Balancing Act is a free crochet 6 inch square pattern with devotional.
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft
Hook: H/8 -5.0mm (for other WW use a G/6 4mm)
sp or sps- space or spaces
st or sts- stitch or stitches
sl st- slip stitch
lp or lps-loop or loops
(tr/sl st) - yo twice, insert hook into top two loops of stitch, yo, pull through stitch (4 lps on hk), (yo, pull through 2 lps) 3 times, insert hook into same st, yo and draw through st and lp on hk.
BPDC (back post double crochet)- yo, insert hook from back to front around post of next st, yo and pull up a loop even with last st worked and complete dc. (You will always leave the top of the st behind unworked).
FPDC (front post double crochet) - yo, insert hook from front to back around post of next st, yo and pull up a loop even with last st worked, and complete dc. (You will always leave the top of the st behind unworked).
Patttern Notes - Be careful to count your stitches with each and every row- especially after rows with tr/sl st. On the rounds following a tr/sl st, work into the tr only, skipping the sl st.
Rnd 1- Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each sc across. (21 sc) (mark as RS-right side)
Rnd 2- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 6 sts, (tr/sl st-see special sts) in next 9 sts (this will make a pretty puff on the right side of the square), sc in last 6 sts (12 sc, 9 tr/sl st bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 3- Ch 1, turn, sc in each st across- using only one st for each tr/sl-st-bump from the round before(I use the second larger looking st of the two-top of the tr, skip the sl st). (21 sc)
Rnd 4- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 8 sts, (tr/sl st) in each of the next 5 sts, sc in last 8 sts. (16 sc, 5 tr/sl-st-bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 5- Ch 1, turn, sc in each st- using only one st per tr/sl-st-bump. (21 sc)
Rnd 6- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 3 sts, (tr/sl st) in next 3 sts, sc in next 4 sts, BPDC around next tr/sl-st-bump (should be at center of rnd), sc in last 10 sts. (17 sc, 1 BPDC, 3 tr/sl-st-bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 7- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 10 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc last 10 sts-using only one st per tr/sl-st-bump. (20 sc, 1 FPDC=21 sts)
Rnd 8- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 2 sts, (tr/sl st) in next 5 sts, sc in next 3 sts, BPDC around FPDC, sc last 10 sts. (15 sc, 1 BPDC, 5 tr/sl-st-bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 9- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 10 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in last 10 sts-using only one st per tr/sl-st-bump. (20 sc, 1 FPDC=21 sts)
Rnd 10- Ch 1, turn, sc in next 4 sts, BPDC around top of first tr/sl-st-bump from Rnd 7, sc in next st, BPDC around top of the last tr/sl-st-bump from Rnd 7 (skips 3 bumps), sc in next 5 sts, BPDC around FPDC, sc in next 4 sts, (tr/sl st) in next 3 sts, sc in last 3 sts. (17 sc, 3 BPDC, 3 tr/sl-st-bumps=23 sts)
Rnd 11- Ch 1, turn, sc in each of the next 10 sts -using only one st for each tr/sl-st-bump, FPDC around BPDC, sc in next 5 sts, (FPDC around next BPDC) twice-skipping the sc in between, sc in last 4 sts. (19 sc, 3 FPDC=22 sts)
Rnd 12- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 4 sts, BPDC around both FPDC from the round before at the same time, sc in next 5 sts, BPDC around the next FPDC, sc in next 3 sts, (tr/sl st) in next 5 sts, sc in last 2 sts. (14 sc, 2 BPDC, 5 tr/sl-st-bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 13- Ch1, turn, sc in each of the next 10 sts -using only one st per tr/sl-st-bump, FPDC around BPDC, sc in next 5 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in last 4 sts. (19 sc, 2 FPDC=21 sts)
Rnd 14- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 4 sts, BPDC around FPDC, sc in next 5 sts, BPDC around FPDC, sc in next 5 sts, BPDC in top of first tr/sl-st-bump from rnd 11, sc in next st, BPDC in top of last tr/sl-st-bump from rnd 11 (skips 3 bumps), sc in last 4 sts. (19 sc, 4 BPDC=23 sts)
