Thursday, March 14, 2013

Greenwood Wrap - Free Knitting Pattern


This wrap has a nice organic look to it.  See below to link to the PDF for this project.  

"Trying to force creativity is never good."
(Note:  I posted this yesterday but accidentally didn't make the link to the pattern public.  I've fixed the problem and the pattern can be accessed now.)
It’s funny how my decision to refrain from buying yarn until Easter has impacted my knitting hobby.  Using materials at hand forces one to be creative, and since my yarn fast I've been motivated to sketch out several of my own designs and actually to knit up a couple of them.  In an effort to foster this type of resourcefulness in students, when I assign three-dimensional projects in my classroom, I always tell my class, “Do not buy anything,” although some individuals have a difficult time grasping the concept of using what’s at hand. 


     I can remember assigning a scrapbook project to a senior English class nearly ten years ago. After choosing a character in a novel he or she had read, each student was supposed to create a scrapbook from the perspective of that character.  I’d shown the students clever and sometimes beautiful scrapbooks crafted by students from my previous school.  These were made with cardboard, fabric, odds and ends of paper, ribbons, etc. I'd hoped these items might inspire them.  After the project was assigned, though, every day, day-after-day, for a couple of weeks, one girl  would come in and grump and grouse about how much money she was going to have to spend on purchasing a scrapbook and items to go in it. Her grumbling would permeate the classroom, the discontent absorbed like spilled milk sopped up by a dish towel, until there was a resounding chorus of complaint in my classroom. The gripe fest would then move beyond the scrapbook project to include other general criticisms. When this wave of dissatisfaction happened, I felt as if I would implode from frustration. 


I wish I could find someone else to model my creations for me,
but here's a look at the wrap on me.  



     Of course, it was my first year at that particular school, and even the most experienced teachers are put to the test by students when trying to navigate unfamiliar territory, while at the same time attempting to establish a professional reputation.  And I bore the added onus of having, at the end of the summer, suddenly replaced a beloved inspirational, yet irreverent, male English teacher.  The unaware students, who'd been so looking forward to being in his class, were not happy to find his eclectically decorated room tidied up--with me in it--on the first day of class.  So it wasn’t just isolated scrapbook moaning that impacted my reaction to the class’s poor response to a project that the students at my other school had loved doing.  

     Finally things came to a head.  One day in a pique of built-up anger, I grabbed some materials I had in my classroom and quickly threw together a book cover.  I must have looked like a red-haired madwoman, as I wielded a glue gun, slammed a cardboard box on a desk,  and shrieked in a shrill voice, “You cut out a rectangle and cover it with fabric or paper!”  I coupled my dialogue with glares in the direction of the girl who instigated the daily effusion of objections. I then proceeded to light into the class with a litany of expressions of outrage that I can't quite recall now.  


     This was an advanced placement class, and my project assignment was not out of line with the expectations of my co-workers for student work.  The other senior English teacher required all of her students to create both a life-size wooden medieval sword and a shield.  My husband spent a long night in our garage using a hand saw to cut out a large circle of plywood for Lara, an exchange student from Germany who was living with us (that same year as the scrapbook incident) and attending the school where I taught.  I know it was after midnight when my frazzled  spouse--vision impaired from his sawdust-speckled glasses--finally staggered inside the house.  Lara was up for several more hours more painting and embellishing the items,  but she actually loved completing the project.  She even dressed up in a medieval costume the next day, in order to earn some extra credit points.  

     Alas, not everyone is a "maker," but Lara's pleasure in completing her project (with some help) was balm to my wounds as was the wonderful cardboard and tinfoil thank-you sign she made for my family before she returned to Frankfurt at the end of the school year.  Not everyone can see the possibilities for transformation in everyday objects, but those who do find immense satisfaction in creating something of value from what's at hand.  

      The day before yesterday I enjoyed creating a simple pattern for a head wrap and knitting it using some yarn I’d purchased last fall.  The wrap is made with bulky yarn, so it works up quickly.  You can access the PDF file HEREI know spring is on its way, but this small wrap is perfect for windy days.  I also know that those of my students who thoughtfully created their books by repurposing found items were ultimately proud of their finished products. 

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your creations :) It looks lovely on you!

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  2. Your wrap is lovely and your reflections on your class's creativity or lack of it and general unwillingness to give stuff a go resonate a lot with me in a variety of contexts. The lack of exploratory curiosity in what may be new or different that one encounters in various avenues of life never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps I am too inquisitive for my own good! But if I haven't got new ideas to play with and new creative projects to enthuse about I get bored big time! It's also frustratingly the case that once one person starts a whinge-fest, it quickly sours and contaminates everyone else in the vicinity. As you say, it just spreads like spilled (sour) milk. Lara's Medieval accoutrements sound much more like - I did smile at the idea of your husband staying up all night sawing a shield for her! What fun must have been had! E x

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  3. Congrats on this pattern! It is lovely and unique. I just know it, someday you will be a famous knitwear designer! And why shouldn't you model your work? Everything you make always looks so great on you! Wonderful post as always, Liz. We should try to meet up for the Carolina fiber fest next month!

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  4. I love seeing all your designs pouring out!

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