The Fruit of Joy in crafting

Galatians 5: 22,23 says: By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

220px-Dublin_Christ_Church_Cathedral_Passage_to_Synod_Hall_Window_Fruit_of_the_Spirit_2012_09_26
Andreas F. Borchert *

This is a continuation of our series on the fruits of the Spirit in crafting. You can find the other posts under this page:  Fruits of the Spirit in Crafting.

Ah … joy. Or should I say,  Joy! Or perhaps JOY!!!!?  If I sound a little cynical, it’s because a melancholy like me finds “joy” difficult to come by. It’s not that I walk around with a cloud above my head  and looking at the negative side of everything like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. It’s just that it takes me a little while to get revved up enough to be truly excited. Like someone chooses his or her battles carefully, past experience has taught me to choose my excitement carefully.

It’s a good thing that joy is not the same thing as happiness or excitement.

Webster’s Dictionary defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” The second definition also says, “a source or cause of great happiness: something or someone that gives joy to someone.”

Happiness is “feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation …”

From the way these two definitions are written, it looks like happiness comes and goes as your life situation changes. Joy is a state of being. Webster’s also mentions that joy has a source. As a Christian, the source of my joy comes from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit and comes from our love for God.

In crafting, art or any creative pursuit, joy is inherent. In other words, as we perfect our craft, art, or other creative pursuit such as music or writing, gardening, cooking, or anything that we do, a feeling of joy often wells up from deep within. This joy takes place because we are participating in something that is basic to our very nature. It’s kind of like the joy we feel when someone comes to know Christ, or when we hear the truth being spoken. God, who is our creator, is basic to our nature so we feel joy when good things happen for God or when we hear the truth about God. Joy also comes when we participate in the very activity that God created us to do. Because God is creative, we humans are designed to be creative as well. Creativity reflects the nature of God in us and this brings joy.

When I feel joy while crafting, it usually comes as a deep sense of well-being or satisfaction. How does it come to you?

A word of caution, however. Because we are imperfect people who often become entangled by life’s problems, we may not always feel joy even when we are doing something we truly love. Good feelings are largely based on whether or not we are happy, which is a product of circumstance. A lack of feeling does not necessarily mean that I do not have joy; it may simply mean that I do not feel joy for whatever reason. I look forward to heaven because we will undoubtedly feel joy all the time. On earth it just isn’t going to happen, but thank God when it does because it is a great feeling.

*Fruit of the Holy Spirit, Stained glass window at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, depicting the Fruit of the Holy Spirit along with role models representing them, i.e. the Good Shepherd representing love, an angel holding a scroll ofGloria in excelsis Deo representing joy and Jesus Christ, Job representing longsuffering, Jonathan faith, Ruth gentleness and goodness, Moses meekness, and John the Baptist temperance. Executed by Hardman & Co. in the 1870s.[1]

Interweave’s Vintage Crochet mag offers beauty from the past

A few months ago, I did some cleaning out in my email account. I got rid of a lot of excess newsletters from blogs and companies that I didn’t really read. I did keep my favorites, which were surprisingly few. One of those newsletters was from Interweave Press, a company that publishes material for many types of fiber enthusiasts and artists. I’m glad I kept it, otherwise I would have missed Vintage Crochet.

CA2016
Vintage Crochet*

Some background, first. One of Interweave’s magazines is Needlework Traditions. This magazine specializes in the history of fiber and most of its projects are inspired by or are modernized vintage patterns. Most of these patterns are knitting (sigh) while there is some weaving and embroidery. They also manage to slip in a crochet pattern from time time. Even though I enjoy this magazine, I had to stop getting it because there are a lot of knitting patterns and I don’t knit, plus I unfortunately lack time to read all of the interesting articles.

My husband will tell you that I whine a lot about knitting receiving so much more attention than crochet. It’s understandable. Knitting has been around a long time and is very useful. However, crochet has made a lot of strides in recent years and it is not just a fancy-work craft. You can actually get some useful garments, bags and household items from crochet.

So, imagine my happiness when a whiner like myself, who loves history and crochet saw this special publication from Interweave, “Vintage Crochet”. I was excited beyond words and ordered it immediately. As soon as I received it in the mail – and I had it by the next week – I started drooling over the patterns inside.

Inside this issue (the first of I hope many) there are several articles about crochet – my favorite was “Jabez Ridgwell: A Boer War Soldier Crochets,” by Mimi Seyforth. Ridgwell, who was wounded in the war England fought against the Boer settlers in South Africa, learned to crochet as a form of rehabilitation during his recovery. He eventually crocheted a baby blanket (a pattern is included) which is still used by his descendants. There was also a little side bar about Queen Victoria’s famous crocheted scarves, which were awarded to veterans of the South African wars.

