2013 in review {a new philosophy}

It is that time of year when I look back and think about what I have done all year.  And this year is a very special year.  It is the year I learned to be mindful, to calm down and to dig deep.  It is the year I stopped fighting life, my body, my health, circumstance, the weather and started learning to be present in the moment.  Not only has it done wonders for my life but also for my crafting.

I started out the year in Egypt.  I spent new years eve in our apartment in Cairo.  I was getting things fixed and things installed and all of the wonderful things associated with a new apartment.  I had just come out from a difficult health related ordeal and was still not fully recovered but I was still determined and stubborn. It would not be until September when I would stop trying to be outwardly strong and find true strength from being vulnerable and mindful. That doesn’t mean the year was not an interesting and good one.

Buckle up, this is a long one.

I knit my first pair of gloves (with real fingers)
I finished #knitting the first glove.
They were a challenge. They were tricky. But the sense of accomplishment I got out of them was incredible.

And some super bulky. #yarn for a big #knitting project
I purchased super bulky yarn for a big blanket project. It would eventually be finished many months later and gifted to my mom as a thank you for all she has done for me over the years (I didn’t really tell her, but I am sure she understands)

By the end of January I was back home in Kuwait.  I was very happy and grateful to be home, well and still alive.

I played with crayons
Butterfly Rainbow Crayons
while not the most sophisticated type of crafting or DIY, it is fun and satisfying and very happy
And I cast on the Vitamin D cardigan.

Discovered handmade lip balm, which by the way is totally amazing.
DIY Lotion / Lip Balm
And printed on fabric using the printer
Matryoshka Dolls

Decided to stop hoarding the “good” yarns and started using them
And came out with the “Tella dress pattern” definitely one of my favorite designs
Lulu's new dress

May was a difficult month. My iPad screen got smashed and my car got hit. The two things that I depend on in life to get me places. I made stuff, I baked, the screen got replaced and the car got fixed (but it took until mid August to get it done)

I crocheted a blanket and knit a cardigan and socks for a special baby
But definitely the highlight of June was our trip to Malaysia.
Instagram Photo

I made some buttons using fabric I had printed

And remembered why I wanted to learn sewing in the first place

Big Geranium Dress


I think I got tricked into crocheting this amigurumi unicorn, but it is ok, pink unicorns are worth it.
A #pink #crochet #unicorn
I also dyed yarn
My #handdyed #yarn is ready. #knitting #crochet

I made my first and only Tilda doll, I really do need to make another one or two
I was obsessed with the ideas of giant doily rugs
And I discovered I could make wire wrapped jewelry

And I finished the blanket

Instagram Photo

I went on a photo walk, and experience I would definitely like to try again
Elephant and camel curtain in Mubarkiya market
I cast on my first Color affection

And I made a totally handmade halloween costume

Instagram Photo


I learned to slow down and be present and notice beauty in the world

Instagram Photo

and let my inner child decide what I should make sometimes

Instagram Photo


I finished my first color affection




Cast on a third hitchhiker

Hitchhiker 3.

Knit myself a pair of gloves
Knit Gloves

Cast on a second color affection
Color Affection Number two




It has been a wonderful and full year.  It had its share of ups and downs like any year, but I feel we came out triumphant as a family, a couple and me as an individual.  I have learnt to let go, to embrace the process to go crazy and cast on as many projects as I feel I need to.  To rip out  and start again even if a project was done.  To knit something just for the purpose of putting it in the charity bags so that someone out there will be warm instead of wanting to see someone I know happy.  I have stopped fearing failure, I have become bolder with my colors and I have stepped out of my comfort zone.  And I remembered why I make stuff.  I make stuff because it is who I am.  I always feel uncomfortable when someone says I have talent or that I am extremely creative, because I always feel I lack in those areas.  There is a point, a very fine line that when crossed changes everything in life.  It is the moment you stop being afraid of the investments of time, money and energy you put into what you do and it becomes about enjoying it.  I recently read a quote that went something like this: do not be afraid of doing something because it will take a lot of time, time passes anyway.  The same applies to money, it will be spent anyway.  As for effort, you will have to fill up your time with things to do anyway too.

As much as I love knitting/crocheting/sewing/making stuff, I have also learned to slow down, sometimes I will just not do it to make time for more reading or even watching my favorite TV shows.  I used to think too much about how much I blogged or how many projects I managed to finish and things like that.  But now, I am going back to basics, to doing the things because I am enjoying them. I am really enjoying writing this post, for example.  The main reason I wrote this post was to go back a year and look through it.  To see what had happened and how I have evolved and grown.  The pictures might show the things I have made, but I can remember much more.  The feelings and emotions attached to these items.  The baby blanket I crocheted was for my cousin’s first child.  I picked colors I would never have chosen because I had seen the sheets they had chosen.  I wanted the blanket to carry warmth not just from the yarn but from the effort and energy put into it.

I used to love making amigurumi, now not so much, because all the tight crocheting hurts my joints, but I made that unicorn because my daughter begged and nagged and at the time I was visiting my mother (and grandmothers will make sure little grand babies get what they want), the only available yarn was horrible acrylic yarn that squeaked with every stitch.  But the wonder in their eyes as the little thing came together and the way she dragged that thing around for weeks was worth it.

At the beginning of the year my husband took out all the stuff that was stored under our bed which was mainly baby clothes from when my daughter was a teeny tiny baby.  I had already given away all the things that were not “special”  the things that were left were the things I could not part with.  He was quite determined about getting rid of it all, to declutter and clear our the space.  We get attached to things because we can touch them, but at the end of the day, the real value lies in the things we can not touch or hold, but in the moments that will be forever a part of us.

The realization and the following liberation that it was time to let go of the past and stop living with my head in the future was incredible.  Now when I knit, I do not think about how amazing or warm my shawl will be, just the one stitch I am making right now.  One stitch, a movement so subtle and small of inserting a needle into a stitch, wrapping the yarn and then making a new stitch.  One stitch.  That is what it is all about.  A single stitch, repeated over and over again until it becomes something beautiful. It does not take talent to make things, it takes hard work, patience, courage and perseverance.  These lead to skill.  Talent is the special magic dust that goes into choosing colors that stand out or simple modifications that add to a piece.  When you marry skill to talent the sky becomes the limit.

I have no resolutions, no goals for next year.  Because I need none.  I just need to have some yarn, needles or a hook and an idea or even better a whim.  A whim so strong that just compels you to start a new project.  So what if I knit a hundred hitchhikers, I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else.  So what if I knit nothing but plain vanilla socks.  As long as I am enjoying it, then it has served its purpose.

I know this post has been a long one, and if you have arrived to the end, I salute you and I thank you and I wish your year was as fruitful and beautiful as mine and that 2014 brings even more.

  • Sharon Jones December 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your 2013 year in review. Your story touched me in some way I cannot explain, but thank you so much.

    Happy Christmas and 2014, may they both be filled with love, god health and happiness and of course stitching, whether it be knitting, crocheting or sewing.

    Sharon from Cloncurry, QLD Australia

    • jessyz December 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you, I am happy that it made sense to you.

  • هوندا December 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    أنا منبهرة بجد تحفة قوى:)

  • Reviewing 2014 « The C Side December 31, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    […] year I did a review on my year.  One of the nice things about blogging is that you can go back and see what it was […]

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