A Return to Lace Revisited

At some point, I do have to block it right?

Tonight I finally took a moment to block the Leaf Lace Scarf that I had talked about previously.  It was a relatively light task but with a tiny craft room floor (it wouldn't have been that bad if we didn't have 3 spinning wheels, 2 stools, and a 26" floor loom in the way!).

There is an estimated 714 yards of lace weight yarn in this picture and it only took me 39 days of knitting inconsistently for me to finish it.

The Mithril Yarn by The Verdant Gryphon knit amzingly well.  I'm sort of tempted to get another skein of this in another colorway just to enjoy it a bit more.

Seriously fun knit.


A Return to Lace

It's been quite a while!  So much has been going on,  I won't bother to bore you with the details.  I will say this though, I have been trying to work on knitting through some of my yarn stash instead of randomly buying more yarn. In doing so, I'm also "buying back" all of my yarn as an added way to save some money.  However much money I spent on a skein of yarn, when I go to knit with it, that amount will be transferred over to my savings account.  I'm doing this to force myself to knit from stash with the added incentive for saving money.

 I've got several projects in the works right at the moment. Chiefest of which is my Leaf Lace Scarf  By: Cayli Malone,  It's a wonderful pattern that is easily memorized after the first three or four repeats.

I will say that my biggest issue with it is that lines 1-5, and 13-17, are all pretty much the same, If you are not careful, you could end up knitting line 9 while you should be working on line 5.  The pattern just lines up that perfectly that if you aren't paying attention, you may find yourself tinking back 3 or 4 rows worth of lace.

The pattern only calls for 69 stitches to be cast on, but I wanted more of a shawl.  This is the biggest reason I chose this pattern!  The center repeat is only 10 stitches wide, so I was able to cast on 109 stitches instead of the 69 stitches that was written.  It works our beautifully!

The yarn that I'm working with is a very decadent lace weight yarn from The Verdant Gryphon called Mithril, named after the silver coat that Bilbo Baggins wore in LoTR. This yarn is beautiful!  It has eight cobweb plies of Merino thread which makes rather strong, but still wonderfully soft to work with!

I have rather enjoyed working with this colorway as well.  It reminds me of the soft and subtle colors of the American Southwest.  It's variances are muted enough so that you don't lose the lace pattern in it.  That's one of the biggest issues I have with so many dyers is that so often they do these wildly contrasting colors, and most patterns get lost in it.

This has been my go to project since Christmas day and I honestly can't wait to block it because when I do, it's going to be pretty.  Since I've started knitting lace, I have always enjoyed it, and returning once again to lace can be an almost zen experience at times, frustrating at others; but I will say, it has definitely been worth returning to lace.

Mithril! All folk desired it. It could be beaten like copper, and polished like glass; and the Dwarves could make of it a metal, light and yet harder than tempered steel. Its beauty was like to that of common silver, but the beauty of mithril did not tarnish or grow dim."


Through the eyes of a child

There is a wonderful book by a Norwegian author name Jostein Gaarder called Sophie's World. It's an amazing book about the history of Western Philosophy.  The book discusses everything from Pre-Socratic philosophers, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, up through the Roman philosophers,  the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, The Enlightment,  Marx, Darwin, and so forth up to the Big Bang.   In the beginning of the book there is a passage that talks about Children being the best philosophers because everything is so new to them.  They haven't lost that sense of wonder.  They are able to accept everything without reservation because they have no experience with it, which is why they probably want to get into everything.  They want to taste, smell, see, touch, hear, do, experience everything.  It goes on to say that as we get older we learn through our experiences that the world is just so and that is that.  We quietly learn to accept things as is and we forget to ask ourselves, "WHAT IF?"  Society teaches that maintaining that sense of wonder is wrong, and we shouldn't question things.

Plato once described life as though we were prisoners in a cave, looking at shadows play and dance across the wall of the cave.  We were told that the Shadows were our reality.  And after so much time people begin to just accept the Shadows as our reality.   Where did the sense of  wonder go?   Have you ever thought about what causes the Shadows on the wall that we are constantly told are our Reality?  

