Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Bump in the Road

"When you connect to the silence within you, that is when you can make sense of the disturbance going on around you."
-Stephen Richards

Ever have one of those days where you have to go back home not once but twice because of things you have forgotten?  My day started with a dream that I couldn't get out of and I didn't want to be in.  I felt foggy after waking and everything was a bit blurred around the edges; but life goes on.

After forgetting my coffee (Goddess forbid) and my raincoat I thought that I was good for the day.  I was wrong.

A company I had sent a form into called to tell me that it was the wrong form for the wrong branch of the wrong company.  Yay me!

Plugging on I realize that I don't have the info to fill out the next set of totally unrelated forms, I sigh and put them away.

Then at lunch I make a horrendous mistake in my knitting of the very-hard-to-rip-back beautiful color changing yarn and I try and fix it.  In ripping back, I drop more stitches which need to be fixed, and it was there that I just stopped.


I knew that anything else that I did would just go wrong from this point and there was no use getting upset about it.  One should never frog knitting when they are in tears or really emotional.  So I put it away.

I put away the forms and the knitting and I worked on other stuff and just tried to let go of all that stuff not working out the way I wanted it to.

After taking about an hour to refocus my center I tried again.

I called the people with the form and they helped me to get the right one and are sending it out.

Oh, I forgot about the shower hose breaking...hubby called me with that....he was having a rough day too. So I called them as well and they are sending out a new hose.

I got the info for the form that I didn't have and all that was left was the knitting.

Sometimes things can be fixed: I'd say 80% of the time.  Sometimes they can't...this was one of those times.   It is the risk we take every time we pick up a needle; sometimes stuff just goes wrong.

So I ripped back 4 rows and fixed the problem and went on my merry way.

When you are on a journey there will always be a bump in the road somewhere along the way.  How you face it is the important part.  No one will know that I ripped back 4 rows by looking at the finished project. In some ways it endears me to the project more to know that I was able to fix it and go on instead of stuffing it in a drawer swearing to never touch it again.

So here is another picture of my project. As you can see the green is giving way to blue, so even with the backtracking, progress has been made and I am happy...the past tinking (knitting backwards or unknittng) is forgotten and I am moving forward.

Hugs to all!

Happy crafting,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bunnies O' My!

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
-Lin Yutang

If life there are always things to do and a forward progression is good, considering the alternative. But, sometimes the thing to be done is to just do nothing.

Now I believe there are different forms of nothing...which some might argue might actually be something...but it works for me.  Some call this meditation...some argue that meditation has a goal and doing nothing has none...but does it really matter if the end result is the same?

There is the actual nothing where you turn off all distractions and just stop for 5 minutes and live in the moment.  If a thought comes you acknowledge it and let it move through you but you don't focus on it.  You don't think about what you have to do but instead you just do nothing.

This is the hardest part of doing nothing for me, turning off the endless white noise chatter running through my brain.  A thought will pop up like, "So and so is having a birthday," and my rational mind will start thinking about gifts and where to get them.

My nothingness mind will have to say, "Shhh we are doing nothing now.  Her birthday will still be two days away after our 5 min of doing nothing and the opportunity to take care of this problem will still be there and we will address it when we are done doing nothing."

This is the same way I quiet my mind at night when it wants to think about things.  Eventually you break through to that voice, I'll call it the ego, and it lets go.  It s a subtle shift but I can feel it when it happens because suddenly everything is relaxed and at peace.  At night this is where I fall asleep, if I am doing nothing this is where I just shift.  Sometimes I only feel it for a moment.  But once a week I take a long bath in my fabulous tub o' bubbles and colors and in that moment is pure bliss.

There are moments like this when I write, knit or play a game where I become so immersed in what I am doing that everything around me and within me is quiet; only the moment exists.  So in reality I am doing something but I do it with such a focus that has that same effect of when I do nothing.

This photo came from our family Minecraft romp last week.  They added bunnies and I'm always happy to try out new things and figure out how they work.  So here is a shot of a bunny stalking me through my window because I am holding a carrot.  Cute no?

But this picture really brings home the message of doing nothing to me.  If the bunnies are your ego and the carrot is the internal chatter in your head.  Do you your thoughts invite the ego in to belittle and harass you?  I know mine do.

But I have to remember, that much like my picture, I am behind a wall of protection.  The bunnies cannot get to me unless I let them.  The more moments that I spend in the present moment instead of worrying about the moments before or the moments to come, will help to limit the negative voice of the ego.

