Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Blessing of Being Present

Me and DH in 2005 at the Outback

Somewhere in this pandemic year, I have come to realize that the things I do for my family, the house, our cats, and myself are all worth it.  They aren't drudgeries that I have to do every day, they are blessings that I am able to do for myself and others.

I knew this, of course, it isn't a new shocking revelation.

But, it also is.

For instance, now I look forward to doing dishes after a meal.  I like the warm soapy mediation time that I have with me and the pots and pans.  

If I am doing dishes then I know that my family just ate a meal and that in itself is a blessing.

Also, a part of me knows that all these pots and pans came up from me cleaning the basement and that makes me smile.

I always try to help out with the dishes anywhere that I eat because I know how much time and effort goes into fixing a meal.

When I wash them I like to think of the wonderful meal that we just ate, even as I am scrubbing the evidence of it away from the surface of my dishes.

Each pot, pan, or dish gets my individual attention and some need more time than others to get clean.

Being mindful while doing a task keeps your mind focused on every aspect of it.  Mindfulness is what turns the ordinary into a meditation.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is staying present in the moment intentionally without judgment.  It is noticing what is going on in the moment and in this moment, this now there is no past no future.

This is hard for a society that is forced to be moving towards the next thing on autopilot.

We are always doing.

Meditation is being.

Meditation is being aware of the smallest things like how the warm soapy bubbles feel on my skin as I wash a dish.  

Meditation is noticing a chip in the plate I am cleaning and being more gentle with it.

Meditation is doing one task with all of your senses focused on that task.

When I begin a new task, it starts with a breath.  My breath signals my body that I am slowing down and my mind then focuses on the task.  

If I start to feel rushed or any emotion that takes me away from my meditative state, I thank it and ask it if it would like to sit awhile with me while I finished my task.

Sometimes the panic starts to rise up in me and I have to stop and take another breath.  Panic is a stress response.  The opposite of this is the relaxation response.  

In a panicked state, your nervous system is ramping up with nervousness, dizziness, nausea, increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, and/or an increased respiratory response. 

In a relaxed state, your nervous system is ramping down with a lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and muscle relaxation.

This relaxed state also promotes better memory, reduced stress and anxiety, clearer thinking, and increases imagination and creativity.

I have had panic attacks for as long as I can remember.  These last few years I have been able to feel my body changing and I can usually tell people that I am experiencing an attack.  This is huge!  I used to just get more and more freaked out and I didn't know why and the people around me wouldn't know what was going on, which freaked me out more.

The one thing that will change the course of the panic attack for me is to stop and breathe.

If I can get that one breath then I can start the process of reversing all the biological changes that accompany my panic attack.

The very next thing I need to do is turn inward.  Panic comes from some fear.  It could be irrational and usually is, but it is based on something, usually deep down within me.

In the beginning, this step was really hard because there was a part of me that wanted the panic.  I'm not sure why.  I don't like the feeling of it or losing control like that.

Also, while I am trying to undo the panic there is a negative loop playing in my head that is so not productive.  But we are taught in meditation that just ignoring the monkeys in our minds is never going to happen.  

These fears are a part of us, they are there because we created them through events or things we decided were part of our belief system.

To ignore them makes them stronger.  To try and know and understand what they are trying to convey to us makes them an ally.

Sometimes the fears that lie in us are valid but many times they are irrational.  Even though they are irrational, they are a part of you that is afraid of something, and just ignoring them will only continue the cycle.

This part can take years or days depending on the fear but adding meditation to your self-care routine can help immensely by creating a ritual of being able to calm yourself down.

And it all begins with a breath.

When I was panicking about cleaning up my knitting from the basement it took some serious introspection and listening to my inner voice to realize what it was that I was so scared of.  

See an irrational fear looks like this, mice defecated on my stuff and their poop can be toxic and kill me.  I don't want to die, therefore I will never go back down in the basement.

There is a truth to this.  The hantavirus, which I wrote about in this post, is dangerous and often deadly.

So, I had a talk with my fear about how could we both be happy here?  I was listening and I understood the danger.  To just dismiss the issue would keep me having a sense of dread every time I went down in the basement.

