.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Knitting for the Soul

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone already. Where did this year go? So much has happened, some good... some not so good... But all in all, there's so much to be thankful for again this year.

I spent so uch of this year knitting for others through Soulful Knitting Ministries and The Think Pink Challenge that I haven't had much time or energy left to knit for moi. However, it's time to change that. I "tithed" on my knitting time this holiday by knitting scarves for a wonderful Bible College student to give as gifts since I knew she didn't have much money to spend on presents, I made a lot of progress in my quest to get nearly 600 pink scarves delivered to breast cancer treatment facilities around the country for the Think Pink project, and I even found time to knit a very cool v-neck tee and started a WIP that's been in my closet for over a year now. Not a bad way to get a running start on the new year!

I decided against a Christmas tree again this year. I've decided they're just too much trouble, and with no children in the house (and no grinch to drag the tree in and out), I realized that I was perfectly fine without the tree. But I decided that I wanted to do something special, so thanks to my friend Janeen, I was inspired to give Christmas an entirely different look at my place this year.

The picture doesn't do it justice, and Janeen's is much prettier, but I think it turned out well. I found a beautiful shallow bowl at Pier One and then filled it with gold, copper and brown Christmas ornaments, pine cones and a few Christmas flowers, also in the gold/copper colorway. I even added gold and copper glitter glue to the pine cones to give them some pizzazz.
I'm enjoying my "Christmas bowl" and the knowledge that taking down decorations will be a breeze this year!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just when I thought I'd seen it all...

I love to knit as much as the next person, but honestly, I think some knitters have way too much free time on their hands. Check out a new blog, What Not To Knit, that I found out about at Mary's blog. Enjoy... I know I sure did!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sometimes less is more

Last night I found myself in a bit of a funk. A got an e-mail from a friend and faithful supporter of SKM to let me know that there had been some questions raised at a popular knitting message board where she had posted a reminder about the Think Pink Challenge. I expected questions like "When is the drop-dead deadline?" or "Who will be receiving the scarves", but instead the posts were really comments about the usefulness of the entire project. One knitter, a breast cancer survivor, wrote "I don't need a pink scarf. I need a cure."

I'll be honest and admit that my first thoughts were angry ones. But they were quickly replaced with sad ones. I can't imagine what it must be like to be so bitter that you can't see the goodness in the hearts of strangers who are simply trying to let you know that they care. This project is completely voluntary, none of the countless women from all over the country who have enthusiastically donated their time and talents to create so many beautiful pink scarves were forced to do so. Similarly, none of the intended recipients of these gifts are forced to accept them. So why, I ask, is it necessary to diminish or demean the simple acts of kindness of others? My grandma used to have a saying... "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything."

Initially, I felt a need to respond to these posts, particularly because my friend who'd submitted the post sent another one informing the other commenters that she had forwarded the link from this thread to me. And, in fact, after much thought, I did craft what I thought was a very *diplomatic* reply. Yes, in retrospect, I realize that in my reply, I was defending our work and *apologizing* if I offended anyone. I added that I'd given several scarves, prayer shawls, afghans and other knitted items to people who were sick over the years and without fail, they had all been delighted and thankful to receive them. I even added that I too had had a personal encounter with breast cancer and that I was so appreciative of the people, both friends and strangers, who expressed their love and concern in so many ways, both big and small. In those darkest days, the loving kindness of friends and strangers alike was much more important to me than the knowledge that they'd sent a check on my behalf to the American Cancer Society.

However, my post was lost in cyberspace when I hit the Submit button and I couldn't get it back. At that moment I realized that it was just as well. Perhaps it was God's way of telling me that not all questions need to be answered and not all criticisms need to be defended. Those who are trying to do good would never get anything done if they spent all their time defending themselves to those who just don't "get it". So, I thanked God for teaching me an important lesson and turned my computer off for the night.

