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Friday, May 9, 2008

Another AHA moment

Lately I've been working really hard on eating better, getting more physically active and trying to be healthier. It's working and I've lost 6lbs, 4" around my waist, 1" around my neck and 1" around my chest.

Today while I was writing an email to my buddy on sparkpeople.com I had a moment of insight. I was telling her about how I've always tried to fight what my body is telling me. Almost as if my body is a seperate being.

Then it struck me. That's exactly how I've always felt. Like my mind and my body are two seperate parts of me. Not the two combined who make me what I am, but two totally different beings. I take care of my mind and my emotions as much as possible, but I don't take care of my body. My body is my enemy, my mind has always been my saving grace. Even as a child, it was safer to retreat inside my head than to stay connected to my body. My body was used to betray me, my mind kept me safe.

Now I need to start working on looking at the two as a complete package. Not quite sure how I'm gonna do that, but I'll figure something out. Maybe it's time to start seeing a therapist again. To help walk me through the reconnection process. 'Cause I'm tired of not feeling whole, and I think I've finally figured out why I've always felt so empty.

So how do I reconnect the two? How do I reintroduce them to each other? I don't think I've ever seen myself as my mind and my body so this will be interesting to say the least. Will they even like each other? That sounds funny, but it's kind of how I feel.

My daughter's therapist suggested to me today to start journaling again. He was talking more about journaling what I'm feeling when I'm dealing with her, but I think it will help me through this. Writing with a pen and paper has always been very therapuetic for me. Sometimes a little intense, but I think I can handle that. I'm gonna have to if I want to be a complete person and not two lost halves.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Long time..

I didn't realize it's been so long since I've written anything. So much has happened. I'm gonna start with today and maybe work my way backwards. Depends on how I feel after getting everything from today out.

Every Friday I have to go to Chantel's school and attend family therapy sessions. Sometimes she's there, sometimes she's not. Today she wasn't. Her teacher came in for a little bit in the beginning to have me sign papers for her IEP.

After she left, the therapist and I started talking about how to handle her picking. How to get her to open up about what she's experiencing while she's actually doing it. He wants me to ask her what she's feeling right at that moment(this is assuming I catch her). What is her body experiencing. What is she thinking about right then. He wants me to not use phrases like "I know how you feel", "Let's just get you cleaned up and out of here". Those types of things. Even though the first one is sympathetic, he said she needs to understand that we want her to talk to about what is happening. To try and get her to use her words. Which led into him reminding me that this will probably bring up a lot of stuff for me.

I told him just sitting in his office talking about it was bringing feelings up. Guilt being the first. Fear, of what I still don't know. Anger at myself for not being able to help her or protect her(depending on what she says is making her pick at that moment). And then all my own stuff that I've done a lot of work on, but maybe not all.

We talked about teaching her to be kind to herself and how I can model that. Hearing him say that broke me down. I don't know why it triggered me, but it did. It was probably just the last piece that I could take in. The subject turned from helping her into helping me heal at the same time. It also made me really stop and think about why I'm so scared to lose weight and have men find me attractive. I had in the session said "If I start losing weight, people might find me attractive again." Her therapist stopped me and said "Catrina, you mean men, don't you?"

It scares the piss out of me. It makes me want to go and curl up in a ball and hide in corner. I want to throw up. I've been hurt by every guy who has ever been in my life, starting with my dad. Being thinner means being vulnerable to being hurt again. Being rejected. Never knowing why I'm not good enough.

Logically, I know it's better for me to lose the weight. Emotionally though, it kills me. At least being fat, I can blame it on that as to why guys don't like me. I don't even have to worry about the approaching me. I can "hide" inthe world behind it.

It almost feels like by getting healthier, I'm exposing my soul. The part of me that is still very fragile.

How does all of this relate to helping Chantel work through what's going on in her mind when she's picking? The only times she picks is when she thinks of her dad. the last male person to hurt or betray me and her. The one who took what I had to offer and ripped it to shreds. The one that I thought I had worked through all my emotions about. They're not so raw, but there are other emotions and evets buried behind those ones. They're the ones that are trying to creep out. Hell, stampede out. They're the ones that scare me. That keep coming up and keeping me down. Helping her wille like reopening an old war wound and digging in it.

So, now I'm not only helping her, I'm dealing with my own stuff all over again.

Yeah me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring Break

http://s259.photobucket.com/albums/hh298/catbake72/?action=view&current=413a15fe.pbw

http://s259.photobucket.com/albums/hh298/catbake72/?action=view&current=ed78ca5d.pbw

Here are some slide shows from Spring Break. The last four on the first slide show are of the hail and snow we ended up getting the day after our trip to the library.

