Archive for the ‘TikkunTree Knitters’ Category

With peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials happening, or not happening, ceasefires initiated, or challenged, prisoners of conflict exchanged, dead or alive, it’s been a roller coaster ride for months. And all the while I’ve been working on Judaica knits that might stimulate conversation and community, answering questions about the TikkunTree, and holding my breath in the hope of a breakthrough for peace, somewhere, somehow, sometime soon. Like a lot of others.

And in the meantime, there’s always a reminder that others are travelling in a similar path …

This week Knittah (on Ravelry, and her Tumblyday blog) shared photos of her contribution to the TikkunTree … a trio of lovely sculpted (double-sided) leaves (pattern available here) made from Araucania nature wool!

Thanks ever so much, Knittah. I’ll be looking for them to arrive in The Box soon.

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Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. Micah 4:2-5

Friday was Knit for Peace Day, a relatively new event for a number of socially-concerned knitters around the world. Initiated by Randy/KnitforPeace, an American knitter living in Sweden, Knit for Peace Day is an opportunity to commit both the work of spirit and hands to the pursuit of peace. She found time to reflect on:

  1. a lasting solution in Israel, where everyone can live in peace and dignity”;
  2. religious freedom for Tibetans;
  3. an end to the war in Iraq and an honest restructuring of the Iraqi; infrastructure;
  4. an end to the misery in Darfur; and
  5. understanding within my family for different views and different ways of doing things.

All of these found their way onto my list, along with a few others regarding local concerns as well, chief among which were wishes for the continued reduction in the number of homicides in my city, and care and reconciliation within the Democratic party (Clinton and Obama campaigns), so that eventual unity and electoral success can be achieved.

My knitting time was devoted to thinking creatively about the relationship between the Jewish holiday of Purim and peace (a few recent essays on Purim violence and traditions certainly stimulated me), and ways to promote the pursuit of peace in the American Jewish community. Much creativity will be needed in this endeavor, so I’ve been working on variations of “co-existence leaves” for the TikkunTree Project.

I managed to knit four leaves (each takes less than an hour), including “integrated” striped leaves, a ying & yang leaf (pattern available shortly), and a felted leaf, a combination of the simple garter leaf pattern and co-existence leaf. Any leaf pattern will work for the felted leaf – just use US 10.5 or 11 needles and 100% wool yarn. These leaves were made with Peace Fleece worsted wool – Peace Fleece felts beautifully, though requires a bit of elbow grease (or extra time in a machine). But then, peace is worth the extra effort.

Try knitting for peace – with the onset of spring, contribute to the new growth of the TikkunTree in 2008.

p.s.  Friday was also the Jewish holiday of Purim.  In keeping with the spirit of Knit for Peace Day, I also worked on a felted “Peacetaschen” Hamentaschen cookie (more information here).

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Last autumn, as The TikkunTree Project was only just taking shape online, I received an inquiry from Julie to join her Peaceloving Knitters group in the Bioneers Community, a progressive internet network. Though I was thrilled by Julie’s invitation to share information about the TikkunTree with the Peaceloving Knitters, the opportunity slipped past me as I dealt with the river of daily life and responsibilities. How delightful it was to hear from Julie again, asking to feature the TikkunTree!

Many thanks Julie, and your peace-loving friends, for sharing the work of this project so thoughtfully (link here). We look forward to adding your leaves to the Tree.

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Although my typing and knitting has been hampered for the past few weeks by the development of carpal tunnel symptoms, there’s been inspiration coming from various quarters. Bev’s enthusiastic support for the TikkunTree Project encouraged Birdsong to pledge a few leaves from her handspun wool. And Birdsong’s support similarly inspired Nana Sadie (aka KnitNana), whose eloquent reflections are worth sharing in their entirety:

Besides the fact that I adore Peace Fleece yarns, I am very committed to the idea of and philosophy behind this project. I’m ordering my yarns, and getting the patterns ready. (Patterns & specifications are available on each link)

I firmly believe that knitting for peace is an effective means of being a change-agent in the world. As is creating art installations that address peace. I seldom speak of my religious leanings or beliefs on my blogs, but the idea of knitting in silence, meditating on peace and speaking out as the spirit moves, harkens back to my Universalist/Quaker/Congregationalist New England family roots. As such, it blends well with my study of Buddhism, and Taoist thought, as well as my feminist/womanist/goddess thealogy.

While I’ll still participate in (and co-lead) Cloths for Crisis and Knit Red for Women’s Heart Disease, this project will hold the majority of my charity knitting energy for the 2008 year.

