Regulating Calories-In Is More Important Than Calories-Out

The idea of Calories-In versus Calories-Out involves the calories you consume through your mouth versus how much you consume through basic metabolism and physical exercise. Your basic metabolism is the energy (in calories) that your body needs to function, eg. keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing and your cells functioning. The amount of energy your body needs to stay alive will depend on your age, gender and weight. But overall, the amount and type of energy you feed your body is more important than how much energy your body is expending.

If you eat more than your body requires then you will put on weight in the form of fat, which is the way the body stores extra energy. If you overeat by 500 calories every day you will slowly notice your waistline increase over the space of only a few years and your clothes will no longer fit you the same way.

Portion sizes have been slowly getting larger and larger over the years. I find that I can only eat half a serving from a restaurant, then I take the leftovers home to enjoy later. Remember, your stomach is about the size of your closed fist. You don’t want to keep forcing more and more food in there even after it is full.

When we do get physically active, we often overestimate the amount of calories burned from exercise. A walk around the block won’t burn off that Mars Bar. Either eat the Mars Bar or don’t. But whatever your choice, do it mindfully.

We also forget how many calories are provided by the alcohol you drink and the empty calories in the store-bought snack foods that are designed to make us keep eating. These are called Ultra-processed foods and I have written about them previously in my post: Food For Life: The Best Way To Feed Your Body

However the type of calories you provide your body will also affect the function of your organs.

For example, when you overload your bloodstream with sugar your pancreas will work overtime to bring your blood sugar levels back to a stable concentration. If your pancreas has to work so hard that it becomes impaired and breaks down, then you get Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is the inability to regulate your blood sugar levels from within your own body.

The brain requires sugar for it to function. When you’re hungry your brain is low on sugar and it’s screaming for a quick fix. But you must use your common sense. Feed your brain foods that will break down slowly into sugars. These are called Low GI foods. The GI stands for glycemic index, which is the relative amount of time it takes for the food to raise your blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are those made of complex carbohydrates because carbohydrate molecules are just long chains of sugars stuck together. The body uses energy to break the molecules down in to sugars. High GI foods are made of sugars that are easily broken down by the body and will quickly increase the level of sugar in your blood.

To avoid overloading your organs with high concentrations of sugar you have to be mindful of what you feed your body.

You know what they say, “You are what you eat”.

Your diet can be whatever you want it to be. But be aware that what you consume will be processed by your organs.

The diet that is most suited for humans is one made up of mostly plants, some meat, and very small amounts of everything else. You want to make sure you have a diet containing various sources of fibre. The body requires a range of vitamin and trace minerals which are present in different food types. So eating the exact same meals day in and day out is not a good idea, even if they are healthy meals.

A study of a remote South American tribe indicates that a diet low in salt and fat, but rich in multiple sources of fibre, protects the heart from increased blood pressure. The study compared the blood pressure of the members from a nearby tribe that has been influenced by western foods and found that blood pressure increased with age.

Calorie deficit diet for weight loss

There’s nothing wrong with a curvy figure, but you do want to reduce the toll on your bones and joints by reducing the load they have to carry. More strain on your bones and joints will lead to osteoarthritis which will cause pain for you when you walk and try to get about your day. A calorie deficit diet basically means you’re eating less than the amount your body needs to function. If you do this in a healthy way, as directed by your doctor, then it will lead to weight loss. You will stop losing weight when you stop restricting the number of calories that you consume.

Calorie restriction diet to extend lifespan

There is some contention in the scientific community as to whether this calorie restriction diet extends lifespan as the controls of the experiments are difficult to, well, control and a lot of the experiments were done on mice instead of humans. The basic idea is that overall you want to consume less than the amount your body usually needs to live but you don’t need to restrict your consumption every day in a row. Some people like to do short fasts for their health, other people fast for religion. Either way, it appears that short lengths of fasting have a beneficial effect on our health. Sometimes you might have a day where you treat yourself and consume all of the calories in sight. But these calorific days can be balanced out with a more modest intake on the other days of the week. If that suits your personality type of course!

Some people are unable to moderate their intake due to their personality and relationship with food.

Your own mental health can have a huge impact on how you interact with food. Be mindful of this so that you can have awareness and control over your health.

If you are unable to open a block of chocolate without finishing the entire packet then, for your health, it’s safer not to have that block of chocolate in the house unless you’re allowing yourself a rare treat.

If you are consuming a 6 pack of beer every night after work then you are basically eating an extra meal every day. But those calories aren’t keeping your body healthy.

Recognise your feelings towards food and why you are making the food choices that you are making. Think first before feeding yourself, your health is at stake…..mmmmmm steak.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope this post is helpful to you and your family.

