The Silence of Stitches


It isn’t often that I am alone in our house. On top of that, to be alone and sitting down with feet propped up, knitting in hand. I know you may think I get to do this a lot. But the thing that is so very delicious right now is the


Oh how I crave silence. That deep, rich silence, punctuated only by the tick of a mantel clock and the click of knitting needles. I marvel at it. I revel in the silence as one who slowly twirls in falling snow reaching out the tongue to taste it. It’s that kind of silence…snow silence…albeit with an air-conditioner running in the house.

This silence seems to seep into my body…shoulders relax, brow unfurls, weary thoughts abed, breathing slows. Only the automatic movement of hand and fingers belie the stillness infusing my mind and body. I drink in the restorative properties of silence.

Silence with reading is not true silence for me. My mind is still taking in words and words are not quiet. Silence with someone else in the room is not true silence for me either. My energy is still tied to them. Silence with my eyes closed is good for a few minutes, but if it’s late in the day, like it is now, I’m asleep in the span of 2 minutes, head lolling about as I sit on the couch.

But silence and knitting is perfection. The no-thought activity of my hands keeps me awake to the silence, alert in its presence, and almost seems to allow the silence to be knitted into the fabric of my mind and heart.

Knitting and crocheting is wonderful with friends. It’s terrific while waiting at soccer practices, the pick-up line at school and while riding in the car. But knitting or crocheting in absolute silence is a delectable treat you must allow yourself from time to time.

No. Check that. It needs to be quite often!


The Goodness of Stitches


I do believe, I might be content to just make stitches. Random stitches, crocheted or knitted, or embroidered. Any kind. Any way. With any fiber.

I love making them. I love looking at them. Garter stitch. Stockinette. Cables. Singles. Doubles. Triples. V-stitch. Shell stitch. Bullions. Clusters. Yarn overs. On and on…stitches are a delight.

But when I translate that to life, the minute, small, insignificant stitches of everyday living, I don’t know that I appreciate them as much. Knitting and crocheting reminds me to revel in the ordinary stitches of living just as I do in stitching with yarn.


If, in addition to ‘just making stitches’, I can work them into something, anything…well, that’s even more fun. Shawls. Socks. Sweaters. Washcloths. Booties. Hats. Wraps. Vests. Bowls. Baskets. It seems a little silly to be so fond of making things with just stitches.

But when they can be wrangled into a picture, an image, a something to hang on the wall or sew into a pillow, well, that’s just the cherry on top! Icing on the cake. I recently made six little freeform crochet “paintings” and was reminded how good and wonderful stitches are.

In life, the key is to trust that all the stitches are adding up to something! I may not be able to see what it is in the moment, nor in a month or year from now, but I can be confident that the slow everyday making of stitches will produce something worthwhile. Perhaps my life will be a basket to hold beautiful things. Maybe it will be a shawl to comfort others. I’m hoping it will be a lovely picture of the grace of God.


I’m not sure that anyone else, other than fiber folk, can understand this love for stitches. Stitches are comforting, rhythmic, soothing, soft. They are also bold, daring, confident and reassuring. How does all this get into stitches you say? Well…you just have to try it. And for those of you who know what I mean, here’s to a day full of stitch making! Or even a few minutes of your day!

May the goodness of stitches carry you through your day!


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The Fault in our Counting


I haven’t been aware that I count stuff, but lately the realization that counting is a regular and frequent activity of mine, has been cause for pause. Why do I count and what does it all add up to?

As a knitter/crocheter, counting offers a sense of safety, confidence, security and well-being. You may feel this is overstated a bit. But it is true that when my stitch count matches that of the pattern, a sense that all must surely be well is won. Take socks: 64 stitches for an average adult size sock is the magic number to cast on, to knit for round after round, and even return to after a crazy jaunt around the heel. Even the half and quarter numbers, 32 and 16, provide that feel of security and confidence when you’ve slipped and knitted your way up the heel flap. Count…count…count again and if your numbers are right, you’re safe in moving forward, shoulders can be lowered, and that sense of ease and well-being returns. I’m totally serious when I say that this is precisely what I do in life as well as in knitting. I count. And if the counting adds up, I feel that same sense of well-being and safety.

I probably count many of the same things others count – dollars in my bank account, hours/minutes on the clock, speed on the odometer, number of snacks in the pantry, how much food is in the fridge, miles I walked for exercise, servings of veggies and fruit in a day, hours of sleep, etc.


But I also count things that many might not – carbs for my T1D daughter as well as how many blood sugar highs and lows she has in a day, how many ostomy bags I have left before I need to order more, number of students in my classes, number of paintings/drawings of any worth or value for an art show, and how many fiber projects I have begun and are still in a state of incompletion.