I came up with a solution that worked for my fear as well as me.  I would always wear a mask, I do that all the time anyway right?  I would always wear gloves and clean up all the areas with a disinfectant that would kill the virus.  I would be cautious and throw away all the things that were defecated on even if they were precious to me.

I would take my time and treat each area like it had the virus even if it is rare in this area of the country.

The pandemic gave me a lot of practice with this mindset.  We do a lot of things that people think are unnecessary until they became necessary.  We thought it would be easier to do them all along and make them part of our routine than to only do them when things get really bad.

So it is with the basement.  I am cautious and keep to the deal that I made with myself and there has been no panic about the basement since and I have been able to clean and organize and throw things away.

I am really proud of not only being able to understand what my inner self was trying to convey but to move beyond it in a positive way.

I never would have come to this point without meditation.  It allowed me to step back and see things differently.  It allowed me the moment I needed to take a breath.  It allowed me to cultivate peace and harmony within me that I can now reach for when I start to panic.

Meditation changed my entire being.

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In the nineteenth century, knitting was prescribed to women as a cure for nervousness and hysteria. Many new knitters find this sort of hard to believe because, until you get good at it, knitting seems to cause those ailments.
 Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much 

All jokes aside, knitting, crochet, weaving, and other fiber arts are all at their core very meditative.  They promote mindfulness by focusing your mind on creating a specific pattern, usually through repetition of stitches or a repeat.

Here are a few ways of promoting mindfulness when knitting:

Pause, take a breath.  You can do this in the beginning.  You can do this between rows.  It doesn't matter when you do it as long as your breath is part of the session.  I like to remind myself at the beginning of each row to breathe.  If the rows are really long I might do it at each repeat.

Create a goal, affirmation, or intention for the session.  This could be as simple as I want to complete two rows or as deep as with each stitch I release a little of my stress.  I like to make a mantra which is just a string of words that have meaning to me that one repeats over and over like, "breathe in, a sheep in the sun, we are all connected."  This is my way of being one with the originator of my fiber, the sheep.  The sheep took in air from the sky, fire from the sun, water from the rain, and grass from the earth.  In connecting to the sheep, I am connecting to nature itself.

Do not rush, this isn't the time to finish that project that is due tomorrow.  This is a time where every stitch is created with a purpose, with love, or whatever positive emotion you are bringing into your session.  If you only have so much time, set a timer.  Don't look or worry about the clock, it doesn't exist right now, only the now exists.

Do not judge yourself harshly for making a mistake.  Mistakes happen.  Dropped stitches happen.  You can look on my sidebar > over there under fixes for a few ways to be ready for these things should they happen.

Invite in elements that you find relaxing like a certain tea, calming music, or that special chair.

Work with fibers that delight the senses.  I love soft wools that are vibrant and have good stitch definition.  I love watching colors change and dance between my fingers.  I love a fiber that feels buttery soft and slides between my fingers.

Use tools that you enjoy.  I love smooth beautiful needles.  I have an array of colored woods that I use that are just a delight to work with.  The stitches stay put enough that they don't get all willy nilly but still glide enough that they are fluid.

Maybe this is the time to use that special stitch marker your good friend gave you or some other meaningful gadget or gizmo that holds a place in your heart but yet is hardly used.

Or add elements that make you happy and bring you joy to your kitting time.  There is no one way or one right way.  Everyone is different.  Find what works for you.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving to those that celebrate.

and...Happy Crafting!

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Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—


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Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  

May you be safe.  

May your loved ones be safe.  

πŸ™

***************************

Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™













Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Nothing is Ever Forgotten

 


In September of last year I started to clean up my yarn room.  I had only had my yarn room for a few years when we had a flood that destroyed the floor in my room, and the hallways.  My hubby also had a lot of damage to his computer room.

Then the kitchen was transferred downstairs while the repairs were going on and somewhere in all of that we never put the house back together.

When I finally got it clean enough to walk in the door, I found out a mouse or three had set up shop in my knitting.  I had to throw so many things away that were chewed on or worse.



As you can see, these boxes are full of yarn.  Most of what is in the guest room right now is all yarn.  I have gone through all the yarn I own painstakingly..lovingly even.

I had laid out a very detailed trackback plan in this post.  I probably should not have used dates to achieve each of the goals on my list.  Some of the weeks took months but I kept at it.

