I became a knitter because weaving was too solitary for me. My big loom, oh how I loved it! I remember every thing about purchasing it from the now-defunct Tinctoria in Seattle, setting it up in the dining room of my slummy apartment (I was single--who needs a dining room?). It moved with me from place to place, town to town.
By the time I had married and become a mother the loom was set up in the basement of our little house. The rug I had started remained unfinished for 9 years, and I finally had to admit that I was no longer a weaver, if by weaver you mean someone who actually weaves.
I packed up the loom and the yarn and complete collection of Handwoven magazines and the myriad accessories I'd accumulated, and I sold it all to a friend of mine.
And I felt sad.
It was right around this time that I was introduced (in print) to Meg Swansen--and thus my knitting life began.
The magic was that knitting allowed me to be with people when I worked with fiber!
The community of people who work in fiber has manifested itself in my life so much more than I could have anticipated, that day in 1998 when I opened a copy of Knitting in America by Melanie Falick. When I had a broken ankle, knitters brought food and walked Shadow. When I needed encouragement to open Feral Knitter, you were there. The Visionary Authors are an ongoing source of support for me as I work on The Book. And, of course, we see how knitters respond to requests for help in fundraising for excellent causes, or by creating communal blankets to express love and support in times of grief.
All this is an introduction to the Dreaming of Shetland eBook project, a fundraiser to support Deb Robson's dream of researching Shetland wool. Deb, who spent many years as the editor of Spin-Off Magazine, is the author of The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook, an essential reference tome for anyone who works with wool. She wanted to delve into the Shetland breed but, as a self-employed author she couldn't afford the travel and time involved. Deb's blog post at Independent Stitch fills in the story. Donna Druchunas came up with the idea of an eBook of donated patterns as a way to raise money, and the simple "come on, kids--let's put on a play!" project grew and grew and grew.
Dreaming of Shetland is now a very large collection of patterns--36!--plus several essays. Contributors include such very well known designers as Meg Swansen, Franklin Habit, Cat Bordhi, Cheryl Oberle, Sivia Harding, and Beth Brown-Reinsel, well, I'm kind of pulling names at random because I expect you will recognize just about everyone involved when you look at the table of contents. No one is paid for this work--these patterns and essays are donated out of appreciation for the work that Deb has done and in anticipation of the work to come.
I feel priviledged to be one of the contributors! I designed the Safe Harbor Shawl with Faroese-style shoulder shaping to make a large, encompassing shawl knit out of Jamieson Spindrift Shetland wool.
For $20 you get a series of small eBooklets; Part I of 7 is available right now, and the others will be published a couple of weeks apart (my Safe Harbor Shawl will be in the very last booklet... :-( it's hard to wait!).
You can see all the projects on the Dreaming of Shetland website. The very best of community!