100 days self-connection experiment

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Something a bit different today. I recently came across a video by Kyle Cease, who I’d never heard of before, that inspired me to make some changes in myself. I can’t remember which video it was – it was shared on Facebook by a friend – but he talked about being a people-pleaser and it really resonated with me.

I tend to only speak my mind with my close family, and even then I often feel I have to rein it in for fear of upsetting people. Yes, it’s good that I don’t want to go off on a rant and get all worked up, because that tends to alienate people, but even when I speak emphatically while keeping my cool I often feel guilty afterwards. Like when I was staying with my mum when I visited in June and a couple of times I ended up talking about veganism and how I felt vegans were misunderstood.

Going back to the video, Kyle mentioned an affirmation that we can use to help us move away from being people-pleasers. I was really struck by a comment he made about being inauthentic and bland when we are sitting there being passive, and I thought Yes, it’s true. I was six years in the Tao, studying religious teachings from many religions and while I found it very helpful in becoming a calmer, more accepting, person, I also found it dampened down my personality.

The affirmation is this:

I am independent of the good or the bad opinions of others.

Hoo-wee, that is a big one for me. I have spent my life seeking approval from others, being self-conscious because I was wondering how others saw me, having this image of myself that I have tried to maintain as a nice, caring person.

I am now trying to bust out of this shell of self-limitation. It might seem small, but I have worn a bikini at the beach and at my friend’s pool because I wanted to work on my tan despite not having a “perfect” body, by the standards of the media.

I have decided to speak up more instead of letting it slide when people say something that sparks a reaction in me. My friends seem to have no problems setting boundaries and saying what they think, so why don’t I?

Kyle Cease has a segment on his website called the 100 Day Self-Connection Experiment. Back in 2015, he decided to meditate for two hours a day for 100 days and make a short video about his discoveries about himself every day.

I have never been a meditator so I decided to start small. The last three mornings I have got out of bed, drunk my glass of lemon water and taken a cup of tea back to bed to do my sitting. He does not use any special techniques, and neither do I. I started with 20 minutes the first day, and have increased the time by five minutes each day. I just sit there with my eyes closed and when the thoughts come up I try not to attach to them or follow them down the rabbithole but come back into myself and the present moment. I find a good way to bring myself back is to focus on my breath, or the feeling of my hands touching each other, or the sounds coming in the window.

I have enjoyed these sessions though there haven’t been any breakthrough moments yet. It’s probably too early. And I am trying not to have any expectations or attachments. I have watched the first few of Kyle’s videos though I am not using them as a guide or something to compare myself to.

I’m sharing here because this is something I wanted to write about and this blog is not just about yarn, believe it or not! It’s about my life too. And I felt that talking about this might help someone else.

Ooooh, new yarn!

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I’m so happy to announce my new arrival – yarn in the mail from Wool Warehouse!

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It’s Scheepjes (my first ever Scheepjes) Linen Soft which is a DK weight blend of 27% linen, 47% cotton and 26% acrylic. The silver grey colourway is called Heron and the pink is Hummingbird. These are 50 gram balls and I should have enough of the grey to make myself the top that I linked to in my last post, and enough of the pink for the baby dress.

I just love the organza bags that WW sends their yarn in too.

Along with the yarn, I ordered two shade cards, one for Stylecraft Special DK and one for Scheepjes Colour Crafter. It’s helpful to have actual samples of the yarn instead of working off a computer screen, especially a PC!

I’m sure these will come in useful for future project planning.

I have a non-yarny FO for this week. The curtains for my sewing room are finished and hung.

It’s a colourful flowery print on a black background which adds a nice bit of colour to my boring sewing room!

The temperature has been cooler today but the valley is filled with smoke again. The sun has an orange tint to it. I’m not sure where the smoke is blowing in from this time but there are plenty of suspects.

Last night we had a pleasant evening down at the beach with our boys and the senior couple I call their local grandparents. It was windy, which made for a comfortable temperature, and we found a picnic bench under a tree to eat lots of food followed by some frisbee and bocce in the field across the road.

