Love

I finished 2 scarves for the red scarf project (button on the side bar). I think they turned out nice. Decided to make a wrapper/label with the care instructions on the backside. That took a bit of doing, because the scarves ended up being a bit thick, but then my noodle turned out and I realized I could wrap just part of it, and still make a tight fold to get them into the box.

Here they are, ready for their journey to warm two people’s necks:

red scarves by zenknit

There has been some really good discussion online on blogs about knitting for charity. Of course, people are split on this topic – those that feel that one should knit for charity, those that do it because they want/like to do it, those that don’t because they feel strongly about it for their own reasons, etc.

I guess I want to get my 2 cents in. I knit for causes because I want to, because it pleases me, and because I can. I choose organizations that touch me. Yes I know that sometimes knitting vs. just sending money seems kind of silly. Sometimes I don’t have the money for a donation, but I do have lots of time, a lot of yarn and a desire to connect with the recipient. I try to make nice objects that will appeal to a wide range of people, or at least something that I would like. I think nice thoughts while I am knitting the items to infuse them with a bit of love energy, because I am working on compassionate action as part of my spiritual work. I hope the recipients feel the good vibe. But if they don’t that is okay too. It does make me feel good to do nice things and I think that feeling good about doing good is fine. Practicing love is always a good thing, and I cannot begin to want to judge other people’s intent in their own practice (life).

Loving my family members is easy (for the most part *grin*). Loving my Dad is especially easy because he is just one of those good guys. WT and I went over to Mom and Dad’s house (where Chaachi and Vim live too) to celebrate my Dad’s 81st birthday.

Just a bit of cake and ice cream and a few gifts. We are running out of ideas of what to get Dad and Mom, for that matter. Here he is opening up a great gift from Chaachi, a police-band/weather scanner.

WT and I gave him a gift certificate to Half Price Books. Dad reads a lot of books. Chaachi and I are always snooping around for free books that are placed in coffeehouses and such, ala Bookcrossing.com. It is just nice to take some time and choose a big pile to read and not have to be hemmed in by price.

WT and Dad really enjoy each other – which is such a blessing for me. No tense in-law moments in our home.

Vim is in the background trying to figure out the scanner. Before we went home Spencer got a chance to give Dad a birthday hug too.


He likes to wrap his paws around people’s legs/feet. It is usually very deliberate, and we believe that he knows what he is doing. He is a Reiki healing therapy dog and very bright.

More knitting! I finished my Foxy Lady scarf. Here is a funny self-portrait; trying to get a photo of the scarf in action:

At least it shows the color a bit more true. Here is another that shows more detail:

I am still in my February=Red mood. Working on that pair of pink socks for me. Using the stitch pattern from this sock pattern called Little Shell Socks. The sock yarn is Trekking XXL and is very regularly striped, which is unusual for Trekking. There are parts of the yarn that have a very shrimp or sushi look, and with the shell pattern I am going to call them my shrimp socks.

Peace!

Dang!

The usually kind, helpful and considerate folks over at ivhosting.com took down my blog because it was "abusing the server". That would be okay except that they did not tell me that anything was wrong, did not ask me to attempt to fix it, they just took it down.

I have been spending time bringing it back up, only to have it brought down again. I could not figure out what was causing the problems, and they were not willing to help me figure it out.

Here I am in a new space, choosing to retype some previous entries, and being somewhat okay with letting go of the older stuff. Restoration from the old blog is not possible. For some reason WordPress does not have an export to another WordPress location. Weird, huh?

It isn't the end of the world, but maybe the beginning of the end of the world 🙂  ~~~  I have a Plutonian sense of humor.

Speaking of Pluto, WT and I went to an absolutely fabulous lecture on Friday and then a workshop with Richard Tarnas on Saturday.  He speaks about history, ecology, life, from a very interesting perspective.  He is an astrologer, and not so ashamed to admit it.  In fact, he recommends one to know ones chart and keep track of transits.  A deep fellow, one to watch.  His two books are huge!  We are starting his 2nd book, with plans on going back and reading his first just as soon as we can.  If you are interested, check them out:

Cocoon

I started the Cocoon vest/shawl thing from Meg Swansen’s, A Gathering of Lace, maybe about a month ago and then discovered that laceweight has a very wide range. The merino laceweight that I was using was about 1/2 the weight/thickness (whatever) than the yarn used in the pattern.

I am wondering why most laceweight patterns are using icelandic laceweight? One, it is not very lacey – almost a fingering weight yarn, and two (and this is all 3rd hand) kind of scratchy.