This year Spring Break went pretty smooth. No major blow outs, not a lot of attitude. It was nice. This is the time of year that Chantel usually starts being manic. So it was very nice to have a calm break.

The slideshows are of our day out at the library and civic center. It was so beautiful that day. The kids had a lot of fun and so did I. Both were more worried about taking pics of the ducks and the trees than anything else.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Long Day

Today I had to take Chantel to get blood drawn. It's the first time she's ever had to do this and has been talking about it a lot these last couple of days. She seemed ok with it and what was going to happen. She also knew that her prescriber had prescribed something for her to take today to help with the anxiety. It didn't work, at least not the first time.

I got her up at 7:30 to start getting ready. She was really out of it. She'd been up half the night worrying herself about what was going to happen. Plus she had taken the first of the anti-anxiety pills last night and it knocked her for a loop once she fell asleep. We had to take the bus to the hospital and she kept falling asleep. She was leaning on me and kept pushing me out of the seat. I had to keep holding her hand so she wouldn't fall getting on and off the bus and walking.

When we got to the hospital, they told us we could go up to the second floor and they would be able to do the blood draw there. That way she wouldn't have to walk over to the outpatient center, which is two blocks away. We went up there and the receptionist was really nice and said it wouldn't be very long. I guess they don't think an hour and a half is a long time to wait with a child who is panicky about any type of needle.

When they finally called her name, I had to wake her up and she immediately got panicky. She was shaking and not wanting to go into the room. Once we got her in there she seemed ok. The lady who was going to draw her blood told us that they normally only do lab work for the people who are already admitted to the hospital. I let her know that she needs to tell the front desk that because they were the ones who suggested it. She had another lady come in to help her hold Chantel's arm down 'cause they had been warned that she was extremely nervous. It took them 5 minutes to even figure out if they could find a vein, then they pull out a needle. All hell broke loose then. Chantel started screaming and crying. She wouldn't put her arm back on the pillow. I couldn't even get her to loosen up her arm. She just kept staring at the needle and crying. The nurses were rude and finally told me we had to go. They had too many people upstairs waiting for them. I got Chantel out of the chair and we left.

I told her that we were walking over to the outpatient center. That the bloodwork had to be done today. She kept asking if we could please do it tomorrow. I reminded her that the pills she had been given were only for one day and that putting it off was just going to make her anxiety worse. She kept asking me exactly what it was they were going to do. By the time we got over to the outpatient center she had calmed down.

The receptionist there wasn't surprised when I told her how the nurses had reacted to Chantel's panic over the needle. They said they get those complaints about them all the time. Nice to know after Chantel had a panic attack.

We sat for maybe 10 minutes and they called us in. The lady was really nice to Chantel. Chantel asked her how she was going to poke her. The lady explained that everyone draws blood differently, but her way is to get the needle just under the skin and let the blood do the rest. Chantel was ok with that. She was even ok when she saw the needle. She asked the nurse what kind of needle it was and the nurse told her that it's a needle they use for infants. It's smaller and easier to use on kids. When the nurse was checking for veins, Chantel got a little frustrated when the lady checked her right arm. Chantel told her "That's my writing arm, can't you do it in the other one." The lady was so nice and said "Of course. We'll try that first." She had the needle in Chantel's arm before Chantel even knew what was going on. Once it was in, Chantel wanted to watch the blood fill up the tubes. It took all of 3 minutes for this woman to stick her and draw the blood.

Chantel was so amazed that it didn't take longer. We decided to walk to the transit center from the hospital, 'cause it's not too far from the hospital. The whole way there she kept talking about how all she felt was a scratch and how the blood looked once it was going into the tube. I really wish we would have went to the outpatient center first. We wasted 2 hours at the actual hospital. We didn't get home until 1.

She was so tired from getting all worked up, the medication and the relief from the stress that she fell right asleep. I almost laid down with her. Struggling with her always wears me out. I forget how strong she is when she's in a full blown panic attack. Plus seeing her like that always takes a huge emotional toll on me.

Hopefully she'll remember that it wasn't so bad. 'Cause she has many more blood draws ahead of her because of one of the medications she's on.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Friends vs. Family

Long story, so I'll try to keep it short. My "sis" is actually my best friend who is my brothers' ex. I've known her since she was 16 and I was 21. her and my borther went through some nasty stuff when they seperated. All caused by him. he did a lot of abusive things to her, cheated on her, tried to run with my nieces, threatened her. It was an ugly situation. Well, I stood by my beliefs and told my brother what I thought of him and haven't spoken to him since. That's not an issue to me. He's always been an ass and nothing has changed.

