Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PBP KAL – Social Knitwork Scarf Update

BEM copyright - PBP KAL
My first attempt to get people to assist me with this summer KAL (Knit-Along) project seems to demonstrate my poor ability to communicate.  As I wrote before, a KAL is when a group gets together to work on a common project.  This case we are all working on the Social Knitwork Scarf at different levels (i.e., those who are knitting and those who are contributing colors). 
The PBP KAL is to show how art/crafts connect with our spiritual selves.  By giving the scarf away, you create art with meaning that can make a difference in the greater good.  It is my belief that this act of generosity and expression of kindness is a living example of what Buddha stated: “no true spiritual life is possible without a generous heart. . . . Generosity allies itself with an inner feeling of abundance — the feeling that we have enough to share" (Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness).  The KAL also supports what Matthew Fox wrote about in Sins of the Spirit, Blessing of the Flesh: "Generosity is about giving without a guaranteed return — it is about the 'giveaway.' I believe that the true moral path of the twenty-first century will be very different from the path of the modern era because it will be marked by generosity."
Facts about this project:
  1. I’m doing the knitting.  You do not have to learn to knit.
  2. This scarf I am knitting is going to my charity of choice – Cat Welfare 
  3. Below is the pattern that is being created by my friends and family and possibly you.  We are connecting together to help orphan cats.  
  4. You can participate in this KAL in two ways.  a) You can be the next person to pick a row color for me to knit and tell me why you chose that color; or b) You can choose to knit a scarf yourself by choosing who you’ll be giving it to, by choosing your own four colors of yarn and by asking your friends, family and hopefully me to help with your design.
The design for my scarf so far:  Cast on with first color (green).  Knit down and back with the colors in purple.  Begin the purple colors again and add those in white. 

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Color of Nature, Grounding



Everyone should learn to have fun being themselves


Coral 1

Because it is pretty



For the ocean water of life



For plant life


Natural 2

Black like the depths of my soul &with specks of gold-- the light reflecting off the dust of my mind.



You know green has always been my color



Weird, I was going to say green how about blue



Blue is the color of your eyes



Red is still my favorite color



Blue, because it always makes me smile



Aqua like the sea



My favorite color



I love the color of coral, perfect for a hot day



Oxford blue is what I’ll pick



Teal and turquois are my color



Lavender is a healing color



Cause I like the green one



70% of the world is blue



It is beautiful



Because this has been used the least – fewest repetitions

1. Purple reassigned to Coral

2. Mixed colors reassigned to Natural

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rice Experiment Day 14

I was struck by the sermon today about hope. Specifically, when the minister was describing the loss of hope as having dried bones - a spirit that is shrived away and all that is left is the bones.

It made me think of the I Hate You jar. I've been describing it as a dried shakable mass this last week. I shook it this afternoon and thought: If a person is called names, excluded and punched upon, at what point does this person loose hope?  At what point does their spirit shrivel away?

The mold growth continues in the Control Jar.  The I Hate You is dried and shakable.  The I Love You jar - fluffy like it was when I put it into the jar.

Friday, May 25, 2012

PBP KAL – The Social Knitwork Scarf Knit-Along

What color should I knit next?  Let me know.

What the heck is a Knit-Along?
A Knit-Along or KAL for short is any event where people get together and knit for a common purpose. 

PBP KAL Social Knitwork Scarf
Here is how the PBP Knit-Along will work.  The project I picked for the PBP summer Knit-Along is called the Social Knitwork Scarf.  The pattern can be found from Leafcutter Designs.  It is an easy pattern for those with beginner skills: cast on, knit, cast off.  For those who would like to learn how to knit through this KAL I have references below to youtube videos to get you started.

Lea from Leafcutter Designs describes this scarf as a playful way to connect your knitting life with your social life.  It is a way to involve your friends, family, and acquaintances met on PBP.  Each person’s scarf will be unique.  You will be asking folks to pick a color and tell you why.  The rows of the scarf are knitted from the responses you receive.  The pattern encourages you to use your social networks for responses.

The common purpose of this project is – you are to give it away.  My completed scarf will be donated to a sale for Cat Welfare. 

History of Knitting

No one knows when the first yarn was cast onto needles.  The oldest evidence of knitting in its present form on two sticks is a “Coptic sock” from Egypt dating around 4-5th Centuries CE.  The Oxford dictionary states “to knit” was introduced into the English language around the 1400.  Compared to weaving, knitting is considered a new invention. 

