Ravelry Rocks!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Haunted Hook: Tessellating Stained Glass Afghan


I have long struggled with religion in my life.  When I was younger
we went to church, just a regular little church-I was baptized,
confirmed and all that jazz. Our pastor wasn’t a very nice man-
he wasn’t mean either, but I always had a weird vibe from
him, like he would prefer I not be
there so I guess I always had a sour taste in my mouth
when it came to religion after that.  


I went through periods in my life when I was in some very dark
places and I knew that
there could not be a God.  Throughout the years I’d eventually
morphed into thinking,
“if there is there is if there isn’t there isn’t and any God I
believe in understands why
I don’t believe.”

One day, I had the opportunity to see two mediums that
worked in tandem.  It was through a friend of a friend and none
of the people attending knew
anything about me, so I felt this was the perfect opportunity to prove to
myself, once and for all, that all of this ‘otherworldly’ stuff was just nonsense.  
I can only say that my life changed forever that day. I definitely believe there
is another place for us to go when we leave these shells we call bodies. The
things these guys knew about me was beyond any explanation. They knew
things that nobody outside my family knew, and they even knew things
that I did not know at the time-I had to get verification from family once
I got home.  I know that sounds crazy, just as I always thought others sounded
crazy when they would say things like that. I gave them no clues or hints,
no body gestures or words. I only sat there and shook my head.


For weeks after that I could not shower without my bathing suit on.  I would tell the
spirits to leave the bathroom because I was convinced they are all around us all
of the time.  A great take away from that day was that we were informed
that when you dream about a loved one that really is them communicating with you
because our minds are more open to that when we are asleep.  


Ever since that day, probably ten years ago now, I’ve struggled with wanting to go to church, but not being
brave enough to step foot into one.  I am not sure why I am so hesitant and scared but I am. I do know that
I love the old-fashioned churches and their stained glass, I love the old school hymns, and the feel of the
hymnal.  I love hearing everyone sing along, even though not all the voices hit the right notes, to me, that is
peace.


I’ve always wanted to design a stained-glass style afghan.  I wanted to make it unique without being too
complicated. Ever since I started designing my own patterns, that has always been my ultimate goal, but
I was never really confident enough to even try.  I had it in my mind for so long that I just thought it would
always just be there with me, never really coming to fruition. One day, as I was waking up from a night’s
sleep, I was jolted with a vision of exactly how I wanted my stained-glass afghan to look.  It was in my head
as if it had always been there. It felt like a familiar friend. I didn’t even sketch it out, I just went about my
morning, went to boxing, took a shower, took my daughter to school, and then did my chores. All the while,
this afghan was still brightly shining in my mind.  Not like one of those dreams you have that seem so vivid
that you know you will never forget it, but then about five minutes after starting your day you can’t even
remember what you dreamt. I decided to let it play out. I sat down with my hook and yarn and this afghan
happened. I’ve never had a pattern come to me with such ease.  I am sure someone was helping me, although
I don’t know who it is. I can only hope that someday, I will find out who was guiding my mind and fingers and
that I can give them a big hug. I know that my house is haunted, well just one room is, we all can feel it, and
have seen evidence of it, of course that is the room I crochet it, so I wonder if it is the spirit of that room that
has helped me or maybe one of my own guiding spirits.  


I feel this afghan brings me just a little step closer to church.  I really hope that one day I can overcome my
fears and walk into that little church that is not too far from my house and just sit down on the pew, feel the
hymnal, and be at peace.   

The photographs I took of this afghan are supposed to represent the feeling of life after death….I’ve been
attempting to explain why I chose to use such morbidity to those that ask me, “WHY?”.  We all die.
That is one fact you can count on in life...that it will end. Maybe it will end badly and maybe it will end peacefully. However, I do believe that no matter how it ends, we are all going to a better place. What you do with your life whilst it exists is where we can go right or wrong and make differences-good or bad. I wanted to take some eye-catching photos, to prove to myself I could do it when I realized I couldn’t afford
a real photographer who could.  These images were taken by my 16 year old daughter who listened attentively
to my vision, applied her own artistic eye (and even applied my makeup) and then took the most stunning
photos even I could not have imagined. We had a fabulous time together in the woods with that camera,
our props and this lovely afghan. Of course, we both  love murder shows-I love to crochet in my
haunted room while watching Snapped. When our little photo shoot was over, I traipsed through
the woods with her and we practiced throwing knives. Because, after all, what else is a
girl to do when covered in leaves, fake blood, a black lacy dress and is
wearing the most fabulous hat in the world?

