Tag Archives: knitting

Laying my Burdens Down



My arms are full
clutching balls of burdened wool
all so hard to hold
as they each unravel
their sorrows.
Spilling strands of sadness
down from my weary arms
onto the waiting floor.
Struggling, I try to hold onto them all
Try to bring the straying strands
back to me, back to their skeins.
It is a tangled mess
Impossible to unravel.
Too much confusion to comprehend.
Overwhelmed with exhaustion,
I notice a
beautiful basket
waiting on the floor beside me.
How is it that I haven’t seen it?
Has it been there
all this time through my struggles?
Kneeling, I gently place the mess of burdened wool,
The sorrowful skeins
Into the basket,
Laying my burdens down.
It is still a confused and tangled mess
But I stand tall, free and unburdened.
The confusion is still there;
I can see it, and it sees me.
But I carry it no longer
close to my heart.
I have let it go, released it.
Finally free
No longer do I have to struggle to untangle
each mess of sorrow
For now, I am content.
Maybe one day I will pick each one up
Try to untangle,
Try to make each one whole again.
But for now,
holding them
no longer

Sheri King Ward, 2014

photo by Evelyn Ward de Roo

photos by Evelyn Ward de Roo

Bolivian Christmas Creche

Bolivian Creche

Today I unwrapped my teeny creche scene and set it up. Little clay figurines I bought in Bolivia. Little alpaca shepherds wearing traditional knitted alpaca toques with earflaps and playing their zampogna (panpipes).  Mary wearing a traditional women’s boler hat.

And Baby Jesus smiling from ear to ear.

In 1991 I was afforded an amazing opportunity to travel to Bolivia. At the time I was the Canadian sales agent for a women’s knitting co-operative run by the Bolivian Baptist Union. The project was called Project of Andean Community Artisans, (Projecto Andean Comunidad Artesano) or P.A.C.A. In both Spanish and English it was a brilliant play on words, seeing as they were using alpaca fibre for knitting.

badgePACA employed village women to knit sweaters and sew other things from colourful aguayo cloth to export to Canada.

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enroute to Corque

The purpose of the trip was to educate myself to better understand the country, the women and the products. And what an education!

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Knitting group at Sipesipe

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the ‘raw’ material, llamas and alpacas

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At the PACA office in Cochabamba with Miriam

All these women were trying to support their families with their knitting. I tried to sell their sweaters and socks in Canada. This was before the internet!


set up at a craft sale in London, Ontario

At the time we were existing on a pastor’s small wage. The trip to Bolivia was a gift I will never forget. The only thing I could basically afford to bring home was my tiny creche set bought in this market stall.

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And a set of chullus, a musical instrument or shaker. Made with a ribbon or strip of aguayo to which there are tied several trimmed goat, sheep, llama or alpaca toenails. When shaken, the sound produced suggests that of wind and falling rain.


At Christmas I remember with great fondness all those village women and their knitting needles, balancing their wee ones on their knees. And those wee ones were beaming, just like the Baby Jesus in my manger scene.

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