The seasonal shift...

by Christina


Hellooooooo... welcome back or is it I that has returned? 

I've been away.

I've been quiet.

I've been recovering. 

I've been surviving then thriving and then back to surviving. It's a long road...

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In all honesty, I write a blog post in my head to all of you almost every day. While I walk, I think (and think and think and think) and it turns into what seems like a wonderful blog post. Then I return home and "poof" the urgency to write has vaporized. 

My father's unexpected passing in December uprooted my world and has caused such sadness. So many people have been over the top kind during this time and for that I'm truly grateful. But the pain is real as many of you know. Over the summer I allowed myself to focus on family and projects that felt right in the moment. There was lots of knitting and very little designing as I just wanted to knit, knit, and knit. I've traveled to remote places that may be of interest to you and I'll share more about these trips as we journey through the fall.... together. 

 From the top, Ramona Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith, the Islands Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hogue, and Tecumseh by Caitlin Boyd. 

From the top, Ramona Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith, the Islands Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hogue, and Tecumseh by Caitlin Boyd. 

And here we are in the last unofficial week of summer (in the US) marked by the upcoming  Labor Day weekend. Although the earth has almost another month of summer in the Northern Hemisphere with the first official day of fall on September 22, we are in the midst of a seasonal shift. The leaves in central Iowa have tinges of lighter green and yellow, the corn is drying, the acorns are falling from the sky, and the native grasses are growing taller and taller. Harvest is right around the corner, soccer in full swing, crisp apples and the need to wear warmer clothes... but not quite yet as it's 90 degrees outside, muggy, and a thunderstorm is brewing. 

 Anaashah sweater by Jenn Steingass.

Anaashah sweater by Jenn Steingass.

So for today, I only pop into your inbox to let you know that you are on my mind and to share a few key dates for the fall. I've been making plans for Project Peace 2018 for months and I'm eager to focus on cultivating peace for 21 days in December. There will be a few extra items to add to this calendar but I wanted to make sure you mark these dates.

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I will return soon to tell you more about Project Peace 2018. I will share that I am over the moon excited about the design(s). Yes, you read that right... there's more than one option this year because we all know there's more than one road to peace. And please remember that the only way we continue to make this initiative grow is to tell everyone you know... your friends, family, knitting groups, guilds, local yarn stores.... we can spread peace, one stitch at a time. 

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I know that I need to finish up a few loose ends from the spring. I need to announce a winner from our spring walk-along. It's on my list.

And finally, I want to share that if anyone is seeking a movie recommendation I found one that is a must. It's called "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and can be watched on Netflix. Best movie I've seen in a long time... 

Until next time... and that will be soon.

Knit one, walk two, and peace always...


Earth Day... celebrate with a new pattern, Bee Kind

by Christina


Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together … all things connect.
— Chief Seattle
  Bee Kind  available on Ravelry now (coupon code below)

Bee Kind available on Ravelry now (coupon code below)

On this very special day, Earth Day, I'm so excited to finally publish this pattern, Bee Kind. I wrote this pattern 2 years ago while spending 2 weeks in solitude on Martha's Vineyard. At that time, I was a recipient of a grant at a writer's/artist's residency program from the Turkey Land Cove Foundation. My goal was to work on a book about walking and knitting and while that's still a goal, other topics such as knitting and peace took center-stage during the 2 weeks alone. While tucked away in the woods, I designed this pattern, Bee Kind to honor the work that bees do to keep our planet functioning. I've been trying to find the perfect time to release this pattern and today seemed just the occasion.

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I choose the quote above to remind us that we are one thread... a thread that can be knit together to keep us all connected. Through knitting and the work of the bees we are all bound together. 

And because I love what this day stands for, I have an extra special treat for you. TODAY (through 4/22, 11:59 central time) only, you can use the coupon code "BEEKIND" for 50% off this pattern. Beginning, 4/23, apply the coupon code for 20% through 4/27. 

For those of you knitting Brudarach, Bee Kind is actually a companion piece. I never intended for this to happen but last week, I realized, "hey, they match." So now, I need to make another brudarach using Shibui's birch in the color pollen. 

