The Common Thread Blog

Craft a DELICIOUS Life

(Re)Introducing igottknits on Etsy!

(Re)Introducing igottknits on Etsy!

Over the past few months,  I’ve been itching to get back up to speed with my Etsy shop, igottknits, which I started back in 2009. However, after taking the a position of full time magazine editor in 2010, I transitioned to selling my finished ready-to-wear garments and accessories instead of handkint patterns.

Back then, I didn’t have much time to pour into the shop simply because I was a new editor. I placed my energies on Creative Knitting magazine and my editor’s blog, Splendid Sticks. As a result, I allowed the shop to lie dormant for the past few years.

One day not too long ago, I said to my husband Jay: “I’d really like to start up my Etsy shop again.” His response: “yeah, ’cause you’ve got lots of time on your hands…not.” He was right, who was I kidding? I don’t have time for this. I’ve got my full time job, the Morning Cool Down podcast, and other projects on the burner. I can’t spread myself so thin.

Why should I have to make a choice? Does it need to be one or the other? Self-limiting beliefs and what others tell us we should do are what hold us back from greatness and possibility.

Why do we sell ourselves short based on thinking that may be faulty in the first place?

If you don’t take a chance on something, then you have no idea of the outcome– maybe it will be a success, or maybe it will be a failure.

Throw it upon the wall and see if it sticks? What’s the worst that could happen?

So that’s what I did and we’ll see how it goes…

Infinity Cowl made from gauge swatches collected throughout the years.

Infinity Cowl made from gauge swatches collected throughout the years.

 

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Reviving igottnits on Etsy was a no-brainer. With projects living inside dark storage bins, it’s seems silly NOT do this.

It’s not like I have to slave over my knitting needles– I’m always knitting. When I was a city dweller, I found a way to knit while walking down the street, and my favorite morning activity was knitting while standing on the New York subway during rush hour. The longer the ride, the better!

While living in Florida, I never left my house without a project in tow. Getting stuck at a drawbridge was a regular daily occurrence. I used to get so excited, because that meant knitting time. Let me tell you, I got lots of knitting done back in those days.

The shop is a modest start, and I’m just enjoying the process. I’m currently shooting new photos of the designs that you’ll see over the next few weeks, and getting “matilda” my dress form up to snuff for the photo shoot.

Please stop by and let me know what you think of the new shop. Also…if there something special you’d like, I welcome custom orders. You can browse my past work and take your pick, or suggest something totally new. If you can dream it, I can make it! Please give these idle hands something to do 🙂

Seduction of Shiny Objects and Uncontrolled Desires

Seduction of Shiny Objects and Uncontrolled Desires

Allowing ourselves to be led astray by shiny objects leads to scattered nothingness.

Over the past decade or so, Adult Deficit Disorder (ADD) has become a new phenomenon. I personally believe this is the result of the world we live in today with all its distractions and the seduction of shiny objects.

I’m a victim like the rest of us. So let me paint a picture of two typical scenarios that I’ve personally encountered:

#1: The weekend is here!

Finally, I can spend time baking, knitting for hours on end, blogging…and engage in quality family time and exercise. By the time Sunday evening rolls around, I realize not all my plans were realistic.

#2: Typical morning before my 8-5 job

The alarm goes off at 4:30am. My first plan is to sit in meditation for about twenty minutes, then I take a look at my to do list, and I’ve got three big items on my list: write blog post, begin editing a podcast and interact online with community. I’ve got two hours to make all of this happen! However, I’m lucky if one big thing gets checked off the list.

Problem— overly optimistic about the time I actually have. As a result, a sense of personal failure is the result.

Solution— discovering this problem has become a useful tool, because I’ve been forced to take a hard look at my time. I plot out the weekends loosely with “anchor activities” (see below). I start the precious two hours before my work day with meditation and one task, which takes a bunch of discipline on my part because by nature I’m an over-planner.

I enjoy the act of planing. I love both digital and paper planners and I’m addicted to finding the right system. It all looks so perfect when I plot out my day. This is a “failure to launch” tendency that I’ve discovered in myself, so I try to be mindful when this behavior creeps in.

I realize the act of over-planning is the result of not knowing what those key activities should actually be. This all or nothing “throwing it on the wall and seeing if it sticks” approach is not very effective.

With the weekend coming fast, you may like the idea of planning those anchor activities mentioned above, as Laura Vanderkam suggests in What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. The way to do this is to map out about three key activities that you’d like to do from Friday night to Sunday evening. The goal is not to go to extremes by mapping out every hour, or be too loose and not plan at all. I highly recommend checking our the book here. It’s a quick and easy read. Also, click here to check out the latest Morning Cool Down episode with Laura!

The predicament is wanting way too much.

The new idea, the best new thing. Just as we create some traction in one direction, we see something new, jump for it, but then make what we’ve been striving for come to a halt. John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire says it best with his acronym:

FOCUS= Follow One Course Until Success.

Do you struggle with following the newest, latest and greatest thing? Do you experience problems seeing your goals come to reality?  Share your story, and how you pushed through and accomplished your goal. Let’s begin the conversation! 

On most days, my desire is to get up and start typing. I love the way my fingers feel on the keyboard, just letting the words flow, allowing them to be whatever they want. This way of writing is so freeing. No wories about grammar or sentence structure.  I just jump in with reckless abandon and let GO.

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Allow the River of “What Is” to Flow Within

Allow the River of “What Is” to Flow Within

My usual routine each morning is– start the coffee, knit, listen to some of my favorite podcasts and then move on to my morning meditation. My intention is to nurture myself and find that authentic connection before moving into my day.

I plan and plot each moment of my morning routine each evening, setting a specific time even for the “nurturing activities.”

