Loop through Loop upon Loops :: Learning a Little About Grief from My Knitting

Thank you so much for your very kind, very tender words on my last post. Losing my mom (and so unexpectedly) has been the most painful, most disorienting experience I’ve ever gone through, but the kind words and support of friends, acquaintances, and even strangers has truly made a difference for me. Some of you shared in the comments on my last post your own experiences with grief or depression, and I feel very honored that you would do that. It makes me feel less alone.

One of the weird things for me has been that, professionally, I deal with grief quite a lot. From a professional/academic standpoint, I feel like I know a fair amount about what’s “normal” and what’s “expected.” But none of my knowledge or experience makes any difference for my own grief. No matter how “normal” this is – how I feel does not feel normal. No matter how much I expect grief not to move in linear stages, it is still always a surprise to me to find myself back in the middle of feeling shocked. I can go for two or three days of feeling like the absence of my mom is the new reality, and I’m adjusting to it; and then, I’ll suddenly have a day where it will feel like a total surprise (of the worst kind), and something that cannot possibly be real. Knowing this is how grief works hasn’t made it any more comprehensible, or reasonable, or manageable.

I realized several days ago that the addiction recovery movement has something to teach me about grief recovery: one day at a time. You know this. I thought I knew this. But I’m knowing it in a new way now. When I think too far ahead – how can we celebrate Christmas without my mom? – I’m sunk. But if I can just think – today, I’m not going to have a chance to talk to my mom, and that can be okay, because there have been plenty of days like that in my life, and those days were okay – if I can just think like that, and approach each day as a single day, and just get through that one day without her, then I do all right, and I think that maybe I can keep being all right.

In other words: grief has a lot in common with knitting.

As you and I both know, the only way to knit a sweater is one stitch at a time. Not even a single round or row at a time – a single, tiny stitch. If you just keep doing that, you will have a sweater in your hands eventually. It may take longer than you’d hoped, it may involve ripping back and redoing some portions, it may involve tears, anger, frustration, and discouragement, you may have to set it totally aside from time-to-time. But in the end, the only way to move forward is to knit the next stitch.

Of course this analogy is imperfect because I don’t expect I’ll ever be “done” with my grief the way I expect to eventually be done with a knitting project. Still, for now, it’s helpful to keep in mind that all I have to do is the next tiny thing.

For me lately, that has finally meant picking the knitting needles back up. It’s not with the same zest and energy I typically have, and it hasn’t been every day. But I am making the time to make some stitches, and it feels good.

handspun Laurie pullover

handspun Laurie pullover

Wooly stitches offer a kind of familiar solace that I’m cherishing now (handspan wooly stitches even more so!). This is supposed to be my Rhinebeck sweater, and with a cuff and a sleeve left, I’m still not sure I’ll get it finished in time. I have ten days to get ‘er done, so we’ll see.

I’m also, at last, back at the wheel e-spinner, and that, too, feels so good. If the grief process is like a spiral, then I suppose it has something in common not only with knitting but also with spinning.

Over the last few days, I took this:

Southern Cross Fibre Organic Merino,

Southern Cross Fibre Organic Merino, “Laurel Crown”

And did this:


and this:


And I ended up with this:

230 yds light worsted 2-ply

230 yds light worsted 2-ply

And I love it very much.



And I guess this is one more thing I’m trying to learn from my knitting and spinning. If I just keep going – stitch-by-stitch, loop-by-loop, turn-by-turn – eventually, something beautiful might be created. I do believe this – I do believe that out of great sorrow, something new and beautiful and good can come. Pain can be a good teacher, if we let it be, and loss can shape us in ways that make us stronger and truer than we were before. I have seen the tiniest flashes of how this might become true for me – ways my mother’s legacy suddenly burns brighter in my life – and I trust that a new strength will grow and deepen in me if I can open my heart to my own grief.

In the meantime, I knit on.