While the ego's role can seem very negative, the ego's alignment is neutral.  This is the part of your mind that responds with a voice to whatever life you have created and tries to maintain that view with what ever means necessary.  It is like a day planner and will use gentle persuasion and then get more and more negative as it is ignored.  This is why I acknowledge it and let it know that I have heard it's demands but right now I am doing something else.  This way if it heard and then you actually take care of the thing it is concerned with as you agreed to do then the voice softens again.

The ego then is the creative part of the mind that follows the path of your thoughts and tries to get you to implement them one way or another.  It is really a partner that is trying to create the world that we have envisioned for ourselves in any way it can.

How does the ego's voice become so negative then?

I believe the negative voices don't come from the ego alone.  The voices that float through our head and say stuff like, "You'll never be good enough," or "You're stupid," or whatever yours say, come from things we have heard and latched on to and decided for one reason or another to believe about ourselves.

Our ego latches on to these things because it believes that we believe them and then uses them to motivate us not knowing that it is harming us in the process.  Because if a negative belief gets a result, it will use it again and again to obtain the same result not knowing that it doing real damage to our psyche.

You never know which messages will stick and become a part of your belief system.  You can be praised your whole life for being intelligent but one kid in 2nd grade calls you stupid and it sticks like a thorn in your metaphorical paw.  Then anytime after that moment when you are not quite getting something or you make a mistake then you use this negative moniker to describe yourself. Eventually it becomes a habit and part of your white noise that ends up rattling around in your brain.

Even when you get straight As on all your papers and then an A on your final thesis your mind keeps that single negative word to describe your learning process.  You try everything to change that word into something new and positive but it keeps popping up time and time again.  Why is it easier to believe the worst about ourselves then to believe the best or even a better version of ourselves?  How does one stop this negative cycle once it has started?

Since the above example is my own negative cycle; I can tell you what I have done to try and at least quiet this negative voice.  It must be noted that once you have a negative cycle, I'm not sure it ever really goes away.  I think the voice gets quieter at times but like all self-work, the relationship with yourself is a constant work in progress and you will have good and bad moments.

1. Do something that takes you into the present moment: yoga, meditation, nothing...for me that can be reading, listening to music, watching a movie, sitting in nature (esp the ocean), knitting or gaming.

Anything that totally occupies your mind will quiet the voices.  Many times in a movie, book or game I get so engrossed I totally forget that it is just a story.

2.  Have an attitude of gratitude.

Thinking of three things every day that you are thankful for can shift the negative voice towards a positive one.  For many years I kept a journal and it was gratifying on a really bad day to look back over all my precious blessings.  Now I have an online app I use but the idea is all the same.

We sponsored a child who was happy to have a tin roof so she could stay dry in a storm and the animals could too...just a roof, no walls.  But her happiness shined through her words; she compared herself to royalty since she had this roof.  And when the storms were very bad she was thankful she could invite others to stay dry under her roof.

We sponsored a woman in a war torn country who was able to learn how to start a farm and become self-sufficient through our donation.  She was so happy to be able to provide for her family and then have enough to sell as well so she could save to put her daughter through school.

As I sit writing this on my computer, in my house with AC, with our cats, with food in our kitchen and family surrounding me; how can I not feel can I not be thankful?

Just 3 positive things a day will bring your focus into the good in your life; it can change how you see everything.

3.  Smile, laugh...have fun.

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile but sometimes your smile, can be the source of your joy.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Smiling releases neuropeptides which in turn activate neurotransmitters that relax your body and lower your blood pressure.  Endorphins are also released which ease pain and serotonin is released as well which helps lift depression and elevate your mood...all from a smile!

A smile can be contagious and if you are smiling chances are they might smile back.  If you are in a place where you are finding it hard to smile, find a movie, a picture...something that makes you flash those pearly whites and use it to uplift your mood.

4.  Surround yourself with positive people.  Everyone should have people in their lives who they are happy to be in the presence of.  These people don't try and change you and accept you for who you are, warts and all.

5.  Help someone else.

When you aide another then your focus is removed from you.  There is this great feeling you get from helping someone or something less fortunate then you.  In helping others you are giving a blessing to yourself.

It doesn't have to be grandiose in design.  You can hold a door for someone.  Let someone in front of you when you are driving on a busy street.  You can donate old clothes to a shelter or torn sheets to an animal shelter.  There are a myriad of ways to give.  You can donate time, money or talents. You can lend an ear when someone needs to unburden their soul.  You can really listen when a spouse or child has something to say.  You can give love to a pet.  Write a letter to a friend or write a thank you note to someone who inspired or helped you.  Do something randomly wonderful that blesses someone.  The ways to give are limitless.

