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If you are local to Nova Scotia, you are probably tired of jokes about the weather these days. Honestly, the only reason for my post today is to replace the picture of icy trees and the grey skies on my blog with something else. (Almost made a joke about pictures of rain instead). 

Now, I totally see how this cold and wet weather doesn’t inspire anyone to knit more warm mittens and hats. For example, I am knitting a sweater for my daughter that I hope she will wear one day with no jacket over it. (Almost suggested that such day might never come).

So today I would like to entertain you with some gifts that I recently made for my teachers and my classmates (I am graduating soon). The three knitted bracelets were gifted before I took pictures of them. Each had a “hidden meaning” (like a symbolic colour or pattern) that was revealed to their owners. I was debating whether I should publish the written notes for the other two gifts but decided to leave them out because the metaphors were based on our shared knowledge and experiences. I will still tell you what they meant in general.

Gifts1

This heart is the metaphor for “the bleeding heart” (values and strong beliefs) that is simultaneously “the heart of gold” (compassion towards others). The deeper meaning is about feeling compassionate towards people whose beliefs are very different from ours, about seeing human beings through the lens of their experiences and struggles, about not making people feel “wrong” when we passionately articulate why we are “right”.

Heart

The second gift symbolizes something that seems simple, just like a ball, but there are many different parts intricately woven together. Sometimes the part is visible, sometimes it’s not, but it’s still there.  And often it’s not easy to put it together but then it holds in one piece, seamlessly. At times it seems almost impossible, unless you are a knitter… or (insert your own word). If at loss, try “a mother”.

Knitted ball

I loved working on these projects. Looking through patterns and knitting was fun but I also enjoyed thinking about the connections and carefully choosing my words to make those gifts meaningful.

As we are waiting for the sun to finally show up (yep, still talking about the weather), maybe you could also warm up someone’s heart with a small unexpected hand-made gift? I bet it will make you feel warmer, too.

p.s. In case you wonder, the heart pattern is here, and the knitted ball pattern is here.

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I am back from my home country, Ukraine, that I visited this summer. It was lovely and strange at the same time, like a parallel reality.

vinnytsia1

vinnytsia2

kyiv1
Also, I am back to knitting. I have five pairs of children’s socks to prove it.

socks1

socks2

socks3

socks4

socks5

I even inspired my mother-in-law to knit a dishcloth! She learned how to knit long time ago but hasn’t touched the needles in decades.

Upon arrival to Canada, I received an email from the Parkland at The Lakes that another pile of squares made by the senior residents is ready for pick up. Now the squares are waiting to be stitched into a blanket and will be donated to the Phoenix Youth Shelter.

Also, I am starting a new knitting group in Spryfield as a way to connect  with local knitters and share our resources with the neighbours. It’s a different approach (for me) and I would love to get your feedback after I post about it.

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I have to tell you something strange — recently I almost stopped knitting. I knit some things here and there, but in general I don’t pick up my knitting every free minute, as I did before. For the last three months, I was spending every free minute online trying to figure out if my home country, Ukraine, still exists. I won’t go into political stuff here, but you can imagine that a question of that magnitude can distract from.. pretty much everything else.

That’s why I was happy to hear that Phoenix Community Center offered me to teach a knitting class to its clients. The class is scheduled for six weeks, every Monday morning. Some people who signed up wanted to refresh their skills, and some wanted to try knitting for the first time. I started thinking about a useful project that would allow my students to practice basic stitches. When I was buying yarn, Louise from LK Yarns suggested making wristwarmers. I thought it was brilliant, and made one when I came home that very day. (There is no pattern — I cast on 40 sts and knit all stitches until the piece wrapped “snuggly” around my wrist. Sew the seam leaving the opening.)

Wristwarmers
My students liked the idea and three of them already finished their mitts! Another idea came from an experienced knitter who showed up with a dishcloth in progress. Suddenly, everyone wanted to make one. So we got some cotton yarn and learned to read a dishcloth pattern called Grandmother’s Favourite.

Dishcloth
Teaching knitting techniques to a group of knitters with different skill levels is tricky. It’s a bit chaotic, but also very fluid. I am just trying to meet everyone where they are and take it from there. Making samples boosted my knitting mojo a bit, and I was able to finish a sweater that was a WIP (work-in-progress) for almost two years.

DinosaurSweater

I don’t know what it says about me as a knitter, but I have no projects on the needles right now and no interest in starting one. Which is good, because I am going to sew another Ukrainian flag.

Ukrainian Flag

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