Please visit my Youtube Channel for more health and science from me, Queeenvk.

Which type of boredom are you feeling?

You can listen to me read out this post on my Podcast channel. Click here to listen.

There are multiple types of boredom. Studies have discovered that there are 5 types of boredom. Knowing which type you are experiencing can help you address your personal needs to improve your state of mind. Here at The Full Cup Wellness we’re all about keeping healthy on the emotional and physical levels and all of the levels in between.

Why would we need to feel bored? What is the purpose of boredom?

Boredom can create a state of searching for something better.

Boredom has been shown to boost creativity.

After learning a new skill boredom can indicate that you are ready to introduce another level of difficulty to the skill and advance your experience level.

What types of boredom are there?

Indifferent boredom

The best kind of boredom. It’s the definition of a lazy weekend being a couch potato. Sometimes you just need to unwind and recharge and do a bit of nothing.

Apathetic boredom

Comes from neither a positive or negative emotion. Often expressed as a lack of will to improve the current situation. Can be a symptom of depression.

Calibrating boredom

When you’re not doing anything and you feel bored but you aren’t sure why. That discontented feeling when you have nothing planned to do but you’re not willing or able to do anything to relieve that discomfort. This type of boredom often causes one to daydream, fantasise or engage in mental escapism through games, books etc.

Reactant boredom

This is a very negative and emotional type of boredom that is normally caused by being stuck in an inescapable situation. For example, a road trip or long plane ride, a work meeting, a lecture at uni or lesson at school.

Searching boredom

Happens when you’re feeling frustrated and discontented. Often when you feel this type of boredom you’re actively searching for a solution to your boredom. This is the type of boredom that can lead to the creation of new ideas or solving a problem that you’ve been sitting on for a while. Start writing down ideas and work on problem solving when you get into this type of head space. You might be surprised by what you come up with.

Personally I have a few techniques to help me on those days I wake up feeling bored and discontented. Often I am able to banish boredom by actively changing my mindset and incorporating goal setting habits in my daily life. The feeling of ticking things off the To Do list is so rewarding and keeps me motivated throughout each day.

What tips do you have to bust boredom? Comment below!

Subscribe to my Youtube channel for more Full Cup Wellness.

The health benefits of deep restful sleep

Sleep is linked to multiple aspects of our health because it affects different organs and hormone levels throughout the body. Deep restful sleep is also known as slow wave sleep and occurs as the third stage of non-REM sleep. The REM stage of sleep comes after this deep sleep stage. During deep sleep the brain detoxifies itself from harmful proteins that build up during the day and sorts out your recent memories. We cycle through the stages of sleep multiple times during the night. However, people who snore or have sleep apnea are less likely to reach the deeper stages of sleep as they are waking themselves up multiple times during the night.

For the adults, you want to make sure you’re having 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night. Everything is better in moderation. Teens and babies need different amounts of sleep depending on their age.

Less than 7 hours of sleep or poor quality sleep can cause:

Your blood to thin leading to an increased risk of low blood pressure and dizziness. Fewer red blood cells are made so your blood ends up being thinner than it should be.

Reduced cognitive abilities. Lack of sleep can affect you in the same way as too much alcohol. Don’t drive while sleepy, it’s as bad as drunk driving!

Poor memory recall as your recent memories aren’t effectively processed by the brain.

Difficulty in maintaining weight due to disruption of levels of hormones involved in hunger (ghrelin) and feeling full (leptin). Studies have shown that less than 5 hours sleep cause a decrease in leptin levels. This is probably because your body wants to make sure you last the fast of the night but if you have a shorter sleep then your body thinks you need less leptin to keep you feeling full. Unfortunately ghrelin then comes in and makes you feel hungry before a meal. It isn’t affected by your sleep but I have noticed that if I’m not asleep by midnight I get those hunger pains that make it difficult to get to sleep without having a snack first. In the long run it becomes harder to maintain your weight if you’re always eating a second dinner before bed (which was me back in the day when I was up late studying for uni exams).

Lack of deep restful sleep to clear the build up of toxic proteins in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s. Current research indicates that Alzheimer’s might be caused due to build up of tau and amyloid-beta proteins in the brain that are created during the daytime. These proteins are cleared from the brain during deep sleep so it’s very important to deal with insomnia if you can.

Life span can be affected by poor quality sleep. Studies have shown that shift workers may have a decreased life span. Disruption to sleep patterns can cause insomnia as our circadian rhythm is a daily cycle consisting of different hormones released during certain times of the day.

