Sunday, July 15, 2018

Nature's Bounty








So last week I was doing a little gardening and ran into some nettles.  From that point on I did everything wrong.  I had a nettle in my finger and removed it and cleaned the area and I thought that was it.  But, I was very, very wrong.

Later, I would find nettles in my arm that were surrounded by blisters so I could not remove them with tape.  I used hot water to clean off the area instead of cold and that made the stinging pain escalate.  Then I had an allergic reaction to the whole mess.

It is so much better now.  There are only little pricks of pain because the rash burned off the top of skin on my arm; like a sunburn.  But yeah, so happy the itching is gone.  I never scratched because I didn't want infection on top of everything so I was a little crazy for the last week.  I couldn't retain info for more than a moment in some situations.  But Praise the Goddess, all that is over with.

Here is actual info if you do run into nettles.  In most cases, they will not be as bad as mine.

  • Wash the area with soap and water as soon as possible to relieve the sting and remove the nettle hairs. 
  • If you suspect nettle hairs; use duct tape to remove them.
  • Apply a paste of baking soda and water. 
  • Avoid scratching or rubbing the itchy areas. 
  • Use cool, light, bedding and clothing as this will help relieve itching. (everything will feel rough)
  • Avoid extreme heat – have lukewarm baths and showers. (makes it sooo much worse!)
  • Apply cold compresses. (ah...heaven)
  • Apple cider vinegar or aloe can also be soothing.  (used both at different times)
  • Try to stick to foods that are anti-inflammatory.  (turmeric anyone?)
  • Antihistamines may relieve itching and swelling.   (may)
  • A cream with hydrocortisone will reduce inflammation.  (1%)
  • Make sure you wash everything that came in contact with the nettles.
The thing is while all this was going on with my skin, I was creating a new shawl design with a singular focus.  This was a project I started a while ago and it was nice to dust it off and work with it again.  I had made a sample and charted it.  When I went to pull up the chart it was unreadable since the software that had supported it was no longer working.

At that point with all the itching and crazy, I just wanted to give up.

But. I  didn't.  I worked on it a bit each day and fixed the problems I had with my sample.  I reverse engineered the sample and was able to recreate the idea I originally hoped for.


I give you Nature's Bounty.  I really enjoyed creating this little shawlette.  It can be used to teach beginning lace since it starts small and grows.  It teaches how increases and decreases are paired so that you can control the growth of the shawl.  It also demonstrates how placing the yarn overs in different places can shape the motif to form a curve.  It is one of the magical things I love about lace and I am happy that I got to work with some beautiful motifs in this shawl.

Bright Blessings!
Ruinwen
:)




Sunday, June 24, 2018

Dressing Your Temple




I finished the prayer shawl and I am in love with the final product...absolutely smitten.  This shawl has such a good energy that I can feel it pulsating with compassion, kindness, and community.

It makes me happy to hold it in my hands.  I wanted to design a prayer shawl for a while now but nothing seemed right.  But I drew this pattern up in less than an hour.  Tested it, tweaked it and started knitting it on the same day.  That is very rare in my world.  I felt it was a nod from the PTB (Powers That Be) to go ahead.  And here it is back from its photo shoot looking fabulous!

To go off on a tangent here…most people have decorated their homes with memories, colors, and themes that make them happy or have a special personal meaning.  But with our temples, our bodies, sometimes we get into ruts and just wear the same things over and over in the name of comfort or lack of time.

I am so guilty of the comfort style look.  I get up early and work in a place with no one but a dog and an occasional visitor.  I would rather be comfy then spiffy but there gets to be a point where comfy becomes complacent and turns into more of nightwear then day wear…you know what I mean right?

I used to dress with energy in mind and pay attention to my daily colors; I believe color can change or enhance your mood.  One reason I love spring and fall so much is the colors.  After a long winter, those pops of color are a healing balm for the soul.  As the cooler days of fall come in and the trees start to turn it is like nature is pulling up a blanket and telling us to slow down Winter is Coming…lol

By implementing Daily Color you use your day of birth to calculate how you are going to dress your temple that day. 