Here's the problems that are starting to happen. I've invested a lot into this friendship and latelyshe hasn't been. She moved from the city we wer both living in to be near her mom. That was abut 2 1/2 years ago. We wet through a rough pach inour friendship while she was staying wit her mom because her stepdad doesn't like me or my kids. She'd barley call me didn't want to see us. Then she got tired of his shit and finally decided to put her foot down and let him know that we are friends and that is that.

Now she's doing something similar. She got in contact with a friend she has known since 4th grade and once again is barely calling me. We used to talk at least every other day. She'd call me on her way home from work. Now it's like once a week. There was als an incident with her making an appointment for her mom to get her hair done during the time Chantels bday party was going. She called me on Chantel's graduation day but only wanted to talk about what my brother was doing. I asked her to call me back because I wanted to tell her about Chantel's goodbye party she said yes, and then never called back.

I think I'm just being emotional about it, but I really do feel slighted and forgotten. I tried talking to her about it the other day and she said you don't call me either. I gave her that, but I never know when is a good time. She doesn't leave work when she's supposed to and whenever I tr to call her at home it's always interupted and short. She tred telling me that she used to call me at night after the kids went to bed and that was when we would talk. I reminded her that the only time she would do that was when she was wanting to talk/vent about the crap my brother is putting her through.

She's always been there for me when I really needed her. Honestly she's been more family tan my real family has ever been. It just bothers me that now that she has another friend she doesn't call or want to come down. That sounds petty, but it's how I feel.

On top of this, my mom is trying to push me into talking to mybrother again. She doesn't understand that I refuse to back down from what I believe. I don't need someone like him in my life. It's all about him and no one else. Plus the only times he "misses" me and wants us to be a family again is when he is taking his ex back to court, which he just served her again.

We are supposed togo down to my mom's for a couple of days for spring break and I just found out that my brother is also supposed to be going to the coast that weekend. I haven't calld my mom to see if he is planning on being at her house durin the times they want us to. I'm really afraid that she is planning on trying to force a reconciliation. she's neve been able to understand that once you're out of my life for doing dirty shit to me, my friends or my kids(which he'sdone all three) you're not coming back.

I've already decided that if she goes this route, I'm not talking to her.

Why do relationships of any kind have to be so complicated.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Family therapy

Today was our first official famiy therapy session at PADTC. I'm so glad we had it 'cause last night was hell here.

I had let the kids go to a birthday party, when Iwent to pick them up Chantel decided to growl at e and start yelling. I told her she was grounded and she told me I was embarrassing her in front of her friends. I kept thinking to myself, and growling didn't embarrass you?

We get home and Bry asked if he could go online to show me a song. I said yes, but then he needed to get off the computer and do his homwork. After he foundthe song he decided to go on youtube. I told him to get off and he got an attitude. I then told him to go and do his homework. h gotan atttude and told me to back off, he had just got home. He kept beng a brat and I ended up yelling. He ran upstairs crying and Chantel tried telling me to leave him alone. I told her if she didn't stop sh was going to be grounded for the whole weekend. She actually chose to stop. Bry came back dowstairs and we started taking.

He made the comment tht all the other kids are respectful to heir parents, an I'm always saying that it's ok to be different so why should they be like all the other kids and be respectful. Oh, this child sometimes. I told him that beng different from other people did not mean being disrespectful to your parents. Then he popped off with "Sometimes I want to tell you that e're just kids and still learning, but I know I'd get in trouble if I said that." told him, yep you'd get in trouble for saying that because there isn't a reason for you too. It's my job as the mom to teach you what's right and wrong. I already know that you're kids and don't know everything. Hell, I'm an adult and I don't know everything. It ended up being a good conversation and everyone went to bed feeling ok.

When I went to PDTC I was talking with Chantel's therapist about last night and then hebrought her in. At first she wasn't going to talk and say wha she learnd from the night before. Her therapist toldher that if she didn't she would sit out of class with a writing assignment about it. Which would mean getting X's in class and not earning a trip to DQ. She finally sat up an told us that she learned that she needs to work on being nicer to people and how it makes me feel when they act like they were.

YEAH!!!!!!! That's the most we've ever gotten out of her during any therapy session. I was so proud of her that I almost started crying.

