December Crochet

I’m not sure why, but crochet has been really appealing to me lately.  I go through phases with knitting and crochet, but usually just stick to knitting because it’s easier for me.

I have had issues with something ridiculous in crochet, and that’s turning chains.  I didn’t really understand them, what they are for, how to count stitches with them added.  The problem is that it can be different from pattern to pattern.  Having not enough experience to know that, I frogged many a crochet project.  I always stuck to amigurumi toys because they do not involve join and chain business.

I found a hat pattern that worded the instructions so well that I was able to finally figure it out.  And so, as it happens so often, I got a high from overcoming a problem.  I made a hat in 45 minutes!  It takes hours, sometimes days, to knit a hat.  And I made more, enough for both kids, my husband, and for two dolls.  Yay!

I also did a lot of Amigurumi this month.  I made some Christmas tree ornaments and each of my kids a new squishy toy for a gift. 

My brother and sister in law are going to be having a baby in about a month.  Over the past few days, I have been working nonstop on a granny square blanket for them.  It’s one big granny square.  I fell in love with the concept of the granny sqaure long ago, but to just continue and continue until you have a blanket was not something I had thought to do.  I am in love with this pattern!

I worked really hard and put a lot of time into it, but nowhere near what I would have spent knitting a baby blanket.  I finished the border yesterday and weaved in all the ends. I put it in the washer on cold delicate cycle to block it.  When I took it out, I was met with every yarn worker’s worst nightmare.  It had come unraveled where I had changed colors!  Oh the horror!  Really, it was horrifying.

I managed to fix all the holes and I learned a difficult lesson.  Weaving in ends in knit and crochet projects are very different.  I shall remember this from now on.

So, to make me feel better, my husband ordered me some new crochet hooks.  I have been wanting new hooks for years, but didn’t know what to get.  It seems that in the yarn worker’s market, knitting rules.  You can buy some awesome needles, but for hooks, you kind of have to just go to the big box craft stores.  Those have been fine, but to go from knitting on Addi Turbos to crocheting with Boye or Susan Bates… I just felt like they were cheap.

Clover somewhat recently came out with a new line of crochet hooks.  They’re called Amour and they are getting rave reviews on the crochet groups on Ravelry.  So my love bought me some.  Because he’s awesome.

When I get them I’ll let you all know what I think.  Since I know you are all on the edge of your seats wondering what I think of something… oh blogging.

I hope you all had a Happy Hanukkah, Christmas, and I hope you will have a Happy New Year!

 

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Rising above our Astrological signs

I’ve been talking about Astrology this week and thinking about it nonstop. I’m using natal charts to help me work through some past trauma and to help me understand myself as well as the relationships in my life.

A few months ago I was exploring the Kundalini Yoga website, 3HO.org, and found a teaching from Yogi Bhajan. He said that Astrology is our nature, our starting point. It’s what we’re given at birth but it’s our job to rise above it. To learn to be kind and loving to everyone around us, no matter what our nature is.

I think of Astrology like the great cosmic lottery. It’s possible that we chose our exact moment of birth based on what was written in the stars, but it’s also possible that’s it’s only a game of chance. Especially for all the babies that were induced and didn’t have a choice in the matter.

For me, I ended up being a lunar Pisces. Had I been born later in the same day, I would be a lunar Aries (yes, the exact personality I was complaining about). I can’t even imagine how different my life would be if I was not constantly subject to the ebb and flow of my powerful emotions. If instead, I was headstrong and didn’t care what people thought of me. If my feelings weren’t hurt so easily and I could run at my goals with that awesome energy.

We’re all so different. As a tender personality I am hurt easily but I can learn to get over that. By learning Astrology I am understanding people’s behaviors. As a big personality, one can hurt the tender personalities but if they were just a little more mindful of how their behaviors were being received, then they could prevent a lot of heartache. We can all rise above our nature.

