Are you happy?

When I was in my early 20′s, I used to think that life was all about achieving “happiness,” as if happiness was some kind of a THING or a EPIPHANY you get once you reach a certain age or level of wisdom. Like a rainbow.

But the older I get, the less and less I use the word “happiness.” I realized that the word is used wrongly all over the world. HAPPY is not a thing or a piece of wisom or realization. Rather, it’s simply a state of emotion. It’s something you FEEL when you’re in a specific situation.

The realization that I simply cannot be happy ALL the time, was the key to my “happiness.” I think the more accurate term is “content.” It doesn’t sound as glorious as “happiness,” and a lot of times people think being content is less than being happy.

But being content really is the STATE that you want to be in–Constant calmness, sincerity, and satisfaction. When you’re content with your life, you can live a fulfilling, simplistic life, and even when events in your life turns sour for a period of time, it won’t make you depressed or want to end your life. And when good things happen, you’ll be thankful for your good fortune.

To me, being happy just means you’re excited about something. You can’t be excited about something all the time, unless you have psychological issues. Like, when people say “I’m so happy for you” that doesn’t mean that the person achieved a certain level of zen-like wisdom for you. It literally means the person is excited about something you did.

After that realization, I am no longer in search of this abstract idea of happiness. I’m much more in tune with my current situations, focused on solutions rather than running away from situations because I think somehow there has to be other alternatives that can make me happier. Now, I just look for solutions to my problems and deal with it, and think that it could have been worse and that I know how to handle it.

I’m feeling more introspective, with all this raining in socal..

wanabelle100: The Story Behind my online ID

A couple of weeks ago, I found an interview on MarlyBird’s podcast with Sarah Wilson, aka The Sexy Knitter. Sarah is one of the co-moderators I work with on the Designer forum on Ravelry.

Sarah’s interview was heavy on the topic of how she came to be The Sexy Knitter and women’s body issues in general.

As you probably know already, I have a lot to say about women’s sizes in America. (and I know, my opinion is not always the “popular” one.)

I had to work very hard to feel ok with my size (note that I used “ok” as oppoased to “accept” or “good”).

Sarah’s interview gave me the courage to share my story on why my online alias has always been “wanabelle100,” and how it came to be.

About 10 years ago, I was away from home for college. I have always been very conscious about my size and dieting, thanks to starting ballet at a very young age. My first weightloss diet was when I was 7 because my dance teacher said that I was too big for my age. I grew up thinking that I was fat, and that I had to constantly diet, unless I hit that certain number on the scale. I was good in school, but the best compliment for me was my relatives commenting on how much weight I lost.

So when I was in college, I felt like I had the control over my dieting. And I went crazy with it.

For 2.5 years that I was in college, I constantly starved myself and tried numerous diet pills. I joined the largest pro-Ana websites at the time (now defunct) and needed a completely new online identity to hide behind. I couldn’t chance my family and friends find out about what I was doing.

So I came up with wanabelle100 = wanna be belle (pretty) 100. The number 100 represented 100% and 100 lbs, which to me at the time was the perfect number for me. This concept of becoming “perfect” was important to me. I felt really good working towards a goal, and felt almost superior that I was managing to do this while people around me “failed.”

I think those 2.5 years were the PEAK of my dangerous dieting. When I graduated and moved back home, I couldn’t do that much anymore because 1) my mom cooked for me and 2) I hit the rock bottom and was really sick. I slowly began to think that maybe there was something wrong with my way of thinking about my body and that I wanted to change. I finally felt that maybe I didn’t have the complete control over my dieting… Instead, the dieting took control over ME.

The journey wasn’t easy. Changing my way of thinking was that hardest and the longest part of the journey. Several times in the past 10 years, I have gone back to my old dangerous habits, and each time regretted it and each time got harder.

And why did I keep my alias? I’m not sure… I think a part of me has always thought that the wanabelle100 side of me was the superior side–someone who is in complete control and disciplined. Another part of me missed the old days when I felt like I was in control. The rest of me wanted to keep reminding myself of my past. There are still many pro-Ana websites and I’m still involved. I’m happy to say that I haven’t gone back to my dangerous habits in the past 2 years. It is a constant battle, and every “clean” year is an accomplishment.

But I feel that this year, my last year as a 20-something, is a good time to put an end to my past, and move onto the new chapter of my life. It has been a life-changing 10 years, I have learned a lot, but I also don’t want to dwell on my past too long and get stuck.

