Knitting · recovery

Knitting through pain

I’ve been knitting since June 2016. I discovered that I like working with my hands, but sewing wasn’t a hobby I could take along with me while away from home. I learned the the answer to my problem was knitting. Sewing is still dear to my heart, but there isn’t anything wrong with learning more than one craft.

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Knitting from a place of emotions

I started knitting coming from a place of emotions. I was having emotional problems, and I couldn’t necessarily escape them. I couldn’t allow myself to act on them either. It was so important at the time that I held everything together.  People were depending on me. I had to fight. Making things with my hands plays a big part in how I deal with life’s challenges. When I get busy making things, I’m more resistant to depression.

When you feel pain, you just want to numb what you are feeling inside. Physical pain is different. As annoying and terrible as physical pain can be, sometimes  it can be subsided with medication. However, I’m what some people may called “an overly sensitive person,” and I never handle it well. I’m a big baby, and I will complain until the end.

However, emotional pain is something that can linger on forever if you allow it to. It’s important to take the time to understand your emotions, but at the same time you don’t want to allow it to affect your life so much that you end up neglecting yourself. You also don’t want to take your negative emotions out on others.  Based on my personality, emotional pain is something that holds me captive. I do my best to try to not stay down very long.  However, your emotions and insecurities can trick you into believing that what you are feeling is necessary and that you must act on it. I had to learn how to put my emotions aside so that I could continue to grow stronger and take care of the matters at hand.

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So, I started knitting in between my breaks from sewing  because I wanted to let go of a lot of negative emotions. I knew that my feelings would eventually create problems, so I decided to resist falling into them. I started knitting my way through areas of life. I called it “knitting my way through life’s obstacles.” I pray to God a lot while I knit so it helps me stay positive. I get a lot of knitting down before work just to ease my mind and prepare my mind for the day.

 

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The Process: Knit 1 Purl 1

It took me about a week to get my hands together in order to learn how to knit. The idea was so foreign to me at the time. It was so challenging that all I could focus on at times was how I was going to make any stitches. Eventually two weeks later I was taking my yarn and needles with me to work.I started knitting in my car before work, during lunch, and breaks. I would sit in bed in knit while binge watching Netflix. I learned that I could accomplish making a scarf by learning how to create garter stitch. However,  I think all new knitters learn after a while that garter stitch can get boring.

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The Plan

I had a plan last summer. I received a Michael’s gift card for my birthday during the end of July. I bought 9 skeins of yarn. My goal was to make three scarves for the fall. I bought  6 skeins of yarn from  Loops and Thread.I also purchased  the last three skeins from Lion Brand’s Homespun yarn. I had three different colors that matched my wardrobe. I also did my research and purchased a specific needle size for all three projects.

Action

I needed to take a knitting classes, so I enrolled through an online class on Craftsy called The Knitting Lab with Stefanie Japel. The goal for the class was to create a lace scarf I believe. However, I wasn’t prepared to make a lace scarf at the time. I tried, but I wasn’t at the level. However, I did learn how to do garter stitch. I figured I would start off small and just knit in garter stitch for a while. I took my knitting projects with me. When I made mistakes, I had to rip it out or I had to live with them. The important thing for me was that I was learning.

Accomplishments

Learning new skills and creating my own scarves proved feasible. During the fall of 2016, I completed all three scarves. Although they aren’t perfect, my family and friends really liked them. I also discovered that the scarves I made felt a lot warmer than what I purchased from a big-box store near me. Garter stitch creates a warm feeling when knitted in bulky yarn. It felt good wearing my scarves to work in the cold weather. I eventually got bored with garter stitch toward the middle of November, so I decided to practicing the purl stitch. I started purling away until I stop twisting my stitches and learned how to move my yarn from front to back while knitting and purling in the same row.

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The more I learned, the more I realized knitting increased my self-esteem. There’s a community of knitters out there. I found myself being connected to people through my experience.  Each time, I learned a new skill, I felt better about myself. Yes, it was a struggle. I made a lot of mistakes.  However,  I felt more independent. I felt like I was making an effort to bring more joy and contentment into my life. I also thought about all the possibilities, I could bring into someone else’s life. Someday, I hope to learn to improve  my skills so that I can give knitted gifts to others. If you are a crafter, then you already know how much junk you can accumulate over the years.

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DIY · Home Decor · sewing

Making Woodland Animal Throw Pillows

During the last blog post,  I wrote about how I committed to sewing more with my fabric stash. I’m keeping my promise. What do you make when you are a sewing novice? My answer would have to be throw pillows. It’s a practical sewing project that you can use to decorate a particular area in your home.  If you are a beginner, the it teaches you skills such as sewing in straight lines and pivoting corners. As a sewing novice,  it’s instant gratification for me because it doesn’t take me a whole day to complete throw pillows.