I am pretty much where I wanted to be at week 7 of my trackback plan and I am not going to get on myself about how long it took.  During that time I was also cleaning up hubby's room as well and dealing with the challenges of a global pandemic.  

One of the things I learned in this project was to not be so hard on myself.  I made a promise to myself to bring up one thing or throw one thing away every day in this post and I have done that.



The floor is not pretty but it is mostly clean of clutter.  Now we just need to move all of hubby's room somewhere so we can get the floors done again.

I am so happy.  There is an end in sight.  😊

Not only have I rediscovered scads of yarn that I had forgotten that I had, and projects that I thought were lost but we will be able to move the yarn that is upstairs downstairs.

My kind and understanding family has put up with my projects everywhere and never said a word about it.  I can't wait to have everything except the things that I am working on in one place again.

I can't wait to have my yarn organized by weight again.

But mostly, it will be wonderful to heal our house.  I feel that she has been just waiting to be clean and whole again and not forgotten.

Nothing is ever really forgotten.

Maybe just misplaced...for a time.

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In knitting, it is easy to misplace or omit a stitch when doing a pattern.  Unless you are counting all your stitches on each row you probably won't find that misplaced or omitted stitch until after you finish your resting row.





This chart is read from right to left for the odd (RS) rows and left to right for the even (WS) rows.

Abbreviations

K - Knit

P - Purl

SK2P - Slip the first stitch purlwise, knit the next two stitches together, and pass the slipped stitch over the stitch made by the K2tog

YO - yarn over

Chart Example Written Directions

Row 1 (RS): P1, YO, K3, SK2P, K3, YO, P1  (11 sts)

Row 2 and all WS rows: Purl to end  (11 sts)

Row 3: P1, K1, YO, K2, SK2P, K2, YO, K1, P1  (11 sts)

Row 5: P1, K2, YO, K1, SK2P, K1, YO, K2, P1  (11 sts)

Row 7: P1, K3, YO, SK2P, YO, K3, P1  (11 sts)

As you can see, this pattern maintains 11 stitches throughout.

In my sample below of this chart.  I have put the repeat between markers to make it easy to identify.

I made my mistake on Row 1.  If you count the stitches you will notice that there are only 10.  A stitch has been forgotten.



A skill that I have found invaluable in my knitting is to be able to read my stitches.  It has helped me time and time again in both knitting and tinking.

This sample starts with a purl stitch, then three knits, an SK2P, three more knits, a yarn over, and then the last purl stitch.

If we check the pattern there is a yarn over missing.

Don't panic!  There is no reason to rip out this row.  

Method #1:

There are a few ways that you can tackle this problem.  You could just use a locking stitch marker to indicate where the yarn over should be and then move the stitches carefully and put in a yarn over.

Use your right-hand needle tip from the back to the front to pick up the bar that is between the stitches.  Place this stitch on the needle with the right leg in the front.  Make sure it is not twisted.  (Though, if it is twisted, just purl through the back loop on the other side and it will turn back into a yarn over...move on that a bit later.

This method works fine but sometimes the yarn over is smaller than the others.  Some of my students have worried about losing a stitch while moving them about.  Just do it slow and slip them tip-to-tip to avoid dropping a stitch.

A Bit About Yarn Overs

Yarn overs can be added, dropped, or moved.  If they are twisted they can be untwisted.  If they are twisted they can become stitches when worked.  This method is known as the bar increase or a make 1 (M1).  They are really versatile little creatures.

When you pick up the bar to make a yarn over make sure that your right leg is in front of the needle.  This ensures that you will be making a yarn over on the following row.  If the front leg is on the left, this means the stitch is twisted.

If this is your intention, then it will make a new stitch on the following row.  If it is not your intention you can purl it through the back loop, thus untwisting it.

This method also works for other twisted stitches.  If you are tinking back and some of your stitches are twisted you can either knit or purl them through the back loop to untwist them.

Finally, if you made your yarn over in the wrong place, you can drop it and move to the section where it should be and add it there.  Gently move the slack along so it evenly dispersed to the new stitch.

Method #2:  

Or you could use a locking stitch marker to indicate where the yarn over should be and then work your purl row up to that point and add the yarn over in on the purl side.

