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.

Knit-16.jpg

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. 

3-01_flipped_650.png

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.

Beige_bright_spring_floral_pattern.jpg

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
insert-300.png

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.

watercolor_insert_300.jpg

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
insert-300.png

... the ripple effect

by Christina


Throw a pebble in a pond, and the ripples in the water extend out.

A friend stands on the shoreline next to you, throws a pebble, the ripples in the water move and intersect the ripples from the other person's actions.

Project Peace this year was about the ripples. Choose peace. Your peaceful actions will extend to reach others. It grows and grows and grows. So many times we think "I'm only one person. How can I make a difference?" To this I say, "you can make a difference." Never doubt the power of simple acts of peace. There is power in peace.

Heart_leaves_250.png

The back story on the design.

The idea for this year's shawl had been in my head for months...actually since Project Peace 2016.

I wanted a design that would capture the ripples in the water after the pebble was tossed in. It was to be a crescent-shaped shawl so that the ripples would look curved. I had a few other criteria... the shawl needed to be accessible to most knitters, be peaceful to knit, and could be adaptable to any type of yarn, e.g. fiber type, weight, or color (solid, tonal, speckled).

I had many projects to complete before I could sit down to work on this but I knew it would fall into place because I had it all figured out in my head. It was going to be easy. I gave myself 3 months to get the shawl finished... in my world that's light years’ worth of time.

And so it began, the knitting, the frogging, the starting, the stopping. For 2 months, I attempted my design. I frogged so many times my yarn began to fall apart. I mentioned to a friend that it just wasn’t working… she said “let the yarn speak to you.” Ugh, now what was I supposed to do with that advice.  The yarn had to become the design in my head. There was no listening to the yarn. I surged forward. “Listen here yarn, you will be this shawl. I’m running out of time and I don’t care what you want to be… this is how it is. Got it. After all, you are only yarn.”

On a walk, it came to me. That yarn didn’t want to be that shawl. And my mental image, well maybe it was just a launching off spot. So, I let go of that yarn and that design shape. I opted for a shape (asymmetrical triangle) I knew would be easier to knit, found a different yarn, and said good-bye to having a shawl that looked like ripples in the water, or so I thought.

Half-way through the new shawl shape, I realized the intended effect was still there and perhaps even better than the original idea. The shawl begins with a single point representing the person standing on the shoreline with the pebble, the ridges get farther and farther apart as the shawl grows and radiates outward. The border design was simply a fancier set of ripples.

Now I was that person in the literature class that said “really, you think the author meant all that? We're overthinking this; they wrote a story and let’s not analyze this to pieces.” So yes, what I've put forward here is what I intended.

What I didn't anticipate was how many incredible interpretations that others generated as a result of the project. I love how some have the perspective that the body of the shawl is the larger body of water, the ridges are waves and the border is the frothy waves as they hit the shore. Genius! I also took delight when someone on the Ravelry group said the finished shawl looks like a pennant and the shawls are peace flags. And this is why there are peace flags in the village where Candace and Penny reside.

I never expected the community that would develop on the Ravelry group and how the meaning behind the shawl grew. Again, letting the yarn and process speak to you. Someone offered the advice that the ridges don't have to occur in a structured way. Let the ridges fall where they are and not view it as a mistake. Some adapted the shawl to better suit their needs which is perfect... isn't that what cultivating peace is all about. Find something that gets you started and adapt it to your situation.

Gift-02_250.png

Moving forward.

After last year's Project Peace, I began to notice symbols of peace, acts of peace, opportunities for peace everywhere I went. My eyes were opened to a new way to look at life. I experienced a shift that brought me out of my own world and I began to see how I could play a bigger role in doing right in this world, a world that needs a little extra kindness and compassion.

My story about Penny and Candace was truly inspired by the 21 days of Project Peace. If you re-read the story, you'll find mention of knitting, walking, trees, the water, listening, and an orange. Ultimately I wanted to write a story about how we are treating the earth. Penny was the earth... she gave, and gave, and gave until there was very little left to give. How long will we continue to take, and take, and take from this gracious planet we calll home. Candace represented so many of us seeking ways to help but not knowing what to do because we're so busy trying that perhaps all we need to do is stop and listen to what's in our hearts.

And then, there was so much more to the story as written by others. I loved the renditions that were provided. They brought me to tears.

So, where do we go from here?

First, I need to take a break. I'll be resting up for the next couple of weeks. This past semester (my day job) has been extremely taxing, rewarding yet draining. I need some time to sit by my tree, make Christmas cookies with my daughter, wrap some packages, and take some walks in the woods.

Second, I'll be back in the New Year with some more ideas, patterns, actions, peace-writings, etc. Mark your calendars for Project Peace 2018. I already have the theme, the pattern concept, and have commissioned the artwork. So, November 15, pattern info will be available on Ravelry and we'll begin on December 1. Yes, it's a busy time of year but if we always wait for a less busy time to embrace peace... we might be waiting a long time.

Third, it is my hope and wish that all of you will carry forward our message of peace into your lives.

Peace is active and not passive.

Peace is a journey and not a destination.

Peace is your choice and not something that will be given to you.

Keep your eyes open for symbols of peace, acts of peace and opportunities for peace. You'll begin to see it everywhere.

On my recent trip to Seattle, I made my way to Bainbridge Island to visit the iconic Churchmouse Yarn and Tea shop. As I walked down the street, I saw the most amazing artwork in the sidewalk. I stopped to take photos of the magnificent detail.

ripple photo 7.jpg
ripple photo 1.jpg

My friend who was watching me stepped back and looked down the street and said "it's kind of like the ripple effect." I looked up and said "wow, it is."

ripple photo 6.jpg

And there it was, another sign...

ripple photo 5.jpg

Peace...

Give-away.

Thank you to all that left a comment for the give-away on Day 3 and again on Day 21. It's been so rewarding to read everyone's notes. I'd encourage everyone to take a little time to peruse the comments from Day 21. It really is evidence that peace has the power to change lives...

Here are the winners (3 winners of yarn from KnitCircus and 1 winner of a LightShine candle). Please send me an email (thehealthyknitter@gmail.com) and I'll let you know how to receive your prize.

Maggie (winner of yarn):

"The thing I most enjoyed this year about Project Peace was the idea of lighting a candle for peace each full moon. I followed the link and read about the Native American names for each moon and their meanings. Each moon represented a time in their lives, marked by struggles such as bitter cold and hunger followed by moons which represented rebirth and warmth." Comment continues...

Ann Mitchell (winner of yarn)...

"This peace journey for me has involved noticing and embracing my slow pace and mistakes. I am in awe of knitters who have already finished."

Deborah M. (winner of yarn)...

"WOW - that was a beautiful ending - I am going to print it out and send to my closest friends and family women. It is the true meaning of fellowship, peace, and love. Thank you for sharing and for allowing all of us to experience happiness and a "piece of peace" in our homes, sitting by the lamplight, knitting alone or with others, and finding that we can survive this world with inner hope and resilience."

Dana (winner of candle)...

Peace to me, at this point in my life’s journey, is the ability to tune out the daily stressors, pressures, and my internal monologue (often critical of myself and others and just BE. Being in the moment is something I’ve been working on lately and that is what I’ve been meditating on while I’ve been knitting the ripples in my shawl.

 

Peace to all of you. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.