On Quiet Spaces – Crocheted Poncho and Bear

Downstairs my neighbors are once again making Panlasang Pinoy garlic fried rice and the scent alone is enough to send me straight to heaven. I like to listen to them in the evenings, laughing and shouting at each other in Tagalog, or on the weekends, waking up early to blast 70’s rock and tend to the lush container garden and fairy lights that have overtaken their patio.

It’s so different from my quiet life lived just a few feet away: dinners of chicken thighs and broccolini, evenings spent reading on the couch, my cold feet tucked up under my husband’s thigh, weekend mornings spent crocheting and quietly making tea while my night owl husband sleeps almost until lunch.

I’ve given myself a hard time for my quiet, simple life. Shouldn’t I be more like my Filipino neighbors? Great big, boisterous parties that end in hilarious attempts at karaoke? First-name relationships with the rest of our small community’s neighbors? Shouldn’t I also be gregarious and outgoing and fun?

It’s taken me a long time to realize the people that have proclaimed my quiet a deficit are wrong. Because the trouble with quiet is that it leaves space for narrative, and it seems most people are quick to pour in their own insecurities.

But my quiet is not your fear or loneliness, it is not evidence of crippling shyness. It is just my quiet. It is the space I create to discover the world on my terms. To listen to the sizzle of the Panlasang Pinoy and breathe the garlic. To learn the botanical loves of my neighbors so that, come Christmas, I can walk downstairs with a plate of cookies and a sweet potted thing to add to their jungled collection.

Sometimes it is the space I create to let my friends gush about their excitement for their upcoming little ones. I feel I learn more this way. Most recently, a friend’s plans for an animal-themed nursery. But the husband wants a few touches of pink because, you know, why can’t a little girl have a little pink?

I use what I learn in my quiet to add to their joy, to amplify the dreams they have for the little girl we’re all eager to meet. In this case, I crochet a sweet, cotton poncho with a little bear hood. Perfect for little ones that fight sleeves despite the cold. And a little pink bear to match. Because every little one should have something soft to cuddle.

I love my quiet space. It’s not what everyone needs, not all the time. But when they do, I’m here. Ready to listen and absorb, and once everything has been processed, to add. Because I want the world to be a kinder, more beautiful place. And this is the way I know how to do it.


Want to make your own? This poncho is a slightly modified version of Marie of Muki Craft’s Teddy Bear Poncho pattern. The bear is a slightly modified version of J.A. Poolvos of Little Bear Crochets’s Bear Amigurumi pattern.

Want to see more of my work? Find me on Instagram: @acassafrass or on Etsy: etsy.com/shop/lascosaschiquitas.


Amigurumi Dragon

I’ve lived my life accepting the labels others apply to me: shy, sullen, sensitive, cowardly. It’s hard to be my best self with my heart caged by such daggers.

And the truth is, these labels say more about their speakers (their needs, their expectations, their strategies to protect themselves against their own vulnerability) than they say about the “truth” of my character or humanity.

And I’m tired of tiptoeing around the barbed wounds of others. Cramming myself into boxes that have never fit. Attempting to pretzel myself into a less offensive version of my being.

So today I choose one label I am no longer willing to let apply: cowardly. It’s true, I’m an introvert in a culture that prizes extroversion. I like to take my work breaks in solitude, preferably outside, even better in the shade, lulled back to equanimity by the slight hiss of overhead leaves and the brown finches rustling in the grass. It’s true, I have an anxiety disorder. I need my medication, my therapeutic strategies, to move comfortably through this world. And it’s true that I’m a highly sensitive person. I was the child in the classroom that huddled into a ball during fire drills, eyes shut, ears covered, crying, just trying to get out the noise.

These things make me different, but surely not cowardly. It takes a fierce heart to accept and learn to work with illness and difference. A fiery spirit to walk a different path. It takes courage to love yourself in a world that does not prize your outlook, your skill set, your needs.

I have my shortcomings, but I just can’t count cowardice among them. Not anymore. I am, and have always been, dragon-hearted. I will stand in this truth. I hope you can, too.


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This amigurumi is my attempt at a Mega Charizard X. It was made (with obvious heavy edits) from Ana Amelia Mendes Galvao’s wonderful Charizard pattern, which can be found here.

Want to see more of my work? Find me on Instagram: @acassafrass or on Etsy: etsy.com/shop/LasCosasChiquitas