Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Invitation to Knit
Years ago before I practiced Tai Chi, I knit for meditative and creative benefits rolled into one.  Knitting helped me open my logical mind to a stepwise process from start to finish and balance my runaway right brain's wild spontaneity.

My Mom patiently (I almost typed "painfully") taught me at age nine.  She knit sweaters with (gasp) buttons, lace patterns, and V-necks  and learned to knit argyle socks.  Connie, my Mom, made a huge patterned white sock as a model before she attempted the finer sock yarn in gray, red, and navy patterned colors on small double pointed needles. 

I stumbled about with size 8 needles and 4 ply knitting yarn.  My favorites were white plastic needles with large red hearts on each end and the hot neon pink thick yarn for a beginner to see clearly!  I felt all thumbs, and I had many unplanned holes in my work!  Gradually, very gradually, I learned to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off.  Mom declared, "These are skills you will need to knit anything!"  

"Really?" I thought skeptically.

Fast Forward to my life as a young mother of three.  My husband announced one morning he wanted me to knit him an Aran (Irish) Patterned sweater!  "How?" I questioned.

"I can do it!  I'll start with something small."  I bought a basic Arans for Children pattern book and started a simple cap with plain basic 8 stitch cable.  What would I use for a cable needle?  Of course, one of my Mom's double pointed sock needles to hold the yarn in front or back of the work for the desired twisted look!

Childrens' sweater patterns still looked way too complex so I "converted" the "beyond my comprehension" patterns into the simple basic cable pattern I had used on the hats and began to "design!"  I liked it!  Knitting fit the times as I could knit and be with my young kids while interacting, listening to music, and having fun. 

Knitting could be put down and picked up at will.  With painting I needed a quiet place and an art room for paint brushes and canvas, pastels and illustration boards.  While (If) the kids rested, I worked on paintings. 

As I got more and more into complexities of sweaters and traditions, I designed our Aran Family pattern and made sweaters to fit growing children.  Adult sweaters with classic styling, wear like iron and and are still in use today!  I even learned to knit while watching TV!

                                             Traditional Aran Design

Every Sweater Tells A Story!
Aran patterns tell stories in the stitches.  For example, in the above sweater my mother designed for herself, the center panel is called the blackberry or trinity stitch.  The raised effect gives the appearance of round blackberries and trinity denotes the way the stitch is made: make three stitches out of one stitch and then on the reverse row, make one stitch out of three. 

"Shipyard Ropes" frame the cables.  FIshermen's Rib graces the hem, neck, and cuffs of sleeves.  These cables and ropes suggest strength for the wearer.  Diamonds filled with single moss stitch are prosperity symbols for an abundant life filled with blessings.  A sweater, living art, is born!

Every Irish village has a basic pattern and individual families knit their own additions into the sweaters.  This way, if an accident at sea happened, the village and family could be notified.  A "mistake" stitch is purposely knit into each sweater, as physical life is not "perfect."

The Guernsey ("Gasney") sweater has a flatter look knit with finer yarn.  There may be lace-like open work as in the zigzags or fountains of stitches.  These are flanked with flat elongated cables (strength) and double moss edge stitching (prosperity).  Compare this sweater with the traditional Aran, knitted sculpture, sporting thick yarn and chunky patterns resembling Celtic knot work.

Years wind forward and I taught my daughters to knit.  One daughter taught our granddaughter!  My mother and I "team knit" by knitting on the same projects!  Mom and I knit exactly alike in tension, stitch gauge, and appearance.  I cast on stitches, and my mom knit the middle part (stretchy ribbing) of headbands for Special Olympics.  I bound off the stitches.  Together we made over 200 headbands to donate over the years!   

We also team knit sweaters.  Mom helped me with the straight knitting, and I added the shaping and color (intarsia) work, patterned areas around the cuffs and necklines of Icelandic designs.  We joined a local knitting club.  Fun!   The clicking rhythm of needles and soft yarn slipping through fingers is a gentle way of quieting the mind, a hypnotic effect much like relaxation music or the sound of a purring cat. 

Enjoy "going within" with creative traditional art forms.

Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys, & Arans, Fishermen's Sweaters from the Brtish Isles book by Gladys Thompson  Red Heart Yarn, free patterns, learn to knit and crochet video, yarns  Lion Brand Yarn since 1878, free patterns, illustrated lessons and video, help available, clubs, yarns including Fishermen's Wool, 100% pure virgin wool containing natural oils.  Free E-book 40 Tips for Knitters of All Levels.  "Make Time for Yarn Everyday,"  Knitting Daily program  Learn Knit and Crochet, free download and more

Wind and Mountain relaxation music by Deuter  Lucy, a purring cat, and nature sounds promote relaxation at 50-70Hz  Paul Lam, M.D., Tai Chi: relax while exercising and music for Tai Chi for health and harmony  Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D and Debra Basham, NLP, CHTP, HTt, RMT Debra's New Blog, Yellow Brick Road Your Path to Heart and Health, "If I Were Brave."  Free E-Book Silver Butterfly, Create A Vision

photos:  Invitation to Knit, by Emilie
Traditional Aran Design and Guernsey by Dahlis Roy 

Saturday, February 18, 2012


ENERGY by Shadrach

In the field I find

Energy for my life.

