Thursday, November 09, 2006

Knitting with the Monks

The Drepung Loseling monks are here - and will be creating a sand mandala over the next few days. I was able to watch the opening ceremony yesterday afternoon, and I went over today for about 45 minutes and sat and watched them work on the mandala while I knit on my picot-edged Sundara socks. I'm having a wee bit of trouble with the socks in that I wasn't at ALL able to do Wendy's "knit the cast-on edge together with the current row of stitches" like she said to - in fact I tried a few stitches and then had to give up and just knit instead - I'm going to go back this afternoon and sew down the cast-on edge instead to create my picot top. I think this is because I did a twisted German cast-on instead of the long-tail cast-on that she says to - and as such my cast-on row is way too tight (and twisted?) to work the knit together step. I'll do a long-tail cast on for the second sock and see if I have any better luck.

But I have to tell you, running into a knitting snag while watching three monks create the most incredibly intricate thing in total harmony and peace and unity is a GOOD thing, actually - as you just stay as mellow about it as can be. Any other time and this would have been frustrating - today as I realized that I had run into a snag I just mentally shrugged and kept on knitting, happy as a clam.

Here's my progress so far - when I first sat down this afternoon to watch the monks I was maybe two rows past the yo/k2tog row.......................'ve just got to love those monks & their very mellow and productive knitting atmosphere!

As far as I can tell, this is the mandala that the monks are currently working on. I plan on going back several times in the next few days to watch them work - and will most certainly attend the closing ceremony on Sunday at 2 PM. That is when they will sweep all of the sand together into a large pile (dispersing half to the ceremony attendees!) and then take it to our local city park & river where the sand is put into the water "to disperse the healing energies of the mandala throughout the world."

While I have contributed in the past to the Dulaan project, and wholeheartedly encourage my fellow knitters to likewise lend a hand (and totally adore Franklin's Dulaan Knit Along that he threw last week!) , I wanted to start doing something a little bit in addition to my other endeavors. To that end I picked up a flyer for the Drepung Loseling Educational Fund and decided that once again in honor of my most incredible maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Jane, that I would once again start to sponsor a monk. I did this the last time that the monks were here - Grams was taken out of school when she was in high school and never allowed to return for financial reasons - and as such she is absolutely passionate about education for absolutely anyone and everyone. So the last time the monks were here (always in the fall) I sponsored one in honor of her and her birthday (she's a November girl, dontcha' know) which I have decided to do again this year. You get to look at all of the monks that are "available" for sponsorship and this guy simply called out to me - he reminds me very very much of my mom's now-deceased best friend's son, Gerald. There was something about his grin (and ears!) that made me reach right out for his picture. I really like this for a number of reasons - not only can I feel like I'm helping directly (food, medicine, and education!) but also there is an address in Karnataka, India where I can write to him..............or more importantly, where I can send him hats, scarves, and maybe some socks to keep him warm in the cold clime where he's currently living and studying.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you!

Lobsang Dhaphel was born in Denma (a place that I haven't yet had any luck looking up) on January 10th, 1980. He entered the monastery in 2004.

Now if only they had the foresight to tell me his shoe size.

Here's hoping that the man isn't allergic to wool!

1 comment:

Emily said...

That mandala is the coolest thing ever! It is also insanely cool that you can adopt your very own monk, I don't know why they don't send shoe size with everything like that (and do monks need the socks with the split toes so that they can still wear their sandals?). I think you are right about the cast-on on your socks, there has to be little slippy-looking place (the technical term) in the edge to knit two rows together like that.