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Author Topic: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013  (Read 2858 times)

Aster Breo

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TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« on: January 01, 2013, 04:38:36 am »
Happy New Year, Cill Mates!

Believe it or not, it's that time of year again.  Time for the TC Cill Imbolc Exchange!  Huzzah!

For those of you who are new to the cill, we do an annual voluntary gift exchange in celebration of Imbolc.  Here's how it works:  Everyone who is interested in participating PMs me (specific instructions below).  I do a (mostly) random draw to assign each participant a recipient.  (Mostly random because I adjust for people who opt out of international shipping.  Again, specifics below.)  Then, participants make a Brighid's cross and/or a brat and send it to their recipient in time for Imbolc.  That's it.

We've been doing this for several years (4, I think?), and I've coordinated most, if not all, of those exchanges.  So, our esteemed Cill SIG Leaders have asked me to repeat my performance in that role.  If anyone else had their heart set on coordinating this year's exchange, please let me know.  I don't mind doing it at all, but I also don't mind sharing.

I assume most Cill members are familiar with Brighid's cross.  If not, here are a couple of links showing the variety of shapes and designs they are made in, a traditional method for making them, and another method.  Traditionally, Brighid's crosses are made of rushes, but exchange participants have used all sorts of materials, including corn husks, pipe cleaners, wire, paper, and fabric.

Brats might be a little less well known, so here's what I posted about them last year:

Quote
A brat symbolizes Brighid's mantle and is basically any piece of clothing or fabric that is left outside over night on Imbolc Eve (the night of January 31-February1) for Brighid to bless as She visits each family. To be completely clear, this tradition is attested with regard to *Saint* Brigid, not the Goddess Brighid. Which should make sense to anyone who has done any reading on ancient Celtic religion and/or Brighid -- since there is so little extant evidence about the Goddess Brighid or how the Celts worshiped Her or other deities.

However, many of us -- myself included -- have chosen to use information about Saint Brigid to inform our practices honoring the Goddess Brighid. The way I feel about it is that the saint was likely a means to an end; a way for the Irish laypeople (as opposed to priests or monks or nuns) to retain an important and beloved goddess as they moved toward Christianity. That idea can be easily challenged, of course, and there are probably just as many people who think the goddess died with paganism in Ireland and the saint is a completely independent entity.

I've read about different ways to carry out the tradition of leaving a brat out for blessing. There are numerous regional variations on the theme. For example, people who lived on the coast would often leave out the coats worn by the men involved in seafaring. In other places, the brat was simply a handkerchief or just a piece of cloth, pieces of which would be cut or torn off and used throughout the year to foster healing (especially for headaches), ease the pain of childbirth, protect the cattle, etc. In some areas, the brat had to be a specific color or had to be put in a particular place (a bush or just outside the door, f'ex) or had to be brought inside before sunrise, etc. (Sean ODuinn's book, The Rites of Brigid: Goddess and Saint, is the best source I've found for Irish Imbolc traditions.)

When I have received a brat, it has usually been knitted or crocheted. I have two that are squares -- like the squares my grandmother crocheted and then put together to make a blanket. I also have one that is a knot, which uses two colors of yarn.

Since I don't knit or crochet, I've had to rely on other materials. And I've also adopted a pretty loose definition of "brat." For the purpose of the exchange, I've sent strips from the very first brat I put out, many years ago. For my family's personal use, I've put all sorts of things outside to be blessed: scarves, bandanas, hats, pieces of fabric, ribbons, even jewelry. Other people might take a more traditional view of the practice, though, and feel that I'm going too far astray.


Last year's exchange went well, so I'm just going to reuse the instructions I posted then:

If you want to participate, please PM me as soon as possible -- BY END-OF-DAY on SUNDAY, JANUARY 13 -- and give me your "real" name and your snail-mail address. Also, note whether you are OK with sending a package to someone in a different country. (That can be important, since the postage on international packages can be significantly higher than on domestic packages.)

In addition to the PM, please post in this thread to let me know you've PMed. That gives me a way to check that I've actually got everyone. After I receive your PM, I will acknowledge it via reply PM.


I know that sounds overly complex, but I've learned from experience that this system will head off problems down the road.

By the end of Tuesday, January 15, I will PM you with your recipient's name and address.

Please plan to send your package in time for your recipient to receive it on or before January 31. That way, if you send a brat, the recipient can put it out for blessing. Ideally, you should aim to get your package in the mail at least one week before January 31 -- in this case, I'd suggest aiming for January 21.  So, participants should probably go ahead and start planning and making their crosses and/or brats, so they're ready to go when you get your recipient's contact info.


Finally, please remember that this exchange is NOT about spending a lot of money. It's about celebrating together with our Cill-mates and sharing Imbolc with each other. Nobody should feel that they have to spend much money on this project. We strongly encourage using found materials for your cross and/or brat, if possible, and inexpensive materials, if you need to purchase something.

