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Knitting and crochet have their own languages, much like music and mechanical engineering do. There are abbreviations and patterns to read and techniques to master. What an opportunity for libraries to jump in to support people with a place to come together as a community of crafters, to encourage a maker culture where learners can be guided by experienced crafters towards a common purpose.
Libraries would also be supporting their community’s health and wellbeing – check out Knitting as Therapy by Rin Hamburgh.
We all have heaps of craft books in our collections that can help our beginners and inspire our experienced crafters. You could source vintage patterns through Trove and tutorials though YouTube.
This weekend I discovered the 5000 Poppies project; a community crowd-sourced initiative that will see around 25000 handcrafted poppies installed at Melbourne’s Federation Square for ANZAC Day 2015 (the 100th anniversary of the ANZACs landing at Gallipoli). Some Victorian libraries are already involved (check out Bendigo’s plans – a crafting space and materials, and a remembrance wall). There’s time for libraries across Australia to support this program, add it to existing plans for commemorating the 100th anniversary, and to build a community of crafters in your makerculture. If we encourage crafters to create poppies over the coming months we can display them in our communities this Remembrance Day and then send them to Melbourne for ANZAC Day 2015. Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight (the project creators) have included poppy patterns on their site 5000 Poppies. Dedications can be included with poppies and on the website.
Libraries could accompany this project with links to Victoria’s RSL Poppy Appeal where you can plant a poppy in the virtual field and share your stories, thoughts and images about Remembrance Day. I planted a poppy for my grandfather who was seriously wounded in World War Two but thankfully lived on to the grand age of 95.
I was impressed with Rockhampton Regional Library’s Lively Knitting and Crochet Bookclub as presented at QPLA in 2013. This initiative involved craft groups at the five branch libraries ‘stitching squares into blankets; and creating scarves, jumpers, socks and jackets from wool donated to the libraries by members of the community in a bid to support the annual Homeless Connect initiative. The library-led programme has been an overwhelming success with community engagement including collaborative and intergenerational learning; social inclusion; and a prodigious amount of warm products created in a relaxed and welcoming environment’.
Libraries could also partner with Guardian Pharmacies to support the annual Guardian Angel Knitting program from May to August.
The Footpath Library also needs knitted goods – find out more here.
Does your library work with knitters and other crafters for the wellbeing of the community? I would love to hear about your work.