good things in the wind


I’ve been thinking.

Yes, I know that’s dangerous. I’ll be careful with that thinky stuff, I promise.

I’ve been thinking about the blanket project, and you folks sending in your yarns…and then I had one of those cool moments where your mind lights up with an idea, and you get a big grin on your face, and then you get goosebumples from the joy of it.

I think since you folks are going to be sending me handspun yarns (and other yarns, I’ll get to that in a minute), I think I want to make something just a bit more special than a blanket. I mean, a blanket IS special, a blanket is amazing and warm and lovely…but hear me out.

I’m going to knit prayer flags out of the yarns you send me.

Yeah, baby. Prayer flags.

Prayer flags vary from one tradition to another, but the most well-known tradition is the Tibetan prayer flag. Five colours, representing the five sacred directions, the five sacred elements, and all sorts of other things. The idea is to create the flags with intention, imbuing them with one’s hopes for peace, healing, compassion, strength, wisdom, light, courage, all that Good Stuff. The flags are hung so that breezes can blow through them, either inside or outside; the breezes waft through the cloth and carry these blessings and prayers for good to “all beings” as the Buddhists would say.

When we spin, we put ourselves into the yarns we make. When we choose yarns to make things for those we love, we choose them hoping that whatever we knit (or weave, or crochet) will bring our love and caring to the person who wears it.

I want to take those yarns, instilled with your spirits, your hopes, and your hearts, and put all that love and caring together into flags, symbols of community and hope, flags that will carry that love and hope further out into the larger family that lives on our little green earth.

Flags that bless the world with the work of our hands and the hopes of our hearts, in other words.

I got this idea because I was participating in Morgaine’s Spin for Peace event last Sunday, albeit remotely, as part of their “Canadian Contingent.” A few of us were mulling over what it might mean to knit a prayer flag…and then it hit me. Prayer flags made up of the yarns of knitters from all over the world.

Gives me chills just thinking about it.

Let’s talk yarns

People have been asking what sort of yarns to send. I did some swatching this week, and realized that for prayer flags, we’ve got to keep it light. However, I don’t want to lose my tiny mind, either.

Yarn Weight: Sock-weight yarn. I know it’s hard to judge with handspun sometimes, so if it’s a bit heavier or lighter, no worries.

Colours: The traditional prayer flag colours are blue, white, red, green, and yellow, with each flag being a separate colour. I’m guessing that I’ll get different hues of each colour; I’m going to take each person’s yarn, knit a square out of just their yarn, and then arrange the squares in groups by colour. Each flag will be made up of a group of squares in the same colourway.  Each flag will be a progression of hues of a single colour: one flag will be all blues, arranged from dark to light, and so on.

If there are enough yarns, I’ll make more than one flag in that colour.

You’ll notice that the five colours leaves out a perennial knitter favourite: Purple. Dudes, we cannot leave out purple, no matter what the Buddha says. So I decree there will be a sixth sort of flag, a purple flag.

Plus, we need one more category just in case a yarn wants to come along that doesn’t fit with the blues, or the reds, or whatever. I’ll make a seventh flag (or set of flags, if there’s enough) for multi-hued. Seven’s a sacred number in some traditions, so that seems right to me.

And don’t feel bad if what you have is orange or pink. Oranges can go live with the reds; pinks with the purples. (Or whatever.)

Colours: Blues. Whites/Creams. Reds. Greens. Yellows. Purples…and Multis. For the first six colours, solids or semi-solids or sort-of solids. (Whatever. I just have to be able to sort them into one of the seven colour categories.)

Amount: 15 yards. I’m going to knit these with a slightly more open gauge than I would if they were for a blanket, and my swatches all took between 12 and 15 yards.

Does it have to be handspun? Nope. If you aren’t a spinner, then choose a yarn that is special to you in some way, maybe leftovers from a special project.