For it is in giving that we receive.
- St. Francis of Assisi

As we work to create a light for others, we naturally light our own way.
Mary Anne Radmacher

6.  Do something you love to do.

Sing your favorite song.  Watch your favorite movie.  Have a games night.  Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it.

I realize that Ash Ketchum and Pikachu may not be your idea of something you love.  But the bond between Ash and his Pokemon will always evoke a positive emotion from me...and I just adore Pikachu.

Find your something and cherish it.

7.  Remember no one is perfect.  Everyone has bad days.  Everyone feels bad, falls down, makes a mistake, and gets in a funk once and a while.  Don't dwell on it and move on.

8.  Create a new reality.

In reiki I have learned that you can go back to the moment of an event and in effect, relieve that event in a different way so that you can see it from a different light.  I have been able to do that with a few of my deeper negative tapes that played in my head and it really works for me.

Just because someone said something about you that doesn't make it true.  You are what you are and no one can label you. If you let them, then you certainly can unlabel yourself just as easily.  They are all illusions anyway, even if they feel so real.  They are just words, not truths.

The truth is that I am not stupid.  That voice in my head that keeps saying that the first time I don't get something, or when I get lost or when I drop wrong and not helpful at all.  I am working on a new voice, a mantra that I say when that "stupid" word pops up.

"I will figure this out."

You see I am fabulous at researching and cross referencing information.  I love doing it.  I am really good at it and people will ask me to look stuff up for them all the time.  So if I don't know the answer or I don't understand what is going on, I can look it up...I can figure it out.  This is a truth that my negative voice agrees on.

I've always taught my son not to give up; that the answer is out there somewhere.  It may take time and you may have to learn some new skills but eventually you will be in a place where it will work out.  He will cite back to you my month long Zelda experience of trying to beat a yeti's time in tobogganing.  Every night for a 1/2 an hour I would sled.  And I failed each time: but I also learned something about making a turn tighter or shaving a second off by jumping.  Some nights I would get closer some I would be farther from my goal then ever.  But I never gave up.

And one shining day I beat that yeti and earned that piece of a heart that upped our health so we could finally go to the final boss and win the game.  *insert happy Zelda noise here*  The point is that I figured it out.  The answer is not always easy but that doesn't make me stupid.  Edison figured out 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb before he actually made one: and he was brilliant.

You can change the way you see yourself.  Don't let someone else's words decide who you are.  You are a work in progress there will always be things that you don't agree on about yourself and that is fine.  But realize that there are also wonderful and beautiful things about you too.

Just to be brave and bold I will tell you three things I want to change about myself and three things that I love about myself.

1.  I wish I was not scared to try new things
2.  I wish I could believe in my self like my family and friends do
3.  I wish I could finish things that I start before I start something new

1.  I have a spiritual core which radiates through in everything I do
2.  I care about my friends and family and will help them in any way I can
3.  I am very creative in a myriad of ways

I'm not sure why I decided to write about all this.  It is in part with a talk that I had with my sister and then my son.  It is also in part because the passing of Robin Williams really struck me.  He filled my life with such laughter and joy.  We quote him all the time...he will be sorely missed.  It is also in part because this week marked the anniversary of my parents and my Mom's birthday.

I feel.  My Father always called me simpatico because I was always emphatic to a situation.  Some people listen to a song and it changes the way they are in that moment; me, I read something or sense someone's feelings and it effects me.  I have to go to great lengths not to absorb other's energy and make it my own.

But there are all these people that we see each day who are feeling things that we can't see.  On the outside they seem fine, but inside they are struggling.

Everyone struggles with something at one point in their lives, if not everyday...reality is hard enough...don't let the illusionary negative track get you down.  You are special.  You are unique and even though I might not know you personally...I give you a healing hug and pray that you find your light...a way through your darkness...a spark of hope...a smile or a happy thought...a kind word...or a new connection with a Higher Power that you can lean on until you are able to walk on your own again.



In knitting news I am struggling with this beautiful pattern Sunburst Spectacular Shawl.  I am making it out of the color changing cotton Wolle's in the Carnival colorway.  The pattern is beautiful the yarn is beautiful but the knitting it is really hard for me.  I still have trouble seeing little details because of my floater and getting older I guess.  This yarn is amazing; she takes 4 threads and slowly changes each to a different color so you get this beautiful transitionary color change.  Mine goes from magenta to green to a dark blue.

