books, we chatted, I sold a large framed photo (super chuffed over that one), we chatted, we analyzed the colors in the knit kits she put together for her Albers cowls using Karida's yarns (you can still get them from Ann and at the shop ) Detailed review of the day here.
So..what's chuffing your mintballs? And why does that sound slightly dirty?
- posted by Gale