Sunday, March 29, 2009

Let Me Make You Something

This week we had flurry of activity over on Facebook- a twenty-something friend posted an offer to make something for the first 5 people who responded. They, in turn, promised to make something for 5 people and so on and so on. There were rules, which was smart. What I loved loved loved- was that the people who responded, for the most part, aren't really people I think of when I think 'made by hand'. Young people, busy with getting their lives under way, or young families. Willing to take the time out to create. And looking forward to sharing what they make!!
The rules state no hints- so I can't tell you what I'm making. I'm very excited about it, but my lips are sealed. What I REALLY can't wait to see is what presents I get, made with love, and offered in a spirit of mid year giving! This is soo much fun- like swapping fabric, only 100% better, because of the people involved.
So I thought I'd challenge anyone who didn't get in on the fun, and wants to, to 'Pay it Forward" Find a few people you want to surprise with something special, and promise yourself to make or do something for them as a surprise. If you want "The Rules" from the Facebook project, e-mail me, or you can make up your own. It's yours to do with what you want. I think if each of us took the time to put something of ourselves out there, with no expectations of being 'paid back', the world will benefit. Who knows? I believe, with all my heart, that the most effective change we can bring about in this world is in the one-on-one- the ripple effect- we influence most the people whose lives we touch personally. Small things make a difference.
I thought I'd post a few random pics of works in progress, and a couple of completed things, that I don't think I've posted. FYI- no hints here, people.

This is a "disappearing nine-patch" made with a prepackaged charm packet- pre-cut 5 inch squares- assembled into a nine patch (4 nine patches, actually) then cut in quarters and reassembled. A fun project on a rainy Sunday, when Mother Nature said "No, you can't do yard work today, go to your room!"

A pic of my Birdie Sling- made with awesome Alexander Henry fabric, and embroidered on the strap. I used this all winter as a handbag, but it's really too big for me. I got tired of hunting for things, so now I use it as a knitting bag. When I make this again, I'll make more pockets.

And, last but not least- my seedlings! I've been channeling my Dad, Ernie, this Spring. I have baby tomatoes (way too many) and peppers and basil, something called 'bunny grass' and impatiens. But I must admit, with those little peat pellets and trays, and a sunny window, this has been a pretty easy project. My dad used to sterilize the dirt in the oven (yup, in the oven, in the big roasting pan- the same one he used for his famous ham!) and he had an amazing array of grow lights in the basement. I wish I knew what happened to that cold frame he built. His compost pile was the talk of the neighborhood. And the garden he planted out back was amazing! I miss you, Dad.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mom, Just Knit or Something

What a few weeks it has been. We have had sick kids, and sick grown-ups - and sick patients at work, and sick co-workers, Snow in March in NC (first in 20 years I think) and now it's 81 degrees and we're planning on cooking out.

I played along with a swap on sew Mama Sew and got some very cool fabric. It was such fun to get presents in te mail- and to package up my little gifts to send out to strangers. I found my way off the couch and back into the studio.

While sitting around waiting for test results, and processing some potential bad news, a few quiet thoughts slipped into my consciousness- I started thinking about how valuable busy work of any sort is. I'm not talking about creative work here. I'm talking about the knitting project that is simple and to the point, straight-stockinette-on-circular-needles kind of busy work. Baby hats, simple stuff. Cleaning is like that , too- scrubbing down the appliances, washing the floor. Or ironing and folding your fabric stash. Simple , almost monotonous tasks that allow your mind to process and absorb.
I think we forget about how much good there is in this type of activity. Years ago, my middle son was in a bad accident and while we were waiting to hear back from the police, I was in a terrible state. My youngest son, then 15 or 16- said-" Mom- just knit or something" wise words that I have taken to heart and made into a mantra for stress.
Handwork is a perfect stress buster. It allows you to think about the problems and then to let it be absorbed by the universe- Some people ( never me) use exercise this way. I love work that is simple and productive. Ironing fat quarters, polishing silver- weeding ( altho there's that whole aching back aspect to weeding...) It's almost as if by bringing some order to one aspect of your life you can control all the other stuff- things over which, we all know, you have no control.

It occurs to me that this aspect of my personality was cultivated as a child.
Perhaps the best present I ever got was the McCall's Giant Make It Book-
I learned how to knit from this book- as my mom wouldn't teach me cause she knit 'backwards'. I was 10. I wore this book out! I can vividly remember the hours I spent on the projects in this book. About the same age I became responsible for ironing my Dad's hankies ( see the fat quarter connection? ) Those sweet days of childhood were pretty much trouble free, at least in hind sight- but the tasks learned translated so well into adulthood, it makes you wonder where our kids and grand kids will find comfort in their lives.

On the topic of grand kids... I found a wonderful idea at this site- Artsy Mama- garlands made from whatever- paper, cardboard, or fabric and displayed for all to see. Zoe and Noah- get your markers out! I'm seeing big flowers tacked onto a ribbon, decorated with abandon by all the kids, big and little. Perhaps a note on each of gratitude for the things we can share with each other.

Also wanted to thank the ladies who played along on the Sew Mama sew swap- The fabrics were beautiful, but finding your blogs was priceless.

The new week promises some answers to our worries, days of sunshine and hopefully some healing bodies. But if it brings concern and worry, at least I have my knitting and the weeding!