This is the method I use all the time.  You can fix almost anything on the purl row between the working rows.  If you forgot to pass that last part of the SK2P stitch you can do it before you purl it.  If you twisted a stitch then you can purl it through the back loop to fix it.  And finally, if you forgot to yarn over it is really easy to add it in.

All of this info can be found in this new video.

I'm trying some close-up knitting.   Please let me know what you think.

Until next time, Happy Crafting!

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If you have any questions regarding this or any of my other tutorials, please feel free to leave a question in the comments.

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Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—


****************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  

May you be safe.  

May your loved ones be safe.  

πŸ™

***************************

Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™







Wednesday, November 11, 2020

An Attitude of Gratitude

Our son when he was little feeding a calf at a dairy farm

In Anime, you often hear "itadakimasu" said at meals.  I looked it up and found out that the expression itadakimasu literally means “I am going to receive the lives of animals and plants for my own life",.  Saying this phrase before eating is your acknowledgment that you understand the sacrifice that was made so that you could eat.  It also is a way to show honor for Nature as a whole.

I was very touched by this beautiful way to thank the Earth for the gifts that we are given to consume as well as the sacrifice that creatures and plants make to keep me alive.

I decided to make my own prayer towards this idea of thankfulness and this is what I have been saying before meals for many years now:

Air, Fire, Water Earth, God, Goddess Divine,
I am grateful for this sacrifice of plant and creature of Thine.
Please bless this food and all those who helped bring it to my feast.
Thank you for this gift of life, healing, strength, and inner peace.

You can, of course, change the first line to fit your Dogma.

I feel that everything has a story.  

If you are eating an apple.  That apple was blessed by the elements and Mother Nature.  It was nurtured by a farm full of people, who cared for it, harvested it, and sent it to your store.  There were the people who transported it to the store.  The store unpacked, inspected, and installed that apple in their store.

Was your apple organic or did it come from a local farm?

In choosing it are you making a stance about the environment or supporting our neighbors?

Was it simply an apple that you could afford and knew it would be a healthy choice for your family?

Everything we eat has been brought to us by farmers, truckers, and store employees.  This is why I have that line about blessing all those who helped bring my feast.

These people are so important to our community.  They have been working through the pandemic to make sure that we have food to put on our tables.  

I just want to say, "Thank you!  I deeply appreciate everything you do to keep us fed."

Someone asked in an article I was reading how to thank a farmer and this is what it said:

"Eat and give thanks.  As you eat your meals, take a moment to give thanks for the hands that cared for and produced your food, and say a prayer for the farmer, their family, farm, or ranch. 

You can write your favorite local farm with a letter of thanks.  It means so much.

Go to a farmer's market and talk to the farmers about their products.

Educate yourself about farmers and ranchers with accurate documentaries."

Here are some that inspired me: Dawn to Dusk and Cattle First

I think I would like to add to their list, shop local.  I'm sure you have some farms in your area who are going through a tough time but they still are trying to keep the community fed.  It is almost Thanksgiving, maybe buy a local turkey this year or get autumn vegetables for your feast from your local farms or farmer's markets.

Or you could just learn about where some of your food comes from.    

I was researching some herbs I bought and found out that they came from the oldest organic herbal farm in my state.  Very cool.

I hope this year during Thanksgiving you take a moment to think about all the wonderful people that made your meal possible.  I also wish you and yours a blessed day even if you have to Zoom your family this year and if things aren't as traditional as you would like.  

We are going to have a turkey that was smoked at our local BBQ place, veggies, and desserts from our local farm, and play games online with those we love. 

I know that for most Thanksgiving is ways away but I start a month-long time of thankfulness this time of year...that is different than my daily thankfulness.  I am trying to be more aware of the world around me and how simple things that I take for granted are linked to people, families, and communities.

We really are all connected.

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Speaking of connections...

I was asked the other day how to best join knitting in the round.  Sometimes there is a little gap in between the first and last stitch.  Most times, it goes away as you knit and the yarn is reabsorbed and redistributed.  But sometimes it leaves a gap.

If you are a person who is bothered by this gap, then here are some ways to stop the dreaded gap before it can form.

I feel that in knitting there is never just one way to do anything so I will cite my top three.

