A Smidgeon Obsessed

Uh… so I decided to challenge myself by doing something a bit different with my knitting.  I my friends, took on colorwork.  The first project wasn’t that big… just one little fingerless mitt.  I figured if I sucked (altho, in knitting, that doesn’t really happen to me, thank goodness), I wouldn’t be out a ton of time… Then I knit the matching pair and I got good tension, both mittens were exactly the same size and they fit perfectly!

Then I decided to knit a matching hat.  There was no pattern for the hat but I winged it, having already knit about 194,693,236 hats already.  That worked out too!  I mean, I knit the whole thing a bit too small for my head but I’m sure it’ll fit ‘someone’ and the colorwork was just as successful!

THEN, I realized that I wanted to knit a pattern I’ve been dreaming about since I started knitting.  A beautiful traditionally shaped mitten with a gorgeous colorwork pattern in one of my favorite designs in nature… Fiddleheads.  

I mean seriously!  Look how beautiful!  These are not mine, but there’s not much to see on mine yet…  I did want to knit mine in this exact colorway but the yarn is no longer available.  I threw a TANTRUM last week… there was crying and everything!  Mine will be a nice light gray background with beautiful teal patterning.  And they are lined inside.  Mine will be lined with a charcoal gray 100% alpaca, because why the heck not!  They’re going to be amazing!

Folks…. I’m smitten!  I’m only half way through the first mitten and I’ve already started scoping out Ravelry to find other more wonderful mitten patterns to make!

And now it’s up to you…. to let me know which ones you think I should knit next!  SO EXCITING!


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Finally Finished and Just Started

Good morning!
 
Here’s a parade of pictures from the hat I just finished.  Forgive the quality… living here in Vancouver means that it’s dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home… so taking photos is pretty difficult.  The hat was very well received and fits perfectly, which I’m so releived about because it was touch and go in my head.  I think it’s going to be very well used.  When my friend tried it on, he only had it on for less than a minute and declared it ‘very warm’.  It was knit at a very tight guage, partially by accident… that means that even tho it felt like a knitting black hole, it’s also very warm and should keep the wind and rain out!
 
Also, a progress picture of my first Fiddlehead mitten.  It’s made out of Cascade 220 but it’s so soft and squishy thanks to the floats across the back.  When I get the alpaca lining in there, it’s going to be like heaven on my hands!  It’s pretty slow going tho… I’m hoping to have the outer mitts knit by the time we hit the road to San fran.  I’m going to block them first and then pick up the lining stitches.  My plan is that I can knit the lining in the car if it comes to that and then wear them in SF. 
More pictures as they grow… they’re a lot of fun to knit… each round goes so quick it seems…
 

 

On a lighter note

Thank you to everyone who read and emailed or commented on the last blog.  Also to those of you that I had the pleasure of speaking to in person.  I’m not very good at showing my weakness, altho from what I understand, everyone has them… even invincible me.  Thanks for taking care of that part of me last week!

On a lighter note, I indulged in some retail therapy yesterday.  Glenda and I went downtown to go to one very terrible craft fair and one pretty awesome craft fair.  On the way we HAD to stop in at Button Button and Dressew of course!  The unfortunate part of the entire day was that it was torrentially downpouring on us the entire time and we had to park pretty far away from all the places we went.  By the time we got to the coffee shop, we were wet, freezing and starving!  Glenda treated me to my first eggnog (skinny) latte of the season and it was divine!  The skinny means that it’s half eggnog and half milk. The perfect combo if you ask me… I prefer my food and drink to have more of a ‘scent’ than a flavor so it was nice to have the ‘scent’ of eggnog but not be consuming piles of heavy dairy/sugar calories!

Anyway, we went to Button Button and sat in front of the big bin digging for 15 cent buttons.  We both managed to find some awesome ones and we were pretty lucky to find a decent amount of multiples too!

I also bought some bug buttons.  A real crab and a real scorpion suspended in epoxy.  So cool!  Not sure what I’m going to put them on tho… they’re each between the size of a quarter and loonie and they need to be front and center for sure!

We also went to Dressew and I bought ribbon to modify my big pink squishy shawl (which is currently blocking) and some more buttons.