Our natal charts define the ego. Through meditation and living mindfully, I’ve discovered that I am not my ego. I am pure consciousness and a creator of my reality. If I can let go of ego I can create my reality consciously and not through the filter of the finicky personality traits that were assigned to me at my moment of birth. I’m so much more than that. YOU are so much more than that.

I also feel that it has been an important part of my journey to discover Astrology and use it to help me. By knowing my ego I can let go of my ego. But I cannot immediately transcend my nature and the people around me probably won’t be doing so either. Especially those that are not even aware of their own behaviors and natural instincts or those that don’t care to go down a spiritual path or learning about their true Self.

All my spiritual lessons lead me back to the same place. LOVE. Love is all we really are and love is the only thing we should be projecting out to the universe. We must find balance and through that balance we can rise above ego, manage the negative emotions of ourselves and those around us. We are all capable of this even if it is constant work. If we all put a little effort into projecting love everyday, the world would surely be a more loving place.

Namaste.

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Astrology as Therapy Continued

Yesterday I talked about discovering the full spectrum of a person’s astrological chart. I talked about how as a lunar Pisces I’ve attracted a lot of bullies, most of which have had Aries as their moon sign.

Today I want to kind of clear things up. I said yesterday that I absolutely cannot tolerate a lunar Aries. That’s actually not true at all. I said that because of my top 3 bullies, 2 had an Aries moon sign and the other had Leo moon sign. Maybe it’s something about fire in their core that makes them behave the way they do.

I have known several lunar Aries that I get a long with. I think it just depends on what their sun sign is. My dog, for example, is a solar Pisces. But that doesn’t really fit her. She can be really sweet and loving but she just does not fit into that description. Once I discovered that she is a lunar Aries, it made sense. At her core, she only cares for herself. She is just really selfish and self serving, although she’s not a bully. We always make jokes about her big and self-centered personality. She’s charming though, I think because it’s combined with gentle Pisces. (Yes, I did look up my dog’s astrology chart. I’m cool like that.)

Another lunar Aries I know is a solar Cancer. I love Cancerians very much. This particular Cancer I have had struggles with, but overall we got a long pretty well.

Lunar Pisces and Lunar Scorpios are made for each other. Lucky for me I grew up in a home where I had two brothers, one sister and a mother all with Scorpio as their moon sign. My best friend from junior high was a lunar Scorpio and she was the closest girlfriend I’ve ever had. I get them. There’s nothing mysterious about Scorpio to me at all.

It’s the same with solar Scorpios. I have A LOT of solar Scorpios in my life. Like I mentioned yesterday, both of my children have Scorpio as their sun signs.

Scorpio has this stigma of being cold and vengeful. Still waters run deep is their saying. Do you know what Scorpio really is? Scorpio is extremely similar to Pisces. Where Pisces is overly emotional and not afraid to show it, Scorpio experiences the same emotions but hides them. They hide their feelings really well so the outside world doesn’t know what kind of storms are going on beneath the surface.

My husband is a solar Cancer-Leo cusp. I’ve read over and over that Cancer and Taurus make a really great pair. I don’t need astrology to tell me that. I can feel it. Our lunar signs aren’t entirely compatible but we have the same goals, just go about them in entirely different ways. Both of our overall charts work really well together. We share common goals. We are kind and gentle with each other. We both love each other with all our hearts. He just makes me so feel so happy.

Yesterday I complained about the bullies I’ve attracted but I’ve also attracted a lot of sweet wonderful people. Most of the people in my life have been sweet and wonderful. I’m so thankful to have so many great relationships full of love and kindness. I’m thankful to have learned Astrology and that it’s helping me to understand that which I can’t comprehend otherwise. I believe with knowledge and understanding I can let go of the hurt, hold onto the love, and grow.

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Astrology as Therapy

I can be obsessive. Right now, I’m obsessed with Astrology. It’s answering so many questions and putting together so many pieces to help me see the big picture of the relationships in my life. Unfortunately my unrelenting nature, I fear, is driving those closest to me to insanity. But I can’t not talk about it. So, if you’re interested, read on. If not that’s fine too. Hopefully this will provide a break to those I have been talking at most.

