Small Ways to Relieve Stress

As I mentioned earlier, the news these days can often be overwhelming and depressing. I have had to limit the time I spend watching the news to keep my sanity. Lately I have been feeling very cynical. I thought I would write about a few small things I do to relieve stress and remind myself that there is still good in this world.

One of the biggest ways I relieve stress is to watch kitten cams. I love animals but I don’t live somewhere that allows pets. Thanks to live streams, I can get my cute pet fix easily. My 2 favorites are Tiny Kittens and Critter Room. They are both livestreams run by volunteers who take in pregnant cats and take care of the mother cat and kittens until they are able to be adopted. The video above is the story of  the most recent rescue on Tiny Kittens.com. Tiny Kittens will also livestream the birth of the kittens. Both of the people who run these are very dedicated to cat rescue and the cats are so cute. I find myself watching them a a lot to relieve stress and counteract all the negativity in the news lately. Both of these livestreams are also on Periscope. 

Another thing that helps me out is to seek out supportive places in social media . As I mentioned before, I found a crochet themed group on Ravelry that has been very supportive. It means a lot of me to find a supportive place to discuss creative projects. I also joined a Facebook group related to the 5 days 5 shawls challenge  that I  did. The Facebook group is very active and supportive and it is a relief to talk to people who have similar creative goals. I enjoyed the 5 days 5 shawls challenge and glad I found the group.

5 Shawls 5 Days Challenge

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Last week I participated in the 5shawls 5 Days Challenge by Aroha Knits. It is a challenge where you knit 5 basic shawl shapes, 1 shape each day. When you join the challenge you get access to a private Facebook group. The group is very supportive and active. I have learned a lot and am inspired to work on more shawls and maybe try my hand at designing a shawl.

5 days 3 The shape for day  1 was a Triangle and the second Day was the 3/4 shawl. The third day was a crescent shawl, the fourth day was the swirl shawl and day 5 was the asymmetrical shawl. Three of those shapes used a garter tab cast on. It can be fiddly but I am really starting to like it. A lot of shawl patterns use this cast on. Here is a tutorial in case you are curious. With the crescent shawl, I had to do a yarn over on the purl side and I struggled with that but once I found a tutorial I  enjoyed seeing the shape come together. Day 4 was a swirl shawl. I really struggled with that shape. It called for using double pointed needles and I am not very comfortable with the technique at all. I tried to do it several times but could never get past the first row so I ended up skipping that day. That is why the photos only show 4 shapes. I think I need more practice on double pointed needles before I try to make that shape again.

 5 days 2

The challenge also had the hashtag #5shawls5days on Instagram. When I looked at the hashtag, many people got creative with stitch patterns and used different cast offs. I now want to learn the picot cast off. The host, did a bonus lesson where she shows how to incorporate stitch patterns into the shapes. I haven’t watched it yet but I plan to this week. I may try experimenting with incorporating a stitch pattern into the triangle shawl shape.

Why I Almost Quit Twitter

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In the past week, the actress Leslie Jones was badly harassed on Twitter. She received a lot of racist tweets and she retweeted some of them to let people know what she was dealing with on a regular basis. Here is an article about the situation. It made me think about my own experiences with Twitter. I thought about quitting after watching what Leslie Jones Went through. I decided to stay because I would miss the positive interactions  I have on the site.

For the most part, I have enjoyed Twitter. However, I am often scared that I will get harassed or bullied for something I posted because I have seen people endure horrible harassment on the site. Anne Wheaton left Twitter for a while after the harassment she received became too much. Right after she left, she talked to people at Twitter safety and attended a symposium they  did.

 I have been on Twitter since 2009. I joined because I was curious and a bunch of crochet designers I admired had joined the site. I really enjoyed it. I found a lot of craft and crochet sites to follow. I quickly realized you can learn a lot about a topic from twitter. You follow one person and can see who he/she follows. If you want to know what is happening on the news you can follow news sites and and see more news updates than you could ever read. You can read about an event in the news as it is happening. Often a big news event will start trending on Twitter the moment it happens. If you are interested in a topic.You can follow the leaders in the topic and see what they are saying and what information they are sharing.