Link to my newest pattern
A Haunted Hook: Tessellating Stained Glass Afghan






footnote:  My joy in publishing this pattern has been crushed by the fact that these images have offended a few people.  I am deeply saddened by this fact, and part of me wants to remove them all but the other part of me is saying to hold firm to my vision and be strong.  I know not all art is for everyone, but my soul, joyous only a few hours before, is now clouded in sadness, confusion and indecision.  I apologize is you are offended, however, at this time, I am going to hold firm to my and my precious daughter's vision.  No ill intent was meant, quite the opposite, and because of that fact alone I am trying very hard to stand firm. 

I'd also like to add that my grammy, the one that taught me to crochet, HATES gore, sad movies and anything morbid.  So much so that she she stopped watching movies after the movie Billy Bud came out.  She said she hated that sad ending so much that she has never seen another movie that she thinks could possibly be sad, scary or gory since that one.  I have no idea how old that movie is, but I have only, in my life, seen her watch three movies in my life:  Sound of Music, The Music Man and The Wizard Of Oz.  Grammy loved my photos, and if she approves, then I can try to be at peace.  I'm just really fighting the urge to take down this pattern and all traces of it.  Now, personally, I think those flying monkeys are TERRIFYING-more so than a little blood on a hand, but I did some make up for a middle school play with flying monkeys so they can't be THAT bad, can they? ;)

Update:  One day after the initial publication and reactions.  All I can say is that I am deeply humbled and grateful for everyone that has extended their support to me and my daughter's work.  I am no sure how I can make you understand how truly uplifting it is to be a part of a community where people I never knew reach out to make sure that we keep our heads high, our spirits soaring and our faith in humanity in tact.  Truly.  I am completely flabbergasted that this silly old pattern and a low budget photo shoot has made me reflect upon so many things in such a short period of time.  I always knew how words can hurt...Even if it is only one small voice-that one little voice of criticism (or whatever it may be) is like a black imaginary worm digging its way through your soul, your brain and your heart.  Even when you are trying desperately to stop the worm, telling it to go away and telling the worm it has no power because it is not real and does not belong to you it still becomes a part of you.  That is the way I can best describe it. With everyone's support I have begun filling the worm holes and have found peace with this situation. When I was in junior high a very mean girl came up to me.  She whispered in my ear, "We must...we must...we must increase our bust.." she continued that terrible song into my ear.  It was such an act of pure meanness-I mean she wasn't doing it for anyone egging her on, no one else knew what she was doing except her and me.  What a terrible thing to do to someone.  She will always be inside my brain, that mean girl...I'm just so so happy that I have so many other happy thoughts to fill her worm holes.  I hope everyone in this world is able to also find ways to plug their worm holes....

I'm stumbling across comments on other public forums regarding me as being an 'offensive chick.'  I've also been told that I should just write murder stories.  Clearly, they only took the time to judge and not enlighten.  To those that I will never please I say nothing, as I have already apologized to those that do not like my photos and I'm pretty sure that there is nothing I can say to make them realize that this was meant to be a beautiful thing.   I have since deleted many of my photographs, and can only hope that these people that don't know what they are throwing rocks at find peace in their own lives to not worry about what other people are doing.  

