peeking out, because of kindness

This post is dedicated to the kindness of LauraLyn, who along with a few others of you, have sent me several lovely emails out of the blue, expressing concern and support for me whilst depression has been eating my brainz. Thanks to all of you for the hands outstretched, the kindnesses extended, and well, just everything.

LauraLyn offered this bit of insight taken from Alice Hoffman’s Survival Lessons, a tiny volume of essays she wrote. Alice wanted to remind herself, as a breast cancer survivor, that in the midst of personal crisis, turmoil or trauma, that there is still beauty in the world to be explored.

Indeed there is. Let’s go for some bloggy walks to seek out that beauty, shall we.

Sunday, Sept 21, 2014

Hullo, lovely GentleWise Folk.

I took a selfie! Mostly a proof-of-life selfie, but still.

I took a selfie! Mostly a proof-of-life selfie, but still. Here is me, breathing and dressed and everything.

After writing that last post, and after reading all your supportive, lovely, and uplifting comments, I realized I needed to do a bit of navel-gazing, as self-indulgent as that might seem. The Flails were back again with a vengence, and one day, tired of being frustrated with myself, I just Hit The Wall. I closed the laptop, went outside to sit on the front porch, and began asking myself the hard questions.

You know. The HARD questions, the ones that cause some of us to lose sleep and and lay awake thinking about What It All Means and What Part of Everything Do I Want to Participate In?

My perfect cats would NEVER do this. Tim prefers to bring his half-dead mouse upstairs and plunk it down at my feet when I am sitting on the throne at 2 AM. Nice.

My perfect cats would NEVER do this. Tim, AKA the Great Northern Hunter, prefers to bring his half-dead mouse upstairs and plunk it down at my feet when I am sitting on the loo at 2 AM. Nice.

Still, sometimes you just gotta ask yourself what is important to Self. So I contemplated my at-times bejeweled belly button, and Had A Think and gave myself a wee Q&A session.

  • Why was I fighting so hard to do something that was so difficult, bringing so much Flail into my life?
  • Where had my blogging mojo gone?
  • Did I even want to continue blogging?

That last one, wow. That hurt. Stop blogging? Well, yeah, it does seem as though I’m resisting more than I’m writing. So why keep doing it? Why keep blogging?

And believe it or not, my belly button simply refused to answer any of my questions. It did not even wish to offer advice.

It just sat there. Being Navel-ish. (The nerve!)

Do I want to continue blogging?

I’ve been posting on-the internet blog entries, in one format or another, since around 1996, 1997. Before that, I kept journals, in all sorts of blank books, from the mottled black & white composition workbooks to leather-covered volumes (usually purple leather; usually embossed with faeries, trees, hobbit runes, or the ever-popular Cats. At age twelve, I predictably chose a unicorn.).

I collect blank books, spindles, stuffed animals, and children's books. Come over and play sometime.

I collect blank books, spindles, stuffed animals, and children’s books. Come over and play sometime.

I don’t remember exactly when I started writing about my life and its inhabitants, but by age eleven, I already had a whack of no-longer-blank-books lining the shelf above my bed. For a couple of years, I took to making decorative cloth covers for those black&white composition books, using my mom’s heavy grey metal stapler to attach cloth to cardboard, or else sewing the parts together with embroidery floss in the color of the week using a honkin’ big 2-inch “craft needle”. I took a batik class in sixth grade; most of my class practice pieces ended up as journal covers.

See? Even as a kid, for me, journaling was inextricably linked to craft of some sort. I pasted cards and drawings onto the pages, I sewed beads onto sparkly ribbons for bookmarks, I made those workbooks into little mixed media explorations.

In other words, I realized that I have been writing stories about myself, my interests, my inner life, and my crafting since before I could do calculus.

My new sewing machine loves to do strip piecing. Fortunately, so do I.

My new sewing machine loves to do strip piecing. Fortunately, so do I.

