Cloud Escape

I decided to really get into winter knitting this year. I usually only manage one or two sweaters every winter, and I don’t have a chance to enjoy them for more than a few weeks before it’s time to pack them away. This is due to me being so dead set on doing Christmas presents for *everyone* and their mom. Like, actually. It’s always so stressful and I’ve done it four times in a row now. I think this year I’m going to take a break. I’ve decided to do no more than four presents. There shall be store bought scarves and coupons all around this year! And Walgreen’s Christmas cards, soooo many cards. This year, I deserve Escape.

IMG_2322.JPGIn the beginning of August, I cast on for this beauty. An oversized, split side, bi-color sweater. The yarn was a total impulse buy. I walked into my LYS in Arkansas and the yarn was nestled together on the shelf *screaming at me* to take it home. Before I even knew what was happening, I was handing over my credit card and signing my name in blood.

IMG_2323The yarn is, of course, more Dream in Color. I think they should sponsor me. This time I’m using the Jilly Cashmere. I love the halo that the yarn has while also holding sharp stitch definition. The blue, ‘Forget Me’, is to die for. Actually impossible to forget (see what I did there?)I love how it has splashes of brown and green in it. I only have one skein of the ‘Brownie’ brown, so I’m a little nervous about having enough to do full sleeves, I hope that them being tight, clingy sleeves will mean I can make a little yarn go a long way. If not,some stripe work might be in order. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m officially ready for Fall to touch down.

IMG_2325Also, Jon and I have welcomed a new member into our family. A little ball of fluffy kitten that relentlessly plays and mews at us all day. Kora. I’m totally in love. I mean, look at these paws


Look at that tail


Look at that FACE


A deep and insatiable affection has been stirred up in me, and I can’t get over this kitten. She loves to crawl all over me, and cuddle, and play, and basically all the things Luna is too cool for. Don’t worry, Luna is happy, and adjusting well to the newcomer. I think she appreciates that I no longer harass her for photos. And I think she likes keeping Kora in place with head bops and swats.

 Expect to see much more of this little kitten, and if you (like me) can’t get enough of her, follow my Instagram for endless pictures!

Until next time, daydream on my lovelies!

(Just one more picture)

Camino Bubbles- Fire and Ice

I have a lace addiction. Truly. I believe most of my stash is made up of lace and fingering weight yarn. I have a sweater’s worth or two of worsted weight yarn, but if you close your eyes and take a random draw from my stash you’ll most likely pull out a 500yd skein of kettle dyed lace. I can’t help it. It’s so rewarding to knit an entire shawl or sweater out of one skein of yarn. And the way light shines through lace? Mm, to die for.

img_5308After finishing my commission, I was really excited to cast on for a “quick knit”. Though, after that sweater, anything could be considered quick. The Camino Bubbles by Kieran Foley is only 89 stitches wide though, so it seemed very inviting. This was a glorious knit and the drop stitch bubbles were addicting!

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The Yarn

I used two skeins of Jilly Lace: Dream in Color. I’m completely sold on this brand. This will be the fourth project I’ve knit using their yarns. The blue is ‘Blue Fish’ and the brilliant orange is ‘Great Pumpkin’. The skeins are 880yds each and 100% merino wool. Yum. There’s actually enough yardage on these skeins to knit two Camino Bubbles! The yarn is a touch sticky/grabby because it’s single ply, however, the bubble stitches were easy to drop. The colors of this yarn are so vivid and saturated that I was terrified they would bleed (especially the blue) from even wet blocking. The yarn claims to be machine washable though, so I went ahead and soaked this shawl and pinned it down. There was no bleeding and I didn’t notice any color leaking while it was in the sink. Nevertheless, I don’t think this shawl will ever be thrown in the washing machine, dab clean only!

