Monday, November 27, 2006

Social Knitters Unite

You can change the world with a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn, or at least you can make it warmer, nicer place to be

On Saturdays, I take my youngest son to a card game/ get-together that he takes part in (holy awkward sentences, Batwoman). So, no matter how tired or wiggy I am, I get to drive 2 hours to spend an additional 4-5 hours hanging around, trying not to a corner of town where shopping is on of the few diversions. Just bliss for a recovering shopaholic during the busiest shopping season of the year... ummm I'm being sarcastic here, folks. I know, I'm subtle...

Lately, I've discovered the Ottawa library branch in the neighbourhood where the game is held- it's full of families and older people so it's good for a place to sit, read or knit but it's really noisy. I like this good kind of noise. I get to hear some funny conversations and sometimes, when I'm lucky, I get to hear impromptu songs (like the one the little boy was singing about his favorite cats - bobcats, tiger cats, red cats, lion cats - you get the idea)

I've noticed that they also have a homework club where kids can come and get mentoring and help with their reading. What a good idea. Older kids get to rack up some volunteer hours and the younger kids get a role model and tutor, all wrapped in one package.

Last Saturday, there was a young mother and her 2 children - a son, who was waiting for his tutor and a daughter. The daughter didn't have any homework so the mother designed a reading sheet that the girl could complete after reading a short book. Well, the best laid plans often get side-tracked by knitting . You and I know this

The little girl (Savvi) decided that she liked my knitting and that she didn't want to do her 'homework' but her mother quietly convinced her to complete the work. When she did finish, she asked if she could sit and watch me knit. What?!? You just can't say 'no' to a question like that? Where is the next generation of warmth-givers going to come from if we don't give them a little of our warmth now?

She sat in the comfy chair next to me and silently watched but I could see her mind whirling with questions and comments. I started to engage her to see what she was thinking. Then, the conversation turned to, 'could I try?'. I took my 5 needle-hat in bright blue Red Heart cheapo but fun yarn and put it in her hands. Guess what!!! She, in all of her 7 year old wisdom, had been paying attention and understood where to put her needles and where to wrap her yarn!!! Slowly, surely, cautiously, she knit 5 stitches then 7 then 10. She would probably be knitting still if I hadn't had to go pick up the Boy.

In passing, she mentioned that she liked the royal blue hat... maybe she would like one? Is it creepy for a stranger to make a hat for a child? Are people that cynical that they would be concerned by this type of gift? Sometimes, I struggle with this very North American perspective. In my mother's culture, a gift is a gift and thanks are offered; here, I find people want to know why it was given and what is expected in return. How about we change that part of our culture this holiday season and give for the joy of giving, expecting nothing but our own joy in return. If the recipients feel joy too - well, we've all won then, haven't we?

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