Adventures In Irish Knits

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We attribute meanings and associations to holidays – real, tradition or made up. Leprechauns, green beer, corned beef and cabbage, shamrocks, parades, and four-leaf clovers sum up today. For me, St. Patrick’s Day is the day to be swathed in a big Irish hug — one of the Fisherman sweaters I obsessively knit for many years. Not only are these sweaters unisex, they never go out of style.

After attaining knitting proficiency by reading and swatching my way through tea-stained copies of Barbara Walker’s series, A Treasury Of Stitch Patterns, I set out to learn the Irish stitch patterns. I soon found these Aran patterns were as addictively intriguing to knit as the messages conveyed in the individual stitches.

The classic knitting book by Alice Starmore, Aran Knitting provided the background and patterns for traditional fisherman sweaters. This book was out of print, but happily, it has been re-released, revised and expanded!

History

Aran Sweaters go way back. The emergence of the first sweaters are debatable, but commercially available Aran knitting patterns were published in the 1940’s. The yarn was spun and knit off the west coast of Ireland on the Aran Islands. The sweaters were handcrafted for fishermen and farmers, and passed down from generation to generation. Each stitch pattern is said to carry its own unique meaning. These sweaters were often used to help identify bodies of fishermen washed up on the beach following an accident at sea.

Stitches

The combination of stitches have been interpreted in these popular Aran sweater stitch patterns:

cableThe Cable Stitch depicts fisherman’s ropes. It represents a wish for a fruitful day at sea.

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The Diamond Stitch reflects the small fields of the islands. Sometimes the diamonds are filled with Moss Stitch, which is said to depict the seaweed that fertilized the barren fields. The diamond stitch is a wish for success and wealth.

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The Zig Zag Stitch is a half diamond. It represents the twisting cliff paths on the islands. The Tree of Life reflects the importance of the family – a desire for clan unity.

Photo: French Voguettes via Pinterest, Vogue Knitting

Concert Honors Children

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We can feel the spirit of the blowing wind
A mighty source of power in our lives
Offering another way to fill our needs
Nature’s gift can help us carry on.” ~ Raffi

Did Raffi’s playful music spin the soundtrack of your family’s early life? The larger significance in Raffi’s lyrics ring remarkably relevant today — like this nudge towards exploring the power of clean, powerful wind energy.

Raffi is still making music for families and advocating for a “child-honouring approach to healing communities and restoring ecosystems.” 

On April 28th, grab a kid or grandkid and check out Raffi’s concert in New York City. The concert is presented in association with Moms Clean Air Force and all proceeds benefit the Centre For Child-Honouring.

Bird Song

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I would rather learn from one bird how to sing
than to teach 10, health 000 stars how not to dance. ~ e. e. cummings

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Moments before I closed my computer for the evening, there photos from a festival in Geneva, vcialis 40mg Switzerland of an outdoor tree glowing with a pair of weightless birds danced across my screen. The installation, constructed from wire and lit from below was created by artist, Cédric Le Borgne.

Stunning.

Photos: Cédric Le Borgne

Evolution Of Mom Dancing (video)

I can’t dance.

There, I said it.

Given the right conditions, I can carry a tune. But dancing? Not so much.

Well, I thought I could not dance until I saw Jimmy Fallon and Michelle Obama mirror my, “Oh no, I have to get up and dance” moves.

Michelle is promoting her Let’s Move campaign.

After the dance, Michelle told Jimmy, “You’re a beautiful mom. Pretty hot.”

So glad we have four more years of her.

Why I Marched For Climate Change (video)

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I joined with nearly 50, viagra 60mg 000 protesters who endured freezing winds to express their fervent desire that President Obama take bold action on climate change. For my husband, viagra Ted and I, the Forward on Climate rally was a culmination of years of living a green lifestyle. It was time to move beyond the recycling bin and compost pile to fight for climate justice. Sunday’s rally gave us an opportunity step up our commitment. It put the wind in our sails to demand urgent action on climate change. We chose on the ground activism because we’re not prepared to accept the inevitability of our children’s future without a fight.

President Obama had strong words to say in both his inaugural address and State of The Union about the need for urgent action on climate change. Before the SOTU, I was interviewed along with other environmentalists and asked what I wished President Obama would convey during his speech. I said it was time for him to address our climate concerns – the people’s concerns, not the oil, coal and gas companies that so many politicians on the Hill are beholden to. I said, “The political is personal.”

It was this singular focus that drove me to take to the streets of DC on Sunday and raise my voice with tens of thousands from all generations. It’s why I took bold action and pushed Ted and my friends, Dominique (who does not like crowds), and Kerry and Matt to join me.

I knew the rally would thrust us out of our comfort zone. I hadn’t protested in the streets since I boarded a bus to DC in high school with a bunch of bell-bottomed teenagers wearing peace buttons to oppose the Vietnam War. We were fighting for our future. I was wearing a tee-shirt my father printed with the slogan, “War is not healthy for children and other living things.”

On Sunday, being part of the climate solution meant going beyond green and marching forward. One of the handmade rally signs summed it up with a photograph of the Earth and these four words: “Too Big To Fail”

View more photos from the Forward for Climate rally HERE and HERE.

Catch a glimpse of the speakers and the energy of the rally in this video:

Photo: Ted Fink