Ode to My Trusty “Knit-Chek”

Everyone who knows me in my knitting life knows I covet gauge. I teach about it, talk about it, stress the importance of it, and always do it. Each time I have checked my gauge, for the past sixteen-plus years, I have used my Susan Bates “Knit-Chek.” 

For all these years, this gauge ruler was in my bag, at the ready for any measuring I might need to do for myself or for others. This cheap metal ruler has served me well, always accurately and precisely measuring gauge for countless future sweaters. Through the years, I’ve used other gauge rulers, but they never quite measured up to this one, either being too thick, too narrow, too fussy, too fancy, or too hard to use. Every single time, even if I had checked gauge on another ruler, I’ve had to double-check using my “Knit-Chek.”

Without wanting to admit it, my most trusted knitting tool had begun to fail me. I started noticing inconsistencies about a year ago, when my students were certain they had gotten gauge, but my “Knit-Chek” told otherwise. Not wanting to believe my tool was fallible, I would continue to compare the gauge I read using my students’ rulers versus my own, insisting something was amiss.

It has taken me this whole year of wonky gauge readings, causing a ridiculous amount of confusion and reswatching, only to finally realize what has been true for at least the past year:

My trusted tool is not to be trusted. Not anymore and not ever again.

After years of hard use, of always being there when I needed it, my tool is now bent. Sadly, a bent gauge ruler is a useless gauge ruler. Every time I use it, it measures at least a quarter stitch off per inch. And, as we already determined, if you know anything about me as a knitter, you know that that quarter of a stitch matters. A lot.

So, I am forced to move on unwillingly. I have purchased another cheap metal gauge ruler, this time by Boye. It is much the same and yet different enough that I don’t like it. And yet, its edges are straight.

And so I move on.

I don’t quite know what to do with my Susan Bates “Knit-Chek.” I worry that if I hold on to it too long, it will be like my daughters’ lost teeth, uselessly stored in my underwear drawer, because it seemed wrong to just throw them away at the time, and now it’s just weird and wrong and embarrassing. My sentimentality prevents me from just tossing it in the trash, but it no longer works as it should; donating it just seems vindictive, cursing some other knitter to years of unknowingly kniting ill-fitting sweaters due to poorly measured gauge swatches. Framing and hanging it seems silly and yet kind of endearing.

Perhaps this post can serve as its eulogy, acknowledging its time with me from a novice knitter and beyond. I am grateful for all the information this simple tool taught me. It did exactly what it was supposed to do and nothing more.

Until it didn’t.

If only everything in our lives could be so straightforward.

Courageous Vulnerability

“Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. It doesn’t work that way.”

–Oprah Winfrey


I am not good at confrontation. I hate making people mad, I hate it when people don’t like me, and I hate disappointing people. I recognize I’m not alone. I can’t imagine there are many people who revel in disappointing or infuriating others. As uncomfortable as it is, though, it seems impossible to completely avoid. Unfortunately, it seems like despite my efforts to the contrary, I will not always make decisions that everyone agrees with, not everyone will like who I am or what I do, and in living this life, I will never ever completely avoid confrontation.

Recently, I changed the structure of my beloved Knitting Support Group, a group I created four years ago. When I created this group, my goal was to provide a time for knitters to come to the yarn shop where I work and know they could regularly show up and get my help with their knitting. I picked a random time during the week when I knew I could consistently host, which happened to fall on the slowest day and time of the week at the shop. I had no idea if it would colossally fail or if it would take off, but I decided to just try it. For weeks, it was just me and my co-worker, knitting at the back table, hoping someone would eventually show up. Fortunately for me, in the four years since I launched KSG, the group expanded to three or four, to 8, then 10, and then consistently bursting to 16-20 people around our table. As I continued to help knitters, my skills, ability, and confidence developed right along with the group to be able to simultaneously manage picking up dropped stitches, teaching someone how to mattress stitch, giving advice on what to do about a mistake five rows back, offering blocking instructions, walking someone through turning her first heel on a sock, and helping knitters choose their next project, keeping in mind their abilities, personality, and style–all while ensuring a welcoming, positive environment for everyone who took the time to come to my group.

I am incredibly proud of the space I created. I believe the atmosphere and popularity of KSG was not accidental. I wasn’t just lucky and it didn’t just happen. I believe I created that space. Intentionally, I worked very hard to ensure every single person who came to the group felt welcomed and not only got their knitting needs met, but grew tremendously as knitters. Every single knitter who came to KSG is a better knitter because she showed up, knowing she would get the support she needed week after week. I am incredibly proud of that. I loved every single one of my knitters and, in return, I was loved right back.

