Monday, March 06, 2006

Migration, Knitting, Spinning, and Strength

As you can see from today's picture above, several Purple Martins have successfully migrated back from Brazil to our site this season. We currently have approximately 40 or 50 adult Martins back in residence with many more expected. Last year we hosted 76 breeding pairs and we hope to top that number this year! We fledged just over 300 young Purple Martins from our colony site last season.

What a joy to host these wonderful birds! For more information about the commitment and responsibility necessary to become a successful Purple Martin landlord, please visit the Purple Martin Conservation Association for information.


Lace knitting on the Trellis Scarf from the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits is back on track. I'll be posting an updated picture soon. This is really a delightful knit and I am enjoying watching the lace materialize from the ends of my bamboo needles.

I can also highly recommend JaggerSpun Zephyr Silk Wool laceweight yarn. As you can see, this past week I found a wonderful bargain on a 1 lb. cone of Zephyr in the Chanel color. I have great plans for this yarn. One of those projects will be a Faorese shawl from the book, *Stahman's Shawls and Scarves*. I just need to narrow down which beautiful pattern from the book to knit.

Spinning and Strength

You can see that progress is being made on spinning my Cormo roving (on the left) on my Bosworth Drop Spindle. I have Polly Garvey to thank for this....THANKS POLLY! I wish I could claim the beautiful, thin twisted fiber you see draped across the cone of Jaggerspun Zephyr Silk Wool (color Chanel) as my own, but Polly was helping me at a Knit In on Saturday and made this beautiful strand. Do you see the thicker and lumpier strands wrapped around the shaft of the spindle. Well, those are mine. I'm definitely not a natural spinner like my friend Polly, but I am stubborn and determined...which will hopefully work in my favor eventually. : )

It is amazing to realize the amount of skill and technique required to make fine yarn. Spinning the fibers is necessary for strength and stability. Too much spinning and the fibers will be hard and overspun, too little and the yarn strand will be weak and easily broken. It takes just the right amount of spin to make a fine quality, soft, and strong yarn that reveals its full beauty.

As I sat at a spinning meeting tonight, trying to learn the skill of spinning with a drop spindle and using Cormo fiber, I realized that we are each very similar to a fine fiber. If we are spun too tightly we can become brittle, inflexible, rigid, recoiling and overspun. Without enough structure or twist in our lives and we are prone to weakness, not able to reach our potential, and may easily find ourselves broken. So, how are we to know the right amount of *spin*, or twist, in our lives to provide our maximum strength and beauty?

I am convinced that it is only through the loving care and grace of our Heavenly Father, for each of us, that strengthens us and sustains us as our lives are *spun*. It is His hand that is the skilled spinner of our lives. He knows just what to provide for each of us with His love, direction, strength, and grace to reach our potential ... if we just stop trying to spin our lives ourselves, and choose to welcome and follow His loving direction.

I'm leaving you with a picture of one of the strongest examples of God's wonderful creation. The tiny Hummingbird also migrates thousands of miles each season, returning to its North American nesting territory across oceans and miles of rough terrain on tiny wings, to mate and raise their young. Who could imagine that something so very tiny could make such a journey twice each year?

True strength is not always as we imagine it should appear.

I pray for each of you to have a wonderful week of blessings, health, strength, a deep contentment and joy in your heart and a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Your Friend,


Jeremiah 9:11-13
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

II Corinthians 12:9
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."


Anonymous Kimberly said...

Shelly, I just love visiting your blog for inspiration. When I feel down, I see God's beauty and magesty through your pictures. Thanks for the pics, and the commentary. I am blessed today.

4:24 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

I don't know if we even get purple martins up this far north...maybe we do and I just never knew what they were, but to my knowledge I don't think they are around here.

I love hummingbirds though, and we get those. We have a couple of hummingbird feeders we put out every year and have a few visitors to them. They aren't here yet because it is still too cold for them. I believe they arrive around the beginning of May though.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Marguerite said...

Our hummingbirds arrive around May 12. I know they're "ours" because if we don't have the feeder out and waiting for them, they buzz the window to let us know they're hungry and waiting.

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

Thanks Kimberly!

Shelley and Marguerite, this is a Hummingbird picture from last season. But, ours from this year should arrive soon!

Marguerite, they do get us trained pretty well, don't they? : )


9:39 AM  
Anonymous rebecca said...

I'm not surprised that spinning is harder than it looks. As long as you have patience to practice, I'm sure you will learn good technique for making just the right twist!

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that really a current photo? Makes me homesick. I am going to come and visit for DAYS next week!!

Love you,

11:32 AM  
Blogger Prayerful Knitter - Shelly said...

Amanda Sweetie, yes, that is a current picture of the Purple Martins from yesterday afternoon!

I am so looking forward to having you here with us next week...I can hardly wait!!! : )

I love you more than you'll ever know,

Mom : )

11:37 AM  
Blogger Prayerful Knitter - Shelly said...


Yep, it's a challenge to get the right twist...that's for sure! However, at times today I'm making headway and making less chunky yarn! : )

I'm stubborn and will continue trying until I *get it* - at least in some form or fashion.

Shelly : )

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Polly said...

Dearest Shelly,

Thank you for your kind words. All it took was hours of practice. Seriously, Not magic or talent. You'll be there soon, because you want to be!

You are such an inspiration to me. I love your writing and your pictures. Most of all I love your outlook on life and reliance on the Prince of Peace.

Peace be unto you!


12:30 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

I have that same hummingbird feeder. I will have to check out the purple martin link. We have a bunch of birds out where we live in east Texas. I know there are purple martins out here, but I haven't seen any.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

To my dear wonderful sister, as always thank you for your wonderful perspective, your lesson in the values of life, and pictures that capture our imaginations and touch our hearts! I hope that you have a wonderful visit with Manny. Keep up the great work! I used one of your great life examples with my patients today! "You have touched them deeply and most assuredly have left a loving mark!" I am so proud to call you sister :-)

4:37 PM  
Blogger jae said...

Spinning amazes me, how one can get a skein of yarn from overgrown cotton balls...neato. I saw a lady spinning in my LYS and I was mesmerized. Great analogy and great pics. You have great perspective to catch that hummingbird just so.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Wonderland Knitter said...

I love your posts. I always come back and re-read them several times. Thank you so much!

Love you!

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We want Charlie pictures!

12:23 PM  

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