Loss, Grief, and Lack of Knitting

My mom died twelve days ago. It was unexpected, and it happened fast. I got a phone call from my dad at 5:00 in the morning, I got a plane ticket, flew down, got a car, drove down, got to her bedside at 7:00 that night, and a little more than an hour later, she was gone. IMG_9117

I can’t even begin to describe our shock and sadness. My mother and I were incredibly close; we talked almost every day, and I could tell her anything (and she was actually interested to hear it!). I was fortunate to have had extra time with her in the last few months, because my father had been through some medical crises and I went home to help take care of her (she became a paraplegic in 1997 after malignant melanoma went to her spine and broke her back, and my father was her full-time caregiver). Those days with her were so precious to me at the time, and all the more so now.

This had already been a very difficult summer for a number of reasons. Through it all, my spinning and knitting (much of which I did sitting next to my mom) helped keep me balanced and centered. But now? All of a sudden I can’t seem to do either one. I haven’t spun since my dad had a medical emergency mid-July (the last day of Tour de Fleece). And I haven’t knit a stitch since the day my mother died.

It’s so strange. I look at my knitting and it feels like it was something a different person used to do.

I assume this is only temporary. I think this week I’m going to try to make myself pick up the sticks and knit. One of these days I’ll maybe even get back in the blogging groove (I do have a whole backlog of projects to show you, most of which are handspun).

Have you ever been so sad, or so disoriented that you couldn’t even do the thing you loved most to do? If so, how did you move through and beyond that?

All the Spinning followed by All the Not Spinning

When Tour de Fleece happened last year, I was ALL IN. For three weeks, I spent all my crafting time spinning, and it was glorious. I finished my Tour on the first day of my vacation. First, I spun up a pile of Hello Yarn:

Hello Yarn

Hello Yarn

The top yarn is 4 skeins of “Gobbler” on Cheviot – 17oz., 814 yards heavy worsted 2-ply. The bottom left yarn is 4oz., 296 yards DK 2-ply “Light as Feathers” on Romney Lambswool (a spin I loved so much I went back and bought a pile more of the fiber). The bottom right is 4oz., 192yds light worsted 2-ply “Crivens” on BFL/Silk (I somehow managed to spin this as 2 skeins of the exact same yardage).

After spinning all that Hello Yarn, I branched out a tiny bit to spin some more Discworld MegaSAL fibers.


Bottom middle is Nest Fibers “Magrat” on Mixed BFL, spun as 218 yards bulky thick-n-thin singles. Bottom right is Into the Whirled “Death” on Superwash Merino, spun as 380 yards fingering(isn) 2-ply (which I’ve already knit up).

This was by far my best Tour ever, with slightly more than 2 pounds spun up, for a total of 8 skeins. It was a delight from beginning to end.

I had imagined I would be spinning throughout my vacation, but it turns out I haven’t spun one bit in more than three weeks now. I’ve gotten back to knitting instead – and with my newly-made handspun, that’s been total delight. Soon I hope to show you something I knit up in just a few days on vacation, but for now, I’ll just show you what I cast on this morning:
Handspun beginnings, potential #rhinebecksweater - #helloyarn "Gobbler" on Cheviot. #spinnersofinstagram

This is possibly my Rhinebeck sweater, the Laurie pullover. Love, love, love those fall colors. Only I realized after a few inches that I made a huge and stupid mistake – at the end of the cast-on, I ended up joining in a round, when it actually doesn’t say to do that in the instructions. So I joined and then just kept knitting for a few inches before realizing that the beginning is to be knit flat. Oops! So I’m ripping back and starting over. I hope to have something more to show you soon!

Again with the Spinning (and a winner – or winners actually)

(And again with the technical difficulties, too – sorry for my delay in posting about the giveaway winner! I tried to post yesterday but failed).

We are deep into Tour de Fleece now, and I have been spending all my crafting time making yarn. My pile of knitting keeps staring at me sulkily, but I’m committed to doing as much spinning as possible during this three-week tour. I’ll be picking up th knitting needles again soon.

The Hello Yarn “Gobbler” on Cheviot was a delicious spin. I finished the final skein on Saturday:


Which meant that, in one weeks’ time, I had completed an entire sweater spin:


This was a feat I’d never have been able to accomplish without my new miniSpinner. So, thank you, miniSpinner!

