Knitting Weight Loss Update

Joji Locatelli‘s brilliant mirrored design is finally off the needles! I used a variety of stash yarn I had from different sources, including the awesome Bazaar Girls of Port Townsend for the rust and turquoise I believe from Mad Hatter yarn company. The multi-color yarn that pops is Knit Picks Hawthorne fingering, I’ve forgotten which colorway.

I’ve got my own first design to publish for sale by year’s end in the test knit works, a free hat pattern PDF to give away, and am working on a gorgeous Romi Hill shawl called Moonshadows. I unfortunately reached a snag in the Bernoulli shawl and frogged the yarn. In knit lingo, “frogging” or “tinking” – knit backwards – means pulling out or “un-knitting” something you made to reuse yarn.

Knitting must be a good weight loss plan for me (one calorie burned per stitch?), because in 2017 I have knit more hours than ever, and images below equate to what I have lost since February.

Four footballs worth, one auto tire, and two guinea pigs. I should be levitating by 2018.

Ode to Nature's Fiber Artist

Spider is 8-legged and its body is like a figure-8. Thus, spider has been linked symbolically with eternity. Spider also makes one of the strongest materials known on earth. I revere spider’s craft.

A front door photo from fall

 

 

Respond to every call that excites your spirit. ~ Rumi

Where lowland is,
that’s where water goes. All medicine wants
is pain to cure.

Give your weakness
to One Who Helps.

Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.

The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.

Be patient.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.

Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.

(Excerpted from — Jelaluddin Rumi in Delicious Laughter translated by Coleman Barks)

 

 

Alongside nature, knitting excites my spirit. During what feels like very uncertain times (daughter leaving home for a year, social, environmental, political kookiness and sadness), I hold fast like spider to pulling strands together loop after loop.

Knitting is my simplicity and meditation practice. The tools cannot be more simple:  Sticks and yarn.

At Seattle Polish festival this week with daughter who wanted to be cropped out on blog

Responding to the call that excites my spirit, this year I have let go of 27 pounds from my physical being by mindless knitting instead of mindless eating and daily touch certainty in shaky ground.

I challenge myself to learn as much as I can about knitting and daily view a different podcast/YouTube channel by a knit designer/fiber artist in order to learn from those who are making a business of their fiber work and those who are equally passionate about the spider’s way.

Below is a list of some of my favorites, starting with the most stereotype-defying example I have seen of someone using knitting to serve others.  In fact, his service work inspired me to look into and apply to service opportunities in my region.  If you are in the Seattle area, you can check out this link to Knit for Life that works with nine area hospitals for weekly therapeutic knit programs.

Out of Hand

Kristy Glass Knits – Great interviews with fiber artists of all stripes

Melody Hoffman Mandarine’s  – Minimalist designer out of Latvia using all natural wools.

Yarngasm – Link is to her great tutorial for the brioche stitch I am trying with much patience to learn from various sources despite many attempts.

Fruity Knitting – Australian couple and daughter by way of Australia in Germany who knit and do great interviews and knitting cultures around the world segments.

Kammebornia – The most dreamy podcast I have seen that transports me to a place that feels like Heaven on Earth to me. A place that is grounded in nature and history, where everyone knits, philosophizes, drinks coffee, and beauty abounds. (A favorite winter episode where they talk about what I have been called many times about knitting = obsessed).

Abundant Earth Fiber – Natural fiber resource local to me, not a podcast

 

 

Bernoulli Shawl – Very Busy Monkey designs

Lace stitching does not show it’s fully glory until washed, but I could not resist attempting this Bernoulli shawl as nod to the Bernoulli principle that for some unknown reason my dad nicknamed me as a child.

 

Joji Locatelli’s Starting Point shawl nearly ready to join two halves.

 

Sitting Inside Illusion

Royal Mile by designer Justyna Lorkowska

Fresh off my needles, I used Italian Plum colorway of Cascade Heritage yarn and Alameda colorway of Hawthorne Fingering Multi from Knitpicks.

