In November, to celebrate the renewal of my writing habit, I bought myself The Wild Wood Tarot. I will always love my Faeries’ Oracle deck, and have no plans to stop working with it–but The Wild Wood deck had been calling to me, and I can love two decks equally.
A few days later the moon was full, and I blessed and cleansed the deck on my altar. I knew this deck was going to need just the right pouch: something green and foresty. I started obsessively looking through books of stitch motifs and searching for things like “woodland” and “magic” on Ravelry.
I knew I wanted moss stitch to be part of the design. I also thought of the stag horn cable almost immediately; the deck is full of antlered folk. In one of my books I found a bear claw motif; the great bear is one of the reasons I ended up choosing The Wild Wood Tarot, and I wanted to acknowledge her in the design. And finally, I found a subtle leaf lace motif; leaves were absolutely necessary. I swatched, and charted, and swatched some more. I fussed with the row of eyelets for the drawstring, wanting the eyelet holes to line up with the lace holes in a way that made sense. I fussed with the number of stitches, wanting one stitch motif to flow into the next as if they were made for each other.
Once I had a sample I was happy with, I needed just the right yarn. I wanted natural fiber. I wanted green, but it had to be the right green. I wanted something special, something that looked like it could grow on a tree. I went to local yarn shops and poked around Etsy. I finally settled on Knitted Wit’s Victory Fingering Weight in the Cedar colorway. The yarn is produced “from sheep to skein” in the U.S., and dyed right here in Portland. It’s the right balance of smooth and soft and springy. And oh that color. Delicious.
This was not an easy project to knit. It’s the sort of project where one stitch out of place makes everything look wrong–which meant a lot of do-overs. It took a long time to finish, for something so tiny. But it’s exactly what I hoped to create. It was worth every frogged and re-knit stitch to create something that is not only beautiful, but also feels right.
Knitting is never the simplest path to any finished object. It’s a fussy process, a slow process. But I find it perfect for creating magical or sacred objects; there is plenty of time, on the way from sticks and string to completed project, to pour intention and energy into a knitted creation. With a little patience and attention to detail, you can also choose materials and techniques that lend themselves to your intention. And you can be as subtle or flamboyant with the spiritual or magical aspects of the piece as you like. Certainly a knitted goddess is overtly pagan. But one could work magic and prayer into a shawl, a scarf, a purse, even a washcloth, without ever having to come out and say “hey look at me I’m doing magic.” You can then carry your magic and prayers with you into any environment–even to work or a closed-minded relative’s house. It’s a perfect example of every day magic.