That mommy guilt…

So let’s tackle this monster shall we πŸ™‚ I know I can’t be the only one who feels/ has felt this way and since I’m a big fan of getting my personal sh*t out there I guess I can blog about this one too *winkwink*

Ever since I had Ma’iq I’ve felt guilty over some thing or the other. Either it was the breastfeeding, or it was the fact that we lived in a tiny house and he didn’t have a room (he didn’t need one). Then it was the fact that I was home and depressed, then it was the fact that we had to move far away (from his cousins and our family). At some point it became guilt because he became very attached to breastfeeding and I had turned into a giant walking boob. The shop, me working 6 days a week and then the kicker: his little sister.

I’ve felt guilty over everything as if I personally was responsible for all of those things (which turned out to be good things!). During this pregnancy I was sick a lot. I didn’t feel particularly good and had a total of two months where I was not nauseous. yay.

So because of how I felt I was forced to take a few steps back, not only in the shop, but also at home and with Ma’iq. I used to take him to daycare, but now I wasn’t able to anymore. I couldn’t lift him, I couldn’t change him (because I got sick), I couldn’t bathe him anymore.

At the end of the pregnancy I couldn’t even stand or walk and I had to sit down constantly, so I couldn’t really be there for him. I used to take him up and down the stairs and now I couldn’t even get myself up the stairs.

I’m a very independant person and this really took a toll. I felt bad, not for myself, but I felt a LOT of guilt towards Ma’iq. As if I had chosen to check out and not be his mom anymore. In my head I had ‘chosen to abandon’ my kid because I wanted another one and the shop was more important.. you know that asshole of a voice who tells you you’re ugly and unlovable and is an overal jerk.

So I listened to my dark passenger and said: nothing.

I went through my photo’s and selected one photo for each month. I wasn’t looking for photos of us together in particular, but I found out that most of them were of us together. We’d spent so much time together I didn’t need to feel bad. He probably hadn’t even noticed a lot. It was all in my mind. Let me show you the 12 pictures I collected πŸ™‚

This is June 2016. This is stupidly enough one of the periods I routinely go back to in my mind. It’s a sort of nostalgia, but in fact it’s more Stockholm syndrome than anything. I breastfed this kid for 18 months, for a very big chunk of this time I was sleepdeprived. We spent every day together and he didn’t even go to daycare at this point.

July 2016. We had just finished the cabinets in the shop and were filling them with yarns. We spent a LOT of time in the shop, from morning till evening πŸ™‚

August 2016. We spent so much time at my moms house. Look at those chubby cheeks!

September 2016. Look at this yarn shop baby! Still in my arms, still playing in the shop. I noticed after a while, especially once we were done with the building and repairing and whatnot, that it was time for him to spend less time in the shop. He was getting bored, and I had to keep the door opened (and he’d like to walk out). So it was getting a little dangerous. Here’s where I started to work one day less, so the shop was opened 6 days a week instead of 7.

October 2016. When I was a kid I used to spent a lot of time with family. I believe that the bond between a child and his/ her grandparents is a very valuable thing, so when Ma’iq spent less time in the shop, he’d spend more time at the grandparents. I’ve always hoped for my kid to have a good bond with his grandparents and he seemed to absolutely love it. win-win!

November 2016. Ma’iq loves to run! At this point I could still run with him! It was my second month of pregnancy, so nobody even knew πŸ™‚ We spent a lot of time running around πŸ™‚

December 2016. Lots of hugging and lots of family gatherings. I closed the shop for two weeks and spent some time at home.

January 2017. Look at this little lumberjack. Here’s our morning routine. He’d wake up and I’d pick him out of his bed and take him down the stairs. I’d fix his breakfast and we’d eat and play before he’d go to daycare/ his grandparents house. So I’m in the kitchen and I turn round and see him sitting there (but I couldn’t see the chair). He was sitting on the stool and feeling very proud of himself. Look at that smile!

February 2017. We had a LOOOT of snow, for a weekend or so haha. It was the greatest thing ever. We went sledding and it was glorious. Ma’iq was having the time of his life, even though he fell of the sled a few times (we weren’t going very fast). So much fun!

In March 2017 we spent our free time running around in the park. It was harder to follow him around in open spaces, so I chose parks with borders πŸ™‚

April 2017. Look at that. He knows how to buy stuff already haha. He loves pushing the buttons and see what happens πŸ™‚

May 2017. We discovered an awesome playground in the park next to our house. It’s a few minutes bike ride and it’s all Ma’iq’s ever dreamed about haha. I had to sit down and not move around much, but I’d find Ma’iq coming by every few minutes to say hi or to give me a hug.