How does one stop doing something they’ve always done?

The answer is, of course: They don’t. If I stop writing down slices from my life, it will begin to take slices off my heart.

That’s when I started hearing objections from the Blog Demons…

But my posts are annoying.

Annoying? Yes, this is why you get dozens of supportive comments every time you post. Because you are annoying. Uh Huh.

It’s time-consuming.

Well, don’t write a tome every time you post, then.

I don’t know what to say.

And yet somehow, you always manage to say something.

I don’t tell funny stories anymore. So I’m boring.

Oh, for pete’s sake. Stop that.

I want to write, but I can’t do it on my own.

That’s what readers are for. And cats, apparently.

A Challenging Challenge

Writer’s block is normal, but hooboy does it suck. I’ve had a particularly rough patch of it this spring and summer, so methinks Measures Must Be Taken.

So here’s an Idea. See what you think….

I gather, from previous conversations with you-IRL, that many of you (being intelligent and curious beings) have Wonderings. You have Questions. Questions about me, questions about how to bind off and not have the edge curl, how to choose the right yarn for the right socks, Please-can-I-avoid-kitchener-stitch-forever-and-ever-amen, what can you knit if you live in Alabama, what about crochet, why is my studio such a peach pit, how did Tim lose his eye, how things are going with Melody and by the way, who IS Melody?

I say: Go for it. Bring on the questions. I need a little two-way interaction here to get me past my inner demons, back on the road to posting regularly again. (That’s my goal: Regular posting. Time schedule TBD.)

And my new goal to help me get started: One paragragh. One photo. One Chispa. We’ll start there and see what happens next.

My wee Origami Frog. He jumps, too. When he feels like it.

My wee Origami Frog. He jumps, too. When he feels like it.


~ I saw this one months ago, and it’s still at the top of my personal chispas list: Gentleman spins his hair into the playable strings of a violin. (Mommmeeeee,  Sharaz is playing my hair again! And she’s practicing Mozart this time. I’m BOOORRRREEEDDD of Mozart, plus the high notes bother my teeth.)

~ This artwork can only be found using Google Maps.

~ I am suddenly fascinated by origami after making a wee frog in the children’s exploraratory room in Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. (I was there to see the Yin Yu Tang House, fascinating)

  1. This guy promised to fold a life-sized elephant from a single sheet of paper if his collections for charity hit a critical goal. They did, and he did.
  2. Photos and videos from an exhibit of the work of 80 origami artists. When you look at it, it is hard to believe it is all paper.
  3. Note wee teensy origami effort of mine own, above.


Obligatory Cute Animal Photo:

See the goldfish cracker on the table. Buddy sees it too. Buddy does not understand why it is not on the floor, but hanging in mid-air. Buddy does not understand glass-topped tables. We love him anyway.

See the goldfish cracker on the table. Buddy sees it too. Buddy does not understand why it is not on the floor, but hanging in mid-air. Buddy does not understand glass-topped tables. We love him anyway.

Well, my friends. That’s way more than one paragraph; but truth be told, I have been writing blog entries almost daily…I just haven’t been posting them because of the Blog Demons. I didn’t want to edit this one too severely for fear I’d never think it was good enough.

But your kindnesses have brought me out of the woodwork…thank you.

much love,

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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34 Responses to peeking out, because of kindness

  1. Anna Johnson says:

    Hi Sandi! I can’t I believe I haven’t met such a beautiful person as yourself!! You are an artist of things crafty and full of creative thought and an animal lover!!
    I am so glad I got your post!
    You think like I think….sometimes I can rise to the stars and accomplish so much or be at peace with all things and other times, be lower than all lows, so far down that no one will surely see me. Then I muster all the strength I can find (with the help of my God) and start with a basic and before I know it, I am okay again.
    I also crochet, knit, draw, do crafts, sew make pretty cake and sing. I am about everything creative but barely can put two plus two together. I am smart enough to be average and a big-huge when it comes creating. It seems we have been gifted wonderfully and yet there is the other side of us that we struggle with so deeply.
    Your post was uplifting for me, and thank you for opening up as you have. It’s what makes you beautiful!! I hope to see your posts again and again! Anna


