Monday, May 27, 2013

Philippians Chapter/Week 1

One week ago, having reawakened my Twitter account in order to be more engaged with my daughter and her friends, I responded to the tweeted invitation from Amy Gross to spend 4 weeks reading and reflecting on Paul's letter to the Philippians.  Her format is near-effortless enough to be manageable, but structured enough to require self-imposed commitment and, in my case, dependency on the Holy Spirit to see it through and reap the rich harvest sure to be waiting for me. Basically we read 1 chapter a week, and post reflections, take-aways, aha moments, etc. on Mondays.
Well, today's Monday, so here goes.  I read through Phil 1 three times, I think, with varying degrees of focus.  And what sticks in my mind the most is the first part of verse 27:  
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. 
And what makes it stick in my mind is this:  What the heck does this mean exactly?
When I posted the verse on Facebook, the first response I got was, "Well, there goes happy hour this Friday."  But is this what Paul means? Is this an admonishment to straighten up, fly right, and remove any appearance of questionable behavior or even fun from my life?  Surely not, though this is exactly what the Enemy would have us believe. But I realize that in my own mind I twist Paul's words to mean, "Conduct yourself in a manner that appears unimpeachable, as if you have it all together, that follows all the rules, that draws no finger-pointing, that is holier than thou, that is pleases others, nay, that pleases everybody..." and I am forced once again to recognize that even as a believing Christian I still succumb to the ever-present subconscious nagging that it's all about works and appearances.
If I am to respond to Paul's exhortation, I must understand what the "gospel of Christ" is, and what it is not.   At the risk of trivializing the dilemma, I feel somewhat like Charlie Brown when he cries out in frustration...

This is what I know about the gospel (literally "Good News") of Christ:  it is simple and complicated;  it is good, not bad; it is about God's grace, not my control; it is about my heart more so than my behavior; it is about my intimacy with Jesus more so than my going to church; it means I am saved by Jesus' sacrifice, not my own striving; it means I don't have to know all the answers before I can talk about it; it means that the Holy Spirit will guide me into understanding so that I may "conduct [myself] in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ"...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Who knits socks in Florida?

Granted, here in Florida we wear flip flops all year long. Granted, one can succumb to the allure of hand-dyed fingering weight merino without venturing into the realm of dpns or magic loop - work it up into a shawl perhaps.  Granted, back when I read Debbie Macomber's A Good Yarn I scratched my head and thought, "Who knits socks?"  But as I re-entered the knitting world several years ago and quickly rose to the ranks of the obsessed (and employed, mind you - not all obsessions are dangerous) I became aware of the pervading buzz about sock knitting, and I figured there must be sound reason behind it.

In May 2011 I cast on my first pair
the first of which I finished (on a different beach) 3 months later.
Its mate was a long time coming, the victim not only of second sock syndrome but of a pattern so boring it was difficult to work up much enthusiasm for it.  Conquering both of these major obstacles, however, I had a complete pair by August 2012.

Though this was my first pair started, it was not my first pair finished.  In the lengthy interim I participated in a  KAL which introduced me not only to Plymouth Happy Feet (my very first purchase at The [Itty Bitty] Knitty Gritty) and Irish Girlie Knits, but also to Honey Badger, the hilarious-but-perhaps-too-vulgar-for-some You Tube video. (Not going to link it here, go look it up yourself.  Honey Badger don't care.)
I also learned that not all US 1 needles are the same size - Honey Badger may not care about that, but you and I do, trust me!  This pair came much faster - just over one month start to finish.

With a bold sense of now-I-know-how-to-knit-socks and a hunger to learn different techniques, I volunteered for a test knit soon after.  Wheat Rib by Lindo Jo Park was my first try at toe-up on 2 circulars, which has become my preferred sock method.
More have followed:  Skew by Lana Holden for a Will Work For Yarn Swap Group project,
Apres Ski by Kate Atherley for a beginner's sock class,
Field of Flowers by Sheryl Giles for an excuse to use Malabrigo.
Still very much in progress are my Irish Coffee socks by Nicola W, featuring a "whipped cream" cuff and belly-warming leg.

The mis-crossed cable early on in the cuff is not what has caused my delay, but it did prompt me to change the project name to "Amish Coffee."

So who knits socks in Florida?  I do.  And I'm itching to share techniques, tips, pitfalls, experiences with fellow enthusiasts and with those who, like I once was, are simply confounded by the whole idea.  Join me at The Knitty Gritty for a free-of-charge, twice-monthly get-together.  Bring your own socks-in-progress, or cast-on the socks-of-the-month project (this month it's yoga socks).  Learn a new technique, or get help for a sock-gone-awry.  Fondle my sock yarn, I'll fondle yours.  This month we'll meet Monday, May 20 from 6-8 pm, and/or Tuesday, May 21 from 11am-1pm.  In ensuing months we'll stagger the meetings every other week or thereabouts.  Become a regular, or pop in now and then.  I'll be there to knit, chat, teach, help, laugh. Hope to see you there!