Day 20. Pretend...

by Christina

Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.
— Hans Christian Anderson

Each year for Project Peace, I’ve ended with a fable, fairy tale, folk story as a way to connect many of the elements we’ve explored during our 21-day journey. For days, weeks, months, I’ve wondered… how will I write another story? How will this come together? And for most of Project Peace, I’ve questioned whether or not I’d figure out my fable. I thought “Perhaps this year, my ending is supposed to be different?” And then, on Monday, running around busy like a squirrel, all the pieces came together.

Peace seed #20.

So, to celebrate this 20th day, I’ve written you a woodland tale, a pretend story if you will…one filled with imagination. Grab a cup of tea, get cozy…

Photo by Nicole, @thegentleknitter

Photo by Nicole, @thegentleknitter

A squirrel “tale…”

Once upon a time, deep in the woods lived a young squirrel with the bushiest of tails. His parents had taught him how to be a good squirrel… pick up nuts, move them from point A to point B, store them for winter, and build a warm nest high in a tree made of the finest autumn leaves. His father had said “This is your role, your job, your livelihood. Now go forth and do good in the woods… acquire, store, rest, repeat.”


So, he set off, dashing here and there as a squirrel tends to do, to find his own tree, a place to call home.

And while it didn’t take long for him to find that perfect tree, the days seemed to become a bit repetitive… pick up nuts, move them around, and store them for winter. Our squirrel was certainly appreciative of the abundance provided by the trees, a feast of nuts to sustain him all winter long, however there was something else tugging at his little squirrel heart that just wouldn’t go away.

One day while the squirrel methodically gathered nuts in preparation of the quickly approaching winter, it just so happened that he wasn’t paying much attention. He was mindlessly at work as if he was on auto-pilot. Little did he know that a sheep, large and woolly had meandered into the squirrel’s neighborhood.

A sheep you say, yes a sheep… deep in the woods. And one might say he was a lost sheep but the interaction that was about to transpire might make you question whether the presence of the sheep was haphazard or intentional.

The sheep bleated but our squirrel, in a bit of a fog didn’t even hear the noise. Again, the sheep bleated and stomped his foot. The squirrel stopped, looked up and saw the magnificent creature before him.

“Hello,” said the squirrel, “what are you doing here in the woods, you don’t live here?”

The sheep said “I know… I’ve come to see you.”

The squirrel cocked his head to the side, a bit puzzled. A sheep? To see me?

And for whatever reason, the squirrel began to tell the sheep about his days and how he longed for more… to do more than acquire, store, rest, repeat… I want to do good in this woods but am not sure what that means for me… as a squirrel.

The sheep pondered and gazed at the squirrel; the silence became a bit uncomfortable until the sheep said this:

“I don’t know what I have to offer you but I can tell you one thing….

Be present.

When you gather nuts, don’t go about your job aimlessly… do it with intention and focus.

Be present.”

So, the squirrel darted off contemplating the advice and shifted his focus to gathering nuts with intention.


One day, while taking a break from his work, the squirrel stopped to reflect on the encounter with the sheep. He sat on the most glorious of red toadstools to think more about how he could do good in the woods still wondering what that might be…


And as he paused, a rabbit appeared… the squirrel was puzzled. What is a rabbit doing in this part of the woods? The rabbit hopped over to the squirrel and stopped.

And for whatever reason, the squirrel began to tell the rabbit about his days, the meeting with the sheep, his dreams for something bigger… and how he wanted to do good in the woods.

The rabbit pattered her big floppy foot, paused and gazed into the eyes of the squirrel until the silence was almost unbearable. And then the rabbit said:

“I don’t know what I have to offer you but I can tell you this… Be still.”

And as oddly as the rabbit appeared she quickly vanished into the brush.


“What? Be still? What does that mean?” said the squirrel.

So, the squirrel did as any squirrel would do after such an odd interaction… he found two twigs on the ground and a long thread from a low-hanging spider’s web and began to knit

…he knit and knit and knit.


Several months later, the squirrel was busy at work, moving nuts intentionally, when he heard an odd noise coming from the outer edge of the woods… he was curious so he grabbed his knitting (just in case a free moment might arise) and followed the sound. Soon, he came upon a pond, the most beautiful of all ponds with one goose swimming in the water singing a song.

The squirrel ran up to the water’s edge to meet the beautiful bird. And for whatever reason, he began to tell the goose about his days, the meeting with the sheep, the rabbit, his new found love of knitting, and his dreams for something bigger… and how he wanted to do good in the woods.

The goose smiled and said “oh you sweet little squirrel with a bushy tale… the answer is very simple.


Listen to the whispers of the trees,

Listen to the water in the stream,

Listen to your heart,

And listen for the sound of the geese….”

Just then a skein of geese flew overhead in the most perfect V formation, a strand of pearls in the sky.

