A big day...

by Christina


Today is the International Day of Happiness. While it sounds a bit corny it's actually a United Nations sanctioned holiday to remind people of the importance of having happiness in their lives. Since 2011, the UN has requested "a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples." The first International Day of Happiness was in 2013 and always occurs on March 20.

The day is coordinated by the Action of Happiness that represents over 160 countries. You can take the pledge here to join in the efforts to create happiness around the world. Lots of great resources and ideas can be found on this website to cultivate happiness.

The UN just released the World Happiness Report (who knew that such a thing existed) including a list of the happiest countries. The top spots were Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland rounding off the top five. The rankings were based on factors like “caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance,” the report said. Another reason to go on a trip to Scandinavia, Iceland and Switzerland. What an adventure that would be and I know it would make me very happy! How about you?

And here's something to be very happy about...It's equinox! That means spring or fall depending on your location. It's a sunny day in the 60's with a few buds on some trees. But just like spring we are headed back to colder weather the rest of the week. Yesterday I went on a walk hunting for signs of spring. Most of what I found looked a bit drab like this...

but then I started looking more closely and found a few trees with a hint of green...

some small plants making their way out of the earth...

and the most exquisite moss growing in a pool with the reflection of the still bare trees.

Patience, spring is just around the corner. What's popping up in your area?

Updates

The first round of Project Peace bags have been wrapped, invoiced, packaged and are ready to ship. I'm headed to the post office this evening. It was so much fun writing the addresses...these bags are literally going all around the world. To each corner in the US including Alaska, several to both shores in Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. The second round of bags are set to be made as soon as the fabric arrives. Stay tuned.

Winner announced: It was so encouraging to read all the wonderful suggestions on how to spread peace. Keep all the fantastic ideas coming as the more we share, the more we accomplish. I've selected Martha (Ravelry: threadsgal) as the winner of the project bag. Please send me an email (thehealthyknitter@gmail.com).

For several weeks I've been stating that pre-orders would begin for the mystery knitalong and walkalong this week. I need to push that back a bit. I've got several things going on in my life that have taken a lot of time. I'll be able to share more in the future but for now please know that I'm making a lot of progress just not quite finished with anything.  I have 4 designs that are just nearly completed. So get ready...finish up all your WIPs in preparation. It's going to be a peaceful spring/autumn filled with knitting.

Mindful Monday #12

In celebration of International Day of Happiness and Equinox, I've selected some of my favorite music...one for the Northern Hemisphere and the other for the Southern Hemisphere. One by Vivaldi, the other by George Winston.

One of the suggestions on the Action for Happiness website recommended the following:

1. Write down 3 things that make you happy

2. Do 3 things that make you happy

The other mindful action items for this week pertains to Equinox.

First, remember to knit for peace tomorrow, the 21st of the month.

Second, find a way to celebrate Equinox. Perhaps go for a walk hunting for signs of spring or fall. Someone on the Ravelry site suggested laying on the ground looking up at the magnificent sky feeling the earth beneath them. Light a candle (or have a bonfire) to honor the changing seasons. Get creative, have fun with this and make it a happy celebration.

spring flower doodle border.jpg

Update on the bags...

by Christina


Wow! In just over 5 hours all 110 bags were sold. I'm amazed and oh so grateful. My mum is back to work and sewing the next batch. I anticipate it will take about a month considering the time it takes to order the fabric, sew the bags, ship them to Iowa and then have them screen printed. 

If you would like a bag, I'll add you to the wait list.

Please send me an email: thehealthyknitter@gmail.com with the following information:

Name, email, and how many bags you want. I'll then send you an email when they are ready so that you can purchase them online. 

Thank you again for your interest in peace!

Peace, one stitch and step at a time...

Christina


Mindful knitting...

by Christina


The term "activism" is being used a lot lately; more specifically, craftivism. I finally had to ask someone "what does activism really mean?" And finally, I heard a definition I could wrap my mind around... "working to make the world a better place." Oh, then I'm all in when it comes to activism. It just needs to be focused on peace. To take this one step farther, this doesn't mean you have to get involved with lots of different organizations; you can work on creating peace in your own life and that in a small but very important way, will help to make the world a better place.

