friendly faux pas

Getting the stitches 'just right' requires skill  and  concentration.

Getting the stitches 'just right' requires skill and concentration.

I officially had a 'Rachel' moment. You know, Rachel, from 'Friends,' the hit TV show that spanned the decade from 1994 - 2004? If you are a fan of the show, you'll have no problem recalling the episode from which I derive my Rachelness. Even if you have no idea what I am talking about, you'll likely get a kick out of my most recent project friendly faux pas.

Just a Trifle Inconvenient

Season 6, Episode 9. Here's the scene: It's Thanksgiving. Joey and Ross are eager for the Thanksgiving celebration to be over with so that they can go and watch some beautiful dancers. Rachel (by no means the chef of the show!) has decided to whip up dessert from scratch: a traditional English trifle. When Joey and Ross inquire as to how much longer the dessert will take to finish making, Rachel proudly calls attention to her beautiful masterpiece and describes the care she took with each layer - "First there's a layer of lady fingers, then a layer of jam, custard - which I made from scratch - then raspberries, more lady fingers, then beef sautéed with peas and onions, more custard, and bananas and then I just put some whipped cream on top!" 

Rachel didn't see the look of horror on Ross and Joey's faces when she mentioned the layer of beef. When she runs next door to borrow some rum for the finishing touches, Joey and Ross pounce on the recipe she had been following - surely there couldn't be beef in the ingredient list?!?!? To their gastronomic disbelief, they discover that the trifle recipe page had gotten stuck to a recipe page for shepherd's pie, so Rachel ended up making half of each thinking it was something akin to the English's 'meat pie.' 

I had that Rachel moment. Thankfully, I wasn't in the kitchen, so nobody had to eat a dessert that, according to Ross, "tastes like feet." I was, you guessed it, stitching. 

I was nearly finished with the top that I had decided to make for my niece's birthday. It was looking awesome, and I was giddy with happiness. Since the majority of the pattern was made up of the same stitchwork, I didn't consult the pattern very often. In fact, once I got the hang of it, I didn't look at the pattern again until the ending rows.

patterndirections.jpg

A total of 16 rows, 8 in the front and 8 in the back, finished off the piece. Instead of looking at the final directions on my computer or my iPad, I decided to pull the pattern up on my phone (oh, Mac and your mirror device capability!) No offense to the page where the pattern lives, but it is not meant to be looked at on a phone. Look at the pic on the left to see how it shows on the screen of a phone - one letter of each word on every line. (Unless you turn it to landscape, where it at least shows one whole word per line.) At any rate, I pulled it up on my phone, scanned through the directions and excitedly stitched the first 8 of the last 16 rows. Except, without realizing it, the *pages of my 'recipe' had gotten stuck together* (a la Rachel), and I accidentally stitched the last 8 rows of the 16, first. Essentially, I stitched what was to be the back - to the front. 

Thank goodness it was crochet. 

I have no shame in ripping out crochet stitches, even 8 rows of them, because all I need to do is slip my hook back into the loop of the last correct stitch and redo the rows. If it had been knitting, I would seriously have had to start over. And by start over, I mean I would have shed a couple of tears and then gone to the store to buy a present for the birthday girl. I can *barely* undo one stitch in knitting without messing the whole project up - never mind 8 rows of it! 

Alas, I ripped the erroneous rows. I scrolled UP on my phone to see the directions that I actually needed, and finally got both the front and the back all sorted out and stitched up. I am delighted with how the top turned out, even though now that I look at it, I totally could have left the front as back and vice versa. 

Presence from Presents

The finished piece, right sides in the right places! 

The finished piece, right sides in the right places! 

Over Easter, I will have the pleasure of presenting the top to the birthday girl. I love making handmade articles for loved ones (and I hope the reciprocal is true - that they love getting them!) It brings me joy to sit with a project and think about that person all the while stitching some extra love and wishes into each knot. 

That's when I am being present with the present I am making.

And then there are the times when I am most definitely not present with the presents I am

making. I can absolutely attribute my friendly faux pas with this piece to one of those scenarios. It has been a while since I have gifted someone a handmade article, so I was extremely eager to finish this top. I had the pattern cued up in my browser history, and I thought it was anchored to the exact place I needed it to be. I did not take the extra .002 seconds to make sure it pulled up on my screen at the right spot, or to read the beginning of the line where it clearly said "Back Top" in bold letters. (It should have said "Front Top.") I didn't even realize anything was amiss until after I finished off the first 8 rows. I opened the browser back up to read how the last and final 8 rows were to be worked only to discover that I was at the bottom of the pattern. I couldn't scroll down any more. I had reached the end of the Internet (or at least this page). I already worked the last rows... just in the wrong order. 

A lack of presence while making presents is not completely embarrassing if caught before gifting. In fact, if I didn't just admit to you right now that I messed up and had to re-work it, no one would know. No one can see the faux pas in the finished piece, because I ripped out the wrong stitches and redid them correctly! Admitting fault when it has already been corrected is waaaay less embarrassing, hence my confession. I messed up, but fixed it, and it's pretty now.

Om No! 

Now there are times, be they few (ha!) that I have been known to lack presence while doing other things - and they've been a Lot. More. Noticeable. 

It usually happens when I walk into a yoga class and I have a ton on my mind. Instead of dropping everything so that I am present to the instruction and stretch my body with breath, I slip into autopilot. I anticipate poses before they are called, and I often end up in the wrong poses, moving to the beat of my own distracted drum.

When that happens, I don't actually have to verbally confess that I was not present. The fact that I was in Down Dog and everyone else was in Warrior II is a pretty clear indication that my mind was elsewhere. Typically in that situation, I sheepishly smile and silently scramble to the pose that everyone (who was present) went to when it was called. I fall back in line with the breath rhythm, and eventually the pink of embarrassment fades from my face. I like to tell myself that, because it's yoga, everyone else in class was inwardly focused, and undoubtedly no one except for the teacher noticed I was off in lala land. (Suuuure, ya, right.)

Sidenote: My lack of present moment awareness in a yoga class may actually include a teeny, tiny, little fraction of karma payback. When I was just starting off as a yoga teacher nine years ago, there were times when I would occasionally call a pose out of sequence on purpose to catch un-present practitioners off guard. Cheeky, I know. Now that I am one of those un-present people sometimes, I can see it wasn't very 'yoga' of me to highlight a little absent-mindedness. So ya, I definitely think there could be some residual karma that I still need to work off in the 'presence at yoga class' department. (Sorry, students, I empathize!) 

We've all been there, right? Suddenly snapping to present moment awareness after a minor, mindless lapse? With so many distractions (our minds often being the biggest one) it's difficult to be present 100% of the time, but it can definitely be something to work towards. In the meantime, when and if those present-less moments occur, I will recall my prior gaffes, smile at my mistakes, and hope for the best! 
Below is the clip of the 'Friends' episode - the trifle dessert mishap. Enjoy!