Little Cabin Knits | episode 13 Unexpected Precious Gifts




‎Link: Little Cabin Knits on Apple Podcasts


Little Cabin Knits is a biweekly podcast all about knitting, mental health, advocacy, and life happenings here in the wilds of Alaska With a little bit of Hygge sprinkled throughout. I’m your host Emily. I am a knitter, crafter, mental health therapist, and explorer of my home state of Alaska


This week’s episode contains:

Admin

spotlight

’raise a cuppa

On the shelf

On the couch

Personal skill set

A time for hygge and

Contemplation Corner


Admin:

· Andersmillknits on IG and Ravelry

· Between Knits and Purls on Youtube

· You can find all the show notes on our website: https://andersmillknits.wixsite.com/website

· If you have a question, comment, or would like to be a guest on Little Cabin Knits you can email me at littlecabinknitsAK@gmail.com

· Sign ups for The Merry Everything and Happy Always in July swap is now open! All the details can be found on my Ravelry group “Between Knits and Purls.”

· During the summer months there are a lot of knit alongs, and great activities to join in with in our community. I know I am not aware of them all so I will just name the few that I do know of right now:

o BostenJen of the Down Cellar Studio Podcast and youtube channel is kicking of your annual Splash Pad Party from May 28 through July 31

o The Crazy Sock Lady is gearing up for her annual SUMMER SOCK CAMP and you can find out all about it on her youtube channel

o Craft Cook Read Repeat Podcast with Monica and Cortney- Summer Bingo starts end of May. Check out their website

o Knit Girllls Stash Dash usually end of May. Stay tuned to their website for more details.

o Vogue Virtual Knitting Live– May 13-16 & June 10-13, July 15-18.

o May 14-16- Indie Untangled is having a Indie Spotlight Virtual Show

· Links to all the events I listed are in the show notes😊


Spotlight

This week I planned on highlighting a beloved audio podcast that I have listened to for years. However, my plan was railroaded as this morning, as I was working out, I tried a new to me podcast and was so struck by it that I had to highlight this podcaster instead.


The Podcast is called “I Thought I Knew How. A Podcast about Knitting and Life” hosted by Anne Frost and you can find her on her website which is linked in the show notes and is the same name as her podcast, as well as ithoughtiknewhow on Instagram.


My introduction to this podcast was episode 56: Amy Snell the Devious Knitter and at first I didn’t think I would like it as Anne was interviewing Amy Snell of Lion Brand. However, I was immediately drawn in by both of their personalities and stories, not to mention their humbleness. I could go on and on about just this one episode that I listened to but instead I recommend you do yourself a favor and go over and give it a listen. Amy talks about her journey to find her own path within a 5th generation family owned company, her hat not hate campaign to advocate against bullying, the She show she started on Facebook where she streams live everyday since COVID lockdown started back in March of 2020, and so much more. I have links to all the above in the show notes.


Anne’s journey to creating her knitting podcast is also inspiring and I went down a deep rabbit hole when I went to her website. She has so many projects to bring knitters together from around the world. The one that I will mention here is her online international fiber festival currently running from May 1st through the 8th. If you are listening to this right when this episode airs you may still have a few days left to join in!

I could go on and on about this treasure of a find however, time is short so as I said do yourself a favor and find out for yourself. I plan on downloading all of her past episodes and binging on them over the next few weeks to months.


Raise A Cuppa


Today my friend, I am sipping on a cold glass of ice peach tea. We have been cutting back on drinking soda in our house and I have been making myself some peach iced tea to sip throughout the day, while Mr. Radio has been making unsweetened black tea from his new ice tea maker. I’m hoping this means we are absorbing more water into our bodies!


Well my knitting friend’s life, as always, has been busy! Last winter I got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted new doors in the house (we currently have the old 70’s particle dark doors that show every nick and scratch and they have seen better days. After much research I discovered that buying new doors in Alaska was extremely expensive and way out of my budget. So, I looked for alternatives. I decided to paint the current doors white. I bought the paint last October but it was to cold by then to paint outside and I had just finished taring the house apart so that I could repaint our kitchen cupboards. I just didn’t feel that I could put my poor Jeremy through another construction/crafters zone at that time.