Why this post title?

Because today I awoke thinking I would sit down to work only to find a server had crashed in a place far, far away that controls the flow of my work. One small reminder of how control over our life is an illusion. Amid all the turmoil this year in the sociopolitical landscape that expands emotions of fear, anxiety and compassion for all the vulnerable beings who are swept up in the currents, I have found knitting allows me to sit most comfortably inside the illusion of control.

Even if I cannot stop destruction of the planet with more than my life choices to live simply, give up my car soon and eat only plants, and even if I cannot cure cancer or stop racial injustice or violence, I can sit inside an illusion of control and be at peace. Who is to say how effective a person can be as a change-maker by claiming their little corner of peace? I once had big dreams in my youth of making impact.

Now as I lean into the latter half of life, my vision is much smaller. I have no idea if what I create by sitting inside my beautiful illusion of control does anything for anyone else, but I do know it affords me a sense that I can be at peace. That is worth thousands of dollars of therapy at the least and at the most may ripple out to anyone who wears what I create or anyone in my circle.

Happen-ing

Flowering tree I worship in my neighborhood

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. – Leonardo da Vinci

As any famous person floating around the interweb, there is debate about whether da Vinci actually wrote this quote in this way. But it jolted me the moment I read it on a card gifted to my daughter. The sender recognized ways she “happens” to things. An awesome quality.

An insight came to me as it relates to my own inner truth. That life actually requires a balance of happening to and letting things happen. Happen-ing will happen either way, but it is equally important to ALLOW as it is to DO.

I thought about how to write about this topic, and my all-day parent support training at Children’s Hospital this weekend provides the perfect illustration of the insight.

In my 20s and early 30s, I badly wanted to work at the children’s hospital in my region. I applied twice to different positions. It was the only hospital that rejected my application in 22 years of working for hospitals around the US as a medical transcriptionist, including other children’s hospitals. Now, I might have chosen to persist and “happen to it” applying 10 or 20 times instead of two, but each interview and testing process is so time consuming that when faced with earning a living or interviewing, earning a living won out in that moment.

Fast forward a decade, and life not only happened to me so that I lived inside my region’s Children’s Hospital for the better part of 2-1/2 years but afterward allowed me to serve others in several ways using that “education.” So I was never to earn a living there, but I was able to serve there. This weekend’s training was awesome, well-coordinated and powerfully allowed me to connect to other parents who share what I consider a most valuable “life degree,” in that it transformed all of us in ways difficult to explain to others who have not been on a similar journey.  We were provided great resources and assistance to support others. I cannot think of other work I’d rather be doing. Paid or not.

Well, maybe other than knitting. . .

Celebrating World Wide Knit In Public day while waiting in ferry line. Someone’s gotta do it, why not me? (Flowers actually for my dad’s birthday which happened to fall on same auspicious day as a bunch of people around the world doing something in public that is more peaceful than a lot of stuff being done in public). This is one of my three UFOs (unfinished objects) which will have better photographs once they become FOs.

Polish or Polish?

Today’s word prompt is “polish” which I decided to read as Polish, since my focus has been there of late. Ever since February when my daughter was assigned to an exchange year in Poland (we are still awaiting confirmation or information about exactly where she will be placed), I have been immersing myself in the amazing power of Polish poetry and have learned quite a bit about the country’s history. She has been working on learning the complex language, the sounds of which I enjoy listening to even though I have not a clue of the meaning. We hope to attend this local Polish festival in July.

Here is a good general overview of the country for anyone interested.

I will not post their poems here for copyright, but instead will provide links to two prominent Polish poets of the past century.

Wislawa Szymborska: Read 5 of her poems. I believe she was one of the least prolific poets who has received a Nobel Prize, but each poem stops me in my tracks. Precisely what a great poem does.

Czeslaw Milosz: I highly recommend reading The Captive Mind and any of the thousands of poems he has written translated into English. One that most stuns me is A Song on the End of The World. Another very different poem that is so zen it was published in a Buddhist publication is Gift. There are probably many, many more amazing Polish poets whose work has not been translated to English because that task is very labor intensive.

