Monthly Archives

January 2015

Yoga

Beyond the edge

January 26, 2015

Do you ever have those moments when everything feels right? You’re in the place you’re supposed to be, everything else melts away and you’re left feeling like ‘yes, this is good.’

I had one such feeling last week.

After neglecting my yoga practice during the holidays (always a bad idea), I finally got back on the mat. As we started to flow through our warm up poses, my body fell back into rhythm with the familiar stretched. Everything was right.

I had the same feeling last night. It had been a very busy (and very fulfilling) weekend. After a late afternoon nap, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend an hour at yoga when there were dishes to be done and dinner to be made.

But I went, and I’m so thankful that I did because it reminded me to push past my edge.

You see, I’d gotten comfortable. I’ve started doing warm yoga fusion which takes place in a heated room (about 90 degrees) and flows through about 26 poses. The flow is the same each class, and I had become comfortable with each pose, simply going through the motions.

At the class two weeks ago, the instructor came over during one of the poses and simply held my feet. With her one small action, I could feel how the pose was supposed to feel, I could feel my muscles working hard, stretching and moving. It was the gentle nudge I needed to really heed the advice of all instructors: find your comfort level, find the edge, and push beyond.

So last night, taking the words to heart, I pushed myself, finding the edge of my capability and pushing past it. Yes, I fell out of many poses, but I also deepened each stretch. Only by pushing beyond where I was comfortable could I see what I was truly capable of accomplishing.

As I worked through the poses last night, I had another one of those moments where everything felt right. My mind was clear, my breath matched my movements, and my body was active.

I want to make yoga my lifestyle. One day, I want to become certified to instruct others, to walk them through their own practice. But for now, I want to learn from the yogis of the past, to fully understand each pose, to embrace falling when I’m pushing myself beyond my edge to find just how capable I am.

Projects

Recent projects: sweater mittens

January 8, 2015

As most of you are well aware, winter in Minnesota is ridiculously cold! I have a very serious relationship with homemade hats and scarves this time of year, and I’ve decided now is the time to take my mitten relationship to the next level.

Pinterest is bursting with tutorials on how to make your own mittens using an old sweater. One layer of fabric just isn’t going to cut it in the frigid weather we’re currently experiencing, so I added a layer of fleece inside my mittens.

After a few trials and errors cutting my fleece to size (see step XX below), I finally figured it out! And – bonus! – I worked on this project during daylight hours and using my new tripod. Fingers crossed my photos will improve over the course of the year.

And now, without further adieu, my sweater mitten photo tutorial.

Sweater mittens
Time to complete: Approx. 2 hours (depending how quick you are at sewing and how many redo’s you need)

Tools and materials
  • Fleece
  • An old sweater (wool if you want your mittens to repel water)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine

Step 1. Make sure your fleece is doubled, then trace around your hand on the fleece. Make sure to leave enough space at the wrist for your hand to get in, and take your seam allowance into account. These were my two major slip-ups during this project, so I ended up retracing my hand about three times, but I finally got it!

Step 2. Cut out your fleece, making sure you have both sides for both hands. You could trace each of your hands, or you could create a template and use that. I just traced twice.

Step 3. Pin your fleece, right sides together (it doesn’t really matter that much for the fleece, but it’s always a good practice to get into).

Step 4. Repeat steps 1-3 using your sweater. Tip: use the bottom hem of the sweater for the bottom of your mittens. This ensures you’ll have a nice hem but you won’t have to hem it yourself. Win!

Step 5. Time to sew. I left about 1/4″ seam allowance. It gets a little tricky around the thumb, but take it slow and you’ll be just fine.

Step 6. Trim off any excess fleece. This will keep your mitten from getting too bulky. Insert your sweater into your fleece.

Step 7. Turn your mitten right-side out and pull tight to make sure they’re fully inside out. You don’t want lopsided and lumpy mittens.

Step 8. Wear your mittens! Prepare your hands to be super warm as you brush snow off your car after work.

Note: I didn’t attach the fleece lining to the outer sweater. You certainly could do that, but I was planning on keeping mine removable and making a second pair of mittens out of another sweater (which you can see in my materials photo). I would recommend sewing the bottom together if you want to keep your two together permanently.