Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Progress At Last


The December projects are now finished. I can now go back and knit away at projects for fun! The Manchester Jacket is coming along. I had another delay when the cable broke and I had to wait to get a new one (the stitches were scrunched onto a smaller cable in between times which made it hard to knit). The stitches now have a bit more personal space and seem happier.

2 more inches to go on this section then a change. Pretty soon I'll be doing armholes and be knitting back and forth on the pieces and then sleeves. And then I'll see how it's really fitting and if I get upset at this and need to put it away like my Printed Silk Cardi and Sayuri pullover; which I have put in a time out. They may be ready to come out of their corners and be worked on again, after I see if the Manchester Jacket is cooperating.

Lovely Out Last Night


Monday, December 29, 2008

Work & Pray

I've been mentoring a girl for awhile, she's junior high age and has lots of areas of needs. For awhile, I've felt there's something hindering her spiritually and it was confirmed when a pastor prayed for her.

Today she came in with her mother because they tried to go through Neil Anderson's book, Bondage Breaker. A became very fearful and couldn't pray and said she was seeing things. I'm so glad they came in, they are now in with the pastor. I stood near his office door and prayed for awhile; for spiritual protection, for God's wisdom and leading, for the oppression to be lifted, for openeness and most of all, for the Spirit to be loosed and to fill the room with his sweet presence.

This is the beginning, I hope, of a turning point for them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wedding

My niece was married last Saturday on a cold wintry day. The wedding was gorgeous and the couple looked picture perfect.

It was a bittersweet day. The sweet because she's the first of the nieces & nephews to have waited until marriage to live together and to have completed most of their education. They have a plan for their careers and they are both Christians. The bitter is because there were two key people missing; my mother (her grandmother) and my brother (her father). When she was walked down the aisle, her mother walked on one side and her older brother on the other. Though I was said and teary, I had to admire how the family has stayed so close and loving with each other through all the hard times. The beauty of the moment was in both the bitter and the sweet parts coming together.

Here's my immediate family; brothers, sisters and their children and their children. One niece and her family is missing. There are about 30 now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Log Cabin - Done!



Finished yesterday afternoon at Silver Creek Cabin. Got all the ends hemmed in. I'm not sure if I really like the finished results, wish I had had more time to make the bottom blocks longer. Oh well, it's finished. If they don't like it, it's always good for that couch throw or the guest room. the wedding is today.

I did an I-cord border instead of what they recommended in the book.

I also did not bind off my stitches, I kept them all "live" on holders or long circus. This saved a bit of time and also made it easier to "pick up" stitches for the I-cord border.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Whirlwind Weeked...Over!

I am doing much better than my last blog post. It was interesting because the team that's going to India in February came that night and throughout the weekend, we all shared a huge struggle going on. Each struggle either happened right before or during our time together. We need to pray more for protection and be more aware of the warfare that's going on!



Here's a photo of the whole team together. I think we get along really well and we had a sense of unity as we got to know each other. And now, I'm really looking forward to serving with everyone in India.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't Read This if You're Happy

I feel like having a good try. It's been awhile and I think that it's needed every now and then just to cleanse yourself. But of course, it needs a catalyst.

I've been stressed. We have an orientation weekend starting tonight for the India mission trip. My house isn't that clean on a normal basis so I've spent a week or so deep cleaning. On top of that, I've had to try to figure out what we're doing and where, who is staying with who, in addition to whatever else I have to do during that time. Plus, the Christmas Tea is this weekend and I have to decorate a table with things I didn't have (bought quite a bit), find favors, find time to do it, all for just a few hours on Saturday.

I haven't been sleeping well the last two nights. The first time was when I was up late doing the devotional. Last night I found a stray cat who kept yowling at me through the window to be fed. More about the cat later.

I've been a bad aunt. A few years ago, I was supposed to do a photo quilt for my niece and she gave me a photo of her dad (who passed away) and her dressed up. It's the only photo of them two together dressed up and she's getting married on the 20th and wants the picture. I can't find it and I'm heartbroken. I'm disappointing them majorly and I also feel terrible about taking anything away from her wedding day.

