Sharing the crochet love. And some robots.

Archive for January, 2014

Fat and Fit, thanks

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So, I have this friend…which is a really hateful way to begin a post, I know…but I have this friend, and I love her to bits, but she has a real knack for saying some really hurtful things – completely unintentionally.

This morning, for example, she handed me a flier for a new activity programme being run in the town. It sounded great, and I do enjoy being active, but when I read the small print….it was being aimed at people with obesity issues.

I said to my friend “Look, I can’t do this, I don’t have a BMI of 32.”

Her reply; “Are you sure? Have you checked? You can’t be far off it. It would be good for you, it’s for people like you, who don’t do anything.”

Well, thank you for crushing me just a little bit, there, with your kind concern and your good intentions!

I don’t understand; this girl has known me pretty much all my life. And I run – I have been a runner since I was about 18, with the occasional “rest periods” that some runners have when they are just not feeling the buzz.

Since my youngest started school full time in September, I have been lucky enough to be able to fit in a run after I drop the kids off in the morning. I may not be eating up the miles in the way that I used to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still do it!

My friend, my beautiful, kind, funny friend has fallen into the trap that many people do; she thinks that, because I am big, I spend my days sitting on the sofa watching talk shows and eating crisps. I felt so cross that I came home and went out for a run, just to prove to myself that she was wrong – not a very good reason for a run, but even a bad reason is still a reason. Within just a few minutes I had forgiven her for her blunder, and felt like I was flying. There is no drug that can give a high like that, or clear the mind quite so easily. The post-run snack of an apple and glass of water is somehow made so much more delicious because of the burning lungs and scarlet face that accompany them.

I realise that sometimes people need to see something before they will believe it; and I will admit to being more of a private runner than one who will walk around all day in their running gear. I don’t post on Facebook about my “Best.Run.Ever” or my “6 mile hill session before lunch, legend” in the way that some people do. I gave up long ago trying to join in the fitness conversations with the skinny mums at the school because they made it clear that someone of my size couldn’t possibly understand what it is like to feel the burn at one of their aquafit classes or bodysculpt, or whatever the latest trend is.

I have a brother in law, as thin as a rake, who likes to sneer at “fat people.” He makes fun of anyone of size, regardless of what they might be doing at the time. If they are coming out of the shop with bags of shopping, we will hear “They they are, look, on their way home for a mid morning snack,” or they might be walking the dog, and then we will hear “Go on, keep walking, another 50 miles and you might fit into your trousers properly.” Nasty, poisonous comments from someone who obviously thinks that thin is good, fat is bad. I would argue that “fit” is best, regardless of size. And I could run that skinny man into the ground – he may well beat me in a sprint, but give me a few miles and I would leave him for dead.

Anyway, enough about negativity; this post was meant to be a positive one. This post is for anyone carrying a few extra pounds who is sick and tired of the whole world thinking that they are lazy, greedy and stupid – amongst other things (I had an ex once who refused to believe that I could be cold, because in theory, my layer of fat should have been enough to keep me warm. That is why he is an ex now, the idiot.)

Big people can be fit. Big people can enjoy the same highs from exercise and enjoy all the benefits of an active life that a thinner person can. So if your size is stopping you from giving it a go, be brave and go for it. Get out there and get that buzz, don’t let the thin people hog it all to themselves.

Don’t worry about people staring – if they stare, it is because they wish they were doing it too.

Falling Out of Love…

Image ..with a yarn.

 

With apologies to the manufacturer of this yarn, whose name I cannot remember; when I bought this I imagined a lovely wrap or shawl in deep, natural colours, blending into one another and creating a thing of beauty. 

Now, when I look at it, I see dental floss used by a stinky witch. Or the spun hair from a shaved ogre. Or some other things that I can’t really type here without blushing.

The picture doesn’t quite show how dark these colours are, the flash bleached them out a little. I feel so disappointed, the yarn that I had such high hopes for is now a real drag to work with, and has become a lesson in stubborn-ness for me, rather than a project to bring me joy and satisfaction. (I will NOT be beaten by this ball of yarn! I will continue to beat this stash into submission, so help me!)

The colours are so dark that my eyes can only cope with working on this in natural daylight; but it’s not just that, it’s the hairiness of the yarn. What I thought was going to be lovely fuzzy softness quickly became very annoying to work with.

Never before have I got it so wrong when choosing a yarn! Has anyone else ever been besotted with a yarny purchase, only to come crashing back to reality when it comes to actually using it? I hope I am not the only one!

But it’s not all bad, I managed to incorporate this hairy beast into the blanket I am currently working on (dubbed the “Hunger Games” Blanket by some lovely fellow bloggers!) and now that it is surrounded by patches of other colours, I don’t hate it so much. So the yarn is almost all used up now, and the blanket is going to an old peoples’ home when it is finished, so it will be keeping some elderly gentleman cosy while also being far, far away from me. Everyone’s a winner! 