Sorry the picture is really bad, but it was hard to photograph as hubby and I were laughing as we took the shot.  :)

The problem is that there are 4 threads to keep track of for every stitch and sometimes they want to stay together and sometimes...they just don't.  The S2KPs are the hardest.  I really have to slow down and pay attention that all 8 of those threads make it over my knit stitch.

So it is slow going but I love the lace and the colors and how it is working up.

I wish you all love and light and unexpected blessings.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jeepers Creepers

This week I went back to Minecraft after hubby fixed my Java issue that had prevented me from getting on. There are some new blocks that you get from an underwater temple and I wanted to play with them.  I thought I'd build a pool because I could light it with the new lanterns and the blue of the new prismarine blocks would be stunning.  And...I was right.

The problem began with the zombie.  I hadn't even filled the pool yet and a zombie jumped in...followed by some skeletons and a creeper.  They would not get out of my pool.  If I killed them, they just came back. So I built a wall around my house and pool that they couldn't get through and lit the whole place up so they couldn't spawn.  I had left an opening for a door and a witch kept walking in to.

Pool party at Ruinwens'! They are all around the perimeter of the wall now....except for the spider...he keeps coming back.  I need to fix that a bit later.

I've been thinking about this situation and how it applies to real life.  I have a lot of doubts about things. They continually creep around my head and sabotage my thinking.  I have to force myself not to think about them or I would lie awake at night and worry or fret over things I can't change.

When you are lying in your bed at 2 am it is not the time you can fix the mistake on your paperwork or make that follow-up call you forgot.  When those creepers come out to play in the pool of my consciousness I just have to wall them off from disturbing me.  I lay everything at the feet of the God and Goddess and just let it go.

And usually I take it right back in the next then I breathe light into the doubt and tell it I have noticed its presence but this is not the time for action.  Then I relinquish my attachment to it for the rest of the night.  Most times this ritual works and the next time I wake up it is morning.

Right now my little Minecraft pool is awash in light and clear and my ocean happy place in my head...if the creepers come back I will just let in more light.

Here is the Awesome Trellis completed...two of them actually.  One is made with sock-weight yarn and the other is DK weight yarn.  I really like this pattern and the effect of the flowers climbing the trellis.

I fixed the problem at the join by using cables.  They are easy to make and I never even used a cable needle.

We were going over the classes that I have worked on over the past three years and I realized that there really are a lot of them!  I need to polish up the patterns and get them up on Ravelry.  But this is where my creepers come back and say things like, "I bet there is a mistake," or "no one cares about your stupid little patterns."

It is harder to protect myself from these nagging doubts that creep through my mind on a daily basis.  Why is it so hard to believe in myself?  Why do I sabotage myself?  WHY?  :(


Don't mind me...I'll be hanging lanterns in the the recesses of my subconscious.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

In the Pink

In my life changing goal of eating better I decided to pick up some beets.  I have always loved beets.  I especially love the way the dye everything pink that you put with them.  :) 

I have never eaten beets with anything more then a little salt so I decided to try something new.  I read how they coupled well with Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar, so I whipped up a little emulsion to try it out and they were delicious!

Here is my little recipe. (180 calories)

2 – Cups of beets
1 – Tbsp olive oil
1 –  Tsp balsamic vinegar (1 tsp is equal to 1/3 tbsp)
2 – Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ – cup of diced onions (red will make it sweeter)
4 – Cloves of garlic diced (less if you don’t like garlic)
Dash of pepper

They say a perfect vinaigrette will have a 3 to 1 ratio:  oil and vinegar respectively.  I was counting calories here so I didn't want to make a lot, and a little goes a long way, but you can double or triple the recipe as long as you keep the 3 to 1 ratio as your base.

I put the oil and vinegar together with the pepper and the cloves of garlic diced and whisked it together in a glass bowl.  The Oil and vinegar will separate as soon as you leave it alone for a bit but I like to meld my garlic into my vinaigrette as I finish the other prep work.

Dice up your onion.  Cry if you have to.

Then I whisked in the Dijon just enough to blend it in and then added in the onions as well.

My beets came out of a can just as red and beautiful as they could be.  If you use fresh you need to peel them and you can boil them a bit or eat them raw. 

I placed the beets into the Dijon emulsion and tossed them so they were all covered and let them sit a bit.