Canine energies flow

Lifting me from below.

To cosmic fields I feel

All this energy to heal.

CREATIVITY by Francesca

Let the creative juices flow

From where they come, I do no know.

Feel the creative hum

From which images come.

*  " 'You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,' said the Lion."

Related Posts: 
Winter Wolf
Stars and Snow, Spirit of Phoebe 
What Kind of Animal Are You? 
Escape Artists
Silent Runner
Running Wild in the Universe 
Thin Ice 

* The Chronicles of Narnia Beyond the Wardrobe by E. J. Kirk.  Based on The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Shadrach painting by Francesca, 
Sculpture in Stone, photo by Emilie, published with permission

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Who is Black Wolf?

Another Dream!
* Years ago I dreamed I was a lone black wolf, trotting along through a snowy forest, looking out of wolf eyes and sniffing the clear crisp air.  Snowflakes powdered my thick ebony coat.  I felt my paws sink deep into the lush whiteness.  I was a young female wolf in perfect health.  I felt happy, safe, and comfortable. 

Gradually the forest thinned, and I approached an ice covered stream.  I want to reach the other side, but why, how?  I glance out at the ice.  I feel uncertain, anxious.  Will I cross?  I don't want to risk an ice water bath.  It looks bleak on the other side.  There are a few scattered trees and no wolf pack to rejoin.  Can I reconnect with a pack?  Do I want to?

I lean forward to test the ice with my paw.  I collect the faith to forge ahead toward the uncertain distant shore.

Fast forwarding to a phone conversation with **Bill Homann.  He felt the wolf dream meant I am gathering courage to cross the uncertainty of ice and achieve the goal of piecing together the first draft of my then unwritten book, Silver Butterfly Create A Vision.  "Keep moving forward, no matter what, to achieve your vision!"

Life stretches out before us like blank pages and canvases, unwritten and unspoken words and paint begging for color and composition.  On the evolving journey, I am learning more than I ever wanted to know about myself.  Family, friends and adventures with animals are opening doors and windows to my soul that I had denied or locked away.  "Physician Heal Thyself," (Luke 4:23) my Dad repeated to me over and over.  Physician See Thyself:  Look in the mirror, see your soul's reflection. 

"Have a Vision, never let the dream of your vision fade," Jou, Tsung Hwa, Tai Chi Master

Rob adds, "In Decision Leave No Doubt"  

Related Posts:  Winter Wolf (Nov 2010), Escape Artists, and Silent Runner (Feb 2011)  Universe Shadows of Cranes (Dr. Paul Lam, Achieve Your Goal, Mar 2011), and Catching Up, (April 2011). 

Pieces of Rainbows, Crystal Tiger Out of the Blue, (Dec 2010) and Painting the Earth (May 2011), Crystal Skull Stories printed with permission, Bill Homann)  

Resources:  The Rise of Black Wolf, (2010) shown on National Geographic Wild Channel   A rebel wolf breaks from his pack and lives to be one of the oldest wolves in Yellowstone. Nature Magazine, coat color in black wolves, did ancient dogs contribute black coat gene?

Living With Wolves, book by Jim and Jamie Dutcher and companion DVD.  Take a peak inside the Sawtooth Pack.  Meet Chemuck (Nez Perce for "Black Lassie") as she rises from a shy skittish young wolf to assert herself and become the Alpha Female, Kamots' mate.

**  Bill Homann, current keeper of the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull.  Jou, Tsung Hwa, The Tao of Meditation and other books.  Paul Lam, M.D. Tai Chi for Health Programs world-wide.  Joel P. Bowman and Debra Basham, CHTP, NLP, HTt, RMT  Debra's New Blog:  Yellow Brick Road, Your Path to Heart and Health

*  this story based on excerpts from Silver Butterfly, Create A Vision.  Request this free PDF E-book.  Purchase paintings and prints. 

Paintings by Dahlis Roy:  Forging Ahead, blue and black watercolor sketch.  Where did the pink color come from?  Note beam of light coming from left paw.

Courage, oil painting:  Look above her head and "see" a large eye.  The pupil of the eye forms the nose of a white wolf spirit protecting the young one.  In the upper left corner area, there is a tiny green lizard climbing up the birch tree. 

Black and White Winters, oil painting:  Black wolf watches between the two birch trees.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Hand Made
When I was eight years old my Mom and I shopped for dry goods, "fabrics."  Connie, my Mom, saw a fascinating pattern in a  magazine.   Connie was very ceative with sewing, knitting, design, and music.  We selected bright red felt and lace trim!  I helped trace the large hearts and smaller heart shapes from cardboard templates onto the oh so soft crimson felt.  Slowly and carefully, I cut out the felt hearts! 