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The Pattern

Oh, Keiran Foley, what a beautiful mind you have…I’m constantly amazed by how he uses dropped stitches and lace to create amazing shapes in negative space. If you haven’t already, check out his website and blog it is very drool worthy. Camino Bubbles is a very simple charted pattern. It includes written instructions, but I truly think it would be harder to knit this if you only follow the written instructions. The chart is much easier to use. You have one set up chart(A), chart B is repeated as many times as you want, then a finishing chart(C). That’s all!IMG_2361

The Knit

I was delighted to find that after doing a few repeats of chart B, I didn’t need the pattern anymore. It was very easy to see where dropped stitches needed to go and the only thing I really needed to keep track of was how many rows I did on each repeat.I carried this shawl around with me everywhere and whipped it out if I ever had a minute or two to knit. I could stop in the middle of a drop stitch row and pick it back up an hour later and know exactly where I was! The pattern is very repetitive and self explanatory, which I love. Dropping the stitches was so fun. There was a primal satisfaction in finishing the last chart repeat and pausing to pull and stretch the shawl, watching as the yarn unraveled to reveal a perfect bubble. I goofed a few times and dropped the wrong stitches or one stitch too many, nothing my handy dandy crochet hook couldn’t fix. I would absolutely recommend “popping” the bubbles as you go, to make sure that you don’t have any stray dropped stitches.
As far as alteration go, I  knit this shawl longer than the pattern sample. I believe the sample had 7 repeats of chart B, I did 9.5 for a post-blocking size of 72″ long. I think it goes without saying that this is a must block project. It’s all scrunched up and awkward after casting off. I blocked this to two times it’s size after casting off and the length of the shawl took up my entire balcony. After drying, it settled to a very comfortable size. I love shawls that are at least 60″ wide. I feel like 72″ is just enough extra length to really work with the shawl style wise. The pattern also has an option for a 130st wide shawl.

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This is an A+ pattern, and I highly recommend it! It’s a brilliant use of dropped stitches and the shawl is very dynamic in lace weight. A perfect summer shawl that I will absolutely make again. Also, “Finding Nemo” colors😉

Fall is fast approaching (see the dead leaves in the background?) and I’m eager to cast on for fall knits. Despite a few more weeks of heat, I’m already in an autumn mindset. I can smell pumpkin and chilly nights on the wind and my fingers are itching for wool and textured oversized sweaters. Have you cast on for fall yet? Or are you hoping to complete one more summer knit? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, knit on!

 

P.S I have a new guest in my home…

A Note on Commissions

I think when you make an agreement to do a project for someone, you should prioritize that project. I believe it to be a sign of maturity and professional courtesy to place personal projects on hold and attempt to finish your customer’s project as quickly as possible and with your very best of effort. Especially if you’re being paid.

For the past three months I’ve been working on a commission for a LYS. A customer injured her shoulder and wanted her sweater completed for her, the LYS asked me to do it and I happily agreed. I had ten to twelve weeks to complete the work and I was told I would make a certain amount of money for making it. We had a verbal agreement. The sweater, the grey thing, was two thousand yards of various moss stitches in a size extra large knee length jacket. In grey. The instructions were beyond convoluted (if you have to say “at the same time” 5 times for one part of your sweater, you need a pattern rework ) and I had to start over three times just to get past the yoke. But I finished it. Here it is:

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Yep, I wouldn’t even do a photo shoot for that. Blurry instagram with me looking like I’ve been awake for four days is all you’re getting.

I took the sweater in to the LYS and handed it over. Three months. Almost all of spring and summer that could have been spent knitting cute tops and headbands. She hands me a check. I almost fall over. It is significantly short of our agreed on price, over $100 short. We discuss this and come to find out that they have a ceiling on how much they pay for commission work. I ask why she agreed to pay me more if she wasn’t actually going to, she gives me a rambling half answer. I’m a bit dumbfounded and realize there isn’t much I can do. Hold the customer’s sweater hostage and demand more money? That wouldn’t be fair to the customer who had no part in our financial deal. It would also be unseemly for me to stand there and argue. I wouldn’t win even if I did. I took my check with a smile and walked out, ignoring her offer for me to work a few Saturdays a month if I ever wanted to.

I was angry. I feel cheated and used and like an entire season of knitting was stolen from me. I sulked over this for an entire day. Now that I’ve had time to process this whole affair, and cast on for another project, I have a few notes to share with fellow knitters who might be new to doing commissions.

  1. Communication is a must

To be honest, this was not my first experience with this LYS. I previously did a commission for the shop and was paid the amount I asked for. However, when we first set up the deal, she informed me that she paid on a sliding scale. $.25-$.75 a yard based on the difficulty of the project. When I finished the project, I asked to be paid $.35 for the 1,000 yard project. She informed me that the maximum they pay for commissions was $250. I reminded her about the sliding scale. “Mhm, yeah…we usually only pay $250 though. I’ll pay you what you want this time though.” She never explained to me why she told me I would be paid on a sliding scale if she obviously had no intention of doing that.