At this point you can eat them as is or put them on a salad.  I put mine over some lentil rice I had and let everything turn pink and heat up a bit.  It was delicious!  And beats are really good for you too!

This is where I have been walking on my elliptical this week.  They really got me with the whole Hawaii angle.  Next year we plan to go and scatter Mom’s ashes as she requested.  I love Hawaii, which everyone says…but I really do.  You can feel the spirit of the island and it is just magical in a way that can’t be explained.  So when my elliptical came with two tracks in Maui, I was really excited.

I have never done more then a mile on an elliptical but for the chance to walk in Maui I managed 2.5!  Every time I was going to give up I thought about how much I love Hawaii and then there would be falls or a shot of the ocean and I was back in stride. 

It is hard to take 30 – 35 minutes just to walk; but I am doing it.  It doesn't matter if I’m tired or whatever…I’m just doing it. 

This week I lost a pound, took at least 3000 steps a day, ate in my allotted calories, walked 3 times for 30 - 35 minutes, tried new healthy food dishes, got at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night and I feel really great.

We are woking on the joining of the is a long process.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  :)

Hugs and happy crafting,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

There Are No Words

Here is the batik motif all completed.  I LOVE it!  I am so happy with the way it came out.  The colors stayed true even after soaking for 8 hours.  All the wax came out really easily once I got the water boiling.

This is what the wax looks like when it rises to the top and cools.  It was easy to peel off and dispose of using this method.  When I tried to pull it off while it was hot, it made a huge mess.  I thought this picture of my sister's blue water looked like the moon.  :)

But what is amazing, incredible and just gorgeous is my Hue Shift Blanket.  All four squares are complete. Since we are doing each step together, they are only laid out here to show you what the completed blanket will aspire towards.  OMG!  This is so lovely.  I am so proud of myself that I kept up with it and got this far!

Yes there are ends, seams and borders still...but wow that is 100 squares there!

Baby steps lead to amazing things.

We got the elliptical this week.  It is amazing!  I hopped right up and did 10 minutes before I realized it was on some crazy program with steeper and steeper inclines and I had to stop.  But it really was a smooth experience and after 10 minutes with the incline program I was sweating.  I will do 10 minutes every other day for a week and then bump it up to 15.  I'm trying to work up to 20 minutes every other day.  I will do something on the alternate days when we get the Total Gym set up again; right now I'm just doing crunches and lunges and some other exercises for 20 minutes.

That is on top of my walking.  I have consistently walked 3000 steps now for about a month so I have bumped that up to 3500.  I know that really isn't a lot, but for me who sits at a desk most of the day, it really is.  I have to really work to get those extra steps in.  When I started the program I only was only walking 1500 and now I'm up to 3000.  I'm pretty proud of that.

When I started I was 167.  I thought the 7 was a 1 and and totally misread my weight.  lol  So now the 7 is a 1 and I have lost 6 pounds over the course of 6 weeks.  I want to lose a pound a week so that this is a lasting life change and not some quick fix.  I'll be at goal in October and that is fine with me.

The scale is just a number.  I love myself no matter what size I am.  But my joints, they let me know when I'm getting over my BMI and about three months ago I couldn't barely move when I woke up in the morning. Also, I refuse to buy new clothes when I have so many nice things.  Some of my clothes had gotten a little too tight and I knew that was a sign as well.

Just losing 6 pounds has lessened the joint pain and I have so much more energy.  I have eaten under calories all month and have really been trying to insert more fruits and veggies in my diet.  It is hard when I am at a desk all day but I have found little things that really work for my lifestyle.

Today my UP decided it would start in on my fiber intake.  I'm averaging around 15% where it wants me to be at 25%.  Sigh.  Being healthy takes a lot of steps and each is like a color on my squares.  Individually they might not seem to mean much but when you intertwine them with other health building squares you can really see the impact that they have on the body.  In this case, I am the creation.  The diamond in the rough.  The blanket of beautiful hues.  And each step, each day of calorie counting, each workout, each time I go to bed on time and all the little things I do for me, add up into a beautiful whole.

The blanket has taught me so much and it will always be a gorgeous reminder of what you can accomplish when you take a step at a time and just keep pushing forward.  In the end, you will have something lasting and worthwhile.  The journey is just as important as the goal.

What will be your first step?

Happy crafting,

Sunday, July 06, 2014

For Want of a Nail

For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

In this old proverb one negative event caused a butterfly effect of cascading effects that lost the kingdom.

