Learning from Mistakes

This week was one of learning from mistakes.  I was unable to meet with my “crochet elder” as I was in clinical all day last Friday-so decided to take matters into my own hands and tackle my big project on my own.  I decided to forgo a pattern and just wing it with the stitches I have learned.  I went ahead and did the chain stitch for the first row and then I did two rows of the double crochet stitch.  The double crochet stitch is two stitches high and to me speeds up the process of making something-so I saw this as an easy way to get ahead faster–remember this….good things don’t come easy

After the two rows of the double crochet stitch, I did two rows of the single crochet stitch.  The look of the two varying stitches looked good…at least for the first couple of times I alternated.  It started to look almost “frilly” and wouldn’t lay right when I put it down.  I asked my office mate who has just started crocheting and we decided together that it would eventually lay flat and that I should just keep going.  So-keep going I did.  I would sit quietly in the morning and do a row, I would sit quietly when everyone had gone to bed to do a row and the relaxation of just crocheting became a touch addictive.  

Bowling Bag

I even took my bowling bag of yarn and hooks to a Professional Development workshop offered by our nursing program and sat at the back of the classroom crocheting while the presenter discussed Cultural diversity in our classrooms.  At one of the breaks, a crochet guru came over to look at my project and asked to see my pattern.  After explaining that I am a true diy’er and made up my own pattern, he explained a few things to me….

  • beginners should never not follow a pattern
  • I wasn’t taking from the right stitch on every continuing stitch 
    you should always count how many stitches you do on your first row of chain stitches and count that many stiiches on every subsequent 
  • my blanket was never going to lay flat
  • I had “created”, unknowingly, a beautiful SCARF 😦

Looking out the front windshield…not the rearview mirror

I am usually the optimist in the room-so I decided that this first official scarf would be given to my niece as a little early birthday gift. She lives in Calgary so I won’t be too disturbed by my failure and if she doesn’t wear it-I likely won’t know 🙂

Image result for looking out the front windshield"

The week ahead

This week my goals include:

  • exploring podcasts related to crocheting
  • exploring Wakelet – Can it work for me?
  • figuring out how to insert a time-lapse video on my blog
  • what else?
animation craft GIF by Julie Smith Schneider

A New Level

My new start… eventually a blanket

I feel that I am in the plateau of my project stage and need to step up my game. I have learned a couple of crochet stitches, picked out my wool and have started my blanket.

Almost every day I am sitting down and making time for a few rows on my blanket and some critical reflection has occurred about why I chose to start crocheting.

Reflecting & Remembering

My grandma & me, May 1977

As a kid growing up, my grandma’s infamous white afghan became a symbol of healing. My grandma had learned to crochet when her kids had left home to pursue careers and her first project was a big white afghan. We lived close to my grandparents and truly my grandma was one of my best friends. When either my sister or I was sick or even needed some comforting, out the white afghan would come. It was kept in a plastic storage bag and would always be washed before it got put away. Why my grandma picked white as her wool color-I will never know. But she was also a stain guru and it didn’t matter what got spilled on that afghan, she could get it out. That white afghan was a symbol of healing and we always felt that my grandma’s arms were around us when we were snuggled up in that blanket.

My son was always close with my grandma. He was the first great-granchild and really could do no wrong in her eyes. She died 10 years ago this October and we have felt a hole in our hearts since then. She was really my biggest fan, and my son’s. After my divorce 7 years ago, my son decided to live with his father and things got tough. He got very bad into drugs, and despite trying everything to get him to stop, come and stay with me or even talk to me, he stopped all contact with me. I remember being desperate to get through to him and help him remember the values I had instilled in him. I tried everything-calling the police, going to his high school, smashing his bongs-to name a few things. As a last ditch effort I decided to pull out my grandma’s white afghan. I knew how much she meant to him and decided it was time for healing. The night I gave it to him was tough- I drove around Balgonie to his favorite hang outs, found him in a car full of his “friends” and opened the door. I handed him the plastic bag that my grandma had put the white afghan in and told him I didn’t know what else to do but hope that he remembered how much his family loved him. So weird-the look on his face. I knew I had to just walk away and give him space to think about what I had said. That blanket still smelled like my grandma- I hadn’t opened it up since the day she had given it to me before she went to the hospital, at least 3 years before.

Since that day, my son has pulled himself out of drugs, graduated from high school, started a career in Power Pole Linesman (3rd year apprentice) and passed all of his drug tests. We communicate either by phone or text weekly and usually meet at least once a month when he isn’t working. I am extremely proud of the man he has become. I have thought of that afghan many times over the years, but never asked him about it…mostly because I was afraid that maybe it hadn’t mattered as much to him as it had to me growing up.