This morning, I went to the local hospital for my weekly volunteering. I'm so blessed that I get to sit in the surgery waiting room for 4 hours a week and knit while assisting the families who are waiting for loved ones. Almost without fail, my knitting always opens the doors to all kinds of conversations, the opportunity to share the work of this ministry, and sometimes, even the chance to share examples of God's goodness...All that while I'm knitting too! It doesn't get much better. :)

This morning, as I was saying good-bye to the OR nurses, 2 that I'd never seen before noticed the pink scarf I was knitting and asked what I was doing. I told them about the Think Pink Challenge and nearly started crying when the both started telling me how awesome and amazing this project was. They said that as OR nurses, they see women come in all the time who are so scared and confused and even angry. These women often feel like God and the whole world has forgotten about them. The nurses said that this project was a wonderful way to show these women that people care about them, are praying for them, and are supporting them in this struggle. One of the nurses said that she was certain that these pink scarves would be "worn like loving hugs" by the women who receive them.

At that point I was so thankful that I wasn't able to send that reply last night. I didn't need to. Isn't it amazing how God has a way of giving us just what we need just when we need it?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Is the curse true?

Okay, I need your help on this. A knitting buddy (who shall remain nameless) has a new guy friend. She wants to knit him a sweater for Christmas, but is reluctant to do it because she's heard of the Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater. Have you ever fallen prey to the curse? Do you believe it's true? Feel free to leave a post to share your story. For the record, I'm not saying that I believe in curses, but I will say that I made a sweater for a boyfriend once and yes, he dumped me!

Please vote in my little mini-poll here and let's help this knitting sister out!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

6 Degrees of Separation (or less)

This morning I was reminded of 6 Degrees of Separation. Do you remember that series of credit card commercials with Kevin Bacon? Or that great movie starring Will Smith, Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing? For those of you who may not, six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.

The memory came to me while I was praying for Grace Bay House and asking God why more people haven't come forward to help yet. Before I go on, let me first say thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, in any way. No contribution is too small and I am so grateful for each and every one of them. That said, the truth is that there is so much more that could be done.

I know that we are kind and generous people, the outpouring of support after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina prove that. So I know that simple apathy is not the issue. Perhaps it's easy to recognize the utter "randomness" in huge catastrophic events and make the "there but by the grace of God go I" connection. So I started thinking that may the reason people aren't feeling an urgency to support Grace Bay House is because they don't believe that rape affects them so this project doesn't even hit their radar screens.

So here's where the 6 degree theory comes in... Think of 6 women you know and love... your mother, your sister, your daughter, your co-worker, your best friend. The sad truth is that 1 in 6 American women have been victims of sexual violence and another women is raped every 2.5 minutes in America alone! If you are not one of the six, thank God. But if it's not you, whether you are aware of it or not, the chances are extremely high that someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, or will be.

If you knew which woman it was, would you think about her more compassionately? Would you be more empathetic of her pain? If there was even a small way that you could help her begin to feel healthy and whole again would you try? There is a way you can help.

How much money have you spent this year alone on yarn, on manicures or pedicures, on gourmet coffee, on movie rentals? Isn't there one indulgence that you could give up for one month to help make a difference in someone else's life?

I challenge every person that reads this post to please prayerfully consider making your best donation, TODAY. No matter how much or how little you give, the fact that YOU GAVE will make a difference! Thank you in advance for your support and I ask for your continued prayers for this project.
Have a blessed day!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I just can't resist!

I've been doing most of my blogging lately at my new blog, Souful Knitting Ministries, lately. Since nearly all of my knitting time has been spent on knitting pink scarves, preemie caps and prayer shawls, I haven't had any knitting projects or pictures to blog about here.

But life goes on, nonetheless, and there are other things that I feel compelled to blog about... some pertain to knitting but others don't. So, since this blog is here, I might as well use it, right?

As fate would have it, the pressing issue I've chosen to mark my re-entry into this blog is ripped from relatively current headlines and is near and dear to my heart - the Duke LaCross team rape case. No, I haven't been following this story and honestly, I couldn't tell you what the latest news updates are. But I do know this, there's something about this case, and thousands like it that are cropping up all over the country all the time, that really burns me.