Recently, though, I was forced to make a change to the group. Because it had grown so much, I wasn’t able to help everyone in the same way I wanted to, even having some new knitters leave because I couldn’t get to them in time. It broke my heart to know a knitter had bravely come to KSG to get help and I wasn’t able to get to that knitter in time to give her the help she needed. In response, my manager and I were forced to have difficult conversations about what to do with the group.  She saw the group as having grown into more of a social group, and because we already host a social knitting group at the shop, she didn’t want to pay me to host another social group through the shop. Because my original intention remains helping knitters with their knitting, I knew I needed to find a way to encourage that facet of the group to flourish. My goal as Karyn Johnston, as Knit Hero, really is to “help knitters knit,” so I decided to continue the group, adding another time and day option, limiting how many people could attend each session, and get paid not through my hourly wage from the shop, but by participants as if they were taking a class. In order to keep it on the shop’s schedule, I pay a fee for the space and for the publicity the published class schedule provides.

While I feel buoyed and supported by many, it is hard for me to know there are some who are upset with the change. To those who are upset with me: I am sorry. I am grateful the group I created meant enough to you that you’re sad it has changed. Honestly, the group has always been changing, though. From the very first day I started the group, it has continued to change, to evolve, to grow, and to develop. While I’m proud I created a social space so many loved, there were just as many others who were deciding to no longer come for help, for knitting support, because it had grown so big, so noisy, and so crowded.

To those who continue to support me and my vision: thank you. Seriously. From the bottom of my heart. Knitting Support Group has been small the past couple of weeks, providing a tremendous value to those who attend. I feel good about the amount of support and the atmosphere I’m able to provide in the smaller groups. I, of course, hope it will grow a bit, hoping as classes pick up and the weather turns cool, more will look to join my space, to learn and get help from me.

Until then, I will continue to work my hardest, remain positive, and continue doing the best I know how to do.

Because that’s all I know how to do.

It’s going to be okay.

I trust myself. I trust others. I trust the space we create together.


“Trusting ourselves and others is a vulnerable and courageous act.”

–Brené Brown

Appreciating Life’s Eclipse

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to go on an epic backpacking adventure in the Wind Rivers with my family of four, my hiking-idol uncle, and a very dear friend and cohort of Adam’s. It was amazing in all the right ways, as if we had stepped onto the trail and into an alternate reality where everything goes even better than you could have hoped. We had exactly only what we needed and got to leave absolutely everything else behind.

I loved it more than I ever imagined I would.

I’ve spent a lot of time since we got home processing the entire trip, but especially reliving and trying to understand my response to seeing the eclipse in totality from the top of Lester Pass. When relaying my trip to others, I have tried to describe the beauty of the eclipse, tried to capture how incredible it felt and looked and sounded during those amazing two minutes, but my descriptions come up short. Not a single photograph or video I’ve seen accurately captures what the eclipse really looked like.

It was one of the most impactful experiences of my life and yet, like so many impactful moments (like falling in love, getting married, giving birth), words fail me.

The most distinct memory for me was when the moon shifted just a touch off-center, allowing the sun’s rays to escape and burst out from behind its shadow. The birds who had gone quiet erupted back into flight and the wind again began to blow. It was exquistively beautiful; I immediately wanted to see it all again.

I actually ached knowing it was over and I haven’t stopped aching since. I immediately wished I had appreciated every second of the eclipse just a little bit more, wondering what I missed, wishing I had looked harder, absorbed it even more.

I often find myself wishing, lamenting even, times and experiences gone by. Life goes by so unbelievably fast. It feels like just yesterday I was falling in love with Adam, sneaking across Copeland Hall to tuck into his twin bed; laughing hysterically as Adam proposed to me on Cannon Beach as the sun set over the ocean; our beautiful party of a wedding at Chateau Lorraine on the banks of Lake Louise; giving birth to Anna, her eyes opened wide with wonder and with awe; giving birth to Grace, who owned a world of wisdom from the moment she was born.

In the shadow of the anniversary of 9/11, flooding in Houston, hurricanes in Florida, wildfires throughout the west, including one right here in Ogden last week, I have been hyperly aware that anything could change at any moment. Any moment now, the moon could just slightly shift, altering everything all at once.

