Saturday, 9 July 2016

Out of the Crochet Comfort Zone

I am a believer that the most learning and personal growth happens when one is 'outside the comfort zone' and this year, I've been tempted to go there.

I've had the notion to 'try and take my crochet further' and have been looking for opportunities after regular urging from friends and family.

It's an internal struggle between the intellectual hunger and my physical capacity.  There are so many things I would like to do and try but I am hindered by the limitations of mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) and my daily responsibilities of family and household.

I am sure there are many crocheters out there who would love to spend more time and energy on creative pursuits but are restricted by work, study and other commitments in their lives.  What a frustration!

Last year, I was dogged by increasing fatigue and worsening pain and other symptoms.  It was all I could do to manage day-to-day living tasks.  Any time when I could lift up a hook, keep my eyes open and concentrate on even the simplest crochet was a blessing.

Successful treatment last year has improved my energy levels and prompted a new urge to get involved with more crochet-related activities. The only issue is whether it will be too much of a physical strain and that is where the comfort zone is left behind!

The unpredictable nature of lupus/MCTD is a bane.  I might be feeling great this week and feel totally capable of committing to a project and then next week I might find myself incapacitated and struggling with daily living again.

I want to join in with certain activities but am anxious about the physical stress.  On the other hand, there have been times where I have gone out and done some really fabulous things and come home totally wrecked but despite the physical toll, emotionally I felt warm and happy because I had actually done something to lift my spirits.  

Soaring happiness for one day vs. days or weeks of illness and incapacity: some choice; such a torment!

In the end, I realised that doing anything more than I am already doing is truly pushing the boundaries of my 'comfort zone'–what if I can't handle it? What is the source of fear there?–but isn't that where the growth is? 

As I grappled with this conundrum, I read the latest post by Anne Schüler at Crochet Between Worlds who reminded me about the learning process and how 'just doing' something new can create challenge and growth

The nerves and anxiety are all part of the process.  My response to Anne reminded me of this:

As adults we are so accomplished at many things, it is easy to forget what it felt like to learn new things. Think back to childhood: first attempts to do anything new were usually clumsy and naive. 

That's normal and the nature of learning. It doesn't mean that  early works are not as worthy as those more technically proficient that come later; e.g., (I'm no expert on art but) I'm sure there was an art movement called 'naive style' which is highly valued by collectors.

While we may feel awkward and frustrated when learning a new skill, remember that most personal growth and learning occurs when we are 'outside our comfort zones.' 
Enjoy the process!

My urge to 'take my crochet further' is strong so I have decided to 'take the plunge' and 'have a go' (how many more clichés can I throw into a sentence?) at pursuing my passion.  Maybe I will be over-committing myself but if I don't try, I will never know and will never discover the opportunities awaiting me.

May I put the ideas down here, on the record, to maintain my determination to fulfill these goals. 

  1. Publish patterns of my own designs and sell them online.
  2. Participate in this year's Maker Faire ADL
  3. Host a Ravellenics team on Ravelry
Now I just need to get to work!

So far so good …

Gallery Scarves
This week, I delivered more silk-mohair scarves to Gallery M and have been requested to make some more scarves of different designs.  This will be my first priority.  I want to do at least one thing well and I can work on other things once that is established.

The silk-mohair scarves were slow going because I was trying to write my process as I went.  Somehow the writing side of the brain doesn't want to work at the same time as my creative crochet side so I need to go back and translate my scribbles. That's a job for when my brain can tune into editing and proofreading mode. I do hope I can get this together very soon.

I have some other patterns in the works too but it is a matter of finding time and energy to develop them.

Maker Faire Adelaide
Maker Faire ADL put a call out to 'Makers' and I made the effort to make a first move and attend a meeting about that.  It was fun to re-acquaint myself with the people I met last year and the energy in the room was exciting.  If you are want to participate or support the Maker Faire ADL (in Adelaide on 6 November 2016) the call for Makers is open until the 15th of July 2016
Be quick!

My only concern is that it will be a big event and I will need a 'support crew' to help me with the physical challenges.  There is still time to organise that. Please let me know if you are interested in being involved.

Ravelry is hosting the Ravellenic Games again this year to coincide with the Rio Olympic Games.  The idea is to play either individually or in a team to reach yarncrafting goals and maybe win some medals along the way.  

In 2012, I crocheted for 'Team Mexico' hosted by Caissa of Art, Like Bread. We made new friends and had a lot of fun.  This year, Caissa (a.k.a. Cami & ArtLikeBread on Ravelry) is unable to host but is willing to join in if we can find a good team.

I would love to host a 'Lupey Loops' team but with the Gallery M and Maker Faire activities, I don't think I will  have time to cope with the administration of being a Team Captain.  First of all, I need to know if there are any willing players out there!  

"Where there's a will, there's a way" is often true. Maybe if there is someone who is willing to be a Co-Captain to help with the admin, we could put it together this year.  Otherwise, if there is a team out there looking for members, let me know!  It is always more fun to play with friends.

In summary, I have loads of ideas in my head and need to find time and energy to fulfill them.  It feels like there are enough things to keep me occupied for the rest of my life–no chance of ever being bored!

If you would like to make a Lupey Loops Ravellenics team (games play 5–21 August 2016)
help with a crochet exhibition at the Maker Faire ADL (November 2016), 
do let me know!

