The handmade gift

December 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Christmas, inspiration, knitting, love, women | 7 Comments
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IMG_4701It is nearly Christmas and all over the world … all over the world … fingers are flying as artists, artisans, crafters, and makers of things endeavor to gift the finest gift there is…love.

Love.

That is the root of the season. And we seek to flow and show our love as finely and as broadly as we possibly can.

We do that, we humans. We do.

Love.

I remember the exact moment when I realized love is the one true thing, the key to the universe. I know where I was, what I was doing, the color of the sky, the other things in motion around me, the time of day, how I was sitting, where I was heading. I also remember the amazing feeling of abundant clarity and spiritual fullness I felt when I realized that simple truth.

IMG_4714Regardless of your faith, you can believe in Christmas if you choose, because the simplicity of the holiday is love.

Regardless of who or what Jesus was, you can believe in the love that was his message.

Love one another.

I mean, how simple and direct can you get.

Love one another.

Forget about everything else, all of the religious teachings and trappings and ceremony and wars over whose god is God and what we all ought to think about any of that.

Toss all of that out. There was this guy, his name happened to be Jesus of Nazareth and he said we all ought to love one another.

Love. One. Another.

Simple.

IMG_4713That message changed the world, and changed it for the better.

So, to celebrate that message a bunch of us all over the world celebrate first and foremost the concept of loving one another. And we get inspired to do all kinds of great and wondrous and small and perfect acts of kindness and brotherhood toward those we are close to but also toward others we do not know.

We find and create ways to embody the love that guy suggested.

I read an article several years ago about a survey regarding gifts people love and don’t love to receive at Christmas. Sadly, handmade gifts were on the list as being not appreciated.

That’s really bad news for someone like me because I love to make things, and I love mostly making things for other people. I am a maker of things, and when I really want to show someone that I love them I make them something.

Making things and giving them away, that’s my way of showing my love.

IMG_4668This brings me to the subject at hand, the handmade gift. In particular, I have something to,say about handknit gifts, but what I have to say relates to all handmade gifts.

When someone knits something for you, what they are really giving you is love.

It might look like a scarf, a hat, some gloves or socks, a tea cozy…whatever. It might be fine, classy, and beautiful. Or, it might be an ill-advised combination of colors in a horrifyingly inconsistent striping pattern. Either way, that handknit piece is a gift of love. You were thought of as the person chose the pattern, picked the yarn, worked a swatch, cast on, knit along, made mistakes, tangled their yarn, came to the end, cast off, wove in the yarn tails, and gazed at their completed piece. Every step in the process involved love.

Love, the secret of and key to the universe. Someone gave that to you. By knitting you a gift. Do you realize how divinely special that is?

When someone has given of themselves by making you a gift, even if it isn’t your style or taste, even if the fibers don’t suit you, or,the colors make you want to gag I suggest you give love in return by wearing or using the handmade gift at least once. And as you do, focus on the love residing in and resonating from the fibers of that thing.

IMG_4477And know this: You are one of the most fortunate human beings on the planet. Someone loved you enough to make something for you.

People. We are here on this planet together. We have the freedom and the ability to love one another.

Christmas?

Keep it simple. It is a celebration of the message of love.

And together we can change the world for the better in a big way, for a little while each year.

Merry Christmas.

Love,
~firefly

Lace shawl knitting patterns and peach pie

September 11, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Posted in food, health, inspiration, knitting, Lace Shawl Knitting, Life, love, travel, women, yarn | 4 Comments
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20140911-135240-49960652.jpgThat’s what I’ve been up to lately. I have designed seven knitted shawl patterns, published five of them (see photos of all,of the shawls at the bottom of this blog) and put up five peach pies in the freezer.

Okay, I have been doing plenty more than just this but these are highlights.

Living here in small farm and orchard country in Upstate New York is an amazing blessing during harvest season in particular. Everywhere you turn there is a farm stand, farm market or green thumbed neighbor brimming over with fresh berries, fruits, and vegetables beginning in June and continuing far into the fall.

Everything is fresh and fantastically delicious, it just makes you feel healthy and prosperous looking around at all the bounty. My biggest problem is that I’ll get home with bunches of goodies I procured at a very economical price and then often I have so much going on that I have a hard time getting around to making preserves, pies, and so forth.

Such was the case this week when we brought home eight quarts of the most wonderful plump peaches you could ever hope to come by. I had intended to make peach preserves and a each pie but I couldn’t get around to doing either.