There’s obvious variance from skein-to-skein with this spin, but I plan to alternate the skeins while knitting, so I think it will all even out. I have one more 4oz. bump of the fiber to spin up, in case this isn’t enough for the sweater I have in mind, but I think it will be. I can’t wait to cast on for this!!

But instead of casting on, I put more fiber on the spinner, and away I went:

action shot

action shot

This was the dreamiest of dreamy spins:


This is Hello Yarn “Light as Feathers” on Romney Lambswool and it is AH-MA-ZING.

In almost no time, I had this:


I have very special plans for this skein, but once I finished it I began dreaming of an entire sweater of this lusciousness. I’m very, very tempted to try to get my hands on more of it.

But for now, I put more Hello Yarn on the wheel, this time part of the MegaSAL I’ve been a part of this spring and summer:


This is “Crivens!” on BFL/Silk – aren’t those colors just divine? I’ve finished chain-plying the first half and am now spinning up the second half, for a pair of yummy socks.

Okay, okay, I know you’re not really here to see the spinning – you want to know who won the giveaway, right? First, let me say, thank you, THANK YOU, for spreading the word about this. The best way I know to express my joy and gratitude for our son’s safe rescue is to do my best to prevent this kind of accident from happening to anyone else’s child. Thank you for helping me do that!

Secondly, I decided to pick two winners. There were lots of people who shared and posted on Facebook who didn’t comment on the blog post, and I wanted to include them all in the drawing, but I didn’t want to be unfair to those who had also taken the time to comment on the post. So I did one drawing just for the people who commented on the post, and that person will receive the original skein I posted:

Southern Cross Fibre "Nobby" South African Superfine

Southern Cross Fibre “Nobby” South African Superfine

The winner of that skein (or of something made from that skein if she isn’t a knitter) is Molly Gee – Molly, thank you for spreading the word. I’ll be in touch to get your mailing address and ship this off to you (or something made from it)!

I did a second drawing that included everyone who had commented on the original blog post and also those who only commented on Facebook, and that person will receive another handspun skein (something I’ll pick from my stash) or something made from it. The winner of that gift is Jessica Pressley – Jessica, thank you for spreading the word. I’ll be in touch to get your mailing address!

Thanks, y’all, for your very kind words, your ongoing help in raising awareness of this kind of accident and how to prevent it, and for your continued willingness to share in my joy!

for summer :: Paleo Peach-Berry Crisp (it’s vegan, too)

Last night I made this for dessert. Then I had it again for breakfast. I feel like a fruit crisp can swing both ways like that, and there was no one around to contradict me. It was delicious both times.

Paleo Peach-Berry Crisp

Paleo Peach-Berry Crisp

I did add a piece of bacon this morning to make it more breakfast-y.

I adapted this recipe from an Against All Grain recipe for Pear-Berry Crisp, a great dessert/breakfast for fall/winter. My summery adaptation was to sub different fruits, different nuts, lime juice for lemon juice, and omit one of the spices that didn’t really go with my fruit choices.

I’m frequently disappointed by desserts that get called paleo but have a high amount of sugar in them. Palm sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup – it’s still sugar. Even honey is sugar, though I’m a little more open to having raw local honey in a dessert than, say, palm sugar. One thing I love about this particular dessert/breakfast is that its sweetness comes entirely from fruit.

It is SO good y’all. The crunch of the nuts combined with the sweetness of the fruit with that little bit of tanginess you get from the berries – YUM.

Paleo Peach-Berry Crisp with Coconut Cream

Paleo Peach-Berry Crisp with Coconut Cream

I always serve it with a big dollop of coconut cream. I don’t do anything fancy to get coconut cream. I don’t even whip it. I just open up a can of Thai coconut cream (full fat) and scoop off a chunk of the cream at the top. I’ll say it again: YUM.

