Day 17. Penmanship...

by Christina


To write is human, to receive a letter: Devine!
— Susan Lendroth

Yesterday, we chatted about creating commuKNITy yet while having that sense of belonging with a physical group may be an example of how to create peace, for many of us it might not be a reality. For whatever reason, having that physical group of like-minded knitters to meet with a regular basis might not be your reality… no transportation, haven’t found the people that you click with, physically unable to meet up, etc.

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With the overwhelming presence of technology in our lives and the ability to correspond instantly with people all-around the world it’s odd that our communication skills seem to be deteriorating. Cursive is no longer a mainstay of the educational curriculum, teaching kids efficiency on the keyboard is actually being taught less as we transition to faster, more efficient ways of capturing our thoughts and words. Soon, we’ll “write” via dictation and maybe that sci-fi concept of having our thoughts directly transcribed from our minds will become a reality.

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Writing with pen and paper is a dying art. Sending and receiving a letter in the mail is soon to be one of those “remember when…”

So, let’s write letters… or maybe even let’s knit letters.

Felicity Ford’s marvelous book series on colourwork provides a knitted medium for sending letters. In the Stranded Colourwork Playbook, Felicity outlines a tangible way to knit a “letter” and send it to a “knit-pal.”


So, creating commuKNITy has multiple ways to be implemented perhaps writing or knitting a letter might provide a new avenue for feeling connected.

Peace seed #17.

Write a letter to a friend or relative. Or maybe you need to write yourself a letter.

If you are so inclined to knit a letter, check out Felicity Ford’s Ravelry group and click on the link for “postcard pen pals.” If you happen to use Instagram, check out the work of @yumiket and @muriel. They’ve been exchanging knitted letters for several months and their “swatches” are inspiring.

I’ve been attempting to find another way to connect our “knit for peace” folk. I’ve decided to create a thread in The Healthy Knitter Ravelry group so if you are looking for a “pen pal” whether it’s a hand-written letter or a knitted letter, you’ll be able to connect.

If you aren’t on Ravelry or don’t feel comfortable using Ravelry, send me an email (thehealthyknitter at gmail dot com) and I’ll do what I can to connect people so they find a pen-pal. Please put peace penpal in the subject line. We’ll see how that goes… if it gets overwhelming, I may need to find an alternative solution.

We are in the final days of Project Peace 2018… so many more things to share about knitting and peace, at least 2 more giveaways that you won’t want to miss.

Peace… a choice. Make space for peace in your life.

~Christina

Giveaway winner #2 announced.

Jen W. is the recipient of the lovely watercolor and journal set from The Net Loft. Jen please email me and I’ll connect you with Dotty. Here’s what Jen wrote about her plans for Worldwide Knit for Peace Day:

“You know what Christina - I already think of Dec 21st as the official World Wide Knit for Peace Day regardless of whether it's pre-printed on a calendar or Google identifies it as such (but how sweet would that be?)... What better way to celebrate the shortest day of the year! To take a step back for even just an hour or two from the frenzy of preparations/shopping for the holiday to breathe, contemplate the true meaning of the season, and discuss with my knitting family - it's perfect!
My knitting group normally meets at a public location on the third Tuesday of the month which we are still doing next week, but we are also adding Friday as a special and more personal event and meeting at a member's home.”


Day 16. Participate...

by Christina


Follow the fish, follow the knitting
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Traveling along a line… 60 North, an imaginery line that connects people, knitters, fisherfolk, peace, and my heart, today we visit the most special of places, Cordova, Alaska, a mere 4000 miles from Shetland. Here, you’ll find a tiny, little fishing village tucked away in the wild of Alaska remotely located on the Copper River Delta in Prince William Sound.

