Get Cozy

This is Orlando the Marmalade Cat II, also known as Brolando, Lando Catrissian, and Fat Boy. We are trying hard to not let him become a truly obese cat, but he’s such a snuggler, he gets far more treats than he should. Notice that he is so intent upon his position on my lap that I can actually crochet right on top of him. I actually finished the shawl with him right there. He won’t tolerate hardback books though.

Before I paused to take the picture, my daughter came in and exclaimed, “AWWWW!! you are so cozy!” Yes, very. A lot has been said about the mentally restorative powers of yarn arts and pet ownership, some very serious scientists have researched these avenues to healing and found very positive results.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/dogs-and-health-a-lower-risk-for-heart-disease-related-death-2018061114020
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/98432.php
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4248608/
http://anxietyresourcecenter.org/2017/10/crochet-helps-brain/
https://www.headspace.com/blog/2016/12/11/meditating-with-ptsd/

Every pet owner can corroborate the peace that the unconditional love our pets give us. But those of us who work with yarn frequently, know this ‘mindfulness’ that they speak of. We have known it since the very first time we hit ‘the zone’. Making stitch after stitch, focused only on the rhythm of the pattern, mind completely focused on the flow and rhythm of the project in hand. This mindfulness of yarn work allows one to let go of other worries, if only for a little while. But it’s a break our minds need.

Then the phone rings or the baby cries or a car horn honks and we are shaken out of our peaceful state. I remember the first time it happened, my youngest was a toddler and I’d been learning crochet for maybe three or four months. I know I was doing ordinary rows of double crochet, focused on creating a square and not a trapezoid. She woke from her nap peacefully, I could hear her talking to the air the way toddlers do. I started to put the project away and had to do a double take. Not only were my edges beautifully even and square, but I had crocheted for almost two linear feet, it was half a baby blanket! I looked at the clock, an hour and a half had passed in complete peace. I remember thinking “ah, this is ‘the zone’ they talk about”. I know this zone of mental peace can be achieved via other methods, like running, but you can’t run with a cat on your lap. And there’s all the sweating.

That’s the yarn side of it, but there is more to being cozy than just working on something peacefully. The Danish have known this for a long time, their word is one that has probably entered your realm in the last year or so: hygge.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-year-of-hygge-the-danish-obsession-with-getting-cozy

This was definitely a hygge moment for me. What you don’t see in the picture is my husband to my right, reading, and a mug of hot tea to my left. All I was missing was some chocolate. It was an ‘extra frosting on top’ type of night in that I finished the shawl. So satisfying. I slept well.

So, the next time you sit down to do a few rows, don’t just grab the yarn and plop in your favorite chair, get cozy. Make the tea, grab a blanket, call the dog over. Not only will it instill guilt in anyone attempting to disturb you, your existential being will be better for the deeper mindfulness you achieve in the time given. And the project at hand will turn out beautifully.


22: Why Fiber Arts are Good For You

Info about my challenge!

I’m so excited about this challenge for February! Here’s what I have planned.
First, there’s going to be prizes! YAY! There will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize. I’ll post pictures of the prized in my FB Group and on IG so be sure you are in my group or following me on IG (or both).

Here’s how you participate

Every day in February work on your chosen craft for 15 mins and post pictures each day you do. Different things will earn you points. At the beginning of March I’ll draw 3 winners for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize.

Before it starts you are going to want to join Adventures with Fairy Tale Knits (my FB group) and follow me on IG. These are where you’ll earn points.

How to earn points

  • Tell me you a joining! Find the post on IG or in my FB group and let me know you are joining. If you are joining in both places, be sure to tell me your name in each place. (1 point)
  • Tag friends on IG that you think would like to join (1 point per friend)
  • Share a pic every day you work on your craft (1 point for each share)
    • In my Fb group, there will be a thread for sharing it that I’ll post every week, just put the day of the week you did that work.
    • On IG use the hashtag #FTKgetyourfiberon
    • Yes you can post both places and get 2 points each day.

The most important thing here is for use to do our crafts more often or to keep up with doing them often if we already are. If it will help you I’d love to see before and after pictures, or to see progress keepers so you can see how far you really are coming. Let’s make February better 1 stitch at a time!

