Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Feeling Inspired

My support team of friends and family are awesome but sometimes I need help with being inspired and I like to look at different cultures and traditions to create new interest and spark those creative juices.

Inspiration is different for everyone.  It can also come out of unexpected moments from sources that we never even thought about in that context.

When I need inspiration I turn to people around the globe to connect with.  Just watching their videos fill me with a sense of grounding and repurposing. 

So for my blog post today, I wanted to share a few of the people that inspire me the most with you.  Some may resonate with you and you might find a new source of inspiration that is outside of your normal realm.

If none of them inspire you then find people that do so when you need a pick-me-up then you always have them at your fingertips.

They are in no particular order and I am not being paid or supported in any way by mentioning them.  I have found them inspirational at one point or another and keep gravitating back to them to find grounding.

Zentangling is the art of taking a doodle (they have a huge list on their website) and creating it without judgment or a plan.  This Zen way to doodle untangles your mind as you create and get lost in the art.  Zentangle has been a huge asset for me with anxiety and creative blocks, plus, I really enjoy creating the tangles.  They have had daily updates during Covid 19 and it is has been fun to learn new tangles every day for me as well.

Dr. B is part chiropractor part guru.  He works with a patient on every level and uses many techniques that he has honed through studying across the world.  Some people use his videos to reach ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) with his videos and he tries to promote this.  He explains the process that he goes through to correct skeletal imbalances with attention to the smallest details that contribute to poor health like diet or water consumption.  I find him very relaxing and very grounding.

I have watched Michelle grow as a content provider.  Her "dare accepted" series is amazing.  She has gotten to do so many things and had a wide myriad of experiences.  My favorite videos are ones where she takes on the challenge of working in a profession that is high profile.  She has trained at NASA, been a stuntwoman, worked as a police officer and firefighter, dressed up as a superhero, and even helped her friends and fans get healthy.  She has a good heart and it comes through.  She is also very human and I like that about her.  I am always inspired by her taking on challenges where she has to push outside of her comfort zones. 

My sister introduced me to her when she showed me the videos of ice singing and I fell in love.  Jonna is a beautiful Sweedish goddess that lives in concert with the world around her.  I am so inspired by this woman.  She paints with pigments from nature, she sings like an angel, saws through the ice to make an ice pool (which makes me shudder, but I admire her perseverance) and lives with the Aurora Borealis dancing above her house.  Her filming is stunning. I get lost in her kind smile and beautiful world in every episode.  

I have been part of the "Hollens Family" for a while now.  There is something about the way this man sings acapella that really hits me in the heart-strings.  I am amazed by his range and creative talent.  I listen to everything he publishes and I have downloaded quite a bit of his music to listen to on my phone.  

There are a bunch of inspiring Minecraft YouTubers that I watch so it was hard to pick one.  PearlescentMoon is someone that I have been following for a while now.  She is really talented and doodles with blocks to create these amazing builds that are really stunning.  Even if you don't care about the game you can probably agree on the creativeness of this artist.  If you do play the game, you might learn something from her unique style.

When I need some inspiration to start something I start here.  Liziqi is a beautiful Chinese goddess who takes care of her Grandma and lives off the land.  Everything is filmed with a visual element to delight the senses.  When she cooks you can almost smell the delicate flavors laid before you.  When she works with silk you can imagine how soft it feels under your fingers.  I love learning about a different culture and way of life.  I get lost in every video she creates as I fall deeper in love with her world.

Alton Brown is a family favorite.  We used to watch his show on the Food Network.  He made us laugh while simultaneously teaching us how to improve our cooking.  Alton mixes science with comedy and cooking to create educational yet funny videos that always teach me something new.  He has a whole quarantine series he is doing right now that is so much tasty fun!

Shin Lim is jaw-droppingly amazing.  His sleight of hand is the best I have ever seen.  His shows are creatively fresh in the world of magic.  he is an awesome magician.  He also seems like a really nice guy who is eager to help others on their journey into the world of magic.

Brianna may be new to the video world but she makes up for it in awesomeness.  I have been shopping at Dragontree for years (still not being paid for this) and I use their planner and their muscle melt.  Briana is a beautiful enlightened beautiful spiritual person and I always find her videos uplighting and supportive.  She has been focusing on helping the spiritual, mental, and physical issues that are arising in people from staying at home during the Covid crisis and she has really helped me learn tools to cope.

