I knit. I knit a lot. When I'm neglecting this blog, it's mostly because I'm knitting or doing something yarn-related. And then there's the mounds of hours I spend with the news. Contrary to what you might think, these two go together well, especially if you can knit and read at the same time.

Naturally, I get excited when I can worm knitting into a conversation (or post) about world events. Behold, Peace Fleece.
The Peace Fleece office is a barn on a sheep farm in Maine. Peter Hagerty and his wife Marty Tracy started buying wool from the Soviet Union back in 1985 in hopes that through trade they could help diffuse the threat of nuclear war. Since then they have worked with shepherds in Russia, Kyrgyzia, Israel and the West Bank, as well as in Montana, Ohio, Texas and Maine. By working with people who tend livestock every day, they hope to find a common ground that slowly leads to mutual understanding and economic interdependence.


Peace Fleece sells knitting yarns as well as knitting and felting accessories. Many of the people with whom Peace Fleece works overseas are in the midst of political, social or economic crisis and some are living in a war zone. Knitting is essential to the economic and emotional survival of these people. The Palestinian and Israeli shepherds from whose sheep come the Mid-East yarn, face terrorism on a daily basis. The Russian farmers and craftspeople with whom we work confront a daily dose of chaos and despair as well.
Of special interest right now is their support for Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salam and their Baghdad Blue yarn, the entire proceeds of which go to NS/WAL as well as Seeds of Peace.

Non-knitters, never fear, they sell custom-made sweaters and ready-made socks, mittens, and stockings. They have buttons, stuffing, books, keychains. Or buy a learn to knit kit, and figure out why my hands are never idle.

Fair trade, helping out places in turmoil, and pretty pretty yarn to pet. I love Peace Fleece.

posted by Janis @ 18:05, ,

Celebs + Katrina.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were featured quite prominently this week on 360. Kelly Clarkson adopted a puppy. But sometimes better stories come from lesser known celebs. New Orleans resident Ani DiFranco was one of the "wave of ne'er-do-wells" who left at the absolute last minute, and she spoke with Deanna Zandt of Alternet about her post-K impression of the city.
...the news reports started rolling in, and later we just started panicking, thinking, "Oh my God, we left all the master tapes …" We were in the middle of my record, we were in the middle of the new Hamell on Trial record, and my partner is also a record maker, so there was no end to the masters we'd left behind in New Orleans. We decided, "All right, we gotta go get 'em."

So we got into my friend's mother's Toyota Corolla and drove into town from Lafayette. I must say, it was incredibly easy. There were maybe about four or five roadblocks along the way. I mean, you had about eight guys trying to lock down the city. It was an impossibility. Every time they would say, "Get off at the next exit, ma'am," we would say, "Sure," and keep going.

We cruised right into town, and saw not one Army truck, not a single National Guard person, no FEMA people, nothing. No one. The storm hit Monday morning, and this was Thursday afternoon. Flooding, absolute flooding, craziness. Devastation, people on their roofs, and we saw nobody there to help. And any reports of "you can't get in there" were, I can tell you, bullshit. We couldn't believe this was the United States of America. I felt more naive than I have in a long time. We just saw a lot of poor, mostly dark-skinned people abandoned, thirsty, hungry, roaming the streets, under and on bridges … it was insane.

There were all these reports that they were not even letting people walk over the bridge. People without cars or credit cards who attempted to evacuate on foot, they were turning them around on the bridge. People would come from the Ninth Ward in droves from their flooded, devastated neighborhoods to the National Guard station on the levy, and they were turned away at gunpoint, like, "Get the fuck outta here."
DiFranco's new album, Reprieve hits the shelves on August 8th, and you can (and should) find out more about her at Righteous Babe Records, along with Hamell on Trial, her roster of outspoken, unique artists and links to important organisations supporting, initiating and covering social change.

posted by Janis @ 18:46, ,

One whole.

A year, as of today, since I've been (admittedly, on and off) writing this wonderous blog. You'll notice I slacked hardcore last week, because I was afraid of the cattiness if I did keep updating. CNN is on a real short leash with me, 360 included.

And today, is a perfect example of why!
"American Heroes Rebuilding the Gulf." Faith Hill and Tim McGraw tell Anderson how they're giving back to the coast. Tune in for this special edition of "Anderson Cooper 360°" on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.
Happy place, happy place. Where there is news, and not just celeb interviews.

Nothing else yet, I'm just up early.

And thinking. How much do you really care about the news on 360? Enough to be interested in hearing some stories expanded on, daily? Basically, I'm looking to up the content on the blog so I actually have more of a reason to update every day.

Yay or nay? Do tell.

posted by Janis @ 09:32, ,