Slowing Time

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“Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. When I’m looking for the glimpse of glory, I slow and enter. And time slows…

…It’s this sleuthing for the glory that slows a life. In this space of time and sphere, I am attentive, aware, accepting the whole of the moment, weighing it down with me all here.

Full attention fills the empty ache.”

-Ann Voskamp

LimeSocks&Cloths

This is one of the many reasons why I knit and draw…to enter time’s swift current…to enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention. To really see and listen and allow the glory of that moment to transform me, to slow down the advancing days and minutes. The mad dash to the end of a school year…the march to a senior boy’s graduation from high school…last moments and beginning ones too.

Slow.

A drop of paint here. A stitch of cotton or wool there.

Attention to it all.

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The above drawing was made this morning at our Ciener Botanical Gardens. Watercolor and a fine liner pen in my watercolor paper Moleskine.

Recently finished pair of socks and my latest craze, The Almost Lost Washcloth.

May Knitterly Arts Newsletter!

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My Knitterly Arts Newsletter for the month of May is now out and about!

Be sure to subscribe to receive it every month FREE in your email box.

Wishing you an artful day!

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Jennifer

Which is It?

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I was asked this on a couple of occasions during the Eclection Art Show on Saturday. “So which is it you love the most? Drawing? or Knitting?” That has not been an easy thing to answer for many years. My own agony over which takes precedence over the other has been excruciating at times. Recently though, I’m finding some peace in a new way of thinking about it.

Late yesterday afternoon the door bell rang. I was in the throws of the final pages of Sarah Addison Allen’s book, The Sugar Queen. I got up and opened the door to no one. An Amazon package was sitting there on my front stoop. I picked it up, saw that it had my name on it. But knowing that I had not ordered anything, I took it to my husband and said it must be for him.

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It turned out it was indeed for me, a gift from my dear dad. I knew this book was special since I had been reading about one of the main characters in Allen’s book for whom books just show up at just the right time. Chloe finds specific books on her kitchen counter, her bedroom floor, they follow her to work, etc. They are meant for her, to help her, encourage her right where she needs it. The book my dad sent to me is Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.

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Let’s back up a bit, to the book I had just finished reading the day before devouring Allen’s book. I had been savoring Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You ‘re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are . Of the many, many wonderful things in this book, there was a section where she talked of another author (how many books will there be?) Marci Alboher, an author/speaker/coach who wrote: One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success. Brown writes, “Alboher interviewed hundreds of people pursuing multiple careers simultaneously and discovered how slash careers–researcher/storyteller, artist/real estate agent–integrate and fully express the multiple passions, talents, and interests that a single career cannot accommodate. Marci’s book is full of stories about people who have created meaningful work by refusing to be defined by a single career. “

So which is it?

All of it.

Artist/Knitter/Mother/Teacher

I like that. I could actually add a couple more slashes there. “Writer” comes to mind, though I am hesitant to call myself one. Seems too lofty. But I do a lot of it. And even more lately as I’ve been ruminating and mulling over many creative connections that are banging around in my head. It’s really the only way I can deal with all the thoughts in there…write them down. That way they reside somewhere other than in my head. Writing them down helps to sort them out and to make sense of the varying, sometimes disparate parts, integrating them and in-so-doing, giving me a sense of wholeness too.

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Which now brings me to the book that landed on my doorstep yesterday. I’ve been writing in my journal a lot lately about creative practices. A practice is something in one’s life he or she does on a regular basis that is not necessarily tied to a job, but is integral to one’s life and vocation. Many people have a practice of doing yoga or jogging, a practice of meditation or prayer. This is exactly what Twyla Tharp’s book is about…developing A Creative Habit, or ritual(s) in one’s life that nurtures and sustains. I am reading with relish this book that has so obviously come into my life at just the right time. Thanks Dad!

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I am not blogging  these days as often as I have in the past. There are many reasons for this, but the main one being that life is so very full right now. With life being full and my head being full (of thoughts), I need my creative habits all the more. I sketch and draw to drop into my busy life and really feel it, experience it, instead of just letting it pass me by. I knit to slow down, to find creative moments in the in-betweens of life–at soccer practices and on road-trips to Wingate, etc. I walk each day in and around my neighborhood, a life-long practice (habit) that is crucial to my health and well-being as a human being AND as a creative person. And, of course, I told you about writing… a rich, daily habit I’ve had for decades.

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And you? Which is it for you? What slash title would you give yourself? What habits do you have that sustain you? I’m planning on delving more into this whole topic in the future. Slowly. Bit by bit. As I have time, energy, and ability. In the meantime, I will keep drawing/knitting/writing/walking/praying/meditating/reading as “practices” or “habits” to sustain me. I hope you will too!

