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I Took The Handmade Pledge!“>
Buy Handmade! Make Handmade!

This holiday season, I am trying going to make things from what’s on hand – not buying anything new.  This is a bit more interesting (read “challenging”) than I anticipated.  I have SO much raw material on hand – yet still find myself thinking – “well this would be so much easier with some blanket binding – if I stopped by the fabric store – NO – make binding from fabrics at home.”

At first it was about perfection, then about laziness, now it’s about the fact that it tonight is the start of Chanukah, and Solstice/Childrens’ Day is next Monday, and Christmas is in two weeks.  Then comes my wedding anniversary, and then new years’ – all perfectly acceptable gifting occasions (did you read that second to last one, Bill) .

There’s very caffeinated knitting, mad felting and speedy handsewing going on here in Boulder.  (Note: speedy handsewing means drawing a lot of blood – one drop at time.)

Things are still secret, but I will reveal pix soon.  They’re awesome.  And, I am upcycling, recycling, making from raw, baking, and who knows, if we get down to the wire, giving stuff I love away to someone who is drawn to it.

Interestingly, my little MAKE IT journey did start many weeks ago, like late October – but handwork is slow.  Sometimes, as I’m sucking the blood from my thumb after the most recent jab of the needle, I wonder if the giftee is going to like it, if they will even care that I went through the conscious effort NOT to contribute anything except some biodegradable scraps to the ecosystem.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter – just as with any manufactured gift one would purchase to give.  Most of my peeps “get” that I make stuff, and genuinely appreciate the handwork quality.  People who may not know me as well ask where I bought it – a compliment.  In the end, I am walking the walk and having pretty good time – except for the needle pricks.  And, every one of the above mentioned occasions – and then some (next comes Groundhogs, Valentines,  and bunches of other “days”)  that make for great gift giving if everything isn’t done “on time.”

If you aren’t able to sit and draw blood, or have run out of time with your own holiday handwork, or don’t do handwork but think it’s really awesome – PLEASE make or support handmade in your gifting plans. A quick websearch or visit to (if you don’t know what is, make sure you have a chunk of time to browse – just sayin’) – that’s all you need to do.  Or, go to a funky little gallery or handmade boutique near you and see what sorts of neato little things you find.

Support your local artists (even when that means YOU), your local businesses, and handcrafters – not just because one of a kind and creative expression are WONDERFUL – but because you can do your little “Copenhagen” bit by reducing the waste stream, shopping local, helping out an artists, and reducing the amount of “stuff”, er, raw materials in your stash.

PLEASE if you have suggestions for the most awesome places on the web to buy handmade or find quick project ideas, leave a comment! And everyone, visit  You can take the pledge, and read more about this wonderful network.

Off to draw more blood, sweat, but no tears.  Joy of the season to all – Tara

Your Brain on Knitting - Cast On with Brenda Dayne

Your Brain on Knitting - Cast On with Brenda Dayne

So, the hot water cozy download is not going as smoothly as expected. While you are waiting for the master knitter to try to figure out problems in HTML code (ie – big mess), you can listen to Brenda Dayne interview me on the current episode of CAST ON (

As I have told friends and family – if you are still wondering what it is that I do, listen to this. But it’s not just about me (just sayin’). This episode wraps up Brenda’s brilliantly themed series on ALCHEMY and we discuss what Mindful Knitting is, who I am, and why being present in the current moment is so much fun and so damn hard!! This show talks about the brain, creativity, sympathetic and parasympathetic brain reactions and magically makes it relevant to knitting. Bless Brenda’s amazing magic.

Have a listen, Let me know what you think.

Love and Kisses -Tara

A quote from Trungpa Rinpoche, through the Ocean of Dharma Quotes listserve.

Yeshe Tsogyal

“Feminine inspiration projects a world which it can regard as workable and friendly since it is its own creation…..An aspect of feminine inspiration is regarding what you have created as sacred. You have created Buddhism, Christianity, Sufism — it is your production. Since it is fully yours, respect it, work with it. These teachings did not come from somewhere else; your own openness gave birth to them.  Moreover, you gave birth to pleasure and pain. You built Paris, London, New York City. You produced the president of the United States. These things are the product of feminine inspiration.”

From “Femininity,” in THE COLLECTED WORKS OF CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, Volume Six, page 564.

About Yeshe Tsogyal (wikipedia)
“From the mouth of a lotus was born
The swift goddess, heroic liberator
Who went forth in human form
Amid the snowy mountains of Tibet.”

Among lay Tibetans she is seen as a Buddha who takes the form of an ordinary woman so as to be accessible to the average person, “who, for the time being, do not see her Vajravarahi form as a fully perfected deity.” In fact,

She displays whatever emanation form will tame
Any given [person], just as, for example, the full moon in the sky
Emerges as [various] reflections in different water vessels.

For Mr. Zimmerman

Photo by Richard Avedon

Update – with thanks to super sharp reader Peg Alexander, and much chagrin on my part -it is true – Yoko is CROCHETING!  Cross fiber love here, people.  Now, I know I have never crocheted while blindfolded – I can hardly crochet with my glasses on.  We do not discriminate here at Earth Sky Knitter..  For the Love of Yarn and Karma and John.

With great thanks to my friend Waylon Lewis at Elephant Journal (please check it out – The Mindful Life baby!), I offer you this.  It’s the best.  It’s a video of the recording of the single version of the song – with John on Piano, Mal Evans (Beatles long time roadie/manager) on tambourine, and Yoko on KNITTING NEEDLES Crochet Hook– Blindfolded.  WDYT? Which is the best part, the knitting crochet or the blindfold?  I thought I was the only one who knitted while blindfolded. (still true)

There is absolutely no doubt that this is one of the best stick-it-to-ya songs, but to know that knitting needles are yarn is included amongst the instruments, worth another hundred or so listens (I can hear the yarn, can’t you?):

In other news:[this is still true to the best of my knowledge] I just signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I wonder if I should have checked with my literary agent first.  Anyway – it’s a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel (in all it’s unedited ugly glory) between November 1 and November 30, with uploads beginning November 25.  What the hell.  And, one of these days, very soon, I will do my year in review – My experience with Shambhala Art and becoming a Shambhala Arts instructor, my return to painting, my studies with Japanese brush master Kazuaki Tanahashi – magical.  Oh, and I started learning Little Wing on my Stratocaster last night (thanks James!).  I feel like I’ve recieve the transmission for the secret Stratocaster Handshake.  What’s on my mind: Okay, I have to go knit a Kimono.  Enjoy John and Yoko.

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