Whitney is just plain fun.  She sings parodies, a lot of Disney, rap battles (hubby and I love those), and is really talented at morphing into different characters.  I've been watching her for years and she always makes me smile.  
(just a warning some of her videos contain explicit lyrics - so kiddies only watch this one with an adult - those rap battle can get quite catty) 

Yaya is a beautiful costumer, designer, and cosplayer.  She oozes with creativity.  She makes her own cosplay costumes and they are always amazing.  I am always inspired by the time, detail, and creativity that she puts into her cosplays.  Right now she is sewing face masks to help out in this crisis.

Lindsy is so talented.  She can sing, dance, and play the violin; sometimes all at the same time.  She creates her own music as well as covering many favorite tunes from movies, anime, and games.  No video would be complete without an awe-inspiring costume to go with it.  Really this beautiful woman is so creative I always gain a little inspiration from watching her play or dance or sing.

I have a gluten/dairy intolerance that makes it really hard for me sometimes.  This woman is a creative cook who gives me some great gluten-free options for cooking.  I've learned a lot here and I really like her easy cooking style.

I have had long hair most of my life so I am always looking for new things to do.  These styles are just some of the most beautiful hair-styles I have seen outside of a movie set - so much creativity!

If you want to dye yarn, this is your girl.  She shows a lot of ways to dye and tons of ways to mix colors to create the look you want.  I have learned so much about gradient color from her; which is my favorite color style.

So, these are just a few of the people that inspire me on YouTube and each one brings a different element of encouragement to me.  Some help me to relax and re-ground.  Some energize and fill me with new ideas and purpose.  And some of them influence me to step outside of my box and learn new things.  I hope at least one of them resonates with you, but if not, that is okay too.

Just remember that creativity flows from everywhere.  

Nature is full of inspiration, colors, sights, and sounds that are sure to inspire or ground depending on what you need right now.

Art Museums are open virtually right now so you can tour someplace in another country and experience a bit of another culture.  I just visited the Louvre and it was amazing!

There are a lot of free classes, virtual knitting circles, and tons of new ways to connect and feel connected.

I hope you find things that inspire you and bring you joy!


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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Next week we will work on making a hug.  I haven't sussed out all the details yet, but I am really inspired.

Thanks for reading!

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

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen


πŸ˜€







Thursday, May 14, 2020

Playing Ball

All-day there is something that surrounds you that most of us just don't think about: your clothes.

If our clothes are covered in dyes and chemicals then those toxins are being absorbed into our skin.  Many people are developing skin problems, breathing issues (especially asthma), and other health problems from these coatings that are being placed on our clothes by additives to the wash or from dryer sheets.  The coating that makes your towels extra fluffy and makes them smell like a rain shower also keeps them from being as absorbent as they could be.  If you have anti-wicking wear it will dull the effectiveness over time.

Dryer sheets are also hard on your dryer.  The coating that covers your clothes also is deposited in your dryer.  The lint trap becomes full of residue that blocks the holes.  It becomes harder to get the lint out of the trap and more lint will be unable to be trapped and the lack of flow of air not only makes your dryer work harder but it also deposits the lint back on your clothes.  The coating also can cover a moisture sensor (if you have one) that then causes your clothes to overdry.

As a family of allergic, skin problematic people, we always use only natural cleaning products.  So when a family member was staying here and using dryer sheets, we noticed.  The coating stayed in the dryer.  I had to run a bunch of floor towels (that we use by the door in the rain or snow) through a few times on steam sanitize before the coating broke down on our dyer.

To add softness to our clothes, towels, and sheets we use wool dryer balls.  Which, are just balls made out of 100% natural wool.  I only use natural, non-dyed, chemical-free balls (but you can use anything you wish as long as it is wool).  These balls are easy to make with things you might already have in your stash.  When you are done with the balls, some 1,000 loads later, they can be composted into the earth.

Wool balls create a bit of humidity in your dryer by absorbing some of the moisture in your dryer with your wet clothes.  This helps lessen static cling and the time it takes to dry your clothes.  Clothes come out softer with little to no wrinkles.

These balls bounce in between clothes that would normally stick together and allows warm air to pass between those layers, which in turn will dry your clothes quicker and more efficiently.  The balls heat up as well and boost the heat that your clothes receive as they bounce along.  This helps to save you money over the long run if you use fabric softener or dryer sheets since the balls replace both these items.

Here are a few helpful hints if everything isn't going to plan with your dryer balls.

Static
On those days when you can't walk across the room without getting shocked by static, you might want to wet your balls before putting them into your dryer.  As the clothes dry faster, the humidity the balls give off will help lessen or eliminate static.  Also, don't overdry your laundry, try setting your timer to a shorter setting.

