My New Blocking Station Product Review

My New Blocking Station Product Review

I’ve always wanted a blocking unit for my crochet pieces. For someone like me having a handy tool like this makes my work a little easier. Recently, I received The BlocksAll Station from Chetnanigans. Chetnanigans has an Etsy Shop and is definitely worth the look. Today, I had the opportunity to give this product a try. Here is my assessment of this fun tool.

If you are like me, you have practiced many tricks when you are blocking your items. My tried and true way is to spritz a little water on my finished piece, shape it and pin it down on a towel using stick pins or stack my squares on skewers stuck in a Styrofoam block. Then, I leave my piece to dry overnight and wake up the next day to my item blocked, hopefully in the correct form I want. For larger projects this is still the best way I have found to achieve a decent result. However, there are times when making granny square items such as my G.G. Cardigan, my New Beginnings Afghan Block, or we all remember my colossal project the 365 Days of Granny Squares, when blocking single squares become necessary for the best appearance of an overall project. Not everything crochets up as neat and tidy as we hope. That is when the BlocksAll is great option to achieve these results. I set out to give this a test run and was not disappointed!

First, when the item arrived and I opened it, I was very happy to see how well this was packaged. Included were the board, a stand, stainless steel pins, and instructions, all neatly packed and secure on arrival. Seeing it for the first time was thrilling! I always get that excited feeling when a new crochet or craft item arrives at my doorstep. I am like a little child when I see the delivery driver pull up! Once it was opened, I was eager to give it a try!

I decided to give it a test run blocking some squares that I am making for a baby blanket. I sprayed my squares lightly with a bit of water before placing each square on the block. Although I blocked individual squares, you can stack them on the pins and do multiples at the same time. I think approximately 3-5 squares would fit stacked up. There are 50 stainless steel pins included in this set and there are a series of holes on the block. This is important as the placement of the holes make it easy to block items in a variety of sizes! The pins do not rust so if your item is damp, there will be no risk of rust getting on your pieces. It was a bit tough to insert the pins on the first try, but being as this is brand new, I suspect this will become easier the more I use this item. By the same token, the pins were a bit tough to remove once I was finished blocking. Again, with repeated use, this should rectify.


The BlocksAll is very sturdy, durable, and it has some weight to it. The stand has rubber grips for anti-slip if you want to stand it up while blocking your pieces. This is a nice feature when you need to apply a bit of force to either push the pins in or pull them out. Otherwise, there is felt on the back side of the BlocksAll station if you wish to lay it on a flat surface to do your blocking. One detail to point out that many will appreciate as I do, is that the pins are NOT sharp. I can’t tell you how many times when blocking my crochet items the standard way that I jabbed a stick pin into my fingertip or thumb and drew blood! It gives new meaning to putting blood, sweat, and tears into a project and hopefully, having this new item will take those elements out of the equation! There is no risk of that happening while using the BlocksAll pins! Another observation, you will want to store the pins in a small case. Because of the amount of pins included in this set (50), it will be a good idea to have a storage container for these small but important parts.


Once my pieces were blocked overnight, they came out perfectly shaped for my project!! The size of this board allows for pieces up to 12 inches x 12 inches to be blocked easily. I was so happy with the results of each square and they look perfect with the clean straight edge achieved from using this handy device! I love the look and they stack up nicely in piles waiting for me to sew them together! This is exciting stuff!
I love this wonderful gizmo and working with the Chetnanigans crew was a pleasure! Be sure to check out their Etsy site and all the great items they have for knitters and crocheters!! These would make a great gift for any crafter on your list–including yourself!

Also, be sure to use coupon code YARN15 to get a 15% discount on your purchase!!!  The discount code is only available until November 19th, 2017 so place your orders soon!! That is an AWESOME deal! You won’t be disappointed! Now back to making more squares and playing with my new toy!


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Public Speaking for a Media Summit

Public Speaking for a Media Summit

On Sunday November 5th, 2017, I had the pleasure of participating in the 2017 Collegiate Media Summit hosted by Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. This summit highlights professionals across the media industry. I was invited to speak via Skype to the attendees on how I became a blogger and teacher on YouTube. Although quite nervous, I found it to be a very good experience and was thrilled to take part.

I’ve got friends in HIGH places

My friend, Dr. Dennis Frohlich, assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communications at Bloomsburg University, approached me some time ago to be a part of the summit. Some of you may remember if you followed my earlier blog posts that Dennis and I actually began blogging and video logging about inflammatory bowel diseases many years ago after meeting online. Early in my diagnosis, I started blogging and making videos discussing my journey through Crohn’s disease. During that same time, Dennis also started a channel on YouTube to talk about his journey through ulcerative colitis. We corresponded over our similar journey through illness. Together we decided to combine our channels and work together. In 2009 we began the United Colon Vlog. Our vlog (video log) provided education and awareness about inflammatory bowel diseases and it solidified a lifelong friendship.

The birth of YARNutopia

Those early days of vlogging helped lay the foundation for me to segue into starting YARNutopia. We decided to dissolve the UCVlog after five years of pioneering to bring a spotlight to IBD. Dennis was on to bigger and better things as he worked toward graduate school, eventually earning his doctorate. I continued to struggle significantly with my illness. After SIX attempts of trying college and having to withdraw for medical reasons, I resigned myself to the realization this won’t work out for me. During a particularly dark moment, my mom gave me a ball of yarn and a crochet hook and the rest is history. YARNutopia was born!

Exciting, but nothing goes off without a hitch

My appearance in this Media Summit was to discuss how I have made my career on YouTube. The summit was bringing professionals together who have made their careers through some media platform. It was such a