The goose said “follow the geese, they are pointing you in the direction that you need to go…”

The squirrel thanked the goose for this final piece of wisdom he needed… with gratitude, he laid the most exquisite cowl on the ground made from the thread of a spider’s web to keep the goose’s long neck warm in the upcoming cold winter months.

And that skein of geese, pointed him home, to his place in the woods, to gather nuts and to hide them deep in the earth, to plant them for the future… to keep the woods alive…

To finding peace in the very place that you are… choose to do good even with the simplest of tasks.

The End.


peace to all… one stitch, one step, one seed (or nut) at a time…

make space for peace


Day 19. Protect...

by Christina

And we knit on…

geese flying.jpg

The Earth Charter

“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace. Toward this end it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.”

From The Earth Charter Initiative

I recently stopped in our university library to grab a cup of coffee. The cafe is in the middle of the “leisure” book collection so I always pause for a moment, grab a book that calls to me and peruse the pages. That usually starts a chain reaction that only ceases several books later. So, it’s safe to say that I have no idea what book I picked up when I discovered The Earth Charter but only know that this passage spoke to me in multiple ways. Most importantly the phrase ”culture of peace.”

What would it look like to create a culture of peace?

How could we foster that culture?

My thoughts moved from one idea to the next always coming back to the need to honor not only ourselves but our home, this planet. This beautiful planet that gives and gives and gives… In the U.S. a climate change report was just released demonstrating that indeed our “future holds great peril.” We must act now to shift from a perilous future to one that “holds great promise.”

That future with great promise is achieved with choices right now, today. Experts from all around the world talk about strategies to reduce carbon footprint, minimize greenhouse gases, preserve water, create new crops to combat the elements… my mind begins to swirl… let’s bring this back down to the ground… what simple action items can we do… what are our seeds?

Partake in active transport… if you can take the bus or train just think of all that extra knitting time?

Walk to work… connect with nature providing time before work to collect your thoughts and after work to decompress.

Be aware of your choices… are reusable grocery bags the ‘right’ thing to use? should you use your own to-go cup? Here’s a great article that brings awareness to the implications of our choices.

As knitters, what can we do to specially work to protect our planet?

The power of your purchase plays a pivotal role… what are the “consequences” of your purchase. Think of all the amazing ways you can make a positive statement… support a local shop, a local shop with an online space, the independent dyer, the farmer, the mill, the pattern designer, the tech editor, the graphic designer, the folks at Ravelry…

It isn’t to say there’s one best approach, only to be aware of the message you are sending with your purchase.

Coming back to this idea of climate change… and certainly this post isn’t all about the science behind climate change rather to bring awareness that our world and climate is constantly evolving. I recently overheard a conversation between two friends “climate change has always happened, this is nothing new…” Perhaps it’s nothing new, yet it’s now pivotal that we, the people of this earth begin to realize that our choices have consequences for our planet… regardless of what it's called, how long it’s been occurring, and how many people want to debate whether it exists.

Shortly after the first Project Peace, I received an email describing the most intriguing project, The Tempestry Project… a way to use knitting to visualize the changes in temperature over time for any location in different times. For example, utilizing Emily and her team’s approach, you can knit the daily temperatures for a location, let’s pick Steamboat Springs, CO (the place I grew up) and any years you like, e.g. 1968 and 2018. It let’s you visualize a shift over half a century… warmer or colder. Below, is a multiple year comparison… notice the change over time to more red and orange reflecting a greater number of hotter days.

Deception Pass, WA from 1950-2014. On display at Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, WA, through January 5th. Visit the Surge Climate Art Exhibit if you are in the area.

Deception Pass, WA from 1950-2014. On display at Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, WA, through January 5th. Visit the Surge Climate Art Exhibit if you are in the area.

Peace seed #19.

Protect our planet. Make space today for peace. As you knit (or walk, reflect, etc), ponder one action item you can implement to be friendly to the earth…

Perhaps follow one link provided above and read about The Earth Charter, the climate report, learn more about the implications of our choices or The Tempestry Project.

Give-away #3.

Emily, Justin and Marissa from The Tempestry Project have graciously contributed a custom kit.

Here’s what you need to do to be eligible to enter. Leave a comment (or email me if you aren’t able to post on the blog) in response to the following question:

Now on Day 19 of Project Peace… which daily post has resonated with you the most and why? Leave a comment before midnight on Friday December 21 and I’ll announce the winner on Saturday the 23rd. There will be one final give-away revealed on Friday!

choose peace_350.jpg

Today, make space…


P.S. Even if you aren’t the lucky recipient, Emily writes “we will be holding our 2nd Annual New Year Sale for the whole month of January. This is 10% off of Tempestry Kits specifically for 2018, as the full data becomes available 1/1/19, and for 1968. We had a lot of people last January order kits for 2017 & 1967, and it was a great way to see temperature comparisons over the span of half a century so we will keep up this January tradition.”