The thing about all this counting is not so much that I count, or that I keep a running tally. The issue at hand is what meaning I’m attaching to the numbers once I’ve counted.

Every now and then, a knitting/crochet student will declare something about their personality, character, or mental ability when their stitch count has gone awry. “I’ll never get this right!” “I’m just not creative!” “I don’t have what it takes for this!” “I’m just not cut out for this kind of detail!” “I’m an old dog who can’t learn new tricks!” I gently remind them that the wayward stitch (or stitches) has absolutely no bearing on their character or abilities. Finding 63 stitches on your needles instead of 64 doesn’t mean you’re a dumb person nor that you are incapable of knitting. It simply means that a stitch has been lost somehow and it can be found fairly easily and fixed in a few different ways. Would that I’d listen to my own instruction as I’m counting the rest of my life. 

Maybe its being 51, that strange crossroads of life where counting and taking stock seems to be a turnstile we all march through on the way to our mature years. Maybe it’s watching my children grow up, go to college, get married and begin their adult lives that has me assessing the many years of parenting, looking for and trying to count something I might have to show for all those years. Same with years of making art, writing, knitting and crocheting. Is there anything in my life quantifiable? Countable? Verifiable? It certainly isn’t in the bank account. And it isn’t in medals or awards on the mantel (not that I would even display them there if I had them).


What we choose to count AND the meaning we attach to it can drive us crazy, hurl us into sadness or even depression. I’m learning that there’s something flawed with my counting. I need to take care not to stitch up meaning in the counting. I need to focus more on process, not on product. Yes. Helpful. But I woke up this morning with these words, more helpful words, running through my mind:

“The only thing that counts is faith

expressing itself in love.”

Ahhhh…..yes, this is solid. Even though I’m sure I could twist and mar the meaning of this verse by trying to count the times I’ve had “a faith that expressed itself in love”, I do recognize that this is NOT what the verse is saying here. Faith is the point. Being certain of things we cannot see or count. Living full and rich lives without counting our wallets as the determiner of that richness. Faith to believe that even if whatever we’re counting doesn’t add up, that we are loved just for who we are and not because we’ve got 64 stitches on our sock needles or for any other of our quantifiable assets. And to express the love we have received to others in whatever ways we can find, whether they are countable or not.

Faith and love…unquantifiable, uncountable… that’s where I’d like to live today and tomorrow and the rest of my days.

Even in my knitting. 🙂

The Calm…


…before the Wedding!

It’s here!

The quiet lull before everything unfolds.

The space between all the flurry of preparation and the next two days of wedding-filled activities.


To be sure, there are many, many details to walk through in the next 48 hours. The details are all mapped out. Every actor and stage-hand knows their part. Well, mostly. The mother-of-the-bride still isn’t certain how it will all go, whether she has thought of everything, or if she will remember all her lines duties. But I have a lot of help. A lot!!


I am often skeptical of the phrase “God will not give you more than you can handle.” I’m not skeptical of the Scriptures, but rather of my ability to understand its meaning. I’m not certain that this is even the correct wording to I Corinthians 10:13. Nevertheless, I am still learning, with alarming freshness, that God does indeed give me more than I can handle so that I will implore Him for aid, and invite/allow others to help me. Putting together a large wedding with an outdoor reception is a feat of making beyond my capabilities and talents. I sit here in this quiet space full of gratitude for ALL the help, both divine and human, that I have received and will marvel at all weekend long.


There truly has been a ton of making! Oh my…so very much! Catherine and I have been little cyclones of creativity for months now, but especially in these last four weeks since she graduated from college. A monogrammed handkerchief for the bride, bouquets & boutonnieres, a mother-of-the-bride dress, a dance-floor chandelier, a knitted shawl for the rehearsal, and a lovely beaded wire headpiece the bride has made for her hair. All of this and more has been lovingly crafted in the weeks leading up to this calm space. I haven’t been able to process all that has transpired and I’m sure the next two days will provide even more for me to contemplate and sort through once the dust settles from this lovely storm called A Wedding.


But for now, just let me sit here.

A few moments longer.

In the quiet.

Breathing. Marveling.

Gathering myself for the Grand Festivities. 🙂

A Secret Society



I am now a member of a Secret Society. Yep. Never done anything like this before. But the enticements were just too good to pass up, the membership dues oh so affordable. I can’t wait until June 9th! I’m gathering my wool for the first mystery pattern and in anticipation, I have begun knitting this designer’s Spindrift Shawl. Simple elegance. Easy on the brain. Cotton yarn I had in my stash. Perfect for a frazzled mother-of-the-bride who is STILL working on her dress for the upcoming wedding of her first born.


