Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Repost from my Fiber Arts Blog on Why Don't Men Knit

Recently another photographer invited me to join a survivalist group on Flickr called Self Reliance For Survival.
As I was contemplating about what appropriate photos I could add, I thought spinning would be a good one. Then I thought about a topic that kind of chaps my hide, so to speak.
Many times when I'm knitting or crocheting or doing other fiber arts, men will walk by and roll their eyes and say something like, "um, knitting, or hmpf quilting, my wife does that." And then they'll go back to working on their knife or their bow or their atlatl darts. Very few of the men say, "Wow, you can knit. Can you show me how?" I think it's happened once and I even remember the guy who said it.
And no, he wasn't gay. He's one of our best archers and teachers.

So what's the deal guys? Don't you realize that to be a true survivalist you need as many fiber skills as you can master? You can't always rely on a deer walking by so you can shoot it, and skin it to make clothing or shelter.

With knitting or crochet or weaving you can make coats, blankets, hats, socks, gloves, shelters, slings, bow socks, hammocks, and so much more. With quilting you can take old clothes, save the good bits and make new blankets and jackets and vests. If you are a big, brave, strong guy are you afraid people will think you are a pansy if you whip out the knitting?

In a bartering society, you might need things you don't know how to make, like butter or candles. You might need to trade for eggs, lye, coffee, or fence posts. If you know how to weave you can make things to trade like baskets, sunhats, mats, potholders. One guy I know made his own hat out of pussywillows.

I hope you men will rethink your attitude towards fiber arts. If you don't want to do them yourself, at least don't belittle the women in your life that do them. They deserve as much respect as a knifemaker or a bowyer. And for you few guys out there that do knit and weave maybe you can convince the other guys you know to give it a try.

Knitted Skull Cap

Crocheting a Raffia Hat

Small woven tapestry

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Paleoplanet Members Meet for the April Gathering in Pasadena CA

The April get together last Sunday was fabulous. Perfect weather, a medium sized turn-out so we weren't overcrowded, and a kite chasing a red tail hawk. Someone who found us on the Internet showed up. Her name is Kate and she got her first chance ever to shoot a bow from Steve aka Badger.

Kate and Badger

I worked on my Japanese braiding with the kit I bought at the SCA collegium a week ago. It's working, but the bobbins quickly got into a tangled mess and I'm sure there must be a better way.

When I got two frustrated with the Japanese braiding, I switched to needlepunch and worked on my moon and stars design. I freehand draw all my designs in pencil on the back of the fabric.

I taught Paige some embroidery stitches a month ago and I'll be darned if she didn't find some info on the Internet for blackwork and she's already doing a fancy border for her first SCA garb. Paleoplanet isn't affiliated with the SCA but we have some crossover from people who belong to both groups.

Close up of Paige's Embroidery Project

Michael got David going on some chainmail.   And I worked on my needlepunch some too.

David working on chainmaile.

Michael working on a bow.

Aimee came a bit later and did some sketching and worked on some other projects. She brought some gourd canteens she'd made that were gorgeous.

Aimee's canteen gourds.

Aimee and Guy doing archery together.

There was a lot of bowmaking going on too. And some people got in some practice with slings. We are an eclectic bunch and there is always something new to do and learn.

Sal has helped many beginning bowyers.

Barbara was knitting a  blue baby sweater. She's new to knitting so when she got a little lost on how to do the sleeves, she crocheted them instead. That's exactly why I try to get knitters to learn crochet and vice versa. The more skills the better, right?

Barbara designed this baby sweater.

I took photos. I'll add some here. I'd point you to the thread on http://paleoplanet.net/, but sadly, any link I put will just dump you on the top of the forum and you'd have to do some digging under the primitive bows thread to find them.

Can you believe we have this much fun for free? All you have to do is show up. If you plan to make a bow though, contact Tom Mills or Ken and get a list of what to bring to make your bow out of. We have some loaner tools, or you can bring your own spokeshave, drawknife, and sanding and scraping tools. Ken usually brings a tillering tree.

See you next month.