Have a happy crafting week!

WIP: blanket, FO: hat, OMG: heat!

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I hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend wherever you are. I have a surprise five-day-off stretch, thanks to booking Monday off to take the kids to the dentist, and I intend to make the most of it.

It’s all crochet today but two very different projects. This little hat is made with Loops & Threads Facets, a discontinued yarn that I picked up at Michaels  a while back. (No pattern, I just make hats top down until they look about the right size!)

When I have a large project on the go, I like to throw in some small, quick ones to stop me from getting bored. This is bulky yarn, I used a big hook, and I made it (hopefully) child-sized so I can send it to my great-niece. I have a few things in the pipeline for her so will send a parcel later this year.

I’m still waiting for a package from Wool Warehouse – it’s been over a week and as you probably know time drags when you’re excited about getting something in the mail. Especially yarn! I will take photos to show you when it arrives.

My WIP is the Everything is Cool and Groovyghan blanket CAL. I have to say, there’s nothing cool around here, as we have had a run of 32 – 34 degree weather (90 – 95 Fahrenheit) and the only respite has been when I have been working in an air-conditioned store.

I wouldn’t mind too much if the nights were cooler but sometimes you go to bed and you can barely stand having a sheet over you. Yuk!

Anyhoo, here are some photos of the progress. I did intend to go out on the deck and get some better ones but right now it’s too darned hot and windy outside. So I quickly laid things out on my bed, took a few pics, and dashed back to the couch in front of the big fan.

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This is the overview – part 1 of the CAL was the strip of grannies at the top – part 2 were the popcorn blocks – part 3 the ripple blocks – part 4 the large central granny – and part 5 is currently under construction. Part 5 is two blocks, each made up of eight small squares.

As you can see, this is looking pretty scrappy.

And I have rather a lot of ends to weave in.

When my new yarn arrives, I will probably neglect this WIP a bit as I want to make the Kanata Kerchief Tank (Ravelry link as it’s a free Ravelry download) for myself. I ordered a linen blend (Scheepjes Linen Soft, I think) in a soft grey, thinking I’d wear a colourful tank or tee underneath. Now I’m wondering whether a bright yarn would have been better with a neutral tank underneath, but it’s too late to second-guess myself now. I also ordered three balls of the same yarn in a deep pink so that I can make a cute little toddler dress with a crocheted bodice and a fabric skirt (this one). And two shade cards will be in the package, one for Stylecraft Special DK and one for Scheepjes Colour Crafter. Oooh!

Well, my brain is cooked and I need to go shower and cool off. Have an awesome Sunday and I’ll be back as soon as my Wool Warehouse parcel gets here.

 

FOs: Elephant toy and cowl

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This elephant is a spontaneous little project that grew out of (a) my wanting a sewing project to do downstairs where it’s cooler and (b) an idea from the print of the flannelette I was hemming to make burp cloths for my great-niece.

We’ve had a run of hot weather, by which I mean in the 30s Celsius, and whilst we do most of our living upstairs in our bi-level it can get uncomfortably hot indoors – like 29 degrees hot. We don’t have air conditioning so the best way to get cooler is either take a shower, go for a swim in the lake, or retreat down to the basement where I have my craft room.

Last night I went down there and found some pretty fabric that I bought when it was selling out at the store and I really wanted some before it was all gone. I have three metres of it so decided it would make pretty curtains for my craft room. So far I have cut the panels and hemmed them, but I need ruffle tape for the tops, so if I can get a reasonable photo later on I can show you them.

I also hemmed the aforementioned flannelette, and went through my other stash fabric to see if my inspiration would be jump-started.

I made a list of things I want from the fabric store where I work, including the quantities for two skirts that I want to make. One is a wraparound skirt from the book Weekend Sewing and the other is another tiered skirt using the same Burda pattern as I used last time.