Noise
Okay, this one is just a given.  The balls bouncing in your dryer will make some noise.  My Mom used to use tennis balls and those made a lot of noise!  Wool balls make a softer thudding noise.  I barely notice them, my husband's jeans make more noise with the button fly hitting the side of the dryer than the wool balls.

Lint
The first few runs through there might be some lint, but it shouldn't last.  If it does, you might have a bad batch of balls.

Fire
I am going to put this here because I try to cover all angles when I post about something.  I know that a lot of people use essential oils on their balls and love that they can add scent to their drying laundry.  Essential oils can be highly flammable.  They can build up in the lint that is concealed in the dryer and cause fires.  They can suddenly combust at high temperatures and cause fires.  For that reason, I will not be advocating their usage in this post.

If you would like to add scent to your clothes you can always make a sachet that you can throw in your drawers or hang with your clothes.


Two yarn dryer balls and one roving ball. 
The yarn is 100% organic wool and the roving is from my stash, so it will be a gift.



Making Your Own Balls


I would suggest making a test ball and this is why.

The two balls on the left are the result of the balls I show you later on.
The roving one came out smaller then I wanted.
It is easy enough to add more yarn to the roving ball.
I'm adding a video at the end that will show you how to add roving to your ball.
You will need 2 - 6 balls.  Here are two different ways to make them.

Using Yarn:
60 yards of 100% wool yarn will make one ball

I had a 10 1/2 diameter ball to start with and ended up with an 8 1/2 diameter ball, which was perfect.

If you have some organic wool yarn you can wind it into a ball about the size of a tennis ball.  Secure the end by taking a tapestry needle and bringing the yarn back into itself and then place it in a pantyhose leg or sock.  


One of each of the balls in a stocking. 
If you stick your hand down to the toe of the stocking and then place the ball in your hand while bringing the pantyhose over your ball it makes it easy to get it all the way down to the bottom.

Push it all the way down to the toe and then make a knot securing the ball.  This will help it keep its shape in the wash and dryer cycle.  
Tie off the sections and throw in the washer on hot.  You can wash them with towels or other items so that you aren't wasting water.  Then dry them.  You may have to wash them more than once.

You will know when they are thoroughly felted when you can't move the yarn.  This method takes more washing and drying than the roving method because the yarn is so firmly packed.

You might have trouble getting the yarn out of the stocking at the end, just keep pulling gently until it all comes off.

Using Roving:
1 ounce of wool roving will make 1 ball
Felting needle - a felting needle has barbs that dig in and hold fibers in place, please be extremely careful with it.


  • Tear the wool into strips
  • Take the wool strip and make a small clump at one end
  • Wind it around itself until it forms a ball
  • Use the felting needle to secure all ends before adding the next one. 
  • Use the felting needle to shape at each stage to form a ball
  • Keep winding new wool strips onto your ball until it becomes as big as a tennis ball
  • Wind as tight as you can but it is okay if it isn't perfect
  • Using a felting needle create a rounded shape and secure the ends

Secure the end and place it in a pantyhose leg or sock.  Push it all the way down to the toe and then make a knot securing the ball.  This will help it keep its shape in the wash and dryer cycle. Tie off the sections and throw in the washer on hot.  You can wash them with towels or other items so that you aren't wasting water.  Then dry them.  It may take a few cycles to get them to felt all the way down.


You might have trouble getting the yarn out of the stocking at the end, just keep pulling gently until it all comes off.

These make great gifts!





Here is my second attempt at a video.  It is a beautiful day today and my son was able to help me.  I hope you enjoy it.

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™

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I have to be honest, I have no idea what we are doing next week right now.  I need to meditate and get a little creative thought going.


Thanks for reading!


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

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen



πŸ˜€

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Meshing

This weekend was our wedding anniversary and we spent a lot of it doing things that we loved so this will be a shorter post.

I hope that you include things that bring you joy into your week.  

It doesn't have to be anything grandiose to have a lasting impact on your health and well-being.

For us sleeping in for the first time since last summer was...amazing.  Just having some time to recharge and renew changed everything.  Hubby and I have decided to do this once a month from now on.

We also took time to game a bit.  It was fun to set out on an adventure together that was full of peril and unexpected terrain.  We really enjoyed it and gained quite a bit in the process.  We will have to do more of that too.

We enjoyed the outdoors for a bit as we went on Minecraft Earth and plundered some dungeons.  The weather was beautiful and some of the trees were still in bloom.  

