Friday, December 3, 2010

Today's Knitting Groups

Knitting groups are important not only because they ensure the survival of our craft and give much to our communities, but also because of what they give to individual members. Groups help members through life crisis, celebrate life rewards, and help to develop hidden talents.

Knitting guilds
To become a guild member you must complete a registration form and pay a registration fee. Once membership is acquired dues become payable annually. In the guild, formal meetings are held regularly and presided over by a president.

Guilds usually have an educational component. During this education your knitting skills are judged and you must perform to a set level of competency. Upon successful completion of this education you gain the status of Master Knitter. Participation in these educational programs is voluntary.

Guilds exist mainly in urban areas. Rural knitters may become affiliate members. Active participation in a guild for most rural knitters is sadly impossible.

A brief history
In the seventeenth century, knitting guilds were the mainly male domain of professional knitters. To join, you had to embark in seven years of study the collimation of which was a demonstrated prowess in the craft. Work was subject to strict regulations as a form of quality control. As a member of the guild, you belonged to a family who would care for you when you were in need and discipline you when you stepped out of line.

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Knitting circles
Knitting circle is a term coined to describe any knitting group that is not a guild. Membership is free or not necessary. Socializing, not educating, is the focus. The environment in which participants meet is created and maintained by the facilitator. Any knitter anywhere can form a knitting circle. Simply find a place to meet and ask your knitting friends to join you there.

What are the origins of the meeting circle?
King Arthur and his knights of the round table are legendary. The round table was chosen to ensure that all knights were equal--all voices heard.

Historians speculate that the round table was adopted from the biblical last supper. During the last supper Jesus and his apostles feasted from a round table. Yet, the meeting circle is even older than this biblical reference. It dates back to the nature spiritualists.

Nature spiritualists revered females as the giver of life. Mother Goddess was the creator of all. They didn't dominate but sought to live in harmony with Mother Goddess' creations. From the harvesting of plants, they learned of the never-ending circle of life. They formed a sacred circle to celebrate Mother Goddess and to pass on knowledge of her.

Shared Passion
It is the time of the owl. The sun has long since set--a black blanket envelops the earth. All is quiet...and still I am drawn by a wordless call. I am careful to wake no one as I leave my slumber. I wrap my shawl around my night-gowned shoulders; grab my purse and slip into the night. I leave the familiar and travel deep into the forest. I do not tarry. My footfalls are quick and sure.
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I come to a natural clearing in the woods. Here they wait. Their skin tones range from milk to butter to cinnamon. Some faces have been touched by the graceful brush of age. Other faces, time has yet to alter. All are my sisters. I join the circle.
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Our craft is ancient. Our magic strong. We draw from our purses that which unites us. We begin to chant faintly at first and then louder and louder, until our words echo from the treetops.
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I pledge my knitting for social action,
My yarn for greater warmth,
I knit for the neglected, abandoned and abused
I knit for those with no voice, no home, no one.
I knit for those with greatest need
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Suddenly a streak of light flashes across the sky! It flits from sister to sister briefly touching each knitting needle. Enlivened by the light, our needles dance. Sweaters, gloves, scarves, toques, blankets fall from our needles. As quickly as they are knit they vanish. We know to where and we know to whom although not a word is spoken. Then, all to quickly, that which drew us together bids us part. My sisters and I exchange a smile then I slip from the circle back to my bed. The sanctity of the circle stays with me, always, deep within my heart.
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Today on 30 Days of Decadence (http://30daysofdecadence.blogspot.com)
Clarissa Yip confesses--just what did she steal from Santa?
(Heads up, I will be appearing on this blog on December 9th. I'm so worried that no one will comment. Please mark your calenders.)
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Also today, Terrill's art sale. Learn more: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com
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Monday, December 6th please drop by here and join the art/craft discussion.
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Next post: Six Sentences Sunday
I share more from The Sweater Curse

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