Slippers and shoes (and Kureyon tea cozies) were an obsession over the past few years. I’ve practically memorized the Fibertrends Clogs pattern, and gone through a couple of table top washers (our household machine is a front-loader), making the two dozen pairs distributed to family, friends and charity auctions.
Then we had the extraordinary opportunity to host a pair of Burmese Buddhists, Ashin Sopaka and his colleague Thein Pho, as they passed through Philadelphia in early June on their walking vigil from the United Nations to the White House. Ashin and “Pho” graced our family’s life for a brief evening. Ashin, a Buddhist monk (now established in Germany), and Pho (recently released from long incarceration as a political prisoner) have made a number of such peace walks in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and their oppressed countrymen. We spent a long evening conversing about global anger management, and exchanged family stories through the sweet smell of Pho’s pipe smoke on the garden steps. In the morning, we shared bowls of yellow dal for breakfast before walking together from City Hall into West Philadelphia (as Ashin and Sopaka made their way to Chester, Pa.). Though I missed the later Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation, Ashin and Pho have inspired me – shoes and walking have filled my mind with thoughts of peace and ways to make knitting a spiritual practice.
I began looking for ways to introduce shoes and slippers into my tikkunknitting, and learned that Warm Woolies collects slippers as well as the usual hats, scarves, sweaters and blankets for the many native-American, Mongolian, and east European orphans they nurture (more later).
My tikkunknitting basket has grown by three pair of knitted shoe-lets for this project (photos to come). I’m looking foward to sharing my enthusiasm for shoemaking with fellow contradancers at the CDSS family week at Timber Ridge Camp this week. The thought of so many dancers finding their way to warm small cold feet in the far reaches of the globe is quite thrilling. I expect we’ll discuss fair-trade yarns (more in upcoming posts), and I plan to walk my friends through the process of recycling plastic bags into sandals via crochet. I’ll also share my new relationship with Peace Fleece yarns, and in particular with PF’s “Baghdad Blue” yarn, the proceeds of which support an inspiring intentional community in Israel called Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam (“Oasis of Peace”), in which Israeli Palestinians and Jews live, learn, and thrive collectively. Knitting shoes and slippers with this yarn is like a virtual walk for peace.
But just in case I exhaust my growing stash of tikkun-friendly fibers, I’ll hope to win a couple of skeins of Noro Kuryeon Big in the latest WarmUpWinc contest in support of charity knitting. With a couple of Big ones, I’d be able to warm at least another couple of pairs of feet in the hope that they dance along their own peaceful paths.