I remember a story about a Duke and how one beautiful day he pricked his finger with his tie pin.  After that he yells at his wife and then she yells at a servant and so the circle goes around until the stable boy hits a cat with a rock.  The offense is brought back to the Duke and all the people involved in a backwards chain of blame are brought in, until most of his staff is in the room.  And then his wife turns to him and says you were the one that yelled at me to begin with.  The he apologizes and each person apologizes to the one they wronged and the cat gets some overdo lovin’.  The castle is happy again and everyone is smiling and laughing and going about their day as if nothing had happened.

This magical life changing element of butterfly affected fate can go either way.  Some things in our life are just partners that we take for granted until they have a problem: like say…alarm clocks.  An alarm clock just does its job when it has been asked to do so.  Yet, we curse at it and hit it and beg it each morning.  Instead we could be blessed that this is our herald to a new day: we should be happy that we alive to see another day on this beautiful Earth. 

When I wanted to find a new path to help me stay in shape and make lasting daily routines, I bought a Jawbone UP.  This little blue bracelet that sits on my wrist is a constant reminder that I am committed to a new and healthier life style.  It is my partner in this endeavor.  It tells me if I have sat for an hour with a gentle reminder.  It is my alarm clock that goes off slowly bringing me to a new and beautiful day.  It counts my steps and reminds me when I still have a way to my daily goal.

I love my UP.  Together we have found out that I’m a good sleeper who can do really well with 7 hours of sleep but 8 hours is better.  So it came up with a bedtime for me based on the time I wake up that is perfect for me. It reminds me a half hour before I have to be in bed so I can make sure I actually get there on time.

I wanted to walk at least 3000 steps a day, which I know isn't really much, but for me, it is perfect.  I was only logging in 1500 when I started the UP program and now I am consistently getting 3000.  My UP started making the goal of 3500 for me this weekend and I met it each day.  My UP motivates me and hitting those goals makes me feel better about my self.  It is my nail story in reverse: my butterfly effect creating good health.

Once the sleep and the steps had been figured out I wanted to start tracking what I eat.  I wanted something that was easy to use and that would work with my UP.  I found Lose It.  Lose It and the UP started talking right away.  If I have burned a certain percentage of calories then the UP will tell Lose It and give me a few extra calories to eat that day.

Lose It is easy to use and it is on my tablet, phone or computer.  I can set motivating goals there too.  What’s great is that it gives me the number of calories based on my lifestyle, which the UP was happy to share the deets on.  I can plan my meals ahead for the day so I know exactly what I am eating and stick to it.

The next thing to change is our scale.  It is a bit old and I thank it for all it has done but it keeps fluctuating between five pound differences when I weigh three times in row, which can be a little frustrating.

Our new scale will talk Lose It through WI Fi.  Both applications will know exactly where I am at.  The new scale has the BMI stuff too so I can start measuring all that again.  I look at BMI as a guideline.  When you don’t seem to be losing any weight, yet your BMI numbers are changing it shows me that somewhere things are moving around and getting tighter.

Lastly, during our stay-cay this year we have planned to figure out a way to work out.  Things will have to be shifted around so all three of us can have time to work out but it will happen.  We are going to fold up the cat cages that aren't used anymore and re-hook up our Total Gym.  I just bought a Nordic Track elliptical machine as well since it works both the upper and lower body in a low impact way.  I got a good deal on it with the holiday discount and an extra 10% off that price.  :)

All for the want of my UP.  :)

We batiked cotton shirts last week.  It was a fun process full of learning curves and hot wax.  To make this shirt I blew up an image and pinned it under the cotton.  Next time I will get a wash away pencil and draw the image on.  Next, came the careful drawing of the wax onto the cotton with a tjianting tool.  This was not as easy as I had thought and I wished that I had taken the time to test it first.  But c’est le vie.

Lines?  What lines?  Yep, the wax ran all over the place before I could stop it.  Next, I filled in the lines with chakra colors.  I had wanted to ROGVIB but yellow was the first I used.  Again, c’est le vie.  I blended each of the new colors into the old for a cool effect.  Then I wrapped my shirt in saran and let it sit over night.

In the morning I waxed the entire flower on both sides with a brush.  The brushed wax didn't penetrate to the other side the way the tjianting tool had.  I let that dry.

I got a wash basin and poured pink in it a little at a time.  I rubbed the pink into the white to get gradient effects and kept rubbing until all the dye was gone.  As you can see some spots were still white and that was okay.  I really am happy with the way the pink blended in.

