Thursday, March 09, 2006

Knitting Lace, Holes, Lifelines, and Trusting Faith

The Trellis Scarf from the current Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits is back on track. It is a delight to knit and great fun to watch the lace materialize from the ends of my needles. While this isn't a great *chit chat and knit* project, it is wonderful for quieter times when my counting isn't interrupted. My fever has almost gone now and my lace knitting is possible once again!


This picture shows (click to enlarge the picture) that I'm using a knitting lifeline of a strand of quilting thread every 8 rows of the 16 row lace repeat. The lifeline is simply placed every 8th row by threading a strand of quilting thread onto a yarn needle and then running it through each of the stitches on the needle of every 8th row. The purpose of the lifeline is to keep from having to rip out (frog) all the way to the beginning if you find you have made an error in your knitting. When knitting lace, the frequency of yarn overs, knit 2 togethers, decreases, increases, etc. makes it nearly impossible to rip back and get the correct stitches on your needle again. When you have a lifeline in place, you only have to frog back to your lifeline and all your stitches are on the thread properly and ready to be placed on your needle. It is also important to remember which row each lifeline is in so that you can start again on the correct row. Honestly, I could *never* finish a lace knitting project without the use of a lifeline....or several lifelines! : )

On my Grandmother's Faroese shawl, I used superwash, fingering weight sock yarn as a lifeline. The quilting thread was too lightweight for the sport weight alpaca project. Also, superwash sock yarn prevented any type of felting or sticking to the long staple alpaca fibers. So, you may need to choose carefully what type of strand to use for your lifeline in your lace knitting project.


While knitting lace, it is actually a process of knitting *holes* in your knitting fabric. Without the holes, your knitting result would be a plain fabric, possibly textured with varied stitches, but none of the qualities, grace, and beauty of lace.

Lace knitting brings a beauty to knitting that is unparalleled with other techniques. It produces an intricate, beautiful, and delicate - yet very strong fabric. It seems almost impossible that such a delicate design filled with holes could produce such beauty and strength....much like our lives.

I know that my life has had *big* holes....holes that I thought would cripple me with pain, hurt and dissappointment. A very difficult childhood, failed relationships, multiple miscarriages when we were desperately wanting to have children, health problems, and more. These were each *holes* in my heart and life that, at the time, I feared would be leave me broken. However, when the Master is the knitter of our lives, those holes are used to make us stronger, transform us to a more caring individual, produce a beautiful and understanding life, and help us become more trusting in our Heavenly Father. He sees the design in progress and knows how it will be at completion. I have learned to give control to Him and total trust that He is the Master Designer and has each of our best interests in his hands. He promises to finish the work in our lives that he has started and I, for one, could not make it a day without Him...nor would I ever want to!

The difficulties in my life have given me a greater understanding of others, a more compassionate heart, and the blessing of keeping my priorities straight in this life. I can now truthfully be thankful for the lessons that I have learned through the *holes* in my life and honestly say, "it is well with my soul".

I had a very close friend that often commented, "You know Shelly, I don't know what heaven is going to be like....but it sure must be something....because sometimes this initiation is just the pits!" Gayle would always make me laugh when he said this and he would follow it up with a huge grin and a big hug. I miss Gayle and his wonderful outlook and trusting faith. And, I think he was quite right. : )

If you are in a *hole* in your life just now, please know that you are not alone. It isn't punishment, but just life. We can make a choice to not become hardenend or negative, to turn your cares over to the Lord, and let your friends come to your side. Each of us have these times and I will always be willing to help others when another hole is being knitted into the beautiful fabric of their lives. Remember, it is the end project that reflects all the work and beauty, attention to detail, and love put into every stitch. And, remember that our Heavenly Father is the lifeline of our lives....if we allow Him.

If given a choice, I choose to be knitted of lace. I don't want to be just a stockinette swatch, or garter stitch square. Although an intricate and deeply textured cable design is tempting, I'll still choose to have my life be lace when all is said and done. : )

Trusting Faith

It is such a privelege to know trusting faith without doubt or fear. As an example, I'd like to share a short video clip. This video is of 3 Eastern Phoebes that I successfully rehabbed last year as an avian subpermittee for WildCare. They were *soft released* and remained at our site for a few weeks. We continued to supplementally feed them several times daily until they were successfully independently feeding. You will see them coming to my wonderful husband for mealworms held up in the air from a hemostat. Enjoy! Now, this is a perfect example of trusting faith! Oh what we can learn from God's wonderful creations! : )

Click the link below to view the video:

Feeding Eastern Phoebes Post Soft Release

My prayer for each of you this week is for a wonderful upcoming weekend, health, a deep contentment in your heart, freedom from worries, and a deep and trusting faith in our Heavenly Father that will take you through any *holes* with grace, and to have flawless lace knitting.