Rnd 15- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 4 st, (FPDC around next BPDC) twice-skipping the sc in between, sc in next 5 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in next 5 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in last 4 sts. (18 sc, 4 FPDC=22 sts)
Rnd 16- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 4 sts, BPDC around FPDC, sc in next 5 sts, BPDC around FPDC, sc in next 5 sts, BPDC around both FPDC from the round before at the same time, sc in last 4 sts. (18 sc, 3 BPDC=21 sts)
Rnd 17- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 4 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in next 5 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in next 5 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in last 4 sts. (18 sc, 3 BPDC=21 sts)
Rnd 18- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 2 sc, (tr/sl st) in next 2 sts. BPDC around FPDC, sc in next 5 sts, BPDC around FPDC, sc in next 5 sts, BPDC around FPDC, sc in last 4 sts. (16 sc, 3 BPDC, 2 tr/sl-st-bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 19- Ch1, turn, sc in first 4 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in next 5 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in next 5 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in last 4 sts –using only one st per tr/sl-st-bump. (18 sc, 3 FPDC=21 sts)
Rnd 20- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 4 sts, (tr/sl st) in next 3 sts, sc in next 3 sts, BPDC in FPDC, sc in next 5 sts, BPDC around FPDC, (tr/sl st) in next 2 sts, sc in last 2 sts. (14 sc, 2 BPDC, 5 tr/sl-st-bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 21- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 4 sts–using only one st per tr/sl-st-bump, FPDC in BPDC, sc in next 5 sts, FPDC around BPDC, sc in last 10 sts. (19 sc, 2 FPDC=21 sts)
Rnd 22- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 7 sts, (tr/sl st) in next 4 sts, sc in next 3 sts, (tr/sl st) in next 3 sts, sc in last 4 sts. (14 sc, 7 tr/sl-st-bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 23- Ch 1, turn, sc in all 21 sts. (21 sc)
Rnd 24- Ch 1, turn, sc in first 11 sts, (tr/sl st) in next 3 sts, sc in last 7 sts. (18 sc, 3 tr/sl-st-bumps=21 sts)
Rnd 25- Ch 1, turn, sc in all 21 sts. (21 sc)
If at this point your square is not 6 inches square then you can go all the way around the block with even spaced sc. I think a lot of times an edging of sc evens it out too J
Here is a photo pushing the needle to the side of the tr/sl st that you are wanting to tack down.
This is what your square should look like after crocheting-(minus blocking). The railing over the scales is blocky- so I took a needle and yarn and after fastening to the back of the square- would run my needle through each tr/sl st and either tack it up or down, making the stitches look like a smooth transition. For example from left to right on this picture- I would tack the second tr/sl st up, the third one down, the fifth one up, the sixth one down, the ninth one up, the tenth one down, the twelveth one down, the thirteenth one up, the fifteenth one down, and the sixteenth one up.
Push your needle through the center of the tr/sl st.
And then put your needle through into the stitch below it- pulling the whole stitch down.
It makes that stitch a little lower than the one to the right of it- and then you’ll also need to tack the tr/sl st that is to the left of it up- for a smoother transition.
This is what your square will look like after the tr/sl st on the top rail are properly tacked down- making a smoother line.
© Copyright May 2012 by Cynthia Boylan, all rights reserved. This pattern, in whole or part, may not be reproduced – mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying -- without the written permission of Cynthia Boylan. Projects made from this pattern may be gifted, swapped or sold. If you use this pattern to sell items on the internet, kindly credit Cynthia Boylan as the designer.
Balancing Act- Accomplishing Daily Tasks
Have you ever felt like you are performing a balancing act trying to get one thing done just to let four more things that need to be done slide? Two people that are very close to me have shared with me their struggles with this just this week.
