Theme of the Month

One stunningly beautiful world symbolically represented by braided Scarves of Peace.


 

"....the idea of women spinning a world of connections with their art and weaving. The world needs to hear from women, the beauty and the sadness that can be their world."

Mary Scott, President. National Council of Women of Canada

Share Your Story
Share Your Story
Everybody has a story!  When I share the theme of Peace Fibres, people fairly sizzle with excitement about their own fibre stories. This page is an invitation to share YOUR story. Please type your fibre story (no more than 500 words!) and send to my email address: karenlohn@boreal.org. I will edit and insert on this page. Read the growing "storybook" as it evolves.

Community Art:

Braiding Relationships. A group of women came together to explore healthy relationships using fibre as metaphor. In the process, the group created this mandala, symbolic of oneness in diversity, connecting each braid with the others:

                                                                                         

     ALL ONE.... Beauty in Diversity

The women's stories were filled with courage, wisdom, and strength. As the mandala was completed, each held the edges and leaned back to experience these truths.
The mandala now hangs in the Violence Prevention Center of Cook County as inspiration to others in braiding healthy relationships of peace.


       Over the course of a year, congregants...and nursery school children....created this needle felted tapestry, symbol of the mission of
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH in Grand Marais, Minnesota.



    Knitting Booties for Nutrition!

For three December weeks, knitters....and non-knitters.... met to create booties to send to Burkina Faso, Africa, where Peace Corps workers offer them to moms in order to get them to attend seminars on infant nutrition. Some of the malnourishment there is due to lack of understanding nutritional needs.
I put the word out to our little community in northern Minnesota: people fairly leapt on the chance to contribute!  A doctor posted the pattern at the local clinic and delivered booties more than once; members of the Violence Prevention Center arrived with a variety of completed pairs; others stuck them between my doors when I was gone or rang the bell and handed them over! 
The first pairs hung on a Norfolk pine in my living room; when its branches were weighted too heavily, I added a second "Bootie Tree" and soon it was filled as well!













     ONE of my "Bootie Trees"


Some non-knitters seized this opportunity to learn to knit!  Sue proudly completed an entire pair of booties; Myron knit most of one pair as well.  Denise elected to needle-felt a unique pair; others jazzed up the pattern with signature extras.  I ventured into re-learning some alternative stitches, long un-practiced.

 
The community sessions offered a chance to meet new people, get to know others better, and to learn lots of new dimensions to friends already known.  EVERYONE benefitted!

The response of the Peace Corps volunteers in Burkina was so enthusiastic, indicating that the 100+ pairs that we are sending will take them over the top of their goal as well.

What an example of the potential for peace when left to the common folk to care for one another. What generous hearts reside in individuals across the globe.

Gratitude. Peace on Earth, Good Will to All Peoples.

                                                                                             Sue's first-ever booties!




Kathleen Walsh with her "Fabulous Fronie Figure," a doll she created honoring her mother on her 100th birthday.

Here is her tribute to her mother....

You asked me to share the "aura" of my mother's figure I made for her hundredth birthday (8/16/11), even though she died in "83.

My mother's name was Veronica, but most called her "Fronie".  She was a deliciously warm, welcoming, wild woman who never hesitated to take chances in life and on other people.  She could pack her suitcase in ten minutes for a spontaneous trip!   When she was sixty (and I was thirty), we traveled all around Europe in a VW bug for six weeks.

In summertime, Fronie loved to "split a beer"  -  sometimes two or three!  She loved gardening, loved covering fromes with seashells from Florida and driftwood from the North Shore, and gifted all her six children with these beautiful works of art.  Her spirit lives on!

My note.... Kathleen's doll includes seashells, two small beer mugs, items from nature, a gilded heart, and lively soft fabrics. Wish I could have known "Fronie!"




Lola from Las Vegas tells about her Aunt Belinda's endlessly moving needles:

When I was growing up, I thought that my mother's sister, my Aunt Belinda, was pretty strange.  No matter where we went, nor what was going on, she would be knitting or crocheting or doing needle point. In church, at family celebrations, in the car, Belinda's needles were always busy.

Every family member received handmade gifts from Belinda for all the hallmarks of life. For baptisms, there were soft, delicate blankets; for confirmations, she'd give winter scarves; for weddings, each couple received a "throw," and even in illness or death, there was a laprobe to comfort. 

Her beautiful, warm offerings didn't stop with the family. Belinda made prayer shawls for her church's ministry, blankets for the Linus Project, hats and mittens for residents of a shelter. I'm sure there were many other projects and situations that benefited by Belinda's obsession with moving fingers.

What I did not know until she died, though, was how much Belinda benefited. My mother told me then that Belinda had been raped when she was a teen-ager. The trauma of the rape had immobilized her for years; she would sit isolated in her room, barely responding to anyone, rocking and staring.

My mother had a friend who was a therapist who came to visit with Belinda regularly; she brought knitting and other fibre projects along. At first, she would just stitch away, but as Belinda showed a bit of interest, she taught her how to knit, crochet, and do needle point.
These proved to be Belinda's salvation. Once she started, she seemed not to be able to stop; she once told my mother that keeping her needles going blocked out the trauma and that she found peace when she was creating something.

So many people benefited from her "therapy needles!"




