Friday, April 11, 2014

One day I prayed a prayer, Lord, light a candle within that person over there, a small flame to warm the heart.  

I prayed that prayer and waited.  Somewhat impatiently.  

I prayed again, Lord, light a candle within--a flame of hope to warm and encourage.  And I waited.

Then I woke in the night, the prayer ready to be sent to heaven once more--when the answer came.

'You be the candle. You be a light.  Let another step into its glow and gain courage.'

And my prayer was changed.

Lord make me a candle.
Kindle a flame to warm the heart.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We took the early train and watched as houses with elbow room slipped past and grew tight in the shoulders.  Pulled into the station and started to walk, looking for coffee, the first part of any adventure.  Starbucks was directly ahead--and a quirky French cafe with a community table on the corner.  

We chose quirky.  A place inviting conversation.  No hiding behind earphones in this spot.  It was filled with quiet talk, quiet introspection, reading, and belgian waffles.  

The coffee took me back to a tiny shop in my sister's town in Switzerland.  Strong, dark and rich. It said, 'Drink me, a cup at a time, but don't hurry.  I am not brewed for styrofoam.'

So we sat at an old wooden table, my daughter and I, on the beginning of this perfect day in Philadelphia.  

And I was thankful.

Here is the link just in case you find yourself on the same corner in need of a little civilization in the midst of chaos:

Le Pain Quotidien


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

two little birds...and more to come.  

I'm thinking a little flock of them should be hanging from twigs somewhere in the house.  
The pattern is here:
little birds

Friday, March 21, 2014

Recipes are like poems,
they keep what kept us.
-Henri Coulette

Thursday, March 20, 2014

'What's this pink stuff?'

I looked up from swiping my card at the register to the teenager bagging my groceries.  He held up a bottle, 'This pink-drink stuff, what is it?'

'It's grapefruit juice.'

'Yeah, I saw that - you mean like the same as the grapefruit you eat?'  

I nodded, 'Yes. Same as the grapefruit you eat.'  

I started bagging my own groceries while he digested this. Then, 'You need help out?' 

And I started to laugh.  'I think I've got it.'

...after all, I've had my grapefruit today.


You and I do not see things as they are.
We see things as we are.
- Herb Cohen

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

a little lace.

I started this dress last year and it was a disaster.  The pattern just wouldn't come right no matter how I counted.  I finally ripped the whole thing out and found another pattern, something sweet and simple.

But this kept nagging at me, mostly because I was mad that I had given up on it. So I started again, armed with tons of stitch markers.  

It made all the difference in the world. A stitch marker for every repeat--and I mean every single one. The rest is cake.
And now it's blocked and I love it.

Love it enough that I'm making another for little D. who is just the right size.  

The pattern is found on Ravelry here:
Muti dress

Monday, March 17, 2014

My son is grown and has a four-year old boy of his own.  This evening I got a text that read, 'So...when we were kids and threw up over eating our vegetables, did you see that as a sickness to be merciful about?  Or just disobedience?  Hypothetically speaking of course...'

I wrote back, Are you asking me as a mother or a grammy?

He replied, 'I want the historically correct version.'

Time seems to alter history. I don't remember exactly why it seemed so important for the boys to sit in their chairs and eat their brocolli. But I think it boiled down to two basics; learning to try new things, and being polite. 

Years later we were invited to dinner at the house of an Indian gentleman who worked for Bob. His wife had created a beautiful and complex meal for us.  She served it and stood in the doorway, waiting on us while we ate. Our kids didn't know what to make of this.  They didn't know what to make of all the food on the table either. Except for the rice, it was all new to them.

I watched them pick up their forks and start eating.  They ate. And ate, not realizing that cleaning your plate was the signal you were ready for more--so they had to keep eating. 

They were splendid.    

They ate the brocolli.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

The word which God has written 
on the brow of every man 
is Hope.
-Victor Hugo

Friday, March 14, 2014

...and a tiny sweater to match.

after all, it's still a little chilly for short sleeves out east.
the arms will be warm though the toes are bare.
Find the pattern at Ravelry here:
Peek-a-Boo Cardigan

Monday, March 10, 2014

There were a great many thing to do today.  Important things, vital things.  
I went to the office and started them and just...couldn't.  Went home after 10 minutes and lay down with a fluffy pillow and blanket and a migraine that had won the day.

So many things to do-and they all had to wait.

Now in the quiet of late afternoon the sun is slanting through the window.  I look across the room and see a boy home from college sprawled on the sofa--sleeping.  
There's a breeze on my face on this winter-spring eve, a stolen joy that I wouldn't have but for a headache that put me to bed and left me with the energy of a snail.
And I'm thinking, is that such a bad thing after all?  To slow down enough that I sit in this patch of stained-glass sunlight and feel the breath of God brush my face.