And more good news... there will be several give-aways coming up this week. Some very special yarn, project bags and seeds. More details are forthcoming but for now... leave a comment on the blog to enter. Comment on what Earth Day and knitting mean to you. Receive an extra entry if you purchase the pattern. I'll close the commenting period on Friday 4/27. But what you're winning, you will love and I'll share more later. 

I'm hoping that you'll be able to take time today to honor our plant, get out in nature, smell the air, notice the colors of shifting seasons, and be thankful for all that we have. Be kind to yourself, to those around you and to make healthy choices... not just for you but also for the planet, our home. 

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Brudarach, a new mystery pattern and walkalong...

by Christina


First, let me express my sincerest gratitude for all the meaningful comments following my last post. The loss of a loved one is something that connects all of us however it's odd how suppressed this conversation is. I suppose that's a whole other topic for another day. For now, please know that I was extremely comforted by your messages and again, it reaffirms all the goodness that exists in this world. I know that with time (and that includes walking and knitting time), my sadness will lessen it's grip but for now it just seems to have a stronghold that doesn't want to let go. So, I knit and breathe, and knit and walk trusting that I'll work my way back to a new normal.

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Officially, spring is here but only the part that is the left-over portion of winter... snow, ice and wind. Despite this, there is evidence that the burst of new life that spring brings is just around the corner.  That can only mean one thing in the world of healthy knitting... it's time for our annual April mystery knit-along and walk-along.

What does this mean? I have created a pattern called Brudarach that you decide to knit without knowing what the product looks like. I can only tell you that I LOVE IT. Ok, I'll share that it is a delicate yet sophisticated wrap (kinda a scarf but that never sounds sophisticated to me) that is perfect for wearing on a walk to ward off that spring time chill or fancy enough to wear into town for an afternoon coffee date. It's a lace project but it's simple lace making it a project that isn't too challenging yet still requires your attention.

My inspiration for this project truly began as the desire to create a functional item. Often when I travel, I pack one of two crocheted lace scarves that I made several years ago. I love these scarves as I can wrap them around my neck several times, they pack down small and they have a bit of a vintage look to them. It's no secret in my house; when I travel, I pack frugally. So, these scarves are perfect... except they are crocheted so when I attend knitting-related events I feel like an outsider. My solution... this project.

And what does "brudarach" mean? I'll share the meaning of the word at the end of April during the final wrap-up. I think you'll love the definition and how it connects with the product. No peaking.

I selected Shibui Birch for this project. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it on the shelf. And then, I read the description on the label "In a silent grove passing finches welcome the changing leaves." And that pretty much sums up the feeling I wanted to convey with this accessory.

As for the walk-along, I'll provide a calendar with each of the clue releases. So, on April 1, 10, and 20, you'll receive a clue for the project along with a calendar filled with 10 days of walking inspiration. The goal isn't to walk an insane amount of miles during the month but rather to inspire you to get outside and walk more than you have been. No big commitments just more movement. Think of this as an investment in you... and where else can you get some motivation and be a member of a community filled with like-minded knitters for $6.50.

Oh, and there's a coupon code just in case you needed any additional incentive to say YES. Even if you don't want to begin another project this April or you feel the need to wait until you see the final product, consider purchasing the pattern on Ravelry for the walking inspiration alone. Use the coupon code at checkout "BRUDARACHWAL" and receive 20% of the pattern price. This coupon code will expire at the end of the day, central time on April 1. Right now, when you purchase the pattern, you'll receive a document with pattern details. The first clue will be uploaded and published on Ravelry by 7 a.m. (central time) on April 1.

Please join me this April as we put on our walking shoes and take some time to create health and peace in our day. I'm super excited about this project and the motivation to get moving again. It's been a long winter. Please join me.  

