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During the last few weeks I completed my first knitting project. I knitted a heart-shaped bowl and felted it. It looks like this:

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It is not perfect, but which of us has a perfect heart (or can make one)? I had a good deal of help to complete this project, and my teacher was patient and forgiving of my mistakes, even helping to close up some holes I left and stitches I dropped. (Thank you, Monica.)

I tried knitting once before—about 40 years ago—and I managed to create part of a sleeve for a sweater before abandoning the effort. I finally took all the stitches out and my children used the yarn for their own imaginative play. My hands can play piano and dulcimer a little, type at a pretty fast pace on a keyboard, hold a grandchild’s hand, but I did not think they would ever knit. My previous efforts at needlework have been somewhat utilitarian but never, shall we say, artful or even neat. So I am proud of this heart-shaped bowl.

After finishing the heart-shaped bowl, I may not knit anything more for the rest of my life, but I do now understand why knitting has been called the new yoga. The action of pulling and looping the yarn and hearing the wooden needles click softly, the rhythmic (sometimes) repetition of creating the stitches, the need for quiet concentration and focus: All of these are calming.

And I think we could probably all use a calm and peaceful heart today. And this one is also filled with hope and love. It’s for you, for all of us.

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In one of the comments on this reflection, Carol asked for a link to Brian Doyle’s “Joyas Volardores,” an essay from The American Scholar that she offered as a prompt one cold November day when our writing group wrote at Roaring Gap. Here’s the link in case you missed it in the commentsabove the blog entry:  http://theamericanscholar.org/joyas-volardores/#.Uv1wFXddVUk . 

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