Too much sleep can lead to:

Thicker blood which leads to increased risk of stroke and high blood pressure. More sleep doesn’t necessarily make you feel more refreshed. It can leave you feeling more drowsy if you sleep longer than around 9 hours.

Tricks to beat insomnia:

I know everyone says this one but it’s absolutely true: AVOID CAFFEINE. Caffeine has a lasting effect in the body so limit your intake to the morning and no more than one cup of coffee per day. Black tea contains less caffeine but it’s still there so limit cups of tea or make them weaker.

Blue light filter: Exposure to blue light suppresses your body’s natural melatonin levels. Melatonin is the hormone that increases in your body during the evening, telling your body that it’s time to go to sleep and recharge. The release of melatonin helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and sleep cycles. Blue light is emitted from your TV, computer and smartphone screens. Use the blue light filter function on your smart phone after the sun goes down. You can set them to turn on and off at your chosen times. Personally, my smartphone’s blue light filter is set to switch on at 9 pm and off at 6 am. If your TV, computer or laptop doesnt have a blue light filter function you can purchase blue light filter glasses that look just like regular reading glasses. Search for them online. There are specialty online stores that focus on these light filtering glasses.

Meditations: Yoga nidra for sleep and mindfulness meditation. These types of meditation are like a brain training exercise to keep your thoughts on the present moment. Insomnia can sometimes be caused by us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. When we’re in the present moment we’re free to control our thoughts into something more productive. Specifically with yoga nidra mediation you will focus on each part of your body individually, making sure it is totally relaxed and ready for sleep. You willl often find that you’re only a quarter of the way through before you fall asleep, it’s surprisingly effective! Give it a go, there are guided meditation tracks online or in my favourite free meditation app Insight Timer.

Supplements: There are some supplements you can purchase from your pharmacy off the shelf. I like velarian root supplements. I’ve also tried melatonin with some success. Personally I haven’t experienced any side effects of using these but ask your doctor for more advice on these supplements and if they’re right for you.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Visit my Youtube channel, QueeenVK, for more Full Cup Wellness.

Keep your cup full!

What’s the purpose of thinking positively?

**Click here to listen to me read out this post on my Podcast instead**

The title is a little dramatic. But sometimes our existence in our surrounding environment can feel awful.

Think about how perspective can make things seem more awful on one day compared with the next. Swing that perspective in another direction and things don’t seem so bad. Your boss was piling on the work without acknowledging your amazing report? You are affected by the person’s behaviour but you aren’t the cause of it. Perspective. It’s not your fault, you are amazing. Now you can communicate this with your boss or you can use the extra work to show that you deserve a promotion. You are in control of your present. See my previous post for why the present moment is so powerful and how to get there.

You are in control of your happiness if you want it. Hear me out. Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a temporary feeling you can choose to enjoy. All emotions are temporary. Even anger and sadness. Yes, I suffer from depression and I’m going to share a brain training exercise that anyone with any level of mental heath can utilise. It takes pratice and won’t be easy to begin with. Your mind is so powerful that it can make new pathways when you keep pratising a skill until you master it.

Let’s practise right now.

Do a body scan and check in with yourself on how you’re feeling right now. If your shoulders are tensed and you’re biting your nails you might be feeling stressed or anxious. Relax your tense muscles and breathe deeply. Shallow breaths are a sign that you are not relaxed. You’re allowed to feel any emotions or think any thoughts but when any of them come into your mind imagine them floating back out of your mind. They can float down a stream as a leaf floating on the water’s surface, they can flow out of your body as you exhale. When you’re just noticing your breath or the sounds around you or just enjoying being in your body, that’s when you are in the present moment. You have found it! Well done.

Now that you have found the present you can choose your next thought or action or your next feeling. Feel happiness if you want to. Be without fear or pain if you want to.

The next part is a little more advanced but give it a go.

Look at the present you as though you are looking at yourself, a step away from yourself and outside of your own mind. Without your emotions. Look at yourself with kindness, as though you’re looking at your best friend. You want that person to be happy, content and safe.

Of course this all helps if you don’t struggle with self hatred…actually I do experience that myself so this is a helpful tool to get perspective on how I am treating myself. This tool can help you too. I have also felt the benefits of doing, what some people call, loving kindness meditation. Basically you send love and gratitude to yourself, your friends and family, then to your enemies and finally to everyone in the world. It’s a bit challenging when you’re mad at some people but to let go of that and feel gratitude and kindness towards those people is incredibly therapeutic. It’s easier if you remember that all people are like us in that they are also searching to be without pain or fear in each moment.

Surround yourself with positive thoughts and the positive things will continue to happen to you. It’s not that the number of positive situations increases but your perception of each situation changes the outcome. Perspective. It’s all perspective.

