looking back on 2016!

I can’t say that 2016 was my best year but there were some great times too, and the not-so-good times ended up making me a stronger person so I can’t really complain.  The New Year’s resolution I made last year to make a certain number of projects in 2016 was blown out of the water; I made WAY more stuff than in 2015, and put out some patterns too!  Below is a gallery of my finished objects (there are some that are complete for the most part but haven’t been blocked or still have ends that are unwoven, so I don’t count them as finished although they certainly took up a bunch of time!), followed by a gallery of life moments as well:

I think I forgot to take photos of a hat that I didn’t end up liking, but other than that I think that’s everything that’s fully complete! On to the moments that I posted about here:

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really!  I just realized how much less I posted about my personal life in 2016 in relation to projects.  I’ll try and post more life events next year.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I wish you all a happy New Year!  Let’s do our best to make 2017 amazing!

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Christmas gifts ctd.: hat edition (& life update!)

Sorry it’s been a while.  I’ve been quite busy with personal things (which I’ll share some of towards the end of this post) as well as knitting & crocheting, as you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram!  I’ve got 2 crocheted shawls & 1 knitted shawl blocked and I just need to weave in the ends & take photos before I share, but I’ve been churning out hats the past week or so and they’re ready to show!

not your average crochet : christmas hats

Sorry, I know none of them are crocheted… just bear with me until I get to the shawls if knitting bores you.

The top hat is the Pippi hat (free pattern) and I just love the chunky cables, although they were a bit hard on the hands!  I used a little over 1 skein of KnitPicks Billow in the Tumeric colorway, which I love, and this yarn is so soft and rustic looking I’m going to have to get some more!

The middle hat is the Caramel Brûlée hat (paid pattern) and I was a little bummed that such an expensive yet simple pattern did not fit well.  It’s snug and a tad short for me (but an extra repeat of the pattern would have most likely made it too long).  Of course, when it’s stretched out you can really see the beautiful cable work — it looks kind of like a mess here.  Hopefully it’ll be perfect for it’s intended recipient, who has a smaller head than I, but if I make this pattern again it will be with larger needles.  The yarn is LionBrand Wool Ease in Blush Heather and I used less than 1 skein (although I expected to use more than 1).  Also you can’t really tell here but I knitted a Coats Metallic silver thread with the yarn so it has a touch of sparkle/frost, which I thought was perfect for winter!

The bottom hat is the Ribbed Waffle Hat (free pattern) and thinking that I might run into a similar problem as the Caramel Brûlée hat I opted to go up a needle size from the recommended 8 to US9 instead.  I think the 8 would have been fine for my size head but the 9 made a hat that is cozy on me but even fits my husband comfortably (and he has a very large head), so I’ll be making more of these for the guys in my life who still need presents made for them!  It also took less than 1 skein of LionBrand Wool Ease (this one in Rose Heather) and was the quickest of the 3 hats here, taking less than 24 hours to complete.

The pompoms were actually purse keychains that I took the little clasps off of, and there’s a tiny elastic that I can pin into the hats so that they’re removable for hat washing.  They were a bit expensive, however, so I might get some online next time for a lower price (these were from my local JoAnn’s fabric store).

life update

While my job is starting to leave a bit to be desired, I’m getting a lot of life satisfaction out of other things at the moment.  I know I’ve spoken here before about how much Wing Chun Kung Fu is helping me, but I don’t think I can truly convey through writing the powerful effect it has had on my life since March, when I started taking official classes.  I had no idea that practicing martial arts could provide such nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit, but it does.  So much so that it’s changing how I look at myself, my relationships, my job, and the world around me in general in a very empowering kind of way.  I’m practicing 3 days a week for at least an hour and I’m making some great friends.  I’ve gone to 2 seminars with a revered Wing Chun master named Sifu Francis Fong in the past couple of months, which were so informative, fun, and motivational, and I also took part in a demonstration of Wing Chun at the Moon Festival here in town a couple of weeks ago.  Here are some photos:

With Sifu Fong at the first seminar

With Sifu Fong at the first seminar

 

Doing the butterfly sword vs dragon staff demo at the Moon Festival with my friend (staff was knocked down at this point)

Doing the butterfly sword vs dragon staff demo at the Moon Festival with my friend (staff was knocked down at this point)

 

After Sifu Fong gave me my certificate at the second seminar in Atlanta

After Sifu Fong gave me my certificate at the second seminar in Atlanta

 

With my very talented training partner and friend at the 2nd seminar (cropped short to hide her name on her certificate)

With my very talented training partner and friend at the 2nd seminar (cropped short to hide her name on her certificate)

I’m so lucky to have been able to attend the seminars (thanks to Mom and Dad for the early birthday present!) and to have found such a great local teacher with 3 sessions a week.  The mind, body, and spirit are all connected and I truly feel each of these parts of me improving thanks to my Sifu, friends/partners, and the great experiences I’m having with Wing Chun.

OK, so I’m gonna leave that at that, since I could go on and on about the benefits and things that make me happy about Wing Chun and I should probably move on so as not to repeat myself too much and bore my lovely readers!

In other news, fall is slowly approaching; this is the first week forecast to have all highs in the 80s, which is our first sign.  Actually, Pumpkin Spice Lattes were the first sign, hehe, but they were released pretty early — do they even count?  Fall and winter are my favorite seasons because I can finally wear the stuff I make.  I’ve got a sweater in the works too that I forgot to mention, and it just needs sleeves at this point; I hope I can finish it soon but the Christmas gifts are taking priority — I don’t want to get behind on those!

Well, that’s a lot for one day, I think that’ll wrap it up.  Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!  I’ll try and not to take so long next time between posts!  🙂

cushion cover: progress

It’s coming along nicely!

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Although actually at this point I’ve continued this pattern and done 6 more additional stripes — it was just too hard to get a good photo because it’s getting really long!  I’m going to overlap the ends so that the pillow insert can be put in just like a sham pillowcase, and hopefully I won’t need to bother with buttons or anything.

In other news, I’ve started therapy and it’s going well so far!  My next appointment is in 2 days, and I’m excited.  I like the therapist and think it’s really going to be a good experience.

Also, I’m a little embarrassed to share this but I’ve started a GoFundMe campaign in an attempt to get some Wing Chun practice equipment for my home.  As I mentioned in previous posts the only class offered anywhere close to my city is on Saturdays, so even though I go to that class for the rest of the week I can’t really practice, even though I want to very much.  Unfortunately the equipment I need is expensive, hence the campaign; I don’t think I can save enough for it myself unless I want to wait like 10 years.  I feel a bit… un-classy asking for donations, but since it would benefit both my physical and mental health greatly I think it’s an important investment to make, and I am thus trying to lay my pride aside for a bit and ask for some help.  Even if I don’t make enough through the campaign to purchase the equipment now, any money raised will go into savings specifically towards purchasing the equipment later.  If anyone is interested in donating or learning more about the campaign, please click here.  I’d appreciate it to no end.

Well, that’s all for today everyone, thanks for stopping by!  See you soon, hopefully with a completed cushion cover!

life update

First off, thanks everyone for your kind comments on my new Faux Knit Puffy Cowl pattern.  I’ve been super inspired lately and there’s another pattern in the works now, too!  Unfortunately though, I haven’t done much in the way of knitting or crocheting in the past few days, so I don’t have much crafty stuff to share today.  The only related news is that I just ordered some KnitPro Zing straight needles (12″ versions) from www.knitproneedles.co.uk — shout out to them for shipping to the US, or else I’d have a hard time getting ahold of them!  I’ll share photos & a review when they arrive and I’ve had a chance to try them out.

At work I’ve had some ups and downs lately; I had a great opportunity but I passed it up because I’m not quite ready.  I feel relieved, like I did the right thing, but I am still a tad bit down about it.  We also are building on to our clubhouse, and the addition was completed on Thursday.  We spent all Friday moving everything over to the new side so that they can renovate the old side, so it’s going to be a bit chaotic for a couple of months.

