Knit by Kirby
I learned to knit last year in New Zealand upon the arrival of fall, after what seemed to be a pretty quick summer. (Perhaps its geological location as the launch pad for scientists going to Antarctica should have led me to expect cool temperatures.) I had left all my warm gear behind the previous October when packing for summer, and I realized I would need a scarf. Since NZ has 22 sheep for every person there are loads of opportunities to get some of the highest quality wool in the world. I was happy to find the same could be true for hunting knitting needles at any thrift shop. They held the same practical capabilities as any other household items, for example a tea cup or a "jumper."
At the time we were living in Tui, a great community in the Golden Bay area of the South Island that offered a Permaculture Internship for four people, including Will and I. Mondays were workshop days that featured different classes taught by the residents who lived there, one being knitting. Later it seemed all we could do around the wood-burning stove in the late afternoon or night when we had finished our daily tasks: spraying compost tea in the garden, getting rid of invasive weeds, or plaiting garlic, among other things.
One aspect I appreciate about knitting is the contact with natural fibers. There are many good reasons for this - they are breathable, feel better, and have more history and character. Even more importantly they are biodegradable and generally produced with much less harm to the environment than synthetic fibers. I'm trying more and more to use natural wool for my knitting and be aware of what my clothes are made of.
What I thought was just going to be a phase has stuck around and at night I enjoy, under comfy wool blankets, the repetitive action of stitching and the art of calming the busy mind.
Observation of nature is the reference for these scarves, especially where I am now, surrounded by woods in a little place called Skinem, Tennessee.