Before I do that I must add that when joining in the round always check to make sure all your stitches are going the same way and none are twisted.  

I was a very sad girl when I had cast on 360 stitches for an infinity scarf only to find out that I twisted the cast on three rows in.

But if you notice right away on the first row, when you get to the join start smoothing your knitting from the left-hand needle around, and when you get to where it is twisted, untwist it by taking the needle under or over your work.  That twist is now caught in the join instead of in your work.

If you think it is noticeable after you bind off you can use the weave in method that I mention below to hide the twist.  Most times, I think it disappears into the cast-on.

Number 1:  Extra Stitch

Whatever your pattern calls for, cast on one extra stitch.   

Then when you go to join in the round, take the 1st stitch you cast on and move it purlwise to the right-hand needle.  

Take the last stitch you cast on and pass it over the moved stitch.

Now move that new stitch back to the left-hand needle.

Then, tighten both tails so that your new first stitch is snug and there is no gap.  It may slip a bit as you do your round, just gently tug on those ends again to tighten everything up.

- I use this all the time and it is easy to do.  I think this one looks the best out of the three techniques.

Number 2:  Swapping the first and last stitch

This one does just what it says.  

Take the first stitch off your needle using some method to secure it.  You can pinch it with your finger or you can use a locking stitch marker, whatever works for you.  Hold that stitch to the front of your work.

Now, slip the last stitch, tip-to-tip, to your left-hand needle.  

Place the stitch you are holding on the right-hand needle making sure it didn't get twisted.

Finally, shore up your ends and make sure everything is snug.  It may slip a bit as you do your round, just gently tug on those ends again to tighten everything up.

- I have used this one as well.  Some of my students have found that switching the stitches is problematic.  But on the whole, this one looks pretty good.

Number 3 - Extra yarn

This one I used a lot before I learned the others.  I would knit the first stitch with the tail and the working yarn and the extra bulk would make the gap less noticeable.

This is the one that I would recommend for a beginner who isn't comfortable with slipping stitches yet.  There might still be a little gap, but it shouldn't be as noticeable as if you had used one yarn.

Bonus - If All Else Fails

If the jog isn't too bad you can just use the end to shore things up.  I have to weave in my ends anyway so I usually combine techniques and make an extra loop around the slipknot that mimics a stitch.

I also use this in reverse for weaving in the bind-off tail.

You may have to play around with the tension of this technique but I find it really can create a lovely edge.

First, hold your work so your cast-on edge's tail is on the left-hand side.  

Thread a yarn needle with the tail end.

Go in the vee stitch after the slip knot from the front to the back.

Then go back down into the stitch the tail came from.

Here is a video with all this info.

I just got this channel up and I am still learning how to create videos but each time I think I get a little better at it.  

Until next time, Happy Crafting!

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If you have any questions regarding this or any of my other tutorials, please feel free to leave a question in the comments.

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Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—


****************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  

May you be safe.  

May your loved ones be safe.  

πŸ™

***************************

Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™






Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Blessed Be!

Dad and my son many moons ago on All Hallow's Eve 

For those that celebrate this weekend will be a trifecta of being thankful, remembering those who have passed before us, and celebrating nature and life and all of our blessings.

I am thankful for all the blessings, family, and people in my life.

*I am thankful for you dear reader for taking a moment with me to chat about things.  I wish you true happiness wherever you are in whatever you do.*  πŸ€—

This year has been difficult, to say the least, and sometimes it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

There have been many obstacles that are far from the norm to work through and overcome...some of them we are still trying to make sense of and find solutions that create change.

The world is all about change right now.

In my part of the world, nature is getting ready to pack it up and sleep through the winter.  The trees are turning shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown.  The squirrels are gathering nuts and seeds to hoard through the winter months when no food can be found.

If I take lessons from the creatures around me what can I store away to use during the winter?
How can I use change as a motivator for growth?

While the things that are going on around me cannot be controlled.  I can control my actions and behavior.  I can choose how I will react to these stimuli.

I can reevaluate my goals and shape them to provide continued expansion of my development.

