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Knitting for the Soul

Monday, November 29, 2004

Completion Issues

Is it just me, or is the inability to commit to one knitting project at a time a natural phenomenon. I always start projects with such enthusiasm, and I promise myself that I'm going to work on just this one until I finish. Then inevitably I see another pattern to die for, or a yarn that I fall in love with, and the process starts all over again. I don't think I've ever had just one WIP at a time, and I'm almost afraid to count how many I have now...

  • There's Blaze, which is about 20% completed - I decided that one could wait awhile since I can't wear it now anyway. It's definitely a spring sweater;
  • There's the Multidirectional Scarf which is about 75% complete - that was an unexpected last-minute addition, along with the Rowan chunky print "A La Gap" scarf;
  • Then there's the Celtic Star turtleneck from an old Vogue Knitting magazine which I just started last week;
  • There are countless charity knitting projects in various stages of progress; and if all that wasn't enough,
  • I just bought Jamieson yarn to make an awesome leaf and cable patterned sweater (in Granny Apple Green wool).
And let's not talk about my stash, which has enough yarn to make at least another 5 sweaters.

So many projects... so little time.

I need to "try" to take the same approach to knitting that I take to my work each day. I need to prioritize my projects, decide which one is making the most "noise" (I got that term from a feng shui class). It may not be the one that I can wear the soonest, or the easiest one, or the most challenging one, but usually, there's one that needs to be finished sooner rather than later. And when I listen, I can hear which one that is. The challenging is being true to that calling, and realizing that the others will come to be at their appointed times.

Another tip that helps me get unstuck at work is to focus on how much I've accomplished for a minute - there's plenty of time to think about how much there is to be done. So, while I learned how to knit as a child, I've only been "serious" for about the past year. I didn't realize it at the time, but I've really been pushing the envelope and taking on more and more challenging projects - things that I wouldn't have had the courage to tackle even a few years ago. So here's my list of my accomplishments during this past year:

  • Developed a stash, including making some impulsive purchases, admitting my mistakes and unloading most of them
  • Found and frequented most of the local yarn shops in the area, and a few outside of the area
  • Finished quite a few projects, including 4 sweaters, a poncho, a few things for gifts, and about 100 scarves that I sold last year (NEVER AGAIN!!!)
  • Developed an extensive pattern collection of patterns that I love. It would take me a lifetime to knit them all, and I know I'll keep collecting even more!
  • Learned a lot of techniques from more experienced knitters
  • Taught several women to knit
  • Experienced the joy of knitting with other women
  • Appreciated the serenity and mindfulness of knitting alone (without the tv)
  • Started a knitting ministry at my church
  • Knitting some items for charity
  • and perhaps most importantly, developed some wonderful new friendships with women who share my passion for knitting.
Not bad for the first year, huh? Should be interesting to see what's in store for 2005!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sometimes Bigger IS Better

I was in my LYS last week and couldn't resist the brillant colors of a Rowan chunky print yarn, Sriek. I wasn't in the mood to make a sweater with it - I thought it would be too bright. But I decided that it would make a great scarf... and it did.

It's 100% wool, in wonderful shades of orange, pink, fuschia and lavender. I used 1-1/2 hanks (110 yds each), on #17 needles. Who needs The Gap when we have a LYSS? :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


It's hard to believe that another year has come and practically gone. With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, now is a good time to take a few minutes to acknowledge the many blessings I have received this year. Of course, there are too many to list, but here are some of the highlights:

  1. A renewed relationship with Christ that is stronger and more personal than ever before, along with the support and encouragement of a new church family and friends.
  2. A beautiful new nephew, Phillip ("PJ") to the family. He was adopted nearly 2 weeks ago, and ironically, was born one week before the sudden death of this would-be grandmother. It's ironic that when one soul leaves us, that another one often comes to ease the pain a bit.
  3. A wonderful group of new friends who have provided me with more fun, support, encouragement and prayers than I could have imagined... Carolyn, Janeen, Carol, Corlis, Nim and Ann. And then there's Annalece who has helped many in so many ways on my journey to become the person that I want to be.
  4. An even greater passion for knitting, including a fairly rapid transition from an average knitter to a pretty darn good one, with a huge stash to prove it!
  5. New clients for my business, which of course means more $$$
  6. Finding and being able to afford a private high school education for my daughter, which has made all the difference in her grades, her friendships, her self-esteem, and her overall attitude.
  7. Making it through the the first two years of marriage (we've both been on our own for a long time and old habits are hard to break!) and knowing that we're going to make it.
  8. A renewed appreciation for my extended family and finding opportunities to spend quality time with them (besides funerals).
  9. Discovering Simple Abundance, A Course in Miracles, and Loving What Is, three books that are changing my life.
  10. Surviving a harrowing breast cancer scare, finding that the tumors (which have been removed) were benign.
That said, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to officially acknowledge our blessings, but my on-going goal is to recognize and give thanks for daily blessings, both the big ones and the small ones, that are happening all the times. It's easy to get caught up in the drama du jour and focus on the negatives, but how much easier our lives would be if we could turn that around and really find the silver linings in those thunderclouds.

I read somewhere that we've generally been taught to deal with stressful times by taking a deep breath in a blowing all of that negative energy out. But just imagine what a world this would be if we took all the negative energy in, turned it around, put it in its proper perspective, saw only the truth and the lesson in each situation. If with an attitude of gratitude, we exhaled positive, uplifting, and loving energy. That is my personal goal, and my prayer, for the coming year. Care to join me?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

2005 Knitters Calendar

Last year I made scarves for all of my sisters-in-law for Christmas. Fortunately for them, but unfortunately for me, they've all since learned to knit and are knitting like crazy. Now I'm stuck with coming up with another idea for this year.

Well, here it is... my own 2005 Knitting Calendar. I took the picture myself, using a handcrafted bowl that was given to me by a friend years ago, some beautiful Manos Chunky yarn in my favorite fall colors, and most importantly, the handcrafted rosewood knitting needles made for my by my husband. I call the photo "Knitting Noodles".

I've decided to make it available for sale, if anyone's interested (only $5.99 + S&H). If so, please visit the link above.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Breast Cancer Awareness Knit-A-Long

Although Breast Cancer Awareness Month was officially last month, the subject continues to be heavy on my mind and heart. If you've been following this blog, you know that I I'm just recovering from breast cancer scare... I even have the scars and bruises from a bilateral lumptectomy to prove it. But I was one of the very lucky ones, my biopsies came back benign.

Nonetheless, while I can't say that I know first-hand the challenges of facing breast cancer, I do know the fear that surrounds the very thought of it. During my ordeal over the past few months, I've realized that there are many many resources available for women who need them, as well as support for their family and friends. I have a deepened understanding of the need for regular breast self-exams and annual mammograms for women over 40 or in high risk groups. I have discovered that many women that I know have been touched by breast cancer - either themselves or their loved ones - and new and/or deeper friendships are developing as a result. Most importantly, I know that there is much that needs to be done, and there is no shortage of opportunities to encourage and support those who are fighting it, celebrate its survivors, and support efforts to find a cure.

Take my friend Paige, for example, who recently cut her nearly waist-length hair in order to donate it to Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs for women who've lost their hair during chemo... or Lois, who spearheads a local knitting group that knits chemo caps and other items for cancer patients. Then of course, there are my girlfriends (5 of them), who brought food, gifts, flowers, essential oils, a cherished hankerchief, a beautiful poem about Faith, a book of daily devotions, and of course their company both before and after my surgery. They laughed with me, they cried with me, they knit with me. They were and continue to be there for me.

So now it's my turn. I believe this experienced happened to me for a reason, and I'm determined to find some small way to make a difference because of it. One of the first things I'm doing is joining Think Pink a breast cancer awareness knit-a-long. I'm planning to knit some chemo caps for the Cancer Center at the hospital where I was treated, as well as encouraging the ladies in my church knitting ministry to do the same. I also want to use this forum to remind people to do their monthly BSEs and to tell-a-friend.

If you're interested, be sure to check out the Think Pink site.

FYI - Here are the links to some sites that offer free patterns for chemo caps:


Sunday, November 14, 2004

Baby Sweater update

I think they liked it! :)

Baby Set

I'm on my way to DC for an "emergency baby shower" for my new nephew who came to us (via adoption) on Friday. He's almost 3 months old and quite a cutie from the picture I've seen.