  2. Mary says:

    Oh, Sandi, it is so wonderful to hear from you again! I have missed your posts and feel deep affection for you. I have been in the depths myself at times and know how hard it can be to climb out. With writing, sometimes I think my efforts are terrible at first, but I find that if I just get the words down anyway, then go away and do something else for awhile, maybe sleep on it, I will have a whole new perspective when I come back. Usually it is not bad at all, maybe just needs a little editing. I love the intimacy of your posts. You are a brave woman. I am delighted that you are up and out again. As I think of questions, I will send them along. Take care of yourself. Mary


  3. Donna M. says:

    Sandi first of all, LOVE that white top! Second, it is good to read your blog. It always makes me smile and sometimes think too. I know the walls you are hitting, hit them too quite frequently to be honest. So you work on yours and I will work on mine and maybe someday neither of us will have walls anymore. Hi to Melody, and yes I know who she is 😉 Peace to both of you!


  4. Molly says:

    Yay Sandi! You keep writing, Girl! Live it! Those unpublished blogs? Save them for your book. You’re always creative, always loving, always entertaining.


  5. Deb says:

    You’re back, you’re back, you’re back. And as Mary said – a very brave woman. Talk about anything and I’ll listen. But when you feel like talking knitting could we have a conversation on types of bind offs. I never seem to match the right one to delicate lace shawls or slipper socks. I’ve made some really bad choices. Maybe you have favs for different knitted items? Just a thought since you asked.

    Take care of yourself, Deb


  6. elaine says:

    Well hello there. . . So good to see your name pop up in my in box! I know it has to take time to do a blog… Just has to. But I so enjoy your words of wisdom. You have taught me much over the years. So here’s my question for you… I really want to learn to spin. I have drop spindles, but the really kill my shoulder if I try to spin with one for very long-so I tend not to. What wheel should I seriously consider? Thanks for any info. Sending sunshine your way!


  7. Sylvia Dresser says:

    Sandi, it’s so wonderful to see your smiling face! I’ve missed you. You could write up your grocery list, and I would read it, just as I’ve been reading your blog for ages – and read knitting daily when you wrote it. It does help, of course, to have photographs of the Four Leggeds in your life too – love the one of Buddy and the cracker. Please know that there are a world of people out here who love to hear from you, even though we’ve never shared a cup of tea in person, or knit a stitch together. I don’t have questions – but I have an origami story – when working in a middle school, the kids and I made 1000 paper cranes! And hung them in the school lobby – well, I put a thread through each and every one, and a paper clip hanger, but my brain refuses to remember if I actually hung them or made the custodian do it!


  8. Robin Ashley says:

    Sandi: Don’t know how long you have dealt with depression. It doesn’t seem fair when it gets worse as we get older. I hope you are getting help of any kind that works for you. Drugs and counselling have both helped me but the road does have bumps. You are not alone and there are lots of us who are helped by the news of your struggles too. I wonder if you are finding folks to share your creativity with in your new country. I am soon returning to Ontario after an absence of 25 years and will be looking for connections myself. Have you heard of the Ontario Handspinning Seminar, held in June in various locations? Have you found other spinners and knitters to share creative inspiration? Have you found other creative people just to get together with? Are the bits of quilting you have posted signs of your branching out in that direction? It is always fun to see an email from Sandi in my In Box. Please stay in touch.


