The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

The products of science and technology may be new, and some of them are quite horrid, but knitting? In knitting there are ancient possibilities; the earth is enriched with the dust of the millions of knitters who have held wool and needles since the beginning of sheep. — Elizabeth Zimmerman

My intention is to explore where the practice of knitting daily intersects with healing and have a space to share the endless learning curve of the craft. My aim is to focus on a single work in progress, finished object or knitting topic query per post.

Random topic list for exploration:

  • process vs. product
  • favorite designers
  • designer bios
  • sheep breed exploration
  • choosing patterns to make
  • knitting as meditation
  • beneficial properties of wool
  • sustainable wool sources
  • climate change and sheep
  • a maker’s life
  • knitting and mental health
  • knitting books, resources
  • gifted and charity knitting
  • creating as a life force
  • why wear handmade when you can go to Target/Walmart/mass production store and buy ten machine made for the price of one?
  • knitting and worldwide community
  • knitting cultural heritage
  • knitting as precursor to computer technology
  • women shepherds (desses)
  • cleaning, spinning, dying wool
  • knitting techniques
  • teaching knitting to beginners

Temporarily, I have transferred posts from a prior 7-year blog that contains anything about knitting into this space, but I will be streamlining and editing those over time.

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Wave pattern from Cyandine, Expression Fiber Arts

 

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Prehistoric ferns remind me of nature’s knitting

Day 14 – Traigh

I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. ~ George Fox (1624-1691)

Reading from Kate Davies’ Traigh pattern, “the undulating edge of this simple-to-knit summer hap suggests waves across a beach or shoreline – a Gaelic word for which is Traigh.”

I’m making my hap a winter one. I also played yarn chicken and lost. Love the Galileo bamboo/Merino, but should you give it a try, you’ll likely need 4 balls, not 3.

Today’s video captured dusk near 4 pm and a roiling sea. The books are pre-birthday happiness for me. I love the spirit of Kate Davies designs and her husband’s expansive photography.

Reflecting on sacredness of water across cultures while living on an island as I do, I often seek out music to listen to based on theme of what I’m knitting. Yemaya, Goddess of the living oceans, mother of all life in the Afro-Cuban and Yoruba culture has many tributes, this among them. Love listening to this pianist and how it shines as a percussion instrument with him.

Day 13 – Teroldego Shawl

Darkness is to space what silence is to sound; i.e., the interval.  ~ Marshall McLuhan

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Another WIP (work in progress).  Teroldego Shawl by Caitlin Hunter is a splurge knit for me with yarn I’ve collected over two years. Gorgeous speckled hand-dyed skein from Potion Yarns and a green called Deep Forest I believe (nailed the color) from Mint Rain Yarns. The pink is from Fidalgo Artisan Yarns, a 65% Merino, 35% bamboo, which will make the largest lace portion once I’m done with the stripes. Thankfully if I run out, I should be able to get another skein in exchange for my test knits.

Apologies for forgetting which way to hold my phone yet again and also forgetting to stabilize video before uploading and then running out of time to do much about it.

On the positive side, I show you a few of nature’s textiles of the forest (bryophytes/moss), and leave a mandala in the woods.

Day 12 – Maytham Shawl & Gift Ideas

“Let me light my lamp”, says the star, “And never debate if it will help to remove the darkness.” ~  Rabindranath Tagore

Maytham Shawl – Helen Stewart Shawl Society

Knitting is the best way I have found to light my lamp. To that end, I thought I’d share a few small gift ideas for knitters, should you be lucky enough to know one. Ha.

  • A wonder ball, or wunderknolle (translates as wonderful tuber). * Choose a number of small items to wrap inside a wound ball of any yarn and you have a fun gift for any knitter. If you’re unsure what yarn they want, you might request to “borrow” a skein they intend to use. Or buy some yarn you like, and they may just possibly knit you up something with it in gratitude. If the mood strikes. Some knitters can be moody….
  • Knitting Notions – Anyone can use or give away if they already have some in a kit. I’m linking Etsy here because I support buying from independent makers.
  • Point Protectors – Because every point needs protection. Not really. They just keep stitches from falling off needles. I have never had them and can attest to the pain of dropping an entire row of stitches when digging around my backpack.
  • Katrinkles – I love everything on this site. But what I find especially helpful and don’t have yet are portable instructions in the Mix and Match Mini Tools.
  • Stitch Markers – In knitting, there are repeated instruction “codes” like M1L, M1R  across many patterns that seem more difficult than others to memorize, and it saves a ton of time to have a tool that reminds you as you knit.
  • Patterns – Ask a knitter for their user name on Ravelry (most not all knitters have an account on the “Facebook of knitting”), and you can usually find patterns they have placed in their queue to make someday. It’s possible for a third party (gifter) to purchase and download a pattern for them.
  • Books and Collections – If you want to avoid Amazon (I try but mostly fail), some great sources for sale books are LYS (your Local Yarn Store), KnitPicks.com, Interweave.com, directly from favorite designers like Kate Davies Designs, Ysolda Ltd, magazine collection books like Making Magazine, PomPom Quarterly, By Hand.
  • Project Bags – If you are a poly-knitter like me, then you have multiple projects going on always, and may need help organizing them in a clean, portable, efficient way. I’ve always used free totes and plastic bags from various sources but it’s ideal to have something you can zip up and carry anywhere.

*This German tradition was introduced to me on my 11th birthday by my German-born grandmother.  I’m unsure of how far back this tradition goes, but I was able to find this clipping below. So if you carry it on, you can time travel too! (I looked up court-plaster; apparently it is fabric with adhesive on one side, so a Band-Aid precursor. Also note, the word midget is derogatory in today’s parlance and I don’t recommend referring to children as such).

