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Mindful creations

As a child, a trip to the yarn store was the best outing ever. Mind you, I am nearly 50, and it still is! Back then, I was allowed to be buy enough yarn for only one project. It didn’t matter how long the project took; every stitch was worked in enjoyment and appreciation of the fibre. I often stopped knitting or crocheting, just to admire what was happening. I can still hear my mother’s voice: “Stop looking at it and stop counting the rows! You are never going to get done!”

Today, I have a stash. A huge stash. I don’t visit the yarn store often, but when I do, I normally spend way more than I should. In my stash are very special yarns, many of them gifts. All natural fibre. Some utterly exquisite and damn expensive. So much so that I haven’t had the courage to use it. I have been looking at them, patting them, fondling them, talking to them, but I haven’t yet used any of my really special yarns.

At the beginning of 2019, I decided that this year, was my stash year. I don’t want to buy any of the yarns available locally, until I have used my stash. Yeah laugh at me. I know this is crazy. We have a trip to New Zealand this year, and I am most definitely going to buy yarn there. But not in South Africa. Not this year. I hope I can make it.

I started the stash busting with two ombre stacks. And then I realised the problem is bigger than I thought. There wasn’t anything extremely special about these yarns, they were just in my stash. But it was hard to take them out and use them! I am a hoarder! A yarn hoarder! I actually like having crates full of yarn, that I take out ever so often, just to arrange them differently and pack them away again. This is a problem! A problem I have to overcome. I only have so much space! The two shawls I made from these gave me that amazing sense of achievement again. I am sure you know what I am referring to. It is that warm and fuzzy feeling of pride when you are done knitting or crocheting, all the ends have been woven away, and you look at your own creativity in absolute wonder. Yes. That feeling.

Shawl for Rachel

Colourspun Ombre Stack: 6x50g cotton, dyed in an ombre by Dana Biddle.

The pattern is available HERE.

This photo was taken right after I was finished. It wasn’t washed and it wasn’t blocked. I was too excited!

The second shawl was started in the same way, but continued in granny stripes with only the last four rows being worked solid to form a border.

Manos Silk Blend

Yesterday I took out the first of my special yarns. Three 50g hanks of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in a colour-way called Woodlands. It is a lofty, single spun, double knit yarn, of 70% Merino and 30% Silk. The colours are so vibrant, I can’t stop looking at it.

Early morning cuddles…

After hours on Pinterest and Ravelry, I finally decided to just wing it. I want a cowl and a hat. I could not find any pattern specific to this yarn, so I am just enjoying myself.

With a variegated yarn this vibrant, any fancy stitch pattern will disappear. After some playing and frogging yesterday, I decided to do double moss stitch. Simple but beautiful!

Early this morning, I was knitting in bed, with Remus as company. He is such a good partner. He never attempts to steal my yarn. Unfortunately, he is a very bad partner when I try to spin yarn; he constantly bites at the wheel to stop it from moving.


So while I were knitting mindlessly this morning, I caught myself thinking about the next project already. Which yarn will I use next? What will I make next? At that moment, I realised my train of thought is wrong, very wrong. That feeling of achievement when a project is done, can become very addictive. Although it seems innocent at first, I will steal my joy. The joy of creating. The joy of admiring. The joy of mindfulness.

It isn’t, and never should be, about the finish line. It always was, still is, and always should be, about the joy of the journey. It is therapy, not a race. Not a race against time nor a race against friends or myself. My creativity always sustained me when times were tough. I call my crafting “a broom for my brain”. While I am crafting, I think. I figure out what is bothering me and why. I think of solutions to problems. Sometimes my thoughts wonder to dear people far away and my thoughts turn to prayers.

Just like me, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of racing towards the finish line. Creativity takes time and it certainly deserves time. If we race, we won’t use the interesting stitch patterns and advanced techniques. We will go for the fastest and easiest instead. And I guarantee you, when you are done with something made like that, you will enjoy the feeling of achievement for a little while, and then it will be replaced with slight resentment, if not full resentment. Why do you think many crafters make things, but they never wear them? They don’t feel good about the item, because deep down, they know, that item didn’t get the best effort. The items ends up in a drawer somewhere and eventually finds its way to a church or a thrift shop. How sad.

I am slowing down. No more chasing towards the finish line. No more working like a maniac towards a deadline either. I want to enjoy my craft again. I want to sit in childish wonder, staring at something not yet finished. I want to get lost in a wonder world of thoughts while my fingers move.