The Copper River Delta

The Copper River Delta

Here, reside approximately 2000 people, and while not an island, there’s that feel… there are no roads to Cordova, just a plane or a 6 hour ferry ride. A fishing town… where life revolves around the salmon and halibut…

boats…

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nets…

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the making of nets…

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and the processing of fish…

While Amazon has most certainly provided the people of Cordova with access to more “goods,” one can’t help but notice that the choices for groceries, eating out, or clothing options are limited. That life is just a wee bit simpler… in a really good way.

So with that need to acquire “stuff” set aside, one starts to feel the importance of connecting with the community… the drive to belong to something greater than a busy schedule, the need to do more… time seems to slow down just a bit.

Kids are out playing on the street…

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…people are hiking up the ski hill

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and meeting at their local yarn shop, The Net Loft.

In this remote, little village you’ll find one of the most beautiful shops in the all the land. Well, see it’s not really a yarn shop… it’s the general store, the mercantile, the haberdashery… there’s the most exquisite yarn with multiple collections themed off the colors from the surrounding area, jewelry, painting supplies, dishes, lotions, table linens, baby gifts… anything you might need for that special occasion.

And while this shop is like no other for it’s material contents… it’s much more than that…

it has heart and soul.

It’s a place for the people of Cordova to gather, to connect, to participate, to inspire, to teach the next generation the importance of art and craft, to engage…

It was here that I truly began to understand what it means to be a community… it was here the word took on new meaning and became…

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a collective group based on knitting… to participate, to be connected and to have a sense of belonging.

It is here, in Cordova, at the Net Loft, that those feelings of being connected took shape…

the livelihood of the people that live here, the fisherfolk…

the ties between fishing and knitting through the making of traditional gansey sweaters…

and the people that come together in the dark days of winter to gather, to participate, to make something beautiful, to place one stitch next to the other…

You can read more about this specific painting by  Nicola Slattery  on  Dotty’s blog . Pull up a chair, you’re in for a treat.

You can read more about this specific painting by Nicola Slattery on Dotty’s blog. Pull up a chair, you’re in for a treat.

Peace seed #16.

Knitting has the power to connect us. Whether it’s as a collective group of people at a knitting store, coffee shop, library, or a virtual group on Ravelry or perhaps through this blog or maybe it’s by way of connecting your yarn source with the person that is receiving the finished item…

what is your commuKNITy?

Many of you might be wondering… why did I go to Cordova? Dotty creates the most amazing event called “Fiber and Friends.” It doesn’t happen every year so I would highly recommend if you are at all interested in attending any of Dotty’s events you subscribe to the shop’s newsletter.

On a personal note, I met the most amazing people while attending this event… I’ve made friends for life whether they live in Cordova or were there for the week… Dotty, Coleen, Terri, Anna, Susan, Lori, Jane, and so many more. At a time when I was feeling rather isolated… I found my folk, my peacekin, right there in that geographically isolated little town with a huge heart. Thank you Dotty and The Net Loft.

peace, one stitch, one step, one breath at a time…

~Christina

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P.S. This post is one of the most cherished ones I've written yet... this place, the people, the message are so dear to me. There's something about 60 North that has captured my heart... Shetland and Cordova. It certainly can't be attributed to the weather... it's something about the magical aspect of the people and place.

Of all my blog posts, this one has been the most challenging to write. The need to do justice to this place and the people has created some pressure… expectations. Many posts, I just write and let them go, they’ll be what they are… but this one was different… how can I capture all those emotions in one short space. Maybe when the times right, I’ll be able to explore in words more specifics on the week.


Day 15. Perspective...

by Christina


One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
— Henry Miller
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Welcome to 60 North… Shetland, 100 miles north of mainland Scotland. Where the wind doth blow, the winter days so dark, and the seas be wild yet the beautiful landscape, and overriding pride in place are most prominent. The Shetland Isles are home to approximately 23,000 people and 270,000 sheep.

