Friday, November 21, 2008

Letting Boys' be Boys'

Our eldest son Louis is just about to turn two and a half. This is a kid who is constantly on the move. He was a 'busy' baby in-vitro, he arrived in just 4 hours from first contraction to delivery & basically hasn't stopped moving since. This boy is a force of nature & I love him dearly. He's now on the way out of the terrible two's (which for us started at 18 months) now that his language is starting to mature, but what I love most, is his cheeky love of life. Louis is a boy who could have inspired the phrase "slugs, snails & puppy dogs tails". Mess is good. Chaos, good. Mud, good. Battles, good. Food, as long as it's 'Choc-lit', 'bikkie', or 'juss', good. Life for Louis is pretty straight forward or.... good.

One of my pet peeves about being the mother of 2 little boys' is what my friend calls "the over feminisation of our boys'". She is the solo mother of 2 boy's herself & a primary (elementary) school teacher. Both her boy's are what I like to call 'busy'. She has been an invaluable resource for me as Louis has gotten older as she has been able to reassure me that my dear boy is in fact perfectly normal. In these increasingly more politically correct times I have seen the phenomenon of PC clap trap making it's way into our playgrounds & nursery schools. Now I am all for trying to teach naturally rambunctious boys' the importance of being 'gentle' & the boundaries of sensible social behaviour, but one fact remains the same, they're boys!

They have a 'Y' chromosome that just makes them act, behave & think differently. If there is something that moves, they'll move it, if it wet, they'll splash it, if it dangles, they'll pull it, if it's quiet, they'll make noise, if the doors shut, they'll open it, if a box is full, they'll empty it - this is what boys do. They also shoot you with a machine gun (in our case any pen or clothes peg will do) or cut you down with a light saber (chopstick or his real favourite, one of my knitting needles) he fights battles with his real & imaginary friends - all perfectly normal.
If you have been like me & have suffered 'those' glances, you know the one's, or have had over protective mothers at the playground glaring as your child in full flight comes within six feet of another child, be reassured, you're not alone & you can walk tall in the fact that studies have shown that busy, free thinking, highly imaginative boys', like our sons, are the men of the future who grow up to become world leaders, captains of industry, men who make change. As my grandmother always said, "It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Renaissance of Craft

I have been knitting since I was a kid. I started like most children in rural New Zealand with a wooden cotton reel with 4 nails tapped in the top & hours & hours, yards & yards of french knitting. My Daisy dolls has small garter stitch blankets & by my teens I had graduated to long 'homespun' look scarves & my first jumper, a purple, white & black geometric intarsia number (give me a break, it was the 80's!) done in a soft mohair blend - quite adventurous for a first jumper project. The 80's was the last time I really remember the craft, & especially a knitting, Renaissance like what we have now. Who can forget all those brightly coloured intarsia bat winged jumpers with big shoulders & miles & miles of brushed mohair. Parents were also kept busy moving from the 70's poncho to the 80's leg warmers & it was OK, even cool to knit - so like many of my peers, I did.

Then came the stock markets crash, the 80's made way to the 90's & the plethora of mass market knitwear that was so cheaply priced - why would you spend hours toiling away over the needles to produce your own garment. Knitting, for me at least, found it's way into the back of the wardrobe, or was done behind closed doors. And this is a beautiful thing I think about the resurgence knitting has had over the past 5 years - it's the transition of 'knitting for necessity' to 'knitting for pleasure' (or addiction).

An Australian yarn company has a wonderful poster that circulated a few years ago the had a beautiful young woman in the lotus position with the by line "knitting is the new yoga", many of the women I have have taught to knit or helped refresh & coach have all said the focus required in the craft has helped them relax & unwind after the rigours of a hard day, a feeling I'm sure you wouldn't get by ripping out the plastic & buying a vastly inferior mass produced product.

I now do some work for a local spinning mill, my professional background (whilst colourful & varied) in recent times has been in the areas of marketing & new product development. I have been helping them with some new yarns they have been developing. The beauty of the Internet is that the world is now a truly global marketplace, you can buy yarn from anywhere. In the course of my research I found yarn offered up for sale on EBay from Inner Mongolia! So getting our yarns from New Zealand out to the global marketplace should be very do-able. The other aspect of the Internet is it's place in the reignition of craft, because 'crafty' people by their very nature love nothing better than to be able to share their craft with others. There are now communities & social networking sites for people of every interest & ilk to be able to share their work & passion & now even marketplaces for them to sell their work without the barrier of borders.

I am very interested to see what lies ahead in these hardened economic times for craft & it's suppliers, traditionally in times of crisis disciplines like knitting have soared in popularity, so if you haven't done so already now might be the perfect time for you to dust off those needles & join the craft renaissance.
If you would like to see the yarns available from the New Zealand Yarn Company, visit our new store on we are called yarn4miles and put "Forever Green Elan" in the search