Well spring has come in as a lion, as they say, here in Alaska and two weekends ago we had just the right amount of sun and warmth for me to rip those doors out and paint in our driveway. Just as I had suspected it was a major undertaking and required an incredible amount of prep and at least four coats per side of paint per door. By the end of the weekend I was exhausted and had completed three of the eight doors in the house.


I am very pleased with the results, however, other priorities have forced me to, once again, put this project aside for a little while. Not to mention how exhausted I was by the experience! That and the fact that I am dreading painting the closet doors, even though I know the impact they will have.


Last weekend Mr. Radio and I took a drive out to a little town, I guess you would call it a suburb of Anchorage, only it is over 30 miles away from Anchorage, and took a hike. We had hoped that the snow had melted enough on the trails, however we soon discovered that the trails were just melted enough as to be dangerous with ice, muck, and caving in snow mounds. We persevered for a while, however, I soon called it quits as I kept slipping and jerking my bad leg and began to be in a lot of pain.


Mr. Radio was so helpful through it all, constantly holding my hand and testing the trail ahead before I followed. We turned back but still managed to get a lot of great pictures, and we stopped by our favorite country store there to pick up some well-earned snacks.


During our hike we traveled along side a young family with two toddlers who were so excited about all the nature and finally getting out after our long winter.


On Sunday we needed to get the tires changed in Mr. Radio’s truck so we lined up an hour before the place opened, was fourth in line and was told that it would take them over three hours to change the tires and do the oil change we requested. No problem, we were right next door to Costco and I needed vinegar for cleaning the house (I prefer using vinegar on almost everything, including stains on the furniture and carpet). That only took us about an hour, and since we were about a half a mile away from Jeremy’s Radio studio, we trekked over there where he attempted to show me how board oping works. I was lost almost immediately but loved every second of the time we spent there. You can see a picture of Mr. Radio in his element on my Instagram page, Andersmillknits.


On our walk back, we were crossing the street when we ran into that same family we hiked alongside yesterday. We all stopped in shock, then laughed and chatted for a moment before going on our way. It’s strange how you can feel as though your just an ant in a big city, and then run across people making connections that warm your heart and make this big old world seem a little smaller and a little brighter.


On the Shelf:

This week I have no finished objects of my own. However, last week I got a surprise package in the mail from my knitting bestie and co-host of my YouTube Channel Between Knits and Purls, Stephanie.

Stephanie had told me to expect a package and that it might contain yarn and I was confused. I have yarn, and in fact I just got a bunch of yarn from my good friend Jamie of M1Yarns in my wedding colors. So, I totally didn’t need anymore yarn. Steph on the other hand never buys yarn for herself and if anyone deserves adding yarn to her stash it’s the very giving Stephanie.


The packaged arrived during a long meeting and I couldn’t leave to answer my door, but Steph was texting me excitedly stating “It just got delivered!”


As soon as the meeting was over, I rushed to the door and there it was.


I opened it to discover another box, this one tightly taped all over and I giggled thinking about how we knitters prize our yarn so much that we package it like it is glass.


Once all the tape was finally removed, I opened the lid and gasped…. then cried…then gasped again. I very very gently took my precious gift out of the box. It was the most beautiful and delicate lace shawl I had ever seen! With beaded edging!


After sitting in stunned awe for what seemed like a few hours, lovingly running my hands gently over the lace work and beads, I finally snapped out of it enough to call Stephanie and the water works started all over again.


I won’t go into Stephanie’s story of the shawl; you can see it for yourself in our latest video on YouTube. However, I will say that we talked and cried, and laughed for a long time as she told me the story of the shawl. As I tell this story, tears well up all over again.


I wonder if others feel as underserving of such precious gifts as I do? I never feel as though I deserve nice things, or for people to go out of their way for me and when someone does I either cry in gratitude or feel completely unworthy and awkward. Do you ever feel that way?


