A Band of Angels

I once came very close to drowning in a riptide off Miami beach. An angel, or maybe even a band of angels, saved my life.  Let’s go out for a beer and some knitting and I will tell you all about it…an inspiring and lovely story, seeing as how both my dear, dear friend Jennifer and I did make it back to shore safely that day.

That experience intensified my life long love of all things angelic.

Now, I find that experience is informing my craft table…

We had a needle felting class at a recent Knotty night and something in me clicked….the whimsical, Waldorfy mom I used to be when my kids were little, and the new fibermaniac me met for the first time over a really great latte from Wendy and the gals at Cool Beans. Thanks to Barb, Jean, and Vivian for the great tutorial and pointers that night!

Despite my phobia of sharp things, I am not afraid of these insanely sharp and jaggedy and pointy tools required to stab repeatedly at the pretty roving to make it behave (although if I do punch one through a finger I will drive myself to the ER to have them give me a gallon of lidocaine before it is pulled out.)

After making some kitschy Christmas tree ornaments for my first tries at needlefelting, I knew I was loving this new way to create.  I got online and “poked around” on some great needlefelting sites, and watched some great how-to videos.  I found a kindred spirit’s online store and ordered a kit and some wool. I dove into the gift stash that some of my dear mentors at spinning group gave me back in March when I first started spinning and started to play.

I made a cute snowlady, intended as a gift for someone special this holiday season, and then…these images started coming to me, and I have since been totally preoccupied with making these little angels.

The wonderful box from Sage Dream Designs arrived and made it even more fun…great colors, nice wool.

Today was spent letting them come…my favorite so far…this angel looks like it is gestating.


They will all be ornaments for myself and others now this holiday season. I am going to get an even better picture of all of them before I send them off to their new homes.  I have to figure out how best to hang them, so folks can either put them on the tree or hang them anywhere else.

Most of the current knitting projects have been put on hold, partly because of my desparate love/hate relationship with knitting, which I hope to write about someday in an essay entitled, “Love, Hate, Knit, Purl,” and partly because holiday knitting and crafting takes precedence this time of year.

But even IF I still liked knitting, I think I would have to stop it all for a while to see where this band of angels is leading me this time.

I have a problem….

Three UFO's resting

Three UFO's resting comfortably in a nice knitting bag

I love knitting bags.  I love bags, period.  I have a keen interest in bags, and I like them in all shapes, sizes and uses.

I have lots of bags. One of my favorite things in life is finding a new bag…I feel drawn to them, and they to me, and we are always happy, happy, happy when we have found each other.

Because I am a midwife, and a healer, I haul a tremendous amount of crap around with me.  I have to always have ALL my birth supplies ready to go at a moments notice, and I have bags and bags of stuff that has to go to every birth.  AND a birth stool.  Midwives all have a system of organization that helps them to cope with all the stuff…equipment, herbs, forms, gloves, instruments, etc.,…and my form of organization, such as it is, happens to be by putting all my stuff into some very cool bags that I have collected in my travels.

(Did someone mention travel? I adore travel.  You get to go new and glorious places, and you get to take some bags.  The more you travel, the more bags you need, and the more bags you find.  Win/win situation for me.)

I also have a massage table and a huge ball and a bag with sheets and lotions and potions that has to be schlepped along when I have “family days” planned.

I nearly always have a bag with a couple of changes of clothes, some toiletries,  and maybe a sack of granola if I am lucky, for all the just-in-cases that happen in a life like mine.  My kids tease me about the amount of stuff in the car, and they bellyache like crazy when they have to help me move some of ALL these bags of stuff around.

Then, into my life comes knitting. Knitting by its very nature requires that a knitter acquire a certain amount of accoutrement in order to fully enjoy the benefits of knitting.  All that string and all those sticks and all those books and all those patterns and all those wonderful objects d’art must be stored somehow and also be portable at a moment’s notice. Bags are needed. Bags for knitting and bags you knit and bags you get as gifts at stores where you have spent way too much money and bags that you would be willing to part with a kid whole lotta cash for…well, for someone like me, knitting provides ample opportunity and indeed a good reason to have lots of bags.

the problem

The Problem

However, things have gone too far.  I have now eclipsed my own sanity with my latest acquisition, and I am taking a vow to stop.  To fast and to pray. To gaze navelly and breathe some space into my life that is not in a bag. To live more simply, that others may simply live….I could supply a small nation with bags, and if I were a philanthropist with lots of money I would fill those bags with food and clean water and health supplies and a little bit of wool and some needles to make the world a little better place.

