Walking in the World

Monthly Archives: February 2017

Unravel 2017

I can’t let February slip away without sharing one of the highlights of my month, a knitting show that left my heart soaring and my fingers itching with creative energy. My most knitterly of friends, Emma Anderson, and I drove around London to Farnham Maltings to attend Unravel 2017 as a joint celebration of our February birthdays and our shared passion for knitting. Oh my! It was pure magic from the moment we drove into town…

As knitters, we were well-welcomed; the charming venue oozed with character and good taste, and artistry and humour were apparent everywhere you looked:

Just beyond the entryway lined with beach huts, there was a delightful knitted aviary where most of the pieces were available in a silent auction with the proceeds going to charity – a reaffirming of my growing awareness of the good that can grow out of a dedicated knitting practice.

I even found something for Jeff, but my budget didn’t quite stretch to purchasing this lovely sequined lobster by Kate Jenkins – although it would have been worth every penny! I enjoyed her entire exhibition in the Long Kiln Gallery, which you can experience here.

There was a nicely curated schedule of classes and workshops and presentations, but we only attended one, the taping of an interview with Nancy Marchant, the Queen Mother of Brioche Knitting, for a Pom Pom Quarterly podcast (which you can download here).

As it was my birthday weekend, the great marketplace that held the greatest allure. The delight for me was that these were small independent artists/designers/dyers/entrepreneurs – no big name acrylic yarn producers to be found. I have recently decided that life is too short to allow myself to spend time with the squeaky yarns or boring construction techniques that typify the offerings of mass production. To be honest, I have always felt this way, but these wondrous little indies are fairly new to the British knitting scene, and this is the first time I have been to a show like this. (This was the Hill View Farm stall – Natasha offers her lovely hand-dyed wool in different skein sizes to fit our varying pattern demands. An amazing woman, she’s so new to this particular business scene that she was using hand written cards that her daughter had made. To learn about her retreats and the story that lead her to them, click here.)

I was so busy looking and touching that I didn’t manage to get many photos, but I might have found time to purchase a few mementos to keep me knitting until at least this time next year: And who doesn’t need a set of mitten blockers? And a leather ruler bracelet? And stitch markers… consider them essential knitter toys to accompany the scrumptious yarn!

Ten days on and I’m still flying high, still stroking my precious fibres!

28 Feb 2017

First Hints of Spring

Our first crocus of 2017 appeared on my birthday….
Spring IS going to come again!

Fair-handed Spring unbosoms every grace; throws out the snowdrop and the crocus first.
– James Thomson

21 Feb 2017

Pussy Project

Three weeks on and the Women’s March is still reverberating in my psyche. The world has changed, and so have I – my task has been to figure out what that means and how I want to move forward in this crazy world. As is my custom, I’ve used my knitting needles to quiet me enough to be able to hear and make sense of my own thoughts

The protest was a game changer for me, though I don’t think that protesting publicly is necessarily my calling in life. Will I do it again? Absolutely, but with care and discernment. Being in a crowd of that size was exciting and powerful, but it exacted a deep energetic toll from me. I have been grateful for the opportunity to take some time and space to unpack the experience slowly and carefully.

Inviting my needles to punctuate my inner dialogue, I designed and made a pair of socks, knitting them to tell the story of my initiation into activism. I ordered wool to match my pink pussy hat, then added green cuffs and toes to symbolize the rooting and growth of activism. The speckled heels coordinate with a friend’s socks, and remind me of the need to collaborate and build community. The pattern I used is named after Hermione of Harry Potter fame – a modern day hero(ine) who both acknowledges and embodies her magical soul. I can now clothe myself with courage when I need to step out of my comfort zone.

With those socks finished, I turned back to the mini hats I made and wore around my neck when I marched in London on January 21st. Seven hats symbolized seven women who could not join in the march in person. Their presence on my garland supported and encouraged me, and allowed me to include them in the global community of protesters. Let me tell you how that idea was born…

Looking at the Women’s March in London Facebook page the week before the march, I happened to see a sweet post by a woman who wished the marchers well, but who couldn’t attend in person. Spontaneously, I offered to take her name with me, an offer she gladly accepted. At the same time, a few other women asked me to walk in their names as well. So, I did what I do… I got out my knitting needles, enlisted a knitterly friend, and we made a miniature pussy hat for each woman. We then crocheted them all together, interspersed with hearts from my 60th birthday art project, thus anchoring those women into the fabric of my life. For that day, we walked together in spirit, with our arms around each other as we joined with the MILLIONS of others marching in cities around the world. We walked as one!

