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A Work In Progress

It has been a while since I last visited my blog. So much has transpired since then. It seems that at any age one can be a work in progress. Becoming a grandmother, moving to a new city, and turning a new attitude are all works in progress. And again I draw the comparisons of knitting and life. The fabric of life is built one moment at a time and knitting one stitch at a time. Patterns simple become the background for the complex and intricate stitches that bring interest to the garment and the life one lives.

When the Psalmist says, “You have knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13), I think of the individual DNA that builds us in the womb in to the unique person we become. Seeing a grandchild born brings home the incredible beauty of life created and the artist that creates and gives life. Each cell connected to the next, each stitch connected to the next. No accident and unlike my knitting no mistakes.

Each time I begin a new project I cannot help but think of the ones I have started and there they sit not finished. Works in progress that are waiting completion. They are not forgotten, nor are they cast off to never be finished. Just waiting till the time is right or when there is actually no other things that have taken over the must get done list.photo (2)Some projects like life require more effort, mistakes in the pattern, mistakes in understanding, changes that have to occur for the project to come to life and completion. We too have obstacles to over come, changes that have to happen, patterns in life that require altering for us to be made whole. In Philippians 1:6 we  told that: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” We are works in progress, being made perfect. That takes time but it does happen.finished kendra's sweaterGiven time and perseverance projects are finished and  new ones begun. Life changes some parts are finished and new beginnings start. Knowing that as we begin new areas we will be stretched, challenged to not just sit back on where we were or cling to what was.

scarf blueNew patterns, new colors, new life.

It has come to my attention, that I do not stop to be grateful. Now for some of you that may seem strange. I love knitting but I can turn that in to a task master very easily. Finish this project and now rush to the next one. Don’t rest, don’t enjoy the finished piece. There is a deadline, there are the ten other things that need to be done. Knit, Knit, Knit.

When something, yes, even if it is a thing you love to do, becomes a driven goal it can lose it’s pleasure. Even the giving of it to the appreciative recipient can lose the happiness that it should bring. It is at that time, I have to stop! Stop and enjoy, stop and admire, stop and breathe in the gratefulness of having finished something that is lovely, or lose the beauty of having done it to begin with.

So in reflection and gratitude I look back on recently completed projects. There was the fun cover-up for my daughter in Turkey.

A very fun project for a very fun person.                                     A very fun cover-up for a very fun person.

A very fun cover-up for a very fun person.
The next project to reflect on and enjoy is a smaller version of an afghan that I did for one of our other daughters and her husband. This smaller version of the Yggdrasil Tree of Life afghan is for the son they are expecting in September.
 
Gavin's Blanket

Gavin’s Blanket

Of course there are other small projects to think on and enjoy finishing, a fun cloth that is reversible. This cloth is called Claddagh from the Irish symbol for love, loyalty, and friendship.

cloth 2

The Irish symbol of love, loyalty, and friendship. The Irish symbol of love, loyalty, and friendship.

Both sides of this piece are knit at the same time and is a very fun cloth to make. These are given to those friends who meet with me regularly to knit and crochet. The Claddagh symbol is very appropriate for this group of wonderful people.

When we stop and reflect on things we do that we are grateful for we find our joy in doing them.

Gratitude is the birthplace of Joy. “Joy is prayer–Joy is strength–Joy is love–Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. She gives most who gives with joy.” Mother Teresa

January, February, and now most of March 2013 have come and gone and I don’t know where the time went. Much knitting has been started, finished and given away. Why is it so hard to keep track of things? Life goes on and all of the sudden you just can not figure out how or where it went.

I have had a bit of an epiphany over these past few months after my mother-in-law passed away. What has happened in having to figure out what to do with a house full of life’s accumulations, is that, it has made me stop and think about my own life’s accumulations and who would have to deal with all of the stuff.  Suddenly it all seems a bit futile. Shelves of old knitting magazines. most of which I haven’t looked at in the last 4 years since I moved them from one set of shelves to another, without really looking at them then. I did give two large boxes away a few months back and now it is time to start in earnest getting rid of more of them along with a lot of other things that are in boxes and have no purpose.

In going through some of my mother-in-laws items there were hand knit items that most likely her mother had made. No longer wearable, and not really meaningful to anyone today. It sort of made me think of things I have not let go of as well, old sweaters no one wants or will ever wear again. Not baby items that might actually be useful at some future point in time. Old things, that were made years ago and sizes ago as well, styles that if they do come back the yarn will just not have with stood the ravages of time.

Now why did this not hit me when I had to deal with my own mother’s belongings, I do not know. Maybe, because my sisters helped in taking some of the item, maybe, because we had already gone through things when she moved into a smaller apartment. Maybe because some of it is still in a store room at my home. Maybe because some of the items at my mother-in-law’s home should be important to someone, they have monetary value if not memory values. Yet it seems that no one wants them and that is sad.