For instance, if red is your color of the day it would mean it is an auspicious time to begin something or try something new.  Red for me is also the color of Aries so it has a more intense meaning.

You can try it out here if your interest has been peaked.  On special days I try to dress to my strengths and harmonize my colors with the Universe.  Also, I have a set of scarves that have all the colors in them for tucking into my purse on days when I can’t find a thing to wear in the right color.

Back to the shawl...it is full of high vibration energy, connection with the divine through the crown chakra and the quiet energy of prayers and healing that come with the violet spectrum of color.  I hope that this shawl adorns the intended with good, holy, healing energy.

May your days be full of color and unexpected blessings!
Ruinwen







Sunday, June 17, 2018

Things Forgotten



Do not trust your memory; it is a net full of holes; the most beautiful prizes slip through it.
Georges Duhamel


I made this hooded caplet and I used it a lot last winter.  It is perfect for keeping the wind out and adding a layer of warmth.

This winter I found this.  Something had broken quite a few yarn strands and there was even a hole...I think a cat tried to eat it...not sure why.




I tried to fix it and ended up with this since the yarns kept on breaking.  While no one will probably even notice that the rows no longer line up; I do.  This means I need to undo everything I did to fix it and rip back a row in each direction to clean out the broken ends that I duplicate stitched.

Unfortunately, the damage was more extensive, the ends kept on breaking and I had to rip it out.  There was no saving the cowl.  I was able to save most of the yarn.  So when I knit something new with the yarn will it remember being a cowl?  Will it hold the spirit of all the warmth it gave me?  Will it mean more to me since the yarn is full of happy memories tinged with the loss of the cowl?

This got me thinking about memories and how we perceive them.  Often it is our point of view that determines how a memory is experienced by us.  A small child will remember an event differently than an adult.  If you were happy during the course of the memory you might remember the favorable parts of the event and forget any unpleasant ones.

I was often surprised when my parents told me of an event I remembered so clearly in a different way then I thought it happened.  Yet, they could have been the ones who had changed the story of the event in their minds.  The truth is really just your point of view at times even if everyone sees that differently.

One of the Reiki symbols can be used to change how you perceive an event.  You cannot change the past but you can change how you react to it.  You can take a painful memory and like the hole in my caplet, slowly rebuild it layer by layer.

People have strong beliefs that are challenged by others or new ideas and they change how they perceive things based on new information.  Changing a memory is really no different.

Another thing you can do it is to take away an emotional attachment to a certain memory or trigger.  Say you hate rain and every time it rains you get mad.  This anger serves no real purpose.  Maybe it is rooted in the fact that you slipped and fell on the championship game and let your team down.  You've let that one moment in time warp rain into a negative being almost.  Because you have this attachment to rain every time it starts to drizzle things will go bad for you.  This will only add fuel to a long-standing fire and cement the anger that begins to build when it rains.

If you could go back into that memory of falling at the big game and change it to something more positive then rain would just be rain again.  Not good or bad, just rain.  There would be no emotional attachment to it anymore.

Instead of focusing on failing everyone maybe you could remember how hard you did try.  You could remember that everyone slipped in the mud a bit that day and it had been a challenging time but you had done your best.  You could remember your coach telling you that it was okay because you had really grown over the year as a player.  The other team members chimed in about various plays you were a part of and how important you were to their team.

It might take a while to start to believe in your new story but as you do you will release those negative feelings towards rainy days and that you failed your team.  Maybe the following year you helped win the championship game and that fact had been lost in all that negativity that you had been wallowing in.  Now when you look at the trophy on your wall you will remember the friends and teammates, the fun and the hard work but you won’t be focused on the game you lost anymore.

So, no one will ever know the story of my cowl or whatever the yarn turns into this time and how it had a death experience from looking at it.  But I know...does that knowing change how I feel about it?  In truth, the hole, the mending, will all be forgotten as it continues on as a new project a new item with new stories to tell.