If we can’t find it in our hearts to live, eat, breathe, and pray PEACE, then we can’t be surprised if it fails us. Anger and war, hatred and fear, begin in the hearts of each of us. Won’t you join us? Take up your needles to help heal* the world?

The relationship of Nana Sadie and Birdsong, “serendipitous [virtual] sisters from different mothers…all across the country from each other – on the two coasts”, describes some of my recent experience sharing the TikkunTree Project. As I’ve attempted to distribute information, shared “calling cards”, purchased materials, answered email inquiries, or walked about the city knitting Safed leaves or other Patterns for Peacebuilders, I have had many conversations about people’s desire to see peace in the middle east, to contribute to it in some way in their own lives, to knit, crochet, embroider, felt or sew for peace, to teach for peace. I have grown my own virtual knitting family – sisters and brothers – in just the past few weeks.  Welcome also to Emma, whose kind words and generous support is very much appreciated.

The TikkunTree is supported by and shelters an amazing, growing family.

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Peace machine

How did this happen, Ellen?

And other friends who have found inspiration in the TikkunTree Project: Comfy Bev. Burro Bird

Perhaps it will be time to start working out the trunk …

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Every Friday afternoon since starting the TikkunTree Project, on my way home from picking up vegetables from the neighborhood green grocer (and sometimes a bit of yarn at my LYS, Sophie’s), I’ve stopped by the neighborhood post office to check The Box. My first post office box, with its very own over-sized keys. And the box has been empty every Friday.

Until this week. What a lovely surprise to find a parcel in The Box!

And what did it contain?

Three beautiful smooth double TikkunTree leaves …

and a lovely note:


Please accept these additions for your TikkunTree project, I met you at the Oct. rally on Market St. protesting the Iraq war – I am the guy that knits with the Quakers. I was inspired by your project to pull out some old dp’s and do some contemplative knitting. I have to say it was an exercise in patience to begin the leaves. I knit 3, one for each member of my family: me, my partner K. and our son S. I pray for a more peaceful world for all of [us] ad appreciate the vision and faith, such as yours, that moves us towards tikkun olam.

Peace to you and your family –

Jeff P, for KL and SL-P

Thank you Jeff! Your leaves are very lovely, and very beautifully knitted. They, along with their wishes for peace, will inspire many of us further.

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News of the TikkunTree has spread over the past few weeks. Most recently, we’ve made a new friend, Bev, whose support for the TikkunTree Project has been so very encouraging. Bev recently featured us in her blog, and her eloquence is well worth quoting in full:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tikkun Tree

Last week when I posted about knitting a Jewish design and commented on my angst in creating my very first pattern, I was really grateful for all the supportive comments and emails – both about creating knits with a Jewish theme and about putting my own designs out there. Thank you guys, it really matters to have a support system and I am glad that the blogosphere has done that for us.

Jerusalemolivetree One person also commented and let me in on a new creative project that she and some other knitters were engaged in, and I want to post about it in an effort to get the word out. It is called the Tikkun Tree project and it will be an art installation of a tree made up of leaves, peace doves, and candles produced through knitting, crochet, and other fiber arts. The purpose is to highlight and encourage community thought about peace between Palestinians and Israelis. It is not meant for only Jewish, Muslim, or Christian participants. Submissions are encouraged and welcomed from anyone who identifies (or doesn’t) as anything, who has an interest in expressions of support for peace and community building in this engagement.

In case you are not familiar with the word “tikkun,” it is a Hebrew word that is often translated as “healing” or “repair”. It is heard commonly in a phrase, tikkun olam, which is a Jewish imperative to repair the things in the world that are broken or need healing. It is meant to be thought of on a cosmic scale, that is, if things were right in the world, there wouldn’t be hunger or war or things that seem fundamentally wrong. In the case of this project, it seems fundamentally wrong that we, as humans, cannot share land and are willing to destroy our lives over it. I’m going to participate. For me, it seems like a mitzvah, a righteous act, and I plan to knit at least eight leaves, one for each night of Hanukkah. For those of you in the Philadelphia area, this is also a local project, organized through a member of Rodeph Shalom.

I encourage you all to read more about it here. The project site describes the recommended yarns and specs for submissions, as well as more of the methodology and aims for the installation. There are also some patterns offered if you’d prefer not to think up your own. For more information or to ask questions, please use the contact links on the site or email tikkuntree (at) yahoo (dot) com.

As a result of Bev’s enthusiasm, we’ve been received many visits, and Bev has led us to Ravelry’s Jewish Fiberaholics group, where the TikkunTree Project has been introduced as a Hanukkah KAL (knitalong).

Thank you, Bev!

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