  9. Hugs and love from England


  10. Karen says:

    I added you as a ravelry friend when you were doing interweave knitting daily. I got hooked with your quest to make chest darts in pullover sweaters. You were figuring it out as you were writing it. I was so taken with your writing and especially your humor and honesty about body shape and real knitting patterns. Then you stopped editing and I lost tract. Just today I clicked on your blog. Again I am awed by your honest exploration of real life. I cannot click anymore on the blogs describing a life is one grand creative project after another capped off by original organic home cooked meals after having spent the day homeschooling her breast fed darlings who are going on 10. Okay, I exaggerate. And I am all for organic, breast feeding, sewing all your own clothes and designing your own homespun sweaters but come on…..let’s have the down days too. We all feel the blues. Or most of us. Thank you for sharing in the true sense of the expression.


  11. Aubrey says:

    YAY!!!! Just YAY!!! love, me


  12. Julia in KW says:

    So happy to heard from you…keep taking that step when you can…and talk to us! we love to listen! 🙂


  13. mpcsixty says:

    Miss you! Sharing your funk….do hope things improve here and there.

    Marilyn Cepeda Mobile, Alabama



  14. leslieileen says:

    I’m glad you posted because I have missed you. Self doubt is a *itch. If we don’t like what you post, we won’t read it. Then the next time you post, it will probably interest us and we’ll read it all. Honest – not everybody is going to love everything you write all the time (and neither will you). That’s all right, it’s reality. Don’t stop doing what you like, don’t feel pressured to do what you don’t want. Life is too short. Don’t stop being honest.

    Blessings and hugs of hope.


  15. knitwit56 says:

    Cheers for overcoming those nasty demons today! I have been sadly neglectful of my own blog for months now – all four of my readers have been greatly disappointed.

    I always enjoy your posts… even the “downer” ones.

    How is the weather up there in Canada?


  16. jesh! says:

    Sandi dearest!

    How IS Melody? What are you knitting? Or sewing? Or reading? Do you have time to teach me to quilt? Are you coming to my wedding? If so, what can I feed you? If not, when can I come visit?

    I have a skein of yarn that I’ve been meaning to send you, perhaps it will walk its way to the post office this week.


  17. Kathy says:

    I love your posts, and I think you should share whatever you want whenever you want. I appreciate all that you have to say, and I wouldn’t mind if you just posted pictures of the furriest members of the household. 🙂


  18. Peter and Pat says:

    Oh, its good to hear from you again. You have been a regular in our house. I’m sorry about the depression demons. I have them too, but luckily am in a good patch and so things are getting done. What can I knit in Eastern North Carolina? Socks, socks and more socks, and scarves, and mittens and did I say socks? Keep on blogging babe, we love ya.


  19. Marilyn Nance says:

    Very happy to hear from you!!! Please blog; don’t worry too much about it. Who is Melody???
    Good to see you quilting (last year, I seemed to have taken up quilting as a hobby as well as knitting and photography–no problems with extra money).


  20. Sharon says:

    Please keep blogging! I love reading what you write. I followed you from Knitting Daily because I enjoyed your posts and though that you’d be someone I’d like to know. I was worrying when I didn’t get a blog post. I’m glad that you are posting again. Personally, I’d like to know how Tim lost his eye. I remember when he had two but one was runny, which is a danger sign. We’re dealing with a runny-eyed cat currently.

    I hope you feel better soon. You are a bright spot in my day, when I get a blog!


  21. Sharon says:

    I think you’re selling Buddy short. He’s a Border Collie or a cross, and they are really intelligent, so I’m betting he understands glass table tops. He’s wondering why the silly humans haven’t just given him that cracker that nobody wants but him. We have German Shepherds, so I know that look. 🙂


  22. Msuem says:

    Thank you for being so authentic, Sandy. Although I don’t suffer from depression I know others who battle it daily.

    I would like to know how the eye was lost. There has got to be a story there.

    Looking forward to hearing more and seeing others’ questions.