I have been talking with psychologist since the beginning of the year, and working to change my self for the better.  I have been working to overcome a long time bout of depression, and deal with some of the issues that have been plaguing me for a while.   Back in February I had gotten fired from a job working in a Neurology office.  It was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Working there was depressing the hell out of me more than I already was.  I was inactive, sitting at a front desk, answering a constant stream of phone calls, emails, patients, prior authorizations.  The ladies in the office I found to be incredibly hard to stomach.  Either they were sickeningly sweet and chirpy (I never trust anyone that perpetually cheerful.  It is an indication that they are false as press on nails.) or they were extremely cliquish.  I would always be on the outside looking in.
I am not one to sit still for hours at a time.  I like to be up and moving around, doing stuff, accomplishing a goal.  

I went to work at a local gardening center in March.  When I started I weighed 210 lbs.  I have since lost 20 lbs and managed to keep it off!  I was up and moving around, lifting and carrying things and working with my hands again.  

As time has progressed, I have found myself re-awakening that sense of wonder that children inherently have.  I found myself doing things over the summer that I have not done in years that I had so enjoyed while growing up.  I was riding my bycicle around the Airport and thinking about how much I enjoyed riding, and why wasn't I riding more often? and how much I had enjoyed fishing the other week, and that it had been years since I had gone fishing.  Just sitting out casting a line out and enjoying the moment.  And I had three thoughts.  The first was that I haven't been doing these things that I had so loved in the past because I was depressed.  The second thought was that I could have been doing these things all along if I really wanted to.  The third thought was the doozy.  I realized that depression is not malady that makes you sad.  Depression is a sickness that causes you to forget the things that have brought you joy.   It was one of those pivotal moments that makes one stop what they are doing and go, "OOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!!" and the lightbulbs start flashing and you are able to see a clearer picture than before.

In Tarot card reading, the first card of the Major Arcana is The Fool. When this card turns up, it indicates that you are about to start on a wonderful journey.  It shows a boy walking about without a care to the world, exhilarating in all the wonder and abstract of this life. While talking with my psychologist tonight,  it was pointed out to me that I have a lot of interests because I have choose to see the abstract. I am now once again starting to see the world through the eyes of a child and see the world for all of the wonder and joy it holds.   I want to see what is causing the Shadows on the wall of the cave.

Never cease being The Fool.  Never stop doing what you love because it is the "proper, mature, adult thing to do."  Never stop wanting to be Dorothy pulling back the curtain to see what the Wizard really is.  While being an adult is all well and good (we do have basic needs that should be met and sometimes yes adulting is necessary after all) we should never stop seeing the world through the eyes of a child.  Don't become old and set in your ways and accept the Shadows as your Reality, otherwise you will always be a prisoner in a cave.


