Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Peace Weavers

Beth and I were on our own one night last week, and having watched Eastern Promises found ourselves in a Viggo Mortenson aka Nicolai cold, brooding, Russian mood. Since we're short on Viggo movies, and it was cold and snowy outside, Dr. Zhivago seemed like an appropriate substitute. With blankets to fend off the harsh Russian winter, we curled up with our knitting and steaming cups of tea to sniffle once more at the romance of Yuri and Lara. I'd been saving a recipe for Cranberry Pavlova for just the right time and what is more Russian than Pavlova? Ok, the dessert comes from Australia but it was named after a Russian ballerina. The perfect choice for a night spent in Varykino. The crimson tide of juice and cranberries ran down the sides and into the crevices of the meringue like the folds of the Russian flag. The meringue lasted just long enough for Sarah to make it home from work for her share and then dissolved like cotton candy.

Ever since she wrote her senior thesis on the role of women in Anglo-Saxon literature, Elisabeth has been calling me a peace-weaver. In Anglo-Saxon, "fri'webba" means peace-weaver. The term was used to describe a woman who married someone from an enemy tribe in order to establish peace between her family and his. The marriage was a political arrangement to hopefully end hostility between warring tribes. Some historians think peace weaving was one of a woman's most important roles, and that men consulted them about preventing war. Women were the weavers of all the fabrics used for clothing and furnishings, and word weavers, the diplomats responsible for weaving the fabric of society. They used words and gifts and acts of kindness to weave peace. I like that very much.

Our little house of peace weavers has been very busy weaving its own kind of peace. Our free trade baskets (got them at Sunflower Market) are full of yarn and overflowing all over the family room. The end tables hold pattern sheets, pencils, scissors, post its for counting and coasters of tea cups. Needles of every shape and size are rolling loose, stabbed into balls or stuck in couch cushions. Baby booties, scarves, tea cozies, socks and shawls grow from our knitting needles each evening while we three peace weaving women watch movies and weave away the winter evenings.

A friend of Elisabeth's recently had a baby girl. Her Daddy is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so what could be a more appropriate gift than Hobbit feet? Knit from an obnoxious peach pink for skin color and topped with long brown hair, these proudfoot booties can't help but make you laugh.

Hobbits are alive and well and living in America.

The Shoalwater shawl is finished at last and spends most evenings hugging my shoulders and keeping out the chill.

The undulating pattern of waving scallops imitate the soft ripples of water. It was knitted with sea wool from Fleece Artist in the Capri colorway. Sea wool is actually a combination of wool and sea cell, a fiber made from sea weed.

With all the peace weaving going on, politics naturally come up in the discussions. Health care, the environment, and the war in Iraq loom large. We need a change but who to choose? The front runners are no choice at all in either party. Too many carefully chosen words, no real answers, and they all sound the same. We became intrigued with Dennis Kucinich. If you haven't heard of him, it isn't surprising. We found him through Viggo Mortenson's web site, Perceval Press, If you've never been there, you owe it to yourself to visit. Artists, poets, photographers, current events, its all here in a softly focused, quietly powerful site.

You can find out about Dennis Kucinich on your own without my help. The part of this story that really bothers me, is that he was banned from the televised debates. First ABC, then MSNBC followed suit. Even after a Nevada judge said Kucinich should be allowed to debate, the network insisted on taking the matter to the supreme court. Since the man has little chance of making it onto the ballot, let alone becoming president of the United States, why go so far to quiet his voice? Unless that voice is one you fear being heard by the American public. Just as the newspapers print only what they want me to read, the networks televise only what they want me to see and hear. It is my right as an American citizen to choose, not the media. The networks say the smaller candidates don't have the numbers. They can't get the numbers if they can't be heard.

This kind of behavior is a blow to democracy. I urge you to write to NBC ( and MSNBC (letters@msnbc) and voice your displeasure. Leave comments on the New York Times article. Don't do it in support of Dennis Kucinich--do it in support of free and unbiased press and an open election.

In Truth there is no News, in News there is no Truth

Please take a moment to visit Knitters Without Borders. You will find the link at the upper left corner of my main blog page. Donations go to Doctors Without Borders. If you can buy yarn to knit, you can donate. I also highly recommend Heifer International,

A few dollars buys chickens, plants trees or you can buy a knitting basket which represents 2 llamas or 2 sheep. From shearing to spinning, weaving and finally selling woolen goods at market, the gift of a Knitting Basket will help entire families and entire communities break free of poverty.

Peace Weaving indeed.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson


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