In the Goddess tradition, there are a lot of references to spinning and weaving but not to knitting.  My first thought that knitting could have a place in the pagan tradition came from a novel I read in high school about WWII that was loosely based on the story of Osiris.  To seal the fate of the prince, three women, reminding me a lot of the three Fates came to knit a spell for England to be saved.  The three women gathered around a fireplace and knitted away.  The prince died and England was saved.

Knitting as a Spiritual Practice

I use knitting as a spiritual practice.  It becomes this when I create a purpose for my project.  In the case of the PBP KAL its purpose is to meet people and help orphan cats in Central Ohio.  This project, like most of my projects that I donate uses only one stitch.  Unique to this project, I have no idea what the scarf will look like – it is all based on faith.  I know that I will be casting on 32 stitches and there will be rows knitted in one of 4 colors and that my social network will choose the colors that I will knit, but I don’t know what it will look like in the end. 

When I knit I am put into another space.  As Thomas Merton suggests, it is another way for me to hear my true self talk or my belief Motherfather Spirit.  It shuts up the monkey brain chatter with an activity that is slow and deliberate and focused on one stitch at a time.

Like other contemplative knitters, I sometimes like to use a mantra or chant.  When I do this somehow the rhythm of the knitting matches the chant.  Again, this helps me to slow down and put things into perspective. 

Chants I like:

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (Hail, Peace, Peace, Peace)

Be still and know that I am God

My favorite is a portion of the Navajo’s Beauty Way

With Beauty before me may I walk
With Beauty behind me may I walk
With Beauty below me may I walk
With Beauty above me may I walk
With Beauty all around me may I walk…..


Join the PBP KAL and let me know - please feel free to post on my blog about how it is going.  Show pictures.

Pick a color for me to knit.  And, tell me why you picked that color.

Yarn I’m using: Naturally Caron.com Joy! Colors – Aquatica, Cerise, Kiwi, Naturally.  I am also changing my needle to a size 5 to get the gauge. 

Beginner resources:

Also note:  Every independent knitting shop has very helpful people.  I have brought in my free directions and they have helped me out.  This is what knitters do.

Rice Experiment Day 12

I have been thinking about the Control jar with its mold growth all day. 
  1. The Control jar has not been picked up and talked to during these last two weeks. 
  2. It has been left alone on my buffet while the I Hate You jar and the I Love You jar have had attention delivered to them both verbally and by being picked up.  (Though I don't think I'd like to have the I Hate You's type of attention.)
As a content expert in violence prevention the first thing that came to my mind is the condition “failure to thrive.”  Could the Control jar be exhibiting the effect of “failure to thrive” or feel unwanted?
“Failure to thrive” is a medical condition used by the medical and mental health community that describes when an infant/child fails to grow or gain weight.  Three of the main causes is the lack of touch, stimulation or consistent loving care.  What the research shows is that without these three things, the child loses the motivation to eat.  The condition has been equated to an adult who becomes depress and loses the desire to eat.  To on-lookers, they appear to give up on living.  These infants/children due to lack of nourishment are also more prone to infection and parasites. 

Observed Status of the 3 - no changes from yesterday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rice Experiment 10 & 11

The Control jar is still growing it's mold.  (See picture below).  The I Hate You now looks like it has a black dot and has moving piece.  I Love you?  Nothing.  Also - it really doesn't show they are still the same color as they started out. 

BEM copyright

BEM Copyright

BEM Copyright
Tonight's love songs.... We're in this love together - Whenever I hear of this I think of my first college love.....  So I didn't marry the guy - but we spent the entire summer writing back and forth and sharing music - like this one.  Mornin again by Al Jarreau.

So I had the mad feeling to give the the I Hate You Jar yesterday.  Sometimes I wonder about people.  Why do they say the things they do - why don't they have empathy for others.

Someone commented on how I garden - and so my front yard garden isn't in the prestine order.  Why?  I work full time and I'm a mom with two kids in sports and I just finished planting a 20'x19' garden of veggies.  So I took it out on the jar. 

Then all I could think of - really I am allowing this person to dig into my heart and enables me to put out bad energy.  So I told the jar off and said I'm done with this. 

Then I had empathy for the person who said it - they are in pain and not aging with grace and not able to remember when they were parents of teens and worked full time.  And, I gave it over to Motherfather spirit.  Why?  I told myself really - really - after 49 years you are going to let events like this drag you down and consume your mind?

It's done and wow that was fast only 24 hours. 

