Veteran's Day, WWI and Knitting

Today is a holiday in this country and many others. For years I assumed that it was all the same holiday with different names, depending on where you observe it. I was sort of right.

November 11 is....

1. Veteran's Day (U.S.)--Veteran's Day is our day to honor those who have served in the military. It began as Armistice Day (see below) and the name was changed in many countries, after WWII.  According to VA.gov, the national Veteran's Day ceremony is "intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces." This includes both of my grandfathers (Navy and Marines), my father-in-law (Navy), and my mother's cousin, who was the first woman I knew who had served in the Air Force and who I wanted to be just like when I was a kid. Living as I do in a military town, this also applies to more than half the people I know. So, to all y'all, THANK YOU!!

2. Armistice Day--This is still observed as "Armistice Day" in some of the countries (France, Belgium, New Zealand) who were part of the Allied forces during WWI. On November 11, 1918, at 11:00am, the armistice (or truce) was signed, ending the long and very bloody Great War, which raged from 1914-1918 and cost the lives of 16 million and left 20 million wounded. The Armistice is still remembered at 11:00am in the US, Canada, Great Britain and elsewhere, usually by 2 minutes of silence, the laying of wreaths on graves, and the sadness that comes with knowing that so many died so young in a horrible global conflict.

3. Remembrance Day (Canada, UK)--This began as Armistice Day and is usually observed on the Sunday closest to November 11--Remembrance Sunday. It is a day to remember both the Armistice and the fallen from other wars. The poppy flower is worn as a symbol of remembrance, thanks to a poem by John McCrae "In Flanders Fields."

At the Tower of London, artists have created an installation of ceramic poppies as a moving tribute to the memory of every British WWI fatality.

 

 

The Knit Guru has a free knitted poppy brooch pattern you can make, and if you have little ones who like to craft with paper, here's a site with instructions to make a paper poppy.

Do you recall me mentioning the WWI movie being filmed in England? It seems that "Tell Them of Us" is finished and has been released in England on a limited basis. From here I hope that someone picks it up and makes it available in the U.S. The history and the knitwear are both real.

I found this site via Pinterest, that includes, among other things, a list of books for kids about WWI--The Children's War.

No matter where you live or what you thought you knew about the Great War, I hope that this November 11 you will find the time to remember our great-great grandfathers who served and our great-great grandmothers who knitted while waiting for them at home. It is a history shared by the world, that unites us all in loss and the desire for peace. And in Remembrance...

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The KnitOasis(news) Newsletter: Volume 3 Coming Soon!

As I am working on the KnitOasis(news) Newsletter for November, I wonder, did you see September and October? I got a lot of great feedback on September's issue, and none for October, so of course, it makes one wonder...the internet can be a capricious place.

In case you missed it, here is the Knitting Tip from October's issue.


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Knitting Tip:
Decreases! Can’t live without them, right? Ever wanted a simple way to remember which one leans which way?
When you work a K2tog decrease, your right, or working, needle points to the right, and that will be a right leaning decrease. When you work an SSK, your right needles points to the left, and you guessed, makes a left leaning decrease. It all boils down to learning to “read” your knitting. And practice! Knitting socks is a great way to practice your right and left leaning decreases. Try my (Mostly)Ridge Rib or any other top down sock pattern.

If you are on the mailing list already, can I ask you to do me a favor? Would you think of a knitter you know who would love to get knitting news delivered free to their inbox once a month, and forward your copy of the November newsletter to them? I would appreciate it!

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Amazing SAFF Weekend: Part 3

Vendors, yarn, critters and really cool people...

Years ago, I worked retail in a shopping mall.  SAFF is a little like the mall at Christmas--busy, exciting and occasionally crowded. With super crafty fiber artists!

I talked indigo with a lot of folks, including one who has already sent me seeds from her indigo plants (I can't wait to plant them, Jamie!)!  Eileen, who is a scientist (and whose business card I can't find) told me all about her experiments with indigo and indirubin (the red in indigo). Fascinating stuff and her dyed cloth was so pretty!

Here is Ashley, aka The Feisty Redhead. She was the tech editor for my Carousel Hat pattern and she's so talented and such a sweetheart that I have become one of her groupies. She has a blog, a page on Craftsy with great tutorials, and a new book!

Me with The "Feisty" Redhead. Except she's as sweet as can be!

Me with The "Feisty" Redhead. Except she's as sweet as can be!

When you're at a craft show or fiber festival, you get to meet your neighbors, of course.  On one side was Brooks Farm Yarn. I swear I drooled every time I walked by. Their yarn has a sheen to it that is amazing, plus, SQUISHY!

Brooks Farm Trio. Beautiful yarn--this will grow up to be an amazing new design!

Brooks Farm Trio. Beautiful yarn--this will grow up to be an amazing new design!

On the other side of us, the gals from Tangled Up in Wool were busy selling felting supplies all weekend. This sort of craft is definitely above my pay grade, but they also teach classes, so there's hope for me yet.