Let me set the stage by saying that I am a sexual assault survivor. I am a survivor of the legal system that assaulted me again as I tried (successfully, I might add) to have my assailants brought to justice. I am a Christian. And more recently, I am a conservative, Republican Christian. I believe in personal responsibility and accountability. I realize that I've probably just offended some of you, so feel free to stop reading now if you'd like because it gets worse.

I don't presume to know the truth about what happened in the Duke case, but I do know that at some point, we are all going to have to wake up and accept the fact that our actions have consequences. No, I'm not saying that any woman "deserves" to be raped. That is absurd. And I realize that violent crimes can happen anytime, anywhere. I was kidnapped at gunpoint in front of my house after coming home from school. It was a snowy February night and under my heavy coat I was wearing boots, a long jumper, a turtleneck and red thermal underwear - hardly the attire of a woman "asking for it". But that said, we must know that being in certain places, at certain times, and involved in certain behaviors (i.e., drugs, drinking, "dirty dancing", etc.) increase the odds dramatically that something bad could happen.

If I were standing in the middle of a pit of snakes, would it come as a big surprise to anyone if I got bit? If I were standing in the middle of a dark country road in the middle of the night, dressed in black, would anyone be shocked if I got hit by a car? Why is it then that young women in particular continue to put themselves in incredibly dangerous situations, because it's their "right" to do so, only to be shocked and outraged when things head south?

People wonder why the criminal justice system is so hard on women who make accusations of rape. Sadly, it's because so many women who haven't been raped claim they were. Sometimes it's to hide their own complicity in a situation that may have gotten out of hand, often under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Sometimes it's to get back at a guy for some actual or alledged wrong. In either case, every time a woman falsely cries rape, there are several true victims who pay the price. Enough is enough, women. We say we want equal rights... fine. That includes the right to be honest. The right to make smart choices. The right to consider the consequences of our actions. The right to be responsible. The right to be accountable.

I could go on and on about this, but Ann Coulter sums it up much better than I ever could in an article she penned recently entitled, Lie down with strippers, wake up with pleas.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I've Moved...

It's been a long time since I posted here. I wasn't even sure that anyone still visited this site, but since I've been getting e-mails about it lately, I thought I'd better let you know that I've moved.

I'm still blogging, and writing, praying and counting my blessings. I've recently been led to start a virtual online knitting ministry which is were I'm spending most of my time these days. Please visit Soulful Knitting Ministries so we can get re-acquainted.

Thanks to those of you who have already purchased the book, The Joy of Soulful Knitting. Actually, if I ever become rich and famous you'll have the collector's versions because among the many other changes in my life over the last 6 months, I've also changed my name. You'll have to visit the other site for the scoop. Because of the name change, and to tie-in with the ministry, I've postponed the formal rollout of the book, but my goal is to have the updated version ready by Mother's Day. Again, please visit the new blog for more details, including information on how to purchase the book and journal.

The ministry will be launching several projects over the coming months, but I'm really excited about our first big one which has just started - the Think Pink Challenge. We have an agressive goal of knitting 1,000 pink scarves between now and the end of September to be donated to the American Cancer Society for Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.

The amount of interest and enthusiasm for this project has been heartwarming. Please prayerfully consider joining us in this worthy effort. If everyone reading this could knit just one pink scarf a month between now and September, and ask 2 knitting buddies to do the same, imagine how quickly we could meet our goal!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Getting my life back

So much has happened since I wrote last. My husband and I have separated and I've moved to a new home. It has been a sad, painful, frustrating and sometimes scary year leading up to my departure, but some great things have come out of it as well. First and foremost, I LOVE my new home. Of course I have a lot of work to do, remodeling and decorating, but the sense of freedom and peace that I feel here is amazing. Then there's my new puppy, Gracie, she's a beautiful chow/collie/shepherd mix.

My book has been published and initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Please be sure to check it out at Grace Bay Books.

I've been waiting until I'm settled in my new home (and my new home office!) to start a full-blown marketing campaign, but I'm very close. Grace Bay Publishing should be up and running by next week.