Next is the really long step, getting the wax out of the cotton.  One of the ways to do that is to boil it out.  I still have to do this step as you can see the shirt is totally covered in wax.  It takes a really long time and you have to make sure the water is boiling when you put the shirt in.  We tried it with my husband's shirt and it took most of the day before the water even began to boil.  So I will finish this next week when I can put the water on at 6 and then boil my shirt for half of the day and then let it cool and scoop the wax off the top.  But I do really love the way it is coming out and I can't wait to proudly wear it.

I helped out my sister's friend by helping her discover the pattern for a project she had misplaced.  It took a bit of time to unknit it and write down the chart as I went.  I was actually quite proud of my self to be able to figure it all out and get it recharted for her.  So I will have to catch up on squares next week.  I should be able to double them up since I will be on my stay-cay and there will be plenty of chill time.  :)  Sorry there is no picture.  My camera and computer are fighting at the moment.  lol 

Here is my progress on the Awesome Trellis!  I am so thrilled with this stitch.  I love the gentle change in color between the skeins.  I am very happy with the way this is knitting up.  Yay!

Happy Crafting!

ETA:  I am not affiliated with any of the companies that are associated with the products mentioned in this post.  This is what works for me and I am sharing my progress and how I am achieving it.  Thanks!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Disappointment is Awesome!

“It was one of those times you feel a sense of loss, even though you didn't have something in the first place. I guess that's what disappointment is- a sense of loss for something you never had.”
― Deb CalettiThe Nature of Jade

I've been waiting to play with this pink since MDSW.  I did my squares first; I finished the projects that had to be done first.  But everything has gone wrong with the pink since I picked it up. 

It calls for a size 1-3 needle and I didn't have any that worked with a 40” cord.  How I can’t have a needle in my stash always astounds me!  But I didn't.  So I tried a 4. 

For a hot second I thought it might work, but I truly hate the bigger size.  It is way too loosey goosey.  I thought it would be okay with the stitch this pattern used; but I should have listened to my inner knitter when I made the gauge swatch and thought it was too loose.

I kept going though because in my head this was going to be such a wonderful pattern; the truth is, it just isn't working for me…at…all.

In life we all tend to create ideas around things that make them bigger, better or some kind of wonderful that is all our projection and then we feel disappointed when the actuality is different then our idea.

I did that with this pattern and this yarn and now I’m kinda bummed that I just had to rip out 320 stitches and five rows.

It isn't the pattern’s fault.  It isn't the yarn’s fault.  It isn't the needle’s fault.  It isn't even my fault.  There are some things in life that just don’t work out the way we thought they would.  That doesn't make them bad or wrong; it just means that our perception of them needs to be looked at from a different POV.

My sis had some school stuff this week and I was happy to take a break from squares to work on my pink and now I don’t know where to turn or what to do.

Did I really want a cowl or just to play with the pink?

The reality that I need to buy needles and wait for them to get here before I can touch the pink makes me sad.  :(

So the pink is going to have to be put away for a bit as I find something new to do with it.

That means back to WIPs.  Time to change gears…

…stomps feet.  I don’t wanna!

I want to play with the pink. 

So what can I do with what I have?  I could use a provisional cast on and then knit on straights (which I have in aluminum) until I get to the end and then I could joint the two sides back together to create a cowl.  I could knit the cowl in linen stitch and then one side would be smooth and one would be textured.  But I’m not sure that I want the dark side married to the light.  Hmmm.

I could do a few inches in each size and see what works…but wait…linen stitch needs to be done on a needle that is at least one size larger then the size that is called for. 

That means I could try swatching it and if I like the result I can then recast the 320 stitches back on the needle that I have and it just might work on the 4.

Linen stitch in the round is easy and so lovely.

Round 1:       *K1, WYIF (with the yarn in front) sl1*, repeat to end of round
Round 2:       *WYIF sl1, K1*, repeat to end of round

I don’t like it.  ...stomps feet again!  I want to with ever fibre of my being.  But I just don’t.  The yarn is soft and vibrant and beautiful but it is 2-ply and has just a bit of texture to it.  The linen stitch just won’t work for me.

I’m back to being bummed.

I was surfing the web looking for guidance and found this:

I can feel her pain.  It is nice to know that I’m not alone.

But I still don’t know what to do with my pink…

So, a few days later I found in an old stitch dictionary the Trellis Lace pattern.  It was written with yarn forwards (YF) instead of yarn-overs (YO) so I think it might be English in nature; but c’est le vie.