Tell me some stuff when you send the yarn: What’s in the yarn (silk? sheep? tree?) and why the yarn is special to you. If you’ve made something with the rest of the yarn, tell me what you made. If you have a particular blessing or prayer to go into the prayer flag, tell me that, too. INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND WHERE YOU LIVE. First name only is fine.

Send to:

P.O. Box 26
Bolton, ON L7E 5T1
Canada

Is this a bonkers idea? You bet it is. Will it work? We shall see…

Random Good

Apparently, I left out one member of the family when I posted links to the kitty and puppy photography last time. Heeeeere’s gorgeous tortie Casey!

A stunning photo from NASA…not just one black hole, but an entire RING of black holes.

And that’s about all I have spoons for right now. I’m coming down with a wicked cold, so time for tea and honey and ginger and a warm spot on the sofa with my nurse kitties.

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About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. 2 year-old kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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15 Responses to good things in the wind

  1. molly says:

    ah, sandi, this is why we love you so! you take a big and beautiful idea and make it even bigger and more beautiful and imbue it with your love and compassion.
    way to go!
    now, go share your love and compassion with your nurse kitties, and get well soon!
    cheers
    molly

  2. Gloria19 says:

    great idea. your brain is definitely
    going full speed.

  3. Mardi says:

    Sandi, I have to say I think this is too much, even for you. How about we each knit our own wee flag out of one of the requisite colors, and send them to you for assembly into The Big Thing?? I mean, you’re looking at a labor of years, here, girl! Let us carry some of the load and make our own squares. to your measurements. Then you can have your way with them.

  4. Mardi says:

    PS – then, I think it should be a traveling installation,like The Gates.

  5. Pat says:

    all I can say is, “Wow!” and I hope that you feel better.

  6. Karin says:

    Beautiful, beautiful idea.

  7. Cris says:

    You are crazy and awesome and crazy-awesome 🙂 what a glorious idea.

    Clarification on one point, please; would you like us to limit ourselves to one yarn, or a couple, or several, or go for broke and sample everything in our stash? (Not saying I was *going* to do that, but, y’know. Just checking. There’s crazy yarn people around, never know quite what they’re going to do 😉

  8. Karen says:

    What a great Idea!!!

    AWESOME

  9. Rachel says:

    First — I have prayer flags from Nepal flying now on my terrace, a friend brought them back from a trip to Everest Base Camp and gave them to me when my Mom was sick — they are tattered and in shreds and every thread is a prayer to heaven

    Second — because of “first” your post has me in tears. my spinning is just beginner level and I’m not sure I have anything that will match in weight. But I have a blue/purple sock yarn that has a story to it and I will make sure that goes on its way to you.

    I would happily, as Mardi suggested, knit my yarn into a small square for you to assemble, And yes please, a traveling installation!

  10. Gwen says:

    Ooooooooh!!!

    All these ideas are so much fun!

  11. Pat says:

    Hi Sandi,
    LOVE the prayer flag idea – especially with all that is going on in the world. It’s funny – I was just going to ask you if you had heard of spoons. Good system to live by! Even with that explanation some peple still don’t get it! Take care of your cold and feel better.
    Pat aka westies

  12. Laura says:

    You are crazy, but delightfully so. What a lovely idea. I won’t be sending handspun (as I don’t have any) but I’ve got some lovely leftovers from a special project that might wing their way to you. But I will echo the questions of others: do you want the pleasure of knitting this stuff…or do you want to have it already knitted (and perhaps be a tad more realistic)?

  13. Diane says:

    it’s a fabulous idea, young lady. And Nuffles is right – this will be a labour of love and I think many of us would like to help.

    You don’t have to decide now – but if you did want help, we’re here for you.

  14. Stephanie says:

    Oh wow! Quite a moving and lovely idea. I will have a difficult time choosing the right yarn.

    I will wait for your reply for help or not before I package fiber to send out to you.

    Love and junk.

  15. melanie says:

    I love this. It’s just – so – perfect! I’ll be sending some handspun soon —
    and I agree: travelling installation!

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