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Knitting for the Soul

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Making Room

I believe it's true that it's difficult to bring new things into our lives (jobs, relationships, clothes, attitudes) when we're holding on to old *stuff* that just doesn't fit anymore. Perhaps it's that jacket that was on sale this time last year, or the job we hate getting up for in the morning, or that relationship that seems to have lost its spark so long ago that you can't remember when. It felt like the right choice and that time... and it was. But that was then and this is now. What worked for the person we were yesterday doesn't always work for the person we've become today. We can choose to hold on to those things that no longer fit, drain out emotional energy, or simply cease to bring joy to our lives. Or we can choose something that suits us better now. Without fail, whenever I'm able to let go of the past, cleaning out the emotional cobwebs that lurk in the dark shadows, new blessings are not far behind. It's as if God knows that I've done my part, making room in my life for Him to do his.

What's especially comforting is to know that this same theory applies equally as well to the small things. Today, I remembered this lesson after a visit to my LYS. I fell in love with a wonderful new yarn, Magico, which I'd never seen before. I wanted it desparately, but knew I just couldn't spend that much money on more yarn given the stash that I already have (yes, I'm a yarnaholic!). So I headed home disappointed, with a clear image of the sweater I wanted to make in my mind. Then it hit me - I went home, marched into my office to confront my stash, and there it was - sitting right in front of me - the 10 skeins of aptly-named Softee, that I just hadn't been able to start knitting. I loved the feel of it, but the color just wasn't right for me. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought it - but maybe that's just it - I wasn't thinking.
I'd gotten so tired of berating myself for such an expensive "mistake" that it was difficult to even look at it anymore.

So, I put it all in a bag, poured through my pattern collection to find the pattern for the sweater I had envisioned, and drove right back to the yarn shop. I made the exchange, paid only $6.35 more, and came home with yarn that I can't wait to start knitting with! The picture below doesn't quite do the yarn justice, but here it is. Be back soon with a new sweater! :)


Thursday, September 23, 2004

Yarn Noodles

I was playing around today with the digital camera and some of the yarns I've purchased lately. I was drawn to the warm and rich fall colors in the Manos hand-dyed yarn that I bought to make a Colinette cardigan sweater with.

Here's the result, including the handcarved rosewood knitting needles that my husband made for me.

"Yarn Noodles"

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Meeting People

It never ceases to amaze me what an easy ice-breaker knitting in public is. Nearly every time I knit in a public space, especially if I'm knitting with a partner, someone inevitably stops to ask what I'm working on and to share something about themselves and their knitting experience, or lack thereof.

Usually it's a woman, but tonight a man also dropped by my table. He told me about a "beautiful young girl" (about 22) who showed up at a bar he was in last night wearing a sweater with sparkly beads that her best friend had knit for her. He proceeded to go into much more detail than I needed about her and her sweater, but it was quite funny to hear him tell the tale.

Isn't it interesting that knitting brings out so many things in so many people... a desire to learn something new, a sense of comradarie among strangers, a nostalgic memory from childhood. It seems that even non-knitters sense the special qualities that attract those of us who are addicted to the craft.

Speaking of "craft", I saw a great quote today...

"He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist."
- St. Francis of Assissi


There are days that I enjoy knitting alone... Then there are days when it's just more fun to do it with a buddy. Today was one of those days. I look forward to knitting nights with my friend Nim. We meet every 2 weeks or so at Starbucks. She orders tea, I order coffee, and then we both pull out all of the neat stuff we've brought to show each other. After that, things get serious. That's when we chat and knit like crazy!

Tonight I got to show off my new dragonfly stitch markers. I'm using them on the sleeves for the Grace cardigan. I was getting confused trying to remember which direction I was going when trying to knit both sleeves on the needles at the same time, so I picked up another neat trick at my last knit night at my LYS. I pinned the sleeves together with a plastic stitch marker. Now, even though I'm working from 2 balls, I treat each row as one continuous row across both sleeves and it suddenly very easy.

Here's a picture of the markers in progress. There's a picture of the entire sweater on a previous post.

And a close-up of my dragonflies.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Prayer Shawl

This evening I finally finished my first prayer shawl. It was more time-consuming than I'd hoped, and I'm not sure I like the way the yarn self-stripes, but it works. I wasn't sure who I would give it to when I started it, but figured out pretty quickly that it belonged to a woman I met in Sunday school about a month ago who was recently diagnosed with lupus. Considering that I have lupus also (though thankfully I've been in remission for years), my heart went ont to her. I know what she's going through and I know how important support and encouragement are going to be to her over the coming months and years.

I think it was fitting that I finished this shawl while sitting outside at Starbucks, enjoying a cup of iced tea, watching the sun begin to set. While sitting there, it finally became clear to me why I love the beach. There's something about a vast, open sky that reminds me of the majesty of the world. I'm reminded that there is something that is so much bigger and more important than I could ever be. It's evenings like this that I'm so thankful for so many things. Being outdoors, and really *being* there - in the moment- seems to put everything else into perspective.

So I prayed as I knit... first prayers of gratitude... for my life, for my family and friends, for my church, for God's grace. Then I prayed "into" the shawl, hoping that when Kim wears this shawl, she will feel the love and support of God, her family and her friends. I hope she will wear this shawl like a hug, and receive comfort and peace surrounding her. I pray that this shawl will be a reminder that she is loved and that others care for her.

The pattern is a very simple one, compliments of Knitting for the Ministry. It's a modified seed stitch, aptly called a "trinity stitch" which is K3, P3, on a multiple of 3 stitches that is an odd number. Since there's an odd trio at the end of each row, each row ends with K3 and the subsequent rows begin with K3 to give it the moss seed effect.

This is not a great picture, but here it is.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Hand-Crafted Stitch Markers

Now that I'm using stitch markers, I can't imagine how I ever got along without them. I find them invaluable for keeping track of repeating patterns, especially cables. They're also great for keeping track of increases and decreases. I've used safety pins, rubber rings, bits of yarn, and even straws cut into slices, but in addition to being downright *ugly*, they all seem somehow counterproductive to the artistic and creative atmosphere I try to create when I'm knitting.

Unable to find the right markers, necessity as has become the mother of all inventions again, and I decided to make my own. I love them, if I may say so myself! :) They're lightweight, colorful and fun. They add just the right touch of flair to my handiwork!

If you'd like to buy a set of your very own, simply click on the PayPal button below. (Note: Please add $2.00 for S&H). If you need markers for smaller needle sizes, or wish to purchase in larger quantites, please send an email to me at knit4soul@hotmail.com.

Friday, September 10, 2004

A great poncho pattern

For those of you looking for the ever elusive free poncho pattern that's fashionable, simple to make, and NOT your grandmother's style, here you go! Follow the link above to a wonderful poncho pattern I found on another blog, complements of Mrs. Who.

Posh Poncho