Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Flora's First Stitches

This issue of Living Crafts features an article by my friend and Raleigh crafty mom, Nancy Walters. I met her when Ornamentea was a tiny store and her daughter, Flora, was a tiny girl. Nancy's one of those moms you'd love to hate, if it weren't for the fact that she just handed you a jar of homemade raspberry jam* and is entrancing your children with stories and healthy snacks. Her daughter, Flora, is a knitter at a young age and Nancy writes about how Flora learned this skill. Since my sock knitting never progressed past the very-scary-looking ribbed cuff stage I am really in awe of a family where a knitted dishcloth is born daily. Flora's dad even has a knitted beer-bottle cozy. I think that's a custom pattern Flora created herself as I have never seen a beer-bottle cozy in a knitting magazine. I have added this idea to my crocheting list. Yes, I can crochet as long as you don't ask me to read a pattern and you only want something round (hats, doll hats, balls, and now, beer cozies.)

You may have read here or heard me talk about how important I think crafting is to human beings of all ages. Our consumer culture tries to replace making with buying, but it's just not the same at all. Buying takes seconds, under the florescent lights of the nearest Tar-jay. Your entire relationship with the object can be summed up in the amount of time it takes the clerk to swipe your Visa. Taking ingredients to the finished object stage involves deliberate thought and intentional focus; yarn or beads or berries don't make themselves into scarves or earrings or jam, you do. Your mind and heart need to be connected to the ingredients and the desired outcome for the time it takes to knit or string or cook. Every time I have the good fortune to work with a real beginner here in the stores - someone who says 'I have never made anything' - it happens. As the beads and wire and sparkly bits turn into earrings right before her eyes, she realizes she is making something. You can almost see the light bulb turn on above her head. That bit of glow, that joy that happens as you realize you are making something, is so very important to being a human being.

Lucky for Flora, and her little brother, that she is growing up in a family where that moment, that light bulb above the head moment, happens daily and to such very young people. Lucky for us, we crafty folks, that we get that moment often. Lucky for me that I get to share that moment with people in the store, or with my own children, almost every day.

*In the interest of full disclosure, this doesn't happen every time I see her but she does often have fancy, sparkly drinks or hot tea or even a nice coffee with Bailey's at hand when you most need it.

If you are interested in getting your young knitter going, Living Crafts has a page of tips on just that by Elizabeth Seward, plus three great needle felting projects including hedgehogs. Yep, you read that right. Hedgehogs.