41 comments:

  1. Just wanted to let you know that your pictures and your post have not offended me in any way and that I have prayed for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ♥ THank you so much. This fills me with such joy! And a little happy tear escaped!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. I am so happy to hear this! ♥ Thank you for taking the time to make me smile! Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  4. Your work is beautiful Shawn. Each life is unique in this world. How we express our feelings through "our work" is also unique. I believe we can all accept and love what is unique in each other, because how boring would life be if we are all the same? The coomon thread (no pun intended) is we all want to be loved for who we are. Appreciate our differences and come together for that common thread! ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! and LOVE the pun, intended or not! ♥

      Delete
  5. I think your story is wonderful and I think you are very brave to share it. People get offended when others don't share their same beliefs. Stay strong, keep this pattern up and don't worry about the nay-sayers! I personally don't believe in God, but I totally understand your desire to go sit in a pew at a church. I do miss singing hymns each Sunday! I love your pattern and will be purchasing it very soon! Hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! ♥ I appreciate your kind words so very much. It's been quite the roller coaster day for me! :) Happy hookin'!

      Delete
  6. I think your pattern is lovely, and that the individual who is having an issue with your photography is one of those who may have issues with medical dramas on tv, too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You have shown remarkable class and yes, maturity, in your responses on Ravelry and in this blog post. It's difficult to let things like this 'roll off our backs', but I do hope you will be able to do just that. And that you are able to again relax in the joy you had designing and publishing this beautiful afghan. {{hugs}}

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have loved your work for a long time now, and this pattern is no exception. Same with the photos that accompany it. The person who's so upset about it complains about a LOT of other stuff, too. I think you'll find that you're going to get far more support than disagreement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. I adore Ravelry and the people of the community so very much. I am so very blessed, that I have received such an outpouring of support. I never really expected this to be a controversial thing so yesterday was quite the roller coaster for me, joy turning to shock and sadness-but people like you that gave me kind words of encouragement helped me to keep my chin up and find my pride again. ♥ Yarn is my stress reliever, I never expected it to be the cause of it! haha!

      Delete
  9. Could you tell me what colors of Redheart you used for your afghan? I am going to purchase pattern, but I want to make one like yours. Thank you for the story....Church is a wonderful place and may you find peace in knowing that there is a place we will enter after we leave these bodies.....Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! ♥ I'm hoping to find myself there very soon!! Regarding the yarn, there is more detailed information on the pattern page on Ravelry, but I used Red Heart Super Saver in black, and then I used their long striping yarn in Polo Stripes. To get the more drastic color changes between some sections I alternated between 5 different skeins of yarn. :)

      Delete
  10. Your work is lovely.

    I do not crochet and would not have otherwise seen this nor read your post had I not seen the kerfuffle on Rav. I think the work, photos and story are lovely. Don’t let the opinions of others rob you of your joy. Some people aren’t happy unless they’re complaining about something. And remember that sometimes you need a storm to see a rainbow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you! I love that thought! You DO sometimes need a storm to see a rainbow! ♥ You are a gem, thank you so much for my smile this morning! I also love the world kerfuffle. I feel I need to use this more in my life! :)

      Delete
    2. Yes, I am in the same boat at Carrie. I'm so happy that you, for now, are standing strong and keeping your beautiful pattern and photos up for the world to see. You and your daughter have amazing talents that make the world a little better for all of us.

      Delete
  11. People are so easily "offended" these days. Poor snowflakes. Your project is really gorgeous, and you created it from your heart. Don't change a thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! ♥ I guess you are right about that, I never really realized just how prevalent it is! :)

      Delete
  12. In a strange way, I’m thankful someone found your photos disturbing or I would never have seen your beautiful Afghan. It’s gorgeous. I’ll have to get out my crochet hooks and brush up on my crochet shills so I can make it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) I'm happy there is another bright side to this! :) My faith in humanity has truly been restored, what an amazing yarning world we live in! So many kind souls! ♥ Thanks for being one! Good luck with the hookin'! :)

      Delete
  13. Your afghan is beautiful...don’t let easily offended people ruin your joy through artistic expression! I think they are in the minority anyway...anyone who seriously crochets won’t be bothered. Who would let such beautiful work be overshadowed by a little bit a fun and fake blood? ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you! :) I surely hope that it is the minority, as I truly didn't want to offend anyone at all. ♥ I'm so happy that most people are OK with it. :)

      Delete
  14. This pattern makes me want to improve my crochet skills. Keep the photos! Your story is moving, compelling, relatable (to me, anyway), and you should do you, as my kids say. My kids are pretty smart. You can trust them. :D ~ PippiShirley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm totally deferring to your kids on this matter! They sound far more wise than I! :)

      Delete
  15. This is your art, your vision. You owe no one an apology. Picasso had tons of haters, as did Mozart. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his life, and that was to his brother. Scrub that icky feeling away and let the joy and pride come back into your heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! ♥ What a great way to look at it!