Mindful creations. That is what I will make in 2019.

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The Wild Woman

2017 broke me. 2018 changed me. Onwards to 2019.

I spent my entire life trying to fit in, and I never could. No matter how hard I tried, nothing I did was ever good enough, or fit enough. Obviously, my Aspergers didn’t help much, and my parents not understanding that made matters even worse. Am I lamenting here? No. Not at all.

You see, I reached a pivotal point in my life. A point every woman will reach in her life. Let’s call it a point of question. I started to question everything I was taught by my mother. I started to question everything my father believed. I started to question the things society demand of me. And as time went on, I became more and more rebellious against it all.

I realised that what my parents taught me, was not all correct. Some of their teachings I threw straight out the window. Others, I spent time on. I looked. I probed. I prodded. I thought. And eventually, I formed my own opinion, based on my own research, beliefs and feelings. Nothing I believe today, is what my parents believed and taught me.

I have three different blogs. One is a Christian blog, where I write on the challenges of being a good Christian. I am closing that blog today. I am not a Christian, nor do I wish to be one. You see, Christianity is a label. A label for a religious group of people who don’t necessary believe what I believe. And I refuse to be labelled. Do I believe in God? Yes. Do I have a relationship with God? Yes. Does that make me a Christian? No. I refuse. I am a child of God. Nothing more, nothing less. The word ‘Christian’ leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, and in the mouths of many others I know. What I believe is a part of me, and I will share it here on Ilona Slow Life Creations hence forth.

My poetry, is a part of me. I have been hiding it from the world since I was a child. There are only a few poems on my poetry blog. That blog too, I am closing today. If I feel like writing a poem, I will do it here.

My third blog is an Afrikaans blog. I am closing that one down too. There I wrote about life. People that got stuck in my head. Things that got stuck in my head. Things I have difficulty processing.

You see, thís website is me. It might as well be about ALL of me. Not just the craft part of me. If you stay, you will get many different blog entries. I cannot promise you anything about the topics; I can only promise that it will always be uplifting and inspiring.

I am no longer willing to divide myself into different categories out of fear of offending somebody. I am no longer willing to divide myself into different personalities to accommodate those around me. I am nearly 50 years old. It is time that the real woman is set free, and seen by all. I couldn’t care anymore.

I hope you will stay.

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The art of cleaning a house

Genesis 3:19 … for dust you are and to dust you will return.

I don’t want to dust the house …. it might be somebody I know!

Come on. Admit it. You don’t like cleaning your house, and coming up with stupid excuses is easy. I know because I did it for very long.

I did a little poll on Facebook regarding house cleaning, and here is the results:

  • 314 people said they do their own cleaning (that includes me)
  • 105 people have family members who help
  • 90 people employ somebody to do it
  • Quite a number made funny comments about not cleaning

I know. I get it. Cleaning steals our time. And dust, laundry and dishes are like the Lord’s mercy. Every morning it abounds anew. While I am thankful for the mercy, the cleaning wasn’t always particularly high on my gratitude list. Besides, I can knit or crochet in that time! Damn!

I know what it feels like to have a house that looks like a war zone. I know what it feels like to have mountains of laundry waiting. I know what it looks like with dust you can plant corn in. Been there, done that.

But….. Yeah! We have a BUT!!!

But…. then I found The FlyLady. Oh man that woman is genius! She has an app you can download. You can find her on Facebook too. Let me tell you something; if you join her, your house will always be ready for visitors, it won’t take up so much of your time, and like me, you will reach a point where I am no longer moaning about cleaning, I am grateful that I have something to clean. When I iron my husband’s clothes, I pray for him and express my gratitude for having him in my life. When I am cleaning the kitchen, I do it with gratitude for food, for people in my house, for laughter around the table. But I didn’t get here overnight. It took me 12 months to get into a routine and to keep it going. Now it is easy.

I don’t buy all her merchandise; with me in South Africa it will be way too expensive. But her schedules and ideas are wonderful.

So make a change in 2019. Join a world-wide community along with The FlyLady. She is good! Take baby steps. Establish just ONE routine at a time. Build it up without beating yourself up if you miss something. I promise you, if you stick to her schedules, you will have a marvellous 2019. Just stick to it. Don’t add to it. Don’t try and be heroic. Admit you need baby steps, and take that baby steps.

At the end of 2019, we can compare notes!