My son & daughter at his high school graduation

He recently moved into an apartment of his own and invited me over the day after he moved in. I walked in and on his couch he had the white afghan, an afghan my sister had crocheted him and a patchwork pillow my mom had quilted him. All I had to do was touch that afghan and all of the memories came flooding back. He looked at me and we were both crying. WOW…those balls of wool stitched with love have never meant so much

My sons apartment

What’s new?

This week I have made time to watch a few podcasts and also discovered Wakelet!!

crochet podcast

My Daughter’s Inspiration

My daughter is a thrifter…her and I love going thrifting for treasures and recently she has started going every Saturday with one of her friends to the thrift stores. She came home just beaming last weekend with this…

“MOM…I got this HUGE afghan at Salvation Army for only $3.99! By the time you spend your time and money going to Micheal’s for yarn and sitting on the couch crocheting the wrong way look at the time you could be saving!”

text wow GIF by Omer

The Week Ahead

  • step-by-step tutorials on the crochet stitch I am using to make my blanket
  • learn more about podcasts and how they can work for me
  • spend more time exploring Wakelet and how it can work for me
  • spend more time on WordPress…categories, color blocks and getting to know my blog site
  • Determine if I can make 8 of these for my daughters friends for christmas as she has requested…
Crochet cactus

Open Education & Me

I have struggled with this topic.  I am not even sure why, other than I feel almost old school.  I have reflected on some of my own values and judgements over the last couple of weeks about open education and what it means to me.

What is open education to me?

Image result for person thinking"

I first had to decide about what is open education in my eyes.  As an instructor in adult education, I see open education as a system that gives open access to all resources including articles, textbooks and online material at no charge in order to advance knowledge.  It would be free access that could be utilized by students in order to gain knowledge and be accessible not only throughout their education, but also after they graduate.  It could essentially mean that all information be open to access by all.  That textbooks would be online and free, articles online and free and that all knowledge will be online, accessible to all and collaboration would assist all in the acquisition of knowledge.  

Who pays? Here lies the dilemma…who should pay for all of this sharing of knowledge? Should there be licenses, copyrights, journal subscriptions or textbooks in print? Should educators be encouraged to download information and alter it in order to better serve their students?   

Image result for open educational resources canada"

My opinion…I personally love a hard copy book.  I don’t enjoy reading articles or information online, but would rather print it out- touch the paper, highlight important information, make notes and turn pages.

Book Read GIF

 I have never been able to grasp the concept of a Kindle or other type of online reader since I love bookmarking and actually turning the pages.  I have also never been one for sharing my favorites…whether it be a textbook or a novel.  Although I feel that open education resources should be shared, I wonder about how people will get paid for their knowledge and whether it will be fair.  That being said-does it have to be an all or nothing concept? Could there be open education for some and not?


Image result for open educational resources canada"

Who benefits the most? The people who will benefit the most from open education are those who can utilize the resources the most…students.  Although educators will benefit in terms of being able to use these resources, students gain the most knowledge from the open education and its resources. I found it interesting to read about what is happening across Canada https://bccampus.ca/2019/02/19/canada-oer-group-2019-update/

Image result for open educational resources canada"

Do I think Open Educational Resources can be sustainable?

After much deliberation, I have come to terms that this really isn’t for me to decide. The world will keep turning and open educational resources will continue to be provided to who needs them. I do feel that it is up to all of us to ensure that it is appropriate and the people who need it the most get what they need.

Learning the Ropes

This was a slow week in terms of doing…but a great week in terms of learning. My “crochet elder” did not have much time to spend with me this week so I have been exploring online tutorials in order to learn on my own. I started off with a youtube tutorial that reviewed the basics for me such as the slipknot, some basic terms, how to hold my hook and yarn.

A new stitch

Abbreviations came in handy!


Now that I am reading crochet patterns and able to accurately make 12 of the same stitch in a row, the abbreviations are confusing me. I was able to refer often to the crochet abbreviations master list on the craft yarn council https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/crochet-abbreviations and also look at the crochet chart symbols https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/crochet-chart-symbols. I also found a great chart on the Craft Yarn Council Website that explains different Hooks and Needle Sizes https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/hooks-and-needles

This stitch guide has been a huge help while attempting to read patterns and decipher what is needed…

Social Media and The Crochet Community

I also joined multiple online crochet communities…

I really feel that it is time for me to spread my wings a bit more in terms of what I can do to make my blog more exciting and inject more learning.