A “Wonder Ball” for Young and Old Knitters: 
The idea comes from Germany, but it “takes” in every locality. Especially is it an inspiration to the little folks to keep the needles clicking, knowing the surprises will appear as the yarn unwinds itself. My little girl had one given her by a friend who asked her to knit a pair of reins to send to the Children’s Hospital. She also asked the seven-year-old midget to keep a list of the presents and write a letter about them to send with the reins. The first thing Daisy found was a Christmas poem.

This she learned and recited Christmas morning. Then she found a basket, a string of beads, a ring, a new ten cent piece, a package of court-plaster, a pair of boots for her doll…a glove-buttoner, a thimble, and a tiny book of verses….So the Wonder Ball taught the little maiden industry, patience, perseverance, to restrain curiosity, and the pleasure of making some other child happy. — Letter to the Editor, Good Housekeeping, 1889

Day 10&11 – Moon Shadows Shawl

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. ~ Mary Oliver

I loved Romi Hill’s Moon Shadows shawl so much I made both the Regular and Tall versions of the pattern over the past year. The brilliance of the pattern is the narrative I interpret of full moonbeams reaching down through a canopy of leaves, filtering shadows into the darker layer of leaves.

For cost effective yardage, I use Cascade Heritage (75% superwash Merino, 25% nylon) for a lot of lacework. But someday in the mythical land of cash flow, I’d like to experiment with more variegated and subtle dyed yarns for this kind of pattern.

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Romi Hill, Moon Shadows Shawl

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Yesterday I was too emotional to maintain my post-a-day December challenge. It’s been me and my daughter for 17 years, and she turned 18 yesterday. Such a journey we/she’s had and plenty of new becomings on the horizon for this person who’s been my best teacher. Many days I’m in awe of her. As any parent, I wish for her protection from the same universal sources that have protected me this far in life.

I wish for young people who have inherited the Earth during these roiling times this word: Pause. Some learning to listen to and contribute their inner guidance of how best to honor Earth and a bit less blowing in the distracting winds. But maybe I’m projecting my own path’s lesson that took me until my 50s to learn. I can’t imagine being under 20 in a time when countless scientists are saying humanity has 12 years to act fast to prevent complete climate catastrophe. That’s a lot of pressure. Maybe I wish for them courage to live their lives honoring themselves and others and contributing whatever they can to this fabric of the mother ship we are all on.

Day 9 – Cable Hat Free Pattern

“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the Self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground or, to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man.” ~ Carl Jung

Thank you to my mandala helpers today, one of whom asked, “What is a mandala?” To which I post the above quote as one of countless descriptions. The word mandala in Sanskrit means circle.

The Chunky Cable Hat is a free pattern from Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits. Perfect find in time for holiday.

Dove into my yarn stash to find a kit of extra bulky yarn I had bought a few years back to make a project I never did. I am seeing a theme here. So to solve two problems with one stone (I know, wrong metaphor but I can’t kill birds), I am both using up my stash and making things for holiday gifting.

Now because the pattern calls for bulky/chunky yarn using Size US 10/10.5 needles, and I have extra bulky yarn meant for Size US 13 needles, I modified the pattern to start with 60 stitches (six cable repeats) rather than 70. The fit works for my rather large melon head just fine. These have not been washed yet to relax the stitches, but I was able to make two in a single evening which is attractive the closer it gets to gift giving time and is the positive to my dislike of working with chunky yarn and needles.

Advent candles of sorts. I prefer to think of them as intentions to peace in the four directions. Each color represents an aspect of nature to me.

My spirituality tends to only make sense to me, which is 100% fine. No judgments towards anyone’s spiritual understanding. For me, this month is all about going toward the darkest point of the solar year, and the return of the light, and that is fairly universal across many beliefs.

Day 8 – Vignola

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. – Mahatma Gandhi

Vignola: Completed about six weeks ago, I used a gorgeous hand-dyed DK Merino gradient from Fidalgo Artisan Yarns, with money from my first paid commission in years. Of course I turned around and invested my knitting earning in high-quality yarn. Because that’s how knitters roll…

The colors to me are like caramel beach sand stretching to deep blue ocean.

A truly fun pattern to work with enough repetition to be meditative and enough variation to prevent boredom. Originally intended to be the one item I made in 2018 I would make for myself, it found a perfect home with my cousin after undergoing a difficult time.

I love this about creation…the creations seem to know where they want to go. Even though I’ve only traveled out of my region once in past decade, my gifted knits have landed in Alaska, Boston, Poland, Australia, Malawi. Religious-minded describe it as ministry. I think of it as a creative force working through my hands and heart going where it wants to go.

Day 7 – Wayfarer Mitts

“Magic of the shadows can best be seen in the deserts.”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Wayfarer Mitts remind me of my childhood home, walking a few miles each day across a mesa to and from high school, and later, camping 10 days along the San Juan River and sleeping in a canyon bed in Utah, and a solo road trip from the Southwest to Pacific Northwest that has been my home for the second half of my life.

I confess I sat for five hours moving nothing but my hands (not recommended), and couldn’t put this mitt down once I started it. So evocative for me to watch the painting appear and joy to realize I happened to have seven yarn scraps on hand that worked well together.

Proof and accountability I have begun the right hand mitt in reverse sand/rock colorwork for yarn yardage, and intend not to leave this a one-handed project that sits in a basket for a year…

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No time today for nature mandala, but I am thrilled I finally figured out more video editing features on my phone, so future video uploads will be better and smoother. I updated yesterday’s video I took. Now that YouTube has removed most of its editing features, I tried many different free video editing software until finally I discovered I could do it all on my phone. Palm to face moment. It’s amazing how powerful these computers are most of us carry around, yet most of us (me) don’t even know a smidge of their capability until we’re frustrated enough to learn.