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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Unraveling

This is the shawl I was working on when the pain in my elbow could no longer be ignored.  I wasn’t sure who would receive this shawl when I started it.  As I knit, a friendship was unraveling and each time I picked up my needles, I wondered if this might be a shawl of reconciliation.  But my knitting was impacted by the pain, stitches dropped, the lovely pattern compromised.  It has been almost two months since I stopped knitting this shawl.  Today, I began to unravel the yarn.  I knew I could not repair the mistakes, would not be happy with the finished product.  As I wound the yarn into a ball, I wondered again if I might be able to create a healing shawl.  I don’t know yet.  I do know that my arm is not healed enough for knitting just yet.  So as I wait, I have set the yarn and my needles on the table, to remind me that sometimes things need to be unraveled before they can be understood.

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I felt the first pangs of pain in December but a little ice and some aspirin seemed to do the trick.  In January, I picked up the pace, trying to get three scarves and two hats done before the February 7 collection date.  The pain showed up again but I ignored it.  It really only hurt when I tried to lift something with my right arm so I switched to the left whenever possible and stopped doing push-ups.  I slowed down on the knitting projects until I the lace pattern grabbed my attention.  Before long, the pain was more prominent, not so easily ignored.  Yesterday, walking on the trail, I noticed that it hurt to let my arms hang as I walked.  The pain seemed less obvious when I held my elbows at an angle so I finished my walk with my arms at 90 degrees.  I glanced at the new shawl this morning as I sat down with my coffee.  I really wanted to pick it up.  I really wanted to knit.  But that twinge of pain has already begun, just by picking up my coffee cup.  So I guess I need to take a break.  I need to put down the needles, pull out the ice and the heat pad.  Give my elbow a rest.  It won’t be easy.  But I will put the yarn in a drawer so I won’t be tempted.  And I will try to remember to lift with my left arm.  I will try.

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When I went to visit mom, I took some yarn to her.  She has needles and some bits  and pieces of yarn but I had some lovely blue yarn that I thought she might like.  And even though she can’t really access information about their new home or remember if she had eaten breakfast, she easily cast on stitches and began to knit.  She knit without effort as we sat and talked.  The knitting seemed to help her focus her words and conversation flowed.  I talked to her today and asked what she had been doing.  “Knitting” she said.  “I am not sure what I am knitting but I just keep going.  It could turn out to be something.”  It doesn’t really matter if it turns out to be something, just the fact that she is doing something is good.

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I had forgotten about this yarn.  I am sure I bought it when we first talked about starting the prayer shawl group but it somehow ended up in a cupboard downstairs.  I found it a few weeks ago and remembered thinking that the colors would be perfect for a shawl so I cast on the 57 stitches and began to knit.  Then I had to un-knit when I messed up the pattern.  I started again.  And this time I got about 12 inches done but it just wasn’t speaking to me.  So I put it aside and knit a few baby hats.  Last night I was leafing through  this book and I read a story from one prayer shawl knitter about starting over three times on a shawl.  She had some beautiful yarn but the first two patterns she chose just didn’t fit.  That is what I needed to do.  Start over.  But there was still the question of pattern.  I turned the page and saw this lattice shawl and knew it was the right pattern.  So I un-knit one more time and cast on the 60 stitches listed in the pattern.  Just 6 inches into this shawl and I know it is the right one.  Simple enough to start and stop as I have time to knit.  And enough of a pattern to really make this yarn sing.  I don’t know who will receive this shawl but I do know that it will go with prayers for hope, persistence, and trust.

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I haven’t been knitting much lately.  Getting all those scarves and hats done created a bit of a sore elbow.  But I do want to begin a prayer shawl so I am playing with some patterns.  I am in awe of the people who write knitting patterns.  How do they know what stitches, decreases and increases, will create the lovely lace work or a pattern that ebbs and flows.  Turns out that I had one stitch wrong on this one so I will start again, now that I know how to sskp.  I really don’t mind starting over with knitting.  In fact, at time it seems cathartic to un-knit and begin again.

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28 days of wonder #11

It amazes me what people will do.  In just a few months, we have gathered 28 scarves and 15 hats, all hand knit or crocheted.  They make a lovely, tall pile of warmth and will be delivered to the women’s day program this weekend. 

What a great thing to see this idea bloom and what an incredible reach our little group is going to have.

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Isn’t it funny what brings us together? The simple act of knitting, a craft that has been handed down, passed on, and shared.  Some of us are experienced, others just beginning.  We watch one another and comment on the variety of methods we have all learned.  There are moments of great chatter followed by quiet as the needles click.  We might think this is the one thing we hold in common.  But we gather in a circle, we offer prayers for our work, prayers for those who will receive these scarves, hats, and shawls.  And whether we know it or not, what brings us together is bigger than we can imagine.

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