Crafty as a Serpent

A knit blog with recipes and theological musings interspersed.

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Location: Portland, Maine, United States

Abby d'Ambruoso is a Lutheran pastor and interfaith chaplain, currently serving in a variety of ministries in Portland, Maine.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I am a clever knitter- the Yarn Harlot says so

Yesterday was a fantastic day off. I was in pj's until 2pm, when I finished Widdershins by Charles de Lint.  It was a great book to read on a stormy day, which it being Fall in Seattle, it was a terrifically stormy day.  The story takes place in alternate worlds, so after reading it, I felt like I was in an alternate world, too.  

I blocked Sarah's Wedding Shawl yesterday.  The pattern was the Lotus Blossom Shawl from Fiddlesticks in Canada.  I liked the simplicity and clean lines of the pattern.  The bobbles I left off. 

I'm going through a small withdrawl from shawls. I knit on my socks and dream of shawls I could cast on.  But I have a feeling I should wait for a little while before starting any big new projects.

After blocking, I went up to Third Place Books in Bothell for the Yarn Harlot's reading.  I love the Yarn Harlot.  Those of you who know me well know how much I love all things related to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  She's so funny and encouraging of all people.  She is certainly a positive force for good in the universe. 

I waited in line for her to sign her new book which I had just purchased, and while I was there, I also showed her the sock that I'm knitting for a family member (who might read this blog).  This sock I am knitting is also my first design.  I'm really enjoying it, especially the Malabrigo sock yarn that I'm knitting it out of.  When I finish and give the present away, I'll show it to everyone.  But last night when I showed it to Stephanie Pearl McPhee, she said, "Aren't you clever" and then complimented me on the opposite cabling I did.  Yay!

So that's it for now. Summary: Yesterday was good. I'm knitting socks. And I miss knitting shawls at the moment. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If you've all gone away, I don't blame you

It's been nearly 2 months since my last post. In that time, I've recovered from the whole chaplaincy, packed, moved, unpacked, and dived right into my new job as pastor.  And now I'm trying to make some friends in the Seattle area.  
On the whole, things are pretty good, although I do have my lonely moments, which is only to be expected when one moves. 

I finished my friend Susie's shawl.  There are great pics from the wedding photographers on my ravelry page.  That wedding was in Canada, on Pender Island in the Gulf Islands.  We stayed at a B&B, run by a British couple, Peter and Tessa. Peter and Tessa were great, and they also had sheep on their land.  What's not to love?

The wedding was so beautiful, and I preached at it. It was a lot of fun.  I even got to eat a butter tart, which was quite tasty. I may move to Canada some day, if only for butter tarts and yarn. It sounds like something Charlotte would do. 

The shawl below is my friend Sarah's wedding shawl. I have big plans to block it this weekend. Her wedding is next weekend. (Not this weekend, next weekend. Does anyone else have quibbles about the "this" and "next" terminology?)

Since finishing the shawl, I've been working on a sock out of the gorgeous Malabrigo sock yarn.  It's coming along, but I don't have a picture. I know, I know.  Just when you think I've changed.

I will share other pictures, though. 
Will and I have been doing a lot of this lately:

The weather has been great for Fall, and we've been out canoeing on Lake Washington.  Twice!
I have a feeling we'll be doing a lot of canoeing next Spring and Summer. I love living here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Upon my honor, I swear

Upon my honor, I do hereby swear to update my blog when my life becomes more stable.  
Here's a quick update (and I can't take too long because I have much to do today):

June: I heard from a congregation that they were interested in having an initial phone interview. Phone interview went well, then talking with the senior pastor went well, then I was on a plane for a weekend long interview that went well.  In knitting, I attended my friend Ariane's wedding. She wore the beautiful shawl that I made for her. Pics are on my ravelry page.

July: I attended my friend Candace's wedding.  She wore a shawl I made for her, but I forgot my camera, so we're waiting to see pictures from the photographer or from her family. The day after the wedding, I heard from the congregation that they called me to be their pastor.

Since then: I have been scurrying around, trying to work on planning for my ordination on August 23rd, finishing up at my CPE residency, and packing up everything.  

We leave tomorrow to drive from California to Canada for my friend Susie's wedding. The shawl is not yet finished.  I may be bringing the blocking wires with me and blocking at the B&B where we're staying, during the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  

Life is flying by. After the wedding, I'm heading to Holden Village for a week long retreat, and then to LA to visit friends, and then back to Berkeley for my ordination.  Woohoo!

You may not hear from me until September when Will and I have settled into the parsonage.  
By the way, there's room for a fiber area in the house and I'll have enough room for a spinning wheel.  And amongst my coworkers in Seattle, there's an accomplished knitter and a spinner.   Yeah!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was a junior in high school, finishing up on finals and looking at colleges. That summer, I lived at home and worked at Wal-mart because it was the only job nearby. I did not know how to knit yet.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?
Pack boxes, email the bishop, pay my student loans, unpack a few boxes, bike to work

3) Snacks I enjoy:
Fresh fruit, wasabi peas, molasses cookies, brownies, cheese and crackers

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Buy a house and never move again, have a beach house, travel the world, buy a spinning wheel, pay off my student loans.