There are so many steps to publishing a pattern. It's quite possible I've forgotten something so if you find I've neglected to activate something along the way, please let me know. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me via email: thehealthyknitter@gmail.com


Back in the saddle...

by Christina


Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.
— Ann Frank
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It's almost been 3 months since I last wrote. A lot has happened... I've not had the words or perhaps the drive to put pen to paper. To soothe my soul and attempt to heal my pain, I retreated and did what all knitters do... I knit.

Project Peace 2017 was, by all accounts, a huge success. Collectively we were able to donate $3000 to organizations focused on making this world a better place. We had 1000's of knitters creating "ripples of peace" shawls and so many people around the world knitting for peace on 12/21. The comments left on the blog are a testament to the fact that we can spread peace through knitting. I thank each and everyone of you for your participation and commitment to making this a better world, one stitch at a time.

But with all of the successes, came serious exhaustion. I needed a break. And then, my beautiful, seemingly healthy, young, genius of a father died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve. They say it was complications of the flu. It took me by surprise. I was caught off guard... this wasn't on my radar. This wasn't supposed to happen for at least 10 years, maybe 20. And from all of this I've been digging deep to find peace in the midst of losing someone so precious. It's just one day at a time... just like one stitch at a time.

So, I've been wanting to write but didn't know what to say. And, now there's so much I want and need to say about so many things that this post almost feels a bit like goulash. Funny, that was one of the only dinners my Dad knew how to cook, a recipe he learned in college. Take a can of cream of mushroom soup, can of franco-american spaghetti and some ground beef. Voila, goulash. And to think he survived; well, it's a miracle. I once tried to make this "vegetarian." While it's really not that good with the meat, it's horrific without it. My, how we all chuckled about this goulash over the years.

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And so, I created a new shawl inspired by my Dad, our relationship, peace, moving through grief, and Sandhill cranes. I'll release it in May but know that there will be a soothing knit coming your way; perhaps you'll find it restorative as have I. I'll share more as we get closer to May.

While the sadness is still so real, I am finding a way forward. So, let this be a segue into what lies ahead. I've been able to reflect on what is the best way I can create a life with meaning. Certainly, there's a lot of work to be done in the realm of spreading peace through knitting. But I've been able to see how I really want to utilize knitting to capture human experiences. Knitting is never really just knitting. There's a message in it for all of us... we began to explore this topic during Project Peace 2017. While my designs have always carried meaning, this will become a more intentional aspect of my designs.

Here's what's in store for the next few months:

  • Tomorrow, March 20 is the International Day of Happiness. Check out the Action for Happiness website. Host a dinner in honor of the day, say something nice to someone, or do one thing that brings you joy. How will you celebrate?
  • April is the month for the annual mystery knitalong and walkalong. In the past 2 years, I've conducted this in April and November. With Project Peace in December, I've decided to host the walkalong only in April. On March 26, I'll announce all the details for this year's mystery KAL and walkalong. You won't want to miss this one. There'll be lots of inspiration to get you walking as we transition from one season to the next. Please consider joining...even if it's only for the walking.
  • Earth Day is April 22 and I'll be releasing a new shawl/wrap pattern in honor of bees and pollinator plants. There'll be a give-away! I'll have a couple other shawl patterns using plant-based fibers that will become available throughout the summer months.
  • Here's something I'm extra excited about. In soccer, when you get 3 goals it's called a hat-trick. So, I'll release 3 hat patterns on the 1st of each month beginning in June and we'll call the collection "a hat-trick." While it might be hot outside, you can still knit on a small, portable project and be ready for cooler walking weather. Won't that be fun?
  • And yes, there will be more in the fall with a commemorative pattern for the International Day of Peace (September 21) and a couple other items but mark your calendars now... Project Peace 2018 will happen from 12/1-21. The theme... yes, there's a theme, will be the "seeds of peace."

Each time a pattern is released (except for Project Peace) there'll be a blog-subscriber exclusive coupon to use on Ravlery. So stay tuned.

Again, I want to thank each and everyone of you for your interest in knitting, walking, and peace. May you find something here that makes a difference in your day. That is my wish for all of you. Until next Monday... with news about this year's mystery KAL and walk-along.

I'll leave you with a poem I found...

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom
— rupi kaur
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