I see the boy asleep across the room, and I'm thankful.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

a birthday dress.

the front...

  the back.               


Love the back as much as the front, maybe more.
Pattern found here:
Oliver+S Family Reunion Dress

Little sweater to follow.

Friday, March 7, 2014

So I sew.  

And this is what has taken hold of me - polka dots.  


Love them.  The pattern reminds me of the childrens's books,
Fun with Dick and Jane, with their sweet simplicity.  This one will have red buttons all the way down the back.


It was almost done, two buttonholes to go, when I ran out of thread.  
Ran to the store to buy more, ran home and put in the buttonholes.  
Cut the buttonholes and whiz-bang! Cut through the buttonholes.  

Not happy.

Spent the next two hours fixing them by hand.
I want it in the mail by Saturday so it will be done tonight, buttonholes,bloomers and all.

Not everything goes to plan.  

Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Today I heard three versions of the same story.  They were all true-but very different.  

I've never liked Rubic's Cube.  It frustrates me. You get two or three sides matched up, turn the cube and--voila! A chaos of mixed colors.  

My blocks, like my ducks, should be in a row.

There's something to be said for the way one simple turn can change everything.  What is mass chaos one minute can be ordered nine-block-yellow the next.  Just one block needs to move.

Three versions of the same story all true.  Sometimes one turn is all that's needed.  

A step back or off to the side.  A little higher or lower and things look different.

Truth stays unaltered.  
What we do with it comes from where we stand.


Friday, February 28, 2014

If it can be verified, we don't need faith...
Faith is for that which lies on the other side of reason.  Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys.
- Madeleine L'Engle

Thursday, February 27, 2014

 You know what I've been thinking about? I've been thinking about superheros.  Why?  I was working at a conference a couple weeks ago and it was thick with talk of them. 

I'm not much of a super-hero gal myself. Superman flies around in his underwear and Spiderman is, well my grandson dresses like Spiderman most days. Batman has his gadgets--and the rest of them seem to save humanity while breaking a lot of stuff. 

The speaker had gone through them all when he paused, swept the room in one wide glance and started talking about Wonder Woman--yes, Wonder Woman. Standing there with her lasso of truth.  

You know what I'm talking about, he said.  A woman who speaks the truth is a fearsome thing--an amazingly fearsome thing. 

I stood in the back corner of that room,clipboard in hand, and wondered, am I that woman?  Do I speak the truth, wrapped tightly in the love of God? 

I scanned the room myself, saw the faces of women reflect what was being said--and took it into my own heart.   

The thing is, Jesus never hedged. He spoke truth that went straight to the heart of the matter because love was at the root of it.  

Wendell Berry wrote:
I know that I have life only insofar as I have love.  
I have no love except it come from Thee.
Help me, please, to carry this candle against the wind.

I too, want to carry a candle against the wind.


Here is a link to Efrem Smith, conference speaker:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. 

This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. 

The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. 

We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That's a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility, but to a deep trust in those who love us. 

It is the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born. 

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

There are mornings when everything brims with promise, 
even my empty cup.
~ Braided Creek

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I have the most ill-regulated memory.  
It does those things which it ought not to do and leaves undone the things it ought to have done.  But it has not yet gone on strike altogether.
~Dorothy L. Sayers

Monday, February 24, 2014

There is a certain happiness in knitting to make someone warm. 

I made this hat a couple weeks ago and I think she looks like a little babushka nestled in her carseat.  She's far away in the Windy City--but her dad snapped this early this morning and it met me as I opened my computer.


I like to think I knit on purpose, that there's a method to the madness.  

William Morris wrote, Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

Very rarely do I pick up the needles just to keep my hands busy. I pick them up to make something warm, something soft, something pretty.

My daughter gave me yellow galoshes for Christmas.  I love them.  The other day it rained and I wore them to work, expertly avoiding the puddles as I made my way across the street.  Bob took a picture of me, green raincoat, yellow boots and all.

And standing there I realized, Why am I circumnavigating the puddles? That's what these yellow boots are for--making a splash!

When I knit on purpose I make a splash, it spills over onto other people.  A hat, a sweater, a coffee cozy.  Someone feels remembered, maybe they're a little warmer inside.  

I know I am.  

These days there are fewer things lying about my house, but I love each one. Some you might look at and wonder why--that won't trouble me.  If I know it to be useful, or believe it to be beautiful...that is enough.