Prevent Hair Damage: How To Dry Your Hair Carefully The Full Cup Wellness

There is a a right way to treat your hair, especially when it comes to cleaning and drying it. This is an audio version of my blog post at thefullcupwellness.com
  1. Prevent Hair Damage: How To Dry Your Hair Carefully
  2. The 5 types of boredom
  3. Environmentally friendly leather?
  4. You're Worth More Than A Number
  5. Crafting With A Conscience

Mindfulness Anytime Anywhere

Tip: At the bottom of this page you can hear me read this blog post out for you in the podcast player. Some other blog posts are available too.

Mindfulness is the art of being in the present moment. I say art because it’s something that can be practised and honed. You may not be an expert at mindfulness meditation but you can be if you want to be. The trick is to practise. Mindfulness is a brain training exercise that will benefit you in surprising ways. When I first heard about mindfulness meditation I thought it was only for hipsters, hippies and monks. True! I had no idea what it involved or how it could help me. Now I know it can help anyone. Mindfulness is beneficial for children, teens, adults and those who don’t identify with any particular age group.

If mindfulness is being in the present moment, how do I get there? And stay there?

It’s all too easy to worry about the future or be upset by thoughts of the past. There is a better, more productive way to live. In the present. There are some meditation techniques to help you find the present moment in your mind. Try some of these techniques and figure out what works best for you. It could even be a combination of techniques that you find most helpful.

Use your senses

The five senses can be used to gently move your focus back to the present moment.

Touch: Bring your focus back to the present moment by feeling your way there. You don’t need special tools to do this. Your clothing may be soft or you may have a pet at home. Feel some fabric or the soft fur (or scales) of your beloved pet and focus on how your fingers receive this sensation. Is it smooth? Is it warm? Acknowledge any thoughts and feelings you may have. Let yourself feel those feelings and bring your thoughts back to the absolute present moment. There are no worries of the past or future when you are focused on the present. Another form of touch is the feeling of your feet on the ground or your body against your chair. There’ll be more on that sensation later.

Smell and taste: Ask yourself what smells can you detect right now. Are there any tastes on your tongue? Mindful eating is the perfect way to enjoy your meals because you will fully engage with the flavours and sensations of the food. Breathe in the aroma of your cup of tea or coffee or cocoa.

Hearing: Focus on the sounds reaching your ears within in the room or nearby area. Then extend your awareness to the sounds outside of the room or area. Acknowledge the sounds without judgment. If your thoughts begin to wander show yourself patience and allow your thoughts to drift back to the present moment.

Sight: Whether your eyes are open or closed you can focus on what they are seeing. While they’re closed you can acknowledge whether the environment is bright or dim. Or visualise a candle, which is a common meditation technique, and see how long you can focus on the imagined flame. If you need to have your eyes open, such as during a walk or while driving, you can use the world around you to stay present. The next time you’re out for a walk try a walking meditation to stay in the mindul present. During a walking meditation you can ask yourself, what’s the sky up to today? Are there any clouds or birds or sky writers? Acknowledge your surroundings and your position within them, how tall the trees are, how the leaves move in the breeze. You can add in the other senses too, focus on how warm or cool the air feels on your skin and what smells are reaching your nose.

Grounding

If you have read the paragraph on the sense of touch above you will have an idea of this one already. Grounding involves feeling your connection to the Earth through your feet or your body. You can do this with socks or bare feet or in shoes while sitting or you can be lying down or sitting upright. The point is to envision your connection to the ground while feeling the physical connection through your body. Focus on the space at which you feel your body touching the ground. Remain in the present moment by just being and feeling your existence physically. You are present in this place at this time. No past or future concerns are harming you and they have no power in your present moment.

Breathing and heartbeat

Your breath and your heartbeat are always there. Often it’s not quiet enough to hear either of them, but it is normally possible to feel them. You can feel your own pulse by pressing your forefinger and middle finger (not your thumb as it has its own pulse) against the inside of your wrist or your neck next to your windpipe. Sometimes it’s difficult to find your pulse. I find it easier to find my breath. Sometimes when I’m trying to sleep I hear my heartbeat is too fast because I was WORRYING about the past or the future. In those moments I tell myself I can learn to slow my heartbeat by focusing on my breathing. They seem to go hand in hand. With enough practice you can have this other level of control over your body.