I recently visited Shetland for the second time… the first to attend a knitting retreat. I fell in love with the place and people and knew I must return. My second trip was a deeper dive into issues related to sustainability and food systems; to develop a study abroad experience for university students studying nutrition. I spent 5 days exploring Shetland, meeting people and identifying examples/activities related to nutrition and health, economic vitality, environmental stewardship, and cultural/social identity, the four pillars of sustainability recognized by my professional society.

And so… over those 5 days with limited daylight, I came away with a different perspective. One I hadn’t expected. One that provided me with insight on what matters in life… and I was surprised by what some of these items were…

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The power of peat… who knew how important this substance is for the health of our planet. All I knew about peat was that we used it as an additive for our annual potted plants. Blanket bog made up of peat is a crucial resource to our planet as it sequesters carbon. Peat bogs are disappearing and we must save the peat bogs!

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St. Ninian’s Isle. Where the water flows from two different directions, never to meet. The amount of beach that’s present depends on the tide. Persistence…

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Knitting in nature… does it get any better? Yes, actually, sitting on a cozy sofa, next to a fireplace with a warm cuppa tea might be more appealing. Yet it’s those moments that I’ve knit in a park, a mountaintop, on a beach, in the cold that provided me with perspective on how lucky I am to be able to return to a warm, cozy place.

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The power of loss… a cemetery filled with reminders that at some point life ends, that we remaining ones grieve, and find our way on a new crooked path.

Yet it was here at this spot, overlooking the magnificent, powerful ocean that I wept tears… for our inability to gain perspective on war and peace… when will violence no longer be the perceived solution? What will it take?

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And then there’s seaweed… nutrient rich, anti-microbial, nature’s fertilizer and herbicide. New perspective and appreciation gained.

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But it was these birds soaring between the rocks, alongside the cliffs, above the tumultuous waters that the perspective I’d been needing was revealed.

I had returned to Shetland with the idea that this would be THE place to live… my family often jokes that if I’ve gone missing you’ll find me in Shetland. The beauty, the calm, the relaxed feeling I have that overcomes my entire being, the walking, the people, the sheep (yarn and knitting) the connected communities… this is PEACE.

As I watched these birds soar with grace catching the winds high and low I began to think about the gulls. Were they out there having the time of their life? Did their experience match my perspective? Or rather were the birds cursing the wind, frustrated by the fact that they couldn’t land on the rocky perch, fearful that with one sudden gust they could easily be tossed against this massive pillar of rock plummeting to the ocean below. Did they sense that with one wrong turn, one little mistake there would be no second chance?

And while, I’m certain the seagulls weren’t contemplating their existence, my perspective shifted… my perspective on where one has the opportunity to find peace. It’s not always in the moments of grace, beauty and effortless flight…

peace is right now,

in the messy moment,

the place that you are.

In the present…

My love for Shetland, this magnificent rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, and the people have been imprinted on my being. I will return again and again if only to gain more perspective.

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Opportunities to be at peace are everywhere… tucked away in corners and behind apparently close doors…

Peace seed #15.

Perspective… today, grab your knitting and watch a movie. One of my all-time favorites is Maleficent, a story about perspective. There’s two sides to every story and what might appear to be the truth based on what you’ve always been told might just not be the entire story. Perspective…

However, if that movie suggestion isn’t quite your cup of tea, why not dive into watching the BBC mini-series, Shetland. It’s an incredible show based on Ann Cleeve’s books. Not to worry, Shetland is a safe place despite the fact that this show paints a different story. It’s filled with beautiful scenery (rain and wind too) and knitwear. Find this on Netflix.

Finally, a Project Peace participant recently sent me an email with reference to a documentary called Winged Migration. It’s from the bird’s perspective… you can rent/purchase this one from Amazon.

And if you were feeling really adventurous and wanted to plan a pilgrimage to Shetland, check out Promote Shetland or Misa Hay’s website, Shetland Wool Adventures if you want a knitting-focused retreat.

Give-away #2 winner announced tomorrow.

Peace is a journey… one stitch, one step at a time.

~Christina