There’s this legendary guy in the Ravelry group, Thrifty Knitters. Seriously, everyone there pretty much hates him for his serious skillz in finding all kinds of neat knitting stuff—needles, knitting machines, yarn, all that good stuff. Well, we don’t hate him, but we sure envy him. Well, I think I made a pretty good find myself at a used booksale over the weekend.
Every time that I look for knitting books at thrift shops or different places, I see the Sad Evidence Of A Prehistoric Cross-Stitch Craze, Akin To The Tulip Mania In Holland. If I wanted, I could have built myself 3 or 4 houses out of the millions of cross-stitch books that I run across. This also applies to quilting books, but to a lesser degree. Apparently, knitters hang onto their books with a lot more tenacity than the Crazed Cross-Stitchers of the 1980s.
However, sometimes I’m lucky. At this booksale, by the time that I reached the craft books, women jammed the aisle. Apparently, moving aside wasn’t one of their strong points, even if it was just to let someone pass them by. I don’t expect someone to give me their spot in a crowded place but if you stand in the same spot for 15 minutes and don’t move a few inches so I get past you, it gets a little irritating. Let’s say that my frantic impatience was exacerbated by the fact that I was on the exact opposite end of the aisle from the knitting books.
However, when I got there….holy moly!
As I started to pull book after book off the shelf, I started to get some odd looks at the giant pile that started to grow on the floor. This was incredible. And I left books there, too. Weaving books, some crochet books, one or two knitting books I already had, etc. I’ll list my haul, for lack of a better way to communicate my delirious joy. Keep in mind, none of these cost over $5.
- 2—yes, 2—copies of the old hardcover edition of Barbara Walker’s first treasury.
- Knitting For Peace
- Spinning Wool: Beyond the Basics
- Color in Spinning
- A Dyer’s Garden
- Teen Knitting Club
- Homespun, Handknit
- Spinning and Weaving with Wool
- New Directions in Fair Isle Knitting (older edition
- Fair Isle Knitting, by Sarah Don
- 6 ‘Threads’ magazines with knitting/dyeing articles for $2
- 1999 Intweave Knits magazine for 10 cents
I also (accidentally) picked up 4 issues of a Canadian machine knitting magazine called Knitwords. I didn’t realize that it was about machine knitting. I will probably destash these, along with my extra copy of the Barbara Walker treasury. I have a younger sister who views my knitting book collection as her personal enemy, which means that I can’t afford to keep any books that I don’t absolutely love or need!
Anyway, I feel like that was a pretty good find. Take that, Thrifty Man on Ravelry!
Fact One: My camera cord has disappeared.
Fact Two: I have a brand-new finished object to show you, but without the camera cord, all pictures are trapped inside the magic box. (If you really want some eye candy right now, check out Jen’s yarn porn, it is really good.)
Fact Three: I’ve been reading some fascinating books that I want to talk about, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading anyway until the little bugger turns up!
Let’s put it this way, my family is a book family. I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have shelves stuffed with books. A hard day of yard sales almost always resulted in another box. A good percent of our books are library discards; our local library/s hold biannual sales to raise money.
Courtesy of the latest raid, I’ve been reading Blossoms On The Olive Tree: Israeli And Palestinian Women Working For Peace.
It’s difficult to describe a book that feels like a great big box, stuffed full with tidbits of this and tiny treasures but I’ll try. The author talked to many women on both sides, all working to try to bring peace between two peoples caught in politics and war. Some were Holocaust survivors that fled to Israel. Others were hardcore politicians, working to bring a female voice to a typically male political scene—and on that score, dear readers, I fear that we fare little better!—but all of them are working towards the same thing: peace. Peace for their nations, peace for their families, for themselves.
I read stories about soldiers destroying belongings and homes—not for gain, but just because they could. One particularly gripping story told about a family in Bethlehem that had been commandeered by Israeli soldiers that broke down the back door and stayed there–for 21 days. (Apparently their house offered an excellent view from its roof during the stand-off in which a Palestinian gunman hid himself in the Church of the Nativity.) 2 family members died when they stormed their house, randomly firing guns through the door. The bodies weren’t picked up for two days; no one would come. The soldiers stole what they wanted, destroyed what they didn’t and finally left…
Just before I picked this book up, I’d also been reading Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time. As you can imagine, my adolescent heart is aflame with peace-making desire…and virtually helpless to do much about it. One fact in Knitting For Peace that caught my attention was that the Afghans for Afghans (I believe) recommended the color green, because it is a color beloved to Islam. This tiny humane detail has somehow stuck itself into my brain, niggling at me, as if it is somehow important.
So, yes, there are many charity knitting organizations. I’m organizing a knit-a-long for premature and needy babies in a Ravelry group and I’ll also be handling the other knit-a-longs that the group does, at least the next few, anyway. The next time, we will be knitting for rape survivors—shawls or blankets, something to show caring and respect.
But somehow, I feel restless, unsettled. I know there are people knitting helmet liners for soldiers. Socks for soldiers. Knitting For Peace shares amazing stories about many great organizations that knit for civilians as well. It’s not that I have not read these stories before, known about these organizations before, but I am seriously doubting whether I am doing all that I can…or that there aren’t quiet stretches of people, unreached, that still need help.
Naturally, I’m speaking from a privileged point of view. I don’t want to poke myself, to prod myself, to recognize that I am, in many ways, speaking down from my own self-created pedestal. I don’t want to be insufferable, somehow looking down like the great Western white saviour, reaching out my sainted hand to the great unwashed of the world that need my help. I have no illusions that my picture of need or conflict is faint and cloudy compared to what it is to live, day to day, in a life that is a war-zone, or simply a struggle to survive.
All that I can do is realize that I need to help…and that there is probably somewhere or something that I can. Please, if you have a charity or project that is especially close to your heart, share with me in the comments. Anything about your charity work or others would be appreciated. I’m asking, hoping for answers, because last time I asked for a response, about random acts of kindness, the response was touching and amazing. If you haven’t read everyone’s stories, please go here and read them, just scroll down to the comments—they’re beautiful, sometimes funny.)
Again, if you have a charity close to you, or a story that you want to share, please, tell me about it. I have two hands that want to work.