I just started the first sleeve of the Placket-Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I've done two of the increases- the bar increases (kf&b) look pretty crappy in KnitPicks Shine- maybe it would look better if I did an m1 instead? I think I will try that on the next round, and if it does, I'll rip back (ugh ugh ugh) and redo. It can't look any worse, that is for sure. One of the nice things about knitting is that it encourages experimentation and just jumping in and trying new skills. If you suck at it, or it looks horrible, you can always frog and redo. My DH cursed me this last time when I was working on the baby booties. After I completed the first one, he commented that that was the first time he had seen me NOT frog the early part of a project. Of course, I started the next bootie, and had to frog b/c it looked bad, and all it was was 30 rows of garter stitch. Lame. I told him he cursed me.
I even frogged back the early part of a prayer shawl I started knitting for a friend of mine. I feel called to knit this person a prayer shawl, even though I could think of about 5 other people I know who might "deserve" one more, in the sense that knitting is a lot of work, and I have some mixed feelings about this friend and some of the actions that she has taken in the last couple of years. She is having a tough time, and has been having a tough time for the last several years. Some of the difficulties are due to her own actions, and some are out of her control. I just keep praying for strength, wisdom, clarity, and compassion for her, and maybe it will rub off on me too.
I am knitting the prayer shawl using the pattern from Shawl Ministry, which is put together by the same women who wrote Knitting Into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry. I did throw in a few rows of popcorn/trinity stitch, but decided it required too much attention for something that should be meditative. I am knitting the shawl using Patons SWS. I was hoping it would be a softer, but it IS 70% wool, and most people on the KnittyBoard think it's plenty soft, so maybe it will be fine for her.
Sometimes when I knit, I pray while I'm knitting, and sometimes I listen to mp3 sermons from the former minister of the church that I attend, or read religious stuff online. The ideal (for me) is that I pray with every stitch, but I am cutting myself some slack on it. I am not letting myself knit on it while watching TV, though. I had to draw the line somewhere, and besides, I have other projects I can work on during TV time.
There is a new book out from Interweave called Knitting for Peace. I flipped through it in the bookstore, and it seems really nice. Not in the sense of amazing patterns, etc., but really telling you how you can knit to change the world, to make a concrete difference in people's lives.