Monday, 27 February 2012

P/Hop - knit one, make the world a better place

P/Hop stands for "Pennies per hour of pleasure" and is a knitting initiative set up by the Yarn Yard's Natalie Fergie to raise money for Medicins sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders). The idea is that you can download one of their patterns, then make a donation to Medicins san Frontiers according to how many hours of pleasure you reckon you received from knitting the pattern. The scheme is currently working on reaching a total of £40,000 raised to mark MSF's 40th birthday.I'm writing about this as last week I made a pair of socks for a friend's daughter using the Quick and Easy Ribbed Sock pattern from P/Hop and I thought that the scheme was worth promotion. The pattern was clear, comprehensive and everything a sock pattern should be.
However, the patterns on P/Hop cover more than just socks, there are also hats, scarves, mittens, household items, toys and crochet patterns. I would particularly recommend the Cranford Mitts, inspired by the recent BBC series.

It's a win-win situation: we get the pleasure of knitting great patterns and MSF get the funds they need to keep their valuable work going. So happy knitting!

P.S. For those interested the yarn is Regia College 6ply in shade 06503.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

WIP Wednesday (just)

Squeaking in just the wrong side of the wire this week, due to a long, unpleasant day involving a medical appointment (possibly more on that anon), but at least on the train and in the waiting room I could start on the baby bonnet which co-ordinates with Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket and is using up the spare yarn (I'm hoping to have enough yarn for the bootees too). I would have appreciated not giving myself a small cut (like a rather deep paper cut, but no bleeding) from digging the tip of the knitting needle into my finger, but we can't have everything.

(Updated with a better photo)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Monk, not Thelonious

Life with Jesus can contain surprises; you think of yourself as a certain sort of person, or certain sort of Christian, then find yourself doing or becoming someone different. Not changing who you are entirely, still being yourself, but doing things differently.

Lately in my life the change has been liturgy. I started off as a Christian in churches with no or minimal liturgy; it was something fairly dull and meaningless we had recited at school, something old and fusty, not me at all. Then I found myself going to an Anglican church, re-encountering liturgy, getting occasional glimpses of the sense of oneness it brought to us all as we prayed as one, but still not sure about it on the whole. Gradually as I have got used to the form of the service of Home Communion I have grown to love it, the reminders of who we are and who God is and how we relate.

So recently, while searching for ways to pray more regularly and with more discipline I decided to take a look at the Northumbria Community's website to see if they had any resources which might help me and there I found their daily offices, the prayers they say daily which form the rhythm of their daily life. I went to them because of what a friend from university, whose parents live there, had told me about it and because I had been impressed by the sense of peace that radiated from his parents when I had met them. Initially when I had been praying about how to pray, which sounds odd, but made sense at the time, I thought perhaps I would experiment with some different methods and types of prayer, but since I started praying the daily offices about a week and a half ago I have not stopped, neither do I want to.

Praying the morning and evening prayer (I have not yet managed to fit in the midday prayer), though sometimes at odd times, has given me a rhythm of times when I stop and spend time with God. The words are growing on me, helping ingrain Jesus and God's promises within me, reminding me of them and giving me a structure for the times I spend with God. There is space for my own prayers and short, digestible Bible readings. After I have prayed the morning or evening office I feel peaceful and calm, it is strengthening my ability to see things with the eyes of faith and not feel so overwhelmed by the world around me.

Most immediately helpful has been Compline, the short prayer said last thing in the evening. Since starting to say this prayer I have found that I have had fewer problems getting to sleep, which is a real relief. There is a different one for each day of the week, but they centre around praying for God's peace as we sleep, something I always need.

I am grateful to God for the generous gift the Northumbria Community have made in sharing their Daily Offices and also that He has helped me gain the discipline of following them, I pray I may continue to grow and develop in prayer. None of this has come easily so far, I have been asking God, in my somewhat haphazard prayer, fitted in among and during other things, that I might pray better and spend more time with Him for quite a while. It is well worth persisting in prayer, even if it does not immediately appear to be answered, keep asking and trusting.

And so on with the adventure and change.

Here is one of my favourite parts of the morning prayer, to give you a taste:

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

WIP Wednesday

This yarn, Bluefaced Leicester from Abstract Cat in colourway Jungle Adventure is in the opening stages of becoming a travelling scarf. Such gorgeous yarn, I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

An exciting baby jacket

I'm still amazed how this......became this, then...
...this. I still can't get over the Baby Surprise Jacket. Such an amazing piece of knitting engineering. Onto the the matching bonnet and bootees next I think.
Truly where engineering meets knitting.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

WIP Wednesday

This week's work in progress: Uzu sock in my very favourite Zauberball Crazy colourway.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Think about these things

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4.4-8

I thought that passage was worth quoting in full, since it contains such useful, practical instructions for how to think, how to live and how to avoid anxiety. It is certainly a passage I need to read, mark and inwardly ingest. All too often I find myself defaulting to gloom and depression, dwelling on all the bad things in my life and in the world. I go over and over "whatever is false, whatever is dishonourable, whatever is unjust, whatever is impure, whatever is horrible, whatever is reprehensible" and experience a lot of misery, fear, anxiety and very little peace. Lately I have found myself revisiting a situation in some one's life or the world for which I've been praying, going back over it again and again, not letting go.

But these verses tell me to do the opposite, to give these situations and concerns and requests to God, then move on and leave them with Him, not say with my mouth I am giving them to Him, then holding onto them still in my heart. Instead I need to trust Him with them, and move on, trust Him with myself and rejoice and think about "anything excellent, anything worth of praise". Yet again it comes back to trusting God. And so I keep repenting and returning to Him and trying to learn to accept His peace and allow Him to guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Who could be a better guardian of my heart and mind? Who can better help those I care about and help this troubled world?

God giving us His peace "that surpasses all understanding" is an immense expression of God's superlative generosity and grace. My life would look so different if I did entrust everything to God: infinitely better, calmer, more joyful, secure, peaceful and a powerful witness to the world. So I will keep praying that God will help me to remember to bring things to Him and not hold onto themselves myself, allow Him to take my burdens (Matthew 11.28-30) and that He will increasingly grant me His peace.

Then, having entrusted myself to Him, I pray that He will help me not to think on all the evils of this world but on "whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable... any excellence... anything worthy of praise" and to work out what this list includes. I suspect that this list will, outside the obvious key examples, such as God and Jesus, depend greatly upon each of our interests and characters, since God is a God of such creativity and infinite variety.

Therefore this is my challenge, to change what I think about and learn to entrust what worries me to God and rejoice in Him instead. Father help me, for I need your help.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

WIP Wednesday

Baby Surprise Jacket in Drops Delight - strangely compulsive knitting and most soothing.