Today I cut up that garland so that I can mail each hat to the woman it represents.  And my new facebook friend? Antonia and I have stayed in touch. An experienced and heart-full protester, she’s given me incredible advice and support before and after the march, and shared some of her poetry with me, along with permission to share it here:

 The Women’s March
by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

A big shout out to all those who rose today
Marching for democracy, for political honesty,
They who, in solidarity, get in fascists’ way
By demanding greater fairness and equality,
Taking to streets and tweets to have their say,
No one should suffer violence, exile, shame
For their gender, faith, love, ability, culture,
Place of beginning, that’s all a blaming game,
While my body stops me from being with you there
Another still conveys me, she holds my name
Written in her pocket, merged with the hope in me,
As you raise your chants and feet again, again, again,
We walk beside you, though our footfalls you won’t see,
Side by side together, folk and cities we can’t name
Linked this day and after, to help deal with what may be
Thousands next to thousands, so many now awake,
No time to be demure now, time to write our herstory
For dignity, survival and for our shared future’s sake.

13 Feb 2017

Behind the Scenes

We were out early Tuesday morning, before any sunlight made its way into the churchyard in Rayleigh. Cold, but appropriately wintry. Despite the chill, it was nice to take a bit of a detour so we could walk through the familiar old churchyard. For the first time this year, I was really aware of the light that morning. By the time I woke up, the sky was already beginning to lighten. The earth is stirring… as am I.

We’ve accomplished a long-time dream this week and launched the Labyrinthos Blog – a site specifically focused on the incredible labyrinth-themed information, photos and archive items that that cross our desks here in Labyrinthos HQ. We’ve been working long hours in our back-to-back desk chairs, clicking on our keyboards, cursing at our frustrations, but generally enjoying the experience of seeing some plans come together. In addition to my work on the Labyrinthos Blog website, Jeff is giving the official Labyrinthos website a complete overhaul, which is, of course, a painstakingly tedious task. It feels vitally important to be bringing our online presence into line with modern technology. We have so many wonderful things in our tiny little office that we want to share!

I have finally gotten some clarity on how my three websites/blogs can work together. Up to now, I have subscribed to a my-blog-my-rules philosophy, and have put authentic expression above clarity for my readers- a writing style that has been incredibly rewarding for me, but perhaps a little confusing to search engines and some readers. In my head, however, I’ve been been playing with new ideas for organizing and presenting my eclectic interests and passions – and I finally have a plan! Walking in the World will continue to showcase daily (quotidien) life, discussing whatever I find as I explore the world around me. Sometimes that will be my local community, the stuff of the Backyard Pilgrim, and other times it will give you an inside look at the amazing places we go as part of our labyrinth work. Eclectic, spontaneous, spiritual in an earthy and grounded sort of way. Footprints, pilgrimages, and hand-knitted socks. I want to show you my ‘Quotiediens’ as well as my ‘Cathedral Moments,’ and introduce you to the amazing people I meet along the way. I’m not even going to try to post every day, but I promise you some good stories, told from the heart and hopefully some good companionship.

My other website, Ariadne’s Thread, has been patiently waiting in the background for the past two years while I’ve focused on Walking in the World, but Ariadne’s stirring restlessly now, and I’m sensing a major change for that blog. I’m not going to give away the surprise, but watch this space in the coming weeks!

All three blogs/sites will have different email notification lists, so please have a good browse and sign up for the posts that you want to receive. Naturally I hope you’ll opt for all three – of course I do! But whatever you choose, thanks for joining me on the Path.

09 Feb 2017

Tribal Voice 2

My original post was hacked but they can’t silence me! My wonderful web host has determined that there is no malware anywhere on my site and helped me tighten my security. Apologies to those who are receiving this post by email for a second time.

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This pretty much sums up how I’m feeling today, 24 hours after The March.

I will admit it wasn’t an easy thing for me to do; I’m an introvert and usually try to avoid crowds at all costs. But there comes a time when it is necessary to put aside personal comfort and preference and dive into the world. That day was yesterday. And something pretty amazing happened, personally as well as collectively. I found my tribe.

I have community all around me in my daily life, both in my local village and online, so it’s not just that. Yesterday I belonged. I blended in with a larger whole, without ever losing my own identity or voice. Most of you would never suspect how often I feel like I don’t quite fit in, don’t quite belong, how I’m never sure if who I am is enough. Yesterday, marching through London amongst that great sea of humanity, I came home to roost within my own being.

pussy-hats

Today, as I consider how best to move forward after the exhilaration of yesterday, I have a new freedom, a freedom to speak what I feel from where I am right now. Oh, believe me, there were people who were more protest-savvy than me, people who were wittier and more articulate than I will ever be. But no one else can speak for me, no one else comes from quite my experience or perspective. My voice is my own, and it can sing in concert with the vast sea of people who are working to make the world a better place.

Photo credit: Emma Lynne Anderson

This morning I wrote letters to the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, things I’ve never done before. And then I compiled a list of Trump affiliated businesses to boycott. Starting out as I mean to go on!

(Not all the photos on this post are mine. There are so many going around on social media, that I grabbed a few without knowing who to credit. Thank you to the many marchers who shared their images and enthusiasm!)

04 Feb 2017

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