Breathing deep, soothing breaths is a common way to calm yourself during moments of stress that have caused an increase in your heart rate. You can also focus on the calming breaths as you breathe them to bring yourself to the present moment. The breath is very powerful in this way. It’s something you can always bring your awareness back to. Observe yourself in the moment just breathing. Your eyes can be closed if it’s safe to do so. If any thoughts or emotions come to your mind you can let them pass by and float away with your breath. Let your focus be only on your breath and how it feels flowing in and out. Be in the present moment with your breath. No worries or emotions can hurt you in the present moment.

Curiosity

When was the last time you were a beginner at something? Or looked at something you’ve never seen before? When you learn something new you focus on each step carefully, individually. Once you’ve mastered a skill you no longer think twice about performing it. You don’t look at the steps closely or consider how each part comes together, it is just assumed. The world around you can also blur together as you assume the common objects you see every day. Un-blur your mind and focus on an object like you are a baby and have no understanding of the object. Create curiosity within your mind and come back to the present by really fully focusing on an object or a skill such as hula hooping or throwing a ball. Consider how it feels but without emotion or judgement. No judgement of causes or effects. Just see it for what it is in the moment and enjoy every one of those moments. You are present. You exist and it is amazing.

Key points:

Remember to allow yourself to feel emotions and acknowledge your thoughts when they wander. Be kind with yourself, no need to be discouraged when you stray from the present moment.

It’s okay to feel anger, happiness, all of the good and bad emotions are valid. But remind yourself that good or bad, the emotions are only temporary. You can control how you feel. The past cannot harm you.

The worries of the future are holding you back from focusing on your present moment. The future will happen whether or not you fixate on it. Fixation on the future cannot help you prepare for it. You have total control of your body in the present moment. You have the power to make it however you want it to be right now. You choose if you stand up and breathe in the fresh air or stay where you are. You choose whether you sit in sadness and worry about what others think about you. Are you worrying about those people? No. Then they aren’t worrying about you. You’re here in the present moment, make it whatever YOU want it to be.

Side note: Every other fellow human is also living and existing on the Earth just like you, searching for contentment and safety. If you or they are displaying angry emotions then it is because you/they are scared or hurt. We are able to choose how we react if we are wholly in the present moment. We are powerful enough to create the present that we want to exist in. Remain present, ask yourself why you are feeling a particular emotion and you can choose whether you alter your behaviour based on your anger, hurt or fear. Or choose to breathe and stay in control of your present.

Thank you so much for reading. Be kind and be present.

Visit my Youtube channel for more Full Cup Wellness online. Visit my store on Storenvy for my crochet creations.

Prevent Hair Damage: How To Dry Your Hair Carefully The Full Cup Wellness

There is a a right way to treat your hair, especially when it comes to cleaning and drying it. This is an audio version of my blog post at thefullcupwellness.com
  1. Prevent Hair Damage: How To Dry Your Hair Carefully
  2. The 5 types of boredom
  3. Environmentally friendly leather?
  4. You're Worth More Than A Number
  5. Crafting With A Conscience

Crochet your own waste-free scrubber sponges

Now that we have learned the mindful skill of crochet we can make our own custom items. You can get creative and design your own clothes, toys, household items, art… imagine all of the possibilities.

Imagine a waste-free home…

Or at least a reduced waste home. A home without plastic in the cleaning cupboard! All of the microfibre cleaning cloths and sponges you have used to clean your home have been creating plastic waste and contributing to landfil. Thankfully there are so many amazing alternatives that are even more effective at cleaning. It’s so easy to make the switch to something better for you and the environment.

Just remember when you’re buying yarn for crochet and knitting, all of the synthetic fibres out there are creating microplastics that enter our environment and our bodies. I like to stick to cotton and hemp yarn when I’m making items for cleaning. I designed this scrubber sponge pattern so that one side is made from hemp yarn for extra scouring power and the other side is made of cotton for regular wiping and scrubbing.

Hemp side
Cotton side

Detour: Here is my video explaining the trouble with microplastics https://youtu.be/Uspk3LOrfjY

I’ve called this deisgn a multipurpose scrubber sponge because it’s useful for cleaning in any room of the house, not just the kitchen. Keep one of these in your bathroom and laundry too. You’ll be reaching for it to clean every surface in your home.

This is my first time writing a pattern for other people to use so please let me know if there are any mistakes!

