... 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.


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.


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.

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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."

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And there it was, another sign...

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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.


Day 21... choose peace

by Christina

A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.
— Osho

And here we are on the 21st day of our journey together on this path of peace. Sharing my morning with all of you has been a delight. You truly are the brightness in this world that has come to feel a bit chaotic and dark. It is my wish that we'll continue to find time in our day to create a space of peace whether it's in the still of the morning with coffee and knitting, sitting and just being, or maybe a walk in the afternoon. Find that time that's just for you... create that ritual and then hold onto it tight. That ritual is like the cupboard in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe... it's the gateway to something grand.

Before I tell you the rest of the story, if you have not had a chance to read Chapter 1 of the story I wrote for all of you, please read it now.

Chapter 2.

And so her adventure began... Candace walked, walked and walked. She climbed mountains, scurried down hillsides. She stopped to marvel in all that was around her and to breathe in the fresh air. She met people that were happy and those that were sad. She asked everyone she met what peace meant to them pondering each response. Since she knew not where she was going, she relied upon the advice of strangers to point her in the right direction. Through good times and the bad, Candace moved forward on her quest knowing that she must find a cure for Penny.

Meanwhile back in the village, the villagers gathered in the community center to discuss how they might assist Penny, the one that had provided them with all their basic needs. They recognized that Penny could not continue to give for if she did there would be nothing left. And so, a shift began to occur. The villagers began to care for Penny providing her with nourishment, warmth and friendship. They sat by her bedside through the long dark hours of the night...giving back but also in those quiet moments accepting their role as provider and giver.

No one really knew how long Candace had been gone yet she was beginning to grow weary from the long, hard days of travel. The days were growing darker and colder and Candace began to feel hopeless in her efforts to save her friend. She stopped in a quiet spot in the forest overlooking the ocean. She listened to the sound of the wind in the trees and watched the waves roll up on the shore. She began to weep... "how can I save my friend?"  She reached in her knapsack and found an orange. As she peeled the orange and slowly ate each segment she pondered the simplicity yet wondrous orange. It was at this moment that Candace knew the cure for Penny and where she needed to be.

Candace walked and walked and walked. As she drew closer to the village, she began to notice the forest looked healthier, a vibrancy existed that hadn't been there before. She rounded the corner and saw the most magnificent sight... knitted flags surrounded the village waving proudly in the breeze. The flags knitted by each member of the community in honor of all that Penny had given. There in the center of the village stood Penny as strong as ever awaiting the return of her beloved friend.

Candace had learned that the cure to what ailed Penny had already been found. A peaceful community gives and receives; the people are connected and dependent upon one another to share their dreams and hopes as well as sorrows and grief. 

Now it would be wonderful if we could say that from here forward all was good but that my friends would put an unrealistic expectation on how to achieve peace. Instead, the villagers came to realize that peace was a choice and not an expectation.

The end.

This story was inspired by Project Peace 2017, Candide by Voltaire, The Odyssey, and the four elements (Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water). Penny was short for Penelope, Ulysses' wife who knit by day and frogged by night waiting in the hopes that Ulysses would return. Penny also represented Earth and our continual dependence on what she can give. Candace represented Candide who searched the earth for utopia only to discover that the physical place of perfection was not all he quested.

Day 21. Peace tip.

It's solstice. A day in the Northern Hemisphere that is the shortest and darkest with the promise that the light will return whereas in the Southern Hemisphere it is a day to celebrate all the wonders of the light. Today's tip is to ask that you take time to reflect on peace. This isn't the end of your journey but rather the beginning. Where do you go from here?

Knit for peace today... in solitude, in a group, in public, in your home. Light a candle for peace.


Jaala from KnitCircus has generously provided some incredible yarn including a skein of the most amazing colorway "peace, love and understanding" for the final give-away for Project Peace. KnitCircus is a yarn company committed to creating beautiful yarns with a giving spirit. Jaala will host a kindness knit-along in the New Year so be sure to sign-up for her newsletter to find out more.