Thoughts on the Indiana RFRA bill

I've been thinking about the RFRA bill in Indiana, and it's purposes, consequences, and what we as citizens can do to fight such bills.
This bill has just opened the door to set the clock backwards several decades. At it's core it is discrimination at its worst. Using religion to further your own political views against a particular group of citizens is cowardice pure and simple. Too many times religion has been used to ignite the passions in politics. Hiding behind any religion for political purposes says to me that a politician is too cowardly to make an actual stand. Politics from the pulpit has caused more controversy, fighting, war, and death over the millenia than any other political agenda. Look at the Witch trials, the Holocaust, the Jacobite uprisings in England circa 1700's, the Crusades, the IRA, and many others.
Bills and laws like the RFRA bill have too many consequences to be ignored. Look at the recently opened Church of Cannabis that uses the RFRA as a precedence to even be opened. What is going to happen when a business owned by a lets say someone of a Pagan bent refuses service to a Christian? Politicians need to always consider what kind of Pandora's Box is being opened when Religion is the basis for a bill.
While the most obvious way to fight is to rally and protest, to those endorsing such bills, too often this seems to fall on deaf ears. It seems to be viewed more as people throwing a collective temper tantrum. And given time will die off and go away, and the politicians that endorse these bills can sit quietly in their office and ignore it.
We are always encouraged to call our Congressional leaders, the people that the Majority have voted into office. Again, too many deaf ears.
Voting, again can be a bit more effective, but there is no real way of showing what type of public official you are getting until they actually get into office. All you can go by is their track record up to that point, and even then things are likely to change. especially the longer they are in office. This is exactly why term limits need to be set for ALL politicians. It evens the playing field a bit more due to the simple fact that they are not given time to get comfortable. Career politicians are perhaps the biggest detriment to our current affairs. Too often they become entangled with businesses, and tend to forget the constituents that they are elected to support.
What I have found that has worked most effectively is to hit them where it will be most noticed and less easily ignored. Right in the wallet. they say that action speak louder than words. Using financial stress is perhaps the most effective tool in an arsenal to make a change. The bakery that refused to bake a cake for a gay couple's wedding: Closed. Word spread rather quickly and people stopped even going to that bakery. The same can be said for the recent closing of a pizza parlour in Indiana. I read an article last night that they are also closing. Now we are also hearing stories of restuarants going so far as to remove Ice machines because they came from the company owned by the man that wrote the RFRA bill.
Politics and Business have been bed fellows for far too long. We can voice our opinions on a subject easily enough through protest; and we can call our congress critters, and that might get a bit more of a response if enough people call on the same issue to warrant a response. The ability is still there to let those cries of discontent be left unheard.
It seems that the best way to be heard is to vote with your wallet. If people stop supporting businesses that support such bills, it cuts the money trail quite neatly. When businesses are effected by the political decisions that they have made vocal they will either go out of business and become nothing more than a single voice in the crowd, or they will take notice and make the changes that need to be made. When we cut the money trail it sends a clearer message than any protest or phone call could ever make.


One CLUE X 4 to the head, please!

"Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen"-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lord and Lady!  I can't believe its been since May since I have last written anything.  So much has happened in that time that I can't even remember it all. 

I left my job where I was working for 5 years. I miserable. It was easier to be numb and try my damnedest to shut myself down emotionally.  The downside to this is that it caused a vicious cycle to happen.  The harder I tried to shut down, the worse I felt until it caused me to have an anxiety attack.  Not a pretty picture. 

glass jar candleI've since come to the conclusion that the Medical field is great, it felt as though I were the wick of a jar candle that someone just put the lid on to snuff out.

I decided to go back to school to the local community college to get some sort of degree elsewhere in the medical field hoping that would re-ignite that wick.  But the more that I thought about it, the more I felt cold to the idea.  

Since just after the beginning of this year, I've started seeing a Psychologist to help sort things out.  Even though I may live inside of my head, I don't have all the answers to my own life. None of us do. And those that say they do are full of it.  When your life gets to the point where you can't sort out anything anymore and it seems like you are walking on the edge of a knife, it's time to sit down and talk with someone.  Whether its a Psychologist, a Priest, or the family dog, do yourself a favor and TALK TO SOMEONE!!!

I've become tired feeling like I'm squandering my life.  Why am I working at a job that has no joy? no spark in it? Only reason I can think of is that it pays the bills. That's surviving, not thriving.  I look at it and think, "How will I feel about this job in five years?"  The answer? Even worse, even more numb and depressed.  What brings me joy? what in my past has given life to the wick in the jar candle that the medical field never has?  

The more I think on this, the more I wish to return to working with my hands.  Go back to Nature.  I've always enjoyed being outdoors.  I've never liked staying cooped up indoors. From working in my neighbors garden, to working in a greenhouse in high school, to going to my Grandparent's house where they live on the water.  

Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)
I took a class in taxonomy in high school.  over the course of that semester, I learned the taxonomical names of a good many of my local conifers (winter class, it was what was available).  Even now, 14 years later, the name Chamaecyparis Thyoides, or Picea Pungens come to mind easier than their  common name (Atlantic White Cedar and Blue Spruce respectively) 

I've always had a passion for Environmental sciences.  With all that it has to offer and all that we are going to need it for in the future, why did I choose the medical field if it holds no spark?

Do what brings you joy in life, don't starve yourself of the oxygen that you need to keep the wick aflame.  