It's these moments that make me realize that maybe I'm doing somethng right. That some of what I say is sinking in. Thank god, 'cause most of the time I think I'm talking to the walls.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I felted!

I am so excited. I've been workign forever on a bag design to felt. I've rstarted the thing like a hundred times. I finally finished up the peices last night. Sewed them together today and just pulled it out of the washing machine. It looks so purty!

One thing I will have to remember for next time, if I choose to use a pair of shoes to run through with the felting I'll need to make sure they are the same color as the yarn. I used a pairof brown shoes that needed some washing done and put them in with the bag. The bag is a charcoal color from Lamb's Pride. When I pulled it out, it had brown stuff mixed in with some of the fluff left on the bag. I've been scraping the brown stuff off, but it didn't really effect the outcome.

I also think that next time I'm going to do a straight garter stitch. At least for the handle. I did a stockinette stitch this time and forgot that I don't have blocking pins. The handle is rolling in on itself, but it actually looks pretty good. It just makes the handle look thicker instead of wider.

I think I found another new love. I've already got another design in the back of my head and am buying some lovely yarn from Knitpicks when I get paid next week.

Chantle asked if she could have my new bag. Uh, no. Maybe I'll make the next one for her.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'm officially old

Yesterday was Chantel's 13th birthday. Gawd, I can't believe she's already a teenager. It seems like yesterday I was toting her around on my hip and changing her diapers. Time has flown so fast.

I'm so thankful that we are in a safe and secure place now that she's entering this stage of her life. She's been through so much, and I can't imagine what it would be like for her if we were still living in an abusive home. These next years are going to be had as it is, I don't even want to think about what it would do to her to see and hear the things she has before.

Becase she's 13 now, she also has to change day centers. She will now be going to one for adolescents. She's so funny about it. Last week she told me that now that she's going to be around teens, she is going to make sure she wears her bra everyday. Such a dork. She told her therapist it's also because she doesn't want to have boobs like her mom. Thanks.

I threw her a party yesterday. One of her aunts from her dads' side came, her half-brother and her cousins from my side of the family. Two of her friends from the neighborhood came. It was nice to not have a bunch of people. She ended up with $55 from friends and family. I told her that was her rent money for next month. She didn't think that was too funny.

Even though she's reached the teen years, she's still my Chanie. Today we went to Salem Center Mall, and she wanted to go to the Elephants Trunk and buy stuffed animals. So we did, and she spent all her money there. Well, all but five and that she spent on Orange Julius' for her and her brother.

It's just too hard to believe that we're in this stage of life already. It's going to be interesting to see what she throws at me now.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Anything goes, frogged again

I was working on my Anything Goes Blanket last night and I realized that the sides were curling in. Even with a 5st moss st border it wasn't keeping the blanket straight.

I frogged it last night and am going to start working on it again today. I hadn't realized how much yarn I had used until I was unraveling the blanket. I was hoping to have the blanket done this month, but now it looks like it won't be happening until March.

This totally bites and is exactly why I normally don't do afghans or blankets. So much time and my patience wears thin. Before I'm halfway done, I'm ready to put the project in hibernation no matter how simple the design.

I am boundd determined ot finish this one. It's like a quest, or more like an obstacle in a journey. I know I'll love it once it's done. I'm just so wonderful at shoving anything that is hard or time consuming aside and not finishing it. Kind of like what I do in life. it's too hard, too complicated don't want to deal with it, so I'll just ignore it.

Why is it that knitting always has to symbolize something to me? I think because it's easier for me to put my emotions onto the yarn and not have to face them in real life. Well this is one that I am going to complete even if it's just to prove that I can finish a long project!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Finishing

So I joined this group on Ravelry called February is for Finishing. It's all about finishing your UFOs that have been sitting there calling out your name to be completed. For me it's the ones I get so excited about starting and then they sit there. Either because I get bored with them or they just need to be sewn together.

Well I just realized that it's February. Granted it's still early in the month, hell it's only the 2nd, but I've already started getting this knot in the pit of my stomach. It's that whole, I think I bit off more than I can chew knot. The I'm never going to be able to do this thought.

What's really pathetic is I only have about four projects that I'm working on that need to be completed. A pair of socks, the rest of the bookmarks, a blanket and a pillow that needs to be stuffed. Actually, I just started another project the other night. A seamless bag that I plan on felting. So five altogether. It's not like I HAVE to complete them, well the bookmarks have to be completed this month. But I signed up for something and if don't get them all done I'll feel like a failure. Shouldn't but I will.

