Monthly Archives: October 2015


Why lowering your expectations is a good thing (sometimes:))

pears

So, I baked a pear pie today.

Not exactly an extraordinary feat, right? Well, maybe for the average person, it isn’t. But when I woke up this morning, I felt so sore and tired, I thought all I’d be able to do was lie in bed and maybe crochet a little. For me, baking that pear pie means I aced my day.

If there’s one thing that being chronically ill teaches you, it’s how to lower your expectations. For the longest time I felt bad about spending whole days in bed, writing and crafting but not being able to, say, get my own groceries – because it wasn’t ‘normal’.
I wasn’t able to let go of normal. I kept comparing myself unfavourably with normal, and falling short. Until one day somebody said: “What if this IS your normal? I mean, societal norms aside, is this life really so terrible?”

And I realized: you know what, it’s not. It may not look like the average life of somebody my age – but it actually feels pretty fulfilling, to me. Letting go of the norm has enabled me to reset my whole idea, all my expectations, of what a good life should be and what it should look like. It has set me free.

This is what they call a blessing in disguise. And it doesn’t just apply to chronically ill people, though it does seem like people who’ve had a lot of adversity in their lives often have an easier time with this lesson. But really, I think this is true for everyone:

Once you let go of your expectations, you discover that anything can be happiness. That’s it. It’s that simple.
An impromptu meetup with old friends in a bar can be happiness. A smile on an elevator can be happiness. Baking a pear pie on a rainy day? Definitely happiness.

PS. It’s delicious. 🙂


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Free pattern: bebop stitch! (great for blankets, scarves etc) 8

Like so many inventions in life, this stitch was kind of an accident.

I was trying to teach myself how to knit so I could recreate the bumpy texture on my new Blueblood vest. After failing rather spectacularly with the knitting – I *have* managed to teach myself since; no idea what went wrong that day – I was so frustrated that I decided to create my own bumpy stitch, but in crochet.

STICKING IT TO THE MAN! TAKE THAT, KNITTING GODDESS!!

(…)

Anyway, this is what came out.

Repeating the stitch over a larger surface creates a vibrant texture that lends an interesting dynamic without being too overpowering.
I know that sounds like I’m a used car salesman on a poetry high, but it’s true. Oh, and I decided to call it the bebop stitch, because the puff stitches go up and down like jazz notes. See?

bebopkleinst

THE BEBOP STITCH

Gauge: with a worsted weight yarn and a 5 mm/H size hook, 10 completed bebop stitches measure 20 cm/8 inches.
NB. I crochet pretty tightly.

Level: intermediate to advanced

To start
Chain a multitude of 4, plus an extra 4. Example: chaining 80 (plus 4) will give you 20 bebop stitches and a total width of 40 cm/16 inches.

Indication for baby (crib) blanket: width of 100 cm/40 inches: chain 200 + 4 = 204 for a total of 50 bb st. Work up to desired height.
Indication for cowl: 70 cm / 28 inches around neck: chain 140 + 4 = 144 for a total of 35 bb st. Work in turned rows or turned rounds (join rows as you go if desired)

Row 1
Yarn over (yo), go into 5th ch from hook, do 7-loop puff st | skip 2 ch, sl st into the next ch (8th ch from hook). Your completed stitch should look like this, with the sl st in the 8th ch.

Completed_stitch
*Ch 4, yo, go into next ch | do 7-loop puff st, skip 2 ch, and sl st into next ch*
Repeat *…* until you’ve used up all your chains and sl stitched into the last chain. In this case, you repeat the sequence four times total. Ch 4, turn your work around.

After completing row 1, your work should look like this.

row_12

Row 2
Skip the 1st sl st, puff st and ch, and sl st into the next ch | *ch 4. Yo, go into next ch, do 7-loop puff st | skip next ch, sl st, puff st, ch | sl st into the next ch*
NB. You always work the sl st and puff st in the middle two ch (ch 2-3) of the ch 4 repetitions from the previous row.
Repeat *…* until you’re at the last 4 ch repetition from row 1. After your last sl st, ch 2 and do a dc in the next ch. Chain 4, turn work. Note that you should have one less puff stitch in the even row.