I became very interested in Astrology last year when a couple of friends were talking about their compatiblilty with their spouses and children. “I DO NOT get along with Scorpio!” One friend said. “They push all my buttons.” I knew that both of my children were Scorpios and they can be really intense and unrelenting, but they are sweet, charming, warm, loving and wonderful at the same time. I decided to look into this more.

I soon learned all the profiles of the astrological signs and was able to categorize all the people in my life into their signs. It was pretty amazing. I found out why all these people were the way they were and why they do the things they do. It just made sense and was extremely accurate.

After a while though, I would look at three Gemini’s together and compare them. They were so very different. One was an all out bully, another was a manipulator and another was so painfully shy I don’t believe I’ve had more than a few conversations with them in person.

When I would get talking with people about astrology, they would ask my sign. If I just recently met them, they would not see Taurus in me at all. That was confusing to me because I can be so very Tauraen.

I found out, in a very weird way, that there’s an entire chart that determines a person’s personality. There are so many stars and planets in the sky that can have an influence. There are 3 basic star signs that each person has that determines the outline of their overall personality. Once I finally figured out what this meant exactly, everything clicked. It was a huge Aha! moment.

A sun sign is your basic personailty. A moon sign is your emotional self, your unconscious, deepest self. An ascendant is your outer shell that you project to the world, sort of the mask you hide behind. This is what people see as a first impression. The fit together with the ascendant as the outer shell, the sun sign within that shell, and the moon sign inside the sun sign. In many ways the moon sign is the most important as it is your deepest nature.

I’m a solar Taurus, a lunar Pisces and an Aries ascendant. It’s an odd combination but it really makes sense to me. My moon sign is the most dominant and that’s why when I read the description of Pisces all I could think is, “that’s SO me!”.

I’m highly emotional and sensitive. I’m shy and soft spoken. The only way I can confidently communicate my thoughts to you is by writing. I’ve been told basically by everyone that I’m a different person in my writing. That’s because I’m too shy and withdrawn to let everyone know what’s on my mind.

I love solitude. I’m a loner. If I start feeling overly sensitive and insecure I hide away. I stop going out to group activities, stop interacting online and my blog is silent. If there are months where I don’t write, it’s because I’m recharging in solitude.

I am very intrigued by this 3 dominant star signs knowledge. I’ve looked up so many birthdays because I’ve had so many unanswerable questions about the realtionships in my life. Why do I love this person when our sun signs are completely incompatible? Why am I supposedly compatible with a person but we can’t even be in the same room together? I look these people up, find their moon signs and suddenly it clicks. It might be a huge violation of your privacy, but chances are if I know your birthday and birth year, I’ve looked your lunar sign up and deeply contemplated the mechanics of our relationship. And it just makes sense. It is by far, the most helpful and effective form of therapy to me.

As a lunar Pisces, naturally I’ve attraced a lot of bullies. My soft spoken, gentle, passive personality seems to attract the big personalities as they seem to find that they can use me for personal gain. There are several people in my life who have been my biggest bullies. They all have something HUGE in common: They all have Aries as their moon sign!

I looked up the compatiblity of lunar Aries and lunar Pisces and this is what I found:
“It can be very difficult for Aries Moon not to dominate Pisces Moon. Their passivity and unfocused sense of personal direction makes it so easy for Aries to just ride right over them. If they make this pairing work, it is usually Pisces who compromises and ends up feeling unloved and unsupported,… two things they need desperately. This is a very difficult relationship to make last without irreparable damage.”

These relationships have a pattern. They see me as being passive and generous, take what they want and I tolerate it for a while. Then suddenly, patient Taurus loses patience and puts up a massive fight. These Aries Moons respond with a firey temper and it ends very poorly. Irreparable damage.