I live in a house that we started building seven years ago. It is a log home and though it is livable, it has a lot that needs to be finished. There is a lot of drywall that needs to be hung in the loft area of the living room, trim needs to be added everywhere, the floors need to be laid (living on a painted subfloor), and there aren’t any stair railings or loft railings. All of this, and the outside needs to be stripped and re-stained. A big project- that I chisel at as much as I can, but it seems that just as I would start on a project -and I may get a lot done on that project- my cleaning, cooking, and everything else would fall by the wayside. I would of course make excuses to my husband and any company that would stop by and see the mess- but feel like a failure inside because I lived so unbalanced- focusing only on one area at a time.
Here are a few steps that I have taken to balance out my days, and knowing that I have accomplished what needed to be done that day. My house is still not finished, but it is mostly clean when company drops by and projects are slowly getting chiseled away.
Make a sheet of your priorities- what you feel that God has called you to- my list would be as follows;
1. Daughter to Him (Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”)
2. Wife to my husband (Ephesians 5:22-23 “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.”)
3. Mother of my three children
4. A part of my earthly families
5. A part of my church family
6. A part of my community
Making the list totally shifts what I feel is important (working on the house projects) to not losing sight of what is really important.
Since the Lord is my first priority, so is prayer and spending time with Him. I have found that if I don’t spend time with the Lord- my day feels like a train wreck. First and foremost, make a time to pray and read the Bible- since we want to get to know the Lord and His ways, we have to get to know Him- and what better way than reading His book J Jesus set a wonderful example. Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” 2 Peter 3:18 “Grow in grace and knowledge of your Lord Jesus Christ.” You have heard it said that you can’t run a car very far without fuel, your soul cannot run very far without fuel either without getting frustrated- seek the Lord.
Next in line is my husband - is their some task that he wants me to do- or something that I can do for him to show him that I love and respect him? When I pray in the morning- most of the time, I ask the Lord to show me a way to show my family that I love them that day. Often at my husband’s mid-day call to me, I will ask him if he would like me to do something for him. The task my husband sets forth is very small- he likes a gallon of iced tea made every day. Oh- he may ask me to call someone or do a little five minute activity, but more often than not when I ask him what he wants done for the day- he wants tea. I can definitely fit that activity in most days. Doing something for the kids to let them know they are loved may be a little note tucked in a place they will find it, making their bed for them, or preparing their favorite dessert that day (hubby doesn’t like dessert or I would have mentioned that for him).
Children take up the bulk of the time. Between taking care of them, and taking care of the home, most of the day is spent. There are several websites that focus on organizing and de-cluttering your home so that you can get housework under control; my favorite is Flylady.net. Children that are at home with you can help with the cleaning- they will have a home of their own someday and there is no better time to learn J Titus 2:4 “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
Being a part of mine and my husband’s families, we have an obligation to reach out and help with their needs. It may be as simple as babysitting or helping with yard work- but you will find that when you give, most often it comes full circle and help will come your way as well. (There are exceptions to that rule as well- and when that happens, we should be in prayer and be in agreement with our spouses.) Likewise, we pitch in with various things for our church, friends, and community. My father in law gave a wise piece of counsel on this a few weeks ago, “You have not been called to fulfill every need or want of others, and though it may be someone else’s conviction to help with a need, it may not be what the Lord would have for YOU to do.” Pray and communicate with your spouse about any decision to help others.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
We know of the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42 “As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feel listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.’” It’s not that Martha was wrong wanting her guests to be comfortable and taken care of- she could have simplified the preparations and been able to spend time with Jesus (and her guests too). I know that I used to do that- make birthday parties so fantastic that I couldn’t enjoy them myself because of the scurrying around the whole time.
When it comes to cleaning- you are your own worst critic! Many people do not see the dirt that you do. For most people, cleaning is something that we put off. Try to make cleaning fun. Make a game of picking up- use a timer whether it is just you, or you are having the kids help, and reward yourself with a snack or allow yourself to read a chapter in a book when you are done.