What I am realizing is this: the very impermanence of our lives, the reality that moments are fleeting, is what makes each moment that much sweeter. The eclipse was that much more beautiful because it only lasted two minutes. Giving birth to and raising my girls is that much more poignant because they will move on. My love for Adam feels that much deeper knowing one of us will have to experience the other’s death. This breaks my heart and yet fills me with wonder.

Life is beautiful, because it isn’t forever.


If we were vampires and death was a joke
We’d go out on the sidewalk and smoke
And laugh at all the lovers and their plans
I wouldn’t feel the need to hold your hand

Maybe time running out is a gift
I’ll work hard ’til the end of my shift
And give you every second I can find
And hope it isn’t me who’s left behind

It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone
Maybe we’ll get forty years together
But one day I’ll be gone or one day you’ll be gone

Jason Isbell, If We Were Vampires

The Proof of the Power Within

I’ve said it enough that it’s beginning to just sound trite when I say it, but auctioning off these six shawls for charity really may be the best idea I’ve ever had. During each shawl auction, I felt so optimistic and buoyed by everyone’s feedback, by each share and like on Facebook, by each and every bid, and by the very feeling that I was at least doing something. I was so encouraged as I experienced first-hand the profound impact an individual can have in this collective world full of others.

Yes, I had the idea to auction my shawls; I did the knitting and photography; I chose the causes for each shawl to benefit; and, I wrote a blog post about each one. Yes, I did that.

But that’s where my role ended and the rest of yours began.

This idea would have never worked had it not been for the hundreds of people who paid attention, shared my posts, put in bids, won bids, and then donated the pledged winning amount to the chosen cause. If not for each of you, my idea would not have worked. Gratefully, my idea didn’t fail; instead, it took off–and for that I am so, so thankful!

Because of each of you, whether you won a bid or not, my six shawls collectively raised $1,460.

$1,460!!!!

That money went directly to causes I now know definitively that I’m not alone in caring about: Planned Parenthood, ACLU, IRC, NRDC, The Trevor Project, and SUWA.

I am absolutely speechless with gratitude.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who participated in my Shawl Auctions, either directly or indirectly. This became so much bigger than just one person auctioning off six shawls because of the engagement from so many of you. In doing this, I have made connections, formed friendships, and felt support from a much bigger circle than I ever thought possible.

Perhaps I will do it all again. Or perhaps I will have another idea. Regardless, I am proud of what we all did together. Thank you.

Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda

by Shel Silverstein

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas

Layin’ in the sun,

Talkin’ ’bout the things

They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…

But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas

All ran away and hid

From one little did.


Here is a recap of each shawl…

Our Call to Share:

$150 to Planned Parenthood by Maria, who gave her shawl to her mother-in-law, a woman who dedicated her professional life to helping women and children as a Pediatrician. I am so grateful to Maria for jumping into this journey first with me and getting this whole adventure started.

 

The Deepest Thing Inside:

$250 (plus a matching bid of $200 by me) to the ACLU by Marjukka, who after receiving her shawl, told me “I love it and it will always remind me what’s important.” It has made my heart happy to see Marjukka wearing this beautiful shawl since winning her bid.

 

 

At Its Essence:

$140 to the International Rescue Committe by Soley, who bid on almost every single shawl (I think she only missed one?!), and is the only bidder I haven’t gotten to hug yet, since she lives in Colorado–but she’ll get that hug soon enough!

 

The Utmost Care and Kindness:

$300 to the NRDC by Sheri, who extraordinarily bid on this shawl to give as a birthday gift to a very dear friend, a woman who has dedicated her life to advocating for and defending our environment on Capitol Hill. I am honored to be a part of their story.

 

Whoever You Are:

$220 to The Trevor Project by Stacy, one of the most passionate, active advocates I know. Everyone deserves to have her in their corner. It was perfect that her donation will benefit some of the most vulnerable in our world.

 

 

 

 

Requiem to the Red Rock:

$200 to Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance by Louise, who also bid on almost every single shawl and finally won at the very end. Her kind heart and connection to this place we call home made her the perfect grand finale to this amazing experience.




Without

by Gary Snyder

the silence

of nature

within.

the power within.

the power

without.

the path is whatever passes–no

end in itself.

the end is,

grace–ease–

healing,

not saving.

singing

the proof

the proof of the power within.


Thank you once again, everyone!

New Knitalong Alert!


Fancy another Knitalong? We had so much fun knitting along with Helen Stewart’s Shawl Society last year, many of us are clamoring for more! We are ready to begin Shawl Society II.

Six shawls over the next six months. You up for it?!