The Pattern: Hemp and Cotton Scrubber Sponge

  • Patern notes:
  • This pattern is written in US Crochet terms.
  • Begin with a foundation chain and make the sponge as long as you like. You can keep adding rows to make the sponge wider. I found this size works best for my small lady hands but you might prefer an oversized style sponge.
  • Abbreviations:
  • Ch: Chain
  • Sc: Single crochet
  • Hdc: Half double crochet
  • Pattern:
  • With hemp yarn Ch 25
  • Row 1: Hdc in the 3rd chain from the hook. Hdc all the way along.
  • Rows 2 – 12: Ch 2 for the turning chain. Hdc to the end of the row.
  • Attach cotton yarn and cut off the hemp yarn.
  • Row 12: Sc along the long edge of the hemp rectangle.
  • Rows 13 – 24: Hdc to the end of the row. Don’t bind off yet!
  • Finishing: Still with your cotton sitting at the end of Row 24, fold the 2 halves of the sponge together and Sc along the other long edge to join the 2 halves. You will be crocheting into both of the stitches on each edge so they are now “sewn” together.
  • I leave the short sides open so that the air flows through the sponge for easy drying.
  • You can sew or crochet up the short sides if you desire.

Let me know in the comments if you try out this pattern. Tell us what you think!

You can purchase one of these scrubbers at my Storenvy store and check out my other crochet creations for sale.

Crochet For Absolute Beginners part 4: Continuing to crochet in the round

FYI: The video tutorial version of this post is on my YouTube channel here.

Welcome, please sit down, get comfy and join me for some more mindful crafting. Today we’re continuing to learn the art of crocheting a circle.

In part 3 of the crochet for absolute beginners series we learned how to begin a circle with yarn and our crochet hook. Now we need to learn the mathematical formula for creating nice flat crochet circles. If you have too many or too little stitches in each round you’ll end up with wonky bumpy circles that don’t sit flat.

The blue circle on the left has too many stitches in the round and is going bubbly. The red circle on the right has too few stitches and is becoming a bowl.

The mathematical formula to the perfectly flat crochet circle goes a little something like this:

For example, we begin with 6 stitches in round 1.

In round 2 we will need to increase in every stitch around. You now have 12 stitches.

In round 3 increase every 2nd stitch. Now you have 18 stitches.

Round 4 increase every 3rd stitch. 24 stitches will be in the 4th round.

Every round will increase 6 times so you will add 6 stitches in each round. If you begin with 8 stitches you’ll increase 8 times each round. That’s the mathematical pattern here.

Tips for keeping the right number of stitches

• Use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch in every round. Otherwise you’ll be constantly counting as you work and the chance of miscounting the stitches is too great! Trust me.

Types of stitch markers. You can also use a short piece of yarn that is a different colour to your work.

• Count your stitches at the end of each round unless you’re absolutely confident you did it correctly. Otherwise your subsequent rounds will all be off. You will notice your circle becoming more bumpy and wonky as you continue.

Thanks for reading my tutorial! It would mean so much to me if you could please show your support by subscribing to my YouTube channel.

Also please enjoy browsing my online store of handmade items. Contact me for commissions and personalised items.

Crochet for absolute beginners part 3: How to begin crocheting in a circle

Continuing on our journey to learn a new skill and practise mindfulness at the same time; it’s part 3 of the crochet tutorial series, how to crochet in a circle. Instead of crocheting rows as we previously learned in parts 1 and 2, we are now going to crochet in rounds.

See the video version of this tutorial at my YouTube channel.

Why would you need to know how to crochet in circles?

By learning how to crochet in the round you’ll be able to make circular baskets, amigurumi (crocheted toys), hats, beanies, round pillows etc etc etc. There are many crochet patterns that you will encounter which involve crocheting in the round instead of in rows.

Some crochet toys (amigurumi) I made this week. Each section of this pattern is crocheted in the round. Pattern by @Amiguruku

There are two methods to begin a crochet circle.

Method 1: Chain circle

I call this the chain circle method because you make the circle by joining the 2 ends of a row of chain stitches together. Let me show you how.

Begin with a slip knot on your crochet hook. Remember: this doesn’t count as a stitch.

The pattern you are working from will tell you how many stitches to use to make the circle, unless it uses method 2 below. If you’re not using a pattern you can decide how many chain stitches you want to use depending on how many stitches need to fit in the circle. Let’s say you need 6 single crochet stitches to fit in your little chain circle. I would chain 3 then join the circle with a slip stitch in the first chain, see image below.

Three chain stitches joined to the first chain stitch with a slip stitch.

Then you can crochet into the circle you made. I put six single crochet (US terminology) stitches into my chain circle, see image below. I haven’t joined this round with a slip stitch. The pattern that you’re working from will state whether the rounds are joined with a slip stitch or not. If they are not joined rounds then you get a spiral instead of concentric circles.

Six single crochet stitches in a chain circle.

Tip: As a beginner, I sometimes mistake the initial slip knot as a stitch but we need to remember not to crochet into this loop! Join your circle in the first chain stitch and you can definitely see which is the first chain by using a stitch marker. Examples of stitch markers that I have are in the picture below. You can also use a short piece of yarn that is a different colour to your work in the stitch you want to mark.

