I love to knit but like so many things I love to do (like singing and dancing) I do so with much more enthusiasm than skill. Knitting is a magical act to me, as is any act of creation. Knitting has close ties to knot magic and weaving and spinning , magical arts tied to women's mysteries evoking images of Athena and Arachne, clever Penelope and of course Sleeping Beauty. I also associate knitting with gift giving, since most of the things I knit are intended for someone else. And gift-giving is also magical. When you give a gift you don't just give an object, you give love and wishes and when that gift is made by hand your wishes are powerfully infused into it.
Knitting is also very meditative. While knitting you can't really think too hard about something else or you lose your spot and have to count and count and count. But you can think a little on other things while knitting. You can have a light conversation or watch a light TV show just fine. Knitting forces you to slow down, to sit down, and to relax for a bit. And while you're doing that, you're creating something. Something is being accomplished, even if it isn't anything serious. So you don't have to feel bad about spreading your butt on the couch. You're not slacking, you're knitting.
While I enjoy knitting, I have a very short attention span and so my projects have to be small if I'm ever going to finish them. Since it's bad luck for the intended recipient if you leave a knitting project unfinished, and it's not so easy to find time to knit with a baby demanding your attention, I need a project that won't take more than a few days to make. Also, a short project makes it easier for me to hold onto my intent until the end. So I've got a few tried and true projects I keep going back to.
New Baby? The Ball!
This is my favorite project to knit for a baby. I got the pattern out Itty Bitty Toys (which I highly recommend) and have since adapted it and otherwise abused it in many ways. Just a plain old ball in contrasting stripes is the perfect gift for a new baby. When they are new it can be hung over their crib, as they begin to reach and grab it is the perfect thing for little hands to hold onto. It's squishy and has a nifty texture perfect for biting and it's even cuddly for snuggling. As they get older they can, of course, throw and roll the ball as well and it's soft so it won't do any serious damage. This knits up in a weekend. A ball is totally the way to go for baby and they just don't sell them like this, so there's no comparison. I have this fantasy one day of knitting a solar system mobile with a big squishy yellow sun. But yea, short attention span.
Expecting? The Amazing Blue Ball Sack
Perfect for the expecting mom. This is one of the adaptations I made to the original ball pattern. What is it, you ask? Well, it's two tennis balls knitted together inside wool yarn and then felted. I just took the ball pattern and made it oblong instead of round. After my increases, I just kept knitting in the round till I could fit both balls in and then I started my decreases, nice and tight, to enclose the balls, then threw them in the wash machine to felt. But what the hell is it, you still ask? It's a massaging device, of course. You roll the balls under your hand along the body part needing massaging. When I was in birthing class they suggested we put two tennis balls in a sock to use as counter pressure on the lower back during labor. Pish said I, a sock? It'd be much cuter if I just knit something. I barely finished it in time, but it works wonderfully. Dad likes it too.
Housewarming? Wash cloths!
If you're new to knitting you might be delighted to discover that some of the coolest knit goodies are just little squares. Yes, knit washcloths. They feel wonderfully luxurious in the bath and are great for doing dishes as they've got that little bit of abrasion that gently takes off all sorts of stuck on things with relative ease. My husband and I disagree as to whether they should be in the bath or the kitchen on occasion and I am forced to go on a search when it's time to do the dishes… Make them out of cotton and a little bigger than you want them, because they do shrink. They will likely fade a bit after awhile too. It doesn't have to be fancy, just a plain single color is lovely and multi-color is easy with self striping yarn. However, you can add a little something extra with a rune for protection or increase, or this pentagram pattern.
Kids of all ages? The Beard Hat
Seriously, these are in high demand around here and they're getting awfully close to taking too long to hold my attention. But the teenagers think you don't love them if you only knit the baby stuff. You can go elaborate or relatively simple with this. Another favorite is the Dr Jeckyll hat.
Looking for "Pagan" and "Witchy" themed patterns?
Here's some more fun stuff I found on the web…
Knit Tarot Cases from Mary K Greer
Ann's Beaded Crochet Amulet Bags - These are very cute and fun and again, quick to make. I don't crochet, but maybe you crochet.
Crafting the Craft has a few projects.
There are all kinds of cool things at Caroline Creations
Erssie Knits has tons of Pagan themed patterns for you.
Juniper Jeni at Walking the Hedge Blog has a list of knitting resources too http://walkingthehedge.net/hedge/pagan-knitting-crochet-patterns-discussion/
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Comments, questions, criticism?