Connected by the threads

Tifa Asrianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 05/23/2010 12:17 PM | Art and Design
Knitting enthusiasts display their works at a recent gathering in Bogor.: JP/Tifa AsriantiKnitting enthusiasts display their works at a recent gathering in Bogor.: JP/Tifa Asrianti
Once considered as a pastime for women and senior citizens, today knitting is enjoyed by a broader generation as the young, old, men and women share a common interest in knitting the threads together.
This is true at least for a Bogor-based knitting group in which its members have different backgrounds. They also have different stories to tell on how they fell in love in knitting.
Anneke, 82, and Els, 68, the group’s senior members, recalled they had learned how to knit while they were at elementary school. Both Anneke and Els enrolled at Dutch schools during the colonial years.
Ari Asih, another member, said that her interest in knitting started when she joined the girl scouts where she learned how to make simple knots. She later applied the knots to create hair fascinators.
“When my aunt came from Medan, she taught me to make the chain stitch. Since then, I’ve been learning knitting by myself,” Ari said.
Many of those who love to do knitting find it has unexpected advantages. For example Anneke says it helps her to combat memory loss. “My mother told me to always have something to do. Later, I chose to knit. Knitting helps me to stay alert because I have to count the number of stitches,” she said.
While Els voiced similar opinions, other members of the group had different reasons for liking knitting.
For Lilie Yung, knitting is an activity in her free time that keeps boredom away. Fonny, another member, said she makes new friends through knitting. Meanwhile, Ari and Ucce get financial benefits from their hobby.
There have been some requests for Ari to make knitted products. Ucce meanwhile has opened a knitting course.
Adi Marsiela (right) shows a woman how to do yubiami (finger knitting) during an event in Bandung: www.themanwhoknit.blogspot.comAdi Marsiela (right) shows a woman how to do yubiami (finger knitting) during an event in Bandung: www.themanwhoknit.blogspot.com
A group member might try and sell a woolen hat for Rp 120,000. “People might say it’s expensive, but when they try to make it themselves, they will know that the price is reasonable. Prices of knitting yarns start from Rp 7,500 to Rp 200,000. Every hand-made product is invaluable,” said Ari.
The women, who are also members of the mari merajut (lets get knitting) mailing list, meet at a cathedral for the weekly study session every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Another knitting group in Bogor meets at the Christ Church in Sukasari every Tuesday from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Both groups have a monthly gathering in the second week of the month. The meetings are usually joined by other less active members from Bogor or Jakarta.
It seems that knitting goes beyond gender. It turns out that men are interested in doing this activity although it’s often associated with women. Erri Nugraha, 28, said that his encounter with knitting began in February last year when a friend asked him to design a book on knitting.
After finishing the project, the Bandung-based designer met with a knitting group which eventually made him take more interest in the craft.
“Knitting is not entirely a new thing for me because my mother taught me how to crochet with one needle when I was little. Now, I cannot only do crocheting, but I can also do knitting with two needles and do finger knitting [yubiami].”
In the beginning, he said, he was a bit embarrassed with his newfound hobby as knitting has always been associated with women’s activities.  But more and more men are joining in, he added.  He gained more confidence and even created a blog for men who knit. (www.themanwhoknit.blogspot.com ).
A sample of knitting work: JP/Tifa AsriantiA sample of knitting work: JP/Tifa Asrianti
Coming from various backgrounds, the knitting men usually meet at Tobucil, a bookstore in Bandung, West Java, on Sunday. Apart from doing knitting, the group also presents a tutorial video on knitting to attract more men to join the group.
We want to show other men that knitting is a fun and positive activity. There is no need to be ashamed of it said Erri, who makes knitted bags, scarves and sweaters.
“I have been carrying the yarn and the needles for the past two months as I’m currently working on a bag — a birthday gift for a friend. If I’m at leisure, I can finish it in two or three days. Unfortunately, I am busy with other work,” he said.
He explained that it generates revenue even though it’s only a hobby. The autie of a friend paid him Rp 150,000 for a knitted vest.
“When I have designer’s block, I pull out the needles, start knitting and then ideas will flow. It’s like a form of meditation because you need to focus your concentration on it,” Erri said.
This work will be combined with other pieces from other places across the country into a huge kawung-patterned blanket. It is se: JP/Tifa AsriantiThis work will be combined with other pieces from other places across the country into a huge kawung-patterned blanket. It is se: JP/Tifa Asrianti
Ari had similar opinions and said that knitting required concentration and perseverance, not talent. “There are so many positive things about knitting that we want everyone to give it a try,” she said.
 Members of the knitting group will share their knowledge with the public at the Indonesia Knitting Festival, to be held between June 23 and July 11 at Mal Ciputra shopping center in West Jakarta. 
There will be workshops, fashion show, bazaar and knitting competition. The group will also try to create a record on creating the largest batik kawung-patterned blanket.

For more information on knitting groups:

1 komentar:

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