Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nobelian aspirations?

My friend Tammy recently celebrated a birthday. What do you get for a brilliant and lovely eco-friendly designer. Particularly one you are about to be separated from for only the second time in eleven years of friendship?

This had to be special, this had to be a gift worthy of remembrance. I settled on a meditation shawl. How does a meditation shawl differ from it's drab cousin, the ordinary shawl you ask? The ordinary shawl is meant to be worn as an accent or compliment to an outfit. Providing a mild amount of warmth and a pinch of glamour to an ensemble. The meditation shawl is meant to be worn during meditation or at meditation retreats, such as the ones the lovely Tammy tends to escape too. Also, I had decided that this meditation shawl would be infused with the good juju (read karma). I would knit this shawl only while I myself was meditating (lest some strict Buddhist become incredibly enraged by meditative knitting I mean mindful knitting). This meant that this garment could only be knit while focusing (mindfully) on the wool in my hands, the way the needles moved, and if all else failed, on my breathing while knitting. My intent was that upon creation of this shawl it would harness love, warmth, and lots of positive energy.

The pattern choice was perfect, the yarn a tranquil green color, I was set. I chose the fiber trends Peace Shawl . I loved the symbols and description which you can check out for yourself. However, to me this shawl just seemed to represent Tammy in a way that other lace did not (she is not so much the first person you would choose a lace project for). Furthermore, her presence in my life has always brought a sense of tranquility. She is earth that manages to contain my fire.

So I begin knitting. At first, I am mindful and chugging along. Then, as tends to happen, deadlines set in. I start taking the shawl out of the house (sure way to abandon mindfulness). Next thing I know I am knitting it at meetings, coffees, lunches, while driving, etc. This was not the mindful knitting I had intended. I felt sad that I could not create the mindfully knit item I had intended. Yet I pressed on, because I figured a non-mindfully knitted meditation shawl was a better birthday present than the idea of a mindfully knit one. At last it is finished

This is the full view of the shawl, it is much bigger than I had originally thought it would be. It is really funny what happens to lace when it is stretched!

Detailed picture of the stars and trees. I particularly liked this aspect of the shawl because my friendship with Tammy (like the trees) has always been something I could lean upon, one solid thing I could trust. Yet because she is my friend I have reached for more stars than I can count.

Detail of the men and women holding hands and the Peace banner.

Alfred Nobel managed to reconcile his invention of dynamite with his views on peace. This ability to balance two ideas so fundamentally opposed to one another led to the creation of a prize that honors only those that make extraordinary contributions which further those ideals (peace not massive fiery destruction). As I finished knitting this I began to believe that without a contrast our ideals are lost. I didn't complete the entire shawl mindfully, despite my best efforts. However, by trying, I became more mindful than I was before.

"Never discourage anyone who makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato


Wool Winder said...

It's beautiful! So much thought (and love) went into this gift. Every stitch has meaning. I think that qualifies as mindful. Great work!

lulu said...

I absolutely LOVE it - what a lucky friend to receive something made with so much love and thoughtfulness!
Well done!
Maybe one day I will have enough courage to try one myself ....