Knitting Love

Community is beautiful. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

We began in January at the Byron Library. Our three piles of colourful patterns of knitted squares have grown to about 4 feet. Knit stitch, seed stitch, moss stitch, basket weave, colour blocking–all so beautiful. We began with an idea to start some knitted squares and leave them in a basket for our patrons to add rows whenever they visited the Library and felt inspired. The Library is a cozy place to knit in the winter months, and our needles, squares, and yarn have been journeying with patrons into corners of the library–by the fireplace, in the leather chairs, in the children’s area while their children play with trains. When the baskets are empty, it means knitting is happening all around us.

 

We invited our community to add rows while they were visiting us, but also to drop off any completed squares they knitted or crocheted at home. We hoped we could stitch enough squares together to make a few blankets for those in the downtown London who were on the streets, in shelters, and in other vulnerable situations–those who were trying to get warm and safe. Or someone whose world would be made a little brighter in receiving a homemade gift.

And so it was born: our Byron Blankets project.

From there emerges the story of a beautiful community… every day or two, we find our baskets filled with all kinds of colours and patterns of knitted squares that little elves in the wee hours of the day have completed or dropped off without anyone noticing. Other patrons donate yarn. Knit Stitch generously offered a bag of yarn as soon as they heard about Byron Blankets. Community, I’m learning, is like a hen with her wings over her eggs; out of that caring flows communal creativity.

For many people, knitting, crocheting, sewing, pottery, woodworking, and other creative acts allows space to think, be introverted, have an energy outlet, and find ways to relax more deeply. The rhythm of knitting can be contemplative, meditative, and calming. For some, it’s about creating something new and beautiful for a hurting world. Mental health and brain health advocates call textile crafting the ‘new yoga’.

For others, knitting is a social act: creating together with fellow friends and knitters, building a more connected community, and caring for social causes and justice. For us, it’s Byron Blankets. For Central Library, it’s Knitters Helping Knitters. At Sherwood, they knit for the Red Scarf Project.

A community who creates together can make positive change and transformation happen. That same community creating together often feels less alone in our neighbourhood, our city, our world.

And so, bound together by yarn, we move forward with hope.

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