Whenever I did work for this shop, it took me weeks to be paid after I’d already dropped off my finished item and we had terrible communication. It took her nearly three weeks to pay me for my first commission job. I called the shop multiple times, had to give her my address three times so she could mail me a check, and I went to the shop twice to pick up payments and she’d forgotten to leave the money for me. I once went to the shop to try and be paid, she stayed on the phone for twenty minutes with me standing there waiting and I finally had to leave, without payment, to make it to an event on time.

All this to say, if you and the customer you’re working for have terrible communication, don’t agree to work for them. It was stupid of me to persists in working for someone who would never answer my calls or have the courtesy to have my check waiting for me in a timely manner. If you can’t even have two minutes of the person’s time to ask questions or be paid, don’t bother.

2. The faintest ink is better than the strongest memory

As I said above, there was a lot of back and forth about what I would be paid for my work and I really had to go out of my way to get my paychecks. In hindsight, I can’t believe I never just had the gall to ask her “So, before I start, how much are you paying me for this?” It is not rude to confirm before hand how much the person thinks your time and energy is worth. If they think it’s rude to ask, don’t work with them. Take a few minutes and type up a simple contract for the both of you to sign. Nothing crazy, something simple will work fine as hard documentation of your agreement.

“I, so and so, agree to pay so and so x amount of monies for the completion of such and such by this date.” See? Simple.

Discuss  the yardage of the project you will be doing, the difficulty of the work and the amount of time it should take before agreeing to anything. Get all of the information about the project you need  while face to face with the person, it wouldn’t hurt to include these things in the contract as well. You’ll seem like a true professional if you do this; it’ll be an accurate reflection of the fact that your time and effort is valuable and you take your job seriously. If the person is turned off by this. Don’t work with them.

3. Be honest

Be honest with yourself and your customer. Tell them how much you think your work is truly worth. Don’t undersell yourself to get more work or overcharge to bleed your customer dry. This is a business transaction, not a blood sport. It should be pleasant and simple. If you really hate the project and think it’ll be a drag to do, let the person know upfront and ask to be paid accordingly. Don’t agree to a price that won’t make up for all the grumbling and complaining you’ll be doing while knitting on the project. If the person isn’t willing to pay you more, request to have a longer amount of time to complete the project or simply decline to do the work. You aren’t a slave, your time and skill are valuable. There is no shame failing to come to an agreement and simply declining to do the project.

4. Work hard

There is shame, however, in taking way too long to do a project and not doing your best. The grey thing was knit for a customer using the LYS to get her work done. In other words, me slacking on the sweater, not making it just right, or deliberately taking way too long to finish would be totally unfair to the customer. She had nothing to do with my failure to do business properly or the LYS underpaying me. If you’ve agreed to do something, do it. Don’t back out half way because you don’t like it anymore, or argue over payment after the work is already done. Have all your ducks in a row before even picking up your needles

Honestly, I know there is a lot of contention over knitting for pay. There is a plethora of knitters who are underpaid for their work and it is often very difficult to find a happy medium. I’m glad I’ve had this experience, though. I truly believe it will help me do business better in the future and have a more discerning eye for the work I’m asked to do and how much my skill is worth. Knitting should always bring joy, even commissioned work, but it’s not the responsibility of the customer to ensure your happiness and satisfaction. You must stand up for yourself and not be afraid to say ‘no’. Will I work for this yarn shop again? Probably not. Will I do more commissions? Totally. Will I get burned again? Maybe, but I’ve learned to take my work more seriously now, and hopefully I’ll be better prepared to deal with a transaction in the future.

I really hope my inexperience helps a few of you out there who are exploring the world of knitting for pay. Please don’t make the same silly mistakes I did, but more importantly, stay happy with your knitting- no matter what you get out of it.

Orchids and Waterlilies

Orchids and Waterlilies

Spring has finally sprung here in Kansas City. No more forty degree nights and 70 degree days. Its just breezy, perfectly tepid days. Yes. I never noticed Spring much back in Arkansas, though we definitely had it. I was so busy in school or working my first forty hour a week job to go outside and watch the seasons change. It was either cold or hot and it didn’t really matter either way at midnight while typing up a final paper or at 6am when I was being called in to work over time *shudders* but those days are behind me. And now my bedroom has a balcony on it! Outside our window we’re surrounded by lush greenery and all of the windows have been open since mid-March to let the sounds of chirping birds in.