Please continue to pray for my dear friend Susan and our relative, Will. They are both battling cancer with incredible grace and courage and we need to pray for them always. I have also added links to the sidebar on the right to support The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and The Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. Please support these great organizations to help Susan and Will.

Also, my Granny, Ollie, (recipient of the Faroese shawl) is having difficulty breathing due to congestive heart failure. The physician has adjusted her medication today. Please pray for her to have comfort and ease of breathing and renewed health. Thank you so very much.

Your Friend,


P.S. I'm leaving you with a cute picture and visual example of what we should do when the heat of life begins to get us down.
And, living water from our Heavenly Father is even better than a swimming pool. (Be sure to notice the little Carolina Chickadee hiding under the edge of the birdbath trying to avoid the splashing water.) : )

Philippians 1:6
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

John 4:10
10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."


Anonymous Kimberly said...

WOW! First your scarf is just beautiful. I haven't had the courage to try lace knitting yet. But I just might get that courage one of these days.

And your devotional thoughts. Thank you. Truly inspirational.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Amy from Ezekiel's Garden said...

What a gorgeous scarf! :)

Your blog always blesses me. Thank you for posting such beautiful illustrations. Would you mind if I printed your knitting illustration and share it with my Sunday school class?

6:40 PM  
Blogger quiltyknitwit said...

Such a lovely post. Sometimes I'm happy for the holes, but other days it's a lot harder. I keep trying.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Hi Shelly,

I agree with you. Lace is such a special addition, a thing of beauty, intricate, fragile but with the unique ability to make such a bold statement. Sometimes the "holes" in each of our lives weaves our own unique ability to stand tough in the presence of our greatest challenges. The holes that we have dug ourselves out of, often prove to be the proudest moments of who we are today! Thank you for sharing you another day....I love you dearly!

7:53 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

Your scarf is gorgeous. And I love the video clip of the bird feeding.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Prayerful Knitter - Shelly said...

Thanks Kimberly. Your blog blesses me, as well. : )

Amy, feel free to print out any of my blog that you would like. I would be very blessed for your to share it with your Sunday school class.

Quilty Knitwit, Yes, the holes can be very difficult. I understand. The holes help form who we are and will serve a purpose ... even though we may not realize it for quite some time. I believe there is a difference in being *happy* for the holes vs. acceptance of them and letting them be *well with our soul.* It is the final fabric that turns out to be good. : )

I love you, too, Sis!!! God has blessed us both richly after our very rough start.

Thanks Kay. Those little guys stayed at our place for several weeks. They would even come to the bathroom window and make noise while hovering in front of the window when they wanted to be fed! : )

8:45 PM  
Anonymous rebecca said...

as usual, I got goosebumps reading your post, Shelly! I think you missed your calling, you would have made a wonderful pastor.

Ah well, you've found your niche here, ministering to many!

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Polly said...

I love you analogy, your strength, and your scarf! Thanks for your life lessons and ready smile!

6:55 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

I've looked at that scarf pattern in the magazine and wondered if I'll attempt it at some point. Yours is looking beautiful!

4:04 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

I like the idea of using a "lifeline" when knitting lace. I am definately going to do this in my next lace project. I love knitting lace, but it is really a pain when it has to be frogged.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Wonderland Knitter said...

Beautiful post Shelly! Thanks so much. Your blog is always a joy and comfort to read!

Love You!

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Sonja said...

Omi goodness, what beautiful work you do!

2:35 PM  
Blogger jae said...

Love your lace and the tie in with life. Thanks for explaining the lifeline, now I can see exactly how it works.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Shelly, you are a blessing to many, I am sure. Both in your physical community and your internet community. You always seem to say what I am needing to hear at the time. May our Heavenly Father continue to bless you and yours and the rest of us. By the way, your knitting is always gorgeous. Such a talented gift you have for both knitting, writing and pastoring. Dee

9:47 AM  
Blogger AmyArtisan said...

What a great devotional & parallel with the lifeline knitting. :)

8:40 AM  

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