I was doing some trawling around Ravelry yesterday doing an elephant search, and also searching Pinterest, and came across the sewn elephant toy. It’s on a site called Sewandso.co.uk. I found the instructions to be a bit basic and they wouldn’t work well for a beginner who needed to have every step spelled out for them. I had three colours in the same print from a long ago purchase so made the body red, the ears and tail green, and the inner legs blue.

This elephant has no eyes and I don’t plan to add any. Having made this little guy, I’m not sure whether I will make another, but if I do I will do a better job!

To add to the heat we have had lots of smoke in the valley the last few days. Smoke from various wildfires is being blown in. A state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia because there are so many fires burning in different spots. I don’t know how the firefighters manage to deal with them all – their resources must be spread thinly. It’s another windy evening here, which is nice when all the windows can be opened at night and the air moves through, but wind has a dark side in that it whips up fires. Also, there is no rain in the forecast, but sometimes we will get hopeful about some clouds only to have a thunderstorm that just starts more fires.

Now that inventory is over with at work, things will be back to normal. I had a much-needed day off today, part of which I spent at the beach with a friend. I had a very brief dip in the lake but mostly I was sunbathing. It felt good.

Not much point showing you the crochet blanket progress because it’s pathetic how little I’ve achieved since last time. So I will finish with a photo of the Tunisian simple stitch cowl which my co-worker loved and appreciated so much.

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WIP: Everything is Cool and Groovyghan ctd

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So last time I wrote, I showed you Parts 1 and 2 of the Groovyghan. Part 1 was the Tri-tonal traditional granny square, except I did it with five colours, not three. Part 2 was the Hot-Butter Popcorn panel.

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Part 3 involves two blocks named On the Groovy Waves which are about 10 inches square. I’m not paying too much attention to my gauge. I’m going to make all the parts and if I need to fudge it to get them all to fit later, then so be it.

This also was supposed to have three colours – mine has six.

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In keeping with the plan to tie the whole thing together with greens, this block has two of my greens: the minty one in the third band from the bottom and the khaki in the middle. This one will need a good blocking as it’s not sitting very flat at the moment.

One down, one to go.

In other news, I had a lovely evening out at a concert given by The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, which apparently was first formed in 1956 and has been going continuously since then. No, the musicians are not the originals from 1956!

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The conductor was also the male vocalist, and they occasionally brought on a female vocalist for some numbers. They looked like they were having fun, and the audience was too. I think the average age of the audience was 80. We were all familiar with the tunes, like Pennsylvania 65000, Chattanooga Choo Choo and Moonlight Serenade. I always tear up when listening to live music and this was no exception. I remember listening to Glenn Miller records (yes, vinyl ones) as a child on mum and dad’s record player.

The band was introduced gradually over the course of the evening – their names and home towns – and they apparently tour for 48 weeks a year playing multiple times a week. If these guys have families, they must not see them very often.

I’m limping a bit today. I managed to knock a small saucepan off the counter last night and it hit my foot. I screamed, my husband probably thought I was overreacting, I swore, he saw the blood welling out of a hole in the top of my foot, and maybe he changed his mind a bit! He had to grab some tissues and a Band Aid as the blood was making a small puddle on the floor. It’s beyond me how the curved rim of a saucepan can puncture skin, but there you go! It’s going a bit black from the bruising but at least the bleeding stopped quickly.

Temperatures are staying in the 30s Celsius this week (90 plus). We are about to go out for a Canada Day event at someone’s house, so hopefully I will be able to find some shade.

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers, eh! Have an awesome weekend.

 

WIP: Everything is Cool and Groovyghan

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I’m only a year and a half ‘late’ on doing this Crochet-along. It actually started in January 2016 and all the parts were published, done and dusted long ago. However it fitted my criteria for a summer blanket project. It’s modular which means I  can work on small pieces without being swamped in yarn on hot summer evenings. I can use multiple colours and get a scrappy look because, hey, it’s a Groovyghan and it’s supposed to be a bit wacky.