 Twitter can also be a great place to meet people with similar interests. Unlike real life you can jump in and chat with someone you never met. If you see someone saying something interesting, you can reply to that tweet and that will often start a conversation. I have met other crocheters and knitters on Twitter and have enjoyed chatting with them. There is a core group of people I chat with on Twitter who have been very supportive. I love that I can interact with interesting people I never would meet in real life. One friend I met on Twitter gave me some great blogging advice. I also learned abut periscope, and knitting patterns and books I want to check out. I have mixed feelings about Twitter. There are some scary people harassing and bullying others and Twitter doesn’t do nearly enough about it. On the other hand there are also some good people on the site and you can learn a lot from Twitter. 

My Granny Square Bag Project

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I both knit and crochet but recently I wasn’t that inspired by crochet and I was knitting a lot more than I was crocheting. On Ravelry, I am a member of a group called the International Freeform Forum-IFFF. The group is about freeform crochet, knitting and mixed media. Freeform crochet and knitting is making a piece without a pattern and being creative with the colors and stitch patterns. The group will often have have freeform alongs (FFAL) which are crochet alongs* for free form work. The theme of one of their recent FFALs was Everything Old is New Again. The thread on Ravelry said that the theme can be interpreted as re purposing an old project or clothing, using a motif from an old project in a new project or using a classic technique in an updated way. In the thread, a lot of the group members were so talented and creative and that was inspiring to me.

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This FFAL made me think of 2 granny squares I had. They were leftover from a blanket I made a few years ago. They didn’t fit in with that project and sat in with my yarn scraps because I didn’t know what to do with them. I read the theme and immediately had the idea for make a bag around those 2 squares. I decided on a light blue, beige and dark blue color theme color theme. I also decided to use yarn leftover from other projects.

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I based the shape of the bag on another bag I made several years ago.I crocheted 16 squares and then sewed them together. With the straps, I ended up single crocheting around the top of the bag and then crocheting the straps. I am happy with how it turned out and I had fun making it. I was a long time lurker in the group but this was the first time I had participated in a FFAL. The other members of the group were so welcoming and supportive and it meant a lot to me. It was so encouraging to be able to interact with other crocheters and knitters and have them be so supportive.

*A group of people making piece at the same time and posting their experiences in a forum or blog.

Mitered Squares

mitered 1-0007 One of my current projects is this scarf I am making using the mitered square technique. Mitered squares get their shape from decreases in the middle of the row you are currently knitting. A lot of knitters will make blankets out of sock yarn using this technique. The book, Knits from a Painter’s Palette made me want to learn how to make mitered squares. This book is well worth checking out. The patterns are lovely and I love how creative the designer was in using mitered squares and modular knitting. I decided to make a patchwork scarf. instead of a blanket.

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 I didn’t make the squares the way the book recommends. I used the instructions from this pattern. I also found this tutorial helpful. Before I started, I did a web search on mitered squares and found out there are several ways to make them. At first, I was concerned that I wasn’t doing it correctly. I asked for advice on Ravelry and was told to make them the way I feel comfortable. I decided I was most comfortable with the technique listed in the above pattern and tutorial. I originally was going to make the scarf using scrap yarn. I started the project and ran out of the purple yarn I was using and had to buy more. Then I bought some dark grey to add a neutral color.

With mitered squares, you can either make the squares and sew them together later or you can join them as you go. At first I made a bunch and sewed them together. Then I figured out how to join them as I go and I prefer that technique. The video above has instructions on how to join as you go starting at 8:40. The earlier half of the video shows a couple of other ways to decrease in the middle. I enjoy making mitered squares. Once I got the hang of it, they are not difficult to make and I can be creative with how I put the colors together. 

