Have you all seen fidget spinners? They are the newest, hottest fad toy to hit the small fry in every school and neighborhood. If you haven’t heard of them, you can look at this CNN article about the fad here. They were originally developed as an concentration aid for children with…what else can I call it…fidgeting disorders?…who seem to be able to concentrate better with their minds when their hands are occupied with something endless, mindless, but physically absorbing. But the toys have become so popular with kids of all thinking styles, that teachers are complaining that fidget spinners have become more of a distraction than the original fidgeting that fidget spinners were designed to help curb. Hmm. My sister has been looking high and low for a fidget spinner for my 7 year old nephew, and every place she’s looked has been sold out. I found a supply and picked up several of them in different colors, not knowing his preferences in the matter. (At Ocean State Job Lots in Rockland, Maine if you’re in similar straits and can’t get ahold of one) All the time with a nagging sense that I may be missing an opportunity.
See, I was recently encouraged to stock some fidget spinners as an impulse item on my counter top. All I could think of by way of reply was, “If you’re standing in the yarn shop and need something to fidget with, why don’t you just take up knitting…or crochet, or tatting, or…well SPINNING, for the love of wool.” I mean, really? Occupy the hands with a gadget that produces nothing, and produces nothing? I don’t think so, thanks.
Once upon a time, I was an education major. I’m also a mom. I know kids need to play. I know they need to bounce around and hop and skip and climb things. I also know there are kids who can learn better if they are engaged in meaningless physical activity while listening and looking at learning materials. I really, really understand that sitting still and absorbing like a sponge is not the ideal learning situation for most kids much of the time. They can do it in short bursts if they must, but then they’ll need to burst out into something more physical.
I also understand that kids like to feel accomplished and helpful. they like to know that they are making something, contributing in some way. In the way old days before there were public schools, children learned about the world at home from their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, older siblings, anyone who was around. And they were set to work early. Gathering eggs, milking goats, herding sheep, tending gardens, sweeping, washing, and fixing things. Their learning wove in and around all this physical activity. Guess what else they learned? How to card, wool, spin and knit…to keep their hands busy while they did other things. Even into the 20 century in USA schools, and even now in European ones, children learn to knit as part of their curriculum. Yup, right there in school, along side reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. Turn the heel of you sock while listening to a lecture on the capitals of Africa.
How have we forgotten so? When I did a Google search for “children learning to spin,” I got an image page that looked like this… I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see anything on this that looked like learning to spin. Entertainment, maybe, but nothing to do with what I was looking for.
But if I Googled, “children learning to spin wool,” I got this. Ahh. Now that’s more like it. If children benefit from having something to do with their hand while they listen and learn, why not give them something useful to do? And actual skill that produces something?
This final week is bittersweet; I’m excited for my next adventure (whatever it may be), but I’m feeling sad to be saying goodbye to all of you. The thought of leaving behind a routine that I have followed five days a week for the past five years is really daunting. Fortunately, there is ice cream in my freezer. Lots of ice cream.
Also fortunately, I have a knitting project nearly done, so I’m all lined up for a great dopamine boost when I finally (finally!) bind off and get all those tiny buttons sewn on. You probably assumed I had finished it ages ago, but Maine’s Slowest Knitter is still plugging away on the Goldfish sweater. Only half a sleeve and the button bands (gulp) left to go…
I definitely recommend this pattern by Tin Can Knits, although I will be changing the number of buttons — the size I’m making calls for twenty small buttons. Yes, twenty. Ain’t nobody got time for that, especially not on a squirmy baby. Besides, there were only eight of the cute fish buttons I wanted. (And do we ever knit a project exactly as the pattern says?)
So here’s to wrapping things up — winter, a job, a baby sweater… Whatever you’re wrapping up right now, I hope that the transition is smooth, the next adventure is rewarding, and that your buttonholes are always the right size for your buttons.
After almost five years of being your Local Yarn Shop Gal, it is with great sadness/excitement/trepidation that I write to inform you that the time has come for me to move on to something new. Getting to know all of you has been the highlight of my job — I don’t think any other business can claim to have such splendid patrons. Thank you all for sharing your stories, listening to mine, and generally being wonderful.
We’ve had some adventures, haven’t we? From yarn-bombing playground fences with flowers, to freezing our fingers off during wee-hour-of-the-morning shifts on the Blanket Marathon, to cozy heart-to-heart chats at Stitch ‘n’ Spins, we’ve had some glorious times. I value the energy that each of you bring to Over The Rainbow Yarn, and I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to get to know you. Those of you who met me when we first opened may remember that I started out as a very basic knitter. In fact, I originally told Mim and Kristin not to hire me — that they needed someone more qualified. Boy, am I glad that they ignored me on that one! I’ve learned skills right alongside some of you, and others of you have inspired me to keep stretching myself to learn new techniques.
Fun at work: sticker abs; swants!, Halloween
Now I’m leaping out of the nest in search of the next adventure. I’m not sure what it’ll be, but I’m hoping that it might allow me to use my archaeology degree, or involve museum work. I graduated from college almost 10 years ago(!), so I’m feeling like the time is now or never. Change doesn’t come easily to me, but the initial discomfort is usually worth it in the end.
Time to ride off into the sunset…
I hope I’ll continue to run into you all at the yarn shop and around town after my last day on April 6th. It has been a great pleasure to share these last five years with you, and I wish all of you the very best!