I'll have to keep track of how feel when I pick up each prject and how I feel when I finish. I think this will be interesting for me to keep note of. I'm a terrible procrastinator and have a tendency to be stubborn. Almost like I won't knit because I just know I'll fail so I'll wait til March to knit again :(

Maybe this will be another healing excercise for me. At the least ifI work hardand get the five projects done, I'll have some pretty cool new things to brag about :p

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New blog for my designs

Seeings how I plan on writing down and then posting all of my designs or patterns that I needed to create a different blog just for them. I'll be moving the few that I have on this page over within the next couple of days.

The new blog site is queencknits.blogspot.com

I'll be posting any revisions, comments or updates on my designs there.

Check it out, I promise it will be worth it!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moss stitch bookmark design




This is a very easy and basic design. These are great gifts. you can get up to 6 out of each skein of yarn.









Materials:

DMC Traditions Crochet Thread(size 10) Pastels
Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet Cotton (size10) Cream
Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet Cotton(size 10) Maroon.

Size 1 needles
Beads

Pattern:

You will hold and work with all three yarns at the same time. I find it easier to roll them all up into balls and keep them in separate bags. I use ziploc baggies that I can pinch shut and am able to leave enough space open for the yarn to pass through.

Cast on 1 st.

Row 1: K, bring yarn forward and p into 1st st, bring yarn to the back and k. You should now have 3 sts.

Row 2: K, p, k.

Row 3: K, bring yarn forward and p into first st; k, p; k, bring yarn forward p into last st. This will bring you up to 5 sts.

Row 4: *K1, p1.

Row 5: K, bring yarn forward and p into first st; *k1, p1 to last st; k bring yarn forward and p into first st. Now there should be 7 sts.

Row 6: *K1, p1

Row 7: K, bring yarn forward and p into first st, *k1, p1 to last st; k, bring yarn forward and p into first st. You should now have a total of 9 sts.

Row 8-desired length: *k1, p1

To decrease: K first st, p, slip first over second; *k1, p1 to last two sts; p, k slip purled st over last st. Brings you down to 7 sts.

Next row: *k1, p1

Continue decreasing until you have only 3 sts left. K first st, p slip first st over(you'll now have two sts, one on your right needle and one on your left); k slip first st over.

This leaves you with one st. Cut yarn leaving a 1" tail. Pull through last st. Secure by tying a knot at the top of your last st.

For my bookmarks I added beads at the end of the tails. You could add tassels or anything else. Now grab a good book and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Seamless pom-pom bag revisions



Oh hell, who am I kidding. I have to redo the whole dang pattern. Lesson: Never think you can just write a pattern down after two years of not having done anything with it. Anyways, here's the Real Pattern!

Materials:
Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Country Blue(a)
Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Blue Jewel(b)
Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Pale Blue(c)

Size 6(US) knitting needles
Size 6(US) Dpns
Row counter

Pattern:

With A, cast on 80 sts.

Row 1: K
Row 2 -47: Slip first st purlwise; *k, slip next stitch purlwise(sspw). You should end with a knit st.

Row 48-49: (This is the row you will add your new color to. You will follow the same pattern only now you will hold b and tack it into place with your k sts.) *Sspw; k.

Row 50-97: (On this row you will start knitting with b. The next 50 rows you will be using your seond color and can cut A. Leave enough to weave in, or use the same method as adding a color to tack the end into place)*Sspw; with B k.

Row 98-99: (These two rows are wher you will add C on. Follow pattern only now wyou will hold C behind your work and tack it into place with B). *Sspw; k.

Row 100-149: *Sspw; k.

Bind off. To bind this project off and leave an opening you will need to slip the first st onto one of the dpns. Knit next st and then slip the third st onto the dpn. K the fourth st(you should now have two sts on your right needle and two on the dpn.) Pass first st over second. Continue until you have 1 st leftnright needle and 40 on dpn. With right needle k first st off of dpn. Pass first st over second. Continue binding off until all sts have been worked. Cut yarn and pull through last st.

Flip bag inside out. Now you are ready to add the handle and pom-poms.
I-cord: Using dpns, cast on 5 sts. Knit those sts. Switch the needles in your hands without turning your work. Slide the sts to the other end of the needle in your left hand(the yarn should still be hanging from your left and not from your right). Knit these sts. Make sure to pull the yarn tight on e first st of every row so the fabric rolls in on itself. Keep doing this until you reach the length you want. Bind off.