Enter KnitPicks Palette yarn. Okay, so it is a true fingering weight and therefore slightly thicker/heavier (whatever – again) but because the pattern I am using only comes in 2 sizes, and I am still on the larger end of the spectrum – I decided to do the smaller, because it will be bigger because I am using "bigger" yarn, but not so big as the largest size because that would be upscaled as well, and then too big. (breath)

Here’s a photo:
cocoon vest from folk vests

Okay, so it isn’t a great photo. I put the Dali Lama’s photo in there because I was carrying him around, looking at him next to my pattern whenever I knit yesterday (Knitting for Peace). Gotta tell you, just looking at his photo is very peace producing. I highly recommend it.

Back to knitting. I took this photo mid row, so it is hard to see, and add to it the fact that I must-must-must get serious about getting a new camera. But this yarn is a really nice red. Kind of on the cherry side, just my color. It knits up nicely. The pattern is going well and this project will be done up quickly. That is my plan anyway.

I also hope you had a peaceful knitting day yesterday and today too!

Peace!

Life’s Little Pleasures

Life’s Little Pleasures. I think that was a song that ended up being a ditty for a bean commercial. Life is strange isn’t it? It is also very wonderful, and the little things really can mean a lot.

Yesterday I had a great day. I kicked back for a bit at home. Got my email read, did some of my regularly scheduled internet noodling around. Then I needed to just get my butt out of the house. I had called to Borealis Yarns the previous night to see if they had another skein of the Gems Merino that I was using in my Highland Triangle Shawl (Folk Shawls). They did! So I knew I had better pick that up in case I had a lot of knitting time over the weekend. If all went well, Thursday was earmarked for some major knitting, as was/is today.

Anyway, I decided I had better get there before the day became too hot. On the way to the store, I just took a nice side-street route and thoroughly enjoyed the drive, instead of getting overwhelmed by all the nasty driving people that seem to be out there. My route gave me a view of a few groups of children being shepherded by adults – probably some special outings. Just like baby geese/chicks – all in a row. Very sweet.

Once I got to Borealis, I saw a friend from my Wednesday group, The Bead Ladies. Cool! So I thought that since I had brought my knitting, I would just kick back and knit. It was a lazy day there – not too many customers. Got up to get some coffee at the coffeehouse just next door, Dadders. One giant iced mocha please! Theirs is extra dark and strong. I like it fine, except my heart truly belongs to The Coffee Grounds. Good thing they are also my Wednesday gathering place, and where I will be again tonight. Anyway –

Back to knitting, sitting, talking to the 2 ladies working at the shop that day. Sorry ladies, just can’t remember your names right now. Excellent help in these two folks. A couple knitters came in for help and advice and were treated very well. Ditto for the little boy, probably a neighbor. He wasn’t shooed out of the store – treated as respectfully as any adult customer. Bravo!

Had great conversation, decent coffee, good company, good knitting time. I also figured that I might not need that extra skein, so they will just hold it for me until the end of next week – great! By the time I was getting ready to check out (a book and some sale yarn) it was already 3:30 pm!

I got some more knitting in last night, but then just pooped out – enough knitting for the day. Here are some pics so you can see how far I am:

highland shawl

highland shawl center

Before I took these I went outside to check on the dog (he is an indoor dog, but likes to be outside for a bit each day). Anyway, I saw that his pool was empty. So I rinsed it out and started filling it. Filling it takes a bit, so I decided to go inside the house to get my camera for the photos. By the time I was outside again, he had already jumped in the pool to get cooled off. He had jumped out again and had this "busted" look on his face. I think he thought I was going to be angry. I wasn’t but he just couldn’t be coaxed back into the pool.

By the time I had taken the shawl pics, he was back to his sunny self:

And then changed into his bored look:

As you can see by all these pictures, we do not believe in weed control. I just hate putting pesticides into our Earth, just for the sake of a lawn. Weeds are people green too! And when they are mowed, hardly anyone knows. I know I could do a lot of non-pesticide weed control, but frankly, it just isn’t worth the effort right now. Who gets to decide what is a weed vs a plant, anyway? I know there is probably a determination by some scientific classification, but I am just saying. And to prove my point, Did you know that dandelions were brought here because we didn’t have them?. Like I said, I am just saying.