Paleo Peach-Berry Crisp


  • 3C peaches, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 2C blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1C raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1T lime juice
  • 2t coconut flour
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 1/4t cinnamon


  • 2T coconut oil
  • 1 1/3C raw nuts (I used an equal amount of pecans, almonds, and walnuts)
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2T stredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/4t sea salt
  1. Preaheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish however you prefer (coconut oil, grass-fed butter)
  2. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl and stir.
  3. Place all the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles oats.
  4. Pour the filling into the casserole and spread the topping over it.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and the top is brown and crunchy.
  6. Open a can of coconut milk and scoop a dollop of cream off the top. Put cream on top of each serving of crisp. If serving for breakfast, add a side of bacon for maximum yumminess.

All the Spinning, All the Enthusiasm

Thank you, thank you, for your kind comments and your willingness to spread the word about how to prevent sand hole collapses. I’ll leave the comments on that post open until next Wednesday and then will use the Random Number Generator to see who will receive the handspun yarn (or something knit from it).

Now that I’ve started blogging again, I might as well continue, right? And while I do have some knitting to show you, I thought I’d instead show you what I’ve been obsessed with lately.

HansenCraft miniSpinner

HansenCraft miniSpinner

I got this beauty for my birthday last month. It’s a HansenCraft miniSpinner, in cherry wood, with a Woolee Winder. Oh mercy, y’all, I love this thing. I’d been kind of wanting one for awhile, and after doing some investigating and talking with some spinners who have them, I decided it would be the perfect addition to my spinning tool collection. I just didn’t realize how perfect.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the miniSpinner is an electric spinner – meaning it requires no foot power (treadling), leaving you free to focus entirely on drafting. It’s powered with a foot pedal and is plugged in to an outlet or car charger (it can also be plugged into a battery pack, which is my next hoped-for acquisition). The portability is unparalleled. In years past, I have frequently loaded one of my spinning wheels into our car for long trips. But this time, I was actually able to spin while en route!

spinning in the car

spinning in the car

I love treadling, so I wasn’t sure if I would really love spinning without treadling, but I do. It’s fantastic to be able to focus more completely on the drafting, and I feel like my spinning has already improved as a result. And my production has increased exponentially.

In the last month since I got the miniSpinner, I’ve spun the following:

Southern Cross Fibre,

Southern Cross Fibre, “Breeze” on Finn

Spunky Eclectic Wensleydale,

Spunky Eclectic  “Octarine” on Wensleydale

Southern Cross Fibre

Southern Cross Fibre “Nobby” South African Superfine

Hello Yarn

Hello Yarn “Gobbler” on Cheviot, skein 1

Hello Yarn

Hello Yarn “Gobbler” on Cheviot

I’m working on a sweater spin of the Hello Yarn “Gobbler” for this year’s Tour de Fleece. I think it will make a perfect fall sweater! And in the first six days of the tour I’ve already finished two skeins and gotten nearly halfway done with the third.

Hello Yarn

Hello Yarn “Gobbler” on Cheviot

Like I said, the increase in my productivity with this thing is pretty amazing. In all of last year, I spun up 40 oz. of yarn. In the month since I got my miniSpinner, I’ve already spun up 20 oz (and more than 1/3 of that month included zero spinning because of more intensive traveling) . I know I won’t keep that pace year-round, but it’s exciting nonetheless.

Now if only I could figure out a way to make my knitting needles move as fast as my new spinner, I’d be set!

4 Things You Need to Know About Sand Safety (plus a giveaway)

Well, hello there, reader. Yes, it’s been awhile. Two months have flown by since my last post, and in that time, I’ve traveled thousands of miles, both literally and emotionally, and I just haven’t had the time or energy to write. I’ve had to make choices between making something (knit, spin, cook, bake) or writing about it; when that’s the choice, the making always wins.

But today is a very special day, and I couldn’t let it pass without my annual blog post about it.

my "little" boys

These are my twin sons, who are now (gulp) 11 years old. They amaze me daily and I’m so grateful to have them in my life. Today, I count my blessings a little bit more, because eight years ago today, we nearly lost one of them.

