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Tour de Fleece

Tour de Flop

Hello Everyone “Tour de Fleece” started at the beginning of July. In case you don’t know, this is an event for spinners. But I believe there are crochet and knit teams as well. Check Ravelry for teams.

Any way, whether you spin, knit or crochet, this is a time when we all get together and spin our little hearts out

I will not be able to join this year because of one moment in time.

I looked out the door to see if the cab was here yet. I turned and walked down the stairs as usual not paying any attention. And BOOM!!! I was down on my hands and knees on the tiled concrete floor.

That was 1 second of not paying attention. I wasn’t able to move my legs. My son was getting ready to stroke out. I called (911). They came, the cab came . But at least things were happening, and he was able to cope. I had to take charge because he froze.

I couldn’t find a printed copy of my Med. Hx. So I had to do everything verbally. I was in the ER for hours. Finally they decided to admit me. My right knee swelled up like a balloon. My left knee not so bad. They gave me pain meds “Thank the Powers that be”.

They wanted to do an MRI. But, apparently there had been another emergency. I had to wait a day to get the MRI and another day to read it. It did not look good

A long, long time ago I was told I would never get out of the wheelchair. I said, “You watch me”! Fast forward to now. I walk with a cane.

I have always been a little strange, don’t tell me I can’t do something. That will be the first thing I do! I have been told things like that my whole life. first it was you can’t just teach yourself how to (insert craft). I always did.

Anyway back to the knee, it is very painful. I am taking meds for everything else, what’s one more. The MRI did not look good. So basically I’m resting the knee. I have a brace on that leg and I’m back in the chair, but I’m looking at knee surgery on the right. And knee surgery on the left in the future.

I thought for sure that was the end of Tour de Flop, but I can actually spin on my spindles and my Wheel. The action happens in the ankle not the leg, so I can still do it but slowly.

So I can still do what I love, just slower. I love making beautiful Yarns. I dye up the fiber after I have chosen the mix. Then I spin, so no two skeins are alike even within the same dye lot.

Be very careful of those 1 second mistakes they can set you back a bit. I have a lot of rehab ahead of me. But I will get through in record time and get back out of this chair!

Hope you are all well. Remember you can do anything you put your mind to! Be Positive it works. Keep crafting, it’s good for your soul.

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Humans and The Arts

Since the dawn of time Humans have been learning the Arts. Early man covered themselves for warmth with animal hides (early fashion). They made symbols on cave walls (early painting and storytelling) then came fire, and all hell broke loose. As we rush through history to modern times, Humans have learned many crafts. It would be a daunting task indeed to master them all.

But in that time Arts and Politics have rarely met. You could argue the point by saying politics shaped the human race and therefore dictated the Arts as well.

When they let us have computers, we found like minded crafters further apart. Since we couldn’t talk to our maiden Aunt twice removed on our maternal great grand mother’s side, we couldn’t ask her to teach us! The online knitting, spinning, crocheting, weaving ect….. communities were born! People could talk to each other around the world. As the world became more complicated we looked for support in our crafts and our communities.

I myself have a lot of different hobbies, but they all involve at least one stick and some string. As I got older and more disabled my hobbies became my life, my therapy, my love. I poured my heart and soul into everything I did.

When I first found the knitting (crocheting, spinning) communities, I was very scared to get involved. But I told myself if anyone on this planet would understand a lunatic like me, it would be those communities. I have never been interested in anyone’s religious beliefs, politics, or gender. All I am interested in is Art. I know that I live in the past a lot. But that’s just me. I have never discussed my religion, sex or politics with people who are not involved in my day to day life. I was raised that these things are not discussed in public, that these were private matters. Not to be discussed in public.

Most of these things were further enforced by my profession. As a Nurse, I was taught to be understanding of other peoples beliefs and privacy. To be respectful at all times. There are rules and boundaries that should be upheld. And Lord, if you love your job, NEVER EVER discuss religion or politics at work. Or make socially inappropriate comments about anyone else’s appearance, size or sexual orientation.

It really hurts me to see people that were friends yesterday, are now enemies due to their beliefs. I have friends who have different beliefs than I do, but that has nothing to do with our friendship. We’re friends because we have our Art in common. That’s enough to talk about for me. I don’t think it’s my business to know everything about them, if they feel they need me to know more about them than that, they will tell me if not, I don’t pry into it. I don’t judge people, its not my job.