It’s a funny thing though. I have Aries as my ascendant so I also have a little fire in my nature. I can be bold and I can fight. When I think of the solar Aries personalities in my life, I smile. I love them dearly. They are playful, fun, uplifting. So why is it that I absolutely can’t tolerate a lunar Aries?

I’m not saying that what’s written in the stars is an abslolute. Obviosuly there’s free will involved. Free will and individuality. What I am saying is that knowing this is so helpful. Helpful to this lunar Pisces who gets hurt so easily and can’t let go of the past to do just that. Let it go. They are just acting on their nature as I am acting on mine.

Thanks for reading my obsessive rambling. 🙂 Has knowing astrology helped you in your life?

Oh, and if you want to look up your signs here’s some websites to do that:
http://www.alwaysastrology.com/index.html
http://astro.cafeastrology.com/cgi-bin/astro/natal

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A Letter to my Tomato Plants

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Dear Tomato Plants,

Today your first fruit is ripe and ready for picking. As I look at this beautiful organic heirloom tomato, I can’t help but feel an immense amount of gratitude. We have been through a lot together. It makes me so happy to see you all thriving.

I planted you from seed earlier this year. Or rather, my 3 year old planted you from seed. Oh the joy and sense of accomplishment he felt from putting those tiny seeds in the ground and burying them. The thrill he and I felt when you all sprouted and began your ascent to become the large beautiful plants that you all are today.

Remember when I began meditating in the vegetable garden? As I felt the raw ground beneath me and the energy from the garden plants around me something amazing happened. I felt a divine connection to Nature, to Mother Earth herself. Everytime I meditated in the garden, I felt pure bliss and fell into altered states of consciousness. It seemed to me that when I began these adventures in meditation in the garden, something magical happened to all the plants. They began to thrive. To really thrive. I felt an energy exchange with you all, and it appeared to me that you did as well.

In my meditation spot, you, my dear tomato plants, were seated right in front of me. As I would begin to focus my attention inward, I was drawn to you. To observe even the most minute detail of your forms. It was you, tomato plants, after some time of repeated meditation that would begin my journey into trance state. Of all the plants in our vegetable garden, I felt a very deep and intimate connection to you. And an intense fondness.

This past month we had to move. Most of the garden was done producing but you all were not ready yet. You had not even had one fruit ripe yet. With my deep love for you, I knew I couldn’t just dig you up and throw you away. That felt like a crime. So I did what I could and gently scooped you up, roots and all, and put you in a 5 gallon bucket. I remember the drive to the new house with you, my lovely tomato plants in the front seat. It may have just been me, but I felt a sense of excitement like you were the source of this excitement. As we went over bumps, you blasted that wonderful smell of live tomato plant into the confined space of the car. That trip was simply magical.

Now you all reside in your buckets on our new deck in the back yard. A few days after transplant, you really scared me. All your leaves began to droop, some turned yellow and fell off. I was so sad that it looked like you weren’t going to live. It’s one thing to transplant a tiny tomoto plant start in the spring. It’s something completely different to transplant a fully mature plant heavy with green fruit right before the fruits begin to ripen. I knew it was a risk, but I loved you too much to leave you.

Then one day something magical happened. I went outside, and all my beautiful tomato plants were healthy again! Your leaves were a healthy green and very stiff. I was so proud that you pulled through. That you survived this move with us, and that you are now thriving.

The porch is sunny, you share your electromagnetic fields with the plum tree who has a very maternal presence. The backyard itself is bursting with life and a feeling of calm happiness. It’s very tranquil back there. Now even moreso that you are thriving.

Today, your first fruit is ready. It’s red, warm, waiting to be picked. As I look at this beautiful organic heirloom tomato, I can’t help but feel a sense of deep gratitude. Thank you, tomato plants. Thank you for sharing your life’s journey with me.

I love you.

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Summer Vacation

We’re taking ours a little bit early. 