I tell the story every year in hopes of helping people learn about the dangerous but preventable phenomenon of sand hole collapse. In July 2007, when our sons were three years-old and our family was visiting Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, one of them fell into a hole dug by other children, and the sand collapsed on top of him, burying him completely, with his head at least 8 inches under the surface. He was completely buried for at least five minutes; miraculously, he survived. You can read the full story here, with follow-up here . And read about it from the amazing perspective of Erika Weiland, the woman who saved his life, here. After our accident, I learned that this kind of accident, while uncommon, is not unheard of; it is not a “freak accident.” In fact, this sort of accident happens on beaches around the world every year, more frequently than shark attacks do.

The vast majority of these kinds of accidents happen to boys, between the ages of three and 21. Even when the accident is witnessed and people act quickly, it can be very difficult to dig a child out of a hole or trench on the beach; the sand wants to keep filling back in the hole. The majority of these accidents end in death. While this kind of accident is uncommon, it’s still a risk, and one that can be prevented without too much effort. There are four easy things you can do to prevent such a tragedy.


(please pin this! I don’t have the Pin It widget, which isn’t supported on wordpress.com, but I would love for you to share this list on Pinterest) So, that’s it: one thing to do when you arrive at the beach, one thing to do while you’re there, and one thing to do when you leave, plus one thing to teach your kids. I know that #2 seems pretty severe. I got this piece of advice from Dr. Bradley Maron, who has studied sand hole collapses, but if knee-high holes are just too shallow for your group to deal with, perhaps waist-high of the shortest person in your group?

Every year, as part of my celebration of getting our baby back, I post about our experience, in hopes of raising awareness of this entirely preventable sort of accident. Every summer these accidents continue to happen. I believe that with more awareness of the risks, such tragedy could be avoided. My internet friends have been a huge part of helping me raise awareness. Will you help me spread the word again this year? I always like to give a little something away as part of my celebration of this amazing anniversary.

handspun squishiness

I’d like to send you a skein of my latest handspun yarn. This is 222 yards of worsted-weight 2-ply South African Superfine (think merino, only softer!), hand-dyed by the inimitable David of Southern Cross Fibre in the “Nobby” colorway. This yarn will knit up beautifully into a gorgeous fall accessory. (If you aren’t a knitter and you win this giveaway, I will knit something for you).

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is spread the word about the risk of sandhole collapse and what to do to prevent these kinds of accidents. Spread the word however you’d like – on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, your own blog, word-of-mouth, or all of the above. If you spread the word online, you can link back to this page, or to one of the previous posts I linked to above. Then come back here to this post and leave a comment below, letting me know you’ve passed it on, and I’ll enter you into the drawing. I will draw a random winner next Wednesday, July 15, after 5:00pm EST. Some of you, of your own volition, have already linked to this story this season. THANK YOU! If you would like to be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment letting me know you’ve already posted/linked, and I will enter you. Thank you, good people of the internet, for continuing to help me spread the word about this.July 2007

What’s on the needles, what’s off the wheel, and what’s in my puppy’s mouth (also, a book giveaway update)

Last time, I promised you Actual Knitting Content, and so you shall have it. I actually had big plans to show you a Major Knit that I am very excited about having finished, but as usual, my technical difficulties have interfered. So instead, I’ll show you a something I have on the needles right at this very moment.

Miner's Beach Cardigan

Miner’s Beach Cardigan

This is a cardi I’m designing on the fly, striping my handspun with my favorite commercially-available yarn, Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool. I’m knitting it in the round with a steek, to cut it open when I’m done with the sleeves and ready to add the button band. At this point it feels like I’ll never be done with the sleeves. I mean, the reality is that I’m about 3 inches from done with each sleeve, but if you’ve ever been stuck on Sleeve Island, you know that 3 inches still feels like you’ll never get there.

So I needed a small change of pace before I just knuckle down and finish up. This came off the wheel earlier in the week:

Southern Cross Fibre

Southern Cross Fibre

I’m in the Southern Cross Fibre Club now (woohoo!) and this was my first installment. “Dragon Fruit” on Bond/Silk, the February 2015 club. I spun it up as a standard 2-ply and ended up with 252 yards of worsted. I just couldn’t resist going ahead and getting it on the needles. I cast on for something new this morning; I’ll show details later!

