Heart of Stillness

In light of the unconscionable words spoken yesterday, I offer a peace prayer today. I walked to the heart of stillness in the labyrinth’s center and left a Whidbey Rock I found months ago. I have learned the peace symbol I grew up associating with all things good has a controversial distant history, but my intent here is to use it as the 1958 artist who created it for the purpose of a nuclear disarmament march.

Becoming a blackberry

Labyrinth – Whidbey Institute

Lichen making its own labyrinth

Rocks spoke to me today. Not sure what was said.


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Knitocratic Tendencies

Romi Hill’s design “Moon Shadows” shawl,
completed in a speed record for me of 10 days – that’s anxiety, not intending to
break a speed record, proving that anxiety can be beautiful

Envision a society where instead of autocratic, iron-fisted rulers, we had knitocratic two-handed knitters. I want to live there. Everyone sitting at some challenging political roundtable or policy decision would know what to do. Knit before (or while) you speak. No anxiety, no tension, no fear. If things really got out of hand, remember you’re holding needles, and possibly you could drape your opponent in a jaw-dropping garment that leaves them speechless by meeting’s end.

For the past 5 years I focused pretty intensively on redeveloping and increasing a meditation habit to cope with life stress. Well, this year I replaced meditation with knitting big time, and I have to say it has revolutionized my inner life. Good timing too, as the world feels a bit on the precipice, shall we say. Not only do I feel similar benefits to meditation of letting go of troubled thoughts, increased ability to focus, and out of stillness allowing life to arise, but hours later when I re-enter “awake consciousness,” I have tremendous satisfaction from having produced a physical creation.

Half the time when I complete an item, I feel as astonished as anyone else.  Of course, knitting does not necessarily feel as magical and beneficial as meditation when you are a beginner. This is where this lovely woman’s site linked below describes precisely what to do. So glad I found her page today and just want to share it for any beginner. She has created a resource I would have loved to create if I got my proverbial act together.


I have even gotten rid of TV and replaced it almost entirely with rock stars. Knitting podcasters, that is. I always have one project going that I can do in my sleep and one project that stretches my skill level and focus. I knit the projects I can do in my sleep while watching a podcast. I want to note a few people from which I have learned a great deal, surprisingly even about everything under the sun that is not knitting related.

Some out of the UK, that land mass with a long knitting heritage.

Bakery Bears Podcast – This couple seems to have a lot of fun creating together and separately and put what seems like endless hours into their podcasts and mini-documentaries. Kay makes gorgeous designs and dyes wool as well. Even though I have an English degree and read much of Jane Austen’s work at some point, I learned all sorts of stuff I did not know from these folks.

Sockmatician – This designer/double knitter does stuff with two needles and yarn I can only dream of but want to learn someday, and in addition to having a full life of many other creative pursuits is downright entertaining and admittedly a bit off his rocker. His is the only knitting podcast I have viewed that made me laugh out loud and almost had to pee. I must be just enough off my rocker to appreciate it.

Knitting Expat – Have not watched for long, but a ton of admiration for this woman because I simply do not know how she manages to knit and design and create online content while raising a very young child.

As far as my own knit work goes, I have other news to share about a charity I am working with, but this is getting long, so I’ll create a separate post later down the road. Knitting even got me onto Instagram, somewhere I never thought I’d be.  #waterwomanknits if you care to follow. It’s turning into a 50/50 nature and knit image collection.

A little collage of 2017 far away from the madding crowd so far for me.


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Comfort of Coffee and Tea

I’m not either/or, I’m both when it comes to coffee and tea. I daily drink and appreciate both. Word prompt for today is tea, so I will focus there.

Over time, I’ve experimented with drinking several herbal teas. Even though I know little about Ayurvedic medicine, I was naturally drawn to Ashwagandha and Holy Basil tea and loved how these “adaptogen herbs” made me feel long before I learned what an adaptogen was (linked excerpt by an author who wrote “the book” on them).