There will be roadblocks along the way but I need to be more adaptable and open to alternate considerations and perceptions.  Maybe some of the truths that I have held on to for so long need to be reviewed and considered more closely to see if they still are my truths.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

-Maya Angelou


Our story, our life is a long-expansive tale full of twists and turns, celebrations, and dark nights of the soul.  It is a story that we have been writing since our first breath and we will continue writing until our last.


What chapters have you always wanted to write?  What things do you long to add to your story?


A chapter that I have always wanted to write was to be that perfect friend and family member who always had just what the other person needed...like a combination of the Good Witch and Belldandy.


I would love to always see the best in everyone and know how to help them move towards their highest good.


I have tried to emulate these qualities but doubt and fear have made it hard to continually be as preceptive and useful as I would like to be.  I believe no one can be everything all the time, so while I strive for these ideas, I will not beat myself over not achieving them 100 percent of the time.


I will not beat myself up...period...end of story.  I have ripped out that chapter and let the space that it left be open for new wholesome ideas and creations.


Speaking of new creations...


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While I still have been working on the "secret" project I have dabbled a bit with some ideas, as well as made progress on the friend knitting.


I must admit that sometimes an idea comes out of nowhere and I have no other recourse than to let it out or it eats at me until I do.  Usually, I can just write stuff down and get back to it, but this one was very compelling.


This year we are doing a ritual of writing down the things that we want to create in our lives for the new year and I got doodling with a leaf edging stitch pattern that I have been saving.  I totally ripped it apart and reformated it to fit my needs.



Here is the chart after all the deletes and edits.





I was thinking about making something Fallish and fun and then I remembered these lights that I knit from Knit Picks' Handmade Holiday Collection: 30 Handmade Ornaments and how cute they were.  This pattern used a splitting of the i-cord to make the light branches and *voila* I had an idea.


Here is my Fun Fall chocker or lariat idea depending on what length you decide to use.




It isn't finished yet, but I am really liking the way the leaves look.  I am super happy with my chart.


I love ideas giving way to more ideas in order to create something new and wonderful.


I will keep working on this pattern and get it all written up so I can put it up on Ravelry.


Until next time, Happy Crafting!

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Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—


****************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  

May you be safe.  

May your loved ones be safe.  

πŸ™

***************************

Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™







Wednesday, October 21, 2020

This Year's Growth

Where did the year go?

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

It is okay.  I think we all are at times during all this uncertainty.

This year didn't go how I wanted it to at all, and most of that is out of my control...out of our control.

The things I could manage, I think I did fairly well with.

I kept to my wellness plan, cleaned up a bit of the basement, weeded the outside, designed, knit, cooked, cleaned, kept my family as safe as I could, had virtual meetups with friends and family, and continued to thrive in these strange and challenging times.

Did I get on myself when I was so discouraged with the state of the world that I just could bring myself to do nothing?

Yes...yes, I did.  But I am human and this year got to me, as I am sure it did to all of you at one point or another.

And...that is okay.  It is okay to be discouraged, or angry, or sad...it is okay to take a day off to pull yourself together.

The one thing that really hit me about myself this year was that I judged myself by what I got done and not by what I did.

So every day in my journal I write down one thing that I am proud of myself for doing.  This has helped me to see how much I have evolved during this time at home in some areas.

I also journal each week about one thing that I could have handled differently.  (My journal is from here.  I love it.  I'm not a sponsor or anything...just love their stuff.)  

When I journal there is no blame in my delving into reshaping myself....though that took time too.

This year I breathed a lot more.  I stopped and took a breath before I blamed myself for something I had no control over.  I took a breath and thought over whether or not I could commit myself to say yes to a request before just doing it to make someone happy.  I breathed when the thought of what was going on in the world was too much for me.  I breathed to center myself when I knew my mind wasn't' in the right frame to talk to someone or before I used that "negative" voice on myself.

The biggest thing I learned this year was to ask for help.  It always used to feel like I wasn't good enough because I had to reach out for assistance.  Now, it feels like the community lifting me up.  I'm not sure when the shift occurred but now I can easily ask for aid when I need it most and that is a big change for me.  

I've always tried to be a good friend and solid member of the support system that we each take turns in helping each other out in.  These friendships have been the lifeline that has helped make the difference for me this year.

But I have realized that by not letting others help me or always choosing to refuse help I was not being a good member of our community.

