Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Library knit-in: where creativity and sustainability meet

Yesterday I helped out with our first ever Library knit-in! @malbooth has already got in before me blogging about it (very briefly) at but I thought I definitely had more to add. In particular, since I actually knitted and he merely took photos and made witty remarks from the sidelines!

I wanted to be involved in the day for two reasons. 1. Promoting sustainability. The idea for the day came from an Earth Hour competition we ran to come up with ways to be more green/sustainable. The winner suggested we "rug up for winter, don't turn up the heater"! What a great message! (Last year I was the winner of the same competition with my idea 'pedal power' which I might have to blog about another time!)

2. Connecting with my roots. The idea of knitting seems to interest and terrify me in equal measures. Growing up with an award winning crafter for a nanna was intimidating to a youngster trying to knit for the first time, especially when you're constantly measuring yourself up to her high standards! Now fully grown, I seem to take up the task of knitting every few of years or so and have a bag full of unfinished projects (mostly scarves) in the back of a cupboard somewhere. Two years ago I asked nanna to help me start a beanie, which she did and I told her I'd bring it next time I visited so she could check up on my progress. Unfortunately, my interest waned and I never got past 6 rows (of admittedly tough stitches). Last year my beloved nanna passed away and with her all that expertise and knowledge of all matters craft related. So yesterday I brought in that unfinished beanie and felt like I was reconnecting with my nanna and paying tribute to her knowledge and passion as a knitter. I was told by the expert that the beanie was a pipedream, so I unpicked it and started a neck warmer (small scarf) because it was manageable and I really want to finish this one for my nanna.

Overall, I found the day very enjoyable with a great sustainability message while managing to rekindle a flame for knitting. It was a rare informal meeting of staff from all over the uni and students from all levels and backgrounds. I thought it was great to be able to mix informally with students and perhaps change perceptions they might have about libraries and librarians. Libraries can be creative spaces and even the people walking past the knit-in yesterday must have been intrigued by the unusual event. I think more creativity and events like this should be encouraged in academic libraries that can seem utilitarian in purpose but can be so much more. Most importantly, the day has inspired me to get that bag of unfinished projects out of the cupboard and give them another go! I'll let you know when I finish my neck warmer!

p.s. This final photo is of the State Library of NSW which is being lit up for the Vivid Sydney festival.


  1. Hipstamatic? Great photos. My nana never got to see me embrace crafting either. She used to buy me art books and paper when I was little. I think of her often when I craft she was an expert. I miss her.

  2. If you're looking for a place to get back into knitting, there's a new(ish) cafe in Newtown that would be perfect:

  3. We are *so* doing this when the doors open on our new sustainable library building in August... Maybe we can get our volunteers to knit book bags to sell to other customers instead of having calico bags printed up...hmmmm..

  4. Hey I'm one of the first to tease @malbooth whenever required, but as a fellow sideline commentator, I just wanted to point out that it's actually a very important role - having someone to make witty remarks from the sidelines - brings a whole new level of entertainment to any event : - )
    Cheers, Ruth

  5. Thanks for the comments! I agree witty remarks are indeed very important.