Knitting with Ivy: Jesus Puja

Knitted Ivy

Knitted Ivy

Yes, this is ivy and I’ve been knitting with it. On bamboo needles. It was a sudden urge. Some of it I did in the middle of the night.

I couldn’t help thinking, as I knitted in the wee small hours, of Andersen’s story of The Wild Swans. Of the princess who rescues her 11 brothers from the curse of an evil witch/stepmother. The witch turns the brothers into swans, who are able to take human form again only by night.

The princess (Elisa) on the advice of the queen of the fairies, gathers up stinging nettles from graveyards and knits them into shirts for her bewitched brothers. She must endure the pain of the nettles’ stings and also must vow to silence until she’s finished all the shirts – or her brothers will die.

One night she runs out of nettles and is caught gathering more in a graveyard and sentenced to death, for witchcraft, at the stake. Of course, she is rescued. She finishes the shirts in the nick of time, all but a single sleeve and one brother always has one arm and one wing.

It was tough, knitting up the ivy stems, even this little bit and my bamboo needles are bent from the effort. Still, ivy isn’t stinging nettles. I’ve just come across a version of the tale in which the princess has to knit shirts from … poison ivy.

I guess I needed to be rescued. Rescues come in strange and wonderful forms- in this case, by having me knit one for myself.

I’m developing my knitted ivy lifeline into an artwork and puja. It will also be a talisman and icon. I’m calling it Jesus Puja.

Have you ever been thrown a lifeline of strange and wonderful form?


About AnnIsikArts

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16 Responses to Knitting with Ivy: Jesus Puja

  1. Pingback: Photopolymer Etching: a New Walk to Map | Poetic Mapping: Walking Into Art

  2. I’ve been doing a bit of research for a lq wordle game ( – one of the words to use is ‘cotyledon’ – a succulent found in South Africa – and lo, quite behold, the following: ”The brightly coloured flowers attract bees and birds, which feed on the nectar of the plant. The silver-grey leaves of some forms owe much of their attractive colouring to a powdery white coating which may assist in reflecting much of the sun’s heat to prevent excessive water loss from the thick succulent leaves.” White is purity of spirit too, and also reflects the sun’s rays — ??


    • AnnIsikArts says:

      What I get from the above most is the aspect of interdependence between different life forms, not just physically, but spiritually too. I’m just about to blog about my latest batch of eco prints. The process has really brought it home – reminded me – how important it is to respect our interdependence.


      • Indeed. May I ask? Do you do the tarot or any other such like ‘reading’ at all?


      • AnnIsikArts says:

        I have a tarot pack and used it for a while years ago but I got into such a mess in my head. It’s more a case of things come to me to be read, I mean like knitting ivy in the middle of the night! And dreams. Do you do anything of that nature?


      • Also used to and indeed created a mess. Left reading actual cards but seem to have trouble with just living and not read something into almost anything. I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t an aspect to you dream as well? Looking for, finding signs, interpreting, almost daily, and not actually get down to just being a person?


      • AnnIsikArts says:

        Speech coming up: But this is how I AM being in the world as ‘just a person’. It is full of signs and symbols and meaning and the purpose of this is always the common denominator of love. You could say it’s the link between cartography and cartomancy – the poetic map. 🙂 But I also read the electricity and gas meters (5 minutes ago) and iron clothes. 🙂


      • I actually burst out laughing. Pragmatically poetic or poetically pragmatic. Love it. Thanks!


      • AnnIsikArts says:

        Thank the Lord. I thought you were going to accuse me of too much navel gazing and I would have had to agree just as soon as I’d finished hugging my ornamental cherry (tree).


      • I’ve been rained in for a number of days and am looking forward to some tree hugging myself! See ya!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Suppose you would’ve said if you wanted us to know why you needed rescuing. Glad you found something. The idea is fascinating. I’ve been thinking about weaving it ever since I read this.


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