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Notes on some of the photos and drawings above:

The first drawing is of my oldest daughter when she visited and came with me to draw at Eclection. It is perhaps one of my favorite drawings of late as it combines several of my slash titles…mother/artist/knitter.

A pair of socks I finished knitting recently and a couple of washcloths. These are my go-to projects of late…perfect for taking with me everywhere.

Last week I followed an inner prompting to “go to the Gardens” even though I had a to-do list a mile long. I was delighted to discover a brand new section that has been opened at our Ciener Botanical Gardens!!

The completed drawing/painting of this new Garden section.

Our cat Lucy is often near me when I knit. If she isn’t in my lap, she is behind my head stretched out on the top of the chair, purring as I knit.:)

The latest pair of socks on the needles…delighting in every stitch, every color, every pattern. <Sigh>

And so…

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It begins like a drawing does, or a knitting project. A drawn line. A cast on stitch. And then another. And another. And another until you reach a stopping point, not an end, but a good place to finish. And then you begin again. Each day is a beginning. Each year. Every decade. I am fast approaching a new decade. In a few months my age will begin with a different digit. I’ve been thinking a good deal about this, pondering it, mulling over it in my mind and heart. Assessing the lines and yarns that have been before, looking at the present ones, and gazing into what they might be in the coming ten years.

It is an interesting, wonderful, and somewhat odd feeling to be able to look behind oneself at the years that have gone before. And as my current life is evolving, there is a great deal of comfort in holding the lines that have brought me through all the previous years. My husband and I stand amazed at our middle child (son) getting ready to graduate high school in a month or so. We marvel at our oldest daughter who will be a senior in college in the fall, and at our youngest daughter who will enter her final year of middle school. And he and I both will soon turn into this new decade of our lives. It looks like it will be a very full one indeed.

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So as these changes whirl around me, I hold onto these LIFE lines in pen and yarn.  Engaging in creativity as a way of life is stabilizing, soothing, anchoring, centering. The crazier life gets, the more I hold onto the lines, reaching for them if even for a few minutes here, an hour there, two hours on Friday mornings when I get to draw with others who love it as I do. Teaching women to knit and crochet offers me a way to sit down and connect with someone else who loves yarn, just the feel of it running through one’s fingers, stitch after stitch. I’m grateful for this artful life.

And as I turn into a new decade, I’m sensing more and more the desire to encourage you to live artfully as well! I know many of you do. But we all need encouragement to keep going, to keep putting pen to paper or yarn to needle or whatever your choice of making things. We need to hear someone say to us: Keep going! Keep on making things! It’s good for you! It’s great for those around you! Hold onto the creative lifeline and keep on living artfully!

It is my desire to continue to do this, to keep encouraging you (and in so doing I myself am encouraged) to live an artful life. Placing both blogs under this one umbrella is my way of embracing ALL that I love to create and speaking with one voice to any who might like to listen here. There is so much more to share, so much more for you in the coming weeks and months.

I’m glad you’re here!

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Jennifer

Welcome to my New Home!

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Change has been afoot! Lots of mulling, weighing, flip-flopping, sighing, and finally Hip*Hip*Hooraying!!

It’s all here, under one roof! My website, one blog (merging both Drawn2Life and Knitterly Arts), as well as all the other good stuff offered on those blogs.

I hope you enjoy taking a little tour across the red bar up there! So much to check out.

I have migrated over here all the followers on both blogs. You should now receive new blog post emails reflecting this change. I am unsure whether it also moved WordPress followers over here or not. I’m still rearranging some furniture and unpacking the boxes. It may take a while. Do let me know if you find issues with links and such. I truly want this spot to be homey and easy to navigate.

I realize in doing this, that I may be losing some traffic, previous pins on Pinterest, and other web-based links. That is ok. I’m ready to start afresh, so-to-speak, and live in a home that comfortably houses all that I love to create and share with you.

Upcoming blog posts will unpack the reasoning behind all of this. I hope you will visit often and be inspired to live artfully!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

April Knitterly Arts Newsletter!

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My Knitterly Arts Newsletter for April is now winging its way to email boxes around the world!

If you’d like to subscribe…CLICK HERE!

And do share with others who might enjoy receiving a bit of yarny inspiration!

Cotton Love

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When the weather turns (even the slightest bit) to hints of spring, I begin longing for cotton.  At the end of February I discovered a pattern from a blog I follow and immediately knew I wanted to knit it. But wool, and the weather that accompanies it, was quickly fading from my yarn-loving visions and I knew I had to knit this in a cotton version.

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Of course, this meant having to re-do all the maths and figure out inches and all that good stuff. But that’s actually what I enjoy doing, so it just made for a completely entrancing project from beginning to end.

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I had purchased The Bella Wrap pattern but it didn’t give any schematics whatsoever. I think I got close to the original and I’m enjoying wearing it ever so much now that the days are a bit warmer.