And now for my labor of love, knitting.

June Challenge

Each day I am challenging myself to stop making excuses of being too tired at the end of a day or needing special software. I am writing down a knitting design every day of June so that by end of month I will have 30 design concepts. The rules are the design does not need to be fully conceptualized or written out, only that I get an idea out of my head into a sketch or written form. I am doing this as a first step in my process toward my dream of earning a living doing what I love.

Currently, I am working on a Royal Mile shawl by a Polish designer whose body of work is fabulously appealing to me:  Justyna Lorkowska

It helps me to look at the design work I love and research how the elements that attract me are made. Since I have not sewn other than under duress in a high school Home Ec class, I have most to learn about sizing measurements and garment construction.

Welcome Blanket project: A visual representation of the proposed 2000-mile border wall in yards of hand-made welcome blankets. The Welcome Blankets will be displayed in a museum for a few months before being distributed to immigrant families.

Sometimes the answer comes before the question. This week, I have opportunity to test out a new acrylic yarn line for a local craft store, so was given 3 colors to test it with (photo above). I am creating a design based on patterns I saw in my youth in New Mexico because the colors are perfect for adobe and sky, and I thought, “What am I going to make this thing into?” A Welcome Blanket is my answer. I do not normally work with acrylic yarn, but it is inexpensive and sturdy, perfect for such a project. Will post photos of completed projects as they happen.

Woodland Reprieve

Reprieve

After the day’s desk work, just before twilight I enter the star flower’s realm of reprieve. Even abundant woodland mosquitoes are welcome reminders to keep moving to limit their bites and provide a few discomfort souvenirs for my desk-ridden workdays ahead.

The star flower beauties on the forest floor are built upon sevens, seven petals, seven stamens, etc. Exactly the nudge I need from the universe. I have been dreaming of and hesitant to publish my first knitting pattern which is built on sevens, and here this little flower says, “just do it!” I shall call my first pattern Star Flower and I will get a final copy done in simple word processing this weekend. My excuses have been waiting to save enough to purchase design software to “do it right”, knitting enough samples to test the pattern, fearing my little contribution to the vast world of knitting design will be woefully inadequate and irrelevant, etc. I have bouquets of design ideas for big projects, but I must start somewhere small.

Past weeks, I have been frustrated by back pain for the first time in my life and truly feeling my body’s age shift gears even while my focus has been solidly on physical health. So when I entered the woods, my heart leapt in gratitude to this anonymous artist who left a Whidbey Rocks rock for me to find precisely when I needed to find the love emanating from it. Thank you for the joy!

I was able to identify the plant in the blurry photo below that looks like red asparagus. It is in fact a species not well understood that is a parasite on fungi to get its energy (fungi vampire?) and has no chlorophyll. Common name Pinedrops or Pterospora. Near the same location of this plant in past years, I have seen another one called Monotropa, Indian Pipe or ghost plant for it’s white ghostly stems. I think it’s awesome that right at our feet, life forms exist that we do not fully understand.

Happy Things

As you can see from this poorly lit photo, Buddha Doodles is part of my life.  So I am thrilled to learn of Molly’s latest adventure in her video below.

 

Knitting = happiness in my world.

So here is a little video of a work in progress (and a great gift idea for anyone who drools over yarn) that I intend to model as soon as I reach my weight loss goal of 50 pounds, which will likely coincide with a completed cardigan and cooler weather.

I am also participating in a Mystery Knit A Long (MKAL for those who speak top-secret knitting lingo) which means I have no idea what the final product will look like and I cannot post any photos to preserve the mystery for the several thousand knitters around the world who are participating in this one by designer Joji in Argentina. I’m crazy about her designs in general. We receive 5 clues at intervals over a two-month period. If anyone is a knitter, I recommend joining an MKAL if you can because it is way fun to partake in a mindfulness mystery.