In addition to that chaos, I’ve been off lately, emotionally speaking.  Depressed, to be honest, and anxious.  Having some personal issues.  My hormones have also been changing due to a change in types of birth control (sorry if that’s TMI), so that doesn’t help.

To combat the chaos and depression and fluctuating hormones, I’ve been working on some coping skills the past couple of weeks.  The first is just practicing mindfulness, or being in the moment.  Too much of my life has been spent worrying about the future or dwelling on the past and that’s got to change.  Chris made me some little reminders and stuck them all over the house and on my keys and in my wallet, so those reminders help me remember to “check in” and see if I’m being mindful or not (and if not, then I try to be).  That’s already helping a little with the depression and anxiety.

I’ve also started back in the mindful practice of martial arts, particularly Wing Chun Kung Fu (and the fact that it’s a bit of exercise also helps, with all those happy brain chemicals that are released).  A couple of years ago I was super into it but my friend, who was teaching me, lives about 2 hours away so it kind of fell off.  We’re reviving the lessons though, and I’m also joining a martial arts center where they have Wing Chun lessons for an hour every Saturday.  It’s expensive but it’s cheaper than therapy, and I walk away feeling much the same (albeit for different reasons; the point is, it helps a lot).  I’ve already met a couple of women there that I’ve really enjoyed working with so hopefully I’ll be making new friends, which also should help things since my support network outside of family and coworkers is almost nonexistent nowadays.  The center gave me a t-shirt to wear for lessons:

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I’m really excited about both the paid lessons there and the lessons with my friend; I feel like they are going to make a big difference in my life, even though it seems like a small thing to be doing.  I’ve already learned a little bit that I can practice at home by myself, and my teacher has a YouTube channel with videos he made of the forms in case I forget!

Well I guess that’s all for today.  I hope that wasn’t too boring!  I plan on crafting some today so hopefully I’ll have more crocheting/knitting related updates coming up really soon.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Yoshi’s Woolly World amiibo

If the title sounds like a foreign language, let me explain.  Yoshi’s Woolly World is a video game recently released by Nintendo for the Wii U console.  Like the Kirby’s Epic Yarn game, everything is made out of knitted, crocheted, or sewed items in the game.  Bridges and jump pads are made out of granny squares, and the grass is made out of garter stitch fabric.  It’s super colorful, adorable, and it looks really fun (and needless to say I am THRILLED to see knitting and crochet in a popular form like this, and they seemed to have done some research for it)!

The game is about $50, so I haven’t got that yet (although I’d like it, and it’ll be the first game I’ve bought for myself in years), but the amiibos are around $14.

Amiibos are little figurines of game characters made by Nintendo (ranging from old to new characters, and originating from various companies) that have a chip in the base that your current generation Nintendo consoles can read when you put the amiibo on top of the controller.  They allow you to get extra characters or abilities, etc. in a variety of Nintendo games, and some of them have become highly collectible, going for $100 or more on Ebay (or even so collectible that you can’t find them at all).

Most of the amiibos are made from plastic, but the ones that go with Yoshi’s Woolly World are actually made of yarn, and Chris managed to find one for me before they all sold out!  Check him out:

Yoshi's Woolly World amiibo

Isn’t he cute?!?!  The only color available was pink but I love it.  Some of them I believe look like little crocheted amigurumi dolls but this is the only one I’ve seen in real life so far.  He doesn’t come with a plastic base like most other amiibos but he connects with the controllers like all the others!

Yoshi's Woolly World amiibo

So I know this might seem silly if you aren’t a video game fan, but ya gotta admit that’s the cutest yarn-y baby dinosaur you’ve ever seen, right?  😀

Well that’s all for today, thanks for stopping by!  When I eventually get the game, I’ll post some screen shots so you can see. 🙂

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