Joan’s Sweaters

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l had the good fortune of an overnight this week with friends who take great care. It is always inspiring to me to be able to step out of my usual routine and space and linger in moments with others in their’s.  It was a true respite and rejuvenation came to me because of the manner with which they care. This is not a realm that I find most people in. This is how my friends exist. They are not over-consumers, nor frugal. Their lifestyle seems balanced and well-managed to me because while they have taken care to have the means to be comfortable they also do things like make sure the birds are feed, the bears have water during a drought and their neighbor’s dogs get walked. While with them, they made sure I had everything that I needed, preparing for my visit with small details that delighted me and made me feel cared for.

There is something so refreshing about the simple gestures of giving and receiving gracefully. It was like going to a spa except there was no money exchanged and it was brought forth with such love, without an agenda, that I could be completely authentic and real.

While we were out and about for the day we popped into a local yarn shop and I overheard a transaction between the shopkeeper and a customer.  A young girl purchasing a small handful of roving for a few dollars, that she did not have enough cash for and did not meet the minimum price for a credit card purchase. I piped up that I could make up the difference of the dollar and when the girl thanked me I told her that I was certain she would have the opportunity to pay it forward. It is an effortless circle. What we gain outside of the money is the true gift of the circle. It made my day, this spontaneous gesture and instilled something in that young girl and the world that will remain unknown to me.

The giving and receiving continued through the day as my friend and I exchanged our stories.  After not seeing each other for 12 years we had an endless conversation and I realized how rare it is to be with someone who does not judge another’s life choices. We’ve always been comfortable in our rare times together.

And then I found the sweaters. They presented themselves like a regiment in the enclave of the closet. They were a curious group and upon looking closer I realized their quality and workmanship like a true textile sleuth that I am, besides my knitting thing, and these were quite obviously related to the England of my friend’s background. So I asked, what is up with these sweaters and can I girl-handle them?

They obviouly had a story. My God, these all came from the same knitter and were knit in the same wool, different colors, probably local sheep. These sweaters were alive with even more than how the wool felt in my hands. The very soul of the knitter was encased in every stitch

Turns out that my friend’s mother lived in Ipswich in Suffolk next door to Joan Barrell. Joan has passed on now but while she lived these sweaters were faithfully knit over the years for my friend’s husband. She had given him one and he liked it so much that she just kept knitting and giving. Can you imagine?  She was not a relative. She was a neighbor who had it in her heart and apparently the time and love of knitting to create these blessed garments for her neighbor’s relations.

There was an extraordinary person behind these that I imagine lived an ordinary life and perhaps without very many others to knit for. Giving as her way.  Try getting that sense and story out of your next purchase from Wal-Mart.

“Exemplifying the new materialism

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that is part of the resacralization of the material world.”

This is a direct quote from Charles Eisenstein’s 2013 essay called “The Cynic and the Boatbuilder.”  And that is one of the things that I hope I am doing by making artifacts. 

I was recently jabbed on Facebook by a friend. He said that all my posts were promoting myself and I interpreted it to be hurtful and snarky.  Then I realized that while I was certainly guilty of promotion, he was not reading my blog so did not understand what I am promoting! His assumptions made me think about the harm we do when we whiz through our social media and do not take the time to connect more deeply, let alone to come out of our own snarkiness into compassion. This made me look deeply into my friendship with this person and my choices. I also consider the idea that I was the easy target for what was probably a lot of frustration in his life. Something is wrong and what I expect I should be doing is reaching out to him to find out why he felt the need to snark me rather than approach me in a more thoughtful manner. It made me sad to think that he may be suffering. It made me more sad to think that he may be suffering but blind to his suffering. 