Soothing Lavender, Early Grey tea from Lavender Wind Farm, Coupeville

Teas can be made from any herb or plant, and it is possible to make an uplifting tea from common edible plants you may know in your surroundings like dandelion, lemon balm, or mint leaves. Here are some of my favorite teas. Since I love anything authentic rose, the scent, the taste, (not overly sweet artificial rose), many of my favorite teas include rose petals or hips.

I would like to learn how to make my own rose hip jam as well, but until such day, I was happy to find this store-bought jam from a company in Germany that’s been in operation since 1880s. I believe I first tasted rose hip jam at my German grandparents’ table as a child. Talk about tradition.

Tea drinking is a rich tradition in most countries around the world. Here is some information about 15 of those cultural traditions.

Especially if I’m dragging rather than toning down anxiety and worry (seems to be my chronic background state), I prefer the clean energizing feel of the tea most common in Argentina and South America.

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Knitting Weight Loss Update

Joji Locatelli‘s brilliant mirrored design is finally off the needles!  I used a variety of stash yarn I had from different sources, including the awesome Bazaar Girls of Port Townsend for the rust and turquoise I believe from Mad Hatter yarn company. The multi-color yarn that pops is Knit Picks Hawthorne fingering, I’ve forgotten which colorway.

I’ve got my own first design to publish for sale by year’s end in the test knit works, a free hat pattern PDF to give away, and am working on a gorgeous Romi Hill shawl called Moonshadows.  I unfortunately reached a snag in the Bernoulli shawl and frogged the yarn. In knit lingo, “frogging” or “tinking” – knit backwards – means pulling out or “un-knitting” something you made to reuse yarn.

Knitting must be a good weight loss plan for me (one calorie burned per stitch?), because in 2017 I have knit more hours than ever, and images below equate to what I have lost since February.

Four footballs worth, one auto tire, and two guinea pigs. I should be levitating by 2018.

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Dormant Beauty

So much of what becomes beauty lies dormant.

This plant came in full bloom, unidentified from a grocery store last summer. It finished blooming, its leaves shriveled and died, and I left it alone in a porch all winter thinking it was done with its life and I would reuse its container later. Until suddenly fresh green leaves pushed out of its dry crusty bed of soil a month ago, and I resumed watering.

After some investigation, I discovered it is a form of lily native to South Africa called Eucomis or pineapple lily.

Behold the beauty of another dormant plant, the golden beet. Gorgeous, glowy and luscious when roasted in a bit of garlic, vinegar or lemon juice and thyme.

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Thin Layers of Life

We know life on Earth cannot exist beyond the thin blue line of atmosphere (unless you are on a Mars expedition or space shuttle).

But unless we are a farmer, it is easy to take for granted how important healthy soil is to all life on Earth. Basically, all life is like a giant global sandwich between layers of air and soil.

I cannot recommend this film enough to provide a more complete appreciation for the magnificence of soil and our dependence upon it.

My favorite place to knit is sitting on the ground in the sun. It’s my grounding time. I was doing just that when this young buck decided to sit a few yards from me.


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Not the archetypal film about man versus bear.

Not the Robert Frost poem about two roads.

Instead, a token fell out of a drawer today from the precise moment my soul diverged and stretched between the tech world where my body sits and the natural world where my heart sits.  This little strip features my alter-ego Sheldon who was born when I was in middle school and his younger sister Lucy, as well as something resembling a mouse that is supposedly a dog.

Nearly 30 years ago, I was fresh out of college and a year into two years of editing library catalog cards on giant IBM printouts (I saw white and green stripes in my sleep) for a major publishing company.  Can you imagine anything more mind numbing than editing library catalog cards in a warehouse of 75 editor desks minus cubicle walls?  Lots of wondering if a coworker notices you have kale in your teeth after lunch or windblown hair after a break.  Even Dilbert had cubicle walls.  Then again, what else are a gaggle of people with English degrees supposed to do before the internet and the PC?

We had no dress code, so every time “The Suits” paid a surprise visit, staff from the actual Library of Congress in DC, our spines got a bit straighter and we thought extra hard and long about changing a comma to a semi-colon. Those were the days.

After 30 years sitting in front of a computer, I wish I understood higher math so I could go frolic in a divergenceless field.

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