A short note filled with good news and hope...

by Christina

For 6 weeks, it’s been cold, snowy and at times windy… as you all probably know by now, I’m a fan of winter. Now, that doesn’t mean I like every aspect of winter but overall, it’s my season. Even with my passion for winter, I’ve noticed my thoughts shifting to a new wardrobe season filled with clogs, linen, and color.

After deciding on my “professional attire” for the day, I made my way down the stairs to prep my morning cup of coffee… my favorite daily ritual. My thoughts were jumping all over the place sorting through my tasks for they day. I’ve been a bit inundated with work lately and have found this mental organization of my day infiltrating my special, quiet morning time. Quite honestly, these past couple of months have been challenging… just so much to do.

I reached for the stack of mail and found a letter from the Gardens of Health. Recall, they were one of the organizations we supported through Project Peace. I opened the envelope and to my delight I found the most inspiring contents… a beautifully, hand-written note with a photo.

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Check that out! We are a team! This fuels me to persist.

We are making a difference… one stitch, one seed, one veggie at a time.

Our efforts ripple to reach others and we must continue to strive for a world filled with peace and justice.

Through knitting, we are nourishing families.

Peace and love to all of you on the Healthy Knitter team.

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A couple of updates…

  1. Several people have asked if I’m still planning on a 2018 Project Peace bag. My answer to this is “yes” and “no.” We have the bags almost finished except for the screen printing and post-printing assembly. I’m considering creating a new screen print that will not be specific to the year… stay tuned. So, there will be a bag but it not break tradition.

  2. I’m still working on the patterns for the seeds of peace ebook. I’m nearing completion but it’s been a bit slower than I expected due to work and then changing my mind on a few of the designs. I can say that I really think you’ll agree that the patterns are worth the wait.

  3. Finally, last year, I decided to move the annual walk-along to the month of May (it’s been in April the past couple of years). This will align better with walking weather and my work schedule. I’m still debating if I will do this project as a mystery or not. If anyone feels strongly about this as a mystery (or not), please let me know.

Here comes March! Can you believe it. Don’t forget we are still in the 64-day Season of Non-Violence (through April 4). Read more about this here. The daily intentions have been wonderful and you can join in anytime.



Peace and non-violence...

by Christina

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
— Mahatma Gandhi
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It’s January 30… and in the Midwest, it’s cold… I mean really cold… with wind child it’s been -43F. And what a perfect time to begin a “daily intention” focused on peace-building. On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated… a man committed to social justice, peace and a just world through non-violence. I was recently made aware of an organization that has created a 64-day season to bring awareness and specific action items that promote change through non-violence.

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A Season for Nonviolence was co-founded by Arun and Sunanda Gandhi of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and a group of ten ministers forming the Leadership Council of The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), the organization that convenes A Season for Nonviolence on an annual basis. Its purpose, to focus educational and media attention on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action as demonstrated by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and a global community of nonviolence leaders and teachers.

The 64-day long "season" begins with the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination on January 30 and ends with the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination on April 4. It is anchored by a mission, statement of principles, and commitments by participants towards living in a nonviolent way.

The Association for Global New Thought provides lots of suggestions but this mandala is one of my favorites… Click on the image above and you’ll go to the AGNT website that houses the interactive mandala. On each of the 64 days, you’ll click on a word… today, January 30, click the madala (once you’ve made it to their website) and then enter on the word “courage.” You’ll find a quote, an affirmation, and a “practice” tip. There’s even some calming music that plays.

Might I suggest incorporating this daily mandala into your knitting routine? View the quote and reflect on the message as you mindfully stitch… with each stitch you’ll be focused on how to create change in a non-violent way, perhaps for self, interpersonal relationships, community and maybe even at a larger level.

If you’re interested in more about the effectiveness of non-violent change, you might be interested in the work of Erica Chenoweth and this very well known TedTalk.

Sticka = knit; Fred = peace

Sticka = knit; Fred = peace

And finally, I’d like to bring your awareness to a wonderful group of knitters in Sweden led by Gerd Persson working to create change and promote peace through non-violence… This group of talented knitters has been making these knitted doves, attaching a tag to the beak that says “sticka for fred” or “knit for peace” and doing all of sorts of good deeds with the birds. They leave the birds in visible places with messages of peace. They’ve sent them to the United Nations, to the White House, on monuments with controversial messages. The pattern is currently available in Swedish and Spanish. If anyone can convert it to English, I’ll connect you with Gerd.

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What about sending peace birds to your local politicians? What about creating the birds in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes and leaving them in key places to provide messages that promote diversity through knitting. Be creative (as I know all of you are)… perhaps send peace birds to The Net Loft to be part of the Cordova Bird Project with a message that brings awareness to current issues (e.g. environment). Create your own tag for the beak, cards to attach, use a different design… again, another ingenious way to use knitting to create change, through non-violence!

I’m thrilled to embark on the next 64 days with a daily intention to focus on peace. Please consider joining me…

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About that peace...

by Christina

We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.
— Martin Luther King Jr
Sweet winter…

Sweet winter…

Hello from the depths of January… the land is frozen, the winds are howling, and when the sun shines, the ice crystals sparkle in the sky. We are knee-deep in a series of winter storms with brutal temps and harsh wind-chill… isn’t winter grand? Despite the dark days and less than desirable temperatures there is just something so wonderful and magical about winter. I’ve finally decided to declare that winter truly is my favorite season but I know it's easy for me to make this declaration from a home that is heated and that not all have that opportunity. While all the seasons have a special place in my heart… it is winter that makes me feel at home.