  23. Kelly H. says:

    I’m sorry you’re struggling with depression and demons right now. They come and go in my life too (erratically enough that they’re not easily medicated) and I can empathise with what you’re going through. I’ve let my personal blog (just family and close friends) wane and wish I had more dedication to return to it. I’ve heard of other bloggers doing an ‘entry-a-day’ challenge for themselves for a month, or similar, and that may help (both of us?).
    I hope you can listen to the voices in your comments, and less those of the demons. The demons lie. The demons aren’t real. We’re real and truthful (most of us are fibre enthusiasts – fibre people are good people!). We want to hear you.
    I have a question: how does one sew straight lines? I have a machine, I know (mostly) how to use it. I can sew little things (bags and hems being my most frequent things) but I’ve hesitated to do quilting because my lines are never straight – they waver and wander (not drastically, but it’s there) and that seems detrimental to making quilts. Got any tips?


  24. says:

    Yay Sandi – good to see you again! Whenever I see your name in my email list, I smile 🙂


  25. LynneW says:

    Dear Sandi,

    It’s lovely to hear from you again! I’ve been hoping all was well, but my particular demons take the attitude that if I contact you directly I’m intruding on your personal life. So I dither, and get stuff ready to send you, and then back out …

    You infuse your writings with a gentle wisdom that has sustained and encouraged me – and obviously, from all the other posts, lots of other people! – many times. I wish you could see yourself through our eyes instead of through those lying demons trying to discourage all that is good and kind in you.


  26. Genia P says:

    Sandi: We ready you because we love you, even those of us who have never met you. Hold on tight to whatever keeps you going. Sending hugs and prayers


  27. Barbara G says:

    For some unknown reason we are so much more willing to listen to that devil on our left shoulder telling us we are “less” than that angel on our right whispering that we are wonderful! Ever notice when you compliment a knitter/sewist/crochet/beader, etc, she will point out the mistake in her creation instead of just saying thank you?! I have lost 2 friends who suffered from depression – at their own hands. Most of their friends said “if I only knew it was so bad. Why didn’t he talk to me?” There is hope and we want you to talk to us! You are unique and wonderful and make people everywhere happy by sharing your own special self. NEVER think we don’t want to hear from you. Just seeing your name in my inbox brightens my day!


  28. Holly says:

    Remember one day at a time (or 1hr, or 15 min) … or advice from a get fit Teacher … don’t wear your shoulders as your earrings. Love your blog 🙂


  29. Kathy says:

    I get so excited every time I see a post from you has arrived in my inbox!!! I have followed every word you’ve written way back to Knitting Daily and have enjoyed every post and always look forward to the next one. Your humor so enjoyable and perspective is always so honest and refreshing. I miss hearing from you when you are off fighting your demons by yourself instead of sharing them with all of us who wait to hear from you and are happy support you in every way possible. I’ve concluded that your demons aren’t very smart at all as they continue to convince you of things that simply are not true. I’m hoping you can pull out your armour and deflect each one every time and that they will soon give up and leave you alone. 🙂 And, if you need questions…… are some: What is the stretchiest cast on method? Who is Melody? Is you lovely husband still cooking and baking lovely things and is he sharing his personal yarn stash with you these days?


  30. Meg Olhasque says:

    Hi Sandy, your email was the bright spot of my morning. My question: what kind of sewing machine did you end up getting? And why that particular model? I haven’t bought a new machine in donkeys years, and find myself overwhelmed by the selection. Love to you, to Melody, to all the fur-kids, and to everyone who is a positive and loving part of your life. xxxx


  31. dclulu says:

    So glad to see you back! don’t let those naysayers in your mind keep you from writing. I love your posts, and many others do, too.

    So here’s a question for you: Do you think sleeves on sweaters should always have positive ease? I read that somewhere but can’t for the life of me think why you’d want fat arms if you have a slim-fitting sweater.


  32. astrbear says:

    So good to see you, Sandi! You walk in beauty always. Write about whatever strikes your fancy, for as long or short a block of text as you like. Love, Astrid


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