Hall of Finished Projects 2016-All

Friday, September 25, 2015

Birthday Post, and a Brownie Request

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Today is my 35th birthday, and I have been up since 4am.

At first, I thought it was because my husband's snoring woke and kept me awake, but soon after I went downstairs I discovered it was actually my first present of the day, my period haha.

While up this morning I worked on a Christmas gift that I cannot share because I dare not reveal it to my sister (no idea if she really reads this but still), but it is looking lovely and it is something designed by Stephen West (initials of project are E.S). ;)

I also tried to watch the Walking Dead, Season 1, Episode 1. Now to be honest, it was still dark out.. and I only saw two zombies before I chickened out..

Also managed to download the sweater that I want to make for my youngest daughter, The Rose Summer Sweater by Lavendel's Knits, only to realize that it was only in Danish.. Though luckily I can translate it haha. I will be making it in Knitpicks.com Swish DK and adding two pockets to the front. As I start, I will let you know how the translation goes, without giving too much away since you should purchase the pattern.

Yesterday, I went through and made a list of everything that I'm planning on making for presents this holiday season. Do you do that? Have you ever been successful? Let's hope that my elbow cooperates haha.

On the mental health side, things have been shaky but I have been doing a good job holding it together for the kids. If I have to sit and knit, I do. If I can get up and chase them around, I do.

Anyone have any brownies looking for a good home? I could use the help. :P

Be well, I care, and keep on crafting folks.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

On Keeping Focused and Three Top Tips for Mental Illness Survival

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  Today I took it upon myself to do a few things, besides work really hard at work. I emailed my resume to a few places local to where I live about Licensed Mental Health Counselor positions that may come up. My county does not actually hire LMHC's to do therapy, as a county job, they only hire Social Workers. This is due to some confusion about whether LMHC's can bill Medicaid (they can) a few years ago. Anywho (just say it, it makes sense), that led to the county not changing their job eligible descriptions and me not being able to work locally.

  I loved my internship. I mean loved it. I loved the local people, especially the college aged folks that came in. That time period is my favorite, when you have so many choices and there can be so much confusion and surprise at how the world is really not like the fishbowl that high school was, but it is too. There is probably no job I would be more passionate about than working at a college as a counselor, just heaven. Well, wish me luck as they aren't even hiring, just putting my resume out there for the future.

   In other news, how about a sneak peak for all my readers out there into my self-help book on how to use knitting to help cope with mental illness symptoms.

  1.  Compassion: When you have a mental illness, we spend so much time beating ourselves up. So give yourself a break, a physical and mental hug and tell yourself that it is okay. Every day you make it is a success. Sometimes, every breath.
  2. Reaching Out: Do not get me wrong, I absolutely suck at this. And yes, sometimes people will turn you away but it is either because they are so damaged they do not know how to be anything but an asshole or they simply do not know how to respond. You are not attention-seeking to reach out, you are trying to make connections and these are sorely needed in our society.
  3. Keep Going: Never give up. And I do not mean, do not give yourself mental health days, and do not reach out for help when it becomes overwhelming. I mean, be kind to yourself and reach out to others, but make sure that you also keep on trucking through each breath. If all we feel we have to give to the world is a smile, than do so. Remove the people in your world who make you feel bad, that is okay to do! And keep plodding until you are walking and until you are dancing. Life is an ocean and the waves will come no matter what we do.
Much love and many hugs!


Monday, September 14, 2015

Pondering As I Knit

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So today is a little colder, the cool air having moved in this past week. I've been doing a lot of knitting this past weekend, so should probably take the day off to let my elbow rest. Wish me luck with that.

Over the weekend, I was still feeling really down. To be honest, I have good reasons for feeling stressed, but I generally try to stay positive for my kids and because I deserve it. But lately I have just hit my rut and am either super sad or numb. Probably just the cold weather coming in. I did manage to get some cleaning in, so woot for me!

My oldest started school last week again, 3rd grade, and my youngest is home with my mother and very lonely. I feel bad for her. Last night she looked at me with her big brown eyes and said "You stay home with me tomorrow?" I told her no, that Daddy and I had to go to work and Lizzie to school. But she could play with Grandma tomorrow. She said "Okay" and laid her head against me. My poor pumpkin.

I have several projects that are in my WIP (or will soon be WIP's) pile and I hope I can finish a few asap.

 One is the Leksak sweater for my oldest. She picked out the color of the yarn (Twilight Blue in Swish dk yarn, knitpicks.com). Just have to finish the sleeves, and tapering them should be interesting since she wants them tapered, and the pattern does not have that. But it is easily done.

Another WIP I want to finish is the Water MKAL by Fiddleknits. I'm almost halfway through with clue 3, so getting there. The yarn from Celestial Strings is fun and I'm enjoying doing my first project with dropped stitches (woot!).

And I'm cracking the proverbial wip on myself for the Men's Sloppy Joe sweater for my husband (pattern by Martin Storey and yarn is Berroco Vintage). I have to say that I find this pattern uniquely BORING haha. But the husbeast wants it.

