Just Make It

If you make stuff, life is always interesting. Art, fiber, critters, creation, reading, prayer,serenity, and insanity...this is my way. Maybe it is yours as well.

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I am a Compassionate Companion Of Christ. We are a tiny new order of men and women who pour themselves out in the service of others by walking with them in their difficult journeys. We companion anyone at all, anywhere, who are undergoing the suffering of illness, dying, bereavement, poverty, old age, or hunger. Our job is to see Christ in the suffering and to offer love, dignity, and help where possible in His name. We strive to let them know that they are children of God and that He is with them always regardless of external circumstances. How we do this is the purpose of this blog. Our symbol is the compass, the first part of the word "compassion" and the visible representation of our vocation to serve wherever and whoever we are called to serve.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Out of Focus

I learned to knit when fairly young, about eleven or so.  At first I hated it.  Of course, we had the Home Economics Nazi as our teacher so it was easy to hate any and all sessions in her classes.   I had to knit at home to complete the projects because she would slap my hands and force them into the prescribed contortions which were impossible for my fingers.  Once I quit trying to manipulate the needles in the 'approved' manner and invented my own methods, I caught on to the skill and found it not quite so horrible.

A few years later when the look of a mohair sweater was all the fashion and my mother wouldn't go along with my taste, I purchased pink mohair out of my own meager summer money, a simple raglan sleeved pattern, and got to work.  I knit like a lunatic at every waking moment.  Other kids were splashing in the pool and there I was, hunkered over yarn while sitting under the willow trees, knitting and purling for dear life.

The finished sweater probably had lots of mistakes, but the fuzz and bloom of the mohair hid them beautifully.  It fit the way it was intended, and I could hardly wait for school to start to show it off.  I tried on the opening day of class but it was a very hot day and my parents had no wish to be called to the school to revive me if I should pass out from heat stroke, and made me change garments.  Dang.
However, this being Canada, the cold weather arrived soon enough and I wowed the crowd in my pink, fuzzy glory.  That sweater was the envy of many girls, and my bravery at making my own became inspirational.  In our little backwater corner of the world it became the rage to knit one's own mohair sweater and the cafeteria was a cacophony as knitting needles clicked and clacked throughout the lunch hours for the next month.  Soon, a veritable haze of mohair began to show up in the hallowed halls; aqua, pale blue, mint green, rose, yellow, and salmon colours were everywhere.  We looked like a herd of multi-hued yaks.

That was my last project until my mid twenties when my brother-in-law and a partner opened a boutique that featured hand made and designed clothing.  He prevailed upon me to dust off my skills and make a few things.

It turned out to be providential.  I had two small children and a horrible marriage along with what turned out to be severe clinical depression and what we now know is fibromyalgia.  I was always sore, exhausted, and hopeless.  I am convinced that knitting kept me alive.  As long as I had a project to finish, I had to keep going.  While I was at it, I made little skirts, sweaters, and dresses for my daughter out of the project leftovers, and I learned to knit mittens and socks.

Years later, when finally diagnosed and had begun treatment for the many lousy symptoms of fibro (at least, those that are treatable), I continued to knit now and then. Eventually, I discovered that unless I had a project or two on hand I was edgy, so I gave in and indulged the habit.  Even if I was on a painting jag, or was busy writing, I needed to have a few knitting projects in reserve to which I turned when stuck, or rattled, or bored, or whatever.

At any given moment there are at least five different knitting tasks on the needles so that no matter the place, time, or mood, I can pick up the needles and keep busy. For me, knitting is prayer, meditation, zen, and deep contemplation.  Knitting calms, clears, and soothes.  

Yes, I have developed a yarn addiction.  My stash groweth by the week and now occupies a few bins.  You never know.  There may be a world yarn shortage and I will need my reserve.  Lately, I've begun collecting luxurious yarns in merino, alpaca, and bamboo.  Every so often, like several times a day, I go to the stash and gloat, fondle, and plan.

As for the focus mentioned in the title, I don't buy enough yarn for one project, then focus on it until completed.  I work on many things and many kinds of things at the same time.  Either I have ADHD or else this is simply HOW I focus.

Nevertheless, the fact that knitting is enjoying an almost spiritual renaissance right now is a bonanza for all of us who are lifelong knitters. The internet is another bonus.  Anything we cannot find in our local shops, we can find and order online.  

My latest love is special and beautiful knitting needles.  I have quite a nice collection of Peace Fleece needles.  They aren't expensive, are a Russian/American cooperative product, and are pleasant to use.
Give them a try!    http://www.peacefleece.com/
Peace Fleece Knitting Needles

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