The Details:

  • Six Gatherings over six months, one for each shawl release. Gatherings will take place from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Friday mornings at various locations in the Ogden area, including coffee shops, parks, and NPJ. The dates are: May 5, June 9, July 7, August 11, September 8, October 6.
  • The cost for the entire Knitalong will be $70, which will include knitting support and instruction from me, a chance to win prizes, yummy treats, and comraderie with other friendly knitters.
  • You need to sign up through Needlepoint Joint to participate. You can sign up by stopping by the shop or calling (801)394-4355. Sign ups will be first come, first served, with a maximum of 15 members.
  • In order to purchase the patterns for Shawl Society II, you will need to buy them off Ravelry. Once you are on the Shawl Society II page, click on the ‘1 pattern’ link in the box on the right hand side of the page. It will cost approximately $15 to purchase all six patterns, which will be released one at a time over the next six months, beginning with the first shawl on May 4th.
  • If you are interested in knitting the shawls, but are unable to attend the gatherings, please consider joining us on Ravelry for a virtual knitalong! I have maintained our group on Ravelry for anyone who wants to join us as we knit these shawls. This group is open to everyone whether you have signed up for the physical knitalong gatherings or not. Last year we were joined by knitters all over the world. The more the merrier!

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Requiem to the Red Rock

To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.
–Terry Tempest Williams

At least once a year, my family treks down to Southern Utah. We reason that we’re going down in order to hike, take pictures, go to one of our favorite bookstores, and lay like lizards on the warm rocks. These are all valid reasons for making the four hour journey south, but our real reason lies beyond words, beyond justification.

Southern Utah is a special place that transcends simple description. Its very existence defies reason; its unique landscape and visual proof of the passing and power of time serve as a reminder of just how small I am. Being among that which has survived thousands of years grounds me; witnessing the results of what the constant force of water and wind can do humbles me; appreciating the life that finds a way to grow out of dry, hard rock inspires me.

This land, this place, deserves our respect and protection. Although I will not assume I know the best way to preserve this land while respecting the rights of those who live there, I do trust those who have chosen to advocate for this land.

The Southen Utah Wilderness Alliance is such an organization. Since 1983, SUWA has been “the only independent organization working full-time to defend America’s redrock wilderness from oil and gas development, unnecessary road construction, rampant off-road vehicle use, and other threats to Utah’s wilderness-quality lands.” The mission of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance is “the preservation of the outstanding wilderness at the heart of the Colorado Plateau, and the management of these lands in their natural state for the benefit of all Americans.”

I am offering up this shawl in support of Southern Utah’s wild red rock land that needs our protection. This shawl, like the land it represents, is more than the sum of its parts. In many ways, this is the simplest of the six shawls I have auctioned, although its simplicity lends to its undeniable beauty. It is knit out of dk-weight Bluefaced Leicester wool that has been organically dyed gradiently, so each color beautifully transitions into the next. This shawl is a classic long triangle with simple eyelets and an i-cord border. It is earthy, unique, and lovely.

Requiem 
by David Lee

More than a high-desert sun dog shimmering
above thin lines of the Canyonland’s open throat
or the sift of October-flushed aspen
on a gnarled Pine Valley, Utah, morning.
More than the pink fleece of a lost primrose
bathed in twilight by a graveled roadside
or the shadow of a cornstalk petroglyph
leaning into its basalt winter.
Beyond words sliding from hollows of memory
that hold image and time in stone cups
is the yearning, the bending to morning,
the huddled ache that can never be soothed
by moonlight or spring rains or crimson oak,
only by tomorrow’s sunrise.


Please feel free to share this post with anyone and everyone, because the higher the bidding goes, the more impact this one beautiful shawl can have.

  • The opening bid starts at $50 and begins NOW.
  • Please bid in whole dollar amounts.
  • All bids need to be within the comment thread of this blog post in order for everyone to keep track of the highest bid.
  • I will close the auction at 5:00 PM MDT on Saturday, April 15.
  • When the auction is over, I will send the winner an email; the winner must donate directly to Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance within 48 hours and then forward the confirmation email to me as proof; I’ll coordinate getting the shawl to you by April 24th.
  • If the winner lives away, I will cover the cost of shipping the shawl via Priority Mail.
  • Once again, 100% of the proceeds of the winning bid will go towards the cause, this time to SUWA.

Much love to all of you…and happy bidding!

