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Joan’s Sweaters


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


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.



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


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.

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,, 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.


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.

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.

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,
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You say swants, I say swants, let’s just wear them!


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.


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.


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

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. 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!