Examples of stitch markers

New stitch alert

I mentioned the slip stitch in the previous section but I haven’t yet shown you how to do it! The slip stitch is the shortest stitch you can make, it’s even shorter than a single crochet stitch. You do the stitch by entering the next stitch, yarn round front of the hook as normal, then pull the yarn all the way through all of the loops on the stitch. Done!

Method 2: Magic circle

Begin by almost making a slip knot. What I mean is that you leave the knot loose instead of pulling the yarn close to the hook. See the picture below for reference.

A loose slip knot to begin the magic circle.

Now you seal the magic circle by making one chain stitch. See the picture below!

Magic circle plus one chain stitch to seal the circle.

The stitches that are going into the magic circle are called “round one” of the project. If you need to do single crochet (sc) stitches (US terminology) in round 1 then you only need one chain stitch to begin your work. This is because one sc is the height of one chain stitch. Follow the rules for the number of chains you need for a turning chain as mentioned in part 2 of the crochet for absolute beginners tutorial series.

Now you’re going to crochet round 1. In the example below I’ve made 6 sc in the magic circle. The first chain doesn’t count as a stitch in this case.

6 sc in a magic circle.

Here’s the part where it becomes a MAGIC circle. Pull the trailing end of the yarn tail until the circle is drawn tight.

Magic circle with 6 sc pulled tight.

Now you can join the circle together with a slip stitch, unless the pattern says not to join the rounds. Below is a picture of the circle joined with a slip stitch.

Magic circle joined with a slip stitch in the first stitch of the round.

As you work around the circle the centre will become loose unless you secure the tail of the yarn. There are different ways to do it and I’m not quite perfect at it yet but I’m getting there! Here’s my method for securing that circle tightly: Once you’ve completed your work, or when you’re a little bit of the way through, pull the tail of the yarn as tight so that the magic circle is as small as you need it to be. Then use your crochet hook to weave the tail back and forth through the stitches around those first few rounds of the work.

When you want to make perfectly round circles you will need to pay attention to the the number of stitches you work into each round. If you have too many stitches the circles will become ruffled like a chip because all those extra stitches are trying to fit in a smaller space. If you don’t have enough stitches in the round then the work will become bowed and bowl-shaped as the stitches will pull to make the way around the circle.

There’s a mathematical formula to getting the right number of stitches in each round. I won’t go into it here in this post but stay tuned for more crochet tutorials.

Thanks so much for reading!

Visit my store on Storenvy to purchase some of my crochet creations. More items to be added very soon!

Comment below or email me to request custom coloured ice cream melt monsters. Each individual monster is AUD$25 not including shipping. Extra customisation is available for an additional cost.

Mint choc chip ice cream monster in purple and vanilla ice cream monster in mint. Contact me to request your custom colours. Each individual monster is AUD$25 not including shipping.

How to cultivate success in your life

It took me about a decade but I have finally learned valuable meta-skills such as resilience and self awareness. I’ve also been working on cultivating gratitude and mindfulness which has helped to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” –Émile Coué

Here are some tips that you can use to improve your chance for success in life.

“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” –Lao Tzu.

..Take the opportunity to cultivate a positive mental attitude.

.. Practice gratitude and mindfulness daily so that it becomes a habit. This can prevent anxiety and negative thoughts from holding you back from success.

.. Clearly define your goals. Nebulous goals are a recipe for disaster. Clear goals give you something definite to work towards.

Share your positive habits or any tips for success in the comments below.

Crochet for absolute beginners Part 2: Crocheting in a straight line

Welcome back for part 2 of crochet for absolute beginners. The video version of this tutorial is at my YouTube channel. I’ll be using US terminology in the main text. In brackets I will place the equivalent UK stitch translation next to each US stitch. In the previous part we made a foundation chain. You’re going to use that foundation chain now so have it ready.

There are multiple parts of the chain you can work into to get a different effect along the beginning edge of your work. First we will identify the parts of the chain so that we know which part to use.

From the top view of the foundation chain you will see V-shaped stitches linked together. Each of the 2 strands of the v is a single chain stitch. Normally you will work into either 1 or both of these strands. I prefer to work along the top strand of the v.

Foundation chain top view. Find the V-shaped stitches. Excuse me for the chipped polish!
Foundation chain bottom view. Find the back bumps of each chain stitch.

