Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Knitting behind bars

I came across this article online the other day about a woman who teaches knitting to male prison inmates. I love this!  It's seems incredible that such a thing could happen in a world where airlines had banned knitting needles as potentially lethal weapons in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.  As if any knitter would sacrifice the knitting, no matter how simple the pattern or the garment.

The 67 year-old Lynn Zwerling must be a very compassionate person (as my mother pointed out) as well as a visionary.  Putting male criminals together with the gentle art of knitting doesn't seem like an obvious thing to do, but it actually makes perfect sense.

As I've noted before, knitting was originally male work, so reintroducing modern men to knitting is a great thing to do.

Knitting is a meditative past time.  The steady repetition can be hypnotic and you find your breathing steadies to fit with the easy rhythm of stitches and rows being made.

Knitting creates focus and banishes idleness.  I imagine that having something other than time to focus on would be useful for some inmates.  Being busy with something worthwhile is great for self esteem and a sense of achievement and satisfaction.  You need to pay attention to the details when you're knitting - every stitch is important.

Creative expression is important for human beings.  Knitting can be a form of creative expression.

Being useful is important for human beings.  I like the way the Knitting Behind Bars project gives something back to the community in the form of comfort dolls for children who have suffered in their homes because of domestic issues and then moved onto hats for children in the local primary school.

Looking at something that you made with your own hands is wonderful in this time of mass-production.

I wonder if there are any programs like this in Australian prisons?

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