Lucky

Lucky

by Kirsten Dierking

All this time,
the life you were
supposed to live
has been rising around you
like the walls of a house
designed with warm
harmonious lines.
As if you had actually
planned it that way.
As if you had
stacked up bricks
at random,
and built by mistake
a lucky star.

A few weeks ago, my husband sent me this poem. It was touching to receive, not only because it is a lovely poem, but because with it he wrote how much it reminded him of me.

To many, I think my life looks like a series of starts and stops, a bunch of random decisions and fickle choices. It means the world to me that to my husband, my life makes sense. It is affirming that he not only sees the choices I make as valid, but intentional.

Ironically, it doesn’t always feel that way to me. I am surrounded by people who began their careers over twenty years ago, starting with an intense focus in one discipline that then progressed and evolved into full, tenured professorships. I’m sure within the confines of each of their minds, their professional lives feel less direct. But, from the outside, from my point of view as I chit-chat with them at parties, them asking me, “So, what do you do?”, their lives look like they’ve always had everything all figured out.

Little by little, though, brick by brick, I am beginning to see how every choice I’ve made in my life has been building towards something that actually may make some sense. The trick now is to continue building, to not shy away from where my heart is leading me. It is exciting and scary, exhilirating and inspiring.

Towards that end, I have reduced the number of hours I am working at NPJ to two days a week in order to intentionally carve out time for what truly makes my heart sing: teaching knitting, both private and semi-private lessons and group classes; creating knitting classes and KALs; developing my own skills both in knitting and photography; scheduling photoshoots again; writing both on this blog and personally; experimenting with design work and tech editing; continuing to develop my Knit Hero business.

Amazingly, I am finding that perhaps I, too, began my career over twenty years ago. Every day, I have been working hard, building a life, developing skills and persuing talents–and that has gotten me to this place, right now.

And so, as I begin to glimpse the beauty of what is around me, I will continue to develop, grow, and work, always following my heart and dreaming big. Although I’m not sure exactly where I’m going, I am excited to see what tomorrow will bring.

Whoever You Are

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


I believe every person deserves a place in this world. Every person, regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity, has a right to be happy, free, equal, and safe. I do not assume to know all that there is to know about these issues, and I know I carry certain biases that I may or may not be aware of having, but I do know that at the kernel–at the very core–I feel love.

With this shawl, I am shouting out my love to those whose very identity is questioned, devalued, underrepresented, and judged. This wonderfully bold, amazingly bright shawl is my proclamation that I SEE YOU!

To those of you in the LGBTQ community, I have your back. I will fight for you. I will write and march and call–and I will offer up this shawl in support of the most vulnerable in our community.

You are not alone.

This week, I am auctioning my Exploration Station Shawl by Stephen West in support of The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

There is so much hate and misunderstanding being directed towards the LGBTQ community from the current administration, it is my hope that this week, we counter all that hate with a lot of love.

Please join your voice to mine as we shout out our support to youths in the LGBTQ community by adding your bid, knowing that 100% of the proceeds of this shawl will go to help provide a voice on the other end of the line when someone in crisis reaches out.

This shawl is knit out of four colors of Madelinetosh Merino Light, a luscious handdyed in the US 100% merino yarn. It is very large and yet extremely lightweight. It is squishy and soft, vibrant and striking.

It is a gorgeous shawl!


Please feel free to share this post with anyone and everyone, because the higher the bidding goes, the more impact this one beautiful shawl can have.

  • The opening bid starts at $50 and begins NOW.
  • Please bid in whole dollar amounts.
  • All bids need to be within the comment thread of this blog post in order for everyone to keep track of the highest bid.
  • I will close the auction at 7:00 PM MST on Monday, March 27th.
  • When the auction is over, I will send the winner an email; the winner must donate directly to The Trevor Project within 48 hours and then forward the confirmation email to me as proof; I’ll coordinate getting the shawl to you by April 3rd.
  • If the winner lives away, I will cover the cost of shipping the shawl via Priority Mail.
  • Once again, 100% of the proceeds of the winning bid will go towards the cause, this time to The Trevor Project.

Much love to all of you…and happy bidding!

The Utmost Care And Kindness


Eagle Poem

BY JOY HARJO

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

 

It is with great anticipation that I launch this particular Shawl Auction. This week, I am auctioning one of my most intricate, delicate lace shawls to benefit the National Resources Defense Council, which helps protect our very delicate Earth. The NRDC “works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.” I feel particularly invested in this cause, because if we do not have a sustainable Earth on which to live, it is undeniable that none of the other issues really matter.