What to Say When a Stranger Comments on Your Making in Public

We’ve all been there. You are minding your own business in the waiting room of the oil change shop/ dentist/ your child’s baseball practice, knitting or crocheting peacefully and a Total Stranger says:

“Are you knitting?”

I am, by nature, an extrovert. Most days this opens up a lovely discussion with a person about all the benefits of working with yarn, I share the love of my hobby and feel better for it. But some days, I’m just not in the mood. Maybe the project has a deadline. Maybe the project is keeping me from yelling at a loved one. Maybe I just need a little quiet time with myself. No matter the specifics, sometimes you just don’t feel like interacting with strangers today. So many feel like a deer caught in the headlights in this situation.

Never fear! Just memorize a few of these handy responses to answer and end the conversation. Bear in mind, my sarcasm quotient runs very high, but said in a polite tone of voice and followed with an innocent smile, many can be perceived as light humored instead of bleak sarcasm. Of course, if you are like me and bleak sarcasm is just your speed, pair these phrases with a raised eyebrow or firm eye roll as you see fit.

via GIPHY

P.S. That actress is an avid knitter, her name is Kristen Ritter!

The Honest route:

“Yup. And this is the tricky bit, I need to concentrate”
“Yup, I’m trying to keep count, thank you”
“No, it’s crochet and I’m trying to keep count, thank you”

If they insist on conversing, you can add:
“I really need to focus on this”

The Sarcastic route:

“No, I just thought this yarn loop looked lonely so I’m giving it friends”
“Am I? I’m not sure, my hands aren’t connected to my brain at all”
“(Yes, I’m knitting.) (No, this is crochet, knitting has two sticks.) No, it’s not a dying art. I’m glad your grandmother (knit) (crochet). Yes, you can learn how. You can take lessons at [fill in your favorite LYS]”

If they respond with “well that was rude” or similar, you can add:
“I’m sorry you think so, but exactly what part of my quiet personal activity made you think I was doing it to invite conversation?”

Or even:
“The fact that I’m knitting (crocheting) in public does not mean I want to be a spokesperson for the hobby. It means I don’t want to sit here bored to death while I wait”.

If you live in the South or carry your Southern upbringing in your accent, feel free to add “bless your heart” to any of the above.

Advice void in New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, parts of Alaska and California or where prohibited by law. No refund value.

Sometimes they open with:
“Well that’s a dying art”

Honest route:

“Actually, no. Google can tell you all about how hot it is again”
“Cars have been around for a hundred years yet people still own horses. This to has become a hobby instead of a necessity. It’s not dying.”

Sarcastic route:

“What? I’m dying? How do you know?”
“Just because your grandmother who knit is dead, doesn’t mean the whole hobby died”

Or they open with:
“that’s a lost art”

Honest route:

“Umm, no, I’m doing it right now. Not lost”
“Amelia Earhart is lost. (Knitting) (Crochet) is not”
“Just because you don’t have any yarny people in your life doesn’t mean it’s lost”

Sarcastic route:

“Here it is! You had me scared for a second there! Phew!”
“I’m lost? Are you sure? I thought I was in [state your location]”

Small children

Small children are their own kind of interruption. I am always gentler in my speaking, but make sure to be very clear, especially if they are the touch-everything type.

“I’m (knitting) (crocheting) and it requires quiet so I can focus.”
If the small person asks more questions or states that there is music/ noise/ etc: “I’m sure your mother has told you not to speak to strangers, right?”
When necessary: “Please don’t touch my stuff”.
And the Death Blow, only when absolutely necessary: “Where is your parent?” [more embarrassing to the parent if they are nearby]

So, there ya go, a handy list of brief statements to acknowledge the stranger, but also not have an unwanted conversation.

14: Perfect Patterns for Your Advent Calendar

knitting crochet podcast, yarn podcast


Here is a link the bundle of patterns I talked about.

Adventurer Wrap

Ambah’s Email list

Ambah’s Ravelry Group

ADVENTurous Wrap

Wrap Flower Power

Southern Exposure

Degreenify

Toasted Marshmallow Shawl

Through the Clouds Shawl

Shoshana Shawl

Crovontuli

Fading Lines

So Faded

Gelato

I hope you enjoy and are inspired by these patterns.  I recorded this episode for my villains advent calendar in the fall of 2018, but now you can get my Christmas in July advent calendar!  It’s available until July 31, 2019.  The theme is Saturday Morning Cartoons.

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