Sometimes when you're stuck on something, you just have to move on to something else. The simple surface crochet flowers that I was going to add to Mom's Afghan aren't working out for me, and the delay left me the opportunity to get into another project... Well okay, Dad surprised us with my grandma's old TV, and that kinda forced me to rearrange my whole living room, which lead to a bit of de-cluttering, and the finding of some forgotten material. Then I surprised myself by actually finishing a project!
So, the material was more like discarded, not forgotten. Remember the rubber yarn project? I'm not surprised if not, because I recycled it over a year ago. This friction-filled rubber material had so much potential to become something cool, but I found it way too difficult to work with. I set the ball aside waiting for my hands to heal enough to hold up to the tension, and it became nothing more than some clutter in a basket. During the event now known as the TV Tornado, I decided it was time to create with it or throw it out.
This project was perfect for me in many ways: (1) I knew I couldn't create much with the little material I had, so once it's done, it's done. It was motivating to have a quick finish in sight. (2) On a related note, the monstrous gauge (1 stitch = over 1" wide) of the thick material would produce something in no time. I needed a project to finish, to give me that "I did it" feeling that I'm not getting with the afghan. (3) My hands were about as good as they get, so I needed to get this finished before RA attacks again. (4) The Other Half hasn't heard a word I've said since the TV got hooked up, so this tension-filled project helped me through my anger. (5) My feet hurt. I need a squishy mat. What could be more perfect than this ridiculous material?
It was a mental and physical workout to complete. The simple granny rectangle wasn't working out as smoothly as I hoped, because the material is cut unevenly. I worked out three rounds to the snoring serenade of The Other Half, the material became thinner, and the project started to curl. Already beat from the friction and weight of the material, I ripped out what I had done, rolled it back up, and stopped to cook dinner in hopes of making eye contact with my husband for the first time that day. More TV after dinner lead me to pick up the project again, but I could feel how sore I was after the break. I took it easy and worked out two rounds of a double crochet/chain-1 pattern before bed.
I gave up on the idea of using a hook and worked this up with finger crochet, but I still needed help to get it done. When I first created this material I was using baby oil to combat the friction, but this time I opted for some petroleum jelly. Even with that, I was left with a raw spot on my index finger that was close to becoming a blister. I took a picture of the two tools I needed to complete this project, which lead me to the conclusion that this is one of the weirdest crochet projects, ever. It's not yarn, you don't use a hook, and what in the world is that other thing I have?
Well, that's not something that everybody needs to complete a project like this, but it's what got me through it. With all the stress that life has been throwing at me, I've lost my fight to remain a non-smoker. I lit one up in a moment of weakness, and once again found it impossible to stop at just one. Knowing that going outside for a smoke stops me from working, that's the last thing I need when I'm trying to catch up with all my neglected projects. My Big Bro introduced me to the world of "vaping", so now I'm using this box-thingy and some nicotine-free liquid instead of lighting up. It's fighting the cravings, and I can vape while I keep working so I don't miss a second of The Other Half's snoring.
I'm not saying "hey kids, it's fun, start vaping!", but I do recommend giving it a try if you are a smoker. There's a lot of hype out there, but there are some risks, too. Educate yourself about what is and isn't safe about it, go get a real setup at a good shop, and realize that it won't be the same as smoking. But it's so much less-bad for you.
As for the rest of you, I'm introducing you to my new bad habit in case you see that thingy in some pictures. Since I've already had one person freak out about it, I'd like to let you know it's not a bong. It's called a "box mod", and I'm just using it to fight the urge to smoke. I'm keeping this thing at hand like Bob Dole's pen, and I don't always clean off my work space before taking progress photos. Just so you know... Box mod. Not a bong.
I know... I'm mentally slapping myself, saying "why'd you even pick one up again you dumb...", and vaping is just another bad habit, but the stress has got to me. Sometimes crochet just isn't enough to help, and other times crochet can be the cause of it. You can go over a year's time on my blog and find the death of my cat, the suicide of a good friend, insane computer problems, and a marriage that almost didn't happen. You can even get a good glimpse into the everyday aggravation of my life with this stress-filled post. Now the deaths of my grandma, dog, and mom in a little over a month's time... I don't have the strength to fight the cravings anymore. You couldn't blame me if it was a bong. But it's not a bong. Just nicotine-free vaping.
I still have to clean up the aftermath of the TV Tornado, but at least I've got my computer hooked up in the place my office will be. I still don't have everything set up, hence the not-so-great pictures of me working on the couch. I moved all the furniture in one day, so I'm sore from more than my crochet project. Untangling my wires and setting up my speakers is next. However, I did take the time to get Chrome Cast working on the new TV, so I can still enjoy some metal while The Other Half isn't under it's spell.
So just like everything else, I have to take the road to being a non-smoker (again) one step at a time. It feels good to finish a project, and that helps with the stress. It also feels good to dig my toes into this bouncy, squishy mat. I was only able to make it 18" by 20" before running out of material, but it's now a finished object instead of corner clutter. It's interesting to look at, rather messy, and twisted in a few spots. But you can stretch it thin, walk all over it, or toss it aside, and it will just bounce right back. I love how my crochet projects often reflect my personality.
If I had to do it all over again, I think I would toss the exercise ball in the trash instead of going through all this work. Although having to put some muscle into my crochet helped me work out my frustrations, I just don't feel like it was worth all that work for this tiny little mat. (And it weighs five pounds!) But I'm still enjoying it's squishy-ness, and the project has definitely been cat-approved.