Maybe it is about our lack of considering that everything is sacred. Even his words are sacred. If I read between the lines I know I will hear something besides his snarky comment. Why was he feeling a need to judge me and instead of approaching me personally to tell me in this manner that would seem to illicit an equalling appalling response? Why was he picking a fight with me over my actions? What is going wrong in his own life that he felt the need to criticize me? I feel that as we walk between the worlds of love and fear we are all doing the best we can. But most of the time we are not conscious. One of the things that we are not conscious of is our cultural programming that separates us from one another. One of the programs creates our need to feel better than someone else. Our country is supposed to be all about equality but what we create is a rift between each other because while I must be better than you, we are really not good enough. We are not pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, etc etc etc. well, enough of enough! We all have enough. Way more than we need but we still do not have each other. It is an old story. So why are we still not aware of the harm of this old story? How is it serving us?

Charles speaks to creating a new story. 

What Charles is speaking of is participation in making the world the more beautiful place our hearts know is possible. Now, there are a lot of ducks to get in a row out there. I am promoting a gift economy but let’s face it, I am still living in a monied world. I have bills to pay simply because I exist. So when I make something I ask that the person interested in my product to offer what they want to pay. This is not the ideal way of gifting but I am making it up as I go along. One of the problems that I run into is the consumer mentality that says if it doesn’t have a pricetag then it doesn’t have value. I recognize that every single one of us has a particular relationship to money and how we spend it depends largely on what we were raised to value. I was raised in a family of artisans and craftsmen. My father worked with wood. My mother and sister lead the way in fiber. We knew the value of a handmade object before the era of cheaply mades. Especially now, knowing how damaging the textile and fashion industries are to the environment must we learn to consume differently. I am still in the process with shifting the way I consume but I am making a conscious effort. To fight the tide of commercialism and the next big thing mentality takes nothing short of a commitment to saving our planet. We have to save ourselves first. We have to somehow gain maturity.

One thing I want to give before I end this blog is forgiveness. I am not perfect and neither are you and neither is my friend. We are all carrying a great burden but it is time to get out of our way, unload the old stories and perhaps gather our forces and forgive. Untye the knot and move beyond your own small worldview into a new story of thriving. I apologize for continuing the story of betrayal and allowing my ego to get bruised by his comments.  I have not opened a dialog with him because I do not want to make him wrong, feel bad or judged, or even point out to him that he was snarky. I want him to come into his own awareness in his own time. I want to accept him as he is. But I also do not want to enable him to judge anything that he has not taken the time to really look into. Everyone of us carries a great burden. May we all be gentle with each other.

MAKING ONENESS TOTEMS

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“There is no I; there is only truth. The way to truth is through the heart.”

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While we were living in California, near Joshua Tree in the high desert, I had alot of time between dips in the pool, to create. I was inspired at the time by an experience of altered consciousness that I had while under the spell of the Integratron. I am still convinced that this is why we had to spend time in this particular area. http://integratron.com/about/

While the mystery of exactly why will probably remain hidden forever I speculate that I needed the download from my dolphin guide. Ok, I know I am sounding super crazy woo-woo here, but I am prone to super crazy woo-woo so what the hell!
The dolphin guide story began in Hawaii while I was with a reiki master and a girlfriend inside a lava tube cave. Yeah, it was a super sacred place and while inside I had a vision and connection with my dolphin guide.  There is way more to this story but suffice it to say that I also had a dolphin download in Mt. Shasta just before I left California in 1997 that was a healing modality.

Back to the Integratron.

So, there I was, lying on the floor of the Integratron while crystal bowls were being played and soon I was inside of a dolphin, which was the shape of the Integratron when you are looking up at the ceiling. This is a wooden structure held together with one big concrete donut. Not a nail in the place, which I believe to be significant in the design because there is no interference in vibration from metal. Right?
So, I have this rather remarkable sound and inside-my-own-head light show and I am thinking, well, dolphins in the desert, wtf?! I walk out into the brightness of the desert, not exactly grounded back into reality when I end up in a conversation with the woman we purchased our entry from. I tell her about my dolphin experience and her eyes get big and says to me, “you are the only other person other than myself that I have talked to who had a dolphin experience. I must tell you that if you were to find this hole in the desert out by Giant Rock, you would be able to hear dolphins there.”  So, that clinched it as authentic for me. Kinda blew my mind. and pretty soon, the universe was moving us along out of Joshua Tree, but not until I created a bunch of oneness totems and had the intention of putting the pattern on a website so anyone could make them and spread them around.