There are articles about Irish lace, Italian lace, sample books, how crochet factors into the “Anne of Green Gables” series and about hairpin lace. Stunning patterns are also linked to many of the articles. My favorite – and it is so hard to choose! – is either the one on the cover or the Hairpin Lace Open Cardigan. I’ve never tried hairpin lace, but this pattern inspires me. Other patterns include a lace trimmed apron, a skirt, a linen project bag, two other cute bags, a gorgeous lace shawl, patterns for children, patterns inspired by Irish and Clones lace along with several others that are nice for the home and to wear.

All in all Vintage Crochet is a great resource! You really should check it out.

*I do not receive any compensation from this review. I just want to recommend something I really like. 

The fruit of love in crafting, Part 2

Spiritual formation, in the Christian sense, is the process of  transformation into the ways of Christ. It is the deep inner working of the Holy Spirit within the heart of the believer.  It begins with, results in, and is firmly rooted in love. 

This is a new series based on the “fruit of the Spirit,” found in Galatians 5: 22, 23. You can find part 1 here.

Love is the basis for the spiritual fruits. You could say that it is the stem on each fruit that attaches the fruit to the tree; it is the branches, the roots, the entire tree itself.

220px-Dublin_Christ_Church_Cathedral_Passage_to_Synod_Hall_Window_Fruit_of_the_Spirit_2012_09_26
Andreas F. Borchert*

Galatians 5: 22,23 says: By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

In our scripture, love is included among the fruits, and indeed, love is one of the fruits that shows the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. However, in order to produce joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we must be filled with love. Love for God. Love for people. Love for self. Love, as I John 4:7 says, comes from God and it is the evidence that we know God. Love shows the world that we are Christ’s disciples (John 13: 34-35).

Paul describes love in I Corinthians 13: 4 – 8 and several of the fruits are listed in the definition either directly or by description. I have emboldened them; the words in parenthesis are mine:

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude (gentleness, self-control). It does not insist  on its own way (generosity, peace); it is not irritable or resentful (gentleness, peace); it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth (joy).  It bears all things (patience), believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends …” (faithfulness, generosity, self-control, peace).

So, how does love show up in crafting?

By making things for the people I love …

This would be the first response I would expect from anyone. And this is a true and right response. Making things for the people we love is a good and very natural expression. Whenever I see something or use something that a loved one has made for me I feel loved. When I make something for my husband, children, grandkids, parents and friends I feel love.

Love shows up in how we develop our craft …

People who come to my house and enter through the front door will see the evidence of my love for fiber right away because many of my crochet, spinning, dyeing and now weaving (!) books are in a bookcase that my dad made for me right by my chair. The yarn for my current projects is there and my spinning wheel is nearby. I develop my craft through reading and daily practice. Most of the time this area looks like a rat’s nest so I try to straighten it up a bit each week but it never lasts. This is because I love fiber art and want to spend time doing it. And, I guess I don’t love housework so much.

Love shows up when we share our craft …

When we love something, it is natural to share it with others. Love shows up when we pass on our skill to someone else. This can be done by teaching someone directly; writing and/or blogging about it; participating in groups either online or in person and helping others with what we know, sharing patterns and selling our work.

Love shows up when we make something for someone we do not know …

Yesterday in the news, there was a picture of a little Syrian boy who had been pulled out of the debris of his bombed house. The picture went viral and I think a lot of people were touched by the plight of the boy who was covered in dust and blood. Wouldn’t it have been nice to see a picture of someone handing that boy a handmade toy or blanket just to let him know that someone he didn’t know, cared? It is said that crafters are very generous and there are plenty of organizations that will accept handmade goods for people in need, either for local people or for those around the world. It seems to be a popular subject these days, because in the October 2016 edition of Crochet World, I just read about a Canadian mother who makes dolls for her son’s regiment so the soldiers can hand them out to kids who may have lost everything**. What a neat way to allow God to reach out in love to someone else!

Love shows up when we make something for someone we do not love or who does not love us …

This is weird, I know. Why would I want to make something for that grouchy neighbor or that person who gossips about everyone? Why would I want to make something for that relative that makes everyone miserable? Why would I make something for a prisoner, the homeless person who talks to himself, a drug addict or another less desirable person? Because this is where I think that love truly shows up; where God convinces us and others that God loves everyone. Isn’t this what it is all about?

As Paul writes, there is no law against practicing the fruits of the spirit. There may be rules and guidelines that we need to follow for the other person’s good, but if we truly want to express love, no one will stop us for trying to make the world a better place.