I feel this lesson that this cowl has taught me is an important one.  I've been asked to write up the pattern by a bunch of people.  I take notes for everything I make so I can create them again.  It is going into my enormous queue...but it will not be forgotten  :)

Speaking of forgetting things.  Memorizing lists has been shown in many cases to reconnect brain function.  So, working on a pattern with a bunch of repeats that you memorize is actually helping your brain get a good work out and keeping those pathways flowing.  Yet another benefit to knitting!


Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Growing Strong




I have been working on a prayer shawl for someone who just had some surgery and is having a rough time.  I also need to bring healing to our connection because of a misunderstanding which brought in a bit of a rift between us.  I am not making this shawl to gain any sort of ground in the personal matter because that would be wrong.  I just can’t stand to see anyone that I have been connected to in pain.

But with all knitting, this shawl has provided me with a new peace and I have enjoyed working on it.  I am about ½ done here.



I wanted to make something that echoed all the prayers and positive thinking and shaped them into a traveling vine that made its way across the shawl.  Each leaf helps the other and that strength builds to shape the vine into something truly wondrous.

I used three vines with leaves for the Trinity.  For me, that is the three faces of the Goddess: the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.  For you that might be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Three is a holy number in most religions and everyone knows good things come in threes.



I like cables for stability.  They are like a winding staircase that holds everything together and lets the prayers climb higher along the shawl.



And finally, there is a slipped stitch because the motifs need some delineation between them in order to grow and not become lost in one another.

I used Knit Picks Mighty Stitch because I really like the vibrant colors and the softness of the yarn.  I chose the eggplant, mulberry, fairytale, wisteria and blush colors for the higher end of the spectrum which focuses on the third eye and crown chakra energy; also she likes purple.

The pattern is easy to follow and the repeats become easy to memorize.  The cables mix things up a bit so that it isn’t quite mindless knitting either.  

I've decided to call it my growing strong prayer shawl.

I hope to get this all worked up and tested and do a photo shoot before the end of summer.  But I need to focus on knitting it first.  lol

Happy Knitting,
Ruinwen

Friday, June 08, 2018

Hi World...


Hi.  I know that I’ve been gone for forever.

When Mom and Dad died I lost my voice.  I just couldn’t front all the time.

I wanted to be my happy little rainbows and unicorns self but it was just too hard to keep up the act when my heart was breaking.

That doesn’t mean that I curled up in a ball and kept out the world.  I kept working, knitting, gaming and enjoying my time with my friends and family.  But my special spark was gone.

I know that this is perfectly normal but I missed me; the real me that really meant all that happiness and stardust stuff she said.

Then, two weeks ago I went down to grab something for my knitting class and found out that a mouse had nestled down, chewed and nested in all the knitting that I have ever done for me and I think I broke through that void that had surrounded me for so long.

I finally found my voice though it was small at first; and it was very, very sad.

This blog is a record to most of those treasures which I still have to get the courage to throw away.

The one that hurt the most is the blanket I made as Mom lay in the hospital recovering from her first cancer surgery.  It was Jared Flood’s Hemlock blanket and I loved that project.  I had so much trouble starting it because my hands were shaking worrying about Mom.  When I got it finished I bound off too tightly and I always vowed to fix it, but I never got there.  Now I will have to just toss it because it is the worst of all of them.  I know that it kept that mouse warm and it was so soft too; can I find comfort in that?

I made twin scarves for me and my sister to wear in Hawaii and mine is trashed and that makes me sad.  We buried Mom at sea in Hawaii, it was a beautiful ceremony even though I was seasick at the time.  The Kahu had the most serene and lovely voice and his blessing is a moment I will always treasure.  I am sorry to lose the twin to my sister’s scarf.

Each piece of knitting has a story.  My life and emotions at the time I made them is woven into the fabric and it hurts to just have to get rid of them.  Even though I can remake each of them, they will not have the spirit that they once had.  So I just have to let them go.  But the memories will remain here on these virtual pages and in my heart.

I'm not sure when I will write again.  But I do know that every once and while I miss this blog with such a fierceness.  It has allowed me to share a bit of my inner self that I don't always see when I write in it's pages.  This blog has helped me to see things of valve that I can dust off or nurture that I have forgotten.  

This feels so perfect to be writing again.  Almost like a loose gear has slipped into place and there is a humming of happiness that is not a facade but rather a song that is bursting from my soul.

