Tuesday, July 22, 2014

start again

Dear ace,

It is one of those perfect summer nights where red and gold fade to peach and violet, and the hazy lilac light lingers forever in the trees.  It is a comfortable 81F (27C) and thoughts of snow are far, far away.  

The cat is nosing around, looking for a cool spot.  The humidity is low and the night is quiet.  There is so much for which one can be grateful, including your not-crash-landing in Chicago. What a hair-raising experience!  I’m not ready for The Mindful Sheep - or the thread between us -- to end just yet. 

But how do I go forward now, with our long-dormant blog?  

Start again.

The knitter’s battle cry of never give up.  

Rip it, and start again.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do with the self-indulgence sweater.  Those stripes just have to be vertical!  Kaffee Fasset comes off the shelf, and pretty soon I will start on a side-to-side pattern.

Now here is a laugh --something I found at the supermarket in Germany! Someone thought this was a good idea. The customers did not agree, since these are already in the mark-down bin.  Maybe it’s the colorway the candlemaker chose, or maybe the whole concept of knitted candles.  I’d definitely start again!

Knitted Candles - Leipzig, Germany

For another mind-blowing knitting reframe, check out the photos my IG friend Simon sent me last April, around Easter -- yes, that is giant knitting, in the middle of the sanctuary of Renfield St. Stephen's in Glasgow. 

Now that summer is here, the congregation has a huge communal French-knitting project -- called Peacemakers -- going through August.  Simon sent some wonderful photos (I love the one with the person just entering the sanctuary) and a great video.  I really hope we get to see the end result! 

Simon says he works literally under the church, which sounds a bit weird and tomblike until you realize the building is a big complex which includes a conference center, a cafe, and is home to a number of outreach organizations, including Simon’s, Headway Glasgow.     Headway Glasgow provides information, resources, group support, activities and encouragement to brain-injured people, allowing them to start again.

A big, heartfelt thank you to Simon, and to Rev. Peter Gardner and his wife Heidi, for allowing us to post their inspiring work.  They literally weave the community together in so many ways,

We take so much for granted, ace, and we just shouldn’t. You certainly made that clear in your writing blog -- nothing like near-death to clarify one’s priorities!  So let us, too, start again.  I look forward to your next Sheepy post!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

time for a virtual coffee...

Dear DXZ,
It’s been too long since I picked up the virtual pen and got busy here at the TMS Central Office Location. For that, I’m sorry. As you mentioned in your previous post, things were hectic up till Christmas. And beyond, apparently.

I wish we lived closer to each other. Well, I always wish that, but today in particular.
If we lived closer together, I would invite you out for a coffee. As it is, I’ll invite you out for a virtual coffee. Please bring your virtual knitting project and we’ll make an afternoon of it!

Every so often it hits me that I live out here on the prairie with no family around. When there are no blood relatives around, we tend to make our own families, which I have done, to a great extent, but today I wish I had some of MY family around. It is a cold, rainy day – they say spring is right around the corner but it’s been a long, cold winter and I am doubtful. I am sitting in the CafĂ© at my local Barnes & Noble, watching the rain – having gotten a pardon from attending an outdoor High School Lacrosse game this afternoon. It would be nice if you were here.

This last week my Grandma passed away – she was 105 – and a half! A cool girl, in her day. I am that much closer to being the end of the line.
And as we come upon the anniversary of my Mother’s passing, the lack of family around becomes more magnified… March is a harsh month…

So, I guess I’m almost done with my actual coffee, some bookstore employees are eyeing me suspiciously (have I been here too long?). I’d best pull myself up by my bootstraps and get on with things. There’s laundry to be done at home, dinner to be made. But I will always make time to share coffee and knitting with you. Thanks for joining me on the journey…


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


The Mindful Sheep has been out to pasture for a couple of months, chewing her cud and ruminating. That is not to say she has been idle.

A bow of gratitude to ACE, my intrepid partner in line (both written and knitted) as The Mindful Sheep passed its one-year anniversary in October 2013.

Work for both ACE and me was especially hectic right up to Christmas. We both got colds. Bad colds.  In fact, The Cold that was sweeping the nation. We blew our way through the holidays, began to feel better, then got slammed again, both ending up on antibiotics. Nevertheless, gratitude was there: for our significant other, for our texting commiseration, and for the scientists who develop and the labs that manufacture, healing medicine.

As the holidays approached, I looked around my stash and was grateful to have so much fine fiber! Some of it became socks, some of it a one-skein prayer shawl keenly appreciated by the recipient.  But more than earthly abundance, I found myself dwelling on my lineage, the grandmothers and mothers and friends and web friends who have contributed bit by bit to the craft, each one teaching a small part of the pleasure that expands the mind, the creative eye, and the heart. For that, I am truly grateful.

Sheepy gratitude also abounded for handwork to keep us busy during the Polar Vortex, and for the courage to try new things.  For example: During some office space moves, several items belonging to my former boss (now retired) turned up.  Of course we would send them to him -- but knowing his sense of humor, I yarnbombed them first!

Essentially, I am a free-range knitter.  Patterns drive me a little nuts.  So it is with kudos and gratitude to Annie Modesitt that I mention her book Confessions of a Knitting Heretic .  Annie's book liberated me, particularly with this passage:

"You are not knitting wrong.  You knit better than you imagine! You can knit more beautifully than you ever dreamed.  The only thing stopping your hands is your mind.  Become a heretic.  Embrace the freedom of the knitting nonconformist.  Unleash your inner knitting heathen."

And so embrace the heretic I did.  I tossed out the pattern and frogged nearly an entire sweater body, sacrificing gladly the misshapen mess that the Self-Indulgence Sweater had become.  I worked up some measurements, and have started again, grateful for the freedom and relief I feel, forging my own path instead of punishing myself for not falling in line with the pattern.

So far, we are off to a great 2014.  It feels like a good year.