My job is to share my Art with anyone who would like to hear about it. My hope is that we as a species will someday learn to live together. So, I will continue to share my blogs and my yarns* with you. But I will not discuss politics, religion, race, creed, color or sexual orientation. Also I will not date anyone from work! So don’t ask!

“All we need is Love”

I think that was George, but it could have been Paul! Can you tell I was a Beatle Baby!

*Now buy some yarn and go home and create!

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No Researching This Week

Hello Everyone! It’s been a rough couple of weeks, not gonna lie. Finding my positivity at times like this, is sometimes very difficult. You see I live in a lot of pain everyday, so I guess you could say I’m used to it. Sometimes even I, the queen of positivity, gets depressed. So I have pretty much gotten nothing done lately.

I have been doing a lot of spinning. I also got my first 4 oz. of fiber for SE2SE. It’s a Black Welsh Mountain sheep. It’s on the endangered list and originally came from the UK. But, there are farms here in the states that also raise them. His name is Cai, not sure if I can share his picture, but his fleece is very black, and apparently he enjoyed rolling in the hay quite a bit. Once I get the fleece washed, I’ll share a little more about him.

I took the advice of Betsan Corkhill and started a crochet Mandala. I’m using Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in a size 5, with a 2.00mm Crochet hook. It takes a lot of concentration to make some of these. This is an advanced pattern and is going to get a lot bigger before it’s done. Usually people use a lot of scraps to make these things. I’m only using 2 colors, it will be a gift for a friend and those are her favorite colors.

I think I’m coming to the end of this bout of depression. I really needed to get some work done. What are some of the things that you do, to help get yourself out of what I call a blue funk? Please share comments on my website, it’s the best place to reach me. I don’t always get comments left on Facebook or IG. So please share in the comments here. Thanks.

I will be back again real soon, so remember stay positive it really does help.

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The Gentle Art of Healing 3

I am continuing where I left off in this part of the series. the current question is, What else can knitting(crochet) do?

It can also help with issues like sleep problems, particularly if you’ve got thoughts whirling around in your head preventing you from going to sleep. Or maybe somebody who wakes at 3 am and can’t get back to sleep. In that case, I would recommend having a small case by your bedside, and it’s one of those things you can do quietly in bed to relax you enough to go back to sleep. Stress from work because you can use it on your commute to work, or at lunch. I think one of the things we learned from the survey was that computer tech people found it relaxing after working in a 2D atmosphere to a 3D project helped them to relax as well. you can use it for problem solving, in fact there is quite a lot of research that if you have a problem and you go away and you leave it, do some relaxing craft. your brain relaxes and an answer will some to mind.

Makes you happier

  • Gives a sense of Achievement
    • helps you feel safer
      • helps you socialize
        • gives your mind a break

The interviewer asked whether knitting can help us in our wellbeing day to day? You can use it whether your fit and well or if you suffer from an altered mental condition. Because we suffer from an ongoing condition of stress, so if you don’t manage your stress on a day to day basis it can give us other problems.

Some use it to find friends , join a knitting group. it’s a safe environment and you meet people from a lot of different backgrounds, that you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to meet.

Helps with sleep problems

  • reduces stress at work
    • helps with problem solving
      • helps finding friends & building community

The interviewer asked, “How can we motivate ourselves to get started knitting for wellbeing”? The motivation part is a big problem, actually it’s one of the biggest issues in the healthcare system. Is to actually help people to get motivated, get involved in their own healthcare. What we found was if we could help people to take small achievable steps and build on that. Once they felt successful at the smaller steps, they could then build on those feelings.
So going back again to this rewardable occupation, you’ve got a system in your brain called the reward system. The brain provides a natural boost of a feel good chemical, seratonin.

I have read 2 of Betsan Corkhill’s books, “Knitting For Health And Wellness: How to knit a flexible mind and more…” and “Crochet Therapy: The Soothing Art of Savoring each Stitch”. I found the information to be very interesting and the thoughts behind it very stimulating. The patterns are very easy for a beginner to master. She has a very calming way of writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend them.