Pom-poms: I used yarn from each of the colors in the bag to make multi-colored pom-poms. Thread A onto needle. Using pom-pom maker wrap yarn through and around the two circles. Coninue doing this alternating between the three colors until the center hole is filled. Cut through the loops all the way around the outside of the circles. Cut a piece of yarn about 8 inches and pull this between the two halves of the pom-pom maker. Make sure you wrap it tightly around the middle of the pom-pom. Tie a knot to keep it in place. Pull the rings off, fluff and trim your pom-pom to even the ends. Make 6.


Attach the pom-poms using the same yarn you used to tie it together. Using needle, thread yarn through needle and attach to bottom of bag. Weave ends in.

Attach i-cord to top of bag on sides where you bound off.

Seamless pom-pom bag


This knits up pretty quick once you get going. The hardest part is adding the new colors.


It’s a pretty basic design. By slipping the first st and ever other st after that, you automatically create an opening. No seams to sew up, my fav part of the whole bag! When casting on, you have to always do an even # of sts. For the bag pictured, I used a blue color theme. I worked from a darker, to a lighter to a cream colored.
Cast on 80 sts. with darkest color.
Row 1: K*
Row 2 and all even #rows: Slip first st onto right needle; k1, slip next st to right hand needle* to last st. K last st.
Row3 and all odd # rows: Slip first st onto right needle; P1, slip next st to right hand needle* to last st. P last st.
Continue working pattern for 47 rows. On the 48th row you will add your next color. To do this you will need to hold the added color behind your sts and carry it up for two rows. When you k your first st on row 38, hold the yarn behind the color you are working with. K over the yarn to hold it in place. Do this with every k st. Continue to do this on row 49, only holding the yarn in place with purl sts.
Row 50: Drop mc and start working with new color.
Continue with pattern and new color for 47 more rows. This will take you to row 97.
Row 98: Add third color. Use the same directions for adding second color. Continue holding new color throughout row 89.
Row 100: Drop second color and start working with third.
Continue pattern for another 49 rows. Ending with a purl row.
Bind off. Flip bag inside out for St st to show.
Handle: I used an i-cord for the handle. Cast on 6 sts. K those sts. Switch the needles in your hands, but do not turn work. Push sts down to opposite end of needle in left hand and k across. Pull the first st of every row tight so it rolls in. Continue until desired length. Bind off.
Pom-poms: Make multi-colored pom-poms by using the three colors for each pom-pom. Attach to bottom of bag. I used six medium sized ones on this bag.
Attach i-cord handle and you are ready to shake your pom-poms.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

If I can't draw a straight line, how am I supposed to knit one?


So I'm working on my Anything Goes blanket. I decided to go ahead and try to do some duplicate stitches to see how it looked. From the "I'm stitching and looking right at the pattern" standpoint it looked fine. Then I put it down to check on it and this is what I discovered....


I was doing pretty good there for a little bit and then somehow my brain decided the line needed to go up, not straight. No big surprise there, my brain tends to follow it's own path and that isn'talways what I have planned. Ok, so that sounds weird. What I mean is that I will have something in mind and have it pictured in my mind perfectly. When it comes time to do the project(or whatever it my be) it ends up looking much different.

Guess that's why all my stuff is one of a kind. No two are alike. Plus, I did name this the Anything Goes Blanket. Maybe my subconcious was hard at work while I was trying to follow the pattern.

I think from this point on, I'll wait until I'm finished with the blanket before I do anymore decorating of the inside.

Lesson learned: Don't jump the gun. There is a reason why I must complete things in order.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bookmarks

My daughter is 12 and she's bipolar. She has been unable to attend public school because she has such a hard time controlling her emotions. Currently she is going to a day treatment center where she recieves therapy twice a week, attends school and has groups every day. She has come a long way. Next month she turns 13 and she will no longer be able to go to Poyama. She was accepted into another day center for adolescents and will be graduating next month.

She's been at Poyama for a year and I wanted a way to thank the staff for all the help and work they have put into helping her get her emotions under control. Chantel isn't like a lot of the kids that go to her school. Most of the kids have behavioral problems. She does but not the way the other kids do. She doesnt act out physically, she doesn't throw things or yell at the teachers and other staff. She's never needed to be restrained. Her emotions are just so out of whack that they are very difficult for her to control. She tends to be more on the depressed side and she disassociates very quickly. Meds and lots therapy have helped a ton, but she still refuses to acknowledge her feelings. She's come a long way, she's no longer suicidal, but she still has a ways to go.

When I was thinking of things I could do for the staff I knew I wanted it to be something they could keep forever, or at least for a while. I also knew that I wanted it to be something that when they looked at it they would be reminded of her.