I love making things and giving them to people, who I hope will enjoy them. I do not keep many of the items I make, I do not need that many cowls, scarves, afghans, or any of the other items. The joy is in the new yarn, the new pattern, the making and the giving.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.” (Part of the prayer of St. Francis”)

So though sometimes these lessons are painful, it becomes a time to let go of the past and move forward. Accept that at the time they served the purpose as will new things now serve their purpose.  But do not drag the past into the  now and even more so do not drag it into the future.

” for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new” Rev. 21; parts of 4 & 5.

So off we went with high expectations of a weekend filled with yarn, other knitters and crocheters, new shops, old shops and shop gifts. It was not a disappointment! My good intentions to take pictures at each shop did get lost in the wonder of the yarn, my trusty companion, driver, and husband did help somewhat on that score and the pictures I do have are thanks to him alone.

Lucky Ewe, Shop in New Braunfels

This was the second shop we actually visited. The first being at Yarnorama, in Paige. Totally forgot to take a picture there we were so busy buying my passport and looking at all of their gorgeous yarn.  The fun gift at Yarnorama was a beginning needle felting kit. That is something I will enjoy trying. Now to the shop in the picture. All of the yarn seen in the picture was hand dyed by a local yarn artist. The give away at this shop was an abacus knitting bracelet. Such fun ideas.

The next morning we headed to San Antonio, stopped by the newly bought San Antonio Yarn Barn and though they were not on the crawl this year I am sure they will be next year. I just wanted to say hello and congratulation to the new owner. On to Yarnivore from there. Love the people there and their selection of products, but alas no picture there either. The gift was a nifty pair of tiny snip scissors with a tape measure. So far I have not mentioned the fact I was also purchasing yarn, needles or other knitting goodies at these shops. Off to Boerne, to a shop called Ewe and Eye, again not on the crawl, but worth going by. Not to mention the wonderful restaurant attached to the shop. Yes lunch was very much enjoyed. But to continue on our Saturday journey from there we headed out to Comfort and the Tinsmith’s Wife.

This is a wonderful what looks to be a small shop, but is rather large once inside. They too specialize in hand dyed yarns from around Texas and other states. Their gift was a skein of yarn with patterns available on the internet to download for free. A wonderful skein of hand dyed yarn followed me out of this shop. We then headed to our last shop for the day in Horseshoe Bay out of Marble Falls, Nan’s Needleworks. This is a shop that you have to know where it is, as it is in an office building and looks nothing like a knitting shop (whatever that might be). They carry locally produced yarn as well as a variety of well know brands. A pretty skein of self ruffling yarn was their gift and again a lovely silk blend yarn was purchased. I will really have to get to knitting instead of typing very soon. We had dinner at a very good Chinese restaurant and spent a fun evening reviewing our purchases, freebies and I did knit on a very lovely afghan that is in the works.

Sunday morning, started with a relaxed breakfast at the motel and then off for another day of fun. First was a lovely drive through the hill country to Jonestown. A lovely cool front had come in (wow could wear knitted items) and the day was perfect. First stop the Happy Ewe.

Happy Ewe, Jonestown

The day was overcast and gray but perfect for yarn shopping. The fun give away here was a prepackaged kit to make two very cute sheep something similar to my little sheepies that I make. These will be a fun variation to make as well. Again this is one of the new shops on the tour and was well worth the trip. Lovely yarns and lots of them.  We headed off to Austin to Gauge a small but nice shop in northwest Austin. There I was finally able to get the Yarn Crawl bag and book as they were the only shop left to have them. The gift was a set of stitch markers, and once again a lovely hand dyed skein of alpaca went home with me. This picture is blurry but there I am.

Me drooling over the lovely yarn.

So then it was on to Austin’s best known and longest, and best established yarn shop.

Hill Country Weavers

This shop is in the heart of downtown Austin and is packed every square inch with yarn and now overflows into another house behind the main shop. Their give away was a skein of fingering weight yarn and again patterns available for free to be sent to my email. Found a lovely skein of hand dyed yarn on sale and so off it went with me as well.

Prizes for the lucky ones whose names are drawn

So now we are down to the last two shops. The last one in Austin is the Knitting Nest and it is a small shop in south Austin, there they were giving out a skein of nice cotton yarn to make jar cozies. Might make that or something else. Then it was head back out to the country to Old Oaks Ranch, which is an alpaca ranch and a really nice place to just go and visit. The yarn shop is only part of what they have going on out there, art classes, spinning, felting, weaving, and poetry and all sorts of fun stuff.  The last stop of the weekend is at one of the best shops on tour. My wonderful husband pampered me with the yarn and pattern to do a lovely shawl, oh for more time to knit, knit, knit! The give away there was a kit to make a necklace from fun yarns.  The last picture is of some of the babies at this ranch.