June 2017. Eating his own sandwiches, drinking from cups. Eating with fork and spoon. Going to bed without any problems and generally sleeping through the night. Even though it’s been a very gradual transition from baby to little bouncy boy, it feels as if it happened overnight and I missed it all. But here’s the thing. I didn’t miss it. I was there for all of it. I couldn’t lift him out of bed, but I was there to play with the cars and building blocks. I was there every night (except for just 1 a week) to kiss him goodnight, to hug him and play with him. To make memories with him, to take him places and have a lot of fun.

When I saw these pictures I knew it was time to let go of that mommy guilt. I didn’t miss anything, my kid didn’t miss anything and neither did I πŸ™‚

Next post there will be knitting again! I just had to write this down for my own sanity!

sidetracked..

well not really, I was just getting ready for summer! Contrary to popular belief, life is not only about knitting and fiber related stuff. There’s gardening and cooking involved as well. You may know how much I love gardening, but you may not know about my endless love for food and cooking. I love to cook, and summertime means barbeque time if you ask me. There’s spinning, gardening, cooking and a lot of eating involved.

Which is kinda hard if your backyard looks like this.. So I went to work.

It took me a total of three days, but it was totally worth it! The name of this monster? Horsetail. I’m not sure if you know what it is, but it’s hardcore and impossible to kill. I would like to have some grass, so Ma’iq can play outside. So far all of it is gone, but it will grow back soon enough. I’m going to have to keep workin on it but it’s a lot easier to do now that most of it is gone.

I’ve never had a garden so I honestly didn’t know how much faster things grow in a garden compared to on a balcony. It’s actually very amazing to see how much ‘growing power’ mother nature has. I’ve always managed with pots and even though things grow well in pots, they grow much better in soil. It’s also a lot easier to manage things in soil (waterwise).

Another thing you have to get used to is sitting in the garden. It’s really very nice to sit in the garden. Shocking.

Which brings us to one of the main reasons I cleared out the garden. My birthday present: an offset smoker. When we say barbeque in the Netherlands, what we actually mean is “grill”. I love good food and I’ve been eyeing American style barbeque for a long time (with no way to actually get it). Because I always had a balcony I never even considered a smoker. I always thought that there’d be a LOT of smoke involved and you can’t rally go there when you live in a flat. Your neighbors will not appreciate something like that.

Now that I have a garden (and it’s spacey enough so I don’t have to smoke out my neighbors) I thought it’d be awesome to write it down on my wishlist. By now I’ve smoked three foods on it and I’ve learned a lot more about smoking. I know that there’s actually not a lot of smoke involved at all, and that it’s reall good eating *drool*

In other news, I’ve also been working on my pashmina shawl. I’ve managed to almost finish the red parts as well, but this is an older picture. I wanted to blog about all this last week, but I spent a lot of time preparing for fathers day (the first time I smoked something on the new smoker), I had to finish the yard and the seasoning and rub and whatnot and it took a lot of time.

In the mean time I’ve also been spinning up some fiber! As you may remember I was spinning fiber for a baby blanket for my cute nephew Milan, but at the moment I can’t for the life of me remember where I put the rest of the 150 grams of fiber. So in order to refind my spinning mojo, I’m working on the first 100 grams of Sheherezadeh. This will not be a baby blanket, since Melina’s oma (my MIL) made an amazing and large baby blanket for her. I’m not sure what it’ll be, but I’m sure it’ll come to me in time.

I spent some time making faux lags (which I find to be very relaxing), and started spinning. I’m going to spin two of them in one direction and the last one will be spun in reverse. This way I’ll end up with a barberpole I guess, but I think it’ll be nice πŸ™‚

I’m probably not the only one who’s brain works like this, but I’m always scared I’ll run out of fiber/ yarn. So I always have way too many backup plans and I don’t know what to do with my life πŸ˜› So to celebrate Tour de Fleece 2017 we decided to dye some fiber up for the shop. This here is 100 grams of soft alpaca dyed in colorway “Artemis”. For now it’s just an experiment, but if it turns out to be popular we might dye more πŸ™‚ This batch is mine to experiment with though. I have 300 grams, so If the 300 grams of sheherezadeh and beach bum are through I still have something to look forward to. I have honestly no idea what to do with it though.

Last but not least, I’m working on the mother of all socks. Which is not a sock at all. This is a sockswatch made with all the colors of our own handdyed “socksanity” yarn. I was so incredibly curious to see what each color looks like, and I think I’m not the only one. Sometimes I see people looking at the skeins of handdyed and I can hear them thinking: “I wonder if I’ll like this effect”. And so it began. The numbers of colors keep increasing (for some reason haha) and even though I like each and every one of them, I can imagine not all of them will be appealing to every body.
This way I hope to take away some of the mystery and allow people to see what it would look like in a 60 stitch sock knit with 2,5mm needles. I’ll make a swatch for crochet as well, but I’ll need to finish this one first.