Play Time
Then I played with my plastic model horses and dogs while my Mom began piecing together and hand stitching the completed Valentine heart-gifts.  When you lifted up the smaller heart, pictures cut from magazines or family photos could be tucked inside a small cut out area and given or sent as gifts for friends and family. 

Happy Valentine's Day~And Every Day!

Always Love Gifts

"A pet is a good friend."

"A green plant gives love."

"The best gift is a hug, one size fits all, and no one minds it if it returned."

"Hand made gifts keep on giving, a hand written letter, a phone call, a quiet prayer all speak Love Unlimited"

*  "Love is a daily choice," Goldie Hawn

                                     Hand Made Lace from Ireland

Related Posts:  For the Love of Chocolate (Jan 2012), The Pink Blanket, and Healing Hearts (May 2011), In The Pink (Mar 2011) and Shine the Light (Jan 2011)

10 Mindful Minutes, book for all ages by Goldie Hawn, Actress and Author

10 Exercises for Well-Being, book by Thich Nhat Hanh   Pioneer Woman cooking series, Ree Drummond, Award Winning Author, Blogger, Mom Joel P. Bowman and Rev. Debra Basham  Debra's New Blog, Yellow Brick Road, Your Path to Heart and Health  Purchase paintings and prints, request free PDF E-Book, Silver Butterfly, Create  A Vision.

Photos:  Hearts of Love, and Emilie's Gift, Irish Lace photos by Dahlis Roy

Monday, February 6, 2012


                  ** "And now the moon like a white rose shone," W. B. Yeats 

Treasure Hunt
I saw a picture of one of my archived books in my imagination.  I "saw" the cover in great detail with author and title.  I went on a search in my own home to touch the book with my hands again.  Moving about, we collect bins and barrels of things plus paintings and writings and scattered bits of lifetimes past, present, and future. 

But the book wasn't  where I had "photographed" it would be?  So, I hauled out a giant teaming box and opened a Treasure Trove with all the "missing threads" interconnecting to stitch and weave together this story!

"Life, Let it Happen!"
And there was my precious book~I spotted it instantly like a Cheetah stalks an antelope.  It was a book of Irish Aran sweater patterns along with black and white photos of ancient Celtic Fishermen sporting their sweaters.  Often men knit and designed their own sweaters!  I lifted the book up like a puppy and felt the sleek cover~remembering the days when Aran yarns slipped through my fingers and knitting was my meditation.  Years before I had practiced Tai Chi exercise as meditation. "Time" rewinding....

But there is more to the winter, I bring out a glistening blue and white painting I call The White Stag.  I added the stag after the ice, snow, and stars were painted.  The picture needed a life form, and an antlered deer appeared. 

* When the stag sprang to painted form, I reflected and held, in my imagination, what I called the Big Grey Book.  This was huge anthology of children's literature, almost too heavy for me to pick up.  I loved to have my mom read me, over and over again, *The Ghost of the Great White Stag by Arthur C. Parker.  As she spoke the words, I saw pictures.  I "saw" the stag then enclosed in mist, now making an entrance onto the painting as if by magic.

The Celtic poet and hero, Oisin's name, means "Young Deer".  I thought about a paper one of my daughters wrote, The Opposition Between Human and Divine in Yeats' The Wanderings of Oisin.  Buried in this box was a copy of this paper and many other Celtic Treasures!  Now I can write several threads with higher intensity.  Now I had answers to questions submerged years ago....K(NOW)! 

Just a few days before this discovery, I pictured these writings, I could "see" them and "touch" them but where were they?  "Imagine" and they are here!

Wandering Again
Oisin ("Oh-Sheen" in Irish, "Aw-Shan" (English)) is a mortal poet in Ireland who falls in love with Niamth ("Nee-iv")  from the fairy realm.  Niamth is the daughter of the immortal poet, Aengus and the mortal woman, Edain.  Niamth sweeps Oisin away, and they ride her white horse over the top of the water to reach the land of Danaan, the Land of the Young.  Their adventures continue from there as Oisin struggles with battling dragons and longing for his homeland, Ireland:  

** "Dreaming of her own melting hues, her golds, her ambers and her blues...."   The Wanderings of Oisin, by W.B. Yates

Arran of the many stags,
The sea strikes against its shoulder....
Kuno Meyer, Ancient Irish Poetry

Related Posts:  
In the K(now)
Silver Stars and Moonbeams
Picture Perfect 
Deer Dreamer 
Stars and Snow, Spirit of Phoebe (a spirit cat)
Winter Wolf

Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys, and AransFishermen's Sweaters from the British Isles by Gladys Thompson 

A White Stag also appears in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

* The Ghost of the Great White Stag, from the book Skunny Wundy Tales from the Seneca Tribe by Arthur Caswell Parker (1881-1955)

**The Wanderings of Oisin by William Butler Yeats

Poetry for Young People:  William Butler Yeats, edited by Jonathan Allison and beautifully illustrated by Glen Harrington

Dahlis Roy:  Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor

Photo: White Moon, photo by Rob, published with permission 
Oil Painting:  The White Stag (full color detail), and winter sun brushes White Stag by Dahlis Roy