The Soulful Knitting Ministry is up and running at my church. We're planning our "coming out" party for Sat 12/11, when we're sponsoring what I hope will be the first annual Soulful Knitting Ministry Knit-In. It should be a lot of fun. I'll keep you posted!

I haven't had time to knit much lately, with all that's been going on with the separation and move. I really miss the quiet time to relax and reflect. I have started on my belated wedding gift to my soon-to-be-ex-husband's neice and her husband. I'm making the Colinette afghan. They got married in August and if I'm lucky, they'll have it by Christmas. If I'd listened to my own instincts, it would have been done in time for the wedding. I made the mistake of telling my husband that I wanted to make it for them on the day I found out they were engaged a year ago. I let him convince me that it wasn't a "practical" gift for a young newlywed couple. He insisted that we get them something from their bridal registry that they really wanted and needed. Deep down inside I knew that they'd appreciate a handmade gift, especially one that obviously required a lot of time and effort (not to mention $$$) to make especially for them. So, it wasn't until just before the wedding, when I knew that my marriage was soon to be over, that I decided to go with my own instincts, like I should have done in the beginning, and knit the afghan for them.

Now I have to get a new digital camera so that I can take a picture of it to post here since I lost visitation rights to my husband's wonderful digital camera! :)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Early Update

Wow! I am so excited about the book. The initial response has been great and I haven't even officially started marketing other than mentioning it here. I ordered 4 new books on self-publishing and marketing your own books from Amazon a few days ago and they all arrived today. Looks like I'm going to have my work cut out for me! But that's a good thing.

I'm also officially starting a Soulful Knitting Ministry at my church beginning in October and I've just recruited a new knitting buddy. Once I teach her how to knit, I just know she's going to be addicted like I am. I can never have to many friends to knit with!

I still haven't been able to get started on the Colinette afghan yet. I've got to make time to do that. The newlyweds are back from the honeymoon so I think it's safe to say it's going to be a little bit late. Hopefully I'll have it ready by Christmas!

Thanks to everyone who's been e-mailing me off-line about the book and offering encouragement and support. I truly hope you enjoy it. I'd like to say a special thanks to Annie, who wins the prize for being the farthest person away that I've heard from so far. She asked whether the book would be available in Australia. Wow!!!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Book is Finally Here!!!

It's taken nearly a year, but the book is finally ready for prime time. Thanks to everyone who's offered so much support and encouragement while I was working on this project. It has truly been a labor of love and I have already been blessed by it. I'll be working on my official marketing plan this week, but as promised, you read (and saw) about it here first!

The book, called "The Joy of Soulful Knitting: Reflections on the Art of the Craft", is a collection of devotional essays that explore the connection between knitting and spirituality. Through a series of actual real-life examples, I share some of the amazing insights on life that I've learned from two sticks and some string. Those of you who've been faithfully following this blog over the past year know of some of the struggles and setbacks, but they've all had their purpose and have all helped to make not only a better book, but a better person as well.

At the risk of being accused of making a shameless plug (well, after all, this is my blog), here's a review from the back cover...

“What a treasure for knitters who want to deepen and enhance their creative experience! Many women in our culture lead such busy lives caring for others that in the process, they often lose their sense of self or give it all away. “The Joy of Soulful Knitting” provides a creative, fun, spiritual approach to reconnecting, accepting, appreciating and enjoying self. The author also explains how group knitting as a “team sport” can connect one to others as well as benefit a community. Ms. Turner has the rare blend of being emotionally grounded and articulate, so her writing takes you to the depths of soulfulness. Her self-revelations and daily reflections help knitters implement the principles she explores. Regardless of one’s proficiency, this book is a “must read” for knitters practicing this beautiful, meditative art."
Annelise A. Petry, L.C.S.W., Psychotherapist

And here is the front cover, which I'm particularly proud of because I took the photograph myself! :)

In addition, I've also developed a spiral-bound full-sized journal with 101 questions for soulful knitters, designed specifically for those who are interested in exploring the principals of Soulful Knitting in greater detail. Here's a picture of the front cover.

