Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fair Isle Knit Socks and More

Phew.  Those fair isle socks (only two yarn colors per row, knit intermittently while holding the opposing color in the back of the knitting) are complete.

What with all the self striping sock yarns now available, I doubt if anyone other than an experienced knitter could tell that the technique used in whipping up these socks was indeed "fair isle" knitting.

Alas, one of the women from the Shetland Fair Isle Knitting Guild (link here for information and pictures) (link here for more pictures) (and also here for a knitting workshop blog post) would be able to differentiate and critique this knitting.  They could right away spot my errors.

But I continue working on the technique and do have a bit of prior fair isle knitting under my belt:

(Our Mercy)
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing kit by Sandra Manson and Kate Davies, using all nine shades of 2 ply Shetland Supreme wool yarns from various types of sheep on Shetland) .. kit available here

Now I have the bright idea of trying to create a portion of this picture in fair isle knitting, along with reference help from the Book of Fair Isle Knitting by Alice Starmore. 

Giovanni Battista di Jacopo (Italian Mannerist painter, 1494–1540), known as Rosso Fiorentino (meaning the Red Florentine in Italian) Angel with Lute Madonna dello Spedalingo

If I can graph this out correctly ensuring the shading on the cherub, it should be a year long knitting project taking a lot of patience and many shades of yarn.  Pinterest has some graphing aides, along with Starmore's book.  There are very few Renaissance needlepoint kits with angels, and none that I could unearth on the internet linking angels, Renaissance and knitting.  If you know of any such kits, including needlepoint, please leave me a comment as it would save lots of time to find a kit readily available.

Linking with Ginny's Yarn Along this Wednesday.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Now is the Third Sunday in Advent

One of my favorite Christian authors, Fredrick Buechner, writes of the advent season in a personal manner that sets me pondering on thoughts sometimes outside the usual realm of a spiritual Christmas.  He writes about the ugliness in me (yes, I personalize that ugliness for it is in me, not necessarily in you).

Buechner talks about our faults, our sinful ways, our selfishness, our arrogance.  He has a way of revealing all our human flaws, yet reminding us that God actually loves us.  And that every fault in our beings that is wrong, just wrong, is most certainly known by God.  But He keeps on loving us because grace is there, a present, a real Christmas present, that He gives us just for the asking.

With over thirty books written by Buechner (link here to his website), he has a way of unveiling grace to us, making it alive even in our somewhat sin-disguised and tawdry lives.

Episcopalian Rev. Barbara Taylor Brown said in a speech what fans of Buechner have always believed about his writings:
From you, I have learned that language itself is revelatory, with power to ignite hearts, move mountains, and save lives. 
From you, I have learned that the good news is not the cheerful news but the dismantling news of what it is like both to love and to betray the Holy One who has given me life, only to hear the saving question asked anew, for the umpteenth time, “You, you child of mine, Do you love me?”
This is what Christmas is about: the opening up of God's love to me, even me.  Such a powerful present, and it is there just for the asking.  Imagine.

From Whistling in the Dark:
The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton.
In the silence of a midwinter dusk there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen.
You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff in the air of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you've never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart.
The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.
The Salvation Army Santa Claus clangs his bell. The sidewalks are so crowded you can hardly move. Exhaust fumes are the chief fragrance in the air, and everybody is as bundled up against any sense of what all the fuss is really about as they are bundled up against the windchill factor.
But if you concentrate just for an instant, far off in the deeps of you somewhere you can feel the beating of your heart. For all its madness and lostness, not to mention your own, you can hear the world itself holding its breath.
It is Advent.  I am enjoying my candles, my Mother and Child icons, and perhaps holding my breath, just a little. And opening up that present called "grace".

Join with Angela and others in blogging about Advent.  Here is the link.