Sandy and Kristin from Tangled Up in Wool.  It was like having two "Ginger the Movie Star" characters in our own version of Gilligan's Island. Since they stayed at our hotel, we also saw them early in the morning at breakfast. Yep, gorgeous then, too.

Sandy and Kristin from Tangled Up in Wool.  It was like having two "Ginger the Movie Star" characters in our own version of Gilligan's Island. Since they stayed at our hotel, we also saw them early in the morning at breakfast. Yep, gorgeous then, too.

The activity chez nous at Bird Mountain Creations was always interesting!

Pat was busy in the booth--helping folks dye their own sock yarn and maybe, just maybe, getting some weaving done on the triangle loom. Also, greeting folks and making them smile. Tutus are always in style!

Pat was busy in the booth--helping folks dye their own sock yarn and maybe, just maybe, getting some weaving done on the triangle loom. Also, greeting folks and making them smile. Tutus are always in style!

My friend at LYDIA Yarns was able to get a booth due to a last-minute cancellation. Word has it that there is a waiting list 40-50 vendors long to get in to SAFF, so yeah, she got that yarn up the road! And it was all gorgeous as usual...

LYDIA!!! I spy a   Dagny hat!!

LYDIA!!! I spy a Dagny hat!!

Across the aisle from me was Bijou Basin Ranch. Confession: every time I walked by on the way to the stairs, I fondled the things made from Yak down. Sorry about the smudges, y'all.

Bijou Basin Ranch, home of this 100% Pure Yak Down yarn, which I had to bring home. (I got cranberry!)

Bijou Basin Ranch, home of this 100% Pure Yak Down yarn, which I had to bring home. (I got cranberry!)

Also across the aisle from me was RoseSpring Farm. Look for them at The Fiber Festival of New England this weekend. Tell them Tamara said hi, and sorry I forgot to snap a picture!

While on a mission on Saturday in the sales arena (up the hill from me--SAFF ain't small) I  stumbled across this, the cutest booth at the show. I love the shutters, and the door and the twinkly lights. The seriously fancy yarns were pretty amazing, too! The ladies from Camelid Cottage happen to be hosting the Georgia Fiber Fest next year, so mark your calendars!

Camelid Cottage. So so so cute!!

Camelid Cottage. So so so cute!!

Being a fiber fair, of course there were animals. I did not, however get to venture to the barn. I did see some animals, though, including Piper the Pom, who is adorable and has her own FB page. She smiled at the camera when I told her I was taking a pic. What? I thought everyone befriended dogs everywhere they went!

Alpaca! Pomeranian! Fluffy bunnies!

Alpaca! Pomeranian! Fluffy bunnies!

I can't decide what was my favorite part of the whole weekend--it was really all so much fun!

Did you make it to a fiber festival this year? What was YOUR favorite part?

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Benefits of Knitting

There are some articles floating around the internet again about the benefits of knitting. On the one hand, it's nice when the media has something nice to say about your hobby. On the other hand, do we really need to defend what we do?

Knitting has gone in and out of favor over the years, including a solid block of time as a Men Only Club (think Medieval craft guilds--no girls allowed). In my lifetime (which does NOT include the aforementioned Medieval era, no matter how old my kids think I am) there has been a resurgence, as young crafters have discovered how much fun it is to knit, and yarn and needle producers have discovered that the more yarn and needles they produce, the more money they make and the happier we knitters are to have choices.

As it so happens, I already  have  a rocking chair. So there.

As it so happens, I already have a rocking chair. So there.

Along with the resurgence has come more than a few dismissive observations:

  • Scorn:  "My grandmother used to knit"--this implies that not even decrepit old ladies still do such a dumb thing.
  • Ridicule:  "You do know you can BUY a pair of socks for $2 from Wal-Mart, right? You don't HAVE to make them yourself."--this implies that I shop at Wal-Mart, but am also so stupid that I am totally ignorant of mass production.
  • Profiling:  "All you need now is a rocking chair!" -this implies that either I am prematurely gray under my Clairol or worse still, old at heart.

 

Negative comments have made us a bit defensive, and so we tout studies about the therapeutic benefits to arthritic hands and aging brains as excellent reasons why we knit.

All hobbies that involve working with one's hands have physically beneficial side effects--wood working, fly fishing, sewing, painting, and ceramics are only a few examples, because there are so many. Any hobby that engages your mind will have mental benefits. Any hobby that can be social in nature will improve your happiness through relationships with fellow enthusiasts. Why must knitting be singled out to be defended for its helpful merits?

I read somewhere (Yarn Harlot, I think) that worldwide, there are more knitters than golfers. When was the last time you heard someone brag on the benefits of golf to justify greens fees? (I am not dissing golf in any way, I promise.)

The next time another "helpful" article about the benefits of knitting comes across your path, think about it from this perspective. Is knitting something that needs to be justified? Or can we all just agree it is something we enjoy and leave it at that? One day, non-knitters will be the ones who feel as though they must explain why they don't knit. Until that newsworthy day, I plan to keep knitting, happily secure in the thought that I needn't defend it to anyone.

 

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