Bright blessings,
Ruinwen





Sunday, October 04, 2015

Worth the Wait

I have realized something about myself; I am a patient person.  Over the years I have learned to calm the need that demands everything be instantaneously self gratifying.  I think it is what makes me a good gamer and a good teacher.  The shot above our house in the Sky Element world. I razed almost the whole island on my own after taking down the jungle trees while hubby is building an amazing lower basement under the island.  To me, it was relaxing work and I truly enjoyed it.

As a teacher of knitting, there is many times when I will have to work on a project with a student so I can see where they are in order to help.  I have rewritten lost patterns by slowly deconstructing a piece and charting it as I go so that the knitter could have a new pattern to save and work by.  I have fixed errors and ripped back for knitters in order to get them back on track.  I have spent hours learning something that I didn't understand when a question was asked that I didn't know myself so that I could turn around and give good advice.  All of these things I really enjoyed doing.  They challenged me and allowed to me to give back to the knitting community...most of all, they helped me empower someone else in the process.

I can't tell you the number of students who come back and tell me that now they are passing on and teaching someone else...this brings me great happiness.  There is always someone who can teach me and someone I can teach; it is an endless spiral of give and take and sharing and community and it makes me so happy to be a part of this beautiful fiber world.



I haven't designed any knitting for a while.  My focus has been on enjoying the process again; but I'm starting to feel the urge.  Pictured above is where I am on the sweater with the scarf that needs to be blocked in the driveway to reach the 7 foot mark that the pattern calls for.  So much lovely green.



I have been creating herbal concoctions and this is an enjoyable but slow process.  Herbs take time to steep in vinegar and oils and I am patiently waiting as they do their thing.

In the meantime, I have been writing new recipes where the herbs all blend together to form something amazing...like a community.  I've been slowly gathering new essential and carrier oils and creating a good strong foundation of essentials.

It feels good to watch things slowly come together; to have a supportive community that is eager to try my new herbal recipes and I am so thankful for all my testers who have helped me rediscover my love of herbs and how they can help us heal.

This weekend I played with red peppers.  Red chili peppers contain capsaicin which is a chemical that increases blood circulation and stops the pain transmitter receptors from reaching the brain by overloading them.  I am making an red chili pepper oil which will become a base for my new muscle rub.

If you do this be very careful, red chili pepper can burn the eyes and mucous membranes.  Use gloves when touching the peppers and never ever lean over to smell how yummy your peppers are.  I might have done this in my youth while I was ironing...you know multi tasking.  And thank the Goddess that it didn't end in disaster because my eyes were burning to the point of there was nothing but pain in my head.  Blind, I wandered outside somehow and then found my neighbor who was gardening and who gave me a cup of milk and I poured it on my eyes.

That was the best...feeling...ever.  Beautiful, instant glorious relief.  I was covered in milk but that was fine and dandy.

Thankfully, the iron was upright...the whole thing is laughable now and my hubby loves to tell the story of the day I was making homemade chili powder and basically pepper sprayed myself x 10.

Moral of the story; always use caution with chili peppers and save your ironing for later .  Oh, and in case you are wondering the homemade chili powder was the best my boss had ever tasted.

I've been looking at different options and listening to what people have asked for and I'm trying to accommodate everyone on some level.  First of all was the smell; the man who asked for this rub didn't want it to smell medicinal.  So I went for musky, mysterious and homey.

I'm not sure which of these warming oils are making the grade yet or if I will have a woman's and a manly rub...but I was thinking about:

Chamomile - anti-inflammatory, eases muscle pain and spasms

Frankincense - anti-inflammatory, reduces stressed muscles and eases pain

Ginger - eases back pain, improves mobility, eases rheumatic and arthritic pain and eases spasms

Lavender - anti-inflammatory, relieves muscle tension and spasms, eases joint pain and headaches

Nutmeg - warming, used in massage oils to soothe soreness in overworked muscles

Rosemary - anti-spasmodic, reduces muscle and joint pain, eases backache and headaches

Sage - anti-inflammatory and spasmodic, eases muscle tension and spasms

If it all works out right, I should have a nice warming deep penetrating anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic pain reducer that smells good too.