Peace out.....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rice Experiment Day 8 & 9

Unbelievable the Control jar has black mold growing - it wasn't there last night.  It is about the size of a dime.  I Hate you jar a solid clump that is shakable.  The I Love you jar still the same until the cat knocked it over and a small piece is moveable.

Tonight’s love songs to the I love you - some Cole Porter - Your the top and You do something to me...
The I hate you jar got a piece of my mind.  The 8th grade bully in the middle school who was given a leadership position over my 7th grade son and called him choice words about his disability..... and his parents who model this behavior to him -they are a piece of work.  They are bullying an autistic child who is part of their son's group for the 8th grade trip.  They don't want the autistic child to be in their son's group because of the disability and how he acts differently.  Piece of work - I say.  And, if the school allows the parents to get their way - well the bullies wins.  X$#@ to the I hate you jar.   
And, I will speak my mind.  I will speak my mind if this happen.  Green Dot baby - Green Dot.....

Monday, May 21, 2012

Update Garden and Rice Experiment

We finally have all the veggies in at the community garden.  The only thing left is mulching.  It really feels good to be done with planting.  Hoping for rain now.  We haven't had any since last Sunday. 

Rice Experiment 6&7

The I hate you jar has turned into a dried lump.  If you shake it up it thumps back and forth in the jar.  The I love you and Control - unmovable  and looks like how I put them into the jar last week. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Journalogues - GPS of the soul

Nettie Morse
A Nettieism "When life seems to be full of obstacles that block you from getting what you want; try not resisting, get out of the conflict, think and be solution oriented, act on good thoughts, there is no blame or judgement coming from you just positive energy thoughts." - Nettie Morse

Several people who had a mark on who I am journeyed on to summerland this week.  There was Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), Jean Craighead George (Julie of the Wolves), Walter Wink (peacemaker), Donna Summers (a singer I danced to in high school and college), and my first creative writing instructor Nettie Morse. 

Nettie taught a Sunday afternoon journaling class at Sage Sisters.  She was animate that all people are creative.  She felt many people thought they had to have a painting hanging in a museum or be listed on the NY Times Best Sellers to be creative.  As she explained it each week, creativity comes in all shapes and forms.  One could be creative by trying out a new recipe, planting a vegetable garden or solving a problem at work that danced around the office politics.  It was showing up daily and using your “God-given” talents to help humanity that was being creative.

Nettie was also a firm believer in journaling.  She came from the Julia Cameron camp with her own spin.  She believed that journals were actually journalogues for the soul.  Nettie felt they were comparable to travelogues.  Instead of describing your vacation trip to Europe or in the case of Che Guevara’s a trip down the west coast North and South Americas (The Motorcycle Diaries), a journalogue  the writer describes their soul’s experience on the road of life.  A journaloges intent is to act as a GPS devise and help monitor where your soul is.

What I have learned from her, journalogues are a self reflective or contemplative process.  They are a safe place to exam what is really going on in my life.  They are a place to ask tough questions of myself: why haven't I finished.... or why did I sound like my mother yelling at my son...  or a place I can dump everything that is on my mind that I would never say out loud.  And, they are a place where I can begin again allowing Motherfather Spirit to take charge again.  They are a place to discover new possibilities in my life - often leading me down a path that is true to my soul's song.

Nettie Journal Activities

The God’s Message through the Red Pen.
Journal or blank pages
Red Pen
Blue Pen

Be in a quiet space and ground yourself.  Using the blue pen begin writing all your problems or unsolved issues onto the page.  Next, pick up the red pen and listen to your inner voice tell you how you should solve this.  Begin a dialogue between the blue pen personality and the red pen personality.

Name your Different Voices
Nettie had us name the different characters within us:  Doubting Susie, Wild Annie, Scared Lucy.  She would have us write out dialogues with these characters. 

Eg:  Doubting Susie:  I don’t think you should do this, you aren’t going to make it.

Myself:  And why do you think that way?

Doubting Susie:  Because, you have heard what people think.

Myself:  How do people think?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rice Experiment Day 5

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Take time to think on this law and then take action on it. As you put it into practice, you will find all selfishness and selfconcern will disappear, and your love for your fellow human beings will take first place. It is when you are thinking and living for others that you find true freedom and happiness. When you are in that raised state of consciousness anything can happen, for life can flow freely without any obstructions. Refuse to see obstruction; see only opportunities. When you are wrong, set yourself right, and learn from everything. There is an answer to every problem; seek until you have found it. You need never search in vain, for as you seek diligently for every answer, you will surely find it. But remember, never expect everything to fall into your lap without playing your part and doing what you know must be done. I help those souls who help themselves.  Eileen Caddy's message for the day.