Thank you for reading my fascination with this subject, If anyone is interested I have some great color therapy notes I’d be happy to write about.

Knit for Peace has a downloadable 44 page pdf. I think it was a thesis paper, but it is a good read if your interested in learning more.

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Pain of Daily Life

Well, Hi everyone! I had to put my money where my mouth is today!

I had a Doctors appointment, and I don’t drive anymore. So I was taking the medical bus. Usually, when I’m leaving the house, I have this mantra I do so I remember to bring the things I need with me. I guess I’m going to have to add to it now. I forgot my med’s!

At least I had my knitting, I can now tell you honestly this stuff does work. In the time I was gone I missed 3 med’s. Two were for Arthritis and Bone pain, one was for nerve pain. I have to say I got a lot more knitting done then I usually do.

But it worked, it really worked! I just knit my way through it. I’m not saying my pain went away, I’m saying it was easier to get through. You know how when you think about something constantly, it seems worse than it is. Well that’s sort of what happened. Instead of concentrating on my pain and making it hurt more, I was able to concentrate on my knitting instead. It was just a simple sock. I think I am definitely on to something here.

Wouldn’t it be great if a doctor could prescribe a hobby instead of a drug as their first choice. Think about it, think it through. Instead of the drug companies and insurance companies making all the money. It would eventually filter down to the Farmers and Shepard’s. Yarn companies would be influencing congress, cool.

I always say when you dream, dream big. Stay positive and work towards a goal.

In my next blog I will be finishing up my information from Hobby Therapy. I will be moving on to Color Therapy next. From what I’ve read, colors affect your moods. As a matter of fact, they use light therapy too.

Alright, the pain killers are starting work so I’m going to go lay down. Have a great day everyone, and remember to be positive it works.

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The Gentle Art of Healing 2

Interviewer asked: Why Knitting ( crochet, needlework)?

All of these are important.

The brain,has the capacity to process many things at a time, but if the brain is concentrating on doing a cross body task then it has less opportunity or capacity to concentrate on other things like problems or pain for example. There was a study done that showed repetitive movement causes the release of Serotonin in the brain. The rhythmic movement is just as important as the repetitiveness. It takes sort of control over their thought process. And with the movement,and the mood they are in, it is instantaneously soothing and relaxing.

Most of the stories received by the study have mentioned the repetitive movement as facilitating meditative lactate. They say it’s like Meditation, “Zen”.prayer, zoning out, like going to a sanctuary of that peaceful mind.

Rhythmic

  • Repetitive
    • Calming/ Self Soothing
      • Gives a Sense of Control

The Interviewer asked: What else can Knitting(crochet,needlework, ect.) do?

A study was done of people with clinical depression, out of most of our replies, 81% have a happier affinity, 54% happy or very happy, 1% didn’t care.

Then, there are lots of stories of it creating kind of like a barrier, of increased personal space. The way you hold your arms out with your knitting in front of you. It stops the rest of the world from entering your personal space, decreasing anxiety, panic, stress. They can use it as a way to help them socialize, or on public transport.


In fact there are quite a few people who wouldn’t be able to use public transport, without their knitting, because of the way it creates a personal space around them. There are a lot of activities that these people are able to participate in, due to the perceived increase in personal space created by this cross body movement in front of them. They can socialize with other people while having this notion of space, join knitting groups. If they are feeling safe, they can interact with the others. If they are feeling particularly vulnerable they can just sit and knit, just listening to the people around them, giving them the choice of interacting with the others or just sit quietly and knit.


Some describe it as giving their mind a break, especially people with anxiety, continuously worrying about it in their minds. It’s a way of breaking into those thought patterns, again there’s a way of renumerating thinking. A sort of backward loops way of thinking about things, they are very difficult to break once they get established but perhaps it’s the automatic nature of knitting that’s doing that, because automatic movement can effect your subconscious too.

People can forget what it feels like to be relaxed, because if your stressed or anxious for a long period of time, it can affect the muscles, your jaw might be clenched, your posture might be poor, so the brain kind of recognizes this as being you,and you can forget what it feels like to be truly relaxed. So what the professional tries to do, is to get the person to remember how to relax, what it feels like. Its very difficult to get someone to relax if they’ve forgotten what it feels like to be relaxed. So if you give them something like knitting, it can help them to remember what it feels like, get them to recall that feeling, even when they haven’t got their knitting at hand. A daily dose of knitting to help them in terms of managing stress.

