CH 288: Coping Strategies and the Clio Pullover

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As the news gets more concerning, I am doubling down on calming and self-care practices, and have a few ideas to share about what’s working for me. I also have some long-awaited news: I can tick the “Finish a long-term WIP” line off my #knit20for2020 list finally!!

Show Links:

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Calm App

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

John Arbon Texiles

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 288. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Ellen and you can find me on Ravelry as Health Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello and welcome. Welcome to this weird and wonderful world we are currently and I just wanted to say, I hope you’re okay. I know that this is a hugely difficult time for a lot of us and I just wanted to have a chat with you today. Hopefully just keep you company for a little while and yes, just a knit with you for a little while possibly. Down here in Australia, things have progressed a bit since I last spoke to you and we have had, I think last time I spoke to you, the main measures that had been implemented were, I think on Monday they’re now just outside gatherings of more than 500 people were banned.

And as of today they have announced that indoor gatherings of more than a hundred people are band and they’re advising Australians not to travel overseas or abroad at all and anyone arriving has to self isolate for 14 days, but schools are still open and shops are still open. I don’t think there’s been any advice to sort of close shops or restaurants or anything. I don’t know if restaurants having a capacity of more than 100 people counts as a gathering, but it’s a bit hazy at this stage, but we’re not really going out much anyways. So I’m not sure how other people are interpreting it.

My kids have been home sick all week anyway. We’ve had a horrible cold in the family and its main symptom is a really sore throat. So the girls have been off school and I decided I would record this podcast on Wednesday, so it’s March the 18th just in case I get the really sore throat and can’t record later in the week. So by the time this is published on Friday, things might have changed again. I’m not sure, but I thought I’d get this recorded while I had a nice window of quiet and my throat, I keep imagining that I’m getting a tickly throat.

So you know how it is when you’re worried you’re going to get sick, you keep imagining that you are. So far it hasn’t developed into anything yet. Thank goodness. So I guess like most people I know we’re all feeling very anxious at the moment and I’m kind of laughing at myself a bit because I’m finding that compulsion’s to do certain things caused by the anxiety are coming out and they’re sort of things that I’ve experienced in the past when I’ve had high stress like exam periods or really stressful work periods.

And so I’m getting those urges to clean and control my food and maybe shop. Yeah, just sort of my go to anxiety behaviors are coming out at the moment. So I feel like it’s good that I can recognize that now. When I was at university I couldn’t really see those behaviors, but now I can. So that’s good I guess. And what I decided to do is write myself a to do list and a stop doing list. So I am going to concentrate on daily meditation.

Re-implement my walking, my daily walking, which has just completely fallen off the plate or something. I am going to make myself go for a 20 minute walk each day and keep up with pilates as long as it’s open. It’s a very small class. So I think that’s okay. Do my work, practice music and then make time for fun, creative projects, chatting and emailing with friends and family and preparing healthy meals and eating lots of veggies. So that’s on my to do list and stop doing, includes refreshing news feeds constantly. I’m going to set times for catching up with the news and thanks to my copywriter, Amanda for that idea.

I’m going to stop scrolling Instagram and set times for that as well because I get a lot of my news through Instagram and stop worrying about when the schools will close. I’ve sort of been expecting the school’s close and trying to mentally prepare for that and think what I’ll do with the girls and what schoolwork I’ll do with them and how I’ll entertain them, but I’m going to stop worrying about that for now because at the moment the schools open and I think that they are trying to balance out keeping parents free to be able to go to work, especially if they’re in healthcare services versus the risk of kids being at school and the risk of kids having to stay home with grandparents, while their parents work versus being at school.

So I can understand that balancing act and I guess they just must be doing it on a risk assessment basis or some kind of formula. I’m not sure whether I should have that much faith in the powers at be, but I guess I just have to at the moment and in any case that girls aren’t at school anyway so I am going to stop worrying about that as you can probably tell from my little spiel there, I’m not really stopping worrying about it but I’m going to try.

And that’s the main things I’m going to stop trying to do and just worrying, generalized worry is not really helping me. So I’m going to try and catch myself out doing that. Try and minimize the worry because the anxiety won’t help with anything and it will just make me more stressed. So anyway, that’s where I’m at at the moment. After I record this, I’m going to set up a thread in Ravelry for us to chat about things and maybe share ideas for getting through this crisis.

Because I think it’s going to be a reasonably long term issue for everybody now. The advice on travel from the government here was not to travel and the time of frame was indefinitely. So I’ve read some reports saying six months or more so on. So I think we’re going to have to think about this as a being a reasonably long term thing that we will be dealing with. So let’s chat about it together and share ideas for, I don’t know, homeschooling, managing life, helping to support tiny businesses in our community and things like that.

