Mindful Mondays — Doing Work Worth Doing

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Creative Knitting magazine, Spring 2014

Creative Knitting magazine, Spring 2014

In my editor’s letter of the Spring 2014 issue of Creative Knitting magazine, I talk about work worth doing and taking a look at fear in the face. If you’re fairly new to knitting, and don’t feel confident in your abilities, then I suggest facing this fear and starting your week with something new! Continue reading


Knitting for the Sake of Knitting

It’s so encouraging to see all the comments you’re sending my way, because I’m able to learn so much about what makes you tick!

After reading some comments today, it made me stop and think about how similar we all are as knitters, and at the end of the day, we just want to knit for the sake of it.

One of the most popular posts on this blog is Seed vs. Moss Stitch. It’s one of the most basic go-to stitch patterns around. It’s easy to learn and has many practical uses. Clearly, this proves that sometimes simple is just plain better! Click here to watch the video.

An experiment on Seed Stitch-- big needle/little needle= huge impact.

Experiments on Seed Stitch– big needle/little needle= huge impact.

Learning new stitches and being inspired is what keeps us engaged, but there’s something to be said about the simple act of picking up our needles and experiencing the yarn as it glides through our fingers.

There’s something almost meditative about the rhythmic motion of our hands while we knit.

Sometimes, it’s finding just the right stitch, paired with the right needles that keeps us engaged for hours.

Those are the magical moments.

So just for today, put those “should do’s” aside, pick up your needles and knit for the sake of it.

A synergy of stitches...

A synergy of stitches…

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Join Us for a Special Knitalong Series–Learn a Stitch, Share the Love!

It’s time for a knitalong– grab your needles and join me for four fun-filled weeks of free washcloth patterns to make and share!

Get ready for an exciting event that you don’t want to miss! For four weeks, from Friday, February 14th, through Friday, March 7th, Creative Knitting’s online newsletter editor Tabetha Hedrick and I will be bringing you a free washcloth pattern each week that you can make for yourself, share with someone special, or give to your favorite charity.

Stitch Block_2withgraphics

Here are 5 great reasons for making knitted washcloths:

  1. Washcloth patterns are a practical way to learn new techniques on a small scale.
  2. They make great travel companions– what a perfect knitting-on-the go project!
  3. If you’re in a pinch for time, they make great quick-knit gifts.
  4. They have no special shaping or sewing, allowing you to focus strictly on the stitches.
  5. Little investment of time and money.

Swish with a Twist _ tutorial_with graphics

Here’s all you need to get started:

  1. Visit Annie’s to pick out your colors of Premier® Yarns Home Cotton™ for all four washcloth patterns. All you need is one ball to complete each washcloth pattern.
  2. Visit the Creative Knitting Ravelry Fans Group and look for the knitalong announcement so you can follow along each week with Tabetha and me while you make your washcloths.
  3. Bookmark this page, then come back on Friday, February 14th to get your first pattern and tutorial.
  4. Mark your calendar to get the rest of the patterns on: February 21, & 28, and March 7th.

Have fun knitting and see you on Ravelry!


Shatter the Monday Blues– Change Your Mind, Change Your World

If you find yourself having the Monday blues, stop and think about why that is. Could it be just a habitual mindset that may have nothing to do with the work week ahead? Have you ever noticed that when you get to work, you ease up and your day is much different than what you imagined in your mind?

Your Thoughts Create Your World.

Let’s take a look at things like this– you can’t change the fact that maybe you have a pile of to do’s in your inbox, but it doesn’t have to put a damper on your day. Try these 3 ways to change your mindset right now:

1. Express Gratitude. Start thinking of all the things that bring you joy- the smell of brewing coffee, a loving family, passion for knitting, a roof over your head, a healthy body, and mind, etc. As soon as you start thinking about all the abundance you have, I think you’ll begin to shatter those Monday blues!

Express Gratitude!

2. First things first. You won’t have time to get everything done, but you will have time to get the most important things done. Figure out what those are, and put the other tasks aside. This activity alone can clear away the mind clutter.

3. Lower your expectations. If you normally have 10 big to do’s on your list, and you have a problem completing them, try paring it down to just five items. This will set you up for success because you will gain the ability to finish your tasks and end your day with a sense of accomplishment.

For more posts like these, check out the archives for Mindful Mondays here. Wishing you a happy and productive week ahead!


Miracle in Seattle – The Gift from Annie’s Readers

In July I wrote about my friend, Teddy Sawka, who is a missionary working in Shichigahama, Japan — an area that was ravaged by the tsunami in March 2011. Teddy started an outreach program called Yarn Alive for the displaced, mostly elderly, women of the area because she was worried about them living with little privacy and no way to keep busy. As so often happens, after learning to knit or crochet the ladies found that their time together became a time of healing. As one of the ladies said, they “knit and chat and comfort each other one stitch at a time.” I like to call it the Sisterhood of Yarn.