Project Peace in Brooklyn Tweed LOFT (Camper)

Project Peace in Brooklyn Tweed LOFT (Camper)

Last fall I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a new book called "The Mindfulness in Knitting" by Rachael Matthews. I still don't know how this happened because I ordered it via Amazon and it was unavailable until just a few days ago. I guess it was just meant to be. This book speaks to me in so many ways. It's all about being a mindful knitter. Rachael has done an amazing job at tackling so many angles about what it means to be mindful and connected it to knitting. A lot of what's presented in the book is in line with Project Peace. But there's a whole chapter on craftivism. And this particular passage just makes my heart sing...

Working for good and making positive change is a primary motivation for creative people. Caring deeply about the world, creatives do not always want to be caught up in the noise or violence that fighting for justice can generate. Craftivism can be a soft, quiet protest, where producing thoughtful designs helps deliver a deep message.
— Rachael Matthews

There are so many people around the world that are really struggling right now. I know this is nothing new but it's recently become more real for lots of people that previously felt "safe." Many people have written to me expressing that this is a very dark time for them and focusing on their knitting AND peace has helped; for some in a small way, for others it's been a life-saver.

Thinking about this passage reaffirms my commitment to spread peace throughout the global knitting community. I care deeply about the fate of this world, both the people and the earth. I'm not one to protest and create a lot of noise but I do want to make this world a better place. I've often felt that if I wasn't "active" then I wasn't making a difference. 

So, it helps to hear that we can make a difference one stitch at a time. My designs will continue to carry greater meaning and that message is peace. It's a choice, at least as we still know it, and there's never been a greater cause throughout our history...it's always peace.

Updates

Great news! The unprinted project bags arrived from the "manufacturer." I delivered them to the screen printer on Friday and expect them back by next Monday. That means...drum roll please, they should be available for purchase sometime next week. Next week's blog post will discuss the making of these bags...a truly special story. Plus, it connects with our theme of "ethically sourcing" our purchases.

Project Peace bags...headed to the printers

Project Peace bags...headed to the printers

Don't forget that pre-orders for the mystery knit-along and walk-along will begin the 3rd week of March (last week I accidentally said April). I'm really excited for this "-along" as the pattern is made with the peaceful wanderer in mind and there will be lots of inspiration to encourage walking during these challenging months that transition us from one season to the next. During the pre-order there will be a special coupon code for all of you if you decide to participate.

Mindful Monday Tip #10

How often do you pick up your knitting, turn on the television and just tune out? You are blindly knitting along and in a bit of a knitting fog? Now, sometimes we need this as a little bit of a get-away and that's a good thing when it's done with intention. But how many times do you do this and the knitting just passes by? Perhaps you just want to get this project finished and you're over it.

Let's try a different approach. For me, my knitting is sacred time although I don't always appreciate it as such. But if I'm being honest it's a V.E.R.Y. important part of my day and identity. So, let's find a way to honor that time with knitting, with self, with peace.

Find a project that requires a bit of thought but perhaps doesn't require that you follow a pattern...Project Peace comes to mind. Maybe you need to cast on another one just for this purpose. Locate a comfortable place to sit, if you'd like some music to soothe your soul add that as well. As you begin knitting, notice your breath, the inhale and exhale. Next focus on the rhythm of your needles and notice if your breath coincides with your stitches? If not, take a moment to put the two together. Now continue knitting while inhaling and exhaling. Once you find that sweet connected spot between breath and knitting you may even begin to feel as if you are swaying like the waves on a lake as they hit the shore.

(Today's tip modified from The Mindfulness in Knitting with permission).

Enjoy...when the knitting blends with the breath you'll find peace. If at first you don't succeed, practice.

If you have other ways you connect with your knitting to create peace, please share.