Separate on a sheet of paper what you want and need to be done. We all know that there are wants for each day and needs.
The laundry, dishes, and cooking need to be done. I use the Flylady.net’s methods of having routines, so it is basically on auto-pilot getting those things done. There are a lot of good tips on cleaning and organization on different sites like Pinterest. When it comes to deep cleaning- remember that it is ok to hire someone to help, the Lord may remind you of a person that would be trustworthy and needs some financial help- or I have often thought of swapping cleaning chores with a friend would be fun too J Somehow someone else’s dirt just seems more fun to clean than your own and you could chat while working.
Before Flylady and Pinterest, our mothers had a system of getting everything done. This was taken from Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday”.
It is nice to have some place to put down some realistic goals that you would like to do after the needs are met. There is a wonderful goal sheet (http://moneysavingmom.com/2012/02/10-goals-for-this-week-8.html ) that I found on the internet where you list different goals for the week so that you remember to do certain things. Included on the goals for the week are personal (like mudmask or painting your toes, or shaping your eyebrows), household (cleaning out daughter’s drawers or tackling the basement, or putting up some drywall), and mothering (reading a certain book to your kids or taking them to the park).
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
Rest and Fun-
Even the Lord rested. Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” And Exodus 23:12
“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed.”
“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed.”
Have some downtime and do something that you love. My downtime is usually in the evening, while my husband is watching tv. I am either chatting on the computer, chatting on the phone, or crocheting (sometimes a combination of all three!). Find some time to do what you love best, whether it is crafting, writing, exercising, reading a book, or some other hobby; it will make a difference. Do something fun each week (or even each day)- run through the sprinkler, blow bubbles, finger-paint, or sing a silly song off key.
Psalm 119:133 KJV “Order my steps in thy word; and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 27:33 KJV “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way.”
I pray that the Lord would order my steps and let me know what He wants done. Ask Him to show you how your days are unbalanced or what He wants you to do.
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
Do it for Him-
Do everything as you would for your Lord. No task is too small that He doesn’t see it.
Colossians 3:17 “ And whatever you do, whether in word of deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Be thankful for the things that you do accomplish each and every day. A long time ago- someone told me once to be thankful for the dirty dishes and the dirty laundry as I am accomplishing these tasks, because the Lord put these special people in my life. Isn’t it amazing that the Lord has entrusted us with the particular people and tasks that He has given us? I have a completely different outlook on doing chores when I pray for those in my care, rather than grumble, even while doing the most menial tasks.
Ephesian 5:15-20 “Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
After following these steps- I hope that you feel more balanced in your life, knowing that you are accomplishing what the Lord would have you to and with the right attitude. Here are two wonderful prayers in the book Prayers For Today by Kurt Bjorklund.
“This day is your gift to me; I take it, Lord, from Your hand, and thank You for the wonder of it. God, may I see Your presence in this Your day, every day and every way. All that I am, Lord, I place into Your hands. All that I do, Lord, I place into Your hands. Everything that I work for, I place into Your hands. Everything that I hope for, I place into Your hands. The troubles that weary me, I place into Your hands. The thoughts that disturb me, I place into Your hands. I place into Your hands, Lord, the choices that I face. Guard me from choosing the way perilous of which the end is heart-pain and the secret tear. Rich in counsel, show us the way that is plain and safe. May I feel Your presence at the heart of my desire, and so know it for Your desire for me… Help me to find my happiness in my acceptance of what is Your purpose for me: In friendly eyes, in work well done, In quietness born of trust, And, most of all, in the awareness of Your presence in my spirit. ~Oswald of Northumbria, Celtic monk (605-642)”
“O God, our Father, we thank You for waking us to see the light of this new day. Grant that we may waste none of its hours; soil none of its moments; neglect none of its opportunities; fail none of its duties. And bring us to the evening time undefeated by any temptation, at peace with ourselves, and with You. This we ask for Your love’s sake. ~William Barclay, Scottish Bible professor (1907-1978)
Here is the link for downloading the pdf version from Ravelry.