Coping in Uncertain Times

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I don’t want this blog to be political. However, I also don’t think it is right to completely ignore what is going on around me either. Not too long before I launched this blog, the Brexit vote and a horrible shooting in Orlando Fl happened. Also, the US election has been divisive and crazy. The week I started this blog, 2 men were killed by police and in Dallas, 5 policemen were killed in a shooting. That is not all that has happened. We live in scary, uncertain times. There is a lot of divisiveness, violence and bigotry going on.

 When the world around you is so scary, it is easy to get cynical, overwhelmed, and discouraged. I think it is imporant to hold on to good moments, to not forget that there is still good in this world. On social media, seeing people post about happy moments in their lives is comforting. Sometime you need to unplug from the news for a while for self care. I think right now, we all need moments of sweetness, moments of cute. I have been watching live kitten cams for this. I also think we all need reminders of positive things you can do in your life to decrease the incredible negativity going on right now. I would like to do 2 things, I would like to write about things that I have found relieve stress, are cute, and make me laugh . These little moments can remind you of the good in life. I also will be posting about people using craft to be activists and ways you can use crafting to help others

My Crafty Past and Present

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I have been crocheting for 11 years and knitting for 8 years. The black and white scarf pictured above is one of my first knitting projects. The purple scarf is one I made a few years later. The shawl in the third picture is a crochet project recently finished. I wanted to learn to knit when the book, Stitch and Bitch came out. After it was published, I saw a lot of cool, interesting women knitting and wanted to be a part of that. It also appealed to me that it is relaxing. Before knitting and crochet, I was very into beading and jewelry making. I wanted to learn crochet because I was feeling burned out on beading and wanted to learn something new. I also really liked that I could make practical things like scarves and hats.

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 As I mentioned in my last post, I used to run 2 different Etsy shops and sold at a few craft fairs. In order to learn more about how to make better jewelry, I took a couple of drawing classes and a college level design class. I also read about color theory. Right now, my main creative outlets are knitting and crochet. I have been working on making things without a pattern. That process has definitely pushed my knitting and crochet skills and I want to write about what I have learned.

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 I have often struggled with how to balance my creative interests and the rest of my life. I can remember when I sold jewelry I often came home from my day job exhausted and too tired to be creative. Other creative people I met had similar struggles. I feel like a lot of websites don’t address this problem that much. One big reason I wanted to start this blog is that I wanted to write about successful artists and what day jobs they had. I hope to launch that series in the near future.

Welcome

Intro post pic 2 (1 of 1)Welcome to my blog Daphne Adora. I am an avid knitter and crocheter. I also love to write and do photography. The picture above is one of my photos. I am constantly working on several fiber projects at once and I will be writing about what I have learned from my projects. I have always had a lot of creative interests and I want to write about the ways people balance their creative practice and the rest of their lives. I also want to write about artists that use knitting,crochet and textiles in creative ways.

 I am very interested in handmade business. In the past I did a lot of beading and jewelry making. I ran 2 different Etsy shops where I sold my handmade jewelry and wrote 2 other blogs. I am not doing those ventures anymore but I never lost my interest in crafts, DIY and creative business. In the past year or so, I started thinking about writing a blog again. I missed writing on a regular basis. 

 The blog name is based on my first name. My first name is Daphne and in the US, it is a very unusual name. When I was in school, I was always the only one in my class with my name. To this day I have only met someone with my name a few times. I originally came up with the name Daphne Adora a few years ago when I was thinking about changing the name of an Etsy shop I had. A friend suggested I use something based on my first name. When I thought about that, I remembered that avid gardeners will hear my name and mention the Daphne Odora plant. Thinking about the plant gave me the idea for Daphne Adora. The name Daphne Adora was originally going to be an Etsy shop where I sold handmade jewelry. I never did the shop but I kept the name and used it for my Twitter and Instagram accounts. When I decided to start a new blog, I decided to keep using Daphne Adora.