Keeping my hands and thoughts busy helps my depression. But part of me really craves the beach, the ocean beach. To feel the salt in the air, to hear the waves rush onto the sand, to feel the sand give under you.. Nothing is better.. So rejuvenating, so calming, cleansing, grounding. Where air, water and earth meet, such a powerful place for our spirits.
There have been fewer times in my life that I have felt that I fit in, instead, I usually feel that I do not. And today I pondered that. So to leave you with this post, think about what makes us different? If we are kind to ourselves and others, is it necessarily a bad thing to be different? Would fitting in make us feel less lonely or would it just continue to be a sharp note against who we are.
So yes, I'm feeling depressed, but instead of trying to break through it, for the rest of this evening, I'm going to try and sink into myself and relax. Allow myself to be who I am, be kind to the people around me and breath. To not fight the dark clouds. Wish me luck!! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephenie-zamora/what-to-do-when-you-just-_b_5526320.html
 Be well and take care!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Water & Air MKAL's and September Stuff

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Most of the depression has lifted, or perhaps, my ability to break through my clouds is a little better. Still having trouble sleeping from time to time and concentrating. Almost lost $50 this past weekend, and I am usually more observant than that. My husband actually mentioned his worrying about me having possible dementia (half joking), and I did not tell him it was mostly from the numbness of depression. The emptiness.

  But on that cheery note, welcome to September and the awesomeness of kids going back to school. And the sadness that they are officially a year older. My oldest entered 3rd grade this year and is excited to meet her teacher, which I will be honest with you.. She did not stay for the evening session of meet the teacher and see your school (open house before school started), which did not endear her to me. But here is my adorable 8 year old on her first day of 3rd grade.

This past long weekend, I really did knit entirely too much and my elbow was screaming at me last night.. Which may have been part of the reason I couldn't sleep. So no knitting today (wish me luck). I did manage to get through clue 2 of the Water MKAL (which isn't such a mystery anymore haha), designed by Erica Jackofsky (fiddleknits). I cannot wait until next month when we start the Air MKAL and I have my yarn all ready (still debating beads).

So here is my progress thus far on Water (yarn is Celestial Strings Yarn Merino Bamboo yarn (you seriously need to check out her stuff, it is sooo beautiful!!), fingering weight, custom dye):

And here is the yarn I will be using for Air (kind of like stormy skies) (yarn is Knitpicks Gloss Lace, which is a merino silk mix, lace weight in Sterling colorway):

Be well, folks. Take it one day at a time. Take each breath at a time. We're really not alone, but all connected. It is our society that is making us feel disconnected. Hug more, run less, and remember that we are all suffering but we shall all get through this. Together. So pick up those needles and take it one stitch at a time!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Knitter With Chronic Depression

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I cried all the way to work today. Thought all the negative thoughts we are not supposed to give in to at any point, that life is so hard, I just want to sleep and cover my head with my pillows. And yes, even that I wish I wasn't alive.

(To clarify here, no I am not suicidal. I have wishful thoughts, when life gets hard, but with my two beautiful daughters, there is no way that I would ever give in and toss in the towel.)

Chronic depression sucks. There are so many words for what happens when the feelings that are inside you all the time start to overwhelm you: drowning, blanket of nothing, black clouds, swamp of sorrow (thank you Neverending Story for that one)...  But when it overwhelms me, it's more like my ability to punch through the dark clouds inside me and feel both positive and negative emotions is smothered.

So you may be asking the screen why I'm writing about this so much in a blog about knitting (and sometimes crocheting). Well, it's because I use knitting as a positive activity to keep me practicing meditation and mindfulness. It keeps my hands busy and allows my mind to observe my thoughts and not dwell on them. But my elbow hurts so much that I cannot knit, and I need to stop for a while. This is very hard and very scary for me. This means that knitting is a crutch and I should use this time to practice meditation without something in my hands.

My elbow was diagnosed with tendonitis and I haven't gone any further with it because my husbands doctors appointments have eaten up my time, and his back is feeling better so it is worth it. But it is so hard to take care of ourselves, isn't it?

As someone who is trained as a therapist, I often use my own techniques on myself. I ask myself what I would do if someone with these symptoms came to me for help. But today, my dark cloud cover is to thick to think, and I have to work so I cannot simply lay down and give myself a mental day at home.
What do you do when the depression overwhelms you?
Do you self-care until you can burst through the cloud cover again?

Usually it does not take me too long, a day or two. I can always feel the cloud there, but I feel like I have more strength to fight it.

So barely thinking, and feeling very numb, here are my blessings:
1) My two joyful daughters, they are so sweet and loving and I feel blessed to have been chosen to be their mother by their spirits.
2) My friends Deb and Heather who have gifted me with a winder and amish swift (Deb's husband made it) over the past few weeks. I am so grateful and even now it makes me smile.
3) My coworkers who are really very sweet and understanding people. So often we can work somewhere that is not understanding of mistakes and where we are not appreciated, my workplace is not like that.
4) My husband who tries through his own pain.
5) My followers and supporters online and in person. Don't give up on me! And I hope to see you at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival!

I may stop knitting and crocheting until Rhinebeck.. A countdown until October 17th? 38 days and counting...

Be well!