Tag: birds

Bird by Bird 18

A week or so ago, on a day that wasn’t going so well, I posed a question to the members of a small knitting forum I’m part of. I asked people to share an experience in which knitting had helped them through a difficult time.

There were a number of responses. Some were instructive. Some were moving. All were warm and encouraging and helpful. One in particular suggested knitting a bird. My knitting friend said,

. . . one thing that helps when I feel stressed is to knit something really quick and easy, which I can complete in one go. I especially like Bluebird of Happiness. There’s a sense of achievement from just being able to complete something, especially if you can’t solve or fix or control everything else that’s going on around you.

I have to admit that I wasn’t feeling all that hopeful. But trusting that another knitter wouldn’t steer me wrong, I thought, “what the heck; I’ll knit a bird.”

 

Wow!

I cannot explain it, but knitting this little bird (and the several that followed) changed my outlook. The thinking about it, the picking out the yarn, the getting involved in the pattern . . . watching the little body start to take shape . . . The whole endeavor was monumentally soul soothing.

 


Before the bird, I was feeling depleted and pretty down. But then I knit the bird. And I felt a little better.

 

And you know what’s funny? One bird led to another in the most beautiful way.

And then this morning, as I was snapping some photos of my little birds of happiness, I glanced over at the pile of books near my desk, and my eyes came to rest on Annie Lamott’s incredible Bird by Bird.

 

Do you know this book? Its subtitle is Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and boy is it ever! I recommend it to everyone, even to those who have no interest in writing. Because of the life part. It’s fine advice.

Here’s where the title comes from:

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Sometimes when I’m feeling like I have to do everything, fix everything, understand everything . . . I become untethered and lose touch with what knitting is always trying to teach me–the only way forward is one stitch at a time, or as Lamott says, bird by bird.

No Idea What To Title This Post 2

Plane knitting 3

The sun was just coming up as I left Texas to head home. As I had anticipated, I got to do a lot of airport knitting on this trip. Most of it was on Gramps.
 
This was the day I left, during the first loooong layover.
 
Layover knitting 1
 
This was on the plane on the second leg of the trip to Texas.
 
Plane knitting 1
 
This was as I was landing that first night.
 
Plane knitting 2
 
And this was during the second layover on the way home as I was eating the homemade pimento cheese sandwich my mom made for me for lunch.
 
Lunch
 
The most exciting trip news I have to share with you is that Storm Cloud is fabulously wearable!
 
Most of the shawls I have feel like they’re wrapped around my neck more than my shoulders when I wear them, even the big ones. And I’m constantly fiddling to make sure they don’t come loose from how I’ve arranged them or slide off altogether. Storm Cloud was completely different! It rested naturally around my shoulders, and I could adjust it for the temperature without even really thinking about it.
 
I had it on all day a couple of different days, and when I wasn’t noticing that it was my handspun yarn and feeling kind of giddy about that, it was a perfect instance of form meets function. Nothing missing, nothing extra. It was like wearing a hug. I can’t say enough good things about it. This is truly the most enjoyable knitted thing I’ve ever worn. 
 
I even managed to get a handknits-in-action shot:
 
Storm cloud on plane
 
The trip itself was terrific. I spent lots of time hanging out and visiting with family. This is my step-brother’s dog, Roman, who is the sweetest boy ever.
 
Roman
 
And this is my aunt’s cat, Lola, who loves everyone!
 
Lola cat
 
I tried to get a shot of my mom’s cat, but they all turned out blurry. Next time.
 
This is a bird we met in a parking lot. I found out that my mom and my aunt carry bird seed in the car! When they see a hungry-looking bird (not sure how they can tell), they spread a handful of seed for it. I love them so much.
 
Bird 2
 
 

 Outtakes:

 

Aloe vera
 
Plant growing along the Texas Gulf Coast is a serious affair. Everything looked like it was about to take over the planet. The leaf on this one had to have been 18” across.
 
Big leaf plant
 
Did I mention that the layovers were realllllly long?
 
Lunch reading