Monday, January 3, 2011

Jizo Knitting Circle

I was late arriving at the Jizo Knitting Circle on Saturday; because I don't drive regularly in the winter, I tend to forget about things like planing extra time to scrape the ice and snow off the car so I can drive. There was a lot of both on the car Saturday morning. I even tore one windshield wiper off the arm trying to get it unstuck from the ice.

I hate to miss attending the knitting circle, and I want to be on time so I can get in on ALL the talking and knitting time. This week I missed about 30 minutes. It was all right, others arrived even later, It's just that I felt I missed out on every minute.

Kay started the circle a few years ago. I was not an original member, but I think I joined fairly close to the beginning. Kay always hosts it at her house, and she says she doesn't mind at all because the day is a highlight of her month. There are a lot of people on the e-mail list, but maybe 6-8 show up most of the time. New people are always welcome. I don't know how the folks who are not connected with the Zen Center found us, but several people did, and I am so happy to have friends from "other" places. But of course, now we are all friends via the Jizo circle.

Kay's home is totally lovely. She calls it "the little house," and it is kind of small, but it feels spacious. It's a mid century modern house in the upper avenues (very high up ... they can have different weather up there at times) which isn't terribly distinguished from the outside. She and her husband totally rennovated it so it now has new energy efficient doors and windows, is all nicely insulated and has fully modern "guts". The kitchen has big corner windows that look out on a great view of the city and the Oquirrh Mountains. There is a gas fireplace in the main room where we meet. The furnishings are minimal but comfortable and practical, Goldilocks style ... just right. Recently Kay's husband built her a tiny studio building out back where Kay does her caligraphy work.  Kay also plays the harp which sits in the main room. On saturday she played for us an "antiphon" that she recently composed which was just beautiful to hear.

People who attend don't have to knit. Some do crochet or embroidery. Kay and Claire often spin yarn with hand spindles. Some people often do charity projects, some seldom do that.

Late last year we did a group project where many of us (and many more who didn't attend the meetings) made small bags in various styles. Each bag holds a little mouse or other stuffed animal with a note that says "My name is .... Won't you be my friend?" We called them "critter pouches." Kay gave them to a place called the Children's Center. It's a therapeutic pre-school for kids  with mental heath or other behavioral issues (autism, for example). Kay says many of these kids cannot easily make friends and have very little of anything that is their own. The staff will carefully give the friends all away to the kids. We intend to make more.

We have also given things away to people with Alzheimer's, to a hospice and to the Catholic cathedral where they give things to homeless folks. It all depends  on what the knitter wants to make .. mittens and hats go to the homeless, lap robes to the hospice, textural scarves to the Alzheimer's people.

(Sherri gave me this Cascade 220 for free after getting it from somebody else. So I'm now making it into mittens to give away. There will be enough for a hat too.)

But the best part for me is the time spent with great friends. Jizo Knitting Circle day is a highlight of my month too.

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