What are your plans for July? Tour de Sock or Tour de fleece? πŸ™‚

Happy knitting my friends πŸ™‚

Beltane Yarn Festival 2017

I’m usually a fan of keeping things separate, even when they might not even be separate anymore. I believe that combining certain things might muddle the direction and might be seen as spam. But to be honest, it’s becoming very hard. One of the reasons I stopped blogging is because I wanted to keep “work” projects and “personal” projects separate, but that’s impossible. I have more “work” projects than I have time to work on personal projects, so I don’t have any “personal” work to show anymore. Most of what I do has a reason now, I either want to test a yarn or design a pattern or whatever. So this separation thing has become a bit frustrating to work around.

With that in mind I’ve decided to stop separating this part of my life. I write about what I do, and now that my job is what I love, I can’t keep it separate because it’s not longer a separate thing. It’s just one thing.

I’m not going to use this blog for sales or whatever, because it’s still a personal blog and I’m not going to change that. But I don’t have a blog for the shop and I’m not willing to start one because it’s just way too time consuming, so every once in a while I’ll write about the shop and what’s happening. Win-win πŸ™‚

So on May 14th and 15th we celebrated the Beltane Yarn Festival, the first edition of the new annual yarn party we have at the shop. There’s always a reason to have a party and this year it was a combiation of my last weekend (before maternity leave) and an excuse to celebrate spring and good weather.

The first and most important thing! Cupcakes! These AMAZING cupcakes were made by JanetΒ and were soooo delicious! She made three different toppings and obviously we had to try them all! I gained at least a kg just because of these delicious cupcakes haha!

We had a meet and greet with the amazing indie dyer Lise (TrΓ©Liz)Β because we stock a number of her handdyed yarns in the shop πŸ™‚

We have our wonderful friend Elske (Yellowstitchbags) who made our custom projectbags <3 We have a number of different type of project bags, but the ones we had a lot of requests for were project bags that would fit 40cm straight needles. Now we have them and I absolutely love them!

On the Saturday we had a crochet instructor come in and have a, what I call, a “walk-in-workshop”, which basically means that the workshop is a loop and you can just enter whenever and pick up a crochet hook and join in. There’s no start or end time because it just repeats over and over πŸ™‚

What else are you going to crochet when you’re celebrating the Beltane Yarn Festival? Flowers were definitely the main theme that weekend πŸ™‚

A month before the festival we announced a contest. We have a number of yarns that are fairly cheap, but not very well known. So in order to see what the creative people could come up with we announced a contest. Take two 50 gram balls of yarn and make whatever you want. The only rule is that the final product should weigh at least 100 grams. The progress pictures should be posted on social media for two reasons. Most importantly we wanted everyone to know that it’s a fair contest and all winners are actual people (yay!), secondly because we wanted to show people that every project was real and was started during this period. It’s not something that somebody had lying around already.

So we had three prizes, the third prize is a skein of our handdyed socksanity. The jury had a very hard time picking from the 15 projects that were sent in, and I was not part of that jury (thankfully!) Third prize went to this super adorable crocheted amigurumi horse <3

The second prize was a skein of our handdyed sockstravagance. This project blew our minds because it’s not only a tunisian crochet project, it’s one with short rows in it. Holy Cow! The cushion is made with three colours of Scheepjes Olifantje and is double held. The amount of detail in this thing was pretty insane! Amazing job!

First prize was a skein of Manos del Uruguay Marina and went to this amazing mochilla bag. It’s a three colour, lined project bag and it’s so incredibly pretty. Olifantje is a very thin yarn (light fingering).

It was an amazing experience because it gave us a view of how incredibly creative people are! I loved all the project that were sent in, and I’m sad we couldn’t give everyone a prize! Thanks so much to all who sent in their projects!


The Sunday was all about spinning! By popular request we decided to dedicate the Sunday to the “walk-in-spinning-workshop”. We have custom Sticks & Cups spindles and we have Dutch Wool Diva minibatts and we had a lot of enthusiastic people come in for the workshop.

There was a lot of explaining and a lot of talking on my part, but there was also a lot of spinning on students part!

Look at that! it’s amazing!

I love how spinning affects people in different ways. One of the most impressive things about this simple act is how confronting it is. It’s truly a lesson in learning to let go, and most of the students at first have a deathgrip on their fiber, and slowly but surely they relax and they produce amazing yarns!

