Monday, February 27, 2006

Shannon: French Market Bag

I'm soooo close to finishing. I'm so close, I can visualize myself grafting those handles with a kitchener stitch. I can see myself securing the loose threads and placing the bag in a pillow case in the washer ... and pulling it back out at the end of the cycle ... and shaping it to dry in front of the woodstove. I can imagine the weight of this freshly-felted French market bag hanging on my arm. I'm shopping at Whole Foods and I've just loaded it with tangy mineolas and a jar of kalamata olives and a warm loaf of ciabatta. As a last minute thought, I tuck a spring bouquet inside. And STILL there's plenty of room.

Oh, how I want to be done. But wouldn't you know it? I finished three of the four handles ... and here's all that remains of my blue Cascade wool. Just that non-helpful little bit o' yarn. Looks like I'm going to have to make a trip back to Main Street Yarns.

Got this pattern at Speaking of knitty, I read a good article there this morning called Things I Wish Someone had Told Me.

They told me ... and now I'm telling you.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Jennifer: Humble Beginnings

I post this bag not because it is anything nice to look at, but because it is currently reflective of my life.

In recent months my foundation (which I thought solid) has been rocked a bit. Often times now I feel insecure, that I have nothing to offer and that I have taken big steps backward in my journey with the Lord. I feel like this bag, just beginning.

What I am being shown through much “undoing” of my life (besides a big root of pride) is that I had put my trust and security in many things other than the Lord.

Things like what I knew, and who I knew, and where I had come from. Only to find out that, I do not know much, all people fail and I have really not come very far.

I had forgotten God’s words that say Trust in Me – alone.

I was choosing the “easy road,” following people and resting in the past, instead of relying on my Lord Himself. It takes more faith to follow and trust in His way. A way that is not often smooth or predictable. But the peace and rest that comes… I am finding is worth the revealing of my heart to Him.

So I am thankful for the reminder that my journey with Him is not about a destination or the past. It’s about today and who or what I choose to trust in – and where I put my faith.

I am thankful to be reminded that even good things; knowledge, memorized verses, books read, and people in my life…can all interfere with the relationship that matters most.

I am thankful that God is faithful and if I keep my eyes on Him, He will show me when my trust and faith start wandering.

I am thankful for humble beginnings.

So, there is much work to be done on my bag before it is beautiful and useable, and there is much work for the Lord to do in my life. But I am thankful that He sees me as beautiful and useable today. That is how He sees each one of us, His handiwork, His beautiful creation, already finished.

Our only destination is heaven and our journey begins and ends each day – with His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fran: Cable Brim Hat

Well, I suppose I should post something so Shannon isn't on here by herself! This is the hat I've been working on. I was hoping to get it finished before the expected "Arctic Blast" hit but I've run out of yarn and the store won't get a delivery of it until Friday. (I can't believe I know the delivery dates for my local craft store! I may need an intervention.) The blue one that my daughter Jessica is wearing was my first attempt at this hat. She looks so cute in it I just had to have one.

Shannon: Rolled Brim Baby Hat

I couldn't wait to finish those last few stitches--I had to get a picture with those double-pointed needles still attached. I think I'm just in shock that I managed to knit several rows with those things. Where did I read that knitting with those is like wrestling a porcupine? Pretty apt description.

I took an adult-sized pattern and worked the math to get it down to this size. I think I've found my new baby shower gift.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Shannon: Here We Are

I have to say I'm startled to call myself a knitter. That's because knitting always seemed, to me, to be something you did in your "winter years." I never pictured myself haunting yarn shops and fingering wools and worsteds and furry balls of possibilities. Had you told me that the day would come when I'd rather knit than eat; when I'd hanker after an expensive set of bamboo needles; when I'd happily spend an hour browsing and deciphering patterns--even those for dishcloths--I would have laughed.

But I'm not laughing now. I'm just knitting.

I like to set myself up with all my favorite companions--a well-stocked woodstove, a lit candle or two, an instrumental or classical CD, and a cup of herbal tea--and knit for a stolen hour. I say "stolen" because there are always five or fifteen "do me's" tugging at my sleeve, but I've developed a knack for ignoring those voices. My daughter, Tera, would call that "skillage." Yes. I'm mighty skillaged at stealing time to knit.

I like that millions of women before me, throughout the centuries and in every corner of the world, have shared my passion. I like knowing that despite the slight variances in style and preference, we've all held those sticks in virtually the same way, all cast on our chosen yarn in virtually the same fashion. And I love knowing that despite the differences in time and place, in life experience and family and viewpoints, we've all felt the exact same thrill when we look down at the work in our hands and find a pattern emerging between those two needles.

I thought it might be nice to have a place to share our little knitting victories. I've asked a few of my knitting friends from church to join me. Come back soon and you'll probably get an eyeful of our works-in-progress.

Until then, read this little description of another woman, from another time and place, who knew the joy of working with her hands:

She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
She is like a merchant's ship; she brings her food from afar.
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day's work for her servant girls.
She goes out to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
She watches for bargains; her lights burn late into the night.
Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
She has no fear of winter for her household
because all of them have warm clothes.
She quilts her own bedspreads.
She dresses like royalty in gowns of finest cloth ...
She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs with no fear of the future.

--Prov 31:10-25 (NLT)