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The first time I caught whiff of a warm breeze, I cast on for the Waterlily. I sweet little knit with a lace yoke and short sleeves to welcome warmer weather. I finished it up in about two or so weeks and I’ve worn in about five times already.

The Yarn

I used two skeins of Ella Rae Lace Merino in the colorway 125 (which I have deemed Raspberry Swirl). I’m grateful for Ella Rae’s generous yardage, I had just enough of the second skein left over to seam everything up and make repairs in the future. I love when that happens. It’s such a pain when you have half a skein left over or when you only need 20yds of another skein. So awkward. Ella Rae does it right.

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This yarn can be notorious for its skein to skein color variation. Even with yarns from the same dye lot. I had four of these skeins and you can certainly see a change in overall color hue from skein to skein. They’re all beautiful, but I had the luxury of picking the two skeins that were closest together in color. I decided against striping, but if you’re feeling a little unsure about any Ella Rae that you have, I would highly recommend striping it. The hue differences can be very drastic (as witnessed by several of my knitter friends who have frogged rather extensive stockinette works before…) Other than some naughty color consistency every once in a while, Ella Rae is one of my hands-down-favorite yarns to knit with. It has sheen, drape, and yardage for days. Probably the only merino yarn I would use for spring and summer knits.

The Pattern

So, I’m a little up in the air on this pattern. There are complaints on Ravelry about it being a bit confusing and I had to read it over a few times to understand. A lot of people were unclear about the divide for the sleeves. I think it was pretty self explanatory, but I can understand how the instructions were difficult to visualize. One thing I struggled with was the divide for the neck. While in hindsight, this seems obvious, the pattern doesn’t state that as you work the lace back and forth, decreasing along the edge for your v-neck, that each lace row will begin in different spots along the row to account for missing stitches and to keep all the lace in order. Depending on the row you begin on and your size, these spots will always be different. It was a bit of a challenge sometimes to correctly figure which stitch on the chart to start on. I wish the pattern had noted this so I could have had a heads up. Also, after I cast on my sleeves, I had the correct amount of stitches for my size, but a mysterious extra five stitches that were never knit into the lace. I won’t say its a pattern error (as this was mostly knit late at night)  but it’s something to watch out for.  Overall, the pattern is pretty straight forward, I just wish a few more notes were included along the way.

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The Knit

Alterations:

  • I knit this for finished size 36″ so I had two inches of positive ease.
  • I knit the body 15″ in length instead of the recommended 11.5. I have a fairly long torso and almost always make my tunics and shirts longer. Otherwise I’d be rocking belly shirts all the time.
  • I added some waist shaping for this. I have a fear of oversized box shaped things, I’m always nervous my shape will be consumed by all the excess fabric and it’ll look like I’m wearing a sack. A few decreases and increases make magic. I borrowed my shaping knitthehellout’s formula  “Around 6.5 inches begin decreasing 4 sts every 6 rows, 4 total times. Increase at the same rate at about 9.25 inches. Knit until piece measured 15.5 inches from the bottom until the armpit.”
  • I wanted a deeper v-neck. I began my v-neck after about 1.5″ of lace.
  • Saw many complaints of a sagging back neckline, so I followed the advice of several other knitters and decreased with p3tog across the entire back.

I had a lot of…issues while I was knitting this. It was just a rough two weeks (we all have ’em right?) I consistently derped up the lace section and had to rip back so many times. Instead of taking a break, I would just get angry and try again…at 1am, then make the same mistake…like I said, a bad two weeks. I think if I hadn’t been such a nut this would have been a much smoother knit. Either way, it only took two weeks, and all of the Ravelry forums and notes make this pattern and knit super easy to get through. A wardrobe staple for sure!

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Have you started your Spring knits yet or are you still finishing up cold weather knits? Have you jumped straight into summer knits? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Knitting Pays the Bills

Knitting Pays the Bills

Part 3 of From the Other Side: Knitting in the Mission Field to come soon!