Back to life’s simple pleasures. I have a very blessed life. I love my life. It is rare that I don’t find something to grin about, laugh about, sing about, joke about. When I was thinking about it this am I realized that life is pretty complicated. I think because we have so many options, and because so many things can go "wrong" that might lead us to believe that life isn’t good, but if we think about all the choices we get to make – all the abundance that is in most of our lives (and I am not just talking about money either) we all have so much to be happy about. It makes the choices that don’t turn out as planned much more liveable. It really is all about attitude anyway.

Peace!

Redo and Renew

So much to say. First, thanks to my blog friends who keep me in touch with what is happening in the world.

I don’t watch the news, and sometimes go days without listening to the radio, especially when I am on vacation. I heard about 9/11 from a friend, and I heard about the happenings in London from blog friends.

Reality always intrudes. No matter how much I want to insulate myself from the outside world (in an effort to remain at Peace and have calm). This is a part of reality – pain, suffering, loss, destruction. I wish there was another way. I am striving to remain at peace and have calm in the midst of life in all the ways that life can be. Life is in both the "good" and the "bad".

I am glad that we have each other to share life with.

When I came upstairs to work on the photos I was thinking about how to blog this. A sentence kept running through my head; "sometimes things have to get worse before they get better." I don’t know if that is true for everyone, but it seems to be true for me and for the people around me.

I hope this doesn’t come off as small and trite, and I certainly don’t want to make light of what is happening, but this is how I am and I can’t help but dialog within myself the outer larger (macro) happenings of the world with the small things (micro) – the just me things.

I am making things worse so that I can make things better in my own home.


I decided some time ago to create my own space within my home. I decided this for a variety of reasons:

  • WT’s computer and my computer don’t act well together. They make this zingy sound/vibration when they are both on and it makes me somewhat insane
  • I need space for all my knitting, beading and spinning projects and tools
  • I want a place in the house that is all mine so that I can feel like there is a place where I am safe and all my projects will be secure

WT is on mandatory vacation (the place where he works is shut down for the July 4th week). So we decided to move his computer and things to new locations, and I have started on creating my office/fiber retreat area.

So, if you want to see some really harsh pictures here we go:


As you come into the room.

My horribly messy computer desk, and a table holding a bunch of stuff that belongs to WT, also music and printer, etc.

Another room shot.

Some of my many beadwork, knitting and spinning books. Can you believe that I have more?

So, someday soon I hope to have things in an orderly and peaceful working arrangement. I want a chair, perhaps a recliner to use upright to spin and recline to knit and just be. Both of my working wheels will be nearby with good lighting. The table is gone and in its place is my sewing machine cabinet with my machine set up and ready. The extra bookshelves are either gone or arranged with items that belong in the room. The walls are dust-free, the trim is finished and there are pictures on the walls.

Once that is complete, or nearer to completion, my next task will be to tackle the closet of yarn and fiber. It is currently full and disorganized, but not overwhelmingly so. I need to make better use of a shelf, or perhaps get rid of it altogether and run the mesh shelving that I have in the room and closet all the way to the ceiling.

More later.

Peace!

Socks and Life

I have one and a half sock done. Here’s a pic of the finished sock

I followed the pattern, "Dream Socks" by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and had a lot of trouble with the short rows. I have done short rows before, but not like this. Now that I am on the second sock, I am really wondering why I had so much trouble before. It is all so clear to me now.

Life seems to be like that – we struggle on something, sometimes many times over and over, or for a long time with that one thing. Then there is a breakthrough and our reality is changed so dramatically that we cannot understand how we couldn’t have seen "it" all along.

I have a lot of information inside of me that I know will help other people, but one of the most important things that I have learned is that what I have and what I know doesn’t matter much. Not because it is meaningless, but because it is mine. The people that can benefit from what I know have to be in the right place and the right time and ready to allow in what I have to say before it will make any sense to them.

It is like those sock instructions – they didn’t change while I was knitting them, but until I figured out what I was doing wrong (or how I was right but didn’t know it) then I wasn’t ready to see that everything was okay. I had to have the "bad" experience and see my way through. I had to make the mistake over and over. And now I won’t make that same mistake anymore. Okay, perhaps I will make a similar mistake but I know that I will not make a mistake on this particular sock pattern ever again.

Knitting is like a puzzle. So is life. Perhaps that is why I love knitting so much. I can get results – figure it out – and have something to show for all my troubles. I can feel pride in my accomplishment, and hopefully other people will understand why I am so happy.

Now I just need to be okay with experiencing troubles in my life and not let myself get all judgmental about having made a mistake in the first place. It would also be cool if I can allow other people to have and own their mistakes without judging them or myself (for not being able to help sometimes).