Yay!  A very productive and varied week.

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)






Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Hodge Podge Post

I know that I promised you some pictures and I'm sorry to say that I'm not quite done with either project.  I ran into something that I can't talk about and can't explain but it is causing quite a mental hurdle for me and will continue to do so until next year.  I wish I could say more...but I hope that you can understand that sometimes you just can't control life...the most one can hope is to find a way to cope and go forward.



Speaking of coping...we found this amazing map.  It is called Sky Elements and is full of something for everyone.  Be warned...there are monster spawners...everywhere.  They are in trees and in boxes and under the ground.  We spent a good two days just blowing up every two steps trying to clear out the jungle.  But now we have it under control.

I tried to find a path into the heart of what I wanted to say and couldn't find one.  So shifting gears...

In the old days, the well of the community was it's heart.  Water is necessary for survival.  Everything would spiral out from that water source and without it a town would surely become a ghost town.

The "well" in our body is our gut.  The human body houses about 100 trillion microorganisms in the gut.  Good gut bacteria take energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and the product of the absorption of fatty acids.  Many of these bacteria act like organs in the way they perform metabolic jobs around our body.

Bacteria line our intestines and help us digest food, they make vitamins that are vital for life, they send signals to the immune system and they make small molecules that help our brain to work.

Over the years we have learned that these symbiotic bacteria help keep many functions of our body running smoothly.  The numbers are constantly changing as science starts to really look at the bacterial in our gut.  A study I read in 2013 said that on average the people they tested had 200 strains from 100 different species.  Another that I read said that there are somewhere between 5,600 different strains of gut bacteria; but about 99% come from the same 30 to 40 species.

The point is this is a new frontier and we are just on the cusp of understanding how important these gut flora are to our well being.  The helpful bacteria in our gut outweigh our own cells by a factor of 10.  We only know what a fraction of these good bacteria do; there are still so many unknowns.

The most well known of these is Lactobacillus.  This bacteria that resides in the small intestine is responsible for producing lactase, the enzyme required to break down lactose.  Lactose is the sugar found in milk.  It also ferments carbohydrates in the gut to produce lactic acid.  Your gut is acidic so that it can discourage the growth of bad bacteria which thrives in an alkaline environment.  Lactic acid also helps to absorb some important minerals like copper, calcium, magnesium and iron.

If you break it down further by strain you can see how involved this bacteria is in our well being. Some of the many strains are:

L. acidophilus - helps to maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall, ensure proper nutrient absorption and supports healthy overall digestive function.

L. plantarum - produces hydrogen peroxide to defend against bacteria consumed in food it also supports immune function

L. rhamnosus - can survive in the GI tract, is excellent for female health organs, eczema and depression

L. salivarius - can survive in less then ideal conditions and is found in the mouth, throat and sinuses, intestines and female organs.  It also helps to prevent the colonization of the bad bacteria

The Bifidobacterium species lines the walls of the large intestine.  It helps to ward off invasive bad bacteria, including yeast.  It also produces lactic acid which provides up to 70 percent of the energy required by cells that line the intestinal wall, this helps to strengthen the protective barrier in the gut. It also helps to keep the pH for the large intestine acidic to discourage growth of harmful bacteria. The lower pH helps the absorption of minerals.  Bifidobacterium also produces B-complex vitamins and vitamin K.

Some of the strains of this bacteria are:

B. bifidum - this strain is one of the first that we receive as babies and travels our life with us as one of our good flora that is found in the large intestine sometimes the small intestine as well.  It promotes bacterial balance, prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria, molds and yeasts

B. longum - is very common and has an ability to break down carbohydrates and to scavenge and neutralize toxins.  There is research being done right now that suggests this bacteria also practices chelation of metal ions and the scavenging of free radicals.  Regardless, this bacteria supports immune health.