I have to say that one of my sort of new year’s resolutions or goals was to meditate regularly and I have been doing it semi-regularly. I have the Calm app on my phone and so I have been very randomly just putting on any meditation that took my fancy each morning. So I don’t have any particular method to my madness. But yeah, so I’ve just been doing that and I have noticed that it does help calm me down.

And I … probably, if I did it a bit more intentionally, it would work even better. But I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself to meditate in a specific way. So usually when I wake up in the morning and I just lie in bed, I don’t sit up in an upright position. I just lie there and listen to it and try and breathe a bit as they suggest and do some nice deep breaths and just basically relax for 15 minutes or so while the meditation plays.

And so, I would recommend just maybe doing something like that, just not to … I mean if you are in a meditation practice already, that’s fabulous and I’m impressed. But if you aren’t and you’re a bit intimidated by it, just start really small and I don’t know, just find your own thing that works for you, it might help calm the mind even a bit in these stressful times.

So, that’s rather a long introduction. But if you don’t mind me chatting about that stuff because that’s what’s on my mind at the moment. In knitting news, I am super excited and super chuffed because I did manage to finally finish my Clio pullover. Clio is a design by Elizabeth Doherty. It’s been on the needles for at least three years. I should look up when I started it, but I haven’t wanted to do that and after I recorded last week sort of thinking that I might finish it, I became quite determined to finish it before I spoke to you again.

So I put everything else on hold basically, including work and just knit on that and it didn’t really take me too long. Once I got through the short rows at the top of the sleeves, I powered through the sleeves and finished it yesterday. I wove in the ends. It’s yet to be blocked and photographed, but I’m calling it done and I’m so happy. I knitted in yarn which I bought at Edinburgh Yarn Festival three or four years ago and it is Ysolda blend number one, batch number three, which is a gorgeous blend spun by John Arbon in the UK.

And it has some Gotland, which is one of my favorite breeds of fleece, or breeds of sheep. And, it’s just the softest, loveliest, I don’t know, just has a beautiful body to it. So I very much enjoyed the process of knitting that. And I think I’ve got two and a half scans left. So now I’m thinking what else to knit with that yarn because I really did enjoy knitting with that yarn. So that means that I can tick off my WIP category in the knit 20 for 20 challenge which, if super exciting. And it also means that I can now go on to choose some new exciting projects, have a bit of a dream about what I’m going to knit now.

I still have some design work I need to do before I really do that and I have maybe three pairs of socks that have been also quite long, ongoing WIP that are maybe will do while I’m deciding what sort of main project I want to work on next. So I think just for the time being, while I’m still deciding I will work on my Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith who’s, Hey Brown Berry. I’ve also been working on those for quite a long time and you’ve probably heard me mention them many times before as well, so I’d quite like to finish them also.

So I think I’ll spend some time probably later this week planning out another project and I think I will make that a reward for getting something ticked off my work list. I’m not sure exactly what I will have to do to get my reward, but I think I might make that a treat for doing something reasonably substantial on my work side of things. Something else that I will endeavor to do this week is to firm up details for these knit alongs that I’m sort of loosely hosting at the moment. So that is for the handmade sock society. So I will organize and set dates for the monthly knit alongs for each sock as they come out.

The first sock is already published the luminary socks and the second socks will be released next week. So I’ll dip into my stash and really organize some prizes and I’ll also think about some prizes for the knit 20 for 2020 challenge because I think we could all do with some fun and cheering up at the moment and make it a bit more formal. So I’ll have a think about how to structure that, how to structure some prizes and perhaps the yarn that I was planning to do stash, I might contribute to prizes instead because I was all set to do a de-stash, but I really didn’t feel comfortable competing with indie dyers who are relying on the income from their yarn at the moment.

It’s not my main thing and it would just be de-stashing yarn because I want it to go to people who are going to use it because I’ve got way too much to be able to use myself. So I think what I’ll do is allocate some of that yarn to prizes instead and just have a bit of fun with it. I’m not sure when I will be able to do that. I should commit to a time so that I make myself do it, but let’s say next week I’ll get onto that and by next week’s podcast should be able to announce some more details around that. Before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadow Yarn. I just wanted to mention that Ang has some gorgeous colorways in her shop at the moment. Really beautiful. I will probably be tempted to make a purchase there this weekend as well. That could be another treat.

So thanks so much for spending some time with me this week. I hope you’re safe and well and that this crisis is not putting too much stress on you. I know lots of people that it is putting quite a lot of stress on their lives and their families. So my sympathy and thoughts go to you and my love and if you feel like chatting will be the thread in Ravelry, or on Instagram. I also have a promotion at the moment until the end of the month, which is a buy one get one free sale so you can get any of my patterns or collections. Buy one, get one free with the coupon code fresh at the moment. And that was to celebrate the release of the single patterns from last year’s fall society. So please take advantage of that and happy knitting. Stay safe. Stay well, and I’ll talk to you soon.



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