So I decided on bookmarks. I'm doing them in the color of her favorite big red coat. She never takes her coat off at school, it's her security blanket. She has a lighter weight one that is maroon that she has to wear under the red one. So I decided to do the bookmarks in those colors with a cream color to kind of add and highlight it.

I finished the first one last night. It only took me a couple of hours, actually less than that. I'm really pleased with the results. We are also adding beads with the each staffs initials on it at one end. That's Chantel's idea. I'm doing the knitting of the bookmarks, she gets to do the beading.

The bookmark I finished last night is done in a moss stitch. It starts with one stitch and then I keep adding until I get 9 stitches total. I knit on it until it was the length that I wanted then started decreasing on each end until I ended up wth 1 stitch. I cut the yarn and pulled it through. To make sure it doesn't come undone, I tied a knot at the top. I'm braiding the tails and then adding the beads. Did I mention that I used three different yarns at the same time? I've worked with two before, but stil thought this would be difficult. It wasn't too bad. Probably because I used crochet thread.

I'm thinking after I finish the 16 of these that i need to do that I might make a stockpile of them for next Christmas. Maybe even sell them. I'll be able to figure out how many per ball of thread I can make and then figure out the pricing from there.

Isn't it great how doing something nice for others acan lead to ideas for yourself?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Knitting it together

I actually wrote this last year during the summer while I was still in therapy and shortly after finishing the poncho.

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I've never thought of knitting as a form of therapy. I knew that it helped me relax and that often my mind would clear. Just recently I was overjoyed when my passion helped me to start healing from childhood abuse.

A few years ago I bought a book of sweater designs. I got it with the intention of knitting myself one. This would have been my first task of this size and this complex. I took the book to my mom's to show her what my next project would be. She instantly fell in love with the sweater on the cover. I decided that my mom would receive my first adult size sweater as a Christmas present.

I went and bought the required 11 skeins of yarn(in a color she had pointed out as one of her favorites), the three pairs of needles, cable needles, buttons thread and stitch markers. I was so excited I could hardly wait to get home to start. I just knew this was going to make my mom happy.

Let me describe this sweater. It was a double moss stitch polo, with cabling where the button wholes would be. For me this project was like building a pyramid, climbing Mt. Everest and having any experience. It was huge, monumental, scary and exciting.

I worked every day on that sweater. Ripped out stitches, restarted it countless times trying to make it perfect. I finally finished it three weeks before Christmas. I was so pleased with myself. The sweater was gorgeous, so much that I had to try it on. I took it to work the next day and showed it to everyone. No one got by me without seeing this wonderful creation! By the end of the day I was very tempted to keep the sweater. Maybe I would make my mom a scarf. In the end, I wrapped it and waited.

On Christmas day I was so excited and nervous. I couldn't wait to see how happy I'd made my mom. I just KNEW she would love it as much as I did. I KNEW she would be overjoyed by me remembering her wanting that sweater. Maybe she'd even notice how much of my heart I put into the making of HER gift.

When she opened it, her response was "Oh. I wasn't expecting that. Thank you." That was it? That was the response I had been holding my breath for? That was the show of appreciation for all my hard work and effort? Honestly, her response didn't surprise me, but it did hurt. right to my core.

The nest day she decided to wear her sweater. After about an hour she started complaining. The sweater was too heavy on her shoulders. The stitch wasn't exactly like she thought it was. The sleeves were too long for her short arms and she had to roll them up. What my mom failed to realize was that in order to make the size she needed, the sleeves would be longer. She also has ALWAYS had to roll the sleeves on all of her sweaters. My heart hurt even more.

The following November she brought over a box of clothes she didn't want anymore. I worked at a shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence and would take the clothes in for our clothing closet. I always looked them over first. This time I decided to do it while she was still visiting. At the bottom was her sweater, my masterpiece. I looked up and my mom looked away. She said sh couldn't wear it so she didn't need to keep it. Not once did she meet my eyes. She left shortly after my discovery. I took her sweater and crumpled it up. I unfolded it and thought how could give away something I had worked so hard and so lovingly on? How could she give back my love.

I decided to keep the sweater. I even wore it once or twice, but every time I did I wanted to cry. I put it in one of my yarn bags and left it there. I couldn't look at it or even touch it. At the time I didn't recognize that this sweater had taken on a different form for me. It became the visual reminder of how little my mom thought of my hard work. How easy it was for her to dismiss my feelings. How little she thought of me. How nothing I did was never good enough. It represented all my childhood memories and feelings.

