Community Cast On

Today we bring you a blog post written by Society for the Lost Arts Board member, and designer at Lisa Lucia (http://www.lisaluciaknits.com/), Lisa Whiting. She will be bring her Community Cast On knitting performance piece to YarnCon this year, and will tell you all about it below. Thanks, Lisa!

*********************

Back in 2005, I was living in Detroit, going to school at the Center For Creative Studies and working at a Yarn Shop, City Knits. It was in this time that I combined my love of art making and my love of knitting together in one huge piece, “Community Cast-On”. I documented it in a blog which is still up to this day.

The blog, http://communitycaston.blogspot.com/,  documented the progress of this performance knitting piece conceived by me, Lisa Whiting, BFA, (CCS 2005) and assistant manager of City Knits. “Community Cast-on: A Knitting Circle” engaged eight knitters and 16 hands simultaneously knitting around a 16 foot circle to create a giant tubular soft sculpture. The piece was cast-on at Noon July 2, 2005 to kick-off the Knit Fest at City Knits, using yarn donated by Cascade Yarns and needles donated by Skacel Needles.
 

At the time I chose ecological wool in various natural shades to reflect the diversity of our community and region. The piece was not about the product itself, but the proximity of people, who may be strangers, working closely together as neighbors to create a community. The sculpture was the evidence of the joint effort to create something beautiful and meaningful with the simple elements of sticks and string. The performance traveled to several area festivals throughout that summer, and was bound off in a celebration at The Detroit Institute of Arts in September 2005. Knitters of all skill levels were invited to jump in and knit a round (or portion thereof) and are invited to donate in any amount to the Stitch to WIN campaign.

Fast forward to today, having been engrossed in a amazingly inclusive knitting community here in Chicago, I have been wanting to recreate this piece with my current community of friends and adopted YarnCon family. I was super excited to share this idea of resurrecting this piece with Natalia and she and the other Yarny folks of YarnCon all agreed in this day and age where communities are split down political, racial, and religious lines, it is now more than ever that we need art that brings us all together. 

 So I am inviting you, my knitters, my family, to come and sit and knit a row with me as we start a new “Community Cast-On” the weekend of YarnCon, April 1st and 2nd. We didn’t get a chance to have yarn donated like I did for the original piece, however, let’s make this all a true community effort. Bring your scrap yarn, or yarns you want to donate, so we can make this version of the piece the technicolor dream knit that represents all of us. We are not just black and white, we are every color of the rainbow and this piece will reflect the hues of all of us, together, working for a common goal, unity!  Donations of Yarn will be used for this piece. Donations of money will go to local charity (TBD) that brings diversity and unity to our Chicago communities.

YarnCon’s Birthday KAL / CAL

Hey, yarn friends! As you may know, YarnCon is celebrating its 10th birthday this year. To get into the party atmosphere, we feel like decorating! This is where you come in.

Join us for our first-ever YarnCon KAL / CAL! We’re making bunting — you know, those fun little triangular flags you see at celebrations?

We thought it would be great to knit and crochet a WHOLE BUNCH of them and hang them up at our venue. And we’d like to invite you to knit and crochet along with us.

Some lovely designers on Ravelry have agreed to let us use their free designs, so choose one and get crafting!

Bunting Fit for a Queen by Vero Pepperell (knit)

Bunt Bunt Bunting by Shelley Husband (crochet)

Both patterns offer tips on gauge and choosing yarn, but don’t feel you have to conform to any particular flag size or weight of yarn. Use what you have on hand, what you think looks festive, or just what you feel like working with. This is purely for fun and celebration! The bonus is these little flags are super quick to finish. Show us your FOs on Instagram with #yarnconsbirthday!

The crafter who makes the most triangles just might go home with a special something from YarnCon. A small token of our yarny love and affection.