Contact me here:
Tell me what you think!

*P.S. 2019: The Google+ platform no longer exists.  Email, Instagram, Ravelry and Twitter are still active ways to keep in touch.

Links & References

Art, Like Bread, blog by Caissa McClinton:

Gallery M, City of Marion, Adelaide, South Australia:
EDITED 30 October 2016 Gallery M new web site:  

Lupey Loops, "Adelaide Maker Faire 2016–Call for Makers", 8 June 2016:

Lupey Loops, "First of the Autumn Scarves", 3 April 2014:
These are examples of some of my silk mohair designs. This year's scarves are different colours and feature a new design to be blogged soon.

Maker Faire Adelaide 2016:

Ravellenic Games (Ravelry):


Ravelry profile page 'Jodiebodie':

Schüler, Anne,"The Joy of Imperfection", Crochet Between Worlds blog, 1 July 2016:


  1. We are all so hard on ourselves aren't we? You always have to keep your health front and center, but pushing yourself beyond that is up to you and might change daily but remember it is okay to push yourself, and it is okay to take time to rest. I have never formally joined anything on Ravelry, not sure how that all works.
    Sending yo a hug.

    1. Hi Meredith,
      Thank you for your unfailing encouragement as I try to navigate the basic head vs. heart conflict.
      As for Ravelry, I hope to write a separate post about the Ravellenic Games soon.
      hugs also to you xx

  2. Hello Jodie,

    I admire your spirit, and your mohair scarves look fantastic! I hope that your health will be good for whatever you want to accomplish, and you are right, just go for it! Hope you get the time to write down your pattern, best do it whilst it's still fresh in your mind!

    Ingrid xx

    1. Thanks for your continuing support Ingrid. I have taken the 'just go for it!' attitude and will see what comes of that. It's one way to assess my physical condition.
      Your advice about pattern writing is sound. Yesterday I managed to transcribe my working scribbles into a legible format and will tidy it up later.
      Do you record your inventions and modifications to crochet patterns? I know you explain them on your blog but do you ever write them down in a pattern format?
      I agree that the best time to do it is when the work is still fresh. I look forward to your next creations.
      Hugs xx

  3. Some impressive goals, I admire your spirit. Good luck with finding a team not sure how ravellry works.

    1. Hi Lorraine,
      'impressive' or 'imprudent'? I don't know! A lot of the Ravellenic Games action can be found in Ravelry forums and groups. I will write about it soon.
      I've had some lovely invitations to join some teams so I am sure it will work out well this year.
      Have fun with all of your projects. You have so much on the go!

  4. I am in awe of you, my friend! It can be a fine balance, between taking on too much and extending ourselves beyond the comfort zone. xxx

    1. Aaah Raphie! If anyone were an expert on this, it would be your good self. The feeling is mutual. I am continually amazed at how you manage to do so much. Balance. Easier said than done, but you are so right. xxx

  5. I spend too little time outside the comfort zone. I should take your good example.

    1. Time will tell if my example is a good one (leaping into so much at once) but small excursions to new places are a good start. How would you describe your comfort zone and is there something in particular that you would like to explore that is outside your comfort zone?

  6. Hi Jodie! I saw your blog on an older post on Kathryn Vercillo's crochet blog. I've had chronic fatigue syndrome since I was 13 (I'm 28 now). Crochet has helped me feel productive despite my disability. Plus, crocheting is fun! Anyway, have fun with the Ravellenic Games!

    1. Hi Erica,

      Welcome to Lupey Loops. I'm glad you found me! Thank you for taking time and energy to say hello. I'm happy to meet you but sad to know that chronic fatigue etc. is a problem for you too.

      I count myself lucky that I have been able to get a diagnosis, some treatment and some improvement. There was a time when I was too exhausted and bedridden to even read anything. Sitting at a computer was a real battle so I am thankful to be well enough to keep this blog. I hope you find some helpful posts and some to inspire your crochet.

      One thing we agree upon is the helpfulness of crochet! The feeling of productivity is so important for one's sanity, isn't it?

      Thank you for letting me know how you found Lupey Loops. One of my first fascinations with blogging was to discover how far and wide the net can take one's message and I have made some lovely online friends from all over the world.

      I've had a quick visit to your craft and poetry blogs - wow! You've been blogging a long time now - I agree with your accurate review of Kathryn's Crochet Concupiscence blog and I notice the mandala that you made is the same pattern as my Dutch mandala!(I love the way purple and orange together make each other pop!)

      Thanks again for your message and feel free to add your comments on any of the posts, recent or past. May this reply find you having a good day. :-)


  7. I think it's awesome to push yourself and do what you can ... and then when you need to, take those gentle breaks and return to something comfortable as needed.

    1. Hi Kathryn,

      When I think of the Maker Faire and what it entails, I think of you and your Mandalas for Marinke project - that is a large undertaking too. I love how you manage to get out and about to enjoy your arts precincts and other events. I have been feeling a bit better this year so am pushing myself to go to more arts events and, although I am getting tired, it has been nice to feel like I am living in my community and not just existing.

      Thanks for your encouragement and the self-care reminder. I hope this finds you on a good day, Kathryn. It is great to see a message from you here. :-)

      Hugs, Jodie