Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Crushing On // 02

Without further ado, here are some PIN's that I'm crushing on right now...

♥♥ I always love my tea in a mug. I only have 3 mugs right now but I'm looking to add more to my collection. I love this one, and definitely this one and this one too (NSFW).

♥♥ James and I have been talking about making some healthy noodle soup. In the past we would use Mr Noodle and that just isn't an option anymore. I love what Meryl has shared!

♥♥ Connor and I are fighting a nasty cold right now and these popsicles need to be made.

♥♥ I like my shoes to fit, be comfy and be practical. In the summer I live in my Havaianas and the rest of the year it's either my Converse shoes or Hunter boots. But I really love these shoes. I'm actually a little shocked by how much I love them.

♥♥ The urge to transform my home is still going strong. (I talked about it a bit here) I'm still transforming our living room and I'm loving it. This photo is so inspiring to me, I really want to work on our bedroom next. I have visions of white space, plants, and openness. It's going to be tricky as we have a dark brown 'black-out' drapes but I think we can manage to work around them.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Finished Project: Tiny Trees Baby Vest

I knit this adorable vest for my friend's 2nd baby (who was born back in November). I've been meaning to post about it, but kept forgetting. So forgive me for sharing the details so many months later. :)

I originally wanted to knit an adorable bear cardigan but I didn't have the right yarn so I opted for this sweet vest instead. It was an easy knit, and free, both bonuses in my book. I knew that the vest and the tweed would be a great unisex choice and I also knew I could add a bit of feminine detail to the vest if the baby turned out to be a girl. When baby Mahayla was born I tried to add some flowers by using embroidery floss but it just wasn't working out. It was really bad actually so after a quick search on Ravelry I found some cute flowers. I used some stash yarn and VOILA! instant girly-ness.

Pattern: Tiny Trees Baby Vest by Kylie Bates and Flower Pattern by Joanna Allport
Yarn:Knit Picks City Tweed DK in Tarantella
Needles: 5 mm (US 8)
Mods: added flowers
My Ravelry Page.

I love that this project is a perfect example that Plan B is sometimes exactly what you were looking for. The end product is nothing what I intended to knit, but I just love it. And more importantly my friend loved it too!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

What is a Prayer Shawl?

"Out of a single strand of yarn, a flowing fabric emerges that will eventually wrap itself around another ones shoulders and speak love into their heart."

After my knitting post a few weeks ago I received some requests asking me what exactly a prayer shawl was, so I thought I would take a few moments to answer that question here.

I first heard of prayers shawls around 2002, when I was working at Chapters bookstore. Someone had ordered in a copy of Knitting Into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry. As I was a beginner knitter at the time I read through most of the book before the customer came in to claim their order. I immediately fell in love with the concept behind prayer shawls.

An excerpt from the book:

These shawls are made intentionally for someone suffering through a time of transition, crisis or need. They are often made with a specific friend or loved one in mind. They may be either knit or crocheted. While stitching, the maker of the shawl holds that person in her thoughts, according to her own spiritual traditions. Susan Jorgensen, {co-author of Knitting Into the Mystery} is reluctant to call these garments “prayer shawls,” because the word “prayer” means different things to different people. For some, this may mean that a traditional “prayer” is said before, during and after knitting. For others, it may just be a quiet reflection. The key is that the work is done intentionally for the blessing and comfort of someone else.

I was already developing a love for knitting and saw what a relaxing hobby it was for me, so to read that I could also incorporate a spiritual aspect to my knitting based on my own spiritual beliefs spoke volumes to me.

This book changed the way I knit for others.

How often do we knit for a loved one by merely casting on, knitting, and casting off? Most of the time knitting while being distracted by something or someone else. And almost always we're thinking of the endless to-do lists we have going. Sometimes we block our finished item and then we give them to the recipient. How often do we really put mindful intention into our actions?

When I begin to knit my shawls, I sit for a bit with my knitting and ground myself. I focus my mind on my task at hand and begin my first stitch with a very clear intention of the person I am knitting for and why I am knitting for them.

That's the basis behind these Prayer Shawls.

I especially love that each shawl can be personalized as much, or as little, as you want.

Love quick, chunky knits? Choose large needles and fabulous fat yarn.

Prefer lacy knits that challenge you? Choose a lace-weight yarn and a new pattern each time.

Don't want to concentrate or make mistakes? Choose a simple pattern that repeats itself.

Really the options are endless.

For me, I love the original pattern of k3, p3. The shawl guides me along its path and I don't need to worry about putting it down and losing my place when I pick it back up again. I also love my yarn of choice, Lion Brand Homespun, as it hides any errors I may make and most importantly it can be thrown in the washer and dryer.

I also love the k3, p3 pattern for the deeper meaning behind those 3 little stitches. The book goes into detail behind the Father, Son and Holy Spirit aspect of the Prayer Shawl Ministry but they also note that the 3 stitches can again be personalized. They can represent Past Present Future, or Mother Father Child, Life Death Rebirth, Maiden Mother Crone, Youth Adult Senior, Sickness Healing Health, the list could go on. So many things can be focused on and so much energy and prayer can be put into these shawls.

When I learned more about these shawls I had grand ideas to always have a Prayer Shawl on my needles. Any shawls that I finished knitting and didn't have a person in my life to gift them to, I would donate to a hospital or charity. I would still love to do that and maybe someday or some year I will. But for now I knit when the need arises.

One note on yarn selection: Many women agonize over what colour to chose but I try to not let that bother me. I don't worry about household decor or colour schemes and instead think of the person I am knitting for. When I pick out the yarn I never think of what couch the shawl will sit on, or what colour their bedspread is and instead picture the recipient with the shawl wrapped around them in any situation. I think of them during long car rides for medical treatment. I picture the shawl warming them in their kitchen, their living room or bedroom and even their bathroom. I also picture the Prayer Shawl giving them comfort in the hospital. That is what I think of when trying to find the "perfect" colour.

Um.... this post has gotten a bit more wordy than I had intended, so thank you if you've read to the end. whew!

And finally I leave you with my favourite blessing that I give with my Prayer Shawls:

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light to you
Deep peace to you, deep peace to you.
~ ancient Gaelic blessing
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