B. infantis - this bacteria is found in babies and declines as we age.  It regulates our gut and decreases bloating and bathroom difficulties

So why is this suddenly such a a big deal.  Two big reasons:  the foods that we used to consume because fermentation was a necessary part of the diet are not being eaten as much...especially in this country.  Kimchi, sauerkraut, unpasteurized cheese, buttermilk, fermented cod liver oil, kefir, kombucha, miso, natural pickles (not the ones on the shelf), tempeh, apple cider vinegar and yogurt are a few of the foods that are full of these helpful bacteria.

The second reason is antibiotics.  Antibiotics are amazing when you need them but they kill gut flora. If you were on a broad spectrum antibiotic you might have killed off an entire strain and not even known it.  And since each of those above listed foods only have certain bacteria in them, you might not be able to repopulate your colony and may lose out on their previous contribution to your well being.

An example of this might be, say I killed off my Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain.  This strain is responsible for the GI tract which might be handled by another strain.  It is hard to know the extent of losing one strain can have on the body.  Many people with eczema and skin inflammation are found to be deficient in this bacteria.  Further study has also linked this bacteria with the happy feel good feeling that your brain needs to have to maintain good emotional balance.  Without this enzyme this balance is lacking and many times depression is present in individuals with a L. rhamnosus imbalance or deficiency.  It helps with weight loss as well.

If I would hypothesize the lack of L. rhamnosus starts a chain of events that in the beginning might not be noticeable but as time goes on would start to become apparent.  If the GI tract has lost some of it's guardian forces then maybe some bad bacteria would start to grow.  Bad bacteria eat processed food, sugar and sugar free substitutes.  It is very easy to feed them which is why you need a strong army to keep them at bay.  Bad bacteria create inflammation and encourage weight gain.  When you are craving sugar it is probably your bad bacteria needing a fix.  So during this process the scale is probably going up.

The effects of the harmful bacteria start to move through the body in this example into the skin and brain.  We know that there are bacteria which fight the brain fog that is one of the first signs that your gut is out of balance.  Anxiety which is another thing that L. rhamnosus helps to keep in check starts to spiral out of control and maybe there is trouble sleeping or focusing which both raise stress levels. Stress supports and feeds the inflammation and now there is a mental and psychical imbalance.

That is just a hypothesis but I feel it is close to the truth.   I have watched health, sometimes my own spiral out of control and if I looked back I could see the warning signs for what they are.

My gut right now is very sensitive.  I feel foggy a lot of the time.  My anxiety has gotten worse over the last year.  I have patches of eczema that just came out of no where.  So that example could be me.

I have been struggling with the sugar cravings but thankfully been able to hold my weight and I may be an anxious easily stressed mess but I am happy and thankful.  Last year I could not say that as easily but I am constantly working with myself...working towards a balance of spirit, mind and body.

When I had my spider bite I took a broad spectrum antibiotic and I never really through about it until I started researching probiotics for my family...but I think that I have compromised by gut flora and it is out of wack.

I'm going to try probiotics and see what difference they make and report back to you.

Shifting gears again...the foot scrub sales are going good, people like the product and I have repeat customers.  I have a bunch of new things in the works for fall to take people into winter.  I also had a few requests for products which, is really nice.

I find that I like putting together the herbal concoctions as much as I like writing up a pattern.  It takes the right combination of oils, and herbs and a good base to create a quality product.  I am also learning about layering scents.

A scent that really grabs you has notes of different intensities.

There is the top note: this is the one that grabs you first and then just as quickly it fades.  It is can be something like peppermint, nutmeg or frankincense.

There is the middle or heart note:  this one imparts warmth or fullness.  It can be a floral like rose, jasmine or chamomile.

There is the base or dry note:  this one is what stays after the others fade.  It can be something like sandalwood, vanilla or patchouli.

I am really excited about working with scents again.  This is something I did when I was younger and I really enjoyed it.  I have some ylang ylang which smells fruity and floral and I can't wait to see what it pares well with.

The thing I like about scents is that you can use their aromatherapy properties for healing, stimulating, invigorating, warming or cooling and many other things as well.

Anyway, this post is really long and disjointed so I should probably sign off.

Hugs to everyone!
May the seeds you planted in the spring be bearing beautiful and productive fruit.
Ruinwen
:)