It is hard to change things about yourself that you have held onto for years and years.  I am really making an effort to let these things go.  These things take time and effort and a commitment to wanting to be better me.

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“If you try anything, if you try to lose weight, or to improve yourself, or to love, or to make the world a better place, you have already achieved something wonderful before you even begin. Forget failure. If things don't work out the way you want, hold your head up high, and be proud. And try again. And again. And again!” 

Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon

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This year I was supposed to teach a double knitting class, but it was canceled due to COVID 19.  

I just wanted to share my Falling Leaves and Falling Snow double knitting scarves.  I was really happy with how they came out.

KDO ended up being an online event and I made this video on duplicate stitch.  I learned a lot and had fun.  I want to create more videos in the future.

This year keeps throwing out curves but our family, friends, support systems, and communities have risen above and beyond to be there to provide alternative ways to do things and be with others. 

"Surround yourself with people who don't just ask how you are doing.  Surround yourself with people who make an effort to make sure they are part of the reason you are doing so well."

― Jennae Cecelia, Uncaged Wallflower

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Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—


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Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  

May you be safe.  

May your loved ones be safe.  

πŸ™

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Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
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Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Hats We Wear

We all wear different hats during the day, during the week, and during the year.  There are many things that we can do that seem normal because they are a part of us but to others, they are talents and skills.  We take most of these things for granted or ignore them because they have been with us for so long that we can't see how blessed we are anymore with these gifts of self.

Everyone has talents and gifts and things that make them special.  Even if someone else has this talent as well, each person adds their own personality and history to their talent and it becomes something new.

These talents or "gifts" are things that you are happiest doing.  They don't have to fit a category or be a certain way because they are personal for you.

For me, one of the things I excel at is researching information.  I love gathering information from a bunch of sources to come to some concussion.  Where some find this a tedious task, it calms me and I truly enjoy it.

Another thing I enjoy is organizing.  I have helped a lot of people organize their houses.  I have spent countless hours in jobs filing information and alphabetizing files.  For me, these tasks that are nerve-racking for co-workers were calming to me.  So much so, that I would go in on the weekend and work on the filing system when I had a huge file room that I helped run.

In Minecraft, I have found it so enjoyable to design a block palate and then add all the little touches that make the room or area come alive.

Which, of course, leads me to design.  I love to create new things in-game, in knitting, on paper, and in the kitchen.  There is something magical about taking an idea in your head and giving it form, then fleshing it out and finally, bringing it to life.

These are just a few of the things that I enjoy doing and I am good at doing.

When looking for your talents, look no further than the things you love.  Start there.  Make a list of five things that you absolutely love doing.

Keep doing these things.  Learn more.  Grow more.  Create more.  Find joy and happiness in the things you love and cultivate these wonderful, beautiful gifts that make us all unique and amazing.

Bright Blessings!

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My Father always used to say, "Why did this happen to you?" when something in my life went crazy.  I think that "crazy" is normal for me.  It might even be one of my special gifts that I was talking about up there.

Last year my good friend sent me a text about needing some Christmas hats for geese.  I was having a down kind of day and this made me laugh and then I needed clarifying.  But in the end, I made some hats for my friend's outdoor geese.



I had a lot of fun with this project.  It still makes me laugh.  It was a small design, but I measured each goose and then did the math to make the hats fit right.  I kept notes because you never know when someone will need some goose hats right?  😁

Right?

But that was then and this is now.

I have been in a slump with my knitting as I explained in my last post.

Enter the fabulous Nana.





She needed hats for her snowmen that she creates, which made me think about the geese.  Everything circles back to the geese.  lol

Using the smallest goose hat as a guide,  I counted out stitches and made a prototype.

We decided that full-on ribbing would be better with a brim you could fold over.  The ribbing hugs the bowling pin more than the stockinette would.  


So here are my hats for bowling pins that I created a formula for while knitting hats for geese.  How many people have ever said that sentence?  How is that for crazy Dad?  I hope up there in heaven, I have made you smile.  πŸ’–

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Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—


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Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  

May you be safe.  

May your loved ones be safe.  

πŸ™

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Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™



Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Snowballs and Things

I had grandiose plans at the beginning of the year.  I was going to clean up the Basement and work on past designs and get a lot done.  I was doing really well too until COVID struck the world.  And then, well...I just couldn't seem to do a lot of anything consistently except plan meals for the family and do the daily stuff. 