*Fruit of the Holy Spirit, Stained glass window at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, depicting the Fruit of the Holy Spirit along with role models representing them, i.e. the Good Shepherd representing love, an angel holding a scroll of Gloria in excelsis Deo representing joy and Jesus Christ, Job representing longsuffering, Jonathan faith, Ruth gentleness and goodness, Moses meekness, and John the Baptist temperance. Executed by Hardman & Co. in the 1870s.[1]

**For more information about Izzy Dolls click here: Izzy Dolls for Children in Crisis Zones or izzydoll.ca.

The fruit of love in crafting

This is a new series based on the “fruit of the Spirit,” found in Galatians 5: 22, 23:

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Have you ever thought of spiritual formation in connection with creativity, as expressed through artistry and/or crafting? Do you ever feel a connection with God while you are creating something? I do. And, because I feel such a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction through the fiber arts, I have started to think about how people form spiritually as a result of crafting and artistry.

220px-Dublin_Christ_Church_Cathedral_Passage_to_Synod_Hall_Window_Fruit_of_the_Spirit_2012_09_26
Andreas F. Borchert*

Spiritual formation, in the Christian sense, is the process of  transformation into the ways of Christ. It is the deep inner working of the Holy Spirit within the heart of the believer.  It begins with, results in and is firmly rooted in love.  This definition is mine, and perhaps it is incomplete, but it is a synthesis of what I have studied previously in my master’s program and have read recently by Dallas Willard and Fr. Richard Rohr.

As we grow, we find that all of life is interconnected. There is nothing that happens in our lives that does not affect us spiritually. There is also no spiritual movement in our lives (either backward or forward) that does not affect every part of our life. For instance, when I realize God’s love for me and allow God to fill me with his love, it will show in what I do, what I say and in how I treat others. It is the same if I deny God’s love in my life; it will affect what I do, say and how I treat others. Accepting God’s love and choosing to live in it, will have positive effects on my life and my relationships with others. Denial of God’s love and refusal to live in it, will have the opposite effect.

A way to measure how we are doing in spiritual formation is to reflect on some of the lists in scripture. A popular one is what is known as the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 21, 22. The “fruits” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – are evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in my life, just like peaches on a peach tree show that the tree’s DNA is doing exactly what it was created to do.

So if we are allowing the Holy Spirit of God to work in our hearts we should bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control. We may not always bear those fruits perfectly, we may mess up, but more and more as we grow, the motive of our hearts will be to let God produce those fruits.

All of life is interconnected. So, if I am allowing the Holy Spirit to work in my heart, these fruits will also show in my art and crafting since that is part of my life. How do you think it shows up?

More on this soon.

*Fruit of the Holy Spirit, Stained glass window at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, depicting the Fruit of the Holy Spirit along with role models representing them, i.e. the Good Shepherd representing love, an angel holding a scroll of Gloria in excelsis Deo representing joy and Jesus Christ, Job representing longsuffering, Jonathan faith, Ruth gentleness and goodness, Moses meekness, and John the Baptist temperance. Executed by Hardman & Co. in the 1870s.[1]

 

Cool textile finds in recent dig

Ancient textiles are very difficult to find because of their fragility, but in the last two years archaeologists in England have uncovered textiles that are approximately 3,000 years old.

The textiles were discovered at a site called Must Farm, which is located in the northern part of England near Whittlesey.

must

The settlement dates back to the end of the Bronze Age, around 1000 – 800 B.C.E. The Bronze Age, which began around 3,000 B.C., is the period when people first began to use metals. According to Britannica.com, the Bronze Age did not take place in England until approximately 1900 B.C.E.

The settlement at Must Farm was destroyed by fire. The settlement was built on a platform on piles over a river and when the fire swept through, the settlement collapsed into the water. Because of the charring that took place on everything and the collapse into the river, the settlement rested in silt until some decaying timbers were discovered in 1999.

Here are the textile discoveries made in 2015 and 2016. They shed a interesting light on how far fiber production had developed up until that time:

Here is a bobbin of thread:

82bobbinwiththread

 

A ball of thread:

3000yroldballthread721

One woman on the Must Farm Facebook page mentioned that the thread looks plied.

729ballofthread

Archaeologists are not sure what the thread is made from. A good guess would either be wool or a plant material.

Look at this beautiful example of weaving:

714weaving

These fibers are from lime tree bark:

91515limetreefibers

Here is a pin-beater, which is used in weaving for pushing down thread:

pinbeater615

The following two pictures are rope (Jenn on Roving Crafters appropriately calls rope “yarn on steroids”).

rope75

This rope is still attached to a post:

rope12901250bc

These finds and the many, many others from the site show that the people were “highly skilled in using a range of materials”, as one article from the BBC says. As a spinner, the thread is amazing to me because these people were making very thin yarn. From the looks of it, the thread is even and it’s plied!  This takes some skill! I wonder what their spindles looked like? I wonder if the thread was dyed, and if so with what? Did the sample of weaving have a design or was it plain cloth? Whatever it was the weaver knew what he or she was doing.

There are other finds for those interested in crafting – pots, colorful beads, wood bowls, metals – and plenty for those wanting to look at ancient architecture, transportation and culture. It will be interesting to see what other items the archaeologists find as they go deeper.