This stuff can be a little dry, but I haven’t received any comments telling me to stop. I haven’t received any comments at all. Is anybody out there? Anyway, we will go on to discuss a little more about stress and then on to color theory!

Happy day everyone!

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The Gentle Art of Healing

Hi everyone !!! Sorry for the long break, but it was well spent on research for my new project. As some of you may know:
I am a 60 y.o. Crafter/ Maker & a retired Nurse. I am trying to start a movement involving the Ageing & the Young, Disabled and Mentally and Physically Handicapped. I want to use crochet, knitting, ect. as Art Therapy. This is not something new, it has been in use overseas for years. It has never been widely used in America. Possibly because of our Healthcare systems, Insurance. I don’t think my Insurance will cover my next yarn purchase, or my next set of needles or hooks. It would be great if it did, but we need to stay in reality. This is the first part of a series of articles I am writing. Your comments are greatly encouraged, in fact, if you have an opinion give it good or bad. I read them all, and answer if appropriate.

I am Physically Disabled my Partner in Crime is Mentally Handicapped. We have both found relief from our illness’ through our art. I know many other crafters who have found the same thing. There is a very calming influence that comes over you, it can be very mesmerizing. I call it the”Aahh” moment, I’m sure some of you know that feeling, it happens while your crafting.
The problem is the fact that the ‘Arts’ covers a wide variety of activities from painting, pottery to playing music, concert and museum visits and walks in the park. Some involving physical exertion, others mental and creative stimulation, social contact or a combination of all.

The importance of Therapeutic Knitting or Crocheting

  • Accessible
  • Low cost ( most of the time)
  • Portable

A tool for controlling symptoms such as :

  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Low Self-esteem
  • Decreased Confidence

Feelings of Worthlessness as seen by society or even your own family.

  • Fear
  • Worry
  • Stress
  • Lack of a rewarding Occupation
  • Change of Identity – Sometimes enforced

Common across the board include the Young,the Retired, People with Injuries or Illnesses.

In order to work well, all these issues need to be considered. Social activity groups can offer a lot of support, that’s why knitting & crochet groups are so popular. Groups lead by people who not only have a knowledge of the activity, but also understand how it could help the persons health, can increase the benefits of the activity. Activities need to fit into the ‘real life’ of each participant or they won’t be continued!

Attending a new group for the first time is not that easy, either. Most people will tell you it’s difficult. Social activity groups make it a little easier because at least you have a common interest with others and potential topics of conversation. However, for those who need it the most, it remains a challenging thing to do, so they may opt out unless support and a planned introduction are offered. If you know someone who could benefit from one of these groups, offer to take them, offer to teach them. Many libraries around the country offer classes or a “Stitch and Bitch” Group for free. LYS’ offer classes and groups for a nominal fee.

I have been in touch with the Author and she has given me permission to use this information. This isn’t new stuff, she has been here and discussed this before Medical Professionals as far back as 2007 I think(my numbers could be wrong). If you are interested in learning more she has a website: stitchlinks.com . Imagine what kind of world we would live in if all our government officials were required to take a class or two. I hope those big black trucks aren’t coming!

This is the first of a series of blogs, I would really appreciate you commenting. Let me know if I should continue along this road or not. Thanks

stitchlinks.com Knit for Health and Wellness, Crochet Therapy by Belsan Corkhill
Following on Patreon: Rachel Smith(WoolnSpinning) & Beth Smith ( a wealth of info on spinning, weaving, Sewing)

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Happy Earth Day

Earth Day 2019 is all about the protection of our endangered species. It aims to draw attention to the rapid extinction of species across the world, which is directly linked to human activity which causes climate change, deforestation and pollution.

There are things we can do to help. For instance switching sunscreen to protect coral, Or how about joining a beach clean-up and tracking and reducing your plastic waste. There are reusable cups and some things can be recycled.

People are also encouraged to plant trees, switch to reusable bags or create a bee-friendly garden.

