With Love

Craig Wedren’s Hooded Cape

craig-wedren-cape-1

Made this beautiful cape for my friend Craig Wedren in July 2010 and it looks amazing on him. He recently wore it to Sundance and I heard it got a lot of compliments. Nothing makes me happier than someone I love wearing something I knitted.

craig-wedren-cape-9

craig-wedren-cape-13

How I Got Started Knitting

carol-avelar-CJ-Arabia-david-phil-julia

In March 2009 my mother died a horrible painful death of ovarian cancer. It sucked. When she went on Chemo she took a knitting class so that she’d have something to do while she sat there in chemo. After she died I found myself in a room with bags full of her yarn, knitting needles, scissors, hooks, sewing machines, needles… my mom was so crafty and now here were all her crafts… unfinished.

My brothers handed me a bag of yarn and said, “I guess you better learn how to knit.” So I did. My living room was full of all her yarn. First I tried YouTube but I couldn’t get it, so I went to my local yarn shop for a real lesson and one hour later I was knitting… I was knitting as often as I could. I couldn’t stop knitting.

I would think, “Mom, I have no idea what you had planned for this yarn but I hope it’s OK if I make it into a scarf since that’s all I can make right now.”

I like to call my first piece my “Rage scarf”; as I knitted it, I was angry that my mom had to die of cancer at 58 years old. I was pissed at a lot of people about a lot of things. I’d stitch and think, “Knit one, FUCK YOU, knit two, FUCK HIM, knit three, FUCK HIM AND HER AND THEM!” I felt my anger at people, places and things melting away. In the end I had a beautiful scarf and much less anger. Funny how you can put so much hate, frustration and anger into something and then it’s just a beautiful little scarf that you’re actually proud of.

my-first-scarf-cj-arabia

(here is my rage scarf for all to see… harmless little thing ain’t it?)

I realized that the knitting had turned into a form of meditation for me. So I thought that instead of focusing on anger, I’d focus on more positive things. With each stitch I would quietly say “love” in my mind. So as I knit, I meditate on love and forgiveness. I’ve been calling it knititation, but turns out I wasn’t the first to think of this.

I’ve been reading and found out that knitting lowers your heart rate, lowers your metabolism and relieves stress just like meditation, so there really is something to this.

You can’t think about anything when you’re knitting; you can’t worry…You can’t stress…You can’t hate…I mean, you can hate/stress/worry while knitting, but the act of knitting will melt that hate away and eventually you will end up knitting to more positive thoughts weather you like it or not soooo… Breathe in, breathe out, knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one and you’ll find that if you focus on what’s bothering you, it will melt away and more positive thoughts and feelings will come to you as you continue to knit.

Think of knitting as meditation for those with ADD. If meditating is too boring for you, you might want to consider knititation. If you don’t know how to knit, there are classes you can take at your local yarn stores and, if you’re really smart, you can use YouTube to learn.

There are so many kinds of yarns, and I find just feeling the textures and smelling them very relaxing. I love going to a yarn store…I dig my fingers into the yarn and feel how soft or scratchy it is. Maybe I’m weird, but I find it quite comforting to squish yarn in my hands and smell the fibers and dyes.

When I’m knitting I’m not thinking about my problems or woes. I’m not thinking of the past or worrying about what tomorrow brings. And I’m not thinking about all the people I’d like to get revenge on.

I’m thinking, Knit one, knit one, knit one…and then peace comes whether I like it or not.