Also off the wheel is my second MegaSAL yarn:

Spunky Eclectic

Spunky Eclectic

This is Spunky Eclectic 100% Tussah silk in “Rincewind.” It’s 2 oz., which I spun up as 462 yards fingering-weight singles. I’m thinking shawl for this one, and I can’t wait to cast on!

And my most recent spin is this:

Hello Yarn

Hello Yarn

Hello Yarn April 2015 Fiber Club – “Winter Stole Color” on polwarth. I tend to prefer spinning “toothy” wools (with Shetland being my fave) and longwools (like Wensleydale) to spinning the super-soft wools like polwarth, Merino, Rambouillet, and the like. I don’t know why I find it so hard to spin consistently and consistently well when I’ve got one of those on the wheel. So this time, I decided to do something I haven’t done with polwarth before, and spin a fat thick-and-thin single. I’m thrilled with the result (200 yards of lofty, airy yarn) and am playing with design ideas.

As you can see, there is lots of fibery goodness going on around here. But there is also fibery badness happening. To wit:


Bad dog!

My puppy Louie was playing just a few feet away as I was preparing to write this post. All of a sudden, he darted out of the room and got very quiet. It took me a moment to realize how quiet he had gotten, and I knew when I realized that it couldn’t mean anything good. I went to the living room and couldn’t believe what he was up to! He had snatched this handspun (singles, waiting for me to spin another bobbin of singles up to ply with it) and was happily chewing away on it! As you can see, he has made a tangly mess of it. LOUIE!

I managed to get the yarn away from him and was getting it put away when he went darting out of the room again. This time, he had grabbed a little chunk of fiber:

fiber hound

fiber hound

All these years, my cats have coexisted mostly peacefully with my stash, but this pup is obsessed with stealing my wool. Ugh!

Who me?

Who me?

Good thing he’s cute!

Okay, now to the book giveaway. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I was very touched by them, and it was so cool to see the diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints of people interested in reading this book. I wish even more that I could send one to each of you! But alas, I have to pick one. I had the Random Number Generator do the dirty work for me:


The 33rd commenter was Tara, who writes:

Stacey!! How exciting for you!! Congratulations!

I’ve thought of you often during this last year (my first in Divinity school). It’s been the hardest work I’ve ever done but also the most fulfilling. I’m thankful every day for the women who’ve walked the path before me. 

Many, many congratulations on this amazing accomplishment!

Well, how cool is that, that a Divinity School student will be receiving the book? Tara, I will email you to get your mailing address and will get the book to you very soon. To the rest of you, thank you again for your wonderful comments. And I hope you will consider buying yourself a copy of the book!

Knit Two Together: What I Do When I’m Not Knitting (and also, a Book Giveaway)

I learned to knit from the internet. Actually, first I learned to knit from a book. Then I learned to knit well from the internet. The still photos on flat pages hadn’t really shown me how to move my fingers and my hands, and my book-learning led to a very cumbersome, non-fluid, not-very-fun knitting method. Then, in the fall of September 2005, when my twins were 15 months old, I turned to the internet to learn a better way (because toddlerhood is a great time for a mom to pick up a new hobby, yes? no, actually, it was insane that at the very moment my kids were at their busiest, I constantly had my hands full of yarn and needles). I found KnittingHelp, and just sat in front of the computer while my kids slept, watching the videos and imitating the actions, until I finally got it. And then I got obsessed.

From those videos, it was a short hop to the online forums at KnittingHelp, which is where I made my first knitting friends, and where I first discovered knitting blogs. And before long, in January 2006, I started my own knitting blog. In the days before Ravelry, the knitting blogosphere was, for me, a vital way to learn new techniques, to discover new-to-me yarns and patterns, to share encouragement and inspiration, and to connect with other people who were as obsessed with this ancient craft as I was. Many of the blogs I read back then no longer exist, yet the friendships I made through them remain. Through the wonders of technology, I was able to learn a traditional craft. Through that same technology, I was able to create new friendships and connections with people I otherwise would never have met.