I’d like to thank the “crew”, the amazing group of people who made this weekend an amazing success. I promise I won’t be pregnant next time, so I’ll have the post up in the following week, not a month later haha!

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend as much as I have!

obessions

One of the great things about aging is the fact that you no longer have to find out who the hell you actually are. You learn a lot about yourself. You know how you’ll respond and react to certain things, and you’re no longer surprised by your feelings regarding events or happenings in your life. Mostly, that is. There’s always a lot of exceptions, but most ordinary things are covered because you’ve already experienced them.

I celebrated my 33d birthday 4 days ago and I’m pretty happy with the way my thirties are starting out. Life changing events. These past three years were more eventful than my everything that happened during my twenties. I had two kids, and opened a shop. It’s a shame movies and pop culture perpetuate the idea that aging is horrible and your life will never be as great as it is during your teens/ early twenties. In my experience it’s exactly the opposite.

No more school, no more insecurity, no more ‘will they like me if I do this..’

Getting older is absolutely fantastic, and not only because the alternative is dying young πŸ™‚

I promised fiber related stuff and by golly I’ll deliver! So somewhere along the line I got into the habit of spinning and knitting baby blankets for the babies in the family. It started with this one:

I spun 300 grams of nunoco fiber and knit it into this blanket for my niece Yara. Then I got pregnant and decided to make one of Ma’iq:

Where Yara’s blanket was spun as a two ply, This 300 grams of nunoco fiber was spun as a navajo/ chain plied yarn to make this ten stitch blanket. Which in my case was a twenty stitch blanket on 3.0mm needles.

Then another baby was in the making and I decided to get some custom Diva fiber for this project. For starters because I love Dutch Wool Diva and her dying is amazing. And also because nunoco had closed their etsy shop.

I had decided to spin a fractal spun, two ply for little Milan and machine knit it, because I wasn’t going to have enough time to knit it. Ever since I opened the shop I was in constant time constraint, so it might not be shocking to know that I haven’t been able to finish this yarn at all. In July our tiny Milan will be 1 year old and his blankie is still not finished.

Which brings us back to this gorgeous fiber. Sheherezadeh is exactly what I want for little Melina’s blanket. I’m going to make a true 3 ply by spinning two of the batts in the same direction and one in the other direction. I believe it’ll give the yarn a nice twist and a soft texture πŸ™‚

So I bought three extra bobbins and 5 extra break bands for my wheel. The ashford joy 2 comes with 3 bobbins, which is not enough to spin a true 3 ply. It’s also not going to be enough if two bobbins are already filled with other fibers. The break bands might seem like overkill but it’s very much needed. My darling little toddler Ma’iq is a curious little child, and unfortunately has taken a liking to my wheel. At least, 6 months ago when I tried to spin for the last time he did. So I ended up with a stretched spring so I had to give up on spinning. I also had no way of buying a new one as they were out of stock and I was too lazy (and honestly I didn’t have enough time to spin anyway).

Now I have enough basic supplies to keep going. I also plan on seeing if Ma’iq might be interested in learning how to spin πŸ™‚ (so I’ll need those break bands…)

When my MIL asked me what I wanted for the baby I asked if she’d like to crochet or knit a blanket for her. IΒ love covering the ones I love with handmade stuff, and to me it’s so much more precious than anything you can buy. There’s so much time and energy spent on something like that <3

So she started out with a few balls of invicta colour (at that point we didn’t know the gender so we went with a neutral color). I love yellow and purple <3 The pattern is the fire blanketΒ and it’s absolutely stunning. We chose to select the squares randomly because there was much less yellow than purple and we’d end up with a very dark blanket. This is much more playful.

I absolutely love how textured this blanket is! The colour changes in the yarn give it a very nice, living quality.

I just can’t get over how much I love this blanket <3

In other news: I can’t stop working on this baby. As I’m posting this picture I’m already done with the orange alpaca and I’m halfway done with the orange mohair already! This thing is flying off my crochet hook right now and I can’t seem to be able to put it down.

I had forgotten how much I love cocooning with netflix and a knit/ crochet project. This maternity leave thing is absolutely fantastic. This past year I haven’t been able to finish anything! Not just knit/ crochet wise, but just anything. The house, the garden, my life πŸ˜›

As I’m working on these projects I feel like I’m back in the saddle again. I’m getting things done and I’m actually blogging again. I keep saying how much I need to blog and how big of a deal this blog is in my life, but everytime something happens and one of the first things to go is the blogging. Though it’s honestly never been so bad that I didn’t manage to do at least SOME knitting..