I am slowly making changes to my online identities. For example, I have changed my blog’s name to JDKnitter few years ago. Few weeks ago, I changed my Ravelry ID from wanabelle100 to JeanChungDesigns. My twitter handle is still wanabelle100 but I’m moving on to my new business venture, Candy+Bagel and created a new handle @candybagel on Twitter, and @candyandbagel on Instagram.

I’m making amends and becoming more and more comfortable forgiving my past and letting go of my anger and shame.

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Candy + Bagel is now live!

Candy + Bagel is now live!

02/17/2014

After months of planning, Candy + Bagel is now live! 

I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, or whether this was a good idea, but I just know that if I don’t do this now, I’ll regret it forever!

When I turned 29 last November, my resolution was to thoroughly enjoy my last year as a 20-something.

One of the things I wanted to do in my 20s was to own my own business, and share my passion with other people who have been so supportive. 

Handknitting/hand spinning may seem antiquated and almost insane in the 21st century, but like all good things in life, I believe thoughtfully-made clothes and accessories never go out of fashion. If you have ever tried on clothes someone else made by hand, just for you, you know that special feeling. Like you have been wrapped into a warm hug. 

That’s the feeling I want to capture in everything I make for Candy & Bagel shop. That love I feel when I hold Candy and Bagel in my arms, and the warmth and pride I feel when I put on my handmade clothing. I hope my customers will share that special feeling with me.

None of the Candy & Bagel products is made with materials made in China. Fibers are finest materials from Peru, Uruguay,Turkey and USA. 

 

New spinning wheel & Valentine’s

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My new Schacht Ladybug arrived on Thursday!  I ordered one right after the winter TNNA.

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My ladybug is on the right foot. I can’t get over how cute this wheel is. And how smooth it spins. It took me 2 minutes to assemble the whole wheel because the entire wheel comes assembled in its custom box. All I had to do was attach the treadles. What a contrast to my first wheel on which I spent 2 days finishing and assembling.

For the test drive, I chose this Malabrigo Nube roving:

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See, Malabrigo is so beautiful but this roving was all compressed and almost felted, making pre drafting a must. I always predraft anyway since I like to spin very very thin.

This and my new spinning wheel and super high speed whole =

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I am in love. What a perfect Valentine’s day gift to myself it was :)

My husband didn’t do so bad himself either. He sent me flowers and chocolate when I was at work.

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Ane now, on to the 3-day weekend!

Lost Garden tee

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Interweave Store

Interweave Store

My pattern, Lost Garden tee from Knitscene Spring 2013 is featured in this week’s Interweave newsletter.  Patterns are now on sale 30% off!!!

NEW: Snowflake Shawl

 

 

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As promised yesterday, I just released this new shawl/cape pattern on Ravelry and Craftsy.

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Last year, I really wanted to design a cool cape design that still embodies the inspiration I got from Downton Abbey. Plus, California was uncharacteristically cold and wet; perhaps I was up earlier than most people going to work at 3 am.

I sketched and drafted this pattern on the metrolink, while commuting to work. I knitted a prototype/test sample in aran weight yarn but was not happy with the yarn choice or the finished product. I knew I wanted the general design to be still feminine and romantic but wanted the fabric to be slightly more dense and heavier.

Up close and personal:

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C’mon. I know that you have this yarn somewhere in your stash!

It’s none other than Bernat Natural Alpaca Blend in Natural. I know, an acrylic blend? I knew that if I wore this outside, I would get it dirty somehow. I also wanted it to be easily washed in the washing machine. Then I added a laceweight mohair/acrylic blend yarn from Universal Yarns, and held the two yarns together for this marled effect.

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I also re-did the collar 3 times in the first prototype to get it right. At first, I wanted it to be asymmetric and with a button closure. It didn’t fit right.

So I frogged and did it in 1×1 rib but it didn’t look right either. It was kind of soft and drapey, which didn’t look right with the look I was going for in my head.

I made the collar in double thickness, so that it will stand right and hold the overall heavy/dense look.

Now, I didn’t really know what to call this. I had a choice between a CAPE and a Shawl, and went with a Shawl since I wanted it to be something you just grab and throw on for a quick walk with your doggies or a lunch date. SHAWL with a COLLAR. =)

So there you go people. I published this pattern on Ravelry as well as Craftsy.

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Craftsy, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

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Ravelry, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

Preview: Snowflake Shawl

I just finished the draft of my first pattern of 2014!

I’m very excited, and this is something I designed a year ago but finding the right yarns and gauge took some time. Then it got too warm to publish it so just this month, I finally finished the draft of the pattern.

I’ll be publishing it on Monday morning, but here is a PREVIEW.

Snowflake Shawl

Snowflake Shawl