But as I crochet, knit, and embroider, I’ve been thinking about the broader secret society of knitters. When I use the word “knitter”, I often mean anyone who makes things with their hands and string: knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, embroidery. I categorize all this under that word “knitter”. I should perhaps use a different word, like Stitcher, Handwork Artist, Maker, or some such to be more inclusive. Within each of these categories is a delightful following of avid creative folks who, when they meet someone else who stitches as they do, feels an immediate camaraderie. “You too?” is whispered inside us as we share current projects.  A connection is formed, as if the yarn (thread, or embroidery floss) has k2togged the two people together. That’s what it’s like to be part of this not so secret society of stitchers. Our lives, work, and background may be oh so different, but we are bound together by our common love of making things with a bit of string.

I often have strange occurrences when I run errands and especially as I grocery shop. I will pass by someone shopping and something about their air, manner, or vibe makes me think…”I wonder if she is a knitter?” Or, “I wonder if she is wanting to learn to knit or crochet?” Do they have a number on their forehead? A letter on their chest? A secret handshake or something? No, I don’t think so. I’ve even had  crazy urges to outright ask a total stranger if they knit or crochet and then if the answer is no, to ask if they’d like to learn and to offer to teach them! On other occasions, I’ll think to myself…she really needs to knit! It would help her so much. :O Perhaps this isn’t a sign of a secret society so much as a yarn enthusiast turned evangelist! Anyway…

If you’re wondering about the Secret Society I referred to in the first paragraph, here’s the Secret Link to more information about it. It is definitely for Knitters, the kind who use two needles. And the early-bird membership sign-up goes until June 9th I believe. Whatever brand of stitchwork you enjoy, I hope you are able to find others of like mind. Start or join a “secret” group who stitches together! If you are local to where I live, there’s one in Kernersville that meets at Eclection on Mondays from 6-8 pm. In Winston-Salem, there’s one that meets on Friday afternoons at my favorite LYS, Knit One Smock Too.

Join the Secret Society of Stitchers and…


Tell everyone about it!!! 🙂

Tedium & Beauty


A thought kept popping into my head:

“Golly this is tedious!”

Even though I was absorbed in the tiny stitches, the small bits of fabric, the sewing it all together…it nevertheless felt very fiddly and tedious. The amount of time it took to create this 2 1/2″ bit of beauty was, well….staggering!

And then it hit me:

Beauty is often wrought in tedium.

Handwork lovers of all kinds know this. Any who knit, crochet, embroider, quilt, smock, tat, etc…we know that something beautiful will result from the hours of tedium in intricate stitches.

Now if I can just remember this about life, I’ll be better off. So much of life can also feel tedious and fiddly. This week I’ve been reminding myself, when that “this is tedious!” thought crosses my mind – Beauty is afoot!

Where there’s tedium…there is beauty!

Wishing you a day of finding beauty in the tedium of your life.


My skin-to-be-comfortable-in for my daughter’s upcoming wedding is progressing. I’m pleased thus far. Still more to go. But I haven’t had to rip anything out lately. Thankfully.

Hard & Soft


It’s all here in my lap. A picture of life. A metaphor for living in this world. Of how it all works. Of what is needed to knit a life.

You need hard AND soft. Hook and yarn. Needles and fiber.

In early adult years I have lived hard – highly disciplined, rigid, independent, aloof, unbending. In my middle years I’ve grown soft – less confident, more scattered, empathic, slower, more prone to watery eyes.

I describe these two as polar opposites and as if they are both negative in certain ways. They certainly can be if not held together with its seemingly opposite twin. What I’m realizing is that both hard and soft are necessary for knitting a beautiful life. One needs to be firm and focused on the present moment with a razor sharp determination to plow through. While also being open-hearted, receptive, pliable and bendable. Watching what happens as I knit or crochet teaches me the delicate and intricate dance between hard and soft. The end result is one of beauty.

Hardness in one’s life doesn’t have to be rigid and unbending even though knitting needles and crochet hooks are. There is goodness in determination, in holding to truth in the uncertainty of life, in an ability to tilt up or down, lift or loop, drop, transfer, pick up and above all, an ability to stay strong while wrapped in numerous kinds of fibers situations.

Being soft doesn’t have to mean limp, loose, or lazy in life. It means being pliable, bendable, loopy, willing to drape, curl, cross-over and be bound off and together with others. Being soft also means there are times when you feel fuzzy and frayed, slick and shiny, bumpy and lumpy, just like the various fibers we love.

  Wisdom is required to understand when to be firm and when to be fluid. How to be focused while also open. How to lovingly hold our ground and maintain boundaries. And how to be unswerving and unbending in our desire to love and be kind to others.

Hard and soft, held together, working together, dancing together in this knitted life.

I’m still learning.