So the reason this post is called obsessions is because what I learned about myself in my thirties is that I have an obsessive streak. I can get very obsessive about things in life. About work, about my diet, about blogging, but mostly about denying myself things that bring me happiness. Now that I see it written it’s shocking but true. I deny myself a lot of things. In some things it’s not that bad. One of the main priorities I have is my weight. It’s not about wanting to be a size 34, or some unrealistic view about my body. It’s about preventing disease and being fit. I like to be fit. I like to be able to run up two flights of stairs without halfway needing a break. I like to be strong and be able to lift my toddler in the air and be able to chase him around without needing a break for air.

But here’s where it gets obsessive. Organizing my life is something I’ve always had a lot of difficulty with. It’s hard for me to get myself motivated to clear out my stuff. It’s hard to get organized because we move so much, by the we get settled and everything gets it’s own place and spot, we’re already packing up and moving again. I’m so tired of constantly having to create a space for the stuff I own.

So now I decided that I’m done living as a gypsy and I’m going to throw most of the things that don’t spark joy out. I’m going to allow myself to have fun again, and I’m no longer going to beat myself up about not being organized (YET!). I’m getting there, it’s just going to take a while πŸ™‚

I’m also going to add some FO’s to 2016 and 2017 because I really have them, but I haven’t updated these pages yet!

urban farming

is serious business you guys. I know this is a knitting and fiber related blog, but I guess sustainability falls under the same umbrella as handicrafts and (what I’m eventually hoping to end up doing:) homesteading. So growing my own fruits and vegetables is a real dream, and now that I have a garden it’s another step closer than it was a few years ago. My dad built me some amazing raised beds because I was too pregnant to bend over, but also because I want Ma’iq to be able to run and play in the yard without killing all of my plants. Win-win.

One of the things that say “garden” to me is a huge Wisteria. So I got one. It’s not so huge yet, but it will be. I Β planted it in this tiny little bucket for the time being, because the yard work isn’t nearly done yet. I still have two raised beds to fill with plants, and one of those will have a little spot for this wisteria.

I’m a complete sucker for fruit trees. As an Iranian woman I needed to have a pomegrenate tree. Yes Pomegrenate. The divine fruit. It grows in zone 8b and if it grows, then I want to have it! This little baby is waiting for a bigger pot as well, but I still have to wait a bit before I can do yard work..

So my shiraz grape is growing little grapes! woohoo! last year I was too busy with the shop to notice anything plant related really, but this year is great! Also, last year the other grape (the bigger one) was covered in ice and it died. But this year it came back, but now it’s no longer the big vine, but the little vine πŸ™‚

In the raised beds I planted a number of different things. This picture above shows the tiny sprouts of the Indigo Rose, a purple tomato plant. I know I’m a bit late, and I probably should’ve started them in the greenhouse, but it was honestly too cold, and I was too pregnant (and too busy with the shop). They will either make it or not, but at least I planted them πŸ™‚ I also think it’s still early enough in the season to get some ripe tomatoes πŸ™‚

Three rows of spinach. I think I planted them too close so I might have to thin them out. I guess I’ll see what happens πŸ™‚

tri-colore beets!

tricolore onions

and tricolore carrots! I can’t wait to see what happens here!

here’s my patch of kohlrabi. I don’t really know why I planted these.. I like them, but it’s not really something we eat a lot. I guess it’s a fun experiment πŸ™‚

a row of red cherry tomatoes and a row of yellow cherry tomatoes. The yellow ones are very active, but I’m not sure about the red ones. I guess they might need more time, either way, I think I have enough tomato plants to fill this spot πŸ™‚

In the last bed I planted garlic. I love garlic and I love the sprouts and leaves. yum!

The center of the yard will be covered with grass. I haven’t had the time to order it just yet, with Melina’s birth and all, but in the coming weeks I’ll hopefully have enough time to order the grass matts and to roll them out. I’ll first need to get rid of some weed before rolling (and levelling), but I think I’m noticing a tiny broccoli sprout!

Like I said, there will be yarn! I’ve picked this project back up and I’m not doing anything else until I finish the yellow. Then there’s a deadline project I need to finish, and then I’m going to finish this stole before doing anything else. I started out with a very basic, steel crochet hook (you know the ones), but these clover amour crochet hooks are so much more comfortable! I switched and I’m not switching back πŸ™‚

It’s such a nice difference for my hands, but also for the progress. I no longer have a death grip on my project, and as a result it totally shows in the stitches πŸ™‚

Hopefully next blog post I’ll have even more progress to show πŸ™‚

happy knitting/ crochet πŸ™‚