For me, the mandalic design of the “many becoming one” is significant. My intention for the past 20 or so years has been to live with others in an Intentional Community.  In the meantime I have been privileged to  experience a life full of wonder.  I have followed my heart into dark places that allowed me to allow. To open up to ideas, places and people for an experience that I would have never chosen from my mental point of view.  I have been disappointed by what feels like a lack of support until I realize the method in the madness of the universe to wake me up!  I am, among other things, aware that we are running on artifical time with the gregorian calendar.  I have been involving myself in learning about natural time from folks like Lisa Star, http://www.resonanttruth.com, so that I can free myself from the paradigm of “time is money.” Time is art! Jose Arguelles (Pacal Votan) brought a truth into light for this amazing shift of ages. It was no wonder for me when a few weeks ago I saw Nassim Harriman’s Torus around the earth pictures that it validated Jose’s visualization of the rainbow bridge meditation.

The oneness totems are my rainbow bridge meditation.  I use my hands to create prayer. Prayer for me is gratitude. My intention goes into all that I co-create.   You see, my circle expands with every Oneness Totem that is gifted into the world.  Whatever they bring with them is beyond me and that is what gives me my greatest joy. I ask you to send my message out with these as you create them, but I hope that you come to find your own new story with them. Connection to a circle, around an organic object, like a rock, or a wooden disc may not seem to affect change but my hope is that you are inspired to connect to a circle that grows with love.

Whatever you decide to create these for, the wonder of Oneness is my intention of sharing this pattern with you. May you crochet in peace.

Here is the pattern with a few notes.  You will need a roundish flatish riverstone. You can add beads, etc and either wear them or use as an altar piece.
I use cotton crochet thread and a small crochet hook. Size D hook or smaller. Try pearl cotton or any thin string.  You will have some trial and error, depending on the size of your object, your hook and your thread. If you are making a totem to wear then you should get the fit tight, not so important with an altar piece.
Here goes:
Chain 6 and join to form a ring.
Chain 1 and work 12 single crochets into ring, join using a slip stitch into first sc.
next round: Chain 7 then triple crochet into the first sc, chain 3, repeat around until you have 12, including your chain 7. Slip stitch into the 4th chain of beg ch-7.

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last round: Chain 4, skip all ch 3 spaces and triple crochet in each triple crochet around. at some point near the end you will need to insert your object. Join round with a slip stitch in the 4th chain of beg ch-4.

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If the fit is good you are done! Leave a long tail for sewing in your end, sew in the end from your beginning round and finish as you desire.

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You can crochet a string to hang it on your neck, use a leather or other cord to hang it from.
Make lots of them and give them away! Spread the love.
Thank you for joining the circle of gifting.
Namaste, y’all,
Marcinigini
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You say swants, I say swants, let’s just wear them!

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One of the things I do is make stuff. Actually, I make alot of stuff when I can get around to it. Making stuff is my favorite pastime. Lately I have moved away from so much knitting to handwork and making objects in felt. There is something so satisfying to me about the feel of felt. I am consoled by it. Less fattening then a cookie.

Being a knitter though, I am aware of some of the heavy hitters of the knitting world phenomenon, one of which is Stephen West. I have actually knitted a few of his shawls.

Here is one I would NEVER knit again. it is soooo obvious why.