Before I moved to KC, I decided that I had to continue working at a yarn shop in some capacity. I loved the work too much not to seek it out. I called around to several of the yarn shops and offered my services for knitting commissions. Too busy to knit up a shop sample for the next season? I’m your girl.

I’m currently working for one shop and I hope to be able to work for another nearby one as well. I’ve already completed one commission that I neglected to photo, and this weekend I picked up more work.
The blue one is a little baby sweater that needs to be seamed up. Simple enough, the grey one however…is a bit of a doosey. Rocky Road, a worsted weight, winter coat. A customer had an accident and hurt her shoulder, but still wants the coat finished, despite warming weather.

   
 I’ve got about a thousand yards of grey wool to knit through. I’m pretty grateful that I’ve been given 8-10 weeks to get it done though. This week, I’m going to focus all my energy on finishing my Waterlily this week and seaming up the baby sweater. Then I’ll dive into this sweater.

15″ down, time to divide for the yoke!

I don’t want this coat hanging over my head for too long so I want to devote a lot of energy to it, but I can’t stand the idea of not knitting on something for me for 8 weeks. That’s summer knitting time! I’ve decided to knock out a few pairs of socks on the side and hopefully cast on for another summer top while working on this. I haven’t picked a top yet, but I know I’ll be making myself a pair of Skew socks with this fun Blue Ridge Yarn

  
I feel so grateful to be able to knit for a side income. Not only does it loosen up our post-move budget, but it serves as a great way to stay close in the loop of all the knitting goings on in some sort of professional capacity. Once a yarn shop girl, always a yarn shop girl. I’m going to savor this next week of personal knitting before I dive into this commission. However, despite the 1000yds of grey, I’m feeling pretty great about saying knitting is my job. 

how luna feels about my artistic photos.

 From the Other Side: Knitting in the Mission Field pt.2

The next day, my team and I woke up bright and early to attend morning devotional in the meeting hall.  The beating of drums and the high pitched shrills of jumping women announced the start of service. The early morning air was thick with worship and excitement for the day to come. For me, service truly captured what a heart for Christ should be all about. Passionate and praise filled.  It was a beautiful sight to see and tied in with the morning’s service, given by our missions pastor. Psalm 118: ” God’s love endures faithfully forever,so how will you respond?” The Ugandans have taken ‘Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” (Psalm 98:4) very literally. And shouldn’t we all?

After service, I went into town with Joyce back to the women on Dorkus’ porch. This time there were twice as many women gathered around the porch including all the women from yesterday. Sarah smiled at me as I approached and held up her knitting. I was amazed, she’d knit several inches on the swatch and had almost no mistakes. In fact, all of the women had been practicing and had very few mistakes in their work. Nothing a few minutes of tutorial couldn’t fix. I’d dare say it was perfect. Today, I had much longer to spend with the women and I was able to bounce back and forth to every individual to give them one on one time.

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Happy to see some new faces!

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I was finally able to meet Dorkus. She is an incredibly kind woman and owns the hair braiding salon that all of the women gather at. I was told that, out of a desire to serve the women in her community, she began meeting with a small group of women in order to offer support and help them find an alternative income instead of prostitution. Over time, the group has grown to around sixty. Dorkus was very eager to pick up knitting and, after casting on, immediately took up the garter stitch.

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Dorkus!

After an hour, all of the women were knitting away. I was so distracted by them that I hadn’t noticed a small group of children gathering in front of us on the street. When I looked up, I saw them- barefoot and covered in dirt. They were all holding bits of string and sticks from a nearby garbage pile and were mimicking knitting. When I looked closer, I saw that several of them had actually cast on. One girl used a piece of string and a lollipop stick to cast on a dozen stitches. I was totally overwhelmed and started fighting back tears. In front of me were a group of children who’d probably never been to school and whose parents couldn’t even afford to give them shoes, yet they were clever and curious enough to learn how to cast on stitches simply by observing.

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I smiled at the kids and walked over to sit with them. I pulled out more needles and yarn and passed them out. They all sat around me and on my lap and leaned in to watch as I cast on. Every time I turned my attention away from them, they would tug at my shirt.

“Hey, lady, lady, what do I do next? Help me!” They were all so energetic and eager to learn, however after a while I started to feel my energy level plummeting. There were ten women I’d taught to knit behind me asking questions and I had a small crowd of children sitting around me and in my lap. It became especially trying when some of the women and children were unable to grasp the basics of knitting their first stitch. I would explain and explain and show and show put they continued sliding the needle into the wrong spot or pulling the yarn so tightly that they couldn’t even slip the needle in. Suddenly, I realized I was sweating profusely and grinding my teeth from the heat and agitation.