 

 

In order to have life, we need pure water, clean air, and protected land. We need to ensure we protect our climate in order to sustain all lives who call Earth home. Protecting our land, water, climate, and air should not be a partisan issue. How is caring for our home a political act? We all live here, love here, die here. Our Earth is vulnerable and we need to do everything we can to ensure its survival.

 

 

The only shawl I have knit worthy of such an important cause is my Fragaria Shawl, designed by Alina Appasova. It is truly delicate, light as a feather, with intricately beautiful stitchwork. I knit it out of Jaggerspun Zephyr, a laceweight 50% Merino/50% Silk in the gorgeous Jade colorway. It is one of the smaller shawls I am auctioning, but it is plenty big to wear in a variety of ways or would look stunning accenting a special room. Because it is so lightweight, it is easy to bring along with you in a purse or bag to throw on when you feel chilled or just want to look and feel fabulous.

 

I can honestly say I love this shawl.

 

 

But I love our Earth more.

 

I am hoping this shawl will go to someone who cares equally for this Earth feels drawn to make a donation to help ensure its protection. In return, I will gratefully pass this shawl along to you.

Please feel free to share this post with anyone and everyone, because the higher the bidding goes, the more impact this one beautiful shawl can have.

  • The opening bid starts at $50 and begins NOW.
  • Please bid in whole dollar amounts.
  • All bids need to be within the comment thread of this blog post in order for everyone to keep track of the highest bid.
  • I will close the auction at 7:00 PM MST on Monday, March 6th.
  • When the auction is over, I will send the winner an email; the winner must donate directly to the NRDC within 48 hours and then forward the confirmation email to me as proof; I’ll coordinate getting the shawl to you by March 13th.
  • If the winner lives away, I will cover the cost of shipping the shawl via Priority Mail.
  • Once again, 100% of the proceeds of the winning bid will go towards the cause, this time the National Resources Defense Council.
  • In addition, all donations to the NRDC will be matched for a limited time, so the winning bid for this shawl will have twice the impact!

Much love to all of you…and happy bidding!

At Its Essence

Knitting may not, on the surface, seem relevant to engines that run the world, but at its essence, it is actually quite vital. For knitting, which can express so many emotions, most often expresses love. And when all else is lost, love is what most often stays with us.

                                                                                              –Melanie Falick

To console someone who has experienced loss, to celebrate a new life, to nurture someone who is ill, I most often turn to knitting. Usually it is when life is at its most intimate and vulnerable that words fail to express how much I care. And so, it is in the act of selecting the project, picking the perfect pattern and yarn, and sitting down to create something for someone that knitting becomes the only thing I can think of to do.

Every single stitch becomes infused with the love I feel for that person. Thousands upon thousands of stitches culminate into one entity. All my disjointed thoughts, worries, intentions, wishes, and love come together into this one thing. In the case of a shawl, this one thing becomes the literal embodiment of a hug.

Reading the news and following the horror that is real for millions of refugees and immigrants around the world, I ache for a way to help. There are millions of people in crisis right now, and I am just one human. What can I do? Fortunately, there are people and organizations in place to provide appropriate, immediate help.

It is my goal with this next auction to offer one shawl to help raise money to benefit the International Rescue Committee, who “helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and regain control of their future.” It is my hope that my small offering will contribute to a greater good, that it will provide tangible assistance to those in crisis.

The current shawl up for bid is the Color Affection shawl by Veera Valimaki. It is knit out of three colors of a spongy-soft merino wool/nylon blend yarn that is hand-dyed by a local Utah artisan, The March Hare. It is bright, squishy, has a lovely drape, and is easy to wear.


Please feel free to share this post with anyone and everyone, because the higher the bidding goes, the more impact this one beautiful shawl can have.

  • The opening bid starts at $50 and begins NOW.
  • Please bid in whole dollar amounts.
  • All bids need to be within the comment thread of this blog post in order for everyone to keep track of the highest bid.
  • I will close the auction at 8:00 PM MST on Wednesday, February 15th.
  • When the auction is over, I will send the winner an email; the winner must donate directly to the IRC within 48 hours and then forward the confirmation email to me as proof; I’ll coordinate getting the shawl to you by February 27th.
  • If the winner lives away, I will cover the cost of shipping the shawl via Priority Mail.
  • Once again, 100% of the proceeds of the winning bid will go towards the cause, this time the IRC (please click on link to watch video).

Much love to all of you…and happy bidding!


My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.                 

–Desmond Tutu