Meet Dziparu Mate, The Latvian Holy Mother Of Yarn

“Dear Dziparina Mamulina, help me keep this damn yarn from tangling so I can knit another pair of damned mittens!”

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I would like to introduce you to Dziparu Mate, one of my very favourite Goddesses. She is one of the Latvian Mother Goddesses or Mates, and She rules over Wool, Coloured Wool and Yarn.

Knitting was very important in the life of young Latvian women. Girls were expected to knit over fifty pairs of mittens before their wedding day, and the number of pairs a girl had made was one factor in finding a husband.

That made mitten-making a very serious business. Can you imagine the pressure of knowing your prospective husband’s family would be examining your mittens in order to decide if you were worthy of marrying their son? On the wedding day, the bride would give out the mittens she had made to her new in-laws. Hopefully, the mittens (and the bride)  would be a big hit.

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The Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs of a Left-Handed Craft Teacher

It isn’t always easy, being a lefty. Especially when you are trying to teach a right-handed student to craft. But it can be done!

The Dreaded LHKRPTSD (Left-Handed Knitting-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

When I was 12, in grade 7, I had to take a class called Crafts, that nearly turned me off string forever. Sadly, the teacher didn’t “believe in” left-handed (aka backwards) knitting.

Now, as a craft teacher myself, I look back on that class and wonder if it would be even be possible to do a worse job of teaching a bunch of kids the joys of needlework. It took me 37 years to even try to learn to knit again. Thank  Habetrot, she didn’t try to teach me crochet! Teaching an opposite-handed beginner to do yarn-craft takes a little extra work but it can be done very successfully.

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Making Mobiles

Calder, eat your heart out!
Making a mobile in 14 fairly simple steps.

A few days ago I was at the centre where I teach various String Things, when I was asked if I could help someone make a mobile featuring origami cranes for her new apartment’s new Asian-inspired theme.

Now usually I wouldn’t be able to help as there are only limited amounts of string used in this craft but I did have a brief but extremely passionate love affair with kinetic art and thus have lots of experience.

Since I promised to teach her how to make her own version of my Cherry Blossom Mobile (above) I thought I might as  well share it here too!

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Converting A Newbie To The Dark And Crafty Side…

Everything I learned about teaching, I learned in child care.

Learning a new skill can be intimidating. How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh I couldn’t do that, I’m not creative?” Not to worry, there are things you can do that help the nervous new crafter blossom into a happy, healthy, and helpless yarn fiend, like moi. 😉 Continue reading “Converting A Newbie To The Dark And Crafty Side…”

Zen and the Arts of String

I’m the kind of person that always has a piece of string in her pocket…just in case. You never know when a bit of calm might be desperately needed.

That’s actually not a flippant title. I really did find my zen (or mindfulness or peace if you prefer) through string. And now playing with string is pretty much the organizing principal of my life. It’s a large part of what makes my life worth living.

Well that and teaching my beloved Arts Of String to anyone who wants to learn. I will be sharing my thoughts, tips, and techniques for helping unsure beginners discover their Inner Spirits of String in this blog too. And yes, all of those caps were necessary!

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