Copies of both books are available at Grace Bay Books. I hope to be adding a thumbnail image with a link to the bookstore site soon so that anyone who wants to can add the link to their blog (thanks in advance for those who are willing to do this). In the meantime, please pass the word along about the book to your knitting friends.

And it's not to early to start planning for your holiday gift giving. I know I'm biased, but I think an autographed copy of the book would make a great gift for those knitters on your list. Please email me either through this blog or at gracebaybooks@yahoo.com if you're interested in autographed copies and we can make that happen.

I hope you'll read the book and if you do, that you'll enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. And of couse, all feedback is welcome.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Almost Here!!!

The "preview" copies of the book and companion journal came in the mail on Friday and the printer did a fabulous job. I was really concerned about the quality of the cover images because I took the photographs myself and although I followed the instructions on uploading them, I know nothing about resolution and pixels, so I was really praying that it would all work and it did. I found one typo so far and one pretty significant technical error that I made. I added a blank page in the front so that the title page, acknowledgements, etc. would be on the right-hand side, but I should have added two blank pages because they all ended up on the left. But that's really easy to fix so I'm hoping to get that all done this week, upload the revisions and then the book will be available! I can't wait to share it with you. I've received so many emails of encouragement and support. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers.

Now on a sadder note, my brother-in-law was diagnosed quite suddenly with cancer on Friday night. They did emergency surgery on Saturday but the tumor was too large and too embedded in his colon to remove. They also found several very small tiny tumors that had spread to his liver and intestines. He has agreed to chemo and the doctors are hoping that chemo will shrink the large tumor enough for them to be able to remove it surgically and in the process, will also dissolve the smaller ones. I know that we serve a loving and merciful God who can and does work miracles and I know that things will work out according to His will. Please keep my brother-in-law, Rick Anderson, his wife Corlis, and their son Michael in your prayers. Thanks.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I'm still waiting...

My book should be back from the printer any day now. I know it'll be here soon, but I still run to the Post Office every day to see if it's arrived. Hopefully it'll be here by Saturday. Once I'm sure that the cover images printed correctly, it should be ready to hit the presses!

In the meantime, I 'm making more time for my knitting. With a business of my own and a new part-time job in the evenings, it's been tough finding time to do HALF the things I want/need to do! But, if something has to go, it's not going to be the knitting!

Last Christmas, my husband's niece announced to the family that she was engaged. In fact, her fiance re-created the proposal for the benefit of the family since we weren't there to see it. It was hilarious! I am so happy for them. I decided that day that I wanted to make them a Colinette Ab Fab afghan. I knew that the bride would love it, but I allowed my husband to talk me out of making it. He said it was too expensive and not practical for young newlyweds. The wedding is next weekend, and for the past several days, the Lord has really been placing it on my heart to knit that afghan for them. I know it's late and I probably won't get it finished in time, and I know that I really didn't have the extra money to shell out. I don't think I've ever paid that much for a wedding gift (not even including the time it'll take to knit it). Knowing that my husband and I are divorcing, it's really important to me to give her a gift from my heart. I know they have a traditional bridal registry, and they've picked out some great items, but I just don't want to be another place setting or a kitchen appliance that gets lost among all the other gifts. I want to give them a family heirloom, something tangible to let them know how very much I love them, and maybe most importantly, I want to pray special blessings for their marriage into the afghan as I knit it for them.

I'll be sure to post a picture before I deliver it. Now all I have to do is make sure that I don't keep it for myself! (just kidding) :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

The clock is ticking!!!

No, not my biological clock... that one quit working ages ago. I'm referring to my book! I sent both the book and the companion journal off to the printer this morning. I should have a printed review copy by the middle of next week, and if everything looks as it should, I'll be a published author by this time next week!

This project has really been a labor of love for me. It's been fun and exciting, but it's also been painful and emotionally exhausting - not writing the book itself, but living through the experiences that have provided the insights and revelations that I write about in the book. I thought I'd be nervous about exposing my heart and soul to the world in the way that I am, but I'm not. This is by far the most authentic thing I've ever done and I'm truly excited about it.