Here’s what your finished row 2 should look like.

row_123

Row 3
Yo and go into the 1st ch (after dc), do 7-loop puff st | skip next ch, sl st, puff st, ch | sl st into the next ch. *Ch 4, yo | do 7-loop puff st, skip next ch, sl st, puff st, ch | sl st into the next ch.*
Repeat *…* until you’re at the last 4ch repetition from row 2. Sl st into the 2ndch, chain 4. Note that you should have one more puff stitch in the odd row. Here’s what your finished row 3 should look like.

row_1234

Repeat row 2 and 3 until you reach desired length. That’s all there is to the bebop stitch!

Uneven edges fix
Depending on your tension, your edges might become uneven.
Here are some fixes!

Left edge (as seen above), too tight: ch 5 instead of 4 at the end of each uneven row.
Left edge, too loose: sl st into the 3rd instead of 2nd ch on the last 4 ch repetition from the even (previous) row.
Right edge, too tight: do tr instead of dc.
Right edge, too loose: do hdc instead of dc, OR dc into the 4th instead of 3rd ch on the last 4 ch repetition from the uneven (previous) row.

Please…
feel free to use this stitch for whatever (commercial) project you desire! I appreciate a mention or link, but it’s not necessary.
Please DO NOT take this pattern, or the images, and charge people money for it. Seriously, cats. That’s not bebop.

Have fun!! 🙂


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DIY tutorial: How to make tea bags / seed bags out of coffee filters

In which I show you in my very ‘unique’ way how to make seed bags out of coffee filters:). Neat little trick that also works great for loose tea. Repurposing is your friend!


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What if your life has no purpose? 2

As I write this, I’m surrounded by crocheted squares, motifs of dubious looking animals, and test pieces. Hopefully they will fall into place sooner or later – except for the animals that look too miserably deformed – and form a big, medieval-inspired tapestry. Which I will then send to Washington, DC to be exposed in an art show my friend is organizing.

Why? Because I can. Because she asked me, and I said ‘I’d love to’.

There is no real purpose to me being a part of this exhibition, and certainly no money – unless the unthinkable happens and I sell my work to a rich lover of deformed animal tapestries.
But then, I never really did it for a purpose to begin with.

FB_IMG_1443717883259

Whenever I stumble upon advice for people in their twenties and early thirties, it’s always directed towards a purpose. ‘Create a list of life goals!’ Or ‘list your core qualities and where you’d like to be by the age of thirty-five! Then map out the path to get there!’

(This I can tell you, friends – I am NOT where I wanted to be by the age of thirty-five (I’m only thirty-four, but still. Bear with me).)

I’m not mocking this sort of advice. I think it can be very useful to know where you want to go and how to get there.
But I guess what being chronically ill has taught me, is that to fail miserably with all your life goals, and to not know what your purpose is, and to float around in the world and do stuff left and right just because you feel like it, IS OKAY, TOO.

There is so much pressure on the narratives of our lives. Our lives should be engaging, plot driven stories, if not fairy tales (with the Instagram pics to prove it!). Everything should lead to something else in a way that makes sense – everything should have a purpose.

But what if your life is not a fairy tale? Not even a story? What if it’s no straight line leading perpetually up to bigger and better things, with a prize waiting for you at the end of the graph? What if it’s just a pointless curve, meandering up and down, going nowhere?

I’ll tell you what – YOU’LL BE JUST FINE.

This is what I have found: at any given point on the graph, I can still be right where I am. I can still find joy in that moment. I can still create beauty in that moment. For me, that’s meaning enough.

(And more so: I think being here is making me happier than being where I originally thought I should be by thirty-five.)

What it will lead to? I don’t know. But the wonderful thing is: I no longer NEED to know to live a good, meaningful life.
And so can you.

Even without a purpose.

word

 

 


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