Saturday, December 24, 2011

Boys Knit

Knitting 101 with Eliza-Jane (Kingman watching intently - his locs look great!)

12-year-old Eliza-Jane has been knitting since she was 5-years-old

A selection of beautiful yarn

Eliza-Jane instructing the class-"I'm not waiting to shine," reads her business cards

 It was my friend Teresa who first taught me that boys can and should knit.  Her children attended Waldorf Schools and participated in all kinds of art and handwork as a part of their education.  So when the chance came for my son to take a knitting class taught by another homeschooler, I jumped at the chance.  It helped that two other boys were also enrolled in the class.  We are now hooked because we had awesome teachers!  During class today Zion commented to one of the moms that he felt like an "old woman" knitting.  She gently reminded him that the ancient practice of creating Kente Cloth in Ghana is done by the men of the village.  Oh yes, African men use their hands to do good and purposeful work.  Making your own scarf falls into that category.  The next class we're making hats and Kingman is ready for the challenge.  In the meantime, we're going to start researching male weavers and cloth makers from Africa.

Ghanian Kente Cloth Weaver

"Yarns for weaving come in a variety of forms and qualities. In the past yarns were either spun from locally grown cotton or unraveled from cotton and silk cloths imported from Europe and Asia. Today, factory made cotton, silk or spun rayon yarns are obtained from factories in Ghana and outside Ghana. Various colors of yarns may be combined in particular ways to reflect the symbolic significance of the cloth. Quality of yarns used in weaving a particular cloth reflects on the level of prestige associated with the cloth. Silk yarns are usually considered the most prestigious and are therefore the most highly valued. Silk cloth, in the past were reserved for royalty and the wealthy. An average width of a strip is 4 inches. Several strips are carefully arranged and hand-sewn together (some weavers use sewing machines in recent times) to obtain a desired size. Tradition has it that Kente is woven mainly by men. Women, in the past, played a significant role by spinning raw cotton into yarns, dying yarns into desired colors, sewing strips together to form large cloths and assisting in the marketing of the cloths. Today, factory spun yarns have replaced hand-spun yarns, and therefore, the woman's role is mainly in the area of sewing strips together and marketing the cloth."

1 comment:

  1. One last tidbit... I recently found myself repairing our leather couch, that the kids have so badly beaten down. I took me hours to sew the leather, but the kids were really amazed that it could be fixed and that we did not have to spend money to replace it. We are moving in the right direction when we make an effort to teach the children that everything does not need to be replaced, and in fact how wasteful it can be. Skills such as sewing, weaving and other hand work, is so undermined, but so necessary, if we are going to prepare our children to maintain some level of self-sufficiency in the future. Thanks for the spark!