Last week I was at the Post Office getting a P.O. Box for my new publishing company and the guy at counter asked about the company, I guess he was intrigued by the company name. I told him that I'd written a book about the connection between knitting and spirituality and that I was forming a publishing company to self-publish it. He made me promise that as soon as it was available, that I bring a signed copy in and he would buy it and see if he could drum up a few more sales for me!

It was a very bittersweet moment for me, particularly in light of the fact that my husband declined my request that he read the book before it went to press. I'm fully aware that we're separating and that I didn't need his approval or even his feedback, but I'd thought that he would at least read the book out of respect (if not just a tiny bit of love left) for me. I'd hoped that by reading it, he would see a part of my heart and soul that he'd been unable or unwilling to notice during the years we've been married. The "honor" of being the first to read something so important to me was to have been my last "gift" to him. But then, I shouldn't be surprised that he refused. So... I'm about to put this baby out there into the world for everyone to see. If I start to feel anxious about how it will be received, I'll remember Jack at the Post Office, who thought enough of me to buy the book even though I'm sure he's not even a knitter! :)

If all goes as planned, the book will be available by this time next week. I'll post here first, so stay tuned! Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers...

Friday, July 01, 2005

Summertime... and the knitting is easy!

It's been a long time, I know. I've missed knitting and blogging about knitting, but I'm back. It's been a long, difficult winter/spring, but I can truly say that it's going to be alright. I'm back, stronger, more focused, and more faithful than ever. God is moving in my life and blessing me in more ways than I can count!

I won't bore you with all the tear-jerker details of what's been going on in my life, but I can give you some updates on the good stuff. The book is back from the editor/proofreader with only minor comments. I asked a professional whose opinion I admire tremendously to read it, and she ended up writing a review that's going to be on the back cover! I've selected a printer and a name for my publishing company. Other than my standing 9AM Sat morning knit-in with my friend tomorrow at Starbuck's tomorrow, I'm dedicating most of the long weekend to getting this book finalized and ready to go to print. I feel like I'm in the last stages of a long delivery and I'm ready to PUSH!!! Stay tuned for more details... I can't wait to post an announcement that it's ready for prime-time. You'll read it here first!

I took about 2 months off from knitting to rest my arm from a wicked case of tendonitis. I thought it was from all the work I do on my PC. Since I couldn't stop working, I begrudgingly gave up knitting for a while and lo and behold - my arm got better! That's a bummer. I'd rather it be from the computer. Isn't that sick? Well,
I've finally learned how to pace myself and as long as I don't try any marathon knitting sessions, the old arm seems to be holding it's own. Of course know my back is driving me nuts, but I know this is all my body's response to all the stress I've been under lately. This too shall pass.

So now, my knitting buddy Nim and I have started another knit-along (okay, so it's just the 2 of us). We just finished black Rumba sweaters that are awesome and have just started on the Cable 8 that in the Spring 2005 issue of Interweave Knits.

The pattern is so simple and on #11's, it'll work up in a flash. WARNING: Should you decide to try this one at home, please be advised that there was a significant error in the cable pattern. After knitting and frogging several rows several times, I searched the internet and kept finding pictures at other blogs of completed sweaters but with no mention of the pattern error. I thought I was losing my mind! Finally I thought to search at google for "Cable 8 errata" and there it was! Now that I've got that straightened out, I'm good to go!

The thing I love most about this sweater is the yarn I'm using... It's 100% organic cotton, grown in Peru. It's called Pakucho. The yarn comes in 6 or 8 colors, ranging from off-white to olive green to the color I'm using, which is called "Chocolate". The cotton grows naturally in these colors (no dyes!) and is hand picked and sorted by color. There's an article on the yarn in the Spring 2005 issue of Interweave Knits (same issue as the Cable 8 pattern). You can also learn more here. I got this wonderful yarn at an unbelievable price from my new favorite online yarn shop, elann.com. See Pakucho.