We’re gardening, spring cleaning, swimming and doing what we love.  That doesn’t leave much time for the computer, so I’m going offline for a while.

Have a great summer!

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The M107 Hat (Free Pattern!)

This pattern is now available as a free Ravelry Download for digital readers or a printable hard copy!  It’s also available on this blog, below.

The M107 Hat

Pattern designed by Janelle Wood

I made my husband a pair of fingerless gloves to wear during target practice. I decided he needed a matching hat. The result is this pattern. I just happened to finish knitting the hat on the day he finally got his Barrett M107, so that’s what he decided to name the pattern.

The hat fits a wide range of head sizes. It fits an adult man and a woman’s head size comfortably, thanks to the elasticity the cables provide.

Tools

Size 4 (3.5mm) 16 inch circular needle

Size 6 (4mm) 16 inch circular needle

Size 6 (4mm) DPNs or 40 inch circular

Cable needle

Stitch markers

Yarn

200 yards DK or Sportweight yarn (the example was knit in baby alpaca)

Gauge

23 sts and 32 rows-4 inches stockinet stitch (5.75 sts per inch)

Horseshoe Cable sequence (worked over 12 sts)

 

Rnds 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8: K12

Rnd 3: C6B, C6F (slip 3 sts onto a cable needle and hold in back. K the next 3 sts, K the 3 stitches off the cable needle. Slip next 3 sts onto a cable needle and hold in front. K the next 3 sts, then K the 3 sts off the cable needle)

Instructions

With Long Tail Cast On method and smaller needles, CO 120 sts

Place marker and join, begin working K2P2 ribbing in the round.

Work ribbed brim for 1.5 inches (4 cm) or 12 rounds

Next Round: Switch to larger needles and P6, *K12, P12 repeat from * until last 18 sts, K12, P6

Begin working Horseshoe cable sequence over the knit stitches

Work in established pattern until entire work measures 7 inches (18 cm), or desired length. (The example was knit to 6 inches then began decreases because my husband likes a shorter hat. Make it to your liking).

 

Begin decreases as follows:

Rnd 1: P1, P2tog, *K12, [P1, P2tog 4 times] repeat from * to last 16 sts: K12, [P1, P2tog twice]

Rnd 2: work even in pattern

Rnd 3: P4, *SSK, SSK, K4, K2tog, K2tog, P8 repeat from * to last 16 sts, Ssk, SSK, K4, K2tog, K2tog P4

Rnd 4: Work even in pattern (for me this was a cable round so I did C4B, C4F. Continue to work cable rounds where appropriate)

Rnd 5: (Switch to DPN’s or long circular for magic loop) P2tog twice, *K8, [P2tog twice] repeat from * to last 10 sts, K8, P2tog

Rnd 6: Work even in pattern

Rnd 7: P2, *SSK, SSK, K2tog, K2tog, P4 repeat from * to last 10 sts, Ssk, Ssk, K2tog, K2tog, P2

Rnd 8: Work even in pattern

Rnd 9: Work even in pattern

Rnd 10: P2tog, *K4, [P2tog twice] repeat from * to last 6 sts, K4, P2tog

Rnd 11: P1, *SSK, K2tog, P2 repeat from * to last 5 sts, SSK, K2tog, P1.

Place last P stitch on first needle and continue as follows:

Rnd 12: *P2tog, K2tog, repeat from *

Finishing

Cut yarn, leaving a 12 inch tail. Draw yarn through remaining sts, pulling tight to close. Weave in ends, wash and block as desired.

Pattern Variation

To make this hat in Worsted weight, use size 5 (3.74mm) for the brim and size 7(4.5 mm) for the body of the hat. Cast on 96 sts instead of 120. Work pattern as written.

This pattern was intended for personal use only. Feel free to gift any finished projects made from this pattern. Selling projects made from this pattern is prohibited without the written consent of the designer.

For questions, feel free to leave a comment

or find her as johnsie4 on Ravelry.

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