About six months later, I began to dissect the sweater. I ccarefully undid the hem and the seams. Then I began on the sleeves. At first slowly, carefully, but then the speed increased and I was no longer unraveling a sweater. I was letting out all my hurt and anger. I cried over every last stitch. I remembered all the awful, horrible things my mom had said to or about me for as long as I could remember. At that point I actually found myself hating and resisting the yarn. I didn't care if the sweater cam unravelled neatly or if I tore the yarn into pieces. I finally got it rolled into balls ad put it in a bag intending to make myself a poncho.

At the beginning of that net Summer my mom told me she would like me to make her a poncho. I couldn't look at her, but told her I was going to use the yarn from her sweater and make myself one. I was sitting close enough to her that she actually reached out and smacked me on the arm and called me a brat.

Thee yarn has sat for over two years. I picked it up one day and started casting on. I knit about two rows and had to stop. I was becoming ill. My stomach muscles were cramping, my head was pounding and my shoulders were tense. This shocked me! Knitting had always been a way to relax my body and mind. Never had it caused type of reaction. I still had not recognized what those balls of yarn meant to me.

I had been in therapy for about 2 years and had been steadly working on my feelings towards my mom and my fears of being like her. I had finally come to an inner understanding that I am not connected to my. I had finally come to understand that I am my own person with the right to have my own thoughts and feelings. I had come to know myself better and to stand up for my rights, beliefs and values. I was beginning to understand that I could be a separate person and that my mom's thoughts, feelings and reactions are hers to own, NOT MINE TO TAKE CARE OF!

Out of the blue I felt this intense need to start that poncho again. I began working on it feverishly, almost obsessed with finishing it. I had no idea why, but it felt vital. That if I didn't I would lose something valuable

Then it hit me. Came right out and stared at me plain as day. I wasn't just knitting something for myself. I was actually re knitting my life. I was taking something that I had made for my mom and reworking it into something for me, for my enjoyment. The yarn and poncho were now representing me reclaiming the lost pieces of myself. Every stitch was like rewording everything negative or harmful thing she had ever said or did to me and changing into the opposite. I had taken an object that wasn't good enough for her(me aka the sweater) and was making it into something just right for me. With every stitch it felt like pieces of me were healing. Again I cried while working with this yarn. This time it was grief for all that I could have been and happiness for all I have become. I was finally knitting myself back together. finally understood that the yarn had meant so much more to me that I had thought.

In the beginning it was hope and longing to be found worthy and to be loved. In the middle it was dark, hurtful, hateful. Needing to be hid away because it wasn't good enough. In the end it has become freed, reworked and made beautiful.. It is acceptance and understanding of a true self. It is now free to be what it was meant to be.

This yarn was not meant to be a heavy, weighed down sweater. It was meant to be a light, carefree, airy poncho. Just as I am not meant to be what my mother said neither am I a copy of her. I AM MY OWN WOMAN!!!!! Meant to be who I am with all my emotions, thoughts and faults. Loved for what I've been through and accepted as I am.

I have finally knitted my inner self back together.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Current projects

I keep thinking about what my new project should be. Not that I don't have a couple going right now. But I'm one of those knitters who like to have at least three at any given time. That way I can change if I get bored with one or I can choose which one to work on depending on my concentration level.

Right now I have my Anything Goes blanket. Which is a pretty basic design. A moss stitch border and stockinettes on the inside. I like this blanket because there is so much you can do with it on the inside. I have some geometric shapes that I want to use. I've been trying to figure out the best way to get them on the blanket. I finally decided to finish the blanket and then use the duplicate st method. This is going to be my first time trying it and I'm a little nervous. After restarting 5x I really think that this is going to be the best and easiest method.

Second one is finishing up a second sock. I started turning the heel today and had to stop and think for about five minutes. I'm horrible when it comes to finishing socks. I never finish a pair in a good amount of time so I usually forget for a little bit how to do a part of the pattern. Socks are my take anywhere projects. They sit in my bag until I'm on the bus or waiting somewhere. It can be months in between before I finish the first and second one.

Project three is a pillow with fairy designs on it. This one is pretty much complete. All I have to do is finish stuffing it and then sew it up. I created the patterns for the fairies and words myself and am pretty proud. This originally started out as a blanket but I got tired of creating the individual squares and wanted to see a FO quickly. I plan on posting the graphs for fairies on here and on my project page at ravelry.com.

I have two ideas for new projects that I am going to start. One is using one of the fairy designs and making either a bag or purse and the other one is too come up with designs for two of my favorite cartoon characters and make a blanket. Ill have to see how it goes.