We’re in!

We’ve spent the past several nights in the new house. Our mattress from the farmhouse is on the floor. The pantry is full. We have two chairs and a dining table from the barn.

While Chris was showering yesterday morning I stepped out on to the balcony, no shoes and just a thin silky robe with a Chinese dragon on the back. I watched as the soft rain turned into soft snow.

I am a very lucky and very happy woman.

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A Visit from The Traveling Shawl

As arrival of the shawl neared I began focusing on the women who have been touched by breast cancer, those I know and those I don’t. It is both heartbreaking and heartening. Once the shawl arrived and I knit my rows and began talking about the shawl I experienced another connection.

A reporter from the Tahlequah Daily Press came to our farm to interview me about the shawl. Betty is a knitter and we talked about lace, learning to knit, a local group of knitters that I didn’t know about but was invited to visit, and a nearby historical home that hosts fiber workshops.

Before Betty left she gave me directions to the LYS in Ft Smith which I would visit the following day. Betty is a newlywed and the yarn for husband’s sweater, her current project, was bought at Stringtown in Ft Smith. She said I’d like it, and she was right.

Saturday morning I left the farm and drove several hours to Stringtown, a fun little yarn shop in a quaint building just across the state line in Arkansas. This was my first chance to meet Kay, the shawl’s designer, in person – although we’d talked on the phone and emailed for months. The shop owner, Elizabeth, was warm and encouraging as were all of the women who showed up to meet Kay and I and see the Traveling Shawl. After several hours I left Ft Smith knowing I’d return to Stringtown and happy that I’d met more knitters.

When I returned Christopher asked if I was feeling the “sisterhood” of the traveling shawl. I was – but in an unexpected way – I had met new friends in the knitting world through the Traveling Shawl both in my own community and widespread. The essence of the Traveling Shawl is three-fold for me – honoring those who have experienced breast cancer, raising funds in the hopes of a cure, and sharing the knitting experience.

Below is a photo commemorating the six month progress of the Traveling Shawl taken at Stringtown Yarn in Ft Smith, Arkansas. Kay Meadors on the left, Denise Bell on the right – the star of the show is in the center!

And a great big thank you to Betty for a wonderful article in the Tahlequah Daily Press!

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Creek Hiking Shawl!

My Laminaria is off the wires and already had several outings. This week we took the shawl to the most appropriate place I could imagine for a shawl named for kelp – the creek that cuts through our farm. The photos below were taken directly below our house, which is perched on the bluff overlooking Clear Creek.

This project has been such an incredible experience for me. I was addicted to lace already but the Laminaria is by far the most challenging shawl I’ve completed. The design was constantly intriguing and the lace cashmere/alpaca yarn from Joy at The Knitting Goddess was a dream to work with. It’s quickly become my favorite shawl!




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A little lace tease

I blocked my Laminaria shawl this weekend. Oooh la la it’s pretty! The incredible yarn from Joy at The Knitting Goddess gives it an ethereal feel that’s sexy and light.
Here’s the Stats –
Laminaria designed by Elizabeth Freeman
Knitty – Spring 2008

Size 4 lace circ needle
Alpaca/cashmere lace yarn from The Knitting Goddess
Cast On Jan 27
Bind off March 10
Difficulty Level – brutal but addictive

More photos this week.


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The Traveling Shawl at Six Months

Six months ago I was having a trying day but received a message from an Internet friend, Kay Meadors, which altered my day, and my goals as a knitter.

Kay wrote:
“I just had the most wonderful idea! We need to start a shawl and try to get knitters from all 50 states to knit a section of it and send it to the next state. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

That was September 6, 2008. Between that day and the next I count 21 email messages that flew back and forth between us. On September 7th I suggested auctioning the shawl, a project we’d already dubbed the Sisterhood of the Traveling Shawl, off to raise funds for breast cancer research through the Susan G Komen Foundation.

By then Kay had a friend in Oregon on board and I was emailing a friend in New Mexico to see if she was interested in participating. We were already knitting together a community that would grow into a group that would create friends and excitement across the nation.

