Saturday, January 30, 2010


it is a cold day today - extreme weather alert. So the chances of living and staying healthy on the streets is diminishing.

what you see above is our "pot" of wool! it is this that feeds us. we received some community donations of wool, needles, fabric, and more... so an enormous thank you to donors! we appreciate the attention - it really means much more than the wool, the needles. it means that people are actively thinking about this community. and by doing so, thinking, they begin to imply relationship.

Monday, January 25, 2010

happy birthday afternoon tea

today we celebrated the birthdays of all women with a (vegan) cake - chocolate with vanilla frosting and red icing decorations. around the sides of the cake were written words: crochet, knit, tea, talk, sew... on the top were the words "happy birthday" and some hearts, as well as icing balls of yarn! delicious.

however i felt also like some small piece of this cake was absent. One of the women who comes regularly has now left... and we will miss her but also wish her well as her life continues... it would have been nice to share this cake with her...

today we were 16 women. many of us continue to knit our knee warmers but there are many other projects on the go as well. including baby blankets for one of the women - who is due soon. next week our plan is to begin designing the banners. we are also arranging a trip to the art gallery. and still planning that knit in!

the women are filled with ideas about how to make our shelter systems better. first of all they would appreciate permanent housing, and recognition that shelters are not and should not be long term solutions. they would also appreciate housing for women over 50. there is a sense that perhaps shelters for specific groups would keep more women off the streets... and the usual wish for no bedbugs!

Monday, January 18, 2010

mute, silence

it's what we do, when the television is on and we want to take a phone call, what we wish we could do when someone is talking endlessly about something we may have a different opionion about.... i get a sense that our society would like to keep women who have experienced homelessness on mute...

but today it was noisey. many voices chattering over tea - women from different cultures, countries, with different belief systems all coming together for an afternoon of art. today we were learning how to make knee pads. one woman stated that they would be really helpful when she had to go back to the streets - good for keeping her knees warm. we thought that once we are done we will photograph us all wearing them! the pattern is not too complex, a ribbed stitch, moving into a shaped purl for the knee and then back to the ribbing (k2, p2) - if we figure out how to write a pattern down i may post it. right now we have an example that we are studying.

some of the women talked about the group itself, and that it was helpful. just to spend some time where there were no rules, where beauty was deemed an inherent part of life. and perhaps also it is a place where women can make some of what they have lost. a scarf, mittens, a sweater or hat. a picture for a wall. small and essential parts of life.

and we may well be knitting outside soon. we have decided that we would like to take our work onto the streets in order to bring more awareness of homelessness and what people in poverty face. stay tuned.