Sunday, August 31, 2014

So It Would Seem

Oops, this never got published back around Labor Day.  My bad.  :)

Ares are bad at finishing things.  This is one of the things that I told you I wanted to work on in my life when we were talking about things I'd like to change about myself.

But this week I actually felt that I took some steps to conquer whatever it is that holds me back when I want to complete a project.

My sister and I began the Herculean task of seaming the blanket together.  I went back and forth on how to do it since with the carries the edges were a little wonky and came up with this:

When you have garter there are smiles, the bottom stitches and frowns, the top stitches that create the fabric. Normally when you seam, one of the ways to do the mattress stitch is to go up through the smile and then into the corresponding frown.

With my extra bit of yarn for the carry I ended up going through both of the stitches on the left-hand side and it ended up looking like this.

I'm actually very, very happy with this join.  The mattress on garter will always be a little less invisible then with stockinette by nature; but everything lines up nicely and I'm just going to let any little imperfections go. I'm going to see the forest instead of the trees, as it were.

Again, I am really happy with this join and voila the blanket is ready to have the border put on. Please excuse the ends; this is a work in progress.  :)

This week I reached out to the knitting community not once but thrice on advice on how to end things.   The responses I got were wonderful.  Each person took a time out of their day to help me on my journey even though we never have met.  It is such a blessing to be a part of something bigger then myself that is full of beautiful and kind people like Ravelry.  I am very thankful to each of you for your help and without your advice I might not have been able to finish both my seaming and my Sunburst Spectacular Shawl.

Here is the shawl in all of it's glory.  I just love the color progression!

It feels good to complete so many things.  :)

Happy crafting,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Bump in the Road

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs to all!

Happy crafting,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bunnies O' My!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Have an attitude of gratitude.

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

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

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

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

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

3.  Smile, laugh...have fun.

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

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

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

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

5.  Help someone else.

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

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

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

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

6.  Do something you love to do.

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

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

Find your something and cherish it.

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

8.  Create a new reality.

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

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

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

"I will figure this out."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

I wish you all love and light and unexpected blessings.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jeepers Creepers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Happy crafting,