I told the story about sending a large donation of yarn to Japan in 2012 and how I needed help sending another donation in 2013. Wow, thank you Annie’s readers!  Did you ever come through with the donations! Yarn came streaming into Minnesota from Annie’s readers all over the country. If you ever wondered what 2000 balls of yarn looks like, this is me standing next to the yarn after it was repacked and ready to go to Seattle.

From there it was loaded onto a shipping container and made its way into the hands of the beautiful ladies of Yarn Alive in Japan. I call this the Miracle in Seattle (part II). Teddy and I are both in awe of the way God has brought together strangers from around the world to help each other.

Getting the yarn to Japan is just a small part of the story. What happens with the yarn once it gets there is the true story of giving. The ladies of Yarn Alive lost all of their material possessions in the tsunami. Many of them lost family and friends as well. Even now they are still living in temporary housing and it might be another three years before they have their own homes again. One wouldn’t blame them if they used the yarn to clothe themselves and their families but the emphasis of the group is on helping others who are less fortunate.

In a recent email, Teddy told me about how she sees the handiwork of her ladies all over town. For instance, she noticed afghans on the chairs of the postal workers; a gift made to keep them warm in their temporary office. The Yarn Alive ladies are often called on to help others with their creations and “they are so happy to be useful and respected for something they are doing.”

Annie’s readers, you won’t believe what they’ve done with some of the yarn you sent this summer. They focused on helping the children of Syrian refugees in Jordan. With the yarn from Miracle in Seattle II, the ladies in Shichigahama, Japan made more than 200 articles of clothing to help comfort and keep warm a group of refugee children. Teddy told me that the ladies were so eager to help and very grateful for the donation from their Yarn Sisters in America.

I am truly humbled and thankful to think that I was able to play a small part in such an amazing story and I hope those of you who donated feel the same way. Teddy puts it this way: “Can you imagine that yarn that you helped collect went by way of Japan to be made into something useful to bless the poor and needy in Jordan!?”

Another important part of the story is what handwork and the community of knitting and crochet gives to the participants in Yarn Alive. Teddy writes this: “Last week I was talking to a lady that I gave yarn and needles to right after the tsunami.  She has a restaurant on a hill that overlooks the ocean.  She grew up down below in the village right at sea level.  When the earthquake happened, all the people living down below ran up to her restaurant that was a designated safe area.  She could see that the tsunami was going to be higher than her restaurant so kept calling for the people to come higher.  Many would not move, so she watched in horror as they were washed out to sea and of course, died.  It was such a traumatic thing for her, as you can imagine.  She told me the other day that the yarn helped her so much when she couldn’t sleep at night.  She created many beautiful things that first year.  She thanked me again.  She opened her restaurant again on the first anniversary of the tsunami.  She is doing well now, but I feel so thankful to have had a part in keeping her “sane” through that dark time.  Knitting and crocheting can be so helpful, as we know!

Yarn Alive continues to grow. Right now the program is offered in two temporary housing areas and Teddy has been asked to start another group in town. The yarn itself doesn’t stay just in Japan either. Plans are currently afoot to get knitting and crochet supplies to the Syrian ladies who are refugees in Jordan so they too can keep their hands busy and hopefully create a new Sisterhood of Yarn. In addition to yarn, the Yarn Alive program could really use your financial support. They often need to buy supplies in Japan. Also, it was difficult to get items into Jordan so a volunteer actually travelled there and hand-delivered them packed inside of duffel bags.

Please consider making a monetary donation to Yarn Alive this Christmas. There is a PayPal donation button on their blog that you can find here: www.yarnalive.wordpress.com

Even if you aren’t able to make a donation, be sure to visit the site. You can’t help but be inspired by the creations and have your heart warmed by the smiles.

Next July, I will once again be sending yarn to Japan (the Miracle in Seattle III). It’s not too early to think about helping. If you have extra yarn in your stash, set it aside to save. If your LYS has a sale, consider buying some special yarn for Yarn Alive. Also, send me your email address now so I can contact you with plans this summer; my email is carri@coldwateryarn.com. Finally, please say your prayers for the ladies of Yarn Alive and for their angel, Teddy Sawka.

YA 12-6

Carri Hammett

Carri Hammett is a popular contributor to Annie’s  and is the author of More Than a Dozen Hats and Mittens available on AnnieCatalog.com Carri is also the instructor of the Annie’s online class: Knit Finishing Techniques and has written several books which are available at your local yarn shop. Carri welcomes emails from her readers at carri@coldwateryarn.com.