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Anyway, he has now become famous for his give-away tutorial on how to make a pair of swants. These are a brilliant way to take a mans sweater, hopefully from a thrift store, and turn it into leggings, or sweater pants. Of course,I HAD to have a pair. I took his advice and made the first one out of a sweater I was not attached to in case I really fucked it up. I did not take photos of the process of putting the sweater on because it was all kinds of obscene and strangeness and hooting and hollering, amusing to my husband but I finally got the thing pinned into position and had an aha! moment when I came to understand the method in the madness. So, here they are.

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and for a few bucks I have something unique and not these for way more, cute as they are.

http://www.jcrew.com/gift-guide/Womens/PRDOVR~08407/99103222532/08407.jsp?color_name=red-orange-violet

And before I leave you on this glorious December 24th and go crazy in the kitchen with food prep I want to thank a blogging goddess:  www. abutterflyinmyhair.blogspot.ca who gathered 23 other craft bloggers for a magnificent advent calendar give-away! Generosity is in the air. Breathe deeply and enjoy the abundance! Namaste y’all!

Giving all the time

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First new blog. It did take a few days, maybe even weeks, to get here. You know how it is now. Well, not now now, but the Big Now. I keep missing it somehow. It flits away with all of that Time it took me to get here. To Now. But that is probably another blog.

In the meantime, I have been reconnecting with my favorite writer and proliferator of the Gift Culture, Charles Eisenstein. It just so happens that he also wrote the forward to Mark Boyle’s new free book, “The Moneyless Manifesto.” I have not gotten into him yet but I will now. I am so happy that he is getting known and that Charles is one of the rare individuals that is walking his talk. It inspires me to trust that the gift economy can work. Someone had to trust the process and apparently that someone is Mark Boyle. Huzzah!

Ok, I need to backup. you should know a few things about me if you are going to support this blog and we are going to get there from here. I have been on the path to living in an intentional community for nigh on way too many years now. Why is it taking so long? Many factors that I will discuss in another blog. I am trying to focus on this gift economy idea and I am a boomer in more ways than one so, along the way I have been privileged to synchronicity and following the threads, as I like to refer to them, which continue to bring me around to why I am writing about participating in gift economy.

I have a love-hate relationship with money. I came into adulthood, sort of, that is still questionable actually, with no idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I stabbed at a career that brought me to my knees because I was clueless about ass-kissing my way up the proverbial ladder.  My Dad was a regular guy. World War II vet, contractor, raising his three girls, happy as a lark and instilling in me that all one had to do was work hard and success would follow. Guess I was confused because I got a sort of education, worked stupid hard and never had fun or money. Well, some fun (from camaraderie with other slave-workers and some, but never enough, money.)  From the standpoint of the compilers of polls, I am going against the status quo by even talking about my money. I have read the statistics that tell us that people share more about their sex lives, than they do about their income. At one point I swore to myself and my ex-husband that I would never work for a mortgage but then it just so happened that I worked for my (obscene California real estate) mortgage. As a matter-of-fact when I told him I was leaving him the first words out of his mouth were: “what about the mortgage?” Would you believe me if I told you that the minute I signed the fucking house over to him my life completely changed?

Everywhere I looked and went in my sweet little town was about the money. Gentrification had brought in folks who looked at me funny when I talked to them, friendly-like, in the supermarket check-out. “These are not my peeps,!” I cried and hightailed it.  “This (being Life) can’t be about the money,” I said to myself, said to my boss (actually I told her “I gotta give back,”) and walked away from my corporate job with 401K, benefits and lots and lots of drudgery.  Then friends started to give me money. Or a place to live. Or a job. I got to go places to meet my people. I did alot of healing and helped others to heal. I gypsied my way through most of my 401K and I began to understand the magic of following your Bliss. Problem was I had no clue what my bliss was. But NOW I do.