I have plenty of novelty fabric stored in a bin. I also had a large bag of polyfill. I hate to admit it, but the bag of polyfill had been in my room for at least 9 months. I told myself, it was time to sit down and start working on a project. My throw pillow sewing project included fabric from Michael Miller’s Norwegian Woods line.  The fabric was perfect for the look I was trying to accomplish. I have an obsession with woodland animals. It reminded me of fall, yet bright enough to uplift someone’s mood. I think it’s a great fabric line for nursery items and quilts as well.

animalsReturning to the basics wasn’t a bad idea. I haven’t sewed any throw pillows in over 10 months. I remember hating my very first throw pillows because they weren’t firm enough. I did some research and started looking for popular sizes of throw pillows. I came by one tutorial, Sew Comfortable: How to Sew Perfectly Plump Throw Pillow Covers by Beth Galvin from Craftsy. The tutorial was very helpful for me  because I needed the correct seam allowance for sewing throw pillows. Although I lacked having a pillow form, I decided to  continue following the pattern by cutting  17 x 17 inch fabric squares for my pillow. I only had enough polyfill for two pillows at the time, so I decided to keep the purple shaded fabric for a later project.

I sewed around the fabric squares right sides together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance and left an opening at the bottom of the pillow for turning and stuffing. After sewing, I pressed my seams and trimmed the corners so that they wouldn’t be so bulky at the ends.

IMG_20170611_221733_675I also used a wooden stick to help place an even amount of polyfill on both sides of the pillow. Once I was happy with the firmness of the pillow, I pressed the opening at the bottom edge of the pillow tucking the raw edges inside. Finally, I machine stitched the bottom opening close.

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Now, I had two bright woodland animal throw pillows that would be great in my bedroom or my next apartment space. I’m one for going against fashion rules. Yes, I’m 30 years old and I still like adorable baby print fabric. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a kid at heart. If you have any kids or have a baby on the way, then I would highly recommend it for a new nursery or baby gift making project.

Happy pillow making!

-Stephanie

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Fabric · Goals · sewing

Fabric Hoarder to Sewist

When I started learning how to sew, I’ll admit that the majority of my sewing money went to novelty fabric purchases.  I wish I would have done my research on strategies for building a fabric stash before I made purchases. At the time, I was exploring and living out my inner child. I was bored with work, and I looked forward to receiving little happy mail during the week.  It didn’t take long for me to become a fabric hoarder. I started sharing my purchases on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. My online friends were always amazed of what fabric I found.  My favorite prints included anything with cats, dolls, food, unicorns, and woodland animals.

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During my first months into sewing, I gave myself a $50-$60 dollar fabric purchase  limit each pay period. I remember having the desire to make a lot of cute things I would see on sewing blogs, but my skill didn’t match up with my vision. I also realize that my work schedule made it nearly impossible to complete all those beautiful project ideas I found online. It was time for me to get serious about my what I wanted to learn and what did I expect to get out of sewing.

I don’t have the perfect strategy for buying fabric. However,  I’m working on a strategy as I do research on what works for other successful sewist and quilters. My goal it to acquire new skills and techniques with each project. I also want to make things that represent my personality as well as uplift my mood. Another thing I’m doing is learning to make things I can actually use in my everyday life. Finding projects take time, but if I don’t get out of my comfort zone each week then I’ll never make any progress towards my sewing goals.

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My summer goal is to make practical things from my fabric stash. It could be for my personal use or a gift to a friend. Some project ideas I have in mind, include pincushions, zipper pencil cases, pouches, mug rugs, throw pillows, and small baby quilts. The important part is that I’m not just collecting fabric, but I’m making something out of what I have.

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Life · Personal Development · recovery · Self-Love

Life Update

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It’s been a little bit over a year since I’ve posted a blog. At one time, I was uncertain about the  direction I wanted to take my blog. I knew that I wanted to be a professional, but I felt like my blog was lacking purpose. I think that was true for my personal life as well. For many years,  my story was related to depression and how my work-life contributed to it. One day I decided that I wanted to change my story. I decided that I wasn’t my depression. I wasn’t the negative things that I believed all these years.

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I took a break from blogging for a while to focus on new goals and hobbies. I’m 30 years old now, and for the first time in my life I feel like I’m passionate about the work and the things I’m doing in life. Back in my twenties, I focused a lot on how everything was making me depressed. Two factors I recognize that contributed to the depression was  lack of identity and community.I  didn’t have a strong sense of self. Because I wasn’t social and didn’t do a lot of hobbies back then, I couldn’t relate to people. I didn’t have anything to talk about. I must admit, I wasn’t a very interesting person.

Today, I’m an aspiring quilter who loves petting new fabric. I love patchwork, woodland animals, and all things cute. I love visiting the PNW, eating vegan food, and exploring all things natural and healthy.  I do have a day job as a public librarian. I enjoy watching television shows from the 1990s. I also venture into other crafts such as knitting and crochet. Someday, I hope to have an Etsy baby store full of warm quilts and cuddly accessories. That me! I wasn’t those dark things I told myself all those years. It just wasn’t true.

In life we go through changes. What I’ve learned is that challenging times bring out the strength in a person. I’ve learned to accept life when things don’t go my way. I know how to cope when trouble comes. I’m better at picking myself back up after a stumble. I didn’t get here alone. It was God, good people, and recognizing the blessings that life has to offer.