blogging

Spring revival

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Ok, 4 months is a long time. I have to admit, I really (REALLY) have been neglecting my blog… But then again I guess I’ve been neglecting a lot of things, because in those 4 months, I haven’t used my spinning wheel or my loom, only used my sewing machine for minor clothing repairs and barely made any progress on the WIPs I’ve had on the needles for months.

There could many different reasons behind this general disinterest I have been experiencing towards both crafting and the blog, but I think it’s mostly a mix of bad case of winter blues and a much needed break after completing such a big (and kind of stressful) project as a wedding dress. Add to that the fact that I also fell back into an old love of mine and picked up a couple good books to read, and there you have it – almost nothing to show for the last 4 months.

Actually, that’s not entirely true either because I DID finish one project since January, and that is the Star Anise hat that I started in December for my sister in law.

Anise hat

I also have a couple sweaters on the needles, namely here the Dessine-moi un mouton I showed you in July last year and the striped Snowflake I started early in January using some Berroco Folio I had in stash in color “tan” and “raspberry coulis”.

In other news, my honeybee and I also spent 4 days visiting Washington DC last month, and we had a blast! Although we were a bit late for the cherry blossoms, we still had a lot of fun visiting parks, memorials and monuments and visiting the US Capitol and the weather was just GORGEOUS the whole time we were there. For those interested, here’s a little photo recap of our fun-filled vacation in DC.

DC1 (1)DC2DC3

So that’s it for now folks, and I surely hope next time won’t be in another 4 months! Cheers!

Liebster award!

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liebsteraward-roses

Guys, I have been nominated by the lovely Becca from theknitted.com to the Liebser award. If you are not familiar with it, this award strives to bring light to small blogs and allow bloggers to connect and get to know each other better.

The process is very simple, the person who nominated you will ask 11 questions that you have to answer in a blog entry, then you have to nominate a few other bloggers who deserve a shout out. If you do not already follow Becca’s blog (and you should!), here’s a link to her liebster award’s blog entry.

The questions I received from her are the following:

1. How did you decide on the name of your blog?

Well, my first name is Stephanie, and Effie has been one of my nicknames since high school, so it was just (really) a no-brainer. I didn’t put much thought into it, I just thought it sounded nice and went with it!

2. Describe your blog in 5 words or less!

I hope people find it FUN, COLORFUL, LIGHT and JOYFUL – am I asking too much?

3. What is your favorite knitting technique or style?

Now I don’t really think I have a favorite knitting technique, but I certainly DO have techniques I DON’T like! Although I do sew garments, pillows, drapes and such, I hate sewing knits. So every time it’s possible, I prefer to go for a seamless pattern or alter the pattern to knit it seamlessly rather than going through the seaming process. Call it lazy – I guess it’s somewhat of a pet peeve of mine, but the less finishing I have to do when I finish a project, the better.

4. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Hm, neither one, actually. I have to admit that I am not fully functional in the morning before 8 or 9, depending on the night I had, but I never really get up past 10. And I can’t go to bed at night before 9 or 10, but then again I can’t stay up until 3 either. So all in all, I’m really neither a morning person nor a night owl, I think I’m more of an afternoon person – and that’s when I’m the most productive. I’d say my most productive hours are between 11 AM and 7 PM.

5. Assuming money wasn’t a problem, what is one thing you would love to do?

I would love to travel the world. I like going places, connecting with people and discover new things. I want to see more, and I want to learn more about the world and I think travelling gives you more than you could ever get from a book or a documentary on a foreign place.

6. What is an item you can’t live without?

As sad as it may sound, my phone. I use it to keep track of my progress on Ravelry, follow knitting patterns on the go, take pictures of my knits, share stories on my blog, etc.and it also helps me keep in touch with my honeybee who lives far away through Skype and text messaging.

7. Who is your favorite knitting designer?

I have a soft spot for the elegant but simple designs of Melanie Berg (Mairlynd). She has the most exquisite shawl patterns, and simple but elegant sweater and cardigan patterns.

8. Do you like learning new knitting techniques?

I LOVE learning new things! I just recently tried working stuff two-at-a-time (like socks and sleeves and stuff) on a magic loop and I love it – it’s such a time saver!

9. What is your big knitting goal of 2016?

I want to knit more from stash and use the yummy handspuns I have. It’s a goal I’ve set myself the past two years, and I think it’s made me realize that yarn is no good sitting on a shelf. I bought it because I loved it, it’s pointless to idolize it from afar and be too scared to use it for something. “Waiting for the perfect project” doesn’t always work – sometimes you won’t see the perfect match until you try something, and then you’ll be so glad you did.