Okay all the more reason to feel sorry for the I hate you jar...  It is very out of step with my spiritual practice.  I think I might have to have my sons do this jar.  I can't be unbiased or objective.

I hate you jar - when shook it is clumps.  The control and the I love you - fluffy rice that isn't able to shake into pieces like the I hate you.  None as of today have any growth.

My son was able to think of a person who he doesn't like and whisper choice words into the jar.  I tried again - I thought of projects that were a waist of time and resources and needed by people who - well don't know any better.

I played once again "love" music to the I love you jar.  Nothing like La Boheme with Placido Domingo and September by Earth Wind and Fire.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Update Garden and Rice Experiment Day 4

Update on the Community Garden

The head of the community gardens called me back.  He said he listened to my message and did some searching with other community gardens.  He stated he couldn't do anything about the Round-up spraying this year.  However, based on his research he did find that other community gardens around central Ohio have agreements with the gardeners.  He plans on proposing this to the Parks and Recs advisory committee.  I was only concerned with the Round-up, but he brought up the pesticides people use.  (Silently, I was cheering: "No more Sevin Dust").  I told him I would be happy to sign any agreement next year.  I also told him he could add into the agreement that people clean up their wooden and metal poles.  I was concerned with the guy who did the plowing and if one of those metal tomato stakes hit the plow - well it could fly and hurt him. 

I can't believe it - I got more than I ask.  And, I know someone on the Parks and Rec Advisory Committee.  Our sons are in Boy Scouts together and the same grade.  

Rice Experiment Day 4

No changes in any of the jars.  I'm starting to have empathy for the I hate you jar.  Why?  I wouldn't like to have those words said to me. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rice Experiment Day Three

Same as yesterday.  No changes to any of the jars: control, I love you or the I hate you jars.

My son's seventh grade science teacher thinks this is bunk.  Well, I guess we will have to see - right?  He said some choice words into the I hate you jar.  He feels I am not saying it like I mean it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rice Experiment Day 2

Jar "I hate You."  No changes it looks the same as both the control and the "I love you."  Again I am having a hard time yelling at the jar of rice.  I repeat the negative words, but I believe it is lacking the feeling of anger.  I tried searching for a youtube video that was violent.  (I will continue to look)

"I love you."  I played a nice love meditation youtube video.  And, read the words.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Updates: Rice Experiment, Ash and Garden

Copyright BEM Rice Eperiment
Day one of the Rice Experiment

As you can see, I changed how the cards are on top of the jar.  I initially taped them to the side and it really blocked observation.  All three jars have condensation.  I want you to know it was very difficult to put feeling of hate and anger into “I hate you” Jar.  The “I love you jar?”  It was very easy to put this kind of feeling into my words.  There is no sign of any mold or fuzzy growth in any of the jars.

Copyright BEM Rice Experiment


We have most of the vegies in.  I transplanted many volunteers (i.e., plants that grow without me planting).  I dug them up and put them into their assigned square.  You have to have a good eye to see them growing amongst the “weeds” (i.e., crab grass and thistle and burr plants).  Sprouts?  Tomato plants, dill, cilantro and fennel.  I also have dug up several radishes.  I decided to use the sunflowers in my garden for the pole beans – nature’s pole.  I am happy to say that it will save me money at the gardening store. 

I don’t know what is happening around the country.  It appears that the garden stores are using bigger pots rather than the three packs.  I have had to go around to several stores.  Definitely a way to make money, they are selling 3” x 3” for the same amount as a three pack.  The new way you only get one plant unlike the 3 pack.

I called and left a message at the city parks and rec today.  I found out that two community garden renters sprayed their plot with Round-up.  What were these people thinking?  Do they realize that not only did they kill the weeds, but they also killed the good microbes that help the soil?  I really don’t want that stuff plowed into my garden next year.  I’m planning on asking how we can get Round-up banned from the community garden. 


Copyright BEM Ash
My poor Ash, she is infected with the Emerald Bore.  I have posted a picture of how she looks.  Her upper canapé isn’t growing any leaves.  She isn’t alone.  You can see her sisters in my neighborhood.  They look the same.  Good for the woodpeckers, bad for the air quality.  This is an example of the risks of a global economy.  Recapping: cheap products, cheap labor (i.e., lack of living wage with benefits) and invading species that have no competition. 

Copyright BEM Ash

Copyright BEM Ash