Last night with the girl I'm mentoring did not go ideally. The pizza wasn't good, she didn't like the movie, she went home early.

I've found a lump. Which set off a chain reaction for having to go in to get it looked at (next week Friday). We have new insurance and I couldn't go to the clinic I like, so I had to have records transferred and a new doctor.

My body is weak and tired and shaky, it's hard to do anything. I just want to curl up and do nothing.

I feel like Alexander and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lifeline

I have to give a devotional on Friday for our orientation. Tonight as I was reading through some devotional books, I came across a title of something that sounded interesting. As I read it, my mind jumped to somewhere else and voila, an idea came. Here's what I have so far.


(Lifeline is shown above as the white thread)


Lifeline


Knitting a sweater doesn't seem like a spritual practice, but finishing this one was. The main body of the sweater was fairly easy, it just took time and a lot of yarn. The sleeves knit up quickly and were attached.


I knew by the photos and the pattern that the hardest part, the cables, were coming up next. Not wanting to lose any of the stitches or work that I had already done, I chose to put in a lifeline. A lifeline is a thread that you draw through all the stitches on the needles and keep it there in case you make a mistake and have to rip back. It means that if you mess up badly, all you do is unravel and you can start over. When the piece is finished, you simple take the Lifeline out.

I began the cabling and enjoyed following the chart. Each row of cables took about an hour, they were that intense. After a few rows, I noticed that the cables didn't look like the pictures. I did a few more rows and put some more hours into it but it still didn't help. Frustrated, I threw the sweater down and took a break.

The next day, I ripped the few rows out and started over. Surely I had been reading the chart wrong and just needed to review. After a few rows of more cabling, it was clear that I was still doing it wrong. I threw the sweater down with a little more meaning this time.

A day or so later, I came back to inspect the work. When I turned it over, I saw the cables that should've been on the outside! I had been reading the chart backwards; from left to right instead of right to left. Now, I know that you read charts from right to left but on the instructions it had told me to go from left to right. It never said that after the set-up row, you go from right to left. What they had assumed was common sense to a knitter caused my cables to be on the wrong side of the sweater.

I ripped back to the lifeline, again.

This time, I worked smarter. I made up a swatch, a sample piece and tried the pattern from right to left. Voila! It worked, it looked like the pictures and it was lovely. I began again for the third time on the cable pattern.

The cables begin to form beneath my fingers. By this point, I knew the pattern so well that I almost didn't need the charts. Each twist and swoop of the cable was exciting to watch as it formed into a recognizable pattern. All too soon it was over and I only had the rest of the neck to knit and more mindless knitting. The next week, I was wearing the sweater.

The spiritual practice was in the lifeline. Just like life, you sail along with God and make beautiful stitches together. They are perfectly functional, if a little mundane. This is sometimes what everday life can be. But you know that around the corner, there's going to be some complicated happenings. Instead of hoping that everything will go fine on the first try and risking losing somef of the foundation of work you've put in, I planned ahead with the Lifeline.

I threaded my faith though it so that if I judged wrongly, misunderstood or even if someone else's instructions to me were wrong or misleading, I could fall back on my faith and measure my progress again from there.

The true lesson for me is not that I could pat my back and say "good job" for thinking ahead and adding the Lifeline right before the complicated part. The lesson is that I should be putting in Lifelines of faith more often. Who knows when an unexpected event may occur? Faith should be threaded throughout my life more often. Just like a Lifeline, it takes time and planning to put one in. But with practice, pretty soon it'll become like just another habit. When that happens, I'll be ready for anything unexpected.

Manchester Jacket Slog-Along




When I started the Sayuri, I wanted a mindless project. When I started the Manchester, I just liked it and I had the right yarn in my stash. I had forgotten to think about if it was interesting or not. It's not really but I'm slogging along.

Here's the two fronts together with the knit on I-cord border. I'm having to knit an extra row about every time because the yarn has no twist and consequently, no stretch. The yarn is not very forgiving.

But I had to put it aside to crack down on Hannah's wedding blanket. It's due in less than 19 days!!!