OK, this is going to be a longer post than normal and I really struggled to know whether or not this was the place to write about this. But I’ve wanted to share a bit more of me and my personality on here, and the two-year anniversary seems like the perfect place to begin! So if you’re with me for this one, it’s been a big year for both myself and Shortrounds, so here goes nothing.
(If you decide not to listen to me ‘waffle on’ you can also skip to the end for the cheeky celebration offer on both of my baby blanket patterns – available for the weekend!)
A few years ago if you’d told me I’d have my own blog, knit for other people, sell my own patterns and be part of an ever-growing, universally kind knitting community… I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d never be brave enough to do that. To put myself out there like that. Believe it or not, I’m actually quite reserved with people I don’t know, and new situations and experiences make me feel uncomfortable. Shortrounds has been an exercise in pushing my boundaries and taking myself out of my comfort zone. And two years on, I continue to surprise myself!
This year in particular has been super exciting. In February I released by first ever paid for pattern, shortly followed by a second pattern in June. And I have plans to release many more in the future. Before I would have felt I wasn’t good enough, I’d tell myself that people have better skills at this than I do, I would have been too scared. Now, I’m saying YES! I’ve met up with local knitting shop owners, approached people to be featured on my blog and have even signed up to knitting workshops. I’m putting myself out there. I’m being brave! And the most incredible thing has been happening – it’s turning my little homegrown crafting blog into something better and more exciting than I’d ever have thought. And it’s down to one change.
Knitting as therapy
I’ve always had cycles of stress that build up over time, explode and release. This can be caused by a back-log of any number of things from a trivial, petty argument to something life changing like moving house or starting a new job. It’s a pattern that I had been quite used to, sort of like lather, rinse, repeat – but instead it was a continual cycle of stress, freak out, release, repeat. (Anyone else get this too?) It’s definitely held me back in some regards, and curbed my bravery to try new things.
Knitting definitely helps me relax, and my fitness tracker confirms that one hour sat knitting lowers my heart rate to a healthy 60bpm in a day otherwise littered with 100-120bpm spikes. So I knew to use that time to chill out and reset. Me and Mr Shortrounds are pretty settled in our life now. We have a beautiful home in a lovely village that I happen to also work in. I’m privileged to work in my family’s business in a creative job that I enjoy – and have done so for four years. So I couldn’t understand why in November last year I felt run into the ground, stressed, worn down to the bone and unable to drag myself out of bed in the mornings.
I was fed up of feeling this way. It was stopping me from enjoying everything. My home life, my work life and my blogging. I was having no more of it. Particularly if it was beginning to affect Shortrounds (something that is purely my passion and that I had undertaken a year previous as a creative outlet just for me). It’s supposed to be fun – not add more pressure and stress.
My BS Meter
November marked the shift in my perspective. No more getting nervous. No more exhausting stress-cycles. I mean sometimes I’d worry that I wasn’t worrying enough – give me a break! Change gonna come.
I affectionately call it my ‘Bullshit meter’ or BS meter if I’m talking to my lovely Mum. That means no more BS-ing or limiting myself, no more letting other people put me down or hold me back, having a little bit more confidence to do the things I want to do, without worrying what other people may think.
It also means treating people better, prioritising things that are important to me and enjoying myself. The solution has been overwhelmingly simple. I’ve started saying yes to things I previously wouldn’t have, and started saying no to things that I want to. It was difficult, it still gives me that heart fluttering ‘fight or flight’ response every now and again. But more importantly it’s been so liberating! (I mean what’s the worst that could happen?!) In short, I feel so much stronger. And my lovely BS Meter has helped me so much this last year to move forward in every aspect of my life.
Breaking the habit of a lifetime
It’s hard to break a lifetime’s habit, and I’m still working on my BS meter every day. So if I ever doubt myself, or get a knock back, I have a few resources on hand to pick myself back up again and remind me why I’m doing what I love, late into the evenings and on my lunch breaks around my usual 9-5. I’ve rambled on and been completely open and honest about all of this, in the hope that these resources somehow may help you too.
You! – kind comments, shared photos, this community is just the most positive, BS-free environment I’ve ever known.
Knitlandia – have you read Clara Parkes novel? This will affirm your love of knitting (and urge you to travel – you have been warned)…
Stay hungry – Not knitting related, and I’m sure most people have seen this address by Steve Jobs at Stanford, but it’s still one of my favourite ‘slap round the face’ motivation speeches I’ve ever listened to.
Ravelry – never fails to spark a morsel of creativity that’s bubbling under the surface. It’s levelled the playing field for large knitting pattern design houses and indie designers like myself, and it such a hub of creatives and positivity!
Big Magic – Although I found Eat, Pray Love a little overly-sentimental, Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book on living a creative life is a great read. Perfect for anyone looking to start their own business, go freelance or just spark a little creativity. So when my friend lent this to me a month ago, I devoured it. Weirdly I found that I’d already just been through most of the processes Gilbert speaks about in her book, so there was a little bit of ‘right time, right place’ for me with this book.
Listening to anything by the late Thin White Duke himself – the master of reinvention and innovation, and certainly not afraid to dance to the beat of his own drum…
Got any of your own resources you call upon? Let me know!
This wonderful knitting community has been so kind and encouraging to me, especially over this last year. And I’m so glad to be a part of it (you’re definitely my first go-to morale boost). I’m so excited to see where me and my No-BS policy will get me in another 12 months’ time!
To say thanks for the support and kind words, and little visits you drop to Shortrounds every now and again, I’m offering a birthday buy-one-get-one-free on both Hessian and Spindrift this weekend. Just head on over to Ravelry, add both patterns to your cart and enter the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY at checkout. You’ll get both patterns for the price of one!
Here’s to yet another awesome year of Shortrounds and…
Happy knitting everyone!