Friday, October 02, 2009


Knitting makes me think a lot about how we're all connected to each other. Yesterday, I posted the first Knit Green pattern, Ploughed Acre Knee Socks, to Ravelry, an enormous online knitting database. People from all over the world started checking out the pattern right away! This is a pattern I started working on years ago, and it became one of the designs in the book. I loved the socks so much that I've got several versions here, and I'll show how they're connected as this post goes along...

On Sunday, I left the knitting retreat and rushed home to get ready for Yom Kippur, one of the Jewish high holidays, the Day of Atonement. The professor and I have moved several times, but attending a new congregation is always somewhat jarring. Most people observe these holidays with their families and friends. It's hard to move in the summertime and know very few people at the start of a new (Jewish) year! This time, though, it was different.

The family (a rabbi and his wife and their daughter and son-in-law) who ran these "alternative" services were already connected to us. One of their sons had been our rabbi in Nashville. This special service was a once a year, intimate and small congregation and we were introduced and welcomed into their Winnipeg community. We were asked to participate in the service. Then, their son-in-law gave a talk about Jonah, with a handout which included lots of rabbinic and academic commentary. The last quote on the page...was one of my favorite professors from graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill. I was bowled over!

After the holiday was over, I was able to email a copy of the handout to this favorite professor, who also happens to be a member of that congregation in Nashville. Every single person in this exchange, (from Winnipeg to Nashville and back) was surprised, honored, and pleased as punch to get to make a connection like this, so many thousands of miles from home..wherever home is.

I promised I'd explain how this relates to a knee sock and knitting, I know. (seem far fetched?-just wait.) A few years ago, I made this one sample sock out of a cotton sock yarn. Fortissima Cotton, in a color that is hard to photograph! I made one sock. For whatever reason, no one wanted the pattern at the time.

On my travels in 2007 to write Fiber Gathering, I found some amazing Cormo yarn from Elsa Wool Company sold both at Estes Park and Taos wool festivals. I knew it would become these knee socks. Soft, supple, and as soulful as a fabric can be, I fell in love with its texture as I knitted. While this pattern is relatively simple, it requires attention. Each stitch must be connected to the next. You can't drop one. You can't forget about the pattern completely. It draws you back in to attend to it, every other row. One row stockinette, one row of ploughed acre lace.

When I finished the sample socks for the book, I knew I wasn't done making these knee socks. I found some Bo Peep Not Just for Socks yarn in two colors in Greenwich, NY last fall, and I knew the charcoal color would be perfect for my own personal pair. I also liked how the yarn connected me to Tracy and Jeff's story. (Click on the link to my post on Greenwich for more.) In short, Tracy's friends kept her yarn shop open while she was ill. When I visited, I bought yarn not just to knit, but to celebrate our connections and how they keep yarn shops open!

Making a community and making a home in a new place seems to be all about these connections. It's how each stitch links us, with care, to the next thing, to those past and present and future stitches. Just replace stitch in that last sentence, and you have it. How knitting, and this story of Yom Kippur are related...

It's how each person links us, with care, to the next thing, to those past and present and future people.

More projects will be introduced soon!

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Blogger Nancy said...

Things don't 'just happen' but are connected for a reason. What is inspiring is when we are let in on the connections and maybe a glimpse of why they occur. I'm delighted to see some of yours.

October 3, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Nancy, I tend to think a lot of things happen by coincidence! However, I appreciate your delight in this one...whatever the reason it happened, it sure delighted me as well!

October 4, 2009 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Oh, Joanne, how cool! And I'll echo Nancy; my take on such things is G_D teaching us how connected we all are.

--AlisonH at

October 5, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

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