  In other crafting news, I’ve started and gotten about half way on a gorgeous hat for a friend.  I somehow managed to convince him that this gorgeous dark cherry red color would be amazing on him and more interesting than black… It really is going to be beautiful and it’s very hard to take a color accurate photo so you’ll have to forgive me.  The yarn is Indigo Moon fingering weight in WestCoast Sunset colorway and it’s divine!  I’m holding it double to get closer to a light worsted and make sure that there’s no pooling or flashing… 
The pattern is a combination of a few patterns.  1×1 twisted ribbing for the brim and a P8xKtbl1 twisted ‘rib’.  I’m knitting it inside out because who wants to purl that much!  So I’m knitting 8 and purling 1 through the back loop.  The pattern I’m basing the decreases on decreases pretty fast so you have to knit to 6.5 inches from the cast on edge rather than the standard 5″ before decreases.  I hope this fits… I do NOT want to rip out or redo twisted ribbing… really!

Letting them in

In the space of a few hours yesterday, I was described by three different people as:
High Functioning
Altruistic
Caring
Nurturing
Good judge of character
Trust worthy
 
I was also told by two different people that if I ever needed anything, that they would be there for me.
 
Have you ever heard the hollow statement ‘If you ever need anything, just let me know’ or ‘If you want to talk, I’m here’.  Perhaps you’ve even said that hollow statement.  It’s not really hollow tho… I think that at least some of the time, the person saying it means it.  For about a day.  Then they go on to forget that they even offered you anything because everyone has their own ‘stuff’ going on.  Because this is my blog and we’re talking about me, you’ll forgive me that the next statement sounds somewhat narcissistic.  I don’t give hollow platitudes.  When I say ‘If you ever need anything, let me know’, it’s often followed by ‘I know people say that like they say good morning, but I mean it.  Anything.  Ever.  If I don’t want to be on the hook for that kind of support then I don’t say it.  It’s not just a nice thing to say, it’s a commitment to the person that potentially needs the help, or the talk or whatever.
 
The problem for me, is I’ve learned that for the most part, it’s a hollow gesture, a platitude and it doesn’t mean anything.  I’ve tried to take people at face value for meaning what they say, but I’ve been burned in the past… not burned as in hurt by it, necessarily, but burned because I’m expecting support and what I often end up with is a pile of THEIR stuff… the way my personality works is that I put myself aside for others… so my seeking of support turns into an offering of support and then I’m more diminished than when I went looking.
 
This historical pattern and the last four years of being in a negative relationship have meant that I no longer seek help.  I no longer want or expect anyone to do anything for me and I do ‘it’ myself.  I’ve made my bed a luxurious comforting space, I protect my home from negativity and I have a hobby that appeals to the textural comfort that I seek out on a regular basis.  I have play lists for my every mood, tea pots and cups for whatever I want at the time, bubbles and candles to make a nice bath and aromatherapy to soothe and calm me.  My home is a haven and it gives me strength and power and comfort.  Sometimes that’s not enough tho.  Sometimes the voice in my head says ‘I wish someone would save me’.  ‘I wish someone would come and take over and just let me fall… for a minute…’  Seems like a reasonable request but here’s where my own psyche throws a wrench into the plans.  IF I had a person that would come over, tuck me into my bed and stand vigal while I slept… (which for some reason, even tho it’s never ever happened, seems like THE MOST comforting thing), IF I had someone that would come to my house, make tea and chat and giggle and cry and console on my couch… IF I had someone that would go to the ends of the earth to make me feel better…. get this… I would turn them down.  I would gather myself before they got to my house… I’d make them tea and ask them about their day.  I’d run THEM a bath and have a nest of blankets and pillows on the sofa.  It’s almost physically impossible for me to let someone care for me.
 