~ lindasinklings 

You can find the pattern for the little
'babushka hat' here:

Babushka Hat

Friday, February 21, 2014

She had long accepted the fact that happiness is like swallows in the spring.  

It may come and nest under your eaves or it may not. You cannot command it.  When you expect to be happy, you are not...

...and when you don't expect to be happy, there is suddenly Easter in your soul, though it be mid-winter.

~ Elizabeth Goudge

Saturday, February 8, 2014

All the darkness in the world 
cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.
- St. Francis

Friday, February 7, 2014

When I'm tired, crabby, or just frustrated, there are few things that pull me to center better than sticks and string.  

A long, lean pair of birch knitting needles and an especially fat ball of wool; this is the start of something.

I like having a project going and one waiting in the wings.  There's no hurry in it, no desperation to get it finished, just the quiet sense of something in the making.

A couple months ago I was at the kitchen window, remembering a kindness long past.  I had opened a drawer and the memory was there waiting for me, lying in wait the way the crackle of a candy wrapper puts you back in a shop,standing at the counter with a dime clutched in your hand--sometimes.

A woman had made my life easier when I was just a girl, bringing beauty to a chaotic corner.  I stood for a while, holding that drawer, and remembered.  

I wanted to do something but what if she thought it silly?  I hadn't seen her in years and years.  The drawer won over silly.  I got out needles and wool, made her a shawl, wrapped it, sent it, included a note and let it be.

I wanted her to know she had brought beauty into my life--and that I was thankful.

A few years ago I made a tiny coat for my grandson, wrapped it and sent it off.  Every stitch a prayer for his growing up years, thankfulness for his little life. 

It was a looking-forward coat. Would he be funny? Would he like to run fast? Would he be a poet, a thinker, a talker?  Most of all, what would he hold in his heart--

The coat was meant to keep him warm against the cold, the prayers to hold him fast.

If the coat was a prayer,
...the shawl was a blessing.


You can find the patterns here:
Duffle Coat
and here:
Sandy Cove

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Even idiots occasionally speak the truth accidentally.

- Dorothy L. Sayers

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Little Brown Hat

Just finished this hat for a very small boy in a very cold part of the country. 

He goes from pulling it over his face completely to perching it on top of his head in a gnome-like point. 

The pattern can be found on ravelry for free. The original website is no longer available, but a direct PDF download is available through an archived link:  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We were in Chicago, the whole group of us converged together were out in the woods.  My grandson was up ahead hiking with my daughter, I could see the play of conversation as his head bobbed back and forth with a story, squinting up to hear her reply.

She pointed at something and he nodded, his eyes serious, picking up the thread of talk as he dragged his sword-stick along the ground.

We came to fork in the path, and Will yelled back, 'Which way Dad?'

Knowing it came around as a loop, his dad said to the four-year old,
'Use your judgement Will.'

Frustrated Will turned to the group at large,  
'I can't do that, I don't know where that means, judgement!'

~ lindasinklings
We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.
- St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, February 3, 2014

A big snowstorm is on the way--of the knock-your-socks-off-and-burrow-under-the-covers variety.  Everyone and their right hand neighbor is on the way to the store to stock up because that's what we do, we stock up.  Seeing the cupboards were fairly bare I popped in the car to do a little cupboard-filling myself...and ended up at the bookstore.

The wood creaked under my feet, reminding me that I needed eggs and bread and milk but I kept going. 

'Do you have Marilynne Robinson, When I Was a Child I Read Books?'  

The owner's eyes lit up as he made his way through the maze of shelves, knelt down to the lowest and reached back to pull out a single copy.  

'It's one of my favorite's--she's wonderful,' he said, brushing the dust from his faded jeans.  I took the book to the register and his wife rang up the sale, their tiny daughter perched in her bumbo seat on the counter.  

Back to the car I saw the clouds, reality set in and I took a breath. I don't have eggs or bread (I'll go fight it out with the crowd for the leftovers) and the Chobani coconut yogurt that tastes like pie will certainly be all gone...but I have a book.

Bring it on.

This is the blog that was once on tumblr - I will on be posting some of the gathering days bits from time to time that had a following.  

Quotes, thoughts, ideas and ramblings--they will all find a place here, and yes the odd photo or two that I steal from Bob's camera of things I knit.  I am a compulsive knitter but a terrible photographer, having been surrounded by camera-obsessed family members that now unfortunately live scattered across the country.  Maybe I should learn.  

Maybe not.

Soren Kierkegaard wrote,Life must be lived forwards, but it can be understood only backwards.  

I tend to reverse that.  But I'm learning.

~ lindasinklings


Hello, sun in my face.
Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields...
Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness,
in kindness.
-Mary Oliver