Then yesterday, worried the peaches would go bad, I quickly peeled and sliced them up and did this very cool thing … I packaged them in five pound lots in ziplock freezer bags, tossed them with the sugar, cornstarch and spices necessary for peach pies and then I frozen them in pie dishes.

This morning I took the frozen bags out of the pie dishes, and they are shaped like pies now they just don’t have crusts yet. But I put them in a large 2.5 gallon freezer bag, all stacked up.

Now, when we want a peach pie I’ll just put a crust in a pie dish, put one these frozen pie-shaped peach pie things on the crust, add my top crust and bake.

None of the peaches were wasted, and now we have five mostly ready peach pies waiting to be enjoyed anytime we wish.

I’m going to do this with apples also. 🙂

As for the shawls, I started designing and knitting them back in early spring. Writing the patterns up and getting them published and marketed is very time consuming, but I have managed to get five published recently in my Ravelry store and at Etsy. The others will be ready in October.

The five I have already published are available individually, but then I also published a collection of all five for those who want it all at an economical price.

The collection is titled “The Livin’ is Easy”, a line from my most favorite song of all time, “Summertime” from the musical Porgy and Bess. The others in the collection are also named from lines in the song. One, “Abbie” is named for the actress who first sang the song on stage.

Three are top down triangular shawls, and one (Take to the Sky) is a rectangle; they range in difficulty from easy to moderately difficult.

Three have written directions as well as charts (Rise up Singing, Abbie, and Take to the Sky), while the other two (One of These Mornings and Summertime) are charted.

Take to the Sky is perfect for anyone new to lace knitting or wanting an easy project to use for learning how to follow a chart. I wrote the pattern up to be very clear and easy to follow and I include instructions as to how to follow the charts.

If you learn about this pattern here on my blog and want to give it a try, you can get it for half price at Ravelry by using the coupon code: PEACHPIE at checkout. (The pattern is priced at $4.00, so you will get it for $2.00).

Today is a chilly, windy day and autumn is clearly on the way, but we still have flowers blooming outdoors and we are enjoying of the last vestiges of summer we can find because this has been our most perfect summer so far.

Hope you are having a beautiful day.

~firefly

Abbie

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One of These Mornings

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Take to the Sky

Remember, you can get Take to,the Sky for half price at Ravelry by using the coupon code: PEACHPIE at checkout. (The pattern is priced at $4.00, so you will get it for $2.00).

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Summertime

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The Livin’ is Easy (5 Patterns) eBook

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like … autumn

August 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Posted in country life, family, flowers, inspiration, knitting, Lace Shawl Knitting, Life, love, summer, Vintage, women | 2 Comments
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20140821-114620-42380639.jpgAugust, so far, has felt much more like early autumn than end of summer. We have hardly used any air conditioning this summer because it has been so very cool even during the day.

We have been going out to Point Breeze by Lake Ontario weekly to enjoy free outdoor concerts in a beautiful park out that way. I most always take some knitting with me, we run into many friends and neighbors, and everyone has a delightful and relaxing time of it.

This week it was so chilly at the concert I was able to wear a light weight wool sweater and one of my new shawls (one I knit mostly while relaxing at the other concerts, pictured here in the second photo down) and I still had to pull a blanket up over my lap to stay warm.

20140821-113953-41993589.jpgThe early chill inspires even more knitting, and these days I am very hooked on knitting shawls and coming up with ideas for more and more of them.

If you didn’t already see it, I published a pattern for one of the shawls a couple of weeks ago. This week I have published a second shawl pattern, one I had promised earlier in the summer (the one pictured in the next paragraph and also in an earlier post.

20140821-113601-41761638.jpgThis new pattern is presented in charted format, not written directions. I do plan to create written directions as well, but that takes a bit longer. I also have in the works a tutorial on how to knit a top-down triangular shawl from a chart because what I have found is that, once you understand how to doit, it is actually much easier than following text directions. So, I would like to teach any of my readers who are not yet familiar with following charts in general and how to knit a top-down triangular shawl specifically, how to do both.

Well, summer beckons … and today it does feel a bit more like summer. We have an adventure to get on with, so I will “talk” to you soon.

Have a beautiful day.

~ firefly

Oh, P.S. The newest pattern is available in my Etsy store and in my Ravelry pattern shop. Get 30% off at either store with this coupon code: GRATITUDE now through Saturday Aug 23rd.

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