I took a mental step back and remembered Who I was really here for. Not myself, and not even the women and children around me, but for God. Instead of relying on my own strength, which was quickly fading, I needed to rely on His. Quietly, I started praying for patience and perseverance. I reminded myself that if someone wasn’t understanding my teaching, I needed to change my method. For each person, I started to either count the steps of knitting “One, two, three…” as I deliberately knit in front of them. Or I would rest my hands on theirs and knit with them, or use a word for each step,”In, around, pull…” I began walking around the group gently tapping hands to encourage looser tension or pushing up needles to the correct position.

One of the girls who was still having a horrible time casting on after an hour caught my attention again. She seemed so content and happy to try again and again and again, whether or not she ever had any results. I sat next to her and watched quietly for a while before having a realization.”Hey, what hand do you write with?” She gave me a confused look.

“I mean, what hand do you eat with?”She held up her left hand; this whole time I’d been showing her to cast on right handed. I sat her in my lap.

“You knit like me! Left handed, do it like this” I showed her how to cast on and she mimicked me perfectly. I handed her another needle and showed her to knit. Again she did it perfectly. Within five minutes she was finished with a row. I cheered her on excitedly with each stitch and she grinned while her friends laughed at my excitement.

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Hannah, a fellow lefty. She was rocking out those stitches when I left.

Another small hand tugged at my shirt. I turned to see a girl who’d taken to knitting right away and had been quietly working at her swatch while I helped the others. She held out her work with about half an inch of completed rows.

“Hey, lady. Like this? ” I clapped and shouted “Perfect! Wonderful! Just like that! You’re great! What’s your name?” She grinned ear to ear and fingered the silk yarn.

“Nancy…I like this.” She sat next to me and kept knitting, Nancy looked up at me.

“When will you be back?” I sat in front of her and explained that I didn’t know, but that I wanted to come back again.

“Will you take me with you to America? I want to go with my father, but I don’t think he can go. Can I go with you so I can see it?” I put on my sunglasses to hide my tears.

“Well, you know I can’t bring you with me, but I’ll bring you in my heart and think about you. ” She thought for a moment, then smiled.

“Alright, then I’ll keep you here with me in my heart.” I left a suitcase of yarn with Dorkus and let her know that any of the women or children could have more supplies. I high-fived all the kids and hugged the women goodbye. They told me to come back soon.  Everyone waved at me as I drove away and I started crying as soon as we rounded the corner. Happy tears of course, but I still looked like a hot mess.

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Nancy!


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All of my new little knitters!

Later that day, I was able to teach another pod of mamas to knit. Again, I felt my energy dip and I felt frazzled by the difficulty some of the women had with catching on. I had to pray again for God’s strength and patience, and again I suddenly felt rejuvenated and had the clarity of mind to begin explaining differently to each woman so she could better understand. After an hour, all of the women were sitting in a circle and happily chatting while they knit. Other mamas who I’d taught the previous day drifted over and joined us. We chatted about cooking and cleaning ( they can’t believe I have the nerve to make my husband help clean the house!) and what America is like.

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That night, it was my turn to lead devotional. My section was James 3, the first line being  “not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers…” Since our second mission prep meeting, I knew this would be my verse to lead our group with, yet I was still unnerved about the implications of it while I went about teaching knitting and trying to display the Gospel. I was even more anxious about leading a devotional on this verse.

On teaching, the chapter explains that not many of us should teach even though we know the Truth, because those of us who teach righteousness and fail at it will be punished more severely. James reminds us that we all stumble and must be aware of keeping ourselves in check at all times, even when we’ve been elevated to the level of “teacher”, “leader”, or “expert”. The chapter goes on to discuss taming the tongue. That is, though the tongue is small, it is the biggest trouble maker in our entire body. In the same way a massive ship is directed by the small rudder and the fierce horse is tamed by a bit, our lives can be tossed back and forth if our tongue isn’t in check (v.3/4). Specifically, a tongue that spews both praises to God and hate towards others is an untamed and deadly one.