5) Places I have lived:
Oregon, Washington, Brazil, Minnesota, Spain, New Hampshire, Indiana, California.

6) 5 peeps I wanna know more about:
I don't know if I have 5, but- how about Katie B? Or really anyone who'd like to respond with their own answers.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Master (or is it Mistress?) of Divinity

Saturday, which was also Norwegian Constitution Day, was the day I graduated from seminary with my M.Div. Because I waited a year, my class had already graduated, so I didn't think it would be that big of a deal.

Instead, it was very meaningful. I was surprised at how moved I was when my husband, sister, and mom hooded me.

And I had a blast with the funny sleeves of my gown. I even put money into the long part of the sleeve. You see, I received the Mercia and Theodore Bachmann award for History. That was a very pleasant surprise. And so I received a prize to go with it, which I stuck in my sleeve because I didn't have pockets in my dress. I reminded myself to take it out before I gave back the rented gown. But I was so eager to get out of that hot thing and to get my diploma that I forgot. And so I still don't know how much the prize was for.

After the graduation, my neighbor and I hosted a taquisa, which we had prepared in the morning: carne asada, carnitas, lengua, and frijoles refritos, plus 3 kinds of homemade salsa and a guacamole. It was darn tasty, and I learned a lot.

After the party, I was done with people for a while. I love all the people I saw, but I was done. So I read an Anne McCaffrey book that night.

On Sunday, I met up with a new friend of mine who knits. I met her on the BART- and thanks to Ravelry, we're becoming knitting friends. We are starting a knitting meetup at Cafe Leila on San Pablo near Delaware in Berkeley. It's on Sundays at 4pm. Although, this Sunday, I'll be gone. And the next Sunday she'll be gone. We'll see. I had a lot of fun, though. And my knitting buddy was starting the most awesome socks (which I promptly forgot the name of).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Maybe I can do this...

So it's Sunday night. Last Sunday I posted. Maybe I can do Sunday posts, kind of like calling home, but only blogging instead. I like that. Maybe I'll try.

I've had a shock this week. I was sitting down with my CPE group to parcel out the on-call dates for the next two months. As I was perusing my calendar, I realized that my graduation wasn't on the calendar (what graduation, you may very well ask. Hold on and I'll tell you). I looked up the date and just about fell out of my chair. My seminary graduation is happening on May 17th, less than a month away. I promptly began freaking out attending to important matters, such as my exit interview for my student loans. Now I'm freaking out even more determined more than ever to get a job.

Speaking of jobs, I had a lovely conversation with my new bishop in Northwest Washington. He was very nice and said he'd start the process of helping me find a job. Of course, it could be a very long wait. But it's starting. If you are the praying type, I wouldn't mind a prayer or two about this.

In knitting, I'm working on Rachel's wedding shawl. And I went to a sale at a JoAnn's and picked up some dishcloth yarn. But I don't post pics of dishcloths unless they're super-fancy and this one is just your standard diagonal dishcloth- perfectly suitable for washing dishes, not so thrilling that they get their own spot on the "internets".

It's going to be a busy week, with 2 on-calls. So I had better get some other work done and go to sleep already. Like many, I've been having allergies, so my sinuses have been interfering with my sleep. I hope it gets better soon.

Back next Sunday, I hope.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Home for a little while

I've realized a few things in the last week.  It all started when I got an email from the housing coordinator at the seminary. She told me that our request to stay in our apartment until August was denied and that she can only offer me housing until June 30th.  My program at the hospital lasts until August 30th, and while it would be hard to live in temporary housing (i.e. with friends or housesitting) for a month, it would be doable.  But 2 months means absolutely moving. 

I am in the midst of CPE, a challenging and demanding time.  The last thing I want to do is to pack twice in one summer.  

When I got the email, it felt like my stomach dropped to the floor.  But being the practical person that I am, I picked myself right back up and started to think of the options before me.  We could find a new apartment altogether.  We could sublet.  We could housesit for the whole time.  I could quit my CPE program and we could move early (and pack only once) to Seattle.  

That last thought caught me up and sent a wave of grief through my body.  I realized how much I love my work as a critical care chaplain.  I have other units: Oncology and Adolescent Psych at the moment, but critical care is really "mine".  I will really miss it: the nurses and doctors, the teamwork, the patients and families, the closeness of God's spirit hovering over those who are very ill, the blessedness of shepherding families through the death of their loved one.  There is so much that I love about being a critical care chaplain.  

Thankfully, when Will and I reviewed our options, we decided to stay for the summer, have me finish up at the hospital and him at his work, sublet from a friend, pack up lots of stuff and then have a smaller packing session at the end of summer.  We'll essentially be living out of suitcases for 2 months, but hey, this is an adventure, and we have each other.  

In less future oriented news: I've been baking and knitting lots lately.  I made a Ukrainian Lemon Poppyseed Cake (from the Moosewood Cookbook) and a Gingerbread Cake (recipe from Chez Panisse) for coffee hour at church today.  And I finished my friend Katie's wedding shawl while I was on my Zen retreat last week at Green Gulch Farm.  I also picked up my new blocking wires this week, so blocking is in my future.  Yeah!