This in fact happened on Tuesday, from beginning to end and I was shocked in my counsellors office when I told her the story… through my tears and realized that I refused the exact thing that I wanted.
I went to a meeting on Tuesday morning… I ran from my house to my car to the hospital, up 9 flights of stairs, had a somewhat conflicted meeting and then ran down 9 stories and three blocks to my car… By the time I got back to my office, my blood sugar had bottomed out and my appendages were overcooked spagetti.  A friend of mine I work with sits right behind me and I mentioned to him that I wasn’t feeling that well.  And then the scenario that has played itself out over and over in my life played again:
 
Friend: Do you want me to go to [grocery store across the street] and get you something?
Me:  No no, definitely not.  I’ll be fine
Friend: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, but thank you for asking.
 
Not a big deal right?  Only the second he asked if he could go out of his way to get me something… something that I REALLY needed, I was overcome with guilt and terrified that he might actually get ‘it’ for me.  I’m not helpless or useless and if I needed something from the grocery, I could certainly get it myself, right?  I felt that he must certainly think I was ‘attention-seeking’ and view me as useless.  Never want to have a conversation with me again about anything because I would constantly be ‘needing’ something from him.  In retrospect, what a ridiculous reaction.  I actually COULDN’T go across the street and get myself something.  I said to my counsellor that if he had said ‘Do you want me to walk over to the store with you’, I would have probably jumped on that.  But the idea of me sitting in my chair while someone goes out of their way for me…. to attend to me, makes me feel so uncomfortable that I wished I could disappear.  It makes me feel small and useless.  And worst of all, I feel that everyone must think I ‘made up’ my trouble so that I could garner this special attention.  The real and rational answer to what was actually happening for him was that he cares about me and cared enough to want me to feel better.  To him, ten minutes of his time would have been well spent, caring for another human being.  He wanted to do for me the exact thing I would do for someone I cared about.  I wouldn’t judge a person if they accepted my help.  I wouldn’t presume them to be useless, helpless or attention seeking.  In fact I’ve gone out of my way countless times for countless people.  It’s what I want someone to care enough about me to do and when it happens, it makes me feel so awkward that I turn tail and run as fast as I can.  And that is a lonely place to be.
 
So my task is that if someone offers me something that historically I decline because it makes me feel uncomfortable, to accept the help anyway.  Not from just anyone, but someone that I trust my relationship with.  Because needing help isn’t attention seeking.  It doesn’t mean I’m faking my need in order to gain something.  It doesn’t mean that I’m helpless, useless or a loser.  It simply means that I can not be all things to all people and I can not be all things to myself.  According to my counsellor, it’s a human condition to need support from your inner circle.
 
Funny enough, I spoke to my friend last night about this.  I wanted to thank him for his kind offer (because I actually was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t remember whether I was polite or not) and explain to him what had happened.  Part of me being able to trust someone is telling them my fear… the immediate reaction I have, because I believe someone worth my trust will remember.  Someone worth my trust and worth bringing in to my inner circle will care enough to remember how uncomfortable it makes me and offer anyway.  Know that it’s a struggle and want to go there anyway.  Someone worth my trust and worth my time will know why I jump to ‘I’m fine’ and give that little pause… will be okay with saying ‘let me help you’ and mean it.
 
What came of the conversation was a realization that I am certainly not alone.  ‘We’re nurturers’ he said.  We want to help people.  We don’t want people to help us.
 
Part of being a high functioning altruistic adult is being a pillar of strength.  Of being everything to everyone.  Of going out of your way to make others feel good, sometimes to the deterimint of yourself.  To always appear in control and ready to take on the next thing.  And part of that is neglectful of the basic human need to be cared for.
 
And everyONE can not be everyTHING to me.  I understand that.  There are always going to be hollow platitudes.  There will always be someone who genuinely offers support but then renegs in order to support themselves.  That’s okay.  But to keep trusting that there are people who care enough about me to WANT to help me.  To feel the pull in their hearts to in some small way, make my life fuller, richer and better.  Those people are out there… I just need to stop pushing them away when they try and give me what I need… what I deep down, save my life need.
 

I was also told by two different people that if I ever needed anything, that they would be there for me.
 