      Delete
  16. Your pattern is just stunning, and yes, a bit haunting, but it takes me back many years to a time in my life I don't visit often. Please don't delete your work, or even crushed by those "few" who don't understand. Remember that old saying.."You can't fool all of the people all of the time?" That's not complete, or close even..lol.. but you can't. As long as you're happy with your work, that's really all that matters. I doubt my skills are up to this majestic pattern, but once I have a few spare minutes, I do plan on buying it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) Thanks so much! ♥ I plan on keeping it up, I'll have to post an update as I'm feeling much better today. Humans are pretty great! Especially the ones that play with yarn! :)

      Delete
  17. Your work is stunning. How you represented it was unique & creative & gave you & your daughter great joy. Do Not let others take that joy from you. Ignore those who don't approve. If they don't like it they can look elsewhere.
    I found your comments very moving as I dreamed of my recently departed, darling husband just the night before last & it was not like any dream I've ever had or even like the dream that followed it. I had feelings it perhaps wasn't actually a dream but really my husband reaching out to me & reading your comments have made me feel that might be really the case. Funny how we come across things just when we need to. I'm very glad I read your blog & I look forward to working your glorious pattern. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so so very sorry for your loss! I can only say that I truly believe what they said that day about believing those dreams-especially those that seem so real like that. I don't even think'belief' is the right word...more like KNOW. ♥ I hope that you can find peace in that, I can't even imagine what you are going through but if good thoughts and prayers mean anything, know that they are going your way right now. ♥

      Delete
  18. I came here to read your story behind your afghan. Some folks are truly terrified by the unknown that is death, but you are right: we will all experience it. Your afghan is beautiful. Please don’t remove your photos, there will always be some that don’t understand a particular art piece. I used to have a little button that said, “Never apologize for your art.” I remember this when someone disagrees with something I make. We can never make everyone happy, but as long as our reasons are true and come from the heart, we should not back down from our beliefs and interpretations. Peace and love to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I will try my best! I guess I need to work on my self confidence and shouldn't let anyone get me down. ♥ Saying is so much easier than doing! :)

      Delete
  19. Offended?? Why would anyone feel offended? That was the most attention getting email I have received in some time. Love gory scary movies. What scares me moreso is reality, some of the crimes bring me to tears and realy frighten me that there is real people that do these things. Enjoyed your honesty above it all. Anyone that was offended don't live in the real world, people are so "offended" lately you can't walk out the door without someone being offended. So out of hand. Anyway, loved it all, ignore the bad, it comes with you being a public figure. Can't win them all, and it isn't even worth the effort to try. You are DAMN GOOD, and would love more like this email. Your honesty was amazing. Let it go, you have this!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! Sometimes real life is the real tragedy! Thank you so much for your kind words. The outpouring of support has truly warmed my heart and kept me going. I am still taken aback when I stumble upon hateful words on social media regarding our photo shoot, but I'm trying very hard to keep my chin up because I know it came from a place of good intentions. :)

      Delete
  20. I love your afghan and I love the story behind it. Stay strong. You will (none of us can) ever get the approval of every single person we come across or who comes across us...and that doesn't matter. Be true to yourself, your design, your vision and your true lovely intent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! :) As the days go on, I find I'm getting better at letting it roll off. :) Yeah! :)

      Delete
  21. The people who were offended were the ones that need to retreat to a "safe room" when confronted with something they can't handle. Cowards. You just keep on doing what you do and don't pay any attention to negative people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is probably true. So sad! :) I'm doing much better at ignoring the negativity, and even ignoring the sadness that I even have to! haha! Thanks!

      Delete