It’s hard for me to explain how much this shawl, or my veil as I am now terming it, means to me. For my first marriage I knit a shawl and though I love that shawl there are sad memories tied to it, so I hardly ever wear it or take it out. I wanted a knitted shawl for a veil this time too, but it felt so weird to me and strangely I wondered if it would bring bad luck to my marriage. So, I had determined not to knit one, but instead to knit a shawl in honor of my wedding but not for it.


I don’t think I have spoken out loud my feeling about my wedding shawl, but somehow Stephanie knew. Add to that she just wanted to be the best of friends and share in this event with me even though she cannot be here in person. This shawl is more then a wedding shawl. It is an heirloom, one that I hope my nieces will cherish when they get married as well.


Thank you my dearest friend, for being so selfless, loving, and reading my heart.


On the Couch:


· I have done a lot of knitting over the past few weeks but sadly can only speak of a few that are well known to you, as two are mystery knits, one is a test knit for a genius new shawl knit with the green, or secret forest, I received from M1yarns, I got a sweaters quantity in Teddy Bear (brown), another in blushing bride (pink), and 2 skeins of Wedding in the woods. The other are my…

· Wedding Socks

o Pattern: Tea and Scandal by This Handmade Life

o Knit on US 1.5 needles

o Yarn: a mystery for now as I am doing a review on the yarn however, I will just say that I am in love with it!

· My second cast on of the Alaska Skirt by wee_ewe_knits

o Knit with my own hand dyed worsted weight silk and wool yarn in a sky blue and purple pink.

o Knit with size 5 and 6 US needles

o Knitting size 6

· Once and Floral Sweater by Maxin Cyr

o Knit on US 3 and 4 needles

o Elspeth Lovold Silky Wool in colorways: brown (54), Blue, and White


Personal Skill Set: Freeze, Flight, Fight


Have you heard of the Freeze, Flight, Fight response? Recently, in the psychology world, we have been adding a fourth response: Fawn. Let me explain.


Many years ago, researchers noticed a response to traumatic events from the men returning from war. When they were triggered, they would respond in one of three ways: they would Freeze up, run away or flight, or they would fight. As the years passed we started noting that these responses to triggers from past traumatic events were not limited to those returning from war, but to almost anyone who had experienced a traumatic event. I’ve mentioned PTSD before but just to recap:


PTSD, or Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.


Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.


However, you do not have to have PTSD to experience the Freeze, Flight, Fight, or Fawn responses. These can occur without flashbacks, but when your body is triggered into a survival instinct due to a surprising, or terrifying event.


For instance, when you have an argument with a loved one, you will no doubt notice your heart beating faster, your face may flush and you may experience a freezing of thought, or body, the urge to run away, or the urge to fight back and stand your ground no matter what. The fourth response, or fawn, is when you attempt to appease the other.


What happens to our bodies during a ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response?

Now for the science bit.


Your fight, flight or freeze response starts in the part of your brain that is responsible for perceived fear. This is called your amygdala.


Your amygdala responds by sending signals to your hypothalamus.


Your hypothalamus then stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which drive your fight, flight or freeze response.

When your autonomic nervous system is stimulated, your body releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.


The release of these hormones can cause the following physiological effects:

· Your heart beats faster. It does this to oxygenate your muscles so you can prepare (freeze) to battle it out (fight) or run away (flight).

· Your breathing speeds up to deliver more oxygen to your blood.

· Your hearing will become sharper.

· Your peripheral vision gets better, and your pupils dilate to let in more light.

· Your blood thickens to prepare your body for injury.

· You might sweat, you might feel clammy, you might even look pale.

· Your perception of pain may be temporarily reduced.


If you experience these changes, they will be temporary, usually only lasting up to 30 minutes. The issue with our modern-day lifestyle is that we often experience prolonged episodes of high stress, which can keep our cortisol levels high. This can lead to a number of health problems, including anxiety and depression, headaches, concentration issues, trouble sleeping, weight gain and even heart disease.

