Why, hello there.
Yes, I dropped off the blog for a while. It’s been a long, weird winter here; as I type this, we are expecting freezing rain or hail or sleet or fire and brimstone tomorrow (depending on the interpretation of your weatherperson). And for whatever reason, this winter a lot of stressly stuff just hit me smack on the forehead, with an understandable result: Depression.
Raise your hand if you get to experience the exhausting, oh-so-amusing hall-of-mirrors ride that is Depression, with a sidecar of Anxiety, just to spice things up a little. Oh, look. There’s a bunch of you out there who are on this ride with me, or know someone who is. At least we are not alone…
I’ve got a few tips for dealing with this thrill ride. (There’s going to be knitting soon, I promise, just hang on for a moment, or skip ahead if you like.)
– Admit it to yourself. Say it out loud to you-in-the-mirror. Apparently, some study was done that showed that just by naming the demon, the level of depression lifted…a wee bit, but I’ll take what I can get.
– Tell trusted ones around you what is going on. You don’t have to be the Doom and Gloom Monster, nor the one heavily sighing in the background. You don’t have to go into details. But think about it: Depression is an illness, often a chemical imbalance in your grey matter. When someone you know seems like they are in pain or sick, don’t you ask them how they are doing? And don’t they usually respond with a brief “Oh, I have bad arthritis in my hands, and they’re just really swollen today.”? This is completely normal levels of caring conversation, so the next time someone asks you if you are all right, try saying, “Oh, I’m struggling with depression lately, and it’s just particularly bad today.”
You’d be AMAZED at the conversations that can come out of saying something like that. Not with everyone, not in every context, but with friends and people close around you, you’d be amazed at the compassion that can flow from just admitting what’s REALLY going on.
– Read blogs/books by folks who are suffering, and are either extremely good at striking just the right note of comedy about their struggles (Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, who deals with anxiety as well as depression), or whose honesty and clarity is inspiring and uplifting (Lisa B. Adams, who has stage 4 breast cancer and faces grief and loss openly and head-on and does so with a grace and beauty that astounds me).
– Do the doctor visit thang, and the therapist thang. If you suspect it the long winter making things worse, get a SAD light.
– Find a way to make some space in your life to contemplate joy and have a little space of kindness for yourself. Be compassionate to YOU. This is hard, and it sucks, and you’re strong, and if you can manage to get out of bed in the morning, dress in pseudo-matching tones, and get the coffee-maker going, you SCORE.
Besides all the above, I’ve been trying to cope in various creative ways. I started doing volunteer work at my church, I joined a few groups (book club, choir) and I even started a group on my own that is going surprisingly well. We call it “Craft and Chat”, only because it’s through my church and you really, really can’t put “Stitch-N-Bitch” in the parish bulletin next to the Sunday ham dinner.
I also went at my unfinished projects list with a vengeance. I felt that by finishing things, I would get that nice sense of accomplishment that we knitters get every time we bind off and weave in those pesky ends.
Oh, look! A hat:
No, really. It IS a hat. It’s a little eye-searing, granted, but the young lady whose head it shall grace is quite fond of neon colours. I had the yarn dyed up for me by Lorajean Kelley, proprietor of the Etsy shop KnittedWit. I love the super-bright colours, and I suspect the future wearer of the hat will, too. Plus, I only had to don sunglasses for the last few inches of the pink, so all in all, a fun project. (The pattern is a Sandi Pattern Not Written Down Yet, in case you’re curious. If anyone wants me to write it up, let me know.)
Neon Girl has a brother and two parents. I wanted to make a hat for each family member, and so Neon Girl’s hat is the third of four hats to be finished.
Pattern: Habitat by Jared Flood, slightly modified with a second vertical pattern repeat adapted for my own tastes. GREAT PATTERN. The top of it is so pretty:
Wow, not the clearest picture, sorry. It’s a
lovely flower cool starfish design.
The yarn is my own hand blended, handspun wool/silk tweed, 3-ply, heavy DK to worsted weight yarn that I drumcarded and spun. I have at least one skein, maybe nearly two, left over, and that is for ME.
Finally, Mum-of-Neon-Girl’s hat:
The colour above bears no relationship to the Actual Colour. Let’s try this:
Pattern: Mica Tam by Laura Nelkin.
Yarn is alpaca/silk by Dicentra Designs.
And last but not least, my sweater-in-progress:
Pattern: Hiro by Julia Farwell-Clay. However, please note that per as usual, I’ve modified the colourwork on the cuff. The original has only two colours; I wanted three. So I worked the chart once with purple (CC1) and green (MC), and then once again with green (CC1) and grey (MC).
Yarn: Again, this is the wonderful work of Lorajean of KnittedWit.
The body is in grey, and is already knit up to the armholes. The lower body to the waist is knit according to the size 48″ instructions; the sleeves and waist to yoke to collar will be knit according to the 45″ instructions, because I’m bigger on the bottomside.
I must have at least five spinning projects going on. In no particular order:
Above: Singles on my Sidekick. Fluff is polwarth/silk by Diane Palme of Schafenfreude Fibres. I want every single fibre Diane dyes. She has awesome blends and sophisticated colourways that beg to be spun.
Above: Plying ball for 2-ply fingering yarn. Fluff is BFL from Jennifer VanCalCar of Holiday Yarns mixed with some Chasing Rainbows silk. Jen’s BFL is a dream for blending and spinning; it has a loft and richness of colour that make me just hand over my wallet every time I’m in her booth. (Chasing Rainbows needs no introduction, I trust. If you need an introduction, here: Go buy some of her silk. Lovely, lovely.)
Below: Just a taste of the 2-ply yarn-to-be.
Off To See The Wizard
As I write this, I am preparing for my annual teaching jaunt at the Yarn Cupboard’s Winter Retreat. I went back and read my post from the week prior to last year’s teaching gig, and I could literally cut-and-paste, because I am now experiencing the Exact Same FreakOut Feelings as I did last year.
At least I am consistent.
This year, I’ll be teaching my tiara class, a class on finishing sweaters, and a class on creating your own true-to-you schematic that you can use to customize almost any sweater pattern so that it really fits you. There will be vendors, other teachers teaching fabulous things…if you are going to be near Syracuse, NY, from April 19-21, check out the website and come and join us!
Because it’s snowing here on April 11: Oat and Maple Syrup Scones. MMMMmmmm.
Cute, capering baby donkey.
In view of this article, I am going to attend the Orangeville Alpaca Show on Saturday with a few of my Kitchener-Waterloo peeps.
‘Til next time, me hearties.