At the same time, and through this same technology, I have found deep and life-sustaining connection with a whole other community. As you may or may not know, in my “real life,” I’m a church pastor. This isn’t something I write about on this blog (and I don’t intend for that to change), but just as I found the online knitting community to be an essential (and fun!) part of growing in my craft, I also discovered a supportive online community for clergywomen to be an essential (and fun!) part of growing in my vocation. That community is RevGalBlogPals, which started as a few dozen women bloggers in 2005 and now numbers in the thousands (and includes not just clergywomen but also supportive clergymen and laywomen). Working in a male-dominated field, in a field that is so easily misunderstood by those outside of it, and doing this work while trying to balance its demands with the demands of mothering, it’s been an incredible gift to have a group of women (and supportive men!) who “get it.” A number of the RevGals are also knitters, and they “get” that part of me, too.

For the past decade, as my identity as a knitter has unfolded, I have reflected a lot on what it means to have an avocation that is so important to me, especially when I also have a vocation that is so important to me. Do these two parts of me – knitter and minister – have anything to do with each other? How do these two parts of who I am nourish and nurture each other? And what about my two communities – the craft community and the church-related community – what are there commonalities, and what do I learn from one community that has application in the other? In other words, I spend a lot of time mentally trying to “knit two together.” If you’re a knitter, you’ll know that knitting two together is a way of decreasing your knitting. In my real life, though, I find that knitting two together brings a marvelous increase – of energy, of creativity, of insight, of compassion.

I recently reflected on this in a little piece I wrote for a book that just came out. The piece is entitled, “I Rise Before the Sun,” and the book is called There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments & the Healing Power of Humor. This book was a collaboration, written by 52 clergywomen representing 15 different denominations, and edited by the Reverend Martha Spong, Director of RevGalBlogPals. And it’s so good, y’all! Every piece is a really nice, tight piece of writing, and Martha did an outstanding job editing it. I’m not surprised she did such a great job pulling it together – she, too, is a knitter, after all. The book is an amazing collaboration of different voices and varying perspectives from all over the English-speaking world. You could call it a mosaic, or you could call it a tapestry, or you could call it gorgeous knitting, made from hand-painted, handspun yarn – every stitch is different, each one shimmering with its own personality and beauty.

I wanted to tell you about this not because I’m going to shift the focus of this blog from the knitting part of my life to the churchy part of my life – don’t worry! actual knitting content is coming very soon! – but because I thought some of you might be interested to know about it and about my wee part in it. Also, I would love to send a copy of this book to one of you. Actually, I’ve love to send a copy to all of you! But I can’t really afford to do that, unless “all” of you turns out to only be one person (which is entirely possible, given my sad lack of blogging lately). If you would be interested in receiving a copy of this book, please let me know in the comment section! I’ll use a Random Number Generator to select the recipient on Friday, May 8th. I’ll only be entering people who comment on this entry (so if you comment on Facebook, please make sure to comment on the blog too, okay?). And it’s open to everyone of course – knitters, non-knitters, clergy, non-clergy, people of any faith or no faith, friends, acquaintances, strangers, all.

Thank you, dear reader, whether you are knitter, clergy, both, or neither, for being part of an online community that continues to challenge and cheer me. Mwah!

A Wee Knit for a Wee Pup

We got a puppy and he is straight-up adorable.


This is Louie. (Middle name: CK). He’s a chocolate Havanese, and we’re in love. He’ll be 13 weeks old tomorrow, and he’s already learned how to sit on command, lie down on command, and use the bathroom on his potty. He’s a whip-smart little dude!

Evidence of his intelligence: he’s also a Tigers fan.

I made him the first dog sweater I’ve ever made:

I made this for him to wear on St. Patrick’s Day. And yes, we matched (me in my Cape Cod).

I loved this sweet little pattern, which can be made to fit any pup (or cat, or rabbit, for that matter). It’s called the Perfect Fit Dog & Cat Sweater, and it’s free.


I made this one a bit short (let’s call it a crop top), but you can make it whatever length you want. I have plans to make him one in handspun for fall, once he’s quit growing. I mean, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, right?