Friday, April 15, 2011

1,0o0 (Knitted) Cranes. For Jun Miyamoto.

Knitnotwar 1,0o0 by Seann McKeel.
It will come as a surprise to no one that books such as Astounding Knits!: 101 Spectacular Knitted Creations and Daring Feats, do not happen in a vacuum. Each featured artist and craftsperson (such as Seann McKeel, a picture of whose work you see above) generously gave their time to answer questions, and pass along photos and press materials; and it's no exaggeration to say that this project could not have manifested without them. But there are hidden contributors as well – people who work behind-the-scenes and sometimes without all due credit, to help certain aspects of these projects come together.

Jun Miyamoto is one such contributor – both to Astounding Knits, for which she tracked down the elusive Kiyoko Yoshikawa (of Food Knits and the Descente penguin); and to the upcoming Knitting Around the World: A Multistranded History of a Time-Honored Tradition, in which I'm pleased to note her name is plastered all over the Japan chapter. She elucidated the history of Japanese knitting as well as its current state; interviewed the "Prince of Knitting," Matsuhare Hirose; and generally made sure that the chapter was in good (and accurate) working order. So today, I'd like to honor Jun.

This is in no small part because I learned last week that she and her family have had to abandon their Tokyo apartment, condemned due to earthquake damage. Her boys have been packed off to France to stay with their grandparents while Jun and her husband move house. And still, in the midst of all her own chaos, Jun is getting ready to dye her stock of yarn to sell for northern Japan's earthquake refugees. While I figure out how best to use this blog help in her endeavor, please feel free to leave messages at the end of this post for Jun. I know it will warm her heart to hear your good wishes.

Finally, a word about the knitted cranes pictured here. They are part of Seann McKeel's project, Knitnotwar 1,0o0, which she conceived in 2007 and finished in June 2010. They were meant as a gentle protest against the war in Iraq, and were constructed by Seann, her mother, and scads of other knitters who heeded her call for crane submissions. By now, they are on their way to the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima, which itself was constructed to honor Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who contracted leukemia after exposure to the atom bomb dropped on her hometown during World War II, and who believed that she might be able to save her own life by folding 1,000 paper origami cranes. Seann has recently put her pattern for the knitted cranes up for  sale on Etsy. Proceeds are earmarked for Mercy Corps, to benefit victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Thank you, Seann, for providing a way for generous knitters to help.
Photo by Seann McKeel Knitnotwar 1,0o0.

1 comment:

  1. I missed this post and I loved the idea of the cranes for peace, I haven't seen them knitted before. I have been crocheting the Japanese Flower and also bought a pattern for a Kokeshi doll thru Ravelry to help the people in Japan affected by the earthquake and tsunami. My neighbour and I have been crocheting blankets to send as well.