Monday, May 15, 2006

Woodland Pomatomus

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Yesterday I went to the Eastview Community Centre to help the young girls learn how to knit. Eastview is the "other side of the tracks" of gentrified Yuppy Riverdale: subsidized housing, white trash with bad dogs, teenagers of all ethnicities with gangs, knives and drugs, and hard working new immigrant families. I went last week for a tour and introduction. This week I sat down with a ten year old Somali girl and showed her how to knit. I cast on 12 stitches for her so that she could make a fashion scarf. She said that knitting made her hands hurt. That was because she held on to the needles very tightly. I suggested that she take a break but she said she was having fun. Ahh music to my knitter's ears. Her mom said that all the knitting has to be done at the community centre because it is not safe to take the knitting home because of safety issues. at first I was suprised but then I realized this was sensible. They have a family of eight children between infancy and age 12. At least one of them will be able to think of something dangerous or silly to do with knitting needles, or just unravel it and start a fight or tears.

I brought my Pomatomus sock with me (it had to leave the woodland). They were very impreessed with the sock and the circular needles. They were convinced that I could knit. The most proficient knitters (mothers) in the group had learned in East Africa (Somalia and Eritrea). They knit continental style. I knit English style. I told them I would try continental with them later. They want me to show them how to use the circular needles and how to knit socks. That could be fun. I'll have to tell Maureen to stock up on sock yarn from the Lewiscraft clearance sale. Maureen says that they are having trouble attracting girls between the age of 14 and 20. Some of them came this week, though because they heard that I know how to knit iPOD cases. I promised to show them how next time. I wonder how many will show up. We will have to use novelty yarn. They don't have any wool and it is generally too expensive for the community centre budget. If they get interested in felting I will see if we can get stash donations from the knitting guild.


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