In my activist work, and in my daily life, I am deeply committed to living a green life. I live in as eco a house that I can, and I, of course, try to remember to take my own bags to the market or the grocer when I go. I support local agriculture (and knitting stores) and buy almost exclusively organic food, if possible.  I try to eat vegan or vegetarian most of the time and I listen to NPR and I call my senators about everything and I really really care that we keep this Earth a nice place to live for our kids.

I am trying to figure out how to drive less, and I am trying to unlearn the consumerist materialist drivel that I have internalized as a person of my generation.  We are NOT the generation of people who knew how to make do and mend and be frugal, no, folks like me, we were/are part of the go-out-and-spend after watching way too much TV generation.

I now see that my obsession with getting another bag to put stuff in is really just an obession with stuff and that I have to straighten out my relationship to all this crap, and by golly, I am going to start this examination with a moratorium. No more, no more bags. Not for a really long time.  I will use and enjoy and wear out or give away or repurpose all these bags…and I will make this about discipline and conservation and stewardship of the environment and whatever else I have to tell myself in order to stick to it and NOT BUY ANY MORE BAGS!*

*I am consulting with an environmental lawyer to find out if bag swapping or bag making or bag receiving-as-gifts is going to count in my moratorium. I will get back to you on that. Smile.

Snowy Day!

The first snow of the year fell on Centre County this last 24 hours…and it is not over yet.  This is the earliest measurable accumuation of snow since they started keeping track….global climate change, anyone? Because we are high up on Moose Mountain, we get a little more snow than the rest of y’all.  Usually, that is a good thing…but not this time!

Our trees, still full of their colorful leaves, are suffering under the weight of the heavy snow.  We went out last night and again this morning, and took some amazing pictures of the snow, and the cat, and the dog.

MoMo and Miss P adore snow and felt that this was all for them to play in.  I noticed that neither of them helped shovel any of that huge pile off my Jeep!

This first one is out the front of the house, which usually features a view like no other…miles and miles over to the plateau. We cannot see past our lower lane ….

Tractor in the evening snow

Tractor in the evening snow

Here is a picture of how our backyard looked last week.  Mr. Steve had just put down this nice sod, really greening us up a bit, and adding one of the finishing touches to the ole ranch.  See the solar shed in the background?

Last Week's Yard

Last Week's Yard

Now for this week’s yard….

Solar shed in the snow Oct. 16, 2009

Solar shed in the snow Oct. 16, 2009

Snow covering my Jeep this morning!

Snow covering my Jeep this morning!

MoMo and the Mums:

MoMo and the Mums

MoMo and the Mums

Here is the most amazing thing so far today….

Remember the amazing tomato? We have STILL been harvesting some each week, up until now.

Tomato Blossom Oct. 16, 2009

Tomato Blossom Oct. 16, 2009

Poor little 'mato

Poor little 'mato

So, on a day like this, a real snow day…the only thing that really matters is to eat some yummy food and knit.

Knitting. Sit and watch the fire and knit. Sit and watch the snow come down and knit.

Try not to cry when you hear a branch break, and knit.

The handspun purple cable hat, begun

The handspun purple cable hat, begun

I have been on a knitting tear lately, trying to get my first project using my own handspun yarn finished so that I can get a move on to other things.  My friend and mentor, Heidi, gave me the roving a while ago…lovely purple, pink and yellow swirled through a nice BFL roving…not what she was hoping for, but I loved it…I always joke that my middle name is Florida, and these are all my favorite colors together.


This photo shows the colors, and the fact that a lot of extra twist gave this yarn a very artsy-phartsy look.

I began the Felicity scarf from “Mindful Knitting”, and knit on my favorite Lantern Moon needles.

A recent trip to Pittsburgh to visit family gave me just the time I needed to get a lot of knitting in.  While others were canoeing or biking, I sat and enjoyed the breeze and finished the scarf!

knitting in the park in P

I then soaked the scarf…the light was just perfect that September morning…

soaking scarf

And then blocked it, with a little help from a friend.

blocking with momo

Cats and yarn.  Yarn and cats.

momo helping

I’ll soon get a picture of the scarf on, maybe after the weather cools down a little more.

I loved making this scarf so much, that I have already cast on another, knowing that the holidays are just around the corner!

amish garden graduation sept 09 014



This is our lovely, blight-free volunteer tomato…still giving big red fruits well into September! Delicious!

I hope by now you all have heard of singing phenom Susan Boyle….the Scottish woman who has simply taken pop culture by storm.  Appearing on ‘ Britian’s Got Talent’ on Saturday night, she wowed the audience and judges alike with her performance.  If you have not seen it yet, the best video is: Susan Sings.  Take your time, sit back and enjoy this truly amazing moment in television.

I will admit that I frequently check in with Miss Martha, the arbiter of all things stylish. I am so glad I saw this page on her blog: Go enjoy the amazing pictures…it is like a trip to a yarn store without having to leave your own house!


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