Monday Measure

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Woop de doo, see (some of!) those numbers coming down. And brace yourselves, I have found a “before” picture…

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Actually, it’s not the worst photo I have ever seen. I’m not straining to breathe or sweating with the effort of being upright.. But when I look at this photo I feel very sad about that time in my life. I would have sworn to you, if you had asked me, that I was happy and content, but maybe some things can only be seen clearly when looking back from a better place.

I firmly believe that someone’s weight gain is only a symptom of a problem that needs to be treated, rather than being the problem itself. At that point in my life there were a number of things causing me to make the wrong food choices. My boy was still waking, every two hours, every night, for the first two years of his life – looking for a hug, most nights! – and the tiredness made me crave junk food. I was also feeling very lonely and more than a little shaken from my experiences of domestic abuse. Nobody talks about that, so I felt as though I were the only person ever to go through it. Also, when someone comes through an illness or a trauma, people will come and visit, bring flowers, make tea. There is none of that for escaping domestic violence, and I felt a little “forgotten.” Not that I wanted to parade through the streets being cheered by the town, but it almost feels as though your suffering needs to be recognised, before you can leave it behind and heal.

Woah, there is a whole load of stuff that just came flooding out, when all I meant to do was put up this week’s measurements! I guess sharing our stories is part of the healing process too, and one step closer to moving on.

Anyway, I am feeling very happy with my progress so far. I think my measurements might be a little slower to change now that the initial “shock” of the new diet has worn off, so I will probably leave it for at least a fortnight before I update again.

Last week’s mini-goal was to purchase the yarn for my new top; and I have achieved that, and am waiting for it to be delivered from ebayland. Very exciting!

Last week’s treat was; herbal teas, lots of them. No, really! I was trying to re-train my horribly sweet tooth, and although most of the fruit teas I have tried have tasted a lot like hot water, I loved the aniseedy taste of fennel tea. The big winner was liquorice tea, definitely an acquired taste, but it’s syrupy sweetness killed all of my sweet cravings stone dead. I am craving that now instead! Try it!

This week’s mini-goal is to go through my wardrobe and get rid of anything that doesn’t make me feel fabulous. If it is baggy, saggy or drab looking, it is going to the charity shop. I want to hop out of the shower in the morning excited about getting dressed. It might take a little work, but I deserve to be happy in my clothes every day, so it will be worth it.

Good luck to everyone in pursuing their goals, I hope your voyage of self discovery is as enlightening as mine has been this week. Keep it up, we can do this. xxx

Digital drawbacks

Image   I am having a very nostalgic evening, flicking through old photographs of the kids and enjoying the memories of all of the happy moments that were captured. Was my boy ever so small? Was his hair ever that long? He is only 6 months old in this photograph, and he was born with that mop of hair, although it was jet black at first. I knitted that striped jumper for him because his hair reminded me of Dennis the Menace! My girl won’t let me plait her hair anymore, and she rarely lets me take her photo either, even from the back! They grow up so quickly, blink and you really do miss it. 

I have photo albums from when I was a baby, faded pictures of bowl haircuts and hand-me-down dungarees, with dreadful carpets and wallpaper in every shot. I can turn the pages and move from birthday party to Christmas morning, Holy Communion to summers on the beach. When someone picks up the big photo albums for a look, people gather round and share stories, giggle at bad hair days and long-forgotten moustaches on various male relatives. 

I don’t have that for my children, and it is my own fault. It has often been said; people don’t print their photographs anymore, and it is a terrible shame. It is great to have a digital camera and know that the images have been captured and safely stored, but I want my children to have what I had – a big book. Just a simple scrapbook with big thick pages where I can stick their photos, an album that they can lift down off the shelf and enjoy every now and then. I imagine them sharing stories of their own in a few years, laughing at my haircuts and clothes, remembering scrapes on knees and knitted stripey jumpers. I think it is time to get these beautiful memories off the hard drive and into a big book. 

Clean faces. And walls and floors…

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I have often come across patterns for crocheted dishcloths and washcloths, and in the past have never quite understood why anyone would want to put so much work into something just to have it wiped across a greasy plate or covered in ketchup. 

However, I did have a few cotton tension squares lying around about a year ago, and they somehow found their way into the kids’ bath. They made lovely soft washcloths, much nicer than the shop-bought flannels we had at the time. The kids used to fight over them – I was so surprised!

I think, out of all the things I have made for my children over the years, and all the hours of work I put into everything, those scrappy tension squares were their favourites, by far! 

I’m not sure where they all went, but we have one left now, and I caught my wee boy using it to wash the bathroom walls for me – so helpful! So tonight I decided to hook up a few replacements for their next bath. 

My girl has a butterfly in lovely buttery yellow, while my boy gets a smiley face in a blue/green shade that he will love. I have even started on one for myself, to be kept safe from any future “cleaning” the kids might choose to assist me with.  