But, secretly...even to myself...I was...

You see I believe in using the "snowball effect" whenever possible for tasks that are just so huge that I get a panic attack just thinking about them.

In the snowball effect just doing the small parts of a task eventually leads to being able to do bigger parts until everything is rolling along and you find yourself at the half-way mark without as much hassle.

I used this technique to get out of debt many years ago.  First I paid the minimum on all the bigger debts, then I paid as much as could to the small debts.  As the smaller debts went away, then I allocated that amount to the next debt with the least amount on it.  It took about three years but I kept with it and then in the end that money got allocated to savings.

Real change takes time.  I have been watching what I eat since last July when I just couldn't move right anymore and everything hurt at the end of the day.  It is a long process and can't be called a diet because I can eat anything up to my calorie allotment for the day.  I just hit my second goal and I am so happy!  Everything feels better.  I sleep better and I move better.

So, at least with everything going on I never stopped working on me.  I've been chipping away at this diamond in the rough enjoying myself at each point of the process of becoming something new.

But the Basement...that is a different story.  I got so disheartened after finding the mice again and again.  It kept me away from organizing and doing all the things I had wanted to do in the Spring.

But to amazement, that wasn't really true.

Over time my hubby and I had been grabbing this or that from the kitchen boxes and they had become much lighter over the years.  When I went down to find something to make apple tarts I found something else I wanted upstairs.  This led to me rummaging around in the box and bringing half of the items in it up with me.  

At this point, I realized why not just clean out the box?

So I did.  I washed everything and found new homes for the items.  

I've never understood why I have to get so freaked out about big tasks that I just abandon them altogether.  

After my success, I decided to make a snowball effect chart for the Basement and list every task from small to big.  I'm dedicating most of my time to the small ones.  The bigger tasks I have broken down into smaller tasks so I can chip away on them just like I did with my bills.

As of today, I have cleared out two boxes and thrown away all the broken items or outgassing plastic that I don't need or want in our kitchen.

In the process of all this cleaning, I found something that gave me an idea for my next project for TKGA.  I never would even have thought of this without the help from the Basement project!  I feel like my snowball is rolling already and I just started last week!

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So, the last post I was working on Thorny and I had gotten really far...I even ordered this yarn from TheWoolyCabin:




This yarn was specifically picked for how it meshed with my memories of Sis and me at our cabin in the Shenandoah.  We would roam the woods in hues of green and brown and then sit by a roaring fire with orange embers dancing on the logs.  The cranberry color was my favorite color of leaves in the Autumn.  It is one of the reasons I have a Japanese Maple tree because I love those beautiful brilliant jewel tones of red.

It is soft and beautifully dyed.  I can't wait to see my pattern knit up in it.  But for now, that will have to wait.

I received a design call and my knitting had to change gears.  I spent the week swatching and trying out ideas.  

This is another of those projects I can't share with you until publication.  

I feel like this is always how these things begin.  I have an idea, I don't know if it will work but I feel inspired and curious...so we will see how things work out.

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I have missed knitting with friends during COVID so now I have two virtual meetups where we are making a project together and I am using stash yarn.





Rosy Blooms by Stephen West, yarn Expression Fiber Arts: Cherry Blossom, Knit Picks: Stroll Glimmer Black (I think neither of these yarns exists anymore 😭) (Expression Fiber Arts dyes lots and then they are gone, but she is always creating beautiful new themed stuff)

Rosy Blooms caught my eye because it has lace and brioche.  I love the whole idea of it.  Stephen West is such a brilliant designer.  He is always thinking outside of the box.




Clapotis by Kate Gilbert, yarn Knitpicks: Chroma Manzanita (This color is also not stocked, but chroma has many beautiful colorways and it a joy to watch shift colors.  This yarn has really long color stretches...I just adore working with it!

I have made so many Clapotis over the years.  It is such a fun pattern.  Dropping the stitches is scary...then fun...then freeing.  

I hope you are making something that brings you joy!

Happy crafting!

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Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—

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Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  

May you be safe.  


May your loved ones be safe.  


πŸ™

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Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.

πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™
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Thanks for reading!

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen


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