When viewing the base of those v-shaped stitches you’ll see a 3rd strand behind the 2 v strands. I call this the back bump of the chain. Sometimes it’s pulled a bit tight to see it but once you get an eye for it you will spot them in no time. It will take a bit of practice and playing around with the yarn before you can easily tell which strand is which. Don’t give up too early! Practise, practise, practise.

Depending on which type of stitch you will use along the chain there will be a particular number of “turning chains” you will need. This is because the height of each stitch is different. One single crochet stitch (double crochet in UK terms) is the height of one chain stitch so you will leave one “turning chain” on your foundation chain and between each row. A half double crochet (half treble crochet in UK) stitch is as tall as 2 chains so you will leave 2 chain stitches before working into the 3rd chain from the hook. Remember, the loop on the hook isn’t a stitch yet so it doesn’t count.

Working a single crochet (double crochet in UK) into the 2nd chain on the hook. Also working into the top loop of the foundation chain.

My preference is to work into the top loop of the foundation chain as this is easiest for me. Here’s a row of single crochet or sc (dc in the UK) worked into the top loop of a foundation chain, see next image below.

Single crochet (double crochet in UK) worked into the top loop of the foundation chain.

To make the sc (dc) stitch you begin by inserting the hook into the second chain on your hook. The loop on the hook doesn’t count as a stitch so don’t count from this loop. Next you “yarn round hook” (as shown in my YouTube videos part 1 and 2). Then pull that yarn through the first loop on the hook which is called “pulling up a loop”. Now you have 2 loops on your hook so next you “yarn round hook” and then pull the yarn through both loops. You’ve completed one sc. Well done!

Now what about crocheting into other parts of the chain? As I mentioned above, working into the back bump is more difficult but it’ll give an edge that has the V-shaped chain stitches pointing out. This technique makes a nice looking detail for crocheting straps and hems.

Working a sc (dc) into the back bump of the foundation chain.

In the next photo you’ll see a row of single crochet (dc) worked into the back bump of the foundation chain.

Row of sc (dc) worked into the back bump of the foundation chain stitches.

My personal favourite stitch is the half double crochet or hdc (half treble crochet or htr in the UK) because it works up so quickly and it looks like pretty little knots all in rows. The height of this stitch is between a sc (dc) and a dc (tr). You’ll need 2 turning chains to make a hdc (htr) so count 2 chains after the loop on the hook. Work into the 3rd chain from the hook.

Half double crochet (half treble crochet) stitches worked into the top loop of the foundation chain.

To make a hdc (htr) you need to “yarn round hook” before you place your hook in the stitch. Now the yarn is wrapped around the hook once, place the hook in the next stitch and yarn round hook. Now you pull up a loop through the first loop on the hook. You will have 3 loops sitting on the hook. Now yarn round hook and pull through all 3 loops. That’s one hdc (htr) complete. Excellent!

A double crochet (treble crochet) stitch needs 3 turning chains as well because it is about as tall as 3 chains. When making a new row with dc (tr) stitches you’ll make 3 chain stitches at the end of the row then turn your work and continue into the first stitch of the new row.

Double crochet (treble in the UK) stitches worked into the top loop of the foundation chain.

Before you put the hook into your work wrap the yarn around the hook once then go and put the hook into the next stitch. Yarn round hook, pull up a loop through the first loop on the hook. You have 3 loops on the hook. Yarn round hook, pull yarn through the first 2 loops on the hook. You have 2 loops left on the hook. Yarn round hook, pull the yarn through both loops. That’s the double crochet (treble crochet).

Treble crochet (known as double treble crochet in the UK) needs 4 turning chains and it is taller than a dc. You normally won’t encounter stitches taller than the tr (dtr) in the majority of the patterns you will see. So I’ll end with a picture of tr (dtr) stitches worked into a foundation chain.

Treble crochet (double treble in the UK) stitches worked into the top loop of the foundation chain.

For the tr (dtr) stitch you leave 4 chains then crochet into the 5th chain from the hook. Or if you’re at the start of a new row you will make 4 chains before working into the row. But before you go ahead and put the hook in the stitch you need to give the stitch height. More height than the previous double crochet (treble crochet) stitch.

Wrap the yarn around the hook twice and then insert the hook into the next stitch. Yarn round hook again and pull up a loop through the first loop on the hook. Now you have 4 loops on the hook. Yarn round hook and pull up a loop through the first 2 loops on the hook. Now you have 3 loops on the hook. Repeat the yarn round hook and pull up a loop through the first 2 loops on the hook. Now you have 2 loops left on the hook. Time to finish the stitch! Yarn round hook, pull through both loops and you’re done.

Thanks again for joining me as we become more confident and competent with various crochet techniques. Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel too!

Just a reminder, you can see the video version of this blog post here.