Women from all walks of life have participated in the Traveling Shawl’s progress. Librarians, software programmers, ministers, professional knitters, and accountants have all taken a few days out of their hectic schedules to knit six rows of intricate lace. Now a farmer will be added to that list. Each knitter is asked to write a short entry into a journal that travels with the shawl. Many have contributed photos and blog entries detailing the time the spent knitting this project. Most of the women have dedicated their stitches to friends or family members who have been diagnosed with cancer and some of the women are cancer survivors themselves.

Thus far the shawl is just past its halfway point. My friend Kay hasn’t seen the shawl since she cast on the project and knit the first few rows. On March 21st though I will be lucky enough to meet Kay in Ft Smith, Arkansas, a town conveniently located between our homes, and show her the shawl that began as a “wonderful idea” just six months ago.

While the project is small compared to the huge fundraising efforts that large companies and professional philanthropists conduct, I’m quite pleased with the Traveling Shawl and the effect it has had on the people who’ve encountered it. . Knitting is a meditative act for me so next week I’ll add my stitches and focus on the people in my life and the lives of my loved ones who have battled cancer of all types. A simple act of pulling yarn through a loop can unite people in a cause, and the Traveling Shawl is a great example of how it happens.

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Knitting the Threads of Time – a review


Knitting the Threads of Time
by Nora Murphy
$14 US, p183
New World Library, 2009

For many modern knitters the process of knitting is either creative or process driven. For Nora Murphy, the author of Knitting the Threads of Time, it’s also about connections – historical, emotional and spiritual.

During the long dark months of a recent winter she embarked on a knitting journey and discovered deep within herself connections to ancient women who faced winters long past by knitting for their loved ones to keep them safe and warm for their survival. The author weaves together the history of knitting in cultures as diverse as the ancient Europeans, the Dakota Indians, the Hmong of Laos, and the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. With each historical tale she links our contemporary leisurely knitting with the stitches of faith and love executed centuries before. Myths and stories are shared that highlight the history of weaving and knitting deftly sharing the importance of our simple hobby in a historical context.

To begin knitting a sweater, especially for someone you love, is a momentous undertaking. As the author prepared to take the first step – purchasing the yarn – she visited a local yarn shop and encountered the owner, Abby, a woman so in tune with knitting that she plays a shamanic role in Ms Murphy’s quest. Time and again Abby guides the seeker as she tackles the tasks involved in knitting her first sweater as requested by her youngest son.

Her chapter on “Dropped Stitches” offers a great metaphor for the times when we modern women become so busy in our lives that we easily miss one tiny detail that can derail our best efforts, knitting or otherwise.

In the end, the sweater is finished – and cherished, not on the original timetable but at a fitting time. The author reaches back to her own ancestral Irish traditions and performs a simple but meaningful ritual of thanks and blessing.

As we knit the experiences in our lives are knitted into garments as we stitch, the good and the bad, the births and the deaths, the joy and the sadness. Ms Murphy shows every act of pulling yarn through a loop and replacing it on a needle contains the magic our lives.

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Laminaria update

It’s really tough to knit intricate lace when your mouth hurts.
It’s really tough to knit intricate lace when your head hurts.
It’s really tough to knit intricate lace at any given moment.

Dang.

The Laminaria has kicked my butt time and again during the last few weeks. Usually I’m really good at counting. I even have a history of bookkeeping for goodness sake. But with nearly five hundred stitches now on the needle I’m tinking as much as I’m knitting.

It’s humbling.

I was flying pretty high early in this project – feeling confident and cocky. Not a single oops during the start chart. I love the nupps (pronounced to rhyme with soups according to the interview I heard with Nancy Bush on the Knit Picks podcast), just love them. For some reason though the simple repeats of knittwotogethers and slipslipknits, combined with yarnovers and knits are more than I can handle lately.

Last night I finished off the the first edging chart and began the second edging chart. AKA the LAST CHART. Yes, for those of you wondering I did put in a lifeline. Hah! Thought you’d caught me didn’t you?

It’s a nice friday night and we’re driving to Owasso for some really good pizza, then I’m coming home to the Lam. To work on the Lam. To tink on the Lam. ::sigh:: The first row of the final chart needs tinking. But only the second half of the row, which means I’m making progress. Don’t you agree?

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