Archive for the ‘Other Community Projects’ Category

My branch of the TikkunTree has sprouted new fruit. Amidst the variety of leaves this tree has produced (simple single and double leaves, Safed leaves, Undone leaves, YingYang leaves, Cabled Co-existence Leaves), etc), this imaginary olive tree has finally yielded its first olive branch! How was it done? I knit a few olives (solid versions inspired by the patterns described here) and knitted them into to a knitted branch … no seams, few ends to weave in, one lovely, delicate, leaf-strewn knitted olive branch. More information will be available on the Patterns page.

What conversations about or efforts for mid-east peace might this new growth on the TikkunTree stimulate? For me, renewed effort to find more information about the peacebuilding work in Israel-Palestine. Last week I made time to read all the reports on recent Israeli-Palestinian dialogue projects contained in a recent issue of Qantara.de: Dialogue with the Islamic World, a German e-journal. Learning about the range of artistic, educational, journalistic, musical and political bridges that are being built between Israeli Jews and Palestinians is tremendously inspiring.

Made me want to keep knitting green leaves, at the very least. And prompted me to explore new ways to support the pursuit of peace in Israel-Palestine. Here’s a new one: to contribute to the work of Doctors Without Borders in the Palestinian territories – it seems self-evident that people without adequate medical care are unlikely to be able to work for peace. Fortunately for fiber artists crafters interested in peace in the mid-east, there’s a simple way to make a contribution to the important work of these medical professionals: join others in the Knitters Without Borders project and take “the Doctors Without Borders Challenge”.

If you don’t know about Knitters Without Borders, you should. The project was started as a response to the 2004 Asian Tsunami disaster by the famed YarnHarlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee), to raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders. How does it work? You take “the Challenge”: for one week … tally up the value of all unnecessary purchases for one week (that includes lattes, an extra pair of shoes, new jeans, and yarn!) and donate that amount to any of the MSF organizations [MSF United States, MSF Canada or MSF International]. Anyone who can afford to knit can afford to donate, at least a dollar.

So consider contributing the cost of green yarn for this week’s TikkunTree leafto MSF, to support the medical assistance provided in the occupied territories. Then send your name, email address and donation amount to McPhee (the address is: kwbATyarnharlotDOTca), so that she can maintain a running tally, proudly display the project’s button and link to the homepage. No donation amount is too small to be recorded! The project reports donations totalling almost $450K to date!

I’ve purchased a KWB tote (available inexpensively here; purchases help support the expenses of the project) to carry my current crop of TikkunTree leaves and remind me to record each unnecessary purchase I’ve refrained from making.

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What a surprise! The TikkunTree project has sent shoots to Alaska … In her recent article, “Knitters make personal statement about peace, justice” (Anchorage Daily News, 5/12/08), Alaskan fiber artist and journalist Catherine Hollingsworth described the TikkunTree as” [p]robably the most ambitious [peace] project ever undertaken by needle workers.” How exciting to discover that the TikkunTree has cast such a broad shadow and has been received with such enthusiastiasm. Other knittivist projects discussed in the article include Knit for Peace and Afghans for Afghans. You can read the entire article here.

Along with drafting a pattern for the Ying Yang leaf (nearly done), my needles have been busy with small contributions to two important needles knittivist projects: the Color Orange campaign and Knit a Condom Amulet.

The Color Orange project aims to raise protest human rights abuses in China by promoting use of the color orange as a sign of protest at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing this summer. Contributions to the Color Orange are varied and international; I’ve joined others in the Ravelry fiberarts community to knit objects that can be worn or used at the Olympics by either athletes or spectators, and the challenge has prompted a bit of creative fun – such as a set of felted origami peace cranes, some orange chains, an Olympic rings medallion, and coral peapod earrings – my take on the “envision whirled peas” motto.

The Knit a Condom Amulet project is one of many knittivist fiberarts projects concocted by Naomi DB, the Little Red Hen. The project aims to promote HIV and safe sex awareness among women over 50, by encouraging needleworkers to make special covers for condoms. For me, the project is an opportunity to try a few new techniques while make making something special for a special cause – the health of my friends! I’ve contributed a bit of purse jewelry, a silver piece of purse jewelry -a Seashell Amulet Bag, and an ethnic Mosaic Girlfriends Bag.

What are you knitting for community and peace?

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The challenging current events in Israel/Palestine make the work of the TikkunTree that much more necessary, and difficult to maintain. It helps to have others thinking similarly.

I recently was invited to join an online needlework community, Ravelry, which has offered new paths to share the work of the TikkunTree. One of these is the “Knitting our way to Peace” group (moderated by Hanane of Knitting Our Way to Peace), which carries on a stimulating conversation about matters of religion and religious practices, peace, and ways to use our skills to promote peaceful thoughts and action. A new member of the group, Sophia, recently initiated another knittivist project, the 198 Countries Peace Project. She’s looking to join the flags of the 198 countries of the world, and needs volunteers to make this happen. I’ve volunteered to make the Israel & Palestine Flags, which I plan to join – at the hip, like Siamese twins, which is how I see the two communities (if you are interested, you can read more here). I’ve already charted the pair of flags and the way I plan to unite them. I’ll be using Peace Fleece yarns (of course).

Sophia is looking for contributions from all fiber artists, not just knitting and crochet. There are still l plenty of flags needing to be made – contact Sophia.

So while the TikkunTree has an ongoing need for contributions of leaves and doves that (hopefully) come out of conversations about mid-east peace, I encourage others to check out the 198 Countries Peace Project and make a flag for peace.

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