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A pattern emerging in chaos

Have you read The Shack by W. P. Young? In the book, the protagonist is shown a huge garden, and he comments on it being a complete mess. Sarayu (who is meant to be the Holy Spirit) says, “To you it seems like a mess, but I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing and alive – a living fractal.”

Hard to imagine now but there was a time when I had a very vague idea what fractals are (to those of you who are friends with sciences, this may sound utterly ignorant – but it’s true!). Ever since reading The Shack, I’ve been fascinated by fractal pictures and the idea of every mess being part of a bigger plan in which it makes perfect sense.

It’s good to see one’s garden from a distance. And to do that, you have to leave the everyday life behind.

I’ll do just that in the beginning of July…

Taize_gaisma

The Garden of Silence in Taizé, southern France

I won’t be there this year, but I’ll be somewhere very, very close.

In a place of peace and belonging.

This is a hope-inspiring thought, indeed.

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Facing the sad truth, and how it doesn’t always help

‘Your blog is getting a bit rusty, isn’t it?’ my husband asked about a week ago. And yes, it is. Or was – since I’m back in my virtual home again 🙂

The main reason for my being so quiet is an extremely boring one: it’s the ordinary everyday life that keeps me busy during the day and leaves me too exhausted in the evenings. Some people have high energy levels but I totally side with Teeps who loves to spend his winter days like this:

Teeps

The fact that I’ve been silent on my blog doesn’t mean I haven’t been knitting. I have, take my word for it – but, as my dear husband observed one night, I have too many projects running at the same time, which means I don’t really get to finish anything. Or, as R puts it, ‘Face the truth: whenever you get stuck with something, you just start something new.’ As much as I hate to admit he’s right – well, I think there’s more than a grain of truth in his observation.

And the thing is: I may know that having several unfinished objects is not right (but then again – is there a knitting police?), but it doesn’t hold me from casting on for Waterlily. And I plan to start a pair of Latvian mittens. All because of this fantastic Latvian mitten workshop that I attended at the end of March.

prep_latvian mitts

It took place at Senā Klēts (if you’re interested in traditional crafts and all things Latvian, it’s really worth a visit), and the teacher was an elderly lady everyone called ‘Mrs Ilze’. It felt like I’ve met a version of Elizabeth Zimmerman who specializes in mittens! Mrs Ilze was amazingly humble claiming that ‘I wouldn’t call myself an expert… but I do know a thing or two about mittens’ – out of the mouth of someone who has knit hundreds of mittens, this sounded almost funny 🙂

bef_workshop_mitt

mitt_row

Surrounded by more than a hundred beautiful mittens, we learned several types of edgings, and here’s one I plan to repeat on my own:

twisted edging

If you are interested in how it’s done, here you go: using colour A, cast on X stitches, do not join, start knitting, knit till the end of row. Turn the work and knit back, using the same colour. (Remember: knit on both sides!) Using colour B, you knit 2 rows. Using colour C, knit 2 rows. Then continue knitting with colour C, but after every 3–4 stitches, turn your left-hand needle clockwise, so that the work gets sort of twisted.

So, a few confessions and a knitting tip later, it’s almost Easter. I think I’ll stop here because we plan to go to an early mass tomorrow, but I hope to be back soon with a progress report on my neglected sweaters (yes, there’s more than one, and a cardigan, too. And to be honest, we must count an unfinished pair of socks as well…).

Happy Easter, dear blog readers!

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And all shall be well

onions2

yarrow_top

tusindfryd

In many ways, this week has been rather difficult, and as someone who is brought up to adhere to the principle ‘work first, pleasure second’ (damn the Protestant work ethic!), I’ve been concentrating on my to-do-list way too much. I’m more than sure that I’m not alone in this, and I guess brother Alois would say something on the lines of “Could we see this as an opportunity for solidarity?” 🙂 And yes, indeed, we could.

Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to live the slower life I dream about, but for the time being I have to manage with daydreaming and simple joys, like treating myself with yarrow tea instead of coffee at work. The idea that summer will come again, and there will be meadows and herbal tea plucking and the very special evening light… yes, that keeps me going. That and some yarn. (And friends. Oh, friends!)

On Friday, I cast on for an Icelandic sweater to my husband. Or, to be precise, a cardigan version of the Riddari sweater. He likes the earth colours and doesn’t want the cardigan to ‘scream’ (I think most men feel the same way – women seem to have much more colour courage!), so this is what it looks like at the moment:

Riddari_Foxy

(Yes, I know, Foxy the Cat is adorable!)

It’s been easy peasy by now – oh, the sweet moment when you start something new and it still has the potential to become a masterpiece! – BUT I’m approaching the moment when everything can go terribly wrong. And as a Master of Awfully Bad Scenarios I really fear it will. I’ll have to join the sleeves to the body and start knitting the yoke. And this is where I’m already stuck with my own Asta Sollilja sweater – the yoke turned out too wide, and then I ran out of yarn, and, well, now that I’ve got the yarn the sweater is still hibernating on the shelf and waiting for better days…

But even if I may feel faint-hearted, I’m about to tackle the sweaters, both of them, and also this new week. And let’s hope dear Julian was right and all shall be well, and ALL shall be well

Courage to all of us! 🙂

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Green… and more

1onions 2tart 3foxy_knit

The first day of February is here, and we are heading towards spring. Slowly, but steadily, I hope, with each day bringing a bit more light. It’s nice to snuggle inside and bake cakes and knit and watch Downton Abbey, but when I think of the endless possibilities that spring brings, my heart just starts beating faster. Indeed, when you’ve spent weeks without seeing the sun, it’s not hard to understand the ancient people who thought that there was something divine about the sun…

In the meanwhile, a kitchen garden will have to do. I’ve got some pea greens and onions that are just as impatient as me and have started to sprout already (early February!).

And I’ve got a simple piece of knitting that I started yesterday and will finish tonight. It’s a baby cosy (a slightly modified pattern by Nikki Van De Car), and I knit it for a friend’s baby who will be born in April. All in all, a very Estonian knit – the yarn is Aade Long held double in a wonderfully heathered green colour (I’m afraid the pictures don’t do the colour justice, so you’ll have to take my word for it), and the juniper buttons come from a Tallinn crafts shop.

Happy hibernating, everyone! 🙂 And in case you’d like to try a pear and chocolate tart, you’ll find a great recipe here.