Fiber Therapy

After the roller coaster week that I had last week, this past weekend was necessary.  This past weekend was Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and the weather was beautiful for it. I got a lot of goodies there this weekend and I look forward to enjoying them. I've been debating whether or not to buy a second set of  wool combs, so I finally broke down and purchased a set of 2 pitch wool combs. Since I have a number of fleeces that need to be processed, these will be a very welcome addition to the craft room. Though I will say, I'm thankful that I got my tetanus shot.  I took them home and started working with them, and  found out the hard way that they're rather sharp.

As a belated birthday present,  my boyfriend (wonderful man that he is) bought me a pack basket.  Perfect for when I go the MDRF or SCA events.   I do enough fiber activities at those events that I appreciate the extra storage room.  I'll be able to take my combs, carders, spindles, and anything else I might want with me.  SUPER EXCITED!

And speaking of drop spindles, I finally found the one thing that I've been searching for.  I found a small basket, tall enough for a drop spindle to fit in comfortably, and enough space to store some fiber for spinning on the go.  And the best part, its perfect size to fit on my Faire belt!  
Its great when you have a craft or hobby that helps you feel alive.  Something that helps you get up out of bed in the morning, and look forward to.  I've learned that we all have that passion that gets us going.  Spinning, knitting,  crocheting, as well as all of the other fibery things that I do help me to restore balance to my life.  And I have met a whole host of friends through crafting that I never had before.  Crafting has brought so much of my Chosen Family together, and I wouldn't trade that for the world.

The love and support that I recieved from so many of my Family (both biological and my Chosen Family) and friends over the past week has been overwhelming at times. I'm thankful that there are so many in my life that are there when I need help.  

I sign off with this simple sentiment There is an old hymn called Blessed Be The Ties That Bind, and the third verse puts beautifully the love and friendship that got to feel this week:

We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

Maybe that's why I enjoy knitting and spinning so much?  It helps me create the tie that binds me to those that I love? 


Depression sucks.

I'm going to keep this simple. I've been in a pissy mood for some time now.  As the ladies at work would say, "I'm going through it."  

I didn't realize what "it" was until just recently.  I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep.  My mind was racing and worrying about my grandparents, and what the future holds in store for them.  And what's going to happen after they pass.

These thoughts have been troubling me for months now.  I don't know why.  I know that certain things are inevitable.  I know that things are outside of my control and so therefore, I have no business worrying about it.  But that doesn't stop me from feeling a sense of worry and anxiety about this.  I did what any normal person of this era would do.  I wrote it all out as a plea to the Gods on Facebook.

As I was writing about this desparation that has gripped me I couldn't help but start crying.  Releasing all of the months of worry, frustration, and anxiety that I had been battling.

It didn't occur to me until the next day, when the responses started pouring in and several friends of mine pointed out that I was depressed.  I always thought it was something that would be a sudden onset of listlessness, of not caring, of constantly feeling sad for no damn good reason.  The kind of listlessness where you have little interest or pleasure in doing things; or maybe its when you are down and feeling hopeless and that you will never be up to anyone standards.

I guess I was wrong.  Let me tell you what I have felt like when the undertow of depression has tried to pull me from my warm and sunny beach.   There are good days, great days even.  There are also some days where I felt punching a wall.  There have been days where it felt easier to completely shut down emotionally and become cold, unfeeling, and something like a member of the Borg Collective.

 Just going about my daily routine at work and not really paying attention to how harshly direct I have been, not just to my patients, but to my co-workers as well.  It has just been easier to deal with that way.  Apathy has become a way of life. I get to examine things with that dispassionate, ice cold eye.

It has not served me as well as I would have liked.   It doesn't end there either.  I have to force myself into a schedule of cleaning the house, I have gotten quite nasty with those that I call friends.  I've also realized that I don't like to be around crowds so much anymore.   That I want to fade into the background.

And the lesson that I am learning from all of this, is that depression has many forms, and it not only changes how you act and feel, but how you are percieved.  No matter how much you try to paint a veneer of calm, the varnish will peel and crack and people will always see more than you intend, even if you don't think they are paying attention.

It's time for me to get help with this.  Its time to finally admit to myself that all is not right in my world and actually deal with my issues, otherwise how can I be expected to grow as a person?  How do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time.