Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Crossing that Border.

I'm not sure how many fellow crocheters become almost undone when , at last, we reach "the border" of our blankets, afghans or shawls? I know, there's always a pattern to follow which someone else had night sweats over. But, there is an enclave of crocheters who have a mental block ( more like a steel plate ) of pattern-reading resistance, and I am one of them! :-) I've tried to analyse why I don't just do the work of learning patterns and it all comes down to my rebellious nature. Yes, I squarely set blame at the feet of my intense dislike of authority. I will not be told what to do. What, y/o, sl st, sc2tog and repeat, 3 x trbl and y/o again??? Just No! And of course, I pay for my stubbornness by winging all my crochet projects. I do love the youtube tutorials though, and already I have my favourites... Laura, from Happy Berry Crochet  has been a great help to me. She is very patient, and takes time to properly explain, which is invaluable to ADD crocheters like me. :-) The other youtube tutorials I often turn to in times of extreme crochet frustration are the eHow crochet tutorials and it's where I learned how to do the simple scallop border on my WIP. Then of course, I wanted to add to that so I tried my own pattern ( of sorts ) and I am now going to actually attempt to write an abbreviated crochet pattern for it! So here goes. As you will see I did include the link to a simple scalloped border. Then I added to it by crocheting simple chain stitches, half-double stitches and a sort-of puff stitch.

The sequence is: starting with a 4 y/o puff stitch ( although you could add more strands if you want it puffier ). Then, ch x 2, then y/o and into the "top or tip" of your scallop ( there are 5 stitches in the scallop so it would be the 3rd stitch ) crochet hdc x 3 into the top of that stitch, then ch x 3 and then into the "valley" between the scallop and do another Puff Stitch. Then repeat the sequence all the way around ending with a sl st.

I was satisfied with the effect. Well, as satisfied as any OCD perfectionist could be. I accept the fact that I will probably never get even close to the likes of Dedri Uys or Tatsiana from LillaBjorns Crochet World , and I have made my peace with that. Afterall... I make melt-in-your-mouth vegan meringues using the juice from canned Chickpeas... and how many people can say that? :D We live in a wonderfully diverse world and the possibilities out there, which have the potential to bring us so much joy, contentment and a sense of accomplishment ...are endless, Whatever blows your hair back, just do it!! Take care. xxxxxxx

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Gone, but never forgotten. In memory of Wink and Vanessa.

Goodness, it's been almost two months to the day since I last wrote up a post. The death of Wink ( from the lovely, inspiring blog A Creative Being ), broke my heart!

There was a flurry of activity in Blogland and on Social Media, but I could not find it in me to participate and mostly just left teary-eyed emoticons in the comment sections. While everyone else got frantically busy crocheting Mandelas (which Wink was famous for) in honour of her work, and her memory, I tried but crocheting with yarn made damp from tears, doesn't work.

 So, I'm sort of finding my feet again although every time I pop in here I'm reminded of her and just want to pay her blog a visit to see what lovely thing she's working on. Her death has also highlighted , for me, the fragility of life and also how appearances can be so deceiving. We can never really know what hides behind a beautiful smile or a facade carefully put together to deflect prying eyes. For it's a sad truth that those who are most in need of comfort, support and loving care, construct impenetrable emotional fortresses.

What has come out of this, from a more positive perspective is that I have looked inward...at my own life and how much of it has been spent taking care of the needs of others. I've done this willingly, because I do believe service to others is part of being a decent, contented and peace-filled human being. But it can be that service to others becomes the only thing we're really good at doing, It can become a bad habit, actually! We find ourselves , so many times , saying yes instead of no, or being roped into something that we would rather not do! For myself, as a classic introvert, this can and has been overwhelming and very draining. To the point where I've made myself ill and almost bed-ridden! And I have only myself to blame.

It's amazing how we just keep "being of service"...even in Blogland! There are many Bloggers who feel the pressure of being consistent and productive, to an nth! I've read so many articles and posts on what you MUST do to drive traffic to your Blog and although I get that many Bloggers earn an income from their Blogs from the items they create, promote and sell via their Blogs, I also do believe just as many Bloggers are stay-at-home-mums, dads, students, retirees, single-people, disabled-people...just ordinary people who have a hobby, who perhaps like to write about their lives, who perhaps don't have amazing things to sell...or say, but do it purely as an enjoyable pursuit, purely for their own pleasure.

The thing is, oftentimes while sharing something through a Blog post...suddenly, without being completely aware of what impact you've made, your post hits a chord and before you know it you have an audience, a following...and a responsibility to follow through. And that's where, I feel, the problems arise. Sure, many people thrive on the praise and attention but it is ironic ( or is that a paradox? ) that so many creative types generally shy away from attention, tend to crave affection, are people-pleasers, have trouble with personal relationships and as such...all the new found attention becomes addictive, and our soulful creatives feel hell-bent to create, so that the feel good factor keeps coming. I don't think you have to be a mental health practitioner to see where that could lead. Oh my gosh, I've sidetracked myself.

What I have done is drastically cut back on social media platforms, where, as an animal rights advocate, vegan, vegan-cafe owner and chef I have been very active since 2009! And of course as my "following" rose into 1000's I could feel the pressure of not only pushing forward relevant campaigns, but also acting as a sort of inspiration to others ( to go vegan ), to be involved in online debates and promotions related to animal rights and veganism. And it's all for a great cause! Don't get me wrong! But I do feel there are people who are emotionally far more robust than others, who are in better positions to advocate. It's like business really. Those who do very well in business have a certain emotional make up and physical stamina to take on the tasks, often grueling and sometimes thankless, of business at hand, whatever that may be. And we know, or at least should know that sensitive, empathic types are not cut from that cloth and that whatever they do, being in the spotlight, being pressured into performing, producing, creating is like a dagger through the heart. Sooner or later we are stopped dead in our tracks...either by illness, burnout or sadly in many cases, by our own hand.

Winks death is not the only one, within Blogland, to have shook me to the core. Vanessa Cabban's death, although not ruled a suicide but rather an accident ( being on a railway track is no accident) has made many of us 'creative types" sit up and take notice.

Our crafts have long been touted as therapy for our tortured souls. Oh yes, just crochet or knit your anxiety and depression away, could not be a more damning phrase. It's a means, but not an end. And it's very likely to cause you even more of the very emotions you're desperately trying to get to grips with, if you step on the treadmill of accolades for your work, your very soulful work. There can never be enough praise to meet the very special and particular needs of a soulful creative human being. We want to crochet a better world, we want to bring light to the darkness through our poems, stories and paintings, we want to love the world so it loves itself through our music or dance. Just being told "your work is wonderful, you're such an inspiration" will hold us for a minute but because we see the world, ourselves and others  through different eyes, praise itself will never be the glue that holds us together.

And so I end this rather sad post, with the thought that we must, and I speak for myself and all creatives who are made less robust than others, that our own personhood must be protected at all costs. It sounds easy, when written down, but to be honest, I'd rather live in the shadows, sending out occasional little sparks of light here and there, than live in the fierce glare of a largely too bright-burning humanity which to my mind, is already flying too close to the Sun. Take care of yourself, like the precious being you are. :-) xxxxxxx