I think all the tight woven stitch patterns smothered this yarn.  The light airiness of the Trellis Lace allows the fiber to breathe a bit.  The lace drawn attention to the brilliant color and lets it really shine.

I fell in love with this swatch, which is just 8 rows, as soon as I finished a repeat.  This is just what I was looking for.

The Trellis Lace pattern Repeat of 6 + 5
Row 1: (RS)  K4, *YO, sl 1, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K3*, repeat * to last stitch, K1
Row 2: (WS) Purl all stitches
Row 3:          K1, *YO, sl 1, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K3* repeat * to last four stitches,                                YO, sl 1, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K1
Row 4:          Purl

I tried this BC (before coffee) and realized the +5 is broken up before and after the pattern, which is very common.  It was just something I noted while charting.  It will also have to be changed when I write up the final pattern or there will be a block of stockinette with no holes at the round marker.

Since this pattern will be in the round I will be changing rows 2 and 4 to Knit all stitches when I chart it in the round.  It is an easy change and it means a bit of relaxing knitting between the odd pattern rows.

Now to figure out how many stitches to cast on...  I was originally going for 320 and that was a nice size.  I was able to double it once against my neck.  53 x 6 = 318 + 5 = 323

With all the ado I went through to get this far, I might as well start a little pattern as well for this cowl.  I will use the stitch calculator that was in the Holda pattern so this can be used in any yarn.  Palette would be nice for a wooly look or some nice sproingy cotton with a beautiful sheen.  Some soft merino would be pretty too.

Will have to think about a name...  You know I always have a reason behind everything and really I just wanted to play with the pink.  The whole time I was writing and swatching “Everything is Awesome!” was going through my head from the Lego Movie.  If you hit this link it can go through your head too.  :) There is just a backdrop on the video so no spoilers.

How about the Awesome Trellis?  It climbs around your neck in riots of changing color and awesome lace.  lol

This will be the third time I have cast on 323 stitches.  I really dislike casting on even though it is the foundation for something wonderful.  But if I want my Awesome Trellis, then I will have to suck it up.

This project is a metaphor for life in so many ways.  It was something that I wanted so badly and projected all kinds of happiness on to the creation of this project that the reality of it was skewed.  When it didn't live up to my expectations then it was very frustrating for me.  I ripped it out.  I picked myself up and dusted myself off and tried to find another way to make it work.  I didn't give up.

After finding many ways not to make an Awesome Trellis, I finally found a new direction.  When I cast on something was wrong and I didn't find it until halfway through the first row.  I ripped everything out and started again after putting it away for 24 hours.

In the end, I won’t remember how many times I cast it on or all the other little things that bothered me about it.  I have my notes which detail a journey of sorts and I have this blog but otherwise most of the trials to get to this point will fade away. 

The journey is important and it is vital to follow your passion: each step gives way to a greater whole.  Sometimes the goal in the end is a let down after all that hard work: sometimes it is the greatest moment ever.  An achievement is nonetheless an immense moment to be savored and treasured…no matter the outcome.

So pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself on “achievement get” and know that all those steps you took to get to this point were meaningful and important learning lessons on your path. not put this project down.  Do not look away from it when it is shining and new.  If you do look away, then make sure without a shadow of a doubt, that you do not twist the needles.  And if you do twist the needles, please make sure you do not start knitting...say 3 rows before you notice that not only did you twist the needles in four (4!) places and not notice but also now you have this honkin' piece of yarn that wraps around your entire project in four places as well.  And it took me 3 rows to notice!

After ripping back 3 rows and fixing my twists, I decided that this is not a project that I can flit back and forth to.  This is not a project that I can just trust myself to knit.  And that is good to know.

So, on Saturday morning while the house was asleep I knit slowly enjoying the stitch and the flowing repetition of the lace.  I never let go of the needles and now there is enough on them that I would hope to the Blessed Goddess that I would notice if I were to twist the needles.  And I am happy.  All the todo...all the disappointments have formed into the beginnings of some lovely lace.

I feel like this project is making me slow down and breathe a bit and there is nothing wrong with that.

This is what I was able to complete.  It isn't much right now but to me it is a shining happy moment of pink. As disappointing as the first incarnation of what I wanted this yarn to be was, the actuality of what it helped me to create is really beautiful.  My disappointment gave me the energy to change the outcome and create something new…and awesome.

Happy crafting,


FYI:  All swatches were made with love and hopeful anticipation and then ripped out before I could take photos of them.  The cover photo is the mess I had when I took out the needles the 1st time.