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Christa gleans inspiration for her designs from life around her. She is intimately tuned in to her surroundings. As we sat knitting together on the long deck around the back of Insel Haus she said, “When I sit down to knit my heart beat changes, it calms down. When I’m stressed I feel my brain is cut in little parts and pieces like worms but as soon as I start to knit it all settles down and is absolutely wonderful. I am calm. I can think. Everything feels completely clear. I can feel and hear everything. Now I hear the wind chimes. I feel the breeze. I see the birds and butterflies. I don’t think about this piece of knitting, it just comes. I always think about the next design while the current one happens. Mentally I’m someplace else. I can travel. I can go. No passport needed!”
As she spoke the sound of a small plane flying over Insel Haus interrupted her thoughts. She smiled, “That will be my cyclists Ellen and Pat arriving,” she volunteered. “Ellen used to be an oceanographer but teaches law now and Pat used to be a ship’s captain and is now a flight instructor. They spend their vacations flying to islands in the Great Lakes and bring their bicycles along so they can explore.”
About a hour later the puffing, smiling cyclists dismounted in front of the deck having peddled the 7 miles of dirt road from the landing strip. Christa rose to welcome and introduce them and the knitting lesson ended for the day.
Knitters or not, all Insel Haus visitors admire the collection of art knits Christa has designed and produced. Her current piece-de-resistance is an elegant, double knit, reversible, seamless swing- coat in chestnut and black Alpaca, depicting part of the Chicago skyline. It comes with matching tam. Its estimated value is over $15,000. Christa’s twins, Tonia, a hospice nurse from Texas, and Monica, a physical therapist from nearby Cheboygan, both visiting for their mother’s birthday graciously modeled them for us.