I'll be meeting him for the first time today and can hardly wait. In honor of the occasion, I knit up this adorable little cardigan and hat from Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners. It's done with cotton classic (100% cotton) and knit up in a weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2004


I went back to the surgeon yesterday for the much-anticipated biopsy results. They came back benign! Thank God. I expected that if the tumors weren't cancer, they'd be fibroids. NOT. According to my surgeon, they appear to be scar tissue. Considering that I've never had any breast trauma or surgery before last week, I can't figure out, and my dr can't explain, how I ended up with scar tissue in both breasts! If I had scar tissue BEFORE surgery, watching what happens after surgery should prove interesting.

Two of the many wonderful friends that have been praying mightily for me since this ordeal started are convinced that this is a miracle. The more I think about it, the more I tend to agree.

Often we think of "miracles" as these huge, larger-than-life, mystical and perhaps even magical occurrences. I've just started reading A Course in Miracles, but already I agree with it's central thesis that miracles occur around us all the time. They are they ultimate act of love and are designed to bring us closer to God and each other. The key is being aware of and receptive to accepting the lessons of love that they represent.

Here are a few thoughts on "miracles" from the book:

"Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle."

"Prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed."

And finally...

"Miracles reawaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the alter of truth. This is the recognition that leads to the healing power of the miracle."

That said, I recognize that this experience has brought me closer to God and to my family and friends. I have seen their love and concern in ways, and to depths, that I did not recognize before. I know without question that I am loved. The many expressions of thoughtfulness - cards, gifts, flowers and lots of great food - were all welcome, but in the end, what meant the most was the heartfelt thoughts and prayers that I received from so many people. And that, I believe is what changed the outcome and created another miracle in my life.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Down to the wire

After 2 difficult weeks of waiting, tomorrow's the day for surgery. I alternate between a calm sense that everything's going to be just fine and an overwhelming anxiety that I'm going to be diagnosed with breast cancer. I think it's cruel and unusual punishment that women have to wait so long for the answers that could change their lives in irreversible ways. As frightening as a diagnosis would be, at least I'd be able to spring into action. I'd know what I need to do and could focus my energy on beginning the healing process. But alas, I've got at least a week or 2 to go after surgery before I know what this struggle is really all about.

So, in the meantime, I've organized my stash, prioritized my projects, and am planning to settle in for at least a week-long knitting marathon while I wait for the results. If anything can calm me down and take my mind off the wait, it's knitting.

Of course it could change at any time, but here's the plan:

1. Debby Bliss baby blue cardigan for my brand new 6-week old nephew who's being adopted and will be home in about 2 weeks (made with Cotton Classic).

2. Finish the brilliant fall colors of the Vittadini mock turtleneck with Magico (the back is already done - it's a very quick knit if I can remember to count my rows. The yarn is so textured that it's almost impossible to count rows after they're knit).

3. Start on Noro ribbon-neck cardigan with Manos and Nature Wool.

4. And then of course there's Blaze, which will probably have to wait for a little while. Since I don't know how to cable without a cable needle, I'll probably have to wait until I heal a bit before I can tackle that one again.

So today I'm off to run errands, get things straightened up, and the relax (yeah - right!) for the rest of the day. Then, like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind, I'll remind myself that tomorrow is another day! :)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Grace Cardigan

OK...Here it is at long last. My Grace cardigan. Definitely the most complex pattern I've done to date. I knit it with Grace yarn by Paton (100% cotton), which was very inexpensive (relatively speaking), but with a beautiful feel. I wasn't thrilled with the placement of the buttonholes, but I know what to do differently next time. It's still wearable and doesn't look too bad, I don't think. Now, on to Blaze...

Blazin' Along

I'm making good progress on Blaze. I was hoping for a bright orange color, but couldn't make gauge with the orange yarn I had, so I went with the next best thing on hand - coral. I think it's coming out nicely. The pattern is very easy wants you get the hang of it, but it does require some concentration. This is my first sweater knit in the round too, so that takes a little getting used to.