An indulgent gluten-free/ dairy-free chocolate cheesecake finished off our day and it was delicious!

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™

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I worked most of the week trying to create a way to make a mesh that looks like it has been crocheted.  I got it to the point that I could increase and maintain the fabric but then in decreasing, it looked wrong to me.  So, you may see that later after I iron out the kinks.

I like a nice airy mesh.  This transitory weather where there is a little breeze is perfect for a mesh scarf.  It is a simple pattern to achieve with knit, purl, knit-two-together, and yarn-over stitches.

I find it fun to change up the colors on every two rows, but you can just keep on knitting with one color and it will look nice as well.





Scarf Pattern

Loosely CO 20 stitches in MC on needles that are one or two sizes bigger than called for on the ball band.

Row 1: K1, *YO, K2tog* repeat * * to last stitch, K1
Row 2: K1, purl to the last stitch, K1

Change to CC and repeat Rows 1 and 2 

Continue changing colors every two rows.  Bring the new color up around the previous when changing color.  Give the old color a tug after a few stitches to snug it up.  

Continue until the desired length.

BO all stitches.  

(Optional) Make fringe out of both colors and attach them to both ends of the scarf.

If your mesh is tight you can block it to make it airier.  I found that my first stitches were tighter than the others, so I blocked it a little more vigorously on the edge stitches to create uniformity.

Secure and sew in all ends.


Next week we will talk about making felted dryer balls.

Thanks for reading!

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

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen


πŸ˜€

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I'm a Basket Case

"Empathy without boundaries is self-destruction." 
Silvy Khoucasian

I guess a better way to say this is, "Don't set yourself on fire to keep others warm." - Penny Reid

I don't know what to think anymore.  There is so much going on that makes me loco right now.

There are so many sides to this story that we are living and I have empathy for people who just want to feed their families or are literally going insane being inside.  I feel for those who live alone and have no one to share their day with.  Thank goodness for video chat and chat in general where you can literally reach out to someone at any time.  

People have gotten super creative in so many ways instead of saying this situation is "unfair" or "lashing out", they have chosen to find new ways to connect and throw themselves into projects.

Then there are those who are falling apart who find themselves with anxiety or panic and it is a totally new and frightening experience for them.  I feel for them as well since this is something I have lived with for as long as I can remember and in many ways, this lockdown is testing my anxiety until I am about to snap.

But then I take a breath and count my blessings.  I have many.  I am truly blessed.

In the next breath, I find myself praying for those who are lost and have lost.  I am saddened for the families that have to say goodbye by video.  I am mourning all the families torn apart by this virus and not just here but across the globe.

I can not fathom those who believe this is a hoax.  I cried when I saw the caskets in Italy.  I sobbed when I saw the hospitals in New York.  People all over the world are sick.  People all over the world have lost loved ones because of this virus and the numbers climb every day.  To call it a hoax is like spitting in the face of those who are grieving over a loss of a loved one or to all those who are on the "front lines" working tirelessly to save lives.

I just can't understand the disconnect.  

There are those who insist people die every day and while that is true, that mentality does not help anything.  It is true that people die from the flu and it is also very contagious.  But we have built up immunities to the flu globally, there is a vaccine for the flu and the patterns of the flu are known after years of study.

This virus is new.  No one knows exactly what it does.  Every day we learn something new about it.  It is super contagious and right now, there is no vaccine.  

There are new symptoms such as loss of smell and taste which have been added as we learn new things about this virus.  For a list of all symptoms go to the CDC website. 

What bothers me most is those deaths...were people.  They aren't just numbers.  They were people.  They had hopes and dreams and families and they were just like you and me.

When I hear about people not wanting to wear masks because it is against their constitutional right it makes me angry.  I feel the same about drunk driving.  When you get in the car drunk you could end up killing someone.  It is a known thing there really is no debating it.

If you don't wear a mask and you don't know that you have been exposed to Covid because you aren't showing symptoms you could be infecting everyone you meet.  If you were wearing a mask and the people you meet with were wearing masks then there is at least a barrier between you and others.  Mask wearing isn't perfect, but it does help.

I was listening to an interview with a tracer, someone who follows the path of an infected individual to try and stop the spread of disease, and nothing makes them happier than the person adhering to the Stay At Home order.  The path of exposure is easier to follow and contain when the individual has only been one or two essential places in the last 14 days.

IMHO - Nobody should be forced to risk exposure to Covid because someone else won't follow the rules as set out by your state.  I am grateful to the state requiring safety measures in the essential businesses that are open.  I worry about my son's friend who works at Safeway and was comforted a bit to see he had a mask and gloves last time we shopped.