To enter the blog, leave a comment about peace... something that made you say "wow" during the last 21 days. I'll close the entries at 6 a.m. central time on 12/22. I'll send a final email tomorrow announcing the winners of the candle and yarn give-aways.

~peace is a journey... one stitch and step at a time.


Photo by August Wren. Used with permission.

Photo by August Wren. Used with permission.

Day 19... water

by Christina

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.
— Isak Dinesen

The most essential nutrient to human life. Two simple little hydrogen molecules and one oxygen. The energy needed to create these bonds is beyond human capability. We can build mass weapons of destruction, send people to outer space, and build computers with communication systems that allow us to send electronic messages to people around the world instantaneously yet the ability to create life-sustaining water remains illusive. 

Think of how many times a day we use water... drinking, cooking, bathing, washing dishes, to carry away our wastes, to grow crops, hydrate livestock, or even the water that was needed to "grow" our yarn. Each of these acts could be considered tiny miracles. We are so fortunate yet there are so many that don't have these luxuries... along the way perhaps we've lost our perspective on the extreme importance of water. We've come to expect it and that it will "arrive."

Having lived most of my life in the mountains near streams, rivers and a few lakes, I've not had the opportunity to spend much time around the ocean. On a recent visit to the Atlantic Ocean I walked for miles across the sand chasing the waves or rather being chased by waves and I began to ponder "water." 

The lull of the waves coming in and retreating quickly becomes a rhythmic constant that comforts. In and out, in and out. A guarantee that the ocean promises that it will return over and over again. 

As each wave approaches the shore one begins to wonder how long has this water been working it's way here. As the wave slips back into the ocean underneath the incoming wave, it retreats with grace into the vast depths of the sea. Will each water droplet that reaches that line where the sand and water meet, ever return to that same place again or is it a one time event? 

The waves lapping against the shore soothes the soul and has been described by many as peaceful. We become convinced that this big massive body of water is gentle and nurturing. Yet the power that can be generated by the tiniest and simplest drops of water when they work collectively can accomplish great things, both negative and positive. The same can be said for people...when we work together we can be unstoppable, in negative and positive ways.

As we near the shoreline on this current journey with peace we have the opportunity to make more choices. 'Cause after all, this is your journey and your choice. Will this be a one time visit to the shoreline? Or will you be persistent and return again and again? Will you be a water molecule that joins together with others to work collectively for something grand? Or will you allow yourself to be carried away back out into the ocean and overcome by the power of everything else going on around you? C-H-O-I-C-E.

Day #19. Peace tip.

We've talked about snow, trees, birds, and oranges as symbols of peace. Now we are adding water to the mix. Pull out a piece of paper, put on your favorite music and start to doodle. No artistic ability required just put pen to paper. Doodle peace...whatever it is to you. It might be a scene, words, or a collection of colors. It might be trees, water, snow, yarn, people...the sky is the limit. You might choose to doodle a quote or two that have been in the posts or one that hasn't. No inner critic allowed.

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I'd like to ask a favor of all those that are reading this blog and knitters. Please consider knitting for peace on December 21, Worldwide Knit-in for Peace Day. We began this last year and decided to continue with this tradition. It's my goal to make this day widely known around the globe.... but it only happens if we work together. Here's my request.

Place a pin on the map for your location. If you are knitting as a group, please have all group members place a pin.

Knitters from the US: If you know anyone that knits in North Dakota or Rhode Island, tell them about WWKFP Day and have them place a pin. Then all 50 states will be recognized.

Knitters from Canada: Please take a look and see which provinces still need representation... let's get all of Canada represented.

Knitters from Europe: Take a look and see where there are places that need to be pinned, reach out to folks from countries still needing some peaceful knitters.

Knitters from Asia: ok, if anyone knows someone in Asia, please contact them...we need knitters from Asia.

The list goes on... the map is looking full but let's get this map covered!

Thank you.