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I’ve worn it with long sleeves as well as short sleeves…very versatile for the roller coaster temps we have here in the South in Springtime.

I pulled out all my leftover cottons. Some are cotton-acrylic blends and others 100% cotton. I doubled the colors throughout to allow them to gradate as I went along…cream melting into yellow, yellow flowing into pink, pink morphing into green, etc.

It has a very cosy feel to it. And I love the three ways you can wear it:

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Open in front.

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Or pinned in the middle.

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Or secured over to the side. The pattern showed a nifty round shawl pin, but I just used one of my decorative crochet hooks. It works great!

I seem to have issues with knitting things exactly by pattern. I owe this to my dear mother and to Elizabeth Zimmerman. Mom almost always does something different with a pattern in order to make the project fit correctly or to change something about the design. Elizabeth Zimmerman gave me the instruction for how to calculate making any pattern using a different gauge or weight yarn. When you have a little confidence and know-how, the knitting world is at your finger tips! Quite literally!! 🙂

I know I will make this again in a bulky wool on size 15 needles (as the pattern calls for) one day! But from now until August, cottons will be running through my hands.

Ebb & Flow

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There seems to be an ebb and flow to creating. For weeks, you are knitting something (or several somethings) stitch by stitch. You hop from project to project, keeping it interesting. In my case, I also bounce from drawing to knitting, from painting to crochet, from typing up a new design to making cards and prints for the Shop.

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Then you hit a week where several projects get finished! Oh wow! Happy Day! The blanket you’ve been crocheting is suddenly the perfect length. The sweater you’ve been knitting now has all its ends woven in, and the canvases that have been sitting there for a time with lines drawn on them, now have color and paint and they worked out and oh Happy Day!

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But then you move on. You begin other projects, one stitch at a time, one line at a time, beginning….again. This can be an exciting time. But it can also lag a bit for me, having enjoyed the excitement of finishing, of completion, of TA-DAH!

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The key for me, is not to begin too many new projects at this point. So often, as I’ve been slowly plodding away at the previous batch of creativity, I’ve also been dreaming of the next batch. There are always too many. I have to be selective and choose only a few or else I’ll glut the limited time I have with too many things vying for my attention. Three or four works well. Too many more and I’m a spinning top wobbling in all directions, not knowing which project to tackle next.

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Easy does it. Slow going. Tortoise steps. One thing at at time. One stitch at a time. Being present to the line, splash, or row I’m on. Leaving the next rows and strokes for a later moment.

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Draw breath. Draw life. Stitch with focus and flow.

LIVE your creative life!

March Newsletter & Class Offerings!

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Hip! Hip Hooray!

March is here!! And that means this month’s Knitterly Arts Newsletter is now out being sent to all my subscribers.

If you’d like in on the fun, CLICK HERE, to sign up for this FREE, inspiration-packed email newsletter.

In the email newsletter, I have a section to notify my knit & crochet students, as well as ANY area residents, of the classes I’m teaching locally. But I am also offering classes to any who might have a few friends at work, in your neighborhood or church, who would like to learn to knit or crochet, or who desire to gain more skills or to receive help with their current projects.

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I created this brochure to hand out to folks letting them know about a variety of ways they can learn:

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Have Yarn, Will Travel!

Limited to the area of Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Greensboro, High Point, NC. Unless you live in France…I will gladly come to France and teach you to knit!! 🙂

I LOVE to Teach!

Knitterly Sketch Journal Pages

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I’m gonna try to catch you up on my yarny travels of late by way of my sketch journal devoted solely to the items I’ve finished knitting or crocheting.

FINISHED is the key word here. A fiber project I’m working on does not get to be drawn into the journal until it is ALL DONE! Seams made, ends woven in, blocked if needed.

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This final step is like the icing on the cupcake for me. I love to draw. I love to knit and crochet. So to draw what I’ve knitted or crocheted is an extra boon!

Anna'sBooties Here’s a pic of the sweet little booties I crocheted for a friend who is expecting her first child.

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And this is the page for Patsy’s Perfect Tunic, which I hope you are ALL knitting one of these for yourself (FREE Pattern!) before the cold weather leaves!!!

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Of course, the Everlasting Gobstopper Blanket…it continues to heal and warm and make cosy all who wrap up in it.

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And the Wild Hare Tunic I knitted last week when the first snow “storm” hit our area. I now have another project begun from this week’s snow storm (actually gave us 7″ of snow instead of 1″). I’ll share it with you another day! 🙂

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I’ve since finished Rhubarb Blanket and a pair of socks, but they haven’t yet been journaled. Can’t wait to do that!

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Feel free to click on the images to see them larger on your screen.

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AND…if you haven’t yet signed up for my Knitterly Arts Newsletter, PLEASE DO SO!! The next issue is due out in a few days!!! Yay!