Here is something else that I have been experiencing. Perfect joy and contentment with the project that I am making, but a yearning to work on something else too. What? Perhaps I just want more and more and more Joy. Wish I had more arms and hands. I certainly have enough needles and yarns to be a knitting octopus.

Okay, so back to knitting now.

Peace!

Catching Up

I feel like those of you who read my blog are my friends that I haven’t been able to connect with – and now we need to catch up. I hope you are all up for a large-ish post.

The Minnesota contingent of Ample Knitters gathered yesterday. We have taken to meeting monthly and this month we re-visted last month’s place of the Perkins restaurant off of 494 on France in Bloomington. This is one huge Perkins. We ate lunch, talked and shared our latest creations and then did a bit of knitting. It is really nice getting together with other knitters. We get a lot of "looks" though. One cute elderly lady went up to Kerry and said "I do knitting too!" — all proud.

I had brought my 13 finished children’s hats and 1 children-sized scarf to add to the donation pile (Kerry is gathering donations of winter items for a local school). Now I am done with hats for a while. I wish I would have remembered to get a picture of the whole pile. But most of them were basic hats done in wool/acrylic or poofy acrylic yarns.

I also brought along my recent purchase of this book:



Socks for Sandals and Clogs, by Anna Zilboorg

I would give you a link to Amazon.com but they are still showing this as out-of-print. This book is a new edition with new socks. It is fabulous. I want to make all of the socks. What is really cool is that they also have resoleable socks in here too. I have other patterns for resoleable socks, but the patterning on these – dreamy.

Now a confession. I have made a lot of socks. But none out of sock weight yarn. Is that weird? I don’t know why, but I feel intimidated by sock-weight yarn for socks. It doesn’t have to do with smaller knitting needles because I started back to knitting making beaded knitted amulet bags out of size 0000 and 00000 needles. There is no rational connection here – I am just afraid. I have to work through this so I am working up to doing a set of socks for myself really soon. Please someone hold me to it. I should tell my local knitting pals so that they will check up on me.

Okay, so here is another item to share. A non-knitter friend of my weekly beading/knitting group brought a kit made by Cranston Village.com. Alice had purchased one of these kits

for her daughter to knit for her – cute! She told me she bought hers at Walmart so the next time I was there I picked one up too. They come if different styles and colors.

And I also recently purchased some more Koigu PPM for my Charlotte Web Shawl, but I forgot to bring it up here to my computer so that will have to wait til next time.

I am still working on that basketweave scarf for me. I also just picked up a skein of really stunning Cherry Tree hill sock yarn last night when Kerry and I ran around to swap out some yarn for a shawl she is planning to knit. Pick and pattern to follow, also a pick to another book purchase – this one is a Christmas Sock book. I can’t remember the name so that will wait too.

Sounds like a lot of purchases recently. I understand other knitters curtailing their stash enhancement activities to get a handle on their space, or to fund other endeavors (like charity donations) but I guess I am not interested in doing that right now and probably never will. I have lived a kind of life where I have always been one to think about others first and have denied myself a lot of things – or gone through periods when buying anything but the basics of life was out-of-the-question. I am just not interested in living that way anymore.

However, it has led me to realize that I really don’t need to get things now. I pause and think and tune into my desire to see where it is coming from. It is a coming from a desire to comfort myself, or perhaps a feeling of fear (if I don’t purchase it now, it will run out/not be there so I don’t want to miss out), or from a true appreciation and a desire to create? It sounds like a long process, but it only takes a few seconds.

It works and that is good because I like balance. Can’t figure if it is a Zen thing or a Libra thing. Doesn’t matter, I just feel comfortable in the middle.

Peace!

Zen

Found on an online dictionary:

Zen: A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion and that is practiced mainly in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Also called Zen Buddhism.

I guess they left out the part about knitting trance. Meditation is another word for that though. I really believe that if your are doing knitting "right" you achieve Zen or meditative trance.

Is it the counting, the repetitive movements, the posture, activation of meridians in the fingers? Is it the sound of the needles (even plastic makes a slight sound). Is it the feel of the yarn through the fingers? I don’t really know, but I do know that it works for me.

As much as I have loved beading (still do), it doesn’t get close to the experience of knitting (or spinning, but I am going to stay on knitting for now). Beading has counting, probably much more than knitting does, it has the passing of beads across the fingers, which is much more like the motions of a rosary or a mala.

Maybe it is just me……. nah!