Peace on Earth

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“The Christmas Spirit”

by Ann Weems

The Christmas Spirit

is that hope

 which tenaciously clings

  to the hearts of the faithful

and announces

in the face

       of any Herod the world can produce

 and all the inn doors slammed in our face

 and all the dark nights of our souls

that with God

 all things still are possible.

that even now,

unto us

 a Child is born!

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Done, Not Done

Here we are on Christmas Eve, eve! Wheee, by now, most pastors are scurrying around to make sure there are enough people to hand out candles, light candles, serve communion, read scriptures. Christmas Eve services – not done!

What is done is all the knitting for Christmas! Yes, I have finished, even the presents I wasn’t sure that I would tackle because of time and energy.

The lovely scarf/shawl that went into time-out because of a yarn shortage came out beautifully. This is Osebury Rock, part of Ysolda’s shawl club 2015. The pattern says that you can knot the fringe, but I think it looks fine as is (I have trimmed it since I took the photo).

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The felted balls were done on Saturday in a frenzy of washer stuff:

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So easy, so valued by the recipients! No knitting involved.

Some more cat toys were knitted and enjoyed (see the green blob?):

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And for a very special cat, a lovely cat bed:

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This cat bed pattern is from Kitty Knits by Donna Druchunas. The knitting is simple intermediate knitting – knit a big 10-inch tube, knit a hat top, then knit another one. But there’s  batting to buy (not an easy thing to do with a cane at Joann’s), to cut and to stuff. It’s not perfectly stuffed, but I’m not undoing anything for a cat present. Pretty happy with it, actually! I might knit a bigger version for my cats.

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It Takes One to Know One

In my current congregation, there is a couple – he a Rev (Paul), she a quilter (Ursula) and an amazing fiber artist – who I am glad to get to know!

They stopped by this week to give (unexpected) gifts, and they are lovely. First up, a lovely throw with the building of my seminary, San Francisco Theological Seminary, woven into the fabric. The Rev (Paul) was on a fundraising committee for my seminary a number of years ago, and he got his as a thank you – but since he didn’t attend the seminary, it’s been in a closet. Usually I don’t like branded stuff, but this is well done, and features lovely historical buildings of the campus. My friends from seminary will recognize the buildings.

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But that’s not all (as they used to say in game-show-land! Ursula also made me a bag – something that crafters always need~

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The lovely thing about this bag is that the designer created this free pattern for sewers to use, on the honor system, that they not be sold – only given away. Ursula, of course, was using up some of her stash to make this, just like any good crafter will! My crafting eye quickly saw a couple of lovely details:

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The handles are reinforced where they meet the bag (for strength), and those are french seams – a couple of lovely fine-sewing details to what appears to be a simple project.

Lovely gifts from a crafty and her spouse to another crafter!

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Giving It Away

Recently, an acquaintance asked if I would knit her something that she had seen in a photo. It was innocently asked, but I had to make my usual reply: I don’t knit on commission. And suggested she might want to learn to knit! She took it well!

This encounter reminded me of my own approach to knitting. I knit for a lot of people, including women and children and babies in Afghanistan, schoolchildren in an underserved area of Maryland, and breast cancer patients recovering from surgery. I knit for  family and friends who appreciate the value of my knitting. I even knit for pets (although it’s usually something really fast!). I would venture to say that 3/4 of my knitting is given away to others.

But there’s a difference between giving it away and being paid to make it. When it is my gift, I have a particular intention with the giving, and it’s on my timeline, almost all of the time. Usually I start the holiday knitting way ahead of the date, be it a birthday or Christmas, so I’m not up at the last minute trying to finish something instead of spending time with the folks.

Giving it away also keeps me free for knitting things I want to knit. Unlike Irish and Scottish women of the last century who knit like the wind to support their families, my knitting is my hobby, even if I do sell a few patterns online. Because my profession is almost always intangible (writing sermons, visiting folks), I love the material-rich textures and colors of fibercraft. And then there are the mental health reasons to use needles: Happiness is a Needle and Thread Away.

I’m just now at the tail end of knitting a good spell for others – after all, holidays were coming. These are the latest things coming off the needles:

First up, a shawl called Artesian by Rosemary Hill, knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Baltic colorway. It’s a simple concept executed extremely well – nary a purl stitch to be found, and consists mostly of garter and simple mesh lace with some short rows thrown in. Project notes here.  Yes, a gift, but not for Christmas (this person doesn’t celebrate it anyway).

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I also finished up a pair of Christmas socks, the last pair, and of course they were for the largest feet in my family. LOL. A basic ribbed sock recipe from Custom Socks by Kate Atherley. I really like this colorway of the Cascade heritage Handpaints – works well for guys, but with more depth of color than a solid.

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The last project is a hat/scarf combo for a special young girl who loves, loves, LOVES pink and blue, and the brighter the colors, the better. I improvised this hat and scarf in brioche stitch, so it will be extra warm and has that cool reversible effect. I knit this out of an inexpensive acrylic/wool blend that is very soft and machine washable.

There was an issue with the pom-pon. The first one I make was huge! and it turned that because the yarn is somewhat slippery (acrylic, I’m looking at you!), it fell apart on me. So, I had to go with a more modest pom-pon, and hope for the best!

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Now, there are only a couple of more presents to make – neither of which should take much time, so it’s time to knit for me again. The last shipment of Ysolda Teague’s 2015 Shawl Club should arrive in a week or so, that will be perfect timing – can hardly wait to see what’s coming in an early Christmas present for me.

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