I think that's everything, but if you have questions, please post here and ask.

Let the PMing begin!

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Juni

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Re: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 08:36:21 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;88380
Happy New Year, Cill Mates!

Believe it or not, it's that time of year again.  Time for the TC Cill Imbolc Exchange!  Huzzah!

 
I'm in! PM sent. :)
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Re: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 12:43:06 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;88380


 
I'm in, too. PM is sent!
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Re: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 02:25:08 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;88380
Happy New Year, Cill Mates!

Believe it or not, it's that time of year again.  Time for the TC Cill Imbolc Exchange!  Huzzah!

~ Aster


I have a question...

I have access to neither rushes/straw/whathaveyou to make a Brigid's cross nor fabric to make a brat with.

However, I do have access to yarn and knitting needles. Might it be acceptable to combine what I do have with one/both of these somehow? I truly would like to participate in this exchange.
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Re: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 03:33:00 pm »
Quote from: Kelly;88891
I have a question...

I have access to neither rushes/straw/whathaveyou to make a Brigid's cross nor fabric to make a brat with.

However, I do have access to yarn and knitting needles. Might it be acceptable to combine what I do have with one/both of these somehow? I truly would like to participate in this exchange.

 
Nothing unusual about knitted (or crocheted) brats.  Nor do they need to be cloak-sized - the one I got from FolksyMama a few years back was only about, say, 24"x15", but it turned out to be exactly the right size for my needs.

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Aster Breo

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TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 03:37:58 pm »
Quote from: Kelly;88891
I have a question...

I have access to neither rushes/straw/whathaveyou to make a Brigid's cross nor fabric to make a brat with.

However, I do have access to yarn and knitting needles. Might it be acceptable to combine what I do have with one/both of these somehow? I truly would like to participate in this exchange.

You can use any materials you want for crosses or brats.  As far as I'm concerned, while the traditional rushes absolutely beautiful and very special in their own right, using unusual or nontraditional materials can add an interesting personal dimension.

My favorite material for crosses is pipe cleaners -- lots of fun colors and textures! :cool:  And, as Sunflower said, lots of Cill members have knitted or crocheted brats.

Go for it!
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Kelly

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Re: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 06:14:15 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;88896
You can use any materials you want for crosses or brats.  As far as I'm concerned, while the traditional rushes absolutely beautiful and very special in their own right, using unusual or nontraditional materials can add an interesting personal dimension.

My favorite material for crosses is pipe cleaners -- lots of fun colors and textures! :cool:  And, as Sunflower said, lots of Cill members have knitted or crocheted brats.

Go for it!


Thanks!

Unfortunately, I may have to sit out this year as my income currently prevents me from shipping long distances.... Unless... Wait. Look for a pm from me, Aster. :)
Deflated, but not defeated, I awaken.
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Down, but determined, I try again.
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Aster Breo

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TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 06:59:15 pm »
Quote from: Kelly;88939
Thanks!

Unfortunately, I may have to sit out this year as my income currently prevents me from shipping long distances.... Unless... Wait. Look for a pm from me, Aster. :)

Ha!  Don't think you'll escape that easily!

Check your PMs.  ;)

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

dragonfaerie

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Re: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2013, 08:25:18 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;88380
Happy New Year, Cill Mates!

Believe it or not, it's that time of year again.  Time for the TC Cill Imbolc Exchange!  Huzzah!

 
PM sent! I'll be crocheting a brat. Just need to re-locate the bag with my inherited stash of cotton yarn.

Karen

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Re: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2013, 11:48:10 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;88947
Ha!  Don't think you'll escape that easily!

Check your PMs.  ;)

~ Aster

 
I did, doggone it! LOL
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dragonfaerie

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TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2013, 11:38:13 am »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;88974
PM sent! I'll be crocheting a brat. Just need to re-locate the bag with my inherited stash of cotton yarn.

Karen

Also, folks... I have two cats. If you are participating in the swap and are allergic to cats, please let me know! I'm making every effort to pick the cat hair off the yarn, but, well, it gets everywhere, and there will probably be some in the mailer envelope, too, so I cannot promise a cat-free brat.

Started the brat this morning, btw. Looks cool. I will post photos when it's done.

Karen

Aster Breo

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TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2013, 12:40:04 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;89184
Also, folks... I have two cats. If you are participating in the swap and are allergic to cats, please let me know! I'm making every effort to pick the cat hair off the yarn, but, well, it gets everywhere, and there will probably be some in the mailer envelope, too, so I cannot promise a cat-free brat.

Started the brat this morning, btw. Looks cool. I will post photos when it's done.

Karen

Hmmmm.  Maybe anyone who is allergic to car hair should mention that to me, and I'll try to make sure they don't get Karen's brat?