10. What’s your favorite book you’ve read recently?

Honestly, I haven’t read much recently. I’ve been so busy with work and stuff that I simply haven’t had a chance to open a book, except for my go-to read-a-few-pages-and-reminisce book Alice’s adventures in wonderland and through the looking glass. I know for sure though that my next book is going to be “Faim” from Quebec writer Patrick Senecal, that my mom so nicely offered to me for Christmas.

11. What was your dream job as a kid?

As far as I can remember, I think I wanted to become a signer, or a actress. Pretty far from my actual job as a city planner, but I’m ok with that. How would you know at 5 that you have bad stage fright?

So now as tradition would have it, I would like to nominate 5 other bloggers, so they can in turn reveal a little more about themselves and nominate other deserving bloggers. I hereby nominate:

The questions I am asking you guys are the following:

  1. What’s your favorite blog to follow, and why?
  2. Apart from blogging and knitting, what do you like to do in your spare time?
  3. What other crafts do you know or would like to learn?
  4. Do you  prefer to knit following a pattern or create your own?
  5. Did you take up any new year resolutions?
  6. What’s your go-to knitting project for instant gratification?
  7. What was your dream job as a kid?
  8. What is the last thing you learnt as a knitter?
  9. What makes you smile in the morning?
  10. Who’s your favorite person to knit for?
  11. How many WIPs do you currently have on the needles?

Thank you all for participating, it’s great to get to know each other in the blogging world, and I hope I can make some of you discover a new blog to love/follow.

A Crafter’s Guilt (And the Superwoman Syndrome)

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I am in pain. I have been in pain for the last few days, just a severe, agonizing sharp pain in my neck and shoulders. No idea where it came from, it’s just there. Is it a strain because of the long drive during vacation? Or did I pull a muscle? Maybe I pinched a nerve? Or was it a wrong move I made? Whatever it may be, I just couldn’t work on  anything in the past few days, so no spinning, no knitting, no nothing. Ok, maybe I did (a little). But no real progress here for sure. I couldn’t even finish the Tour de Fleece!

So today, since I don’t have anything craft-related to share with you guys, I will be talking about a very different topic; something I find a little bit more important and certainly a lot more personal : the overpowering, omnipresent, socially-created “Superwoman Syndrome”. We all know that in today’s lifestyle, a lot of women feel pressured to perform and achieve in a lot of different aspects of their lives. To name only a few, they feel like they have to be career-driven and professionally successful, need to workout and take care of themselves, they are expected to keep their house clean, get married, be good home makers as well as a perfect mom, they should have healthy and creative hobbies, they have to volunteer and get involved in their community, etc.

What the “Superwoman” does is to set herself (and the people around her) standards that are unnaturally high, standards that are way beyond reach or reason. And then, they tend to strain themselves compulsively toward these impossible goals. Inevitably, at the end of the road, when they realize they simply can’t achieve all those goals to perfection, they break down, cry and feel guilty, worthless and sorry about themselves.

It is a feeling that is very hard to fight or to ward off; I know it because I am sometimes guilty of it myself. See, “guilty”. That word again. Just like we weren’t allowed to show any weaknesses.Truth is, life is not perfect. And we should not expect ourselves to be either. But in our results-oriented society, we have learned to measure our self-worth entirely in terms of productivity and tangible accomplishments.

As I explained earlier, I have been totally floored by very intense neck pains in the past few days.  I knew I just had to rest and wait it off, but I felt so guilty not to be working on anything! – My apartment is getting messier and messier by the minute, and I’m not making progress on any of my WIPs! And if I don’t work on anything, I would be a worthless crafter, right? And I wouldn’t have anything to share on my blog, what an excuse of a blogger would I be? And that is when it struck me… I’m in pain because I’m stressed out. Why am I stressed out, I wonder? Maybe I’m stressed out about work, or maybe it’s my messy apartment. But I can’t be stressed out about fiber arts… right? That’s my hobby, that’s what I do to relax. Crafting, blogging, I do all those things as a hobby, so why would I care if I’m productive or not? But you know what? Even without noticing it, in today’s society, we are pressured to “have fun”. We are expected to use our free time “efficiently” and to “have a good time”. In other words, I’m putting pressure on myself to be productive in everything I tackle – be it work, housekeeping, hobbies, or anything else. And in my eyes, everything has to be done perfectly, and in a timely manner How ridiculous is that?

So today, to fight off all this unhealthy pressure that’s been piling up on me and to share something more meaningful with all of you, I decided to not blog about crafts. I’m blogging about myself, and I’m going to say what I want to say.

I am me. I’m not perfect. I am enthusiastic in everything I do, but everything certainly isn’t perfect, or productive. Sometimes I fail, and sometimes I’m tired, and sometimes I just need time for myself to relax and unwind. And it’s OK.