I can kind of see now why people like to make these, although I still haven’t used one as a dishcloth yet! I know people like to give handmade dishcloths as gifts, so I guess that would be a nice way to perk someone up while they are doing their housework.Perhaps I will give it a try, if I can bring myself to dunk my lovely yarn into the kitchen sink! 

A little bonus is, of course, another few balls of random cotton left over from earlier projects have now been put to use, and I intend to do the same with any more cotton I find lurking in there. Yessss! Take that, stash!

 

 

 

 

“Dwindling” Giant Stash

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I have been on a stash-busting mission for many, many months now. Like many crafters, I found that my collection of gorgeous yarns was taking up more and more room, and seemed to be growing faster than I could use it up. Even after I stopped buying more yarn, the collection grew and grew. 

That is partly down to circumstances beyond my control; this stash is a combined effort, as my mum is a keen knitter and has been adding her own purchases to the pile every so often. Also, we were honoured to be the recipient of not one, but two deceased ladys’ unused yarns over the last year. Yarn purchases are so personal, and I was touched by the kindness of the grieving relatives in thinking of us, so it would have been incredibly insensitive to decline the gifts. My mum took a ball of wool from one of the bags and knitted a scarf for one of the daughters of the woman who had died – so she was receiving a gift from her mum, in a way. I thought that was a really nice thing for mum to do. 

The problem I now face is that the yarns I mostly use are almost gone now; I use a lot of DK, and 4ply for the baby shoes and neo-natal items that I make. I have used up some chunky wool in making my adult sized bunny slippers and a lot of DK odds and ends in my blankets. 

So the stash is shrinking, slowly, but still takes up almost 5 full bin-liner sized bags, stuffed in under my stairs, in shame. It is not an ideal storage solution, as somehow tangles manage to develop, all by themselves, while the bags of wool sit in the dark, obviously bored and unfulfilled. 

I do want to use the remaining yarn, but it is so different to what I normally go for; there is some of that ruffly scarf yarn in there, knobbly bobbly stuff similar to the teddy shoes in the photo, super chunky that is like rope, and quite a few fuzzy, hairy type yarns that I hate the feeling of around my fingers.(I did try to take a photo, but the camera is not cooperating. Possibly another day, if I can bring myself to look at it again!)

Does anyone happen to know of a charity that accepts balls of yarn, or anyone looking for yarn donations? Or is anyone out there in bloggyland desperately seeking several balls of randomness that they would be willing to give a loving home to? 

Failing that, I will have to scour the internet – again!- looking for some projects that inspire me enough to drag out the big bags from their hiding place. One ball at a time, I can do this – and my reward when it is gone? A yarn shopping spree, yippee! 

 

 

No-Weigh Monday

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Ergh, if I had realised I would be sharing this, I would have written a little more neatly! 

Time to be brave – if I haven’t the guts (or an excess of guts) to put up a “before” pic, the measurements will have to do instead. I have decided, you see, that this will be a “No Weigh” diet, at least for now. Not because I don’t want to know how much I currently weigh – although, if I am honest, it isn’t breaking my heart not to know! – but because weighing in would require the purchase of some weighing scales. Which would lead to the obsessive weighing and numbers-fixation of the past. I need to protect my children from that, and also, if it hasn’t worked too well for me in the past, then it is time to find a better way. 

Instead of focusing on weight, I will be taking measurements to track my progress, and I have chosen Mondays as my measure-day. If it doesn’t become too boring, I will also share my progress here on a Monday, or possibly fortnightly if it gets a little repetitive. 

What is to stop me from becoming measuring-tape obsessed instead? Well, the fact the tape is permanently icy-cold makes the measuring a less addictive process, for starters! 

I am also hoping that not looking at the scales for reassurance all the time will help me to focus on how I feel; in my clothes, in my body, in my emotions. There is more to weight gain than just eating too much, so if I want to break the cycle I need to know what else has to change, apart from just the food I eat and the exercise I take. 

Anyway; I am still very much at the beginning of this journey, to use a very tired weight loss cliche. But I am delighted with how I have done so far – some of my measurements have already changed for the better, and I do feel very positive. 

My treat for last week has been bubble baths – quite a few of them, actually. It would probably be quite wasteful if it weren’t for the fact that I take up most of the room in the bath at the minute, leaving only a little room for the water. Hopefully I will be seeing that change before too long!

My mini-goal for this week is to decide on a yarn for the top I hope to wear when I get to a healthier size. That top is still in the design stages at the minute, but I feel there is plenty of time to get it finished! Here is just one of the ideas I have been doodling..

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I am not an artist! But, as long as I know in my head how it is supposed to look, that doesn’t matter. These little doodles are another way to keep me motivated, so there will be plenty more of them too! 

I hope anyone else embarking on a new plan or setting a new goal is also feeling the positive buzz this morning. We can do this! 

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