I worry about my friends who are high risk and my sister who is as well and each time that they create another procedure that makes us a little safer I am all for it.

I worry about these states that are opening up to soon.  The Mayors are protesting and are worried that the virus will just spread like wildfire.  What happens when Goddess forbid, those people get the virus and can not work or take it home to their family and get everyone infected?  Every action that we do affects more than just us.

I know I may be a little crazy about it but I have done everything I can do to keep my family safe.   

I worry that people really believe that everything "poof" will just go back to normal.  This is a long-term battle that is going to be fought on many fronts.  We all have to do our part.  Until we have a vaccine, this may as well be our normal.  Maybe they will open the states up but you will still have to social distance.  Retail stores might only be able to have a curbside pickup in some areas.  States will not let everyone go back to work at the same time.  You will not be able to be in groups.  You probably will have to wear masks.  

Masks have become such a big issue when other countries wear them either during times when they are worried about their health or if they don't want to share germs.  But in the U.S.  there is is the stigma about them.  I would rather people wore masks when they were sick in public.  Personally, I stay home when I am sick unless I have to go somewhere essential.  I don't have family or friends over because I don't want to get them sick.

But this mentality seems so new to some people.  I see it as a common courtesy.  I have family members and friends that even if they get a cold it could set them back months of recovery.  And even with my healthy friends, I let them know that I am sick because let's face it no one wants to be sick.

And this is why I feel out of sorts this week.

Being kind and caring about the welfare of others is something everyone should do and not just during a pandemic IMHO.

πŸ€— (socially distanced hugs)


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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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Woven Basket Stitch is also known as Diagonal Basketweave Stitch and it is really interesting.  All the stitches are knit or purled out of order in such a way that it creates this beautiful woven fabric.

Loosely cast on an even number of stitches on a size or two bigger needles than called for by the ball band.

Note:  it is very easy to split stitches when doing some of these maneuvers

So, I made some very janky videos...I really tried guys but I'm afraid these are horrible quality.  I hope they at least convey the idea of making the stitches.  

I'll work on my video set up for next time.  Promise.




Row 1 WS:  slip 1 stitch purlwise with your yarn in the front, *purl the 2nd stitch on the left-hand needle and leave it on the left-hand needle, purl the 1st stitch on the left-hand needle, slide both stitches off the left-hand needle: rep from * to last stitch, slip 1 stitch purlwise with the yarn in the front





Row 2 RS:  *skip the 1 stitch and insert the right-hand needle from the back to the front in between the 1st and 2nd stitches on the left-hand needle and knit into the 2nd stitch, leave the stitch on the left-hand needle,  then knit the 1st stitch on the left-hand needle as per normal, slide both stitches off the left-hand needle; rep from * to end. 

Next week we will talk about making an airy mesh.


Thanks for reading!


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

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen


πŸ˜€

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Learning New Things

I have been totally transparent with our Covid experience.  We stay home and only grocery shop every two weeks and get cat food once a month.  

So, I keep finding that I don't have enough of something to make a new recipe I see and when we do get to the store that one thing is usually out.

This is not me complaining, this is me adapting and learning how to cook without things and have it still turn out really good.

For instance, I wanted brownies but there were no gluten/dairy-free mixes left at the store.  So we took a cake mix and instead of doing what it said, I used:
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
and 1/2 cup water

Fold everything together.  It will look like sludge.  If there is still a floury look to it add a bit more water a tsp at a time.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees in a greased pan

Ta-dah!  Yummy brownies

Then I made this:



There was no baking powder at the store or yeast.  But there was a bread mix that had a yeast packet so I made Focaccia!

1 bread mix
1 tsp rosemary
1 package instant or rapid yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
4 tbs olive oil

Put the bread mix and rosemary in a bowl and fluff it up a bit for good measure

Warm your water to between 120-130 degrees

Add yeast and honey to the water and let bloom for 3-5 minutes

Fold yeast/honey water, salt, 2tbps oil to dry mixture until it becomes like a thick paste if you are using a gluten-free mix.  

(If you aren't...you will get a nice dough that will need to rise for a bit before putting in the pan.  Then lay it out.  Poke holes.  Season.  Fill and bake.)

Pour the paste on a lined baking sheet use half the oil on the bottom so it doesn't stick.

Spread the mixture the best you can and then make dimples in the bread by poking your fingers into it.  Let the pan sit covered for 30 minutes.  The dough will not rise like gluten dough but it will get more substance to it.