Now back to the moment of experiencing freeze, flight, fight, or fawn.


I have a way of explaining the responses to my clients, especially my Alaskan clients, that may assist in understanding.


Let’s say you are out on a hike and you run into a bear on the trail. What have you been taught is the right response? Run away? Fight it with your bare hands? Try to appease it with gentle words? Or freeze?

The answer is to freeze and make yourself appear as unthreatening as possible. You may roll into a ball on the ground, covering your head and protecting your vital organs with your legs curled in, then lying as still as possible even if the bear approaches you, sniffs and may even bat at you a few times with its paw. By freezing and not responding to the bear, it will lose interest and, hopefully, meander on its way.


The same is true in our primal freeze response when in a critical situation or a fight with a loved one. Our instincts are telling us that if we freeze then we cannot be harmed, and the crisis will go away or end.


Now let’s say on that same hike you run into a bull moose who charges you. What’s the proper response here? The answer is to run! But never to run in a straight path as the moose will soon catch up to you and trample you. No your run between trees, around boulders, or if in a wide open space, a zig zag, or serpentine fashion. Why? Because a moose a) doesn’t care if you’re frozen it will trample you no matter what, and b) moose have a very wide turning radius so the more you serpentine through the trees the more distance you will create between you and the danger.


Similarly, if you are in a crisis, your body may tell you to run to safety, to get away as fast as you can. That is another basic human instinct.


Okay so when would you use the fight response? My answer? Honestly, the fight response is one I try never to use as it always escalates the situation. However, this is still a basic instinct one that we can see throughout the ages when a person, or group of people, have fought to defend their home from marauders or danger. The instinct is to preserve what is yours. Today that instinct has developed into the defending your thoughts, your civil rights, or what you believe is to be right.


Lastly the Fawn response. As I have said, this is a relatively new addition to our crisis responses and so I will provide just the facts on this.


The fawn response involves immediately moving to try to please a person to avoid any conflict. This is often a response developed in childhood trauma, where a parent or a significant authority figure is the abuser. Children go into a fawn-like response to attempt to avoid the abuse, which may be verbal, physical, or sexual, by being a pleaser. In other words, they preemptively attempt to appease the abuser by agreeing, answering what they know the parent wants to hear, or by ignoring their personal feelings and desires and do anything and everything to prevent the abuse.


Over time, this fawn response becomes a pattern. Individuals carry this behavior pattern into their adult relationships, including their professional and personal interactions.


Which of the responses did you recognize in yourself? Personally, I identify with both the freeze, and the fawn response. I hate conflict of any kind, and when I am in conflict or a crisis, my body tends to freeze up and I for a few moments I lose all my thoughts and abilities to problem solve. Or I try to appease the other person, sometimes to my detriment, perhaps even agreeing with something I know is wrong.


Because I know this about myself I practice mindfulness techniques that assist me in managing those responses. For example: this past winter when Watson got hurt and there was blood everywhere, my first response was that I froze right there in my mothers kitchen as I stared in horror at my baby, okay my dog, seeping blood from his foot in my fiancés arms. My training kicked in however, and I was able to breathe in through my nose, which triggered my mind to calm down a bit and I moved like a mother bear protecting her young, grabbing up Watson, and giving orders “mom I need a towel for the wound!” “Jeremy get the car we have to take him to the emergency room!” and people sprang into action.


Then once the initial shock wore off just enough, I started sobbing and my older sister soothed me by petting my head and reminding me that it will be okay. Her soft voice penetrated my new round of panic and I was able to use my breathing skills again to focus on the immediate need of caring for my precious pup. We got him in the car, still bundled in my arms and I started making calls to the animal hospitals to see where we could go for immediate aide.


So, you see I went in a cycle. You too follow a cycle. What that is I do not know, it is up to you to recognize both the signs, your triggers, and your cycle so that you too can develop skills to manage those responses.