Here is a poignant story offered by Ed of U.K.:

My father was a silent, stern man.  I never saw him cry, rarely heard him laugh. He would admonish my mother if she showed much emotion openly; when my brother was killed in a tragic accident at age 25, he shook my mother's arm at the casket to remind her not to cry.
However, when my mother was bedridden for many months before her death at age 68, I saw the deep, tender caring side of my father.  She taught him to crochet!  Mom  had started a sweet yellow blanket for my firstborn, but simply did not have the strength to continue the project when she became so ill. To finish this legacy to her grandchild, Mom had to enlist a proxy and that was my father!

He patiently worked on sample pieces under her watchful eye, sitting by her bed for hours. They would talk of days gone by and of their shared joys and heartaches while his hands became more and more adept.  Finally, Mom thought he was skilled enough to pick up the delicate yellow yarn of her blanket and continue what she had begun.

Dad was hesitant at first, but gained confidence.  Each day, the blanket grew; each day the two of them talked while he worked. Sometimes, Mom would just sleep and Dad would crochet.  When the blanket was complete, Mom's now-weak voice instructed him on how to finish the end. 

Mom had intended to embellish the blanket with small roses, but was too weak to teach him how to make these. An old friend of hers stepped in and taught Dad to do these.  When Mom breathed her last, Dad gently covered her still body with this delicate yellow blanket, adorned with dozens of tiny pink and green roses.  Tears poured down his cheeks... and mine.







Another story about "all things are more beloved for their imperfections" from Sophie in Ohio....

Karen, thanks for your lovely, thoughtful book.  Messages everyone needs to hear.
Suzanna, there are so many lessons in your little story.  Haste does make waste.  But more than that, you overcame the shortcomings and saw what was really important.  And had a good time doing it.  We could all learn from that.  Lordie knows, we've all made plenty of mistakes.  I'll tell you one of mine.

I'm still so darn embarrassed.  I must have been about a Jr. in H.S.  I wanted something new for the barn dance (actually it was a sock hop.)  (You know, I'm dating myself).  Anyway, I made this beautiful, big, tiered gathered skirt out of matching colors of a small calico print.  Country, right?  Only thing was, when I was about to be picked up by my date, Jimmy, I saw that the third tier down was sewed on inside out.  Oh, shoot!  Well, what could I do but hope the gym lighting was pretty low, as usual.  My friend, Martha, noticed the difference in color and told me about it.  At least no one else said anything about it.  I decided to let go of it and..., Jimmy and I had a GREAT time!

Sophie
Let's hear some more stories!




Here is a story from Suzanna from Rock Island, Illinois. Suzanna tells how sewing a skirt for her daughter's wedding taught her a valuable lesson in accepting imperfection. Enjoy!

When my daughter decided to have a mid-winter wedding in our midwestern state, she knew that her choice of dresses needed to be warmer than usual; she chose velvet and the dresses were stunning.

As mother-of-the-bride, I wanted also to have a dress of velvet. I searched, searched, and searched stores and online, but I could not find anything that I even remotely liked or thought would be appropriate. I sew a bit, usually for my grandchildren; when I was younger, I did sew clothes for myself, but I rarely was satisfied. I am not patient enough to be a competent seamstress. I like immediate results, so I cut steps that really make a difference in the final project (like trimming the pattern, pressing the fabric, fitting well).

Finding nothing in a ready-made dress, though, I decided to make my dress for the wedding. I promised myself that I would take every painstaking step so that the result would be perfection. Hah!

I found some luscious red velvet fabric, took it home and carefully laid it out so it would not wrinkle. I knew that I had a pattern from years before that would be just right for the simple lines I wanted. What I had not remembered, however, was that the simple pattern had no kick-pleat; I needed one in order to dance at the wedding reception! First mistake.

I decided that I would carefully overlay a second pattern with a kick-pleat over the one I wanted. Surprisingly, my strategy worked readily. I carefully pinned the two patterns and cut just as carefully, leaving plenty of extra seam allowance so that I would not find my dress difficult to fit the extra flesh of age.

When I fit the first basted dress, it hung huge. Okay. Carefully pull everything in. I did and it worked! The second fitting was just right. I stitched firm, slow stitches. Even the zipper went in exactly right on the first try, an amazing feat for me. I had taken great care to baste it with iron-on basting tape first. Ah, those admonitions to take those preparatory steps were paying off.


At last, the rich red velvet garment was complete and I was delighted with the result. I turned it inside-out to carefully press the seams using a pressing cloth to avoid scorching the fabric.  When I turned the dress to the right side and hung it to wait for the big day, I noticed a small shiny spot on the lower left side of the skirt. A tiny piece of the basting tape was stuck to the plush fibers. Removing the tape only increased the golden-toned shine. I was sick. I tried rubbing, brushing, wiping. Nothing helped.

I decided that I would try dye. I mixed a bit of a commercial dye and applied it carefully. It only made it worse, so I rinsed the entire dress and hung it to dry. The shiny spot remained, but the dye at least had rinsed out.  Believe it or not, I tried marker next; no color matched closely enough, so I again rinsed the dress. Nothing worked. My only choice seemed to be to abandon the dress and find something else to wear.

That night I lay worrying about my dress. It suddenly occurred to me that I WAS NOT THE BRIDE.... I was not going to be the center of attention. I could wear my lovely velvet dress even in its imperfection. I had the choice to enjoy the wedding and my dancing creation or make myself miserable. I chose the former.

My husband and I walked our beautiful daughter down the aisle together. We greeted the celebrators, ate and danced and had a wonderful evening. Not one person noticed the tiny shiny spot on the lower left side of my lovely warm dress. And I felt wonderful in it.

Excellence, not perfection, is its message to me.



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