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

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Re: TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2013, 03:41:25 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;89200
Hmmmm.  Maybe anyone who is allergic to car hair should mention that to me, and I'll try to make sure they don't get Karen's brat?

~ Aster

 
Animal allergies and ownership might be a good thing to add into the notice for next year, since I think more than a few of us have furry housemates. I'm not doing anything fiber-related, though, so I think my recipient should be safe.
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Aster Breo

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TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2013, 05:53:42 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;88380
Happy New Year, Cill Mates!

Believe it or not, it's that time of year again.  Time for the TC Cill Imbolc Exchange!  Huzzah!

For those of you who are new to the cill, we do an annual voluntary gift exchange in celebration of Imbolc.  Here's how it works:  Everyone who is interested in participating PMs me (specific instructions below).  I do a (mostly) random draw to assign each participant a recipient.  (Mostly random because I adjust for people who opt out of international shipping.  Again, specifics below.)  Then, participants make a Brighid's cross and/or a brat and send it to their recipient in time for Imbolc.  That's it.

We've been doing this for several years (4, I think?), and I've coordinated most, if not all, of those exchanges.  So, our esteemed Cill SIG Leaders have asked me to repeat my performance in that role.  If anyone else had their heart set on coordinating this year's exchange, please let me know.  I don't mind doing it at all, but I also don't mind sharing.

I assume most Cill members are familiar with Brighid's cross.  If not, here are a couple of links showing the variety of shapes and designs they are made in, a traditional method for making them, and another method.  Traditionally, Brighid's crosses are made of rushes, but exchange participants have used all sorts of materials, including corn husks, pipe cleaners, wire, paper, and fabric.

Brats might be a little less well known, so here's what I posted about them last year:



Last year's exchange went well, so I'm just going to reuse the instructions I posted then:

If you want to participate, please PM me as soon as possible -- BY END-OF-DAY on SUNDAY, JANUARY 13 -- and give me your "real" name and your snail-mail address. Also, note whether you are OK with sending a package to someone in a different country. (That can be important, since the postage on international packages can be significantly higher than on domestic packages.)

In addition to the PM, please post in this thread to let me know you've PMed. That gives me a way to check that I've actually got everyone. After I receive your PM, I will acknowledge it via reply PM.


I know that sounds overly complex, but I've learned from experience that this system will head off problems down the road.

By the end of Tuesday, January 15, I will PM you with your recipient's name and address.

Please plan to send your package in time for your recipient to receive it on or before January 31. That way, if you send a brat, the recipient can put it out for blessing. Ideally, you should aim to get your package in the mail at least one week before January 31 -- in this case, I'd suggest aiming for January 21.  So, participants should probably go ahead and start planning and making their crosses and/or brats, so they're ready to go when you get your recipient's contact info.


Finally, please remember that this exchange is NOT about spending a lot of money. It's about celebrating together with our Cill-mates and sharing Imbolc with each other. Nobody should feel that they have to spend much money on this project. We strongly encourage using found materials for your cross and/or brat, if possible, and inexpensive materials, if you need to purchase something.

I think that's everything, but if you have questions, please post here and ask.

Let the PMing begin!

~ Aster

*thread bump*

We seem to have a smaller-than-average group participating this year.  So far.  If you want to be part of the exchange, please let me know!

For those of you who haven't experienced this, it's really a lot of fun.  To be honest, I look forward to this all year.  I love the exchange so much that I suggested it last year to another cill I'm in and I coordinate that one, too.

If you're worried about the expense:  Please know that nobody expects anyone to spend much money. The use of found materials is strongly encouraged.  F'ex, I've made and received crosses out of corn husks (the kind you find in the grocery store for wrapping tamales), pipe cleaners, ribbon, and craft wire, as well as actual rushes.  I enjoy making crosses out of pipe cleaners -- they're super easy to use, come in all sorts of colors and textures so you can have fun with combinations, and cut easily do you can make different sizes of crosses.  And they're cheap!  :)

Brats can be pretty much any kind of fabric or fiber art.  I've used ribbons (braided would be good!), fabric scraps pieced together to make a design, and strips from my own brats that I've put out for blessings on past Imbolcs I've received brats that were knitted, crocheted, woven on one of those little pot holder looms that kids use,
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Aster Breo

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TC Cill Imbolc Exchange 2013
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2013, 05:58:24 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;89870
*thread bump*

Crap.  Clicked "submit" too soon, thanks to a very snoozly cat who wants me to put down the silly, little box and pet him.  He's very persuasive.

Anyway, you get the idea.  The exchange is NOT about giving expensive gifts.  It's about sharing a small piece of ourself with another cill member as a way to honor Brighid.

If you haven't signed up yet, please consider joining us.

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

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