I spent the entire day getting my pots out of storage.I still need to paint the wooden box, I asked my Landlord for some of the grey paint to match the walls. After hunting around all day. My son comes in and asks what I’m looking for. I explained how I couldn’t remember where I put the seeds I harvested last year. He says is this it! It was literally right in front of me in plain site.So tomorrow I will start the herb garden. So excited.

All the pots up front have Marigolds in them. They are great for natural dyeing. They also help keep the mosquitoes away. And there will be more when the seeds start popping!

Earth Day 2020: 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!
Get the scoop on Earth Day Network’s big plans for 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day: citizen science, clean-ups and tree-planting, huge events, and more.
Earth Day 2019: Protect Our Species
Find out more about the 2019 theme for Earth Day, to protect threatened and endangered species.
Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.

The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides to name a few. The impacts are far reaching.
The mission of Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em is to introduce fiber artists to wool from sheep on our Conservation Priority List and to support shepherds who are raising these sheep, which are in danger of extinction. (quoted from the Livestock Conservation website)

And so my Earth Day for today ends. I will still be working on earth day all year long. I hope you will too.For more information on the conservation activities. check out their website at: https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/involved/internal/SE2

I hope you all had as good an Earth Day as I did. Good Night!

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I think I finally got It!

Turns out, the making of a website is really hard for people like me. ( very ADD) There are so many decision that need to be made.

I will never be a web developer!

I been a lot of things and a lot of places in these years. but I have finally found my place.” I dream of a simpler life : a nice piece of Land, with a cute little house. It’s got a wrap around porch, where my rocker sits. It’s got an old red barn full of life, and pastures with sheep and a horse or two grazing.”

I can see it so vividly in my mind. but when I open my eyes it’s not there. I know I will keep searching for it. but,at least in the mean time there is fiber!

I love fiber, all kinds of fiber. I love feeling it and looking at it. I love mixing it with other fibers to get the blend I’m looking for. I love it natural, but I love dyeing it too. I feel like the Mad Scientist– with my gloves, apron, respirator!

When I was a kid in Art Class, I never liked the paint color out of the tube. I always had to mix it with a bit of this or a bit of that before I got to the color I wanted. I’m the same way when I’m dyeing fiber, a bit of this a bit of that. And then

I get to spin it!

There is all kinds of time to think about things when your spinning. First is deciding what your spinning for, thickness or Angelically thin. But I also get another chance to play with the colors within the yarn I’m making. Then as I spin my mind slowly drifts off to my happy little house and my rocker.

One of the side effects of spinning is you end up with a lot of yarn, I have more than I will ever be able to knit or crochet with, left in this lifetime. I’m not planning on going tomorrow or anything, but still. How many blankets, shawls, sweaters, socks, ect… does one person need. And those sheep keep producing more!

So now you see why I finally took the plunge. My son does computer coding and design for a living, I asked him to help me, he said oh no not HTML! Whatever that is, kidding I know what HTML is I just wanted him to do it for me, that’s all.

I hope I finally got this right. Leave me a comment if it is working!

Sharyn

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” Oh what a beautiful Morning”

When I’m sitting at my desk drinking my coffee, I usually look out the window. Now my view is of the sky, because I live in a garden apartment. It looks beatiful. Like it could be a wonderful Spring day. The birds are singing.

Unfortunately, I live in the midwest area. Here it’s still feels like rollercoaster Winter. What I mean by rollercoaster is the temperatures keep going up and down. I bet anyone who’s making one of those temperature Wall hangings has a very colorful one!

I guess that’s the obligatory weather report! I don’t know how the farmers survive around here the growing season is so short. I would love to move south, but my son wants us to move north. I suppose I would get a lot more knitting done. The south would be better for the old artheritis. Any one got any ideas where I can get a couple of acres with an old house and barn on it? (real cheap)

I have some fibers I’m processing right now, but the color did not come out quite the way I wanted it. So I guess I’ll just have to try again. Back to the mixing board! I mix all my colors, for some reason I just don’t like them straight. I always want a little bit more of this or that. There’s my perfectionism showing! I was like that as a painter too! So at least I’m consistant.

Time I got back to work, I guess. So bye for now. launch date is coming up quickly. If you don’t know it’s April 5th. I’ll be blogging along the way though. Hope the weather where you are, is behaving.

Have a beautiful Day! Sharyn