Now do I have PTSD from the event with Watson? No, but I don’t have to have PTSD to experience the response of freeze, flight, or fight, as these are basic instinct responses our minds and bodies have carried down from our ancient ancestors. Everyone experiences these responses in their lifetime. It is important to recognize this so that you do not feel like a coward, all alone, or incapable. Recognition of your crisis, or stress response and accepting it as fact, not a defect, is the first step in mastering yourself.



A Time for Hygge


Let’s look at a few exercises you can do when your freeze, flight, fight response is triggered.


1. The 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique for Anxiety: This five-step exercise can be very helpful during periods of anxiety or panic by helping to ground you in the present, when your mind is bouncing around between various anxious thoughts. To do it:

· Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a plant, a notepad, a cloud, the blue sky

· Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be the table, your hands, your feet, your hair.

· Acknowledge THREE things you can hear. Focus on things you can hear outside of your body, such as birdsong, talking in the distance, the wind through the trees.

· Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. If you’re inside, it might be the smell of fresh laundry drying, or moisturizer on your skin, or soap in your bathroom. Outside, you might smell freshly cut grass or a neighbor’s bonfire.

· Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. Can you taste your morning coffee? What you had for lunch? Your teeth?


2. Alternate nostril breathing. This yogic-style breathing is a great way to calm the nervous system and relieve tension and anxiety. To do it:

· Sit comfortably with a straight back.

· Place the tip of your index finger and middle finger from your right hand onto the space between your eyebrows, or your ‘third eye’. I find this helps to focus your attention and can also calm a headache.

· Place your thumb over your right nostril and gently close it. Inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril.

· Pause. And switch.

· Place your fourth finger over your left nostril and gently close it. Lift your thumb off your right nostril and breathe out through that nostril only.

· Pause.

· Inhale slowly and deeply through your right nostril.

· Pause. And switch.

· Place your thumb over your right nostril and gently close it. Lift your fourth finger off your left nostril and breathe out through that nostril only.

· Inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril.

· Pause. And switch.

· Place your fourth finger over your left nostril and gently close it. Lift your thumb off your right nostril and breathe out through that nostril only.

· Continue this for a few cycles of breath, until you are feeling calmer – for example, your breathing has slowed, your heart rate has dropped, you feel more in control.


3. The 4-4-8 technique. Another meditative style of breathing that works by calming the nervous system and refocusing the brain. To do it:

· Sit comfortably, with a straight back. It might help to place your hands on your belly to feel your ribs expand with each breath.

· Close your eyes to take your attention inwards.

· Inhale slowly over four counts of time. Count 1-2-3-4 in your head as you breathe in.

· Make sure you fill your lungs as much as you can. Imagine your lungs filling up like a balloon. If you have your hands on your belly, notice how they expand with the breath.

· At the top of the breath (the end of the fourth count), hold for 1-2-3-4.

· Slowly, with control, breathe out for a count of eight. Count in your head 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.

· Notice the pause after count 8, then repeat, breathing in for a count of four, holding for a count of four, then breathing out for a count of eight.

· Continue this for a few cycles of breath, until you are feeling calmer – for example, your breathing has slowed, your heart rate has dropped, you feel more in control.


4. Equal breathing. A simple technique you can practise anywhere. It can be done sitting up, lying down, standing on the bus, or even when driving to combat feelings of road rage – but keep your eyes open, in that case!

· Start by breathing normally for a few moments and notice the pace and rhythm of the breath.

· Then slowly inhale to the count of four. 1-2-3-4.

· Pause at the top of the breath.

· Slowly exhale to the count of four. 1-2-3-4.

· Pause at the base of the breath.

· Try to make sure your inhales and exhales are the same length.

· Continue this for a few cycles of breath, until you are feeling calmer – for example, your breathing has slowed, your heart rate has dropped, you feel more in control.


I recommend practicing each of these techniques, for that matter the many others that are out there, to find which one best suites you and your bodies response.


Contemplation Corner:

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren't enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”

--Viggo Mortensen

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