Optional:  you can fill the dimples with tomatoes, olives, pepperoni - anything your little heart desires.

Brush oil on the top and sprinkle with anything you want.  I used garlic and Italian seasonings.

Bake for 25-30 minutes and then let cook for 10-12 minutes while amazing smells waft through the house and call family members to the kitchen with their enticing aroma.

Enjoy!

Or...dip in some olive oil that is seasoned with anything you like, garlic, crushed red pepper, Italian seasonings...

Then again, you might want to make soup to dip it in.  I made Split Pea Soup which was much easier then I thought.


  • Take a cup of split (green/yellow) peas - I didn't know there were yellow peas and they add a bit of color to the soup.  Soak them as directed. Rinse them after soaking.
  • Dice onion and grate a carrot (a cup each)
  • Garlic to taste - we like a lot
  • Some kind of meat - we had pancetta
  • A tbsp of butter mine is the non-diary kind which makes it really more like oil
  • Water or broth

Cook down the garlic and veggies until they are mushy.  

Add the meat - I cooked mine mostly first and drained off the grease.

Add soaked and rinsed peas and broth/water to cover - I used chicken broth instead of water because that's how Mom taught me.

Set it to simmer.

Check on your soup every 15 minutes and give it a good stir making sure nothing has burned on the bottom.  Add water or broth as needed.  

Everything will break down over three hours and become nice and creamy.

I tasted everything at the end to see if salt was needed but the pancetta seasoned the soup nicely so I only added some freshly ground pepper to tie all the flavors together.

So, yeah...been really enjoying cooking again and learning a lot in the process.


πŸ€— (socially distanced hugs)

************************
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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I am always learning new things.  Our world is shaped by how we have learned to see it and when something challenges that reality, it can mess with a person's head for a bit.

So, I wanted to do a simple tutorial this week and I picked one of my favorite stitches called Feather-and-Fan which uses decreases and increases to make a piece of lovely lacy fabric.

Or so I thought...

I have always heard that Feather-and-Fan and Old Shale are the same Shetland pattern, but they are not.

In WWII someone used them interchangeably and then it just caught on.  It isn't clear if Feather-and-Fan is a simpler variation of Old Shale and since most stitches were orally taught we may never know a clear answer.

Old shale isn't even really called that.  It was originally Old Shell named after the tracks left by the sea on a pebbled shore.  Shael is how the Shetlanders pronounced shell.  

So, the pattern that I love is really Old Shell.  It is easy to see how one pattern could have sprung from the other if someone wanted to really shorten Old Shell, but they look totally different as I will now demonstrate.





Abbreviations


K - Knit
K4tog - knit 4 stitches together at the same time

K4tog tbl - knit 4 stitches together at the same time through the back loop
P - Purl
YO - yarn over



Old Shell - a repeat of 18 stitches 

Row 1:   Knit
Row 2:   Knit
Row 3:   K2tog 3 times, (YO, K1) 6 times, K2tog 3 times
Row 4:   Purl




These three projects are from various years in my knitting career.  I have always loved this pattern.








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Feather-and-Fan - a repeat of 14 stitches

Row 1:   K4tog, YO, (K1, YO) five times, K4tog tbl, P1
Row 2:   Knit1, P13

I added an extra P1 to make the row more have more continuity IMHO.  So my rows looked like this:

Row 1:    P1, *K4tog, YO, (K1, YO) five times, K4tog tbl, P1*  repeat ** until end
Row 2:   *K1, P13* repeat ** until last stitch, K1

I also wanted to note, be careful to get all four stitches.  Sometimes I missed one and sometimes I added one since they were hard to distinguish especially when knitting them through the back loop.  Sometimes I needed to wiggle my needle a bit to get it to fit as well because it can be super hard to make it through all those stitches.

If I had to pick a favorite it would be Old Shell.  I like the paired increases and decreases as they flow in a wave-like motion.  It is easy to memorize and becomes almost like a Zen mediation.  

The actual Feather-and-Fan pattern is hard on my hands.  The K4togs are really tough.  The pattern is easy to memorize but I can't find a groove as I have to stop to make the decreases.

But that is my opinion you may find otherwise.  They are both beautiful with variegated yarn.


Next week we will talk about a really cool textured stitch the Woven Basket Stitch.


Thanks for reading!


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

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen

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If you would be interested in an in-depth article on these stitches, this is a great link with many Shetland historians and knitters chiming their two cents in the comments.