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Posts tagged ‘cross stitch’

What I Do Offline to Recharge Myself

Suat Eman

Relax with a cup of steaming hot tea and your favorite pastime. Credit: Suat Eman

Let’s face it –– in today’s rush, rush workaday world, I use every resource I have, including time, mental, emotional, cognitive and physical. At the end of the day, I’m worn out and I need to recharge the batteries, so to speak.

As a freelance writer, yes, I work at home. I don’t have to worry about leaving my house on time every morning and fighting traffic to get to work. I’m able to structure my day as I need so I can take care of everything that needs to be done. Still. It’s all on me –– the earning, the decision-making, managing the business and my home. That’s a lot to be responsible for and it does use up all the resources I have available. That’s why I have several offline activities I indulge in so I can recharge myself.

My go-to activity is creating beauty. Because I create writing for my pay, which I love, this is a natural extension for me. My current non-writing creative outlets include crochet, cross stitch and, as I become more skilled at it, beading. I have a large box stored in my sunroom that is full of my crafting supplies. In addition, I have a storage box with a latching lid stuffed with balls of yarn and crochet hooks that don’t fit in my crochet hook wallet. Let’s not forget the plastic zipping bags that hold the “overflow” yarn. I have three projects in progress right now, with a fourth planned –– as soon as I finish the one I’m working on now.

The aforementioned box holds supplies for plastic canvas, two latch hook kits, cross stitch supplies and several cross stitch kits that I have owned for more years than I care to remember. I also have craft storage boxes filled with beads and beading thread. I haven’t bought any pliers yet because I’m not at the point where I can “graduate” to using beading wire, but I’ll get there –– some day.

I love beauty, regardless of whether it’s contained in words that weave a tale or in an item that I’ve made from my own two hands. For this reason, turning from word-crafting to crochet or cross stitch at the end of my work day is a natural progression. I’m currently crocheting a set of fingerless gloves for a friend on the East coast –– with the winter they’re experiencing, she’ll get really good use out of them. I started glove two just a couple of days ago and I’m already halfway through making it. I should be able to mail these gloves to her fairly soon; then I’ll start working on a late Christmas gift for another friend. We discussed her favorite colors and I have a couple of ideas to make something for her.

I have a crochet pattern for a short-sleeve sweater I want to make for myself. I’ve only been actively crocheting for five years, so this project will test my skills. I do have to wonder how relaxing that project will be. The other project is a “School Colors” afghan I’m making for my oldest son. He lives on the West coast, where the winters are wet and cold, so I’m thinking this afghan will help keep him warm after work and at night when he goes to bed. I originally conceived this afghan idea, using four yarn colors –– the two colors closest to our school colors of red and blue, plus two different shades (burgundy and windsor blue). I made the first blanket, using all four colors and gave that one to my youngest son. On really cold nights here, he uses that afghan. My older son asked for a blanket crocheted with the burgundy and windsor blue yarns. I threw an additional variation into his blanket –– I am crocheting it in color blocks, where the original blanket is stitched in wide stripes. Since this is my own pattern, I’m modifying it so each blanket is an original creation for both of my sons.

I really want to get back to the cross stitching and latch hook, not to mention my beading. Because I’m always able to find new patterns or develop new ideas for projects, I foresee many pleasurable evenings, recharging my batteries. When I sit on the couch with a cup of hot tea and a couple of cookies in front of me and I pick up on my crocheting, I can feel the tension leaving my body. Crochet, for me, is an activity where I’m able to focus my attention. As I crochet each stitch, I am fully focused on the yarn moving through my fingers, with the hook creating each stitch. The program on TV provides a sound accompaniment as I stitch, sip my tea and munch my cookies. By the end of the evening, I’m ready for a shower and bed.

One Way I Choose to Keep the Shreds of My Sanity

One Way I Choose to Relax and Keep the Shreds of My Sanity . . .
I am: a single parent of two young men; looking for a permanent, full time job in my professional field as I work full time in my temporary job; taking care of two possessive, jealous cats and two overly excitable dogs who piddle and poop everywhere; trying to build my Avon business; and trying to stay relatively sane.

How do I hang on to those precious, few shards of normality? I crochet, cross stitch or do beadwork. At the moment, I am about 1/3 of the way through an afghan for my younger son. It is constructed of two shades of red and two shades of blue (his school colors), in a crochet triple stitch. My older son likes the pattern so much that I will use two of the same colors and make him an afghan. I have christened the pattern “School Colors”.

I am also collecting skeins of yarn in colors that I don’t have and crocheting “corkscrew” hangers that I can tie to my car’s radio antenna. The reason for doing this is that drivers seem to miss the presence of my car as I am driving in their general vicinity. They nearly strike me as they are spontaneously changing lanes with no warning signal; they drive across my pathway, seeming to ignore the fact that I am driving down a 35-mile per hour street at 35 mph! They turn in front of me as I have the green left-turn arrow, forcing me to stand on my brake pedal, as I pray desperately that the person driving behind me has seen what caused me to screech to a sudden halt.

Yeah, I definitely need to work to maintain the few shreds I have left (buh-buh-buh).

I also like to construct necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other creations out of beads and beading cord. I am still trying to graduate to beads and wire!

I also cross stitch, but I have not picked this craft up for about 16 months — I overdid it the Christmas before last, making gifts for friends and family. I need to have the itch to take up needle, thread and Aida cloth again. (I’ve been thinking about it, but I am still working on the school colors afghan, and want to start my older son’s afghan.)

“That means you’ll be working on two projects at the same time, doesn’t it?” I know you are thinking that, and yes, I will be doing just that. It helps me to maintain a higher level of interest in the project underway, especially when it’s as large as an afghan.

I have several friends who enjoy “hooking” (that’s with the crochet hook, not the other, socially unacceptable behavior involving the exchange of a sexual favor for money). That is just one nickname for crocheting. (One historical account has it that female employees in lace factories were forced by their wealthy bosses to “turn tricks” on the side in order to make up for the fact that the factory owners paid less than a living wage. This was said to have occurred late in the 19th century. D. Stoller, Stitch and Bitch, the Happy Hooker) Anyway, my friends and I exchange ideas and tips. We show each other how to complete a particular stitch, such as the shell stitch. We show books and patterns. We exchange ideas. It’s a great way to bond with each other and relax! Given that I am so busy and trying to make ends meet, it’s probably one of the best, healthiest ways I can use to relax.

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