WWW: Yarnbombing as a Crime Prevention Strategy?; Alaskan Yarn Company; Knitting in Meetings

Just gorgeous. Image courtesy Homer Tribune.

A great piece about the work of  Alaskans Jules Joy and Sarah Browngoetz, yarn dyers and owners of the store ‘Knitty Stash’. The colors of their own line of yarn, called the Alaskan Yarn Co., are inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds them. There are colors to match native flowers – particularly the vivid lavender of the lupine – colors inspired by the water of nearby Kachemak Bay, and colors to captures the leaves of the trees as they change through the fall.

What’s most inspiring, however, are their efforts to buy local fleeces and fibers to spin and dye for sale in their store.

“Makes me smile every morning”

Very interesting… Police in the UK are supporting an effort to yarnbomb a particularly crime-stricken area of the city of Leicester. The hope is that the presence of the decorations will make the area “seem safer” and more friendly. The comments of the local residents quoted in the article are interesting – some are in support, some are not. I find this a fascinating offshoot of the “broken windows theory” – the idea that urban areas that are well-maintained and attractive are less likely to suffer vandalism and other crime. I’ll be following this story with interest.

Tomorrow is Pi Day. Being a mathematician and fond of puns, I do rather like this Pi hat… If you’re in the mood for a Pi-themed knit, this chart on Ravelry might help.

A perfect way to pass the time.

I like this a lot: a photograph of a poll worker in Kansas, knitting by lantern light as she waits for voters, during a power outage due to a winter storm. Taken February 26, 2013, from a slideshow on the ABC website (it’s the third photo).

We’ve written before about efforts to teach prison inmates to knit. This interview on the BBC reveals the role of knitting (and other arts) at Robben Island, the prison where former South African President Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.

Blogger and knitter Jo Van Every writes about her experiences knitting in meetings. A brief but insightful piece, she talks about the reactions and responses of her colleagues, and the concious and unconscious biases driving those reactions. In my years in the technology industry, I never had the guts to take knitting to meetings, for my fear of these sorts of reactions – but I would have been happier, and more attentive, if I had.  Do you knit in meetings? What kinds of responses have you had?

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17 thoughts on “WWW: Yarnbombing as a Crime Prevention Strategy?; Alaskan Yarn Company; Knitting in Meetings

  1. Jennifer

    I am fortunate to work in a high school where knitting at meetings had been hotly defended before I ever worked here. It is now common practice for several people to come to a faculty meeting with their knitting. The practice was defended as a way for fidgety knitters to stay focused, much like the art teacher who doodles during meetings. As a school who purports to honor different learning styles, it was difficult for anyone to really argue against the practice. Every meeting I see more and more people with knitting or crocheting. Hooray!

  2. Seanna Lea

    I don’t knit during meetings. Even a plain sock would probably be seen as a distraction, though I admit this is supposition, because I have never tried.

    How do you bring something like that up if there isn’t already built in support for the practice?

  3. Tina_R

    Jo Van’s closing sentence (“you don’t have to be patient to knit. Knitting makes you more patient.”) is exactly the point I try to make to those who object. I do try to sit in the back of the room in order not to distract others around me.

    Yet… there are still some who express the thought that I surely can’t be fully paying attention if I knit. So I will ask them would you rather have my jiggling my leg or doodling? Maybe I should write up a summation of the meeting to show that I have been paying attention!!…. you think?

  4. Stitched Together

    As a girl from Leicester, I feel the need to point out this quote from the news article:

    “Sgt Simon Barnes said: “I am really hopeful that the actions will reduce the fear of becoming a victim of crime, as the perception really is much different to the actual reported levels of crime.””

    This was not an attempt to make an area of Leicester safer, but to encourage people to start using an area of it more often, as it is only perceived as being unsafe.

  5. Maureen

    I knit at meetings, and haven’t been questioned. I make it a point to participate when I’m knitting. I probably participate more when I’m knitting than when I have nothing to do with my hands. If anyone asks, I tell people it keeps my monkey mind busy.

  6. Karina

    I used to knit in my economics class in University. I sat in the very front row so my prof always noticed. I think initially he was uncertain about the whole thing until the day I didn’t knit but fell asleep instead (while actually still writing scribble). He never commented on my knitting, ever, but did tease me about falling asleep. I think he clued in that I was more aware and participatory when knitting than when not.

  7. Aimee

    I used to knit and crochet during lectures in nursing school. I asked the teachers before hand, but never told my classmates I had permission. The psych teacher was particularly supportive. It also kept me awake after long night shifts, and off the computers in the distance-learning classroom.

  8. Becca

    I’m a grad student in math. I’ve knit in every lecture and seminar I’ve attended while here, and gotten almost no comments. (The only comments have been, “what are you making?”) I found out from a friend that she was upset by it at first, but never mentioned it to me. I don’t think she cares anymore.

  9. Janet

    I am also a teacher who knits. Never asked, and was never questioned. Well, my superintendent once asked me how I could make something so complicated looking,(A sock) but otherwise I haven’t had to defend it. Like Maureen, I participate, and even jot notes when necessary. Usually, I am the only one knitting. If we are listening to a well known presenter (Read: cost a lot of money to get.) I will ask them if they mind, they never have! Some are knitters themselves.

  10. Anastasia

    I love the article about yarnbombing to prevent crime and make a neighborhood seem safer. It’d be great to find a way to get more kids/youth into knitting to express their creativity, especially when it’s encouraged. I could see that being very beneficial to many communities.

  11. NonnaSue

    I knit during meetings for most of my 35 years as a teacher of the visually impaired. No one commented to my face about it until one day my supervisor approached me and said she was surprised that I never missed a point that was made and that knitting was obviously useful in allowing my to focus. (From my perspective, it made me a much nicer person because I wasn’t complaining about the hours spent sitting unproductively!)

  12. Robin F.

    I take my knitting everywhere. I knit in meetings and let people know that I am knitting so I can pay better attention to what is being said. It keeps me from fidgeting. This seems to appease them, since I really do pay attention and participate in discussions.

  13. LaurieM

    I tried knitting at meetings, and during a corporate-sponsored lecture, and I was strongly reprimanded. HR said I was rude, a bad representative of the company and I had let them down. Knitting was compared to filing my nails, or building a model airplane.

    I felt I had to share, because all the happy stories may give one a false sense of security. Be careful out there.

  14. blogless grace

    I always knit in meetings–unless I am leading the meeting or the presenter. I keep a small project bag stashed under my desk so I always have something at the ready. Sometimes the project gets done really fast (too many meetings) and other times it takes months. If someone is presenting I try to go early and tell them I am knitting, ask if that bothers them, and then be certain I ask insightful questions.

  15. Suzette

    I knit in church while the congregation listens to amazing preaching by our pastor! If anything, the knitting helps me concentrate more closely on what he’s saying. The lights are dimmed in our huge auditorium (that seats 1,800) when the preaching begins, so no one but my husband notices and I haven’t heard any negative comments from those around me.

  16. Meredith Morphew

    I am so excited to see my lys on knitty.com! Jules was the very first person that befriended me when I moved to this little town in Alaska. I knew I could count on a string person to be there! I always make KnittyStash has been my first stop on yarn excursions but now I find that I am planning my projects around this gorgeous yarn! Congrats on the recognition Sarah and Jules!
    Knit on,

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