It’s coming along quite quickly. I’m using my stash of DK yarn, which is combination of Stylecraft Special, Deramores Studio and Mark & Kattens Carolina. I’ve had that Carolina for so long that it’s now discontinued and it was annoying me that it was still hanging around. I invested a lot of money in greens and browns, thinking I’d make this gorgeous cardigan, an adult version of a pattern I had with fiddlehead ferns embroidered on it. Nope, that stalled, as did the other projects I tried with it.

I see most people use a 4mm hook with DK, even a 3.5mm, but I’m using my Addi Swing 4.5mm because (a) it’s an awesomely comfortable hook, (b) I tend to crochet tightly, and (c) I don’t want my blanket coming out too small.

Here’s the pile of stash, sorted by colour:

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And here’s my progress:

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One strip of granny squares is finished (though I haven’t woven in all the ends yet). To control the colours somewhat, all the centres are yellow, and all the second and fifth rounds are shades of green (I have a lot of greens). That was part 1 of the CAL. Then part 2 is the popcorn blocks, where I chose to use the same purple for the background on both blocks and two of the greens for the popcorns to tie things in with the grannies.

The Ravelry link for the CAL is here. And the page on the Keep Calm and Crochet On UK website where it all comes together is here. Whilst I’m not crocheting along with other people, I have the benefit of working at my own pace, which means I’m not waiting around for the next part to be published, or rushing to finish a section and feeling pressured.

As you can see, this is not a portable project. I have three large bags/baskets of yarn and I’m choosing colours as I go. So I needed a small project which would fit into a project bag for taking to work and other places. This is one which I have worked on solely in my lunchbreaks the last three days:

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It’s a nice bit of comforting Tunisian crochet in simple stitch using a bulky yarn from Michaels and an 8mm hook. This will probably end up being another co-worker gift. No rush to finish this one either.

So that’s that! Summer has officially hit here, with temperatures into the 30s, though I think maybe it will be mid-20s for the next few days. The over-full lake has started to recede, and hopefully the beaches will all be open again soon (that’s if they are usable, considering the debris, dead grass etc all over the place). I have started an exercise routine as I need to firm things up for MAUI! Yes, we have booked a week in Maui for our 30th wedding anniversary in December. I’ve been wanting to go there for a long time and see for myself if all the rumours are true – that it’s an amazing place!

Tai Chi Man has sadly been given extra work around the house that he really didn’t need. He has the week off and already has a “honey-do” list as long as his arm, but we’re having trouble with the plumbing. The water pressure is triple what it should be which of course we discovered just before the weekend, the extra pressure is making the toilets and dishwasher quite unhappy, and he has had to phone around for parts and make numerous trips to the hardware store. I guess the pressure valve on the pipe coming into the house failed (no cold water tank like we used to have in the UK, just a direct line). What a nuisance! Old houses are always giving you little surprises. Nasty ones. Sometimes expensive ones.

I’d better go and get started on straightening up around here. The water is off so I can’t clean the bathrooms but I can certainly vacuum, and hem curtains, and get some things crossed off MY to-do list.

Happy crafting!

FO: VW Campervan bag

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This baby is DONE!

The pattern is my own design, though I relied heavily on cushion and bag pattern pictures on Ravelry and photos on Pinterest. The yarn is Loops & Threads Impeccable (except for the black) and I used a 5mm hook. It resulted in a fairly stiff fabric, which is fine for a bag, but if it was a wearable item I’d definitely use a 5.5mm.

The lining fabric is from the store where I work, and is a very appropriate peace sign print. I added a pocket in the lining, and a magnetic button for the top closure.

This was quite fun to design on the hook, and even the unravelling and redoing of the front windows (the stranded look was crappy so I changed it for intarsia) didn’t take long and wasn’t onerous. I’m glad I did it as I wouldn’t have been 100% happy with the finished object otherwise.

The project took about 16 days from start to finish and now the big question is, “What next?”