This week my goals include:

  • doing a time lapse video and inserting it in the blog
  • researching how to start an afghan
  • learning another new stitch
  • spending more time on the online community learning
  • discover some healing benefits to crochet

Critical Reflection

As I spend more time crocheting, I realize how good it is for my mind. The reason why I wanted to start this was to be able to sit with myself and keep busy…all at the same time. I am always the person on the go…up cooking supper, doing research for papers, working casual as a nurse at the hospital. This gives me a chance to sit and do. I have also seen it as a chance to network…tell someone you are learning to crochet and instantly they can relate. “My wife crochets baby hats” “You should try this pattern” “Have you been to this website” While working as a nurse this past weekend at the hospital I was able to have some therapeutic conversations, all because I saw the patient crocheting and it was their form of trying to heal.

Jumping in

I was unsure about how to get started on this crochet journey I have recently embarked on and realized I may need some help, actual human help. One of my office mates suggested that I come to her clinical placement where there is a resident teaching her students how to crochet. Well that made my day! We set up a time for Friday, Oct 18 – however…the resident informed me that I would need all cotton wool and we would be making a dishcloth. Of course I think big and had already purchased enough yarn for an army tarp…but off I went to Micheals…again🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️

My second trip to Micheals

Just a few images of the rows and rows of yarn to choose from!

I was truly looking forward to my crochet “date” on Friday with Joyce, the crochet “expert”. When I arrived at Joyce’s apartment with my wool in hand she was very excited to meet me. I had recognized some of the students in the lobby and they gave me many words of encouragement. The first thing Joyce did was show me the perfectly square dishcloths that the students had all completed. That was going to be me! We sat on her couch and she taught me the chain stitch and the double crochet stitch. I worked so intently for about an hour, undoing if I wasn’t getting it right. What I ended up with was not quite like the students 🙈

Not giving up…

Friday evening I crocheted at home until my fingers hurt. Joyce has told me that I wanted to stick with dishcloths as an Afghan is too big of a project. The bigger the better has always been my motto so I’m not giving up on the Afghan dream quite yet.

Every evening as my husband watches baseball or his beloved maple leafs- I crochet. I am using this as my project practice piece and feel more confident each day.

Sunday evening Oct 20, 2019
Monday October 21, 2019

This week my goals included taking the plunge and starting a project, feeling confident in one or two stitches and to fit in some de-stressing over this project. All completed!

As I reflect on my meeting with Joyce, I think about how different times for choosing crochet are different. Joyce is a long retired nurse who primarily only crochets dishcloths to give to family. She still uses the time to be productive and uses her hands to create. I want to complete bigger projects with my crochet, however I love to sit and still be productive. One interesting reflection is that the use of wool to practice didn’t bother me in the least, whereas Joyce couldn’t fathom not undoing all of the practice stitches and using the wool over again.

Goals for this week:

– Meet Joyce again on Friday to learn another stitch

– go to chapters to look at books on crochet

– learn how to include a video and a hyperlink in next weeks blog😊

– move on from the practice to the project

The last goal is to figure out where my fingers and hands should be. Sounds small- but it feels awkward holding the wool and I am having to readjust often to wrap the wool around my fingers.

Happy crocheting!

Crochet 101 :)

These last two weeks have been more of an adventure in crochet:

  • yarn research….best kinds, weight, color…
  • visit to the Micheal’s store in Regina….overwhelming! Don’t take a teeanager if you need decisions on color!
  • attempting to decipher a stitch on Pinterest
  • finding free patterns online

This week will be sitting down with a crochet expert to gain some actual hands on experience!

Tutorials for Nursing Students

Learning for nursing students can be seen as mundane and old school with little opportunities for innovative learning strategies. Its time for nursing instructors to take the time to engage their students with some new strategies. Yes, these are still some of the same ideas that they teach in a 4 hour jam-packed lecture, but rather in a smaller setting with more opportunities for interaction.

Most nursing students work hard. Its a grueling 4 year degree program and typically the learning occurs not only in the classroom, but hands on in a teaching hospital providing direct patient care. The clinical time in the hospital can be exhausting with patient contact, observing, learning and applying theory to practice. Nursing instructors typically want the most learning opportunities for their students…how can we ensure they are gaining as much experience as possible.

Clinical time is spent doing as many “tasks” as we can. As there are more and more students with less clinical time, instructors need to maximize learning opportunities. Not only that, but depending on where a student is placed depends on what experiences they will gain. BUT…what if we developed nursing student tutorials that could help the students apply their classroom learning. before we get to the hospital? What if there was specific and standard learning tools that could be utilized by our program for the benefit of applying theory to practice?? Standard material that is used by clinical instructors during clinical time to ensure all students get the same educational experience.

The Flashback Pro is a downloadable educational tool that could be used for creating these “tutorials”. It appears easy to use for the beginner like me with many instructions as you go. Videos can be added in and special effects. The tutorials can even be downloaded to Youtube for other instructors to easily gain access!

Some ways that we can use Flashback would be with ECG interpretations, aseptic techniques, pathophysiology of a disease, ABG interpretation or even simple techniques like handwashing.