Sunday, August 5, 2012

Craftiness in unexpected places

Hello everyone! Yesterday I got back from Summer School (did I mention I was going there? It's a Summer School on Integrated Medicine, organized by students, and there were workshops about meditation, Traditional Chinese and Indian Medicine, hospital clowning à la Patch Adams... lots of interesting stuff). I took my knitting, so I did not have to be a whole week without crafting, and finished my "Where's Waldo"-socks during the trip.
We had a lecture almost every day, which also provided the perfect time for some knitting. I cast on a Something Lacy Shrug in red cotton yarn, and actually managed to finish the body by the end of the week! It now needs some blocking, seaming and a lot of ribbing, and then I'll have a new, bright red summer shrug!
The third project I had taken with me was some aqua lace yarn for a Percy Shawl, but reading the instructions I realized that 1. I had no idea how to do a provisional cast-on, and 2. there was no way to knit with the lace yarn in my bag, the way it was on the skein. So I spent about two hours on the way back home rolling it into a ball. :D
The most fun project of all was one offered by one of the Summer School teachers, though. Felting your own red nose! As I had taken hospital clowning as a course at the last summer school, and never having felted before, there was no way for me to skip that project!

We started with some red merino wool roving, which we picked into thin sheets and draped around a plastic ball. Next, the ball was soaked with warm soapwater and squished, squeezed and rolled between the hands.
At first it got very wrinkly, but it did indeed shrink and felt eventually. A kind of magical process, really.
Shrunk to the size of a red, clowny nose, we cut an indention to fit the bridge of the nose and added nostrils for ease of breathing. And here I am, wearing my clowny nose!
It's so much more comfortable than wearing the plastic ones! Also, it's kind of ridiculous how happy I am about my self-felted nose. But I love wearing it, and I did so a couple of times during summer school. It's fun, really, what a conversation starter it is, and how freeing to just be silly and ridiculous for a bit. :D

Also, I'm aware that Integrative Medicine is a bit of a hot topic (and you may tune out if you're not interested in the debate. ) There are a lot of dogmatic people both on the evidence-based side and on the alternative side. I for one am all for evidence, but I'm also sick and tired of the idea that pills (or shots, or drips) are the things that make you healthy. A balanced life, good eating habits, exercise and time for reflection and relaxation are the things that make you healthy (or at least more healthy, and that's actually proven even for diseases like heart disease and cancer). So, why not use meditation, or regulative therapy, or massage, or art therapy, or herbal teas (or sewing, or knitting) to complement regular, evidence-based medicine? Integrated means just that, using alternative means to complement, not to replace, standard therapies.

Ok, so my rant is over. :)
Have a lovely, relaxing week, wherever you are!




16 comments:

  1. My mother was a doctor and on weekends she would dress in her clown costume and visit the children's ward. The strongest memory I have of her is in that ridiculous outfit! I think it's great that you made a clown nose and learned about clowning!

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  2. I love all these projects - I really can't pick a favorite! :)

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  3. What a hugely productive summer school!! I think your socks have to be my faves?..wear them with your red nose?! ;)

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  4. Awesome. I'm now wishing I had of learnt how to knit when I was back at uni.... thinking of all those hours spent in lectures that could have been used to learn AND create!!! hehe. Couldn't agree more on your little rant, either :)

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  5. I agree, it's awesome that you got to learn and be creative at the same time! No matter what I'm working on, I always feel better and get more done if I also take some time to be creative, I think it's an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. And I agree, felting is like magic!

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  6. Look at all your crafty goodness! I love your stripey socks and your red clown nose is fantastic!! I work for a Cardiologist and completely agree what you say about medicine. Bring on the alternative therapies - they do nothing but enhance concurrent treatments, IMO.

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  7. Lovely crafty stuff! You´re so talented with the needles.
    Every two months I go to the physiotherapist because of my back pain. If I only take pills for my pain, my stomach will not work well. I think that many things make you feel healthy, not only pills.

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  8. Love the nose, what a great idea! I hate when I plan to bring a project to fill some time and realise that for whatever reason (e.g. provisional cast-on, that's a toughie!) I can't actually continue - that is so frustrating! Seems like you made do alright though!

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  9. I will join in on your rant (and here I am, pushing evidence-based medicine at a community health clinic) - but truly, I believe that pills should only be one piece of the equation. There are so many things that we can do to promote our well-being! Also, just because it can't be measured (and so many aspects of wellness and "alternative medicine" are difficult to measure), doesn't automatically mean it isn't valid. I mean, I've peeked under the engine of those scientific studies - it's not that cleanly drawn, either! We need a generation of doctors who think like you! :-).

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  10. (OK but I push evidence-based medicine at our community health clinic because we have folks, I will admit, who stray far from the generally accepted "best practices" ... so we do what we can, in baby steps anyways. It's a new concept for some! And it also really depends what the Medical leadership is on board with. I will not chew your ear off on this one because I have one long #@$%@!#$ rant in me on this topic :-P)

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  11. Sounds like a very productive school session! The nose is fun. :) And I agree with your rant--it's probably because I grew up with a mom who has some ongoing health issues, and has always taken the time to research and figure out how she can best take care of herself as naturally as possible. But I don't like how quick people are to prescribe pills for everything--I know some things need them, but there's other stuff where just making an effort to be healthy would make such a difference. Plus then you get to avoid all of those awful side effects.

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  12. It looks like a fascinating summer school. I am with you on the role of diet, exercise and complementary medicines in keeping us healthy. I have just been reading a book of ideas and recipes by James Wong on the subject. He did a bbc tv show here about it. Funny thing is, lots of his recipes and herbal medicines are the things my Polish friend and her family make and use already! The red shrug looks fab - such a great colour. I am impressed with the felted nose too - so much nicer than plastic. x

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  13. Love your red nose...what about wearing it with your polka dot Crepe? As for medication prescribed by conventional medicine I am often not in favor...pharmacy is a business after all and though the underlying principle is curing people at the same time it´s about making money. Over-prescribing pills is certainly not the answer when other methods may equally be used...would be a very interesting topic to discuss at length with a professional like yourself

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  14. Your red nose is priceless! I love it so very much! And I am definitely a fan of those fabulous socks. All of your knitting makes me so excited for the knitting classes I start next week - your projects are always so fun and colorful!

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  15. Alessa, you look so cute in the red nose! And I totally adore those socks... have you considered wearing the socks, the nose, and your red polka dot dress together? That would really cheer up the patients!
    I agree, dressing up should be fun... we are always so serious about clothes and we should just relax and enjoy them.

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  16. I love all of your productiveness! So many cute and fun (and red) things! Just lovely!

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