With regards to languaging and you folks out there that insist that I won’t have money if I keep saying I hate money and that it is evil, etc etc etc. and abundance will not flow to me if I don’t buy your book about it; what have you done with your money? Because what I have discovered is twofold. One: the more I make, the more I spend and two: when I have earned some money that accumulates beyond my actual living expenses I end up giving it away. I did this even before I took Charles’s ideas in his book, “Sacred Economics” to heart and also found out that in the money game someone always loses. If you are getting interest on your money, someone else is suffering. That made me think. I had and still do have a very small IRA and I stuck it in a no interest account.  Probably dumb but I feel better and it is the only money I have for my little dream of having a home in an intentional community if that is what it is going to take. I would be thrilled if I actually got to share that money with my intentional community.  I am probably a hypocrite for writing about the gift economy and having this IRA but life is a process and I am stuck in this crazy capitalistic culture just like you. I have issues around being safe and still have delusions about many things but let me tell you what I started out telling you.

Through no fault of our own (our being my husband George and I) during the times when we had extra money, and it wasn’t like I looked at my bank account and really knew I had extra money, people would show up in our lives that needed money. They weren’t asking for money. Well, a few in the form of the signed in front of Wal-mart were but no, these were my friends. Most of them single moms with kids. Some were Indians.  It was never very much because I am not in the habit of carrying cash now but twenty here and there can make a big difference to someone who doesn’t have money to ride the bus. George was giving too and we hadn’t even talked about it. He would come home and say to me, “Gee, I met this guy on the plaza who was stuck here trying to get home because blah blah blah and since I had 50 bucks on me I gave it to him, hope we could spare it.” I fell in love with him again, and then with Kickstarter.

I never forget the folks who generously helped me out and had the pay it forward attitude because it was their giving that set my giving in motion and the circle is endless.

Pretty soon I was giving away all of my stuff.

Now there is a dangerous practice! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It leaves a giant void and voids like to be filled. It takes diligence to not accumulate again, especially if you love a thrift store and have ideas to use all of that stuff in your crafts!  Of course, the joy comes back when you give stuff away again and again and again, which I have.

I also want to mention the strangeness of how money appears when we need it. This usually happens when we need to make a big outlay in cash, like for the car insurance or dental work. It isn’t like I am not thinking about budgeting for it somehow but something always happens that brings in the amount we need and usually just as easy, something else happens that we need money for. The cycle goes on and on. It’s always something! But there always seems to be the money to pay for it. Maybe once we really go all the way, like Boyle did, this cycle will cease to exist. Makes sense to me.

For now, I have decided to participate in the gift economy as much as I can. Maybe it is a means to connecting in the way that I desire to connect with people.  I obviously want to share my story or I would not be writing this. Who am I in this world to you? You might actually be someone who takes advantage of those less clueless. It is a risk I am willing to take.

So now I am making things from other things and with my stash of craft supplies, as offerings. I am asking that you give me a donation from your heart. Do you need an explanation of this? Maybe you do, so here comes another story:

In my experience when I have worked with say, a massage therapist who works on a sliding scale, I close my eyes and quite suddenly a $ figure pops into my head. That is what I pay. Sometimes it is more than I think I have but I still pay it because it feels right. Other people may need to live in their 3D reality with rent and food and still need to get a gift for someone so it is okay to actually do this: Look at my handmade whatever and think-OMG, So and So would Love this and look really good in it, and I could actually buy her something made with love and maybe recycles so I am spreading the love even though I only have 10 bucks to spend on her. Send me the offer. I need to cover materials and postage and honestly, I am experimenting with this idea and honestly right at this moment, I am disappointed because last week I put these, see photo, on a Facebook page I created called Art of Community, where I post give-aways and other artists can too. Could be the fucked up nature of FB but really? No one wants these? Are people afraid to make an offer? Now that is interesting to me. Do they have no friends to buy gifts for? Do they not need another thing (hurray for you!)  Someone, help me out here!

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Ok, I need to go make something besides words on a page……

Teaser: wait till you see the incredible art my husband George creates for your donation! His blog is Pagetopalette on WordPress.