A winter walk…

A winter walk…

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a very intense conversation on Instagram with polite words and some harsh ones about the reality of privilege and racist ideas present in the knitting community. The interactions were sparked by a blog post that conveyed a lack of understanding of issues related to diversity, racism, and privilege. While I read so many comments and felt superfluous to the conversation, it wasn’t until I read a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that I began to reflect on my actions, thoughts, and the impact this has on my work with Project Peace.

Here’s the quote:

“…the great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; …Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

This quote stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to run… why, you ask? Let me explain…

  1. At the beginning of 2019, I picked a word (as I have the past few years) to provide intention and focus to my actions throughout the year. I wanted a word that would turn my attention to reclaiming some focus, to help me intentionally work to decrease all the overwhelming forces that are at work in my life. A word that would capture the work needed to focus on health, family, home, and peace-making efforts… I picked the word ORDER.

    Little did I know until I read this quote that there were negative connotations associated with the word order… that this word has come to represent “law and order” and for many that’s associated with racism and privilege. How did I not know this? I must do better.

  2. From there, the phrase “negative peace is the absence of tension…” took my breath away… and not in a good way. I began to question if my approach to Project Peace was perpetuating negative peace rather than promoting true peace. My stomach sank and a knot began to form in my throat… what have I done?

  3. And there was more, people began to talk about the derogatory term of “snowflakes.” I had no idea this meant anything other than an ice crystal falling from the sky but sure enough it represents racist ideas and white privilege tracing back to the mid-1800s… I’ve written about snowflakes, even posted photos with snowflakes and I had just picked snow as my theme for Project Peace 2019. I had no idea. I must do better. And yes, I picked a new theme.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s been more than 2 weeks since I read that post… not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about that quote and my next step forward. I’ve had several meaningful conversations with a couple of close friends as well as hours discussing this with my Mum. Should I just avoid this and not bring this to your attention? But what I’ve learned is that being silent on this topic perpetuates the severity of the situation and is not the right path. I must speak up and I must bring this back to the topic of peace.

First, let me say that I have now read of multiple accounts of people representing different financial backgrounds, body sizes, and color demonstrating the tremendous lack of inclusivity existing in our knitting and fiber community. The conversations on Instagram specifically addressed lack of diversity, racist ideas, and the presence of white privilege. The lack of inclusivity is real. I am aghast I didn’t see it. And I will do better.

This blog remains a place to bring awareness to our own individual actions, a “virtual home” that welcomes all regardless of faith, gender, color, political affiliation, ethnicity, age, body size/type, body ability, or skill level.

My goal with Project Peace is to provide an opportunity to choose peace in one’s day. I use knitting as a metaphor as well as through the act of knitting. I have intentionally chosen to not focus on religion or politics in my blog posts. Over the years, I have been criticized for this. During these past few weeks, I began to question whether that approach was creating “negative peace.” Was I doing this to merely avoid the “absence of tension?” I’ve asked myself this question over and over —is my definition of peace this “absence of tension”?

With heartfelt, sincere and deep reflection, I can now answer that with a solid “no.” My intention is, and always has been, not to avoid conflict but to create a welcoming space for all. I want a blog space, a Ravelry home, an Instagram feed where everyone is welcome from the moment they virtually enter. My goal is to plant seeds, to create a ripple effect that each one of us will choose kind words when we talk to ourselves, to family members, strangers, that person who cuts you off in traffic. My hope is that regardless of your identity, your approach to peace is not driven by the absence of tension but rather to create a world where justice is for all… your motive in all that you do and all you support. That when you make yarn, pattern, and shop choices in your knitting, you consider peace as a reason to make a purchase… to support a shop, a family business, a rancher, even factory workers in a country that’s not where you reside.

In 2015, I entered into a relationship with this seemingly simple five-letter word… it’s as if I went on a blind date with the concept of peace, fell in love with all the beautiful components of this word. Now just three years into this committed relationship, I find that this one word is perhaps the most important and impactful word in all the lands.

The events of the past few weeks has made me question my involvement with this “word” and if I should persist. Am I doing more harm than good? And then I realized that those committed to peace don’t throw in the towel when things get tough. We persist. We learn. We grow. We can’t walk away from the discussion, let alone the work… this is uncomfortable work but vital to creating a just world. We stand here together.

I must admit that promoting peace in the knitting community is a tough sell. Here, in my blog I’ve always felt I’m talking to and with those who share my commitment, my belief, my desire to have a world where justice is for all… the essence of ‘peace.’ However, the number of people in the fiber and knitting industry that resist engaging in this process, well, it boggles my mind. I’ve not yet been able to identify the reason for this resistance, but it exists. I plan to continue identifying ways to engage in discussions and to use my platform, my position, to join with voices for change. I plan to double down on efforts to ensure my blog, my Ravelry forum is welcome to everyone, reaching out in ways I perhaps haven’t before.

Let’s make December 21, World-wide Knit for Peace Day stand for something. The United Nations declared September 21 the “International Day of Peace” as a day when all warring nations would put down their weapons. As a commuKNITty, let’s pick up our sticks and string and say “yes” to peace. Let’s welcome all…

Peace begins within and ripples…. To impact those around us, to create change whether that’s interpersonal, political, or global.

Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed and nothing ever changes without a dream.
— Debby Boone

I dream of a day when all are welcome… my part in making this happen will be to continue this journey with peace. To knit on through the good and challenging times and to never falter.

Join me… let’s break down barriers, become aware of—and defeat—our own biases, and welcome all to our commuKNITty.

You see, our glorious diversity – our diversity of faiths, and colors, and creeds – that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are.
— Michelle Obama