I write a task list for what I will accomplish the next morning from the time I wake up until the time I need to start getting ready for work. Doing the things plotted on my list the night before is good discipline, but what if I feel pulled in another direction? What if that direction is to do something else that makes me excited and filled with purpose? I thought that was the idea of what living on purpose is all about?

Allow the river of “what is” to flow within.

The first time I heard the phrase “live on purpose” it was after reading it in a Wayne Dyer book, which he also refers to as “connecting to your source.” This is that time when you lose track of time and space because you’re doing what sets you on fire. This is when we are at our happiest, so how sad to miss these spontaneous moments because we wouldn’t dare diverge from the things we “should” do.

At the end of the day, the whole idea of this morning time that I’ve given to myself is to use it as a way to connect to that voice that Rumi whispers in this quote, which hangs on my wall:

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”

To authentically do what comes natural in the moment is to invite the mystery of the moment to unfold with total acceptance and

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Honoring our authentic calling is intuitive, but maybe we fight it because the world tells us to focus on the to do’s because today’s a busy day and we must stay on task or else…we’re a failure. The real failure is ignoring the wisdom that tells us to focus on what’s right in front of us and it’s usually screaming loud and clear. Our inner-calling is the voice that we should not ignore and it’s task #1 to pay attention.

Right Behind the Problem Lies the Solution

Right Behind the Problem Lies the Solution

How the heck did I miss that yarn over? 

What you see below, is sadly, a distant memory. Ripped back because of a missed stitch on one of the foundation rows. In that moment of discovery, all of my warm and fuzzy knitting feelings were scattered to the wind. My happy moment gone. All I could feel was frustration and the thought of having to count my cast on stitches again made me fee quite impatient.

This activity that gives me so much pleasure, can also the source of pain. So what does this show me? It teaches me that the object [knitting] is not the primary cause.  It’s how [I react] to the object because of this way of thinking– why is THIS PATTERN giving me a headache? Flipped around– why am I allowing this pattern to give me a headache? The poor pattern did nothing.  On it’s own, it’s totally neutral. It’s neither good, nor bad.

The object is secondary. The thought, feeling and emotion, primary. It all starts in this crazy thing called the mind.

I’m still starting at the empty needle without fresh new stitches, but I think today will be the day to push through. Wish me luck!

 

What is Real Contentment? Can You Buy It?

What is Real Contentment? Can You Buy It?

In the mud, grows a lotus.

When I woke up this morning at 4:30am, the first thought that came through my mind was this feeling of contentment and where it really comes from. I know it comes from not trying too hard at anything. It comes from resting in the moment and not labeling anything good, bad or indifferent.

 I can create grand plans, but there are always tasks that do not get a nice big black line through them.

No need to label good or bad. What’s good or bad for me, may not be perceived this way by someone else. This proves that everything is subjective and up to perception, but we believe with conviction that what we see and think is the ultimate truth, when in fact we are the actor in our own movie and our mind is running this tape over and over all day and night.

Seeing the lotus in all that is banal and sometimes downright ugly can be difficult. However, seeing the beauty in everything is right around the corner, right behind the wall, or veil that is covering our eyes. Today, I’m opening the shutters of my mind and heart to let in what is happening right now.

The clock is ticking on my morning schedule. Upon writing this post, it’s 5:54am, with the primary goal to simply write for the sake of writing. I was hoping to press publish within a half hour. The words didn’t come as effortlessly today. It’s raining and I was hoping for a run at 6:30. My guess is, that won’t happen unless I’m willing to get drenched. A nice misty Paris rain would be OK, but it’s a crazy thunder and lightening downpour and I’m not a “rain or shine” kind of runner.

Then there’s my written “morning agenda” thingy– I love the idea of a plan, but over planning and analysis leads to paralysis. This week, I’m trying the “practice of imperfection” by putting something out there each morning no matter what…typos and all.

That agenda thingy...

That agenda thingy…

Magical mystery of what comes next.

On a recent episode of On Being with Krista Tippet, she interviews Paulo Coelho, author of the amazing book, and one of my all-time favorites, The Alchemist.  At the beginning of the interview, Paolo mentions how he likes to allow his day to unfold without any plan in mind and there’s something magical about the mystery of what comes next. The idea of letting go in this way scares me because it means the ground is falling away from under me. It means that I have no control. This is what my mind thinks, but this is not reality. The truth is– I never really had control at all. The only thing I have real control over is my mind, my thoughts and reaction to the world around me and what it serves up each day.

Life is not a 24/7 party. Pleasures are fleeting and we get more of what we don’t want most of the time, but we fight and fight subconsciously for the pleasure. It’s just a habit and part of the human condition, but recognizing and accepting this is the beginning of the breakthrough, then you’ve got to buy into it and believe it with all your heart.

I’m not trying to be a downer here, because this is actually something you know. Constantly focusing on our own agendas can be disappointing. Placing focus strictly on satisfying our own desires, gives us more of what we don’t want.

Forget your pleasures and focus on how you can make others happy. This will work wonders for your own happiness.

Do you know how it feels to be content? It’s amazing when it happens, because for me, it’s never from a groundbreaking experience. Usually, it’s something like driving and looking up at the clear blue sky and thinking about how perfect that is. Or, it could be from just sitting in silence and doing something that sets me on fire like writing this very post.

Studies have shown that there’s no increase in a person’s happiness after they make $75,000 a year.  In fact, after this number is reached, happiness could possibly even decrease. What does this say about all that we strive for in life? I’m not saying making more that 75k is bad, it’s just how do we view that money we make. Once we make enough to cover the necessities and the bottom line, the question becomes: What is the true meaning of happiness and contentment? Where does it really come from if it’s not from outside?

Contentment is something money can’t buy, and from contentment comes wealth. Not material wealth, but the promise of something WAY better…inner riches.

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