At the end of the night last night, I felt like I heard and understood… trusted that these two people genuinely meant what they said.  And even if it might feel like foreign territory… something to run from… I will try to let them both in…

Music for the Soul

I’ve never really been ‘into’ music.  Not that I don’t like it, I love it, but I’ve never followed bands, gone to concerts really, and I always only like main stream stuff.  Not because the alternative, less than main stream stuff isn’t good, but because I’m a bit lazy and I’m not interested in ‘discovering’ anything… My music is brought to me by the radio… can’t get much easier than that.  I listen to two stations and genres of music.  Mainstream ‘pop’ (think Bruno Mars, Rhianna, Kelly Clarkson… I can’t think of a single other artist at the moment) and mainstream ‘new country’ (think Toby Keith, Rascall Flatts, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum).
The music I download is primarily based on my exposure to this music by the radio… I’ll buy a whole album sometimes of the artist that I like (Dean Brody, Jason Aldean) but hardly ever venture out of my comfort zone.
I’ve been mocked relentlessly in the past for being musically stunted and I honestly don’t care.  It’s where I feel at home, mostly the country and like comfort foods, I have comfort songs.  So, that pretty much outlines how much of a musicphile I am, which brings me to my question.
 
When you hear a song… that you know and love, and turn it up and sing along, why can it heal you?  What in that music can make you feel?  And for those of you that do this and know that you can’t really sing well, what is it about belting out a tune, out of key that makes you feel good inside?
 
The reason that I ask is sometimes, when I’m feeling especially shitty, I sit in my car before I go in and sing along to a song that comes on the radio.  I sing at the top of my lungs and my heart and soul are filled with what feel like tiny bubbles of happiness.  I’m not a good singer.  I’m not terrible and I’ve been known to be in singing groups in the past, but I don’t practice and I’m certainly no soloist.  But certain songs, at a certain volume, in a certain moment give me a glee that is not usually present these days.
 
They say music heals the soul and I have no reason to believe that that isn’t inately true.  It wraps around you like a warm blanket and for a moment, you can lose yourself in the comfort of a story you’ve heard a million times.  Does it matter that it’s a song played 100 times a day on a radio station that doesn’t measure up to the standard of a real audiophile?  Not to me.
 
What song do you sing along to at the top of your lungs when you’re alone?  How does that experience make you feel?

Duplicate

One of those lazy days where this entry is the exact same as the one on my other blog… Sorry Shanny!
Yesterday Shannon and mom and I went pottery painting for our birthday ‘event’.  It was a lot of fun and while I do in fact have ‘before’ pictures, they will not be available until we have the ‘finished product’ pictures… some of the pieces are hard to visualize ;)

Then we went for lunch and to my friend Sharon’s art studio to say hi.  When we were driving there, I took my iphone out of it’s knitted cozy so we could text to see if she wanted anything.  I wasn’t really paying attention when we parked, and I threw my phone into my purse and popped out of the car.  When I got inside, I wanted to take a picture and noticed that my phone wasn’t in it’s warmer.  Again, not really paying attention, we went back to the car, drove off and went home.

Today I went to that same area with Sam and mentioned that I thought my cozy was lost on the street… I went looking for it, not expecting much… and you’ll never guess what I found… in the gutter, almost completely covered in leaves and debris was my sweet little phone cozy.  I was so excited (and also trying not to get run over) that I didn’t take a picture of it in situ.

There’s not much wrong with it other than it was dirty and the pretty pearl button was squashed flat.  I brought it home, picked all the leaves and debris off it, removed the squashed button and gave it a bath.  It’s currently drying on the radiator in my room, but otherwise it’s good as new!  This is a picture of the new matching button that wasn’t run over a whole bunch and a picture of the button that WAS run over a whole bunch.

Next up on the list of updating is that I finished the matching hat to my Lovisa mittens.  It worked out perfectly and I STILL have more of that purple yarn left.  I may save it for something very special because I really like the color!

And finally I would just like to say that I put flannel sheets on my bed for the first time since I’ve had this bed.  That’s about 12 years of having the world’s comfiest bed but being terrified to put flannel sheets on it… only because I was scared it would be TOO comfy and I wouldn’t want to get out.

Well, this morning, I was talking to Sam and the only way I could think to describe the amazingness of the sheets was ‘It’s like someone made the fluffiest, softest chocolate cupcake and then cut it in half and stuck me inside!  I think I hear it calling me right now!