 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

As I prepared for this lesson, I was expecting to feel guilt tripped at my own failings and to discuss how much we need to work to control ourselves. However, after an intense day of teaching, I realized that this chapter was not entirely a criticism of human failing. It was also a reminder to rely on God. If “no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison (v.8)“then how are we to do any good? How do we love our brothers and sisters with our words when it’s surely inevitable that we’ll turn around and curse them later? By relying on God. The entire day, I had to lean on God to keep my patience, to speak carefully,kindly, and explain gently and clearly the steps needed to knit. When fatigue sets in with life and we want to gossip hatefully about the people around us, to curse God with the same mouth we use to praise Him, to speak impatiently and sharply with students, we have to remember to lean on Him for a teacher’s heart, a heart filled with fresh spring water.

That night I prayed for perfection among my new knitters again, but I also prayed for God to pull me closer into Him so I could find relief from my exhaustion, tap into His endless patience, drink from His streams. Because ultimately, it’s no surprise that we slip up and fail. I don’t think James, or anyone for that matter, is trying to convince us that we have the capacity to stop wagging our tongues. But he is trying to tell us we have the capacity to open our hearts to God when we realize what we’re doing. When we do that, our minds (and tongues) find rest and our students prosper…

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to be continued in pt.2/4 of From the Other Side: Knitting in the Mission Field.

 

Guilds, Waterlilies, and Endless Sweaters

While I work on part 2 of “From the Other Side: Knitting in the Mission Field” I decided to throw out a little update on my other knitting pretties.

I’ve discovered the knitting community in Kansas City, it is prosperous and delightful. Specifically, I’ve tapped into the local knitting guild, Sunflower Knitting Guild. There were many crafty guilds back in Arkansas, but they often met at times when I I had to work or they were located in other county’s. If there was any sort of knitting guild in Fayetteville, I feel like it was my LYS . All of the crafters from the Farmers’ Market and the local knitters would meet there. It was (is) an amazing community and I was very eager to find a new one here in KC.

Queue a few google searches and a phone call and I was invited to a knit night at Hy-Vee!

Side note: Guys, have you heard of Hy-vee? Grocery shopping AND a restaurant upstairs? Are you kidding me? What is this magic…

When I walked in, I had a pretty wonderful pang of nostalgia from my Thursday night knit nights. A huge crowd of knitters of all ages crowded around tables, glasses of wine, loud laughing, and an overflow of hand knits. I ended up meeting quiet a few members of the Sunflower Guild including the president, vice president and editor! Everyone was so nice and they invited me to their monthly meeting on Monday. It was epic. Guys, they just take over the bottom level of a restaurant. My whole heart, they have it. It was exciting to see a guild meeting. There was a quick discussion of finances and updates so that we could get to the meat of the meeting, Show and Tell. Everyone had the opportunity to have center stage and show off recent knits, share patterns, and applaud wonderful work. When the mic came to me I tried to pass, but they insisted I talked about  my Leaf and Trellis shawl. They applauded me, I nearly died of giddiness. I’m very excited to attend the next Knit Night!

In the mean time, I’ve cast on for Waterlily as my first spring knit! After being bogged down with wedding and Christmas knits all of last year, it felt so so good to cast on for a seasonal knit! I’m using Ella Rae Lace Merino and I’m in love with this delicious raspberry colorway with flecks of white. Makes me crave a plethora of raspberry desserts…


  
And in the corner….crying out to be finished…is my NaKniSweMo. *Sigh*, maybe this year I’ll actually finish NaKniSweMo IN November. To be fair,though, I also knit ten Christmas presents and had them all under the tree on time. I secretly knew there was no way I would finish. I’m inches away from being done with the collar of this baby, though, due to an error in the pattern, I’m going to have to rip back about five inches first. It’s only about 40 stitches at this point though, so not a huge blow.


Then I have to steak (not talking about it) and weave in all the ends, and block, and sew in a zipper….as I said, endless sweater. I keep it sitting out in the living room, much to Jon’s chagrin, so hopefully it won’t disappear down the void of WIP’s. But honestly, wouldn’t it be a bit of naughty fun to whip this out in October, finish in a week, and flaunt it? I’m thinking yes….


Spring is exploding here and our apartment is finally starting to feel like home. I have the itch to start painting walls and find new picture frames. But for now, in my down time, I mostly just want to swing on our balcony and watch the trees bloom.