Some of the babies at Old Oaks Ranch

These guys were waiting at the fence to tell us bye as we left and headed home from a very long fun weekend. I sure look forward to playing with all the yarn and freebies from The Best Little Yarn Shop Crawl in Texas.

I know this is a long post but it was a very fun time had by all.

It is that time of year again where the nights are getting a bit cooler and the days don’t make it into the 100′s. Even in south central Texas we start dreaming of cooler temps, pumpkins, and changing colors on the trees and bushes. It’s Fall and that means it is time for the “Hill Country Yarn Crawl”

 

This is a fun event where you visit 10 yarn shops located in the San Antonio/Hill Country/Austin area.  Each shop has special gifts for those who register for “The Crawl” and each shop also has special drawings for door prizes. Those entered in the event and who get their passports stamped at each of the 10 shops are also eligible for a grand prize. The gifts from each shop when combined more than make up the cost of the passport (which is only $20).

I have attended the last two crawls and have had a blast. I have actually made most (not all) of the free projects that have been given away and was the lucky recipient of one of the door prizes. Which was a gorgeous skein of Silky Alpaca Lace yarn. That project is still on the needles.  I am very blessed in that my husband enjoys this event as much as I do and even encourages me in my craziness. He drives me all over the place and plans it to be a special weekend for him and me. I am so looking forward to traveling to each shop and plan an update to this post when we return.

Time spent away, doing things you love, revive the soul and make life so much more enjoyable. We each need that thing we love to do and the time and where with all to do it. Find your thing, learn it if you do not already know it, share it with others, and then bless someone else with the fruit of the effort.

Till I return from “The Crawl” with an update, may you be blessed.

It may seem a bit strange but having been a knitter and crocheter for over 40 years, I have to admitted I do not understand “Yarn Bombing”. I see pictures of trees, buses, and many other things wrapped in knitting or crocheting and I wonder who has that much free time and yarn on their hands? It isn’t that I think it is silly, well actually yes it is, I do think it a silly use of time and yarn. Yes, I know everyone has the right to make or do what they will with their craft but really all that work for a tree, or a bus or a park bench, really?

Time? Yarn? Really?

Maybe it is that I see so many people in need, children, infants, homeless, and powerless and there is such gratification in making things for those who are in need. That I just don’t get time spent on this. It is called “Yarn Graffiti”. When I think of graffiti I just don’t want my work associated with it. Well as I said each to their own and “art” maybe has no reason. Where as knitting or crocheting for charity is a reason unto its self.

The art of knitting or crocheting to me is a unique art form, in that it not only is beautiful but practical as well. The art of charity is also beautiful in that while the recipient is blessed the maker and giver is blessed even more. While the “yarn bombing” is unique (to be sure). I cannot help but think of how many could have benefited if the person or persons creating these covering would have turned that effort in to blankets for programs such as; The Linus Project, which provides blankets for children who have been traumatized, or Chemo Caps for cancer patients, Prayer Shawls, or Hats for the Homeless. All of these projects create beautiful items, wrap unique people in warmth and love, and bless the giver in so many ways.

The Linus Project

Chemo Caps

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Hats for Homeless

Art, at its best brings beauty to the world, blesses the world, and blesses the artist. What I just haven’t understood is how the time and yarn used to create all of the coverings for trees, buses, and so many other things really blesses anyone. I do believe it causes people to stop, stare, and wonder “Why”

Why?

So much time, so much yarn, such silliness, when there is such need for beauty to be spread among humans. Each of us as artist must choose what we create  and how it impacts the lives of others.

“And now there remains faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” 1st Corinthians 13:13 KJV

Sparkles

Sometimes we all need something that shines, something that reflects light. In general life rarely sparkles. So we do things to try to make it a bit more reflective, sparkly. Just a bit of flash that makes us feel a bit more, well, glamorous. In trying, sometimes we succeed and for just a moment the dull is lifted and shine and sparkles spring forth.

A sparkly shrug made from Feza Night yarn.

Yarn can come with the sparkles included and bring pop and life to the project you are knitting. The trick is in the pattern you are making  does sparkle add to it or take away. Not every project is right for glitter, and or shine but those projects where that little bit of flash sets off the outfit lift us to a place that makes us smile and shine.

Life on the other hand is not meant to be dull and without luster. We think we will pull out the shine for just the right time and place and then we find that the sparkle is not there, it has tarnished. While not every moment will be filled with glitter and star-dust, we need to live life so that we bring light and not dullness to ourselves and our surroundings.

Red sparkly, shrug on Kendra.

When we do live with that sparkle in our eyes, in our smile, in our heart, then everyone we encounter even if for just a moment go away with a bit more sparkle in their life as well.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16.

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