Sunday, June 14, 2009

Square 20: Men knit too

Saturday was World Wide Knit In Public Day, and Ashley hosted a sidewalk party at All Strung Out. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness. Knitting is a wonderful social activity because you can be creative and double up your time by hanging out with other knitters. Sure you can build community around writing, painting or any art or craft, but many of them require your undivided attention some of the time, and even outright solitude (one of the interesting aspects of creating The Yarn is that it includes two separate and distinct processes: knitting and writing).

For WWKIP Day I decided to knit a story about men who knit.

Last spring Danny and I attended a men's knitting retreat at Easton Mountain in New York. We drove down with Ted Knitterguy. When we first arrived, I was seduced by the intense presence of nature. It was May and the world was green, green, green! We went for a walk in the woods around the foot of the mountain, and I began photographing trees, fungi and wildflowers.

But as that first day unfolded and knitters continued arriving, I realized what a magical event it would be. I began making new friendships that I knew would last for years. I even met another man named Van, who looked a little like me and had similar mannerisms.

On Saturday we had the opportunity to join various workshops, but I opted to spend the day knitting on a balcony overlooking the small lake. That is a day I will never forget. During its course, various people came and went, joining me, knitting and talking. In particular I got to know the other Van, and Michael del Vecchio, author of Knitting With Balls: A Hands-On Guide To Knitting For the Modern Man. I felt my life becoming richer by the hour. Among other friends I made that weekend were QueerJoe and Kenny, The Boy Who Knits.

Monday morning I left the place with a longing to go back. The friends I made that weekend have become part of my wider community. Since then I have become more active in local knitting groups. But in the four years I have been knitting, I have only met one other man in Guelph who knits.

I know there must be many out there! And there is a particular power that evolves when men meet and channel their energy into this creative endeavour. I find it very appealing.

This square is green with the spring of Easton Mountain, new opportunities and new beginnings. I make it in tribute to the wonderful men I know who knit, also to future friends I do not know. May this story draw you out and draw you in.

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