Vintage spinners at work.
We insist you set aside 10 minutes in your day to watch a short movie. The film “In Sheep’s Clothing
” was made in Shetland in 1932, by a woman called Jenny Brown. She made a number of films, and this one focuses on the creation of a sweater. This absolutely amazing 10-minute video shows the entire sweater creation process, from the sheep to the garment.
Everything is done by hand, and it’s a wonderful view into the process, and the everyday lives of the Shetlanders in the first half of the 20th century. If you don’t have 10 minutes to spare today, skip ahead to the 9 minute mark to watch these women knit. They’re blindingly fast, using the “anchored needle” (a.k.a. needle tucked under arm) method.
Whether you’re a knitter, a spinner, a lover of fabulous wild scenery, a dog-lover or a cat-lover, there is something in this video for everyone. I particularly love the interfering kitten.
The film has been made available to watch online by the Scottish Screen Archive, and we thank them for it.
The filmmaker, Jenny Gilbertson (nee Brown)
, has an amazing story. She was born in 1902, and although trained as a secretary, she decided that she wanted to be a filmmaker. She travelled to the northern reaches of Scotland, Canada and the Arctic to document the lives of the residents. At the age of 79, she spent a year living in an Inuit community 900 miles north of the Arctic circle, documenting their lives. She was a one-woman show – doing all the script-writing, filming, sound, lighting and direction herself. There are several of her films in the archive. I don’t know that she was a knitter, but she certainly knows what we are interested in.
Shorter and more modern, our own Kate is featured in a video on the Toronto Star website. The paper is doing a video series about the 501 streetcar route, the longest route in the greater Toronto area. As a regular rider of this route, Kate is featured, doing what she always does: knitting a sock.
A reader has brought to our attention (thanks!) a fascinating study on the use of wool to relieve pain in Fibromyalgia suffers. Wearing wool long underwear has been proven to reduce pain and other symptoms. The theory is that keeping warm ensures maximal bloodflow to the joints.
One of the Knitty team was recently contacted by another knitter, seeking permission to distribute one of our patterns to members of the US military, as part of a charitable program. The knitter works for a small defense contractor in the greater Boston area. In her words…
We build protective equipment used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have a strong connection with service members worldwide, and embrace our commitment to support them however we can. People at work participate in both company sponsored and independent efforts.
One of the independent efforts that folk at work have been pursuing is the Local Heroes program. Itâ€™s an all-volunteer organization, with 100% of the donations going to support service members from the New England region.
Supporting heroes in many ways.
Our coordinator put out a call for the items listed on the website, plus a selection of other things that he knows about via direct request. In addition to personal comforts and snacks, many of the items are â€œidle hoursâ€ type things – magazines, crossword puzzles, cards, games, music, hobby supplies, and the like.
We also noted that women in the military are often forgotten, and the things that are donated and collected are often â€œguy-centric.â€ Which is not to say that men wouldnâ€™t want to knit or that women are not interested in football magazines.
So in the hope of bringing some idle hours comfort to some knitter (probably female) in a hard place, far from loved ones, I thought about what would make me smile in that circumstance. I decided to put together some small knit-kits – socks, hats, scarves, drawing on yarn from my stash, augmented by some needle purchases and web-available patterns. I have to have my kits bundled and ready this week to make our collection deadline.
Our knitter friend urges people to seek out small, local organizations of this type that might benefit people from their regions. Local veteransâ€™ groups are a good place to connect with them.
More cuddly than a calculator.
And for the numerically inclined in our readership, a pattern for knitted Napier’s Bones
. Napier’s Bones are a type of abacus, a tool to aid multiplication, invented in the 17th century by mathematician John Napier. This gives me an idea for a scarf…