Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda . . . . .

Before i launch into my apology to crocheters, i want to acknowledge and thank fellow bloggers who have discussed the Knit and Crochet Heritage project on their blogs. Thanks to Susan Anderson of Itty Bitty Knits, Crochet Insider, Dora Ohrenstein, who also talked us up in a recent JimmyBeansWool blog post,  and TECH Knitter.  We are grateful for their thoughtful support, and their eloquent assistance in getting the word out.

The enterprise to to start a new “museum” – whatever that means in the twenty-first century —  is daunting.  Important, valuable objects and the stories they tell deserve the “museum” treatment. The Knit and Crochet Heritage Project is about making sure that the objects that we have created with our hands and the simple tools of sticks, hooks and string are so honored.

I know the title of this blog page is KnittingHeritageMuseum – and doesn’t mention its equally compelling and important sister art/craft: crochet.  Movers and shakers in the crochet world have frequently called me out and asked, “How could you make such an omission?”  I thought i would share my mea culpa with you readers, and ask your indulgence for a fresh start. I appreciate crocheters’ concern, and i agree that in a perfect world (I work hard – but am not perfect) I would have used crochet equally from the very beginning.

Initially I used just the word “knitting” in the titles and for setting up Facebook, mostly because “knitting and crocheting heritage museum” was such a mouthful.   Actually, my grandmother taught me to crochet before i learned to knit, and my crochet-only sister keeps me in line. My wedding dress and veil were trimmed with 8 yards of crocheted – not knitted – lace edging that I made.

Early on crocheters pointed out the error of my ways.  They made clear that I had erroneously chosen perceived brevity over inclusivity and that was a mistake.

Before I could change the name to “Knit and Crochet Heritage Museum” to be more inclusive, I  ran afoul of the Facebook rule that does not allow one to change the name of the Page once it has collected more than 100 “likes”.  Likewise – I got too far along with registration page and blog page to put “Knit and Crochet” in those titles.  Since then, I have edited the text in public spaces that would allow (or where i could figure out how to go back in and do it.)

The domain name i have secured for a proper web page is the KACHM.org  for Knit and Crochet Heritage Museum, – so, moving forward,  inclusiveness will be more visible. The current version of the logo KACHM logo now says Knit and Crochet Heritage Museum- although it, like the Facebook name and  of this blog page are placeholders.

The good news is that the Symposium, November 8-10 in Madison, Wisconsin,  provides the opportunity for a fresh start – snappy new inclusive name for the project/initiative/museum that is the result of deliberation and consensus.  The more crocheters engage,  the more balance there will be.  Perhaps we will even come up with the a single word for knit and crochet  like we have “sibling” for brothers and sisters. In Japanese, there is only one word that translates roughly as “yarn play.”  Perhaps a new inclusive word like “yarning” or something better, will catch on. That would be a positive outcome.

One of the possibilities is to develop a “SWAT” team of skilled crocheters and knitters to work with willing curators to help update, clarify and enhance documentation. Getting labels straight in museum collections, so that crocheted objects aren’t misclassified as knitting, and vice versa, is a goal of this project; that will benefit both knitters and crocheters.

This initiative has a higher likelihood of success if crocheters, as well as knitters are  on board. Now is the time to direct our collective energies time and talents to advance both crochet and knitting. Symposium registration closes Oct. 26. I hope you can join us.

Are You On the Fence About Whether to Attend the Symposium?

The symposium, during which we will talk about whether there should be a knit and crochet heritage museum, what that might look like, and next steps to take, is bearing down on us. I wasn’t really thinking about its proximity to the 2012 presidential election only two days earlier when i selected the  dates of Nov. 8 -10. NO, I based it on when there was no home football game for UW’s Badgers.  That said, the election countdown clock applies to registering for the Symposium as well. For those who have decided to attend, but haven’t reserved your hotel yet (or registered), the block of rooms being held at the Lowell Center will be released this Saturday, Oct. 6.  This is the most convenient lodging to the Symposium, and you should reserve TODAY!

For those not sure you should attend, Becky Holmes, a technical writer, ardent knitter [Ravelry name, Vanillamilkshake], and so much more  . . . makes this persuasive argument:

I was curious about the knitting symposium but not sure whether or not I wanted to commit the time and money to attend the event. Having now met with Karen Kendrick-Hands, the driving force behind this event (and the museum itself), I am convinced that it will be an excellent use of my time and money. Karen is a zealous advocate for preserving knitted and crocheted items and ephemera such as patterns and she will win you over to the cause.

I had a lot of questions for Karen about this project: “What kind of museum do you envision?” “Will it be located here in Madison?” “What role is the Wisconsin Historical Society playing in the symposium and the museum?” “What role can local Madison knitters play in this project?”

It turns out that answering the first three questions is part of what we will do at the symposium. Museums in the 21st century can take many forms, including digital only. A bricks and mortar building with exhibit space is another option. We will investigate these and other questions over the course of the event.

The last question, “What role can local Madison knitters play in this project” was what hooked me into signing up. This event has the support and participation of industry and museum experts, both local and national–if this project is going to work, it’s going to be these people who get it going, and I didn’t want to squander the chance to be an early supporter. When I thought about paying the $175 fee, I considered the fact that events like this can’t be organized for free, and if paying my fee helps the event come off, then it’s worth it. However, if you are interested in attending the event but don’t have the funds, Karen still needs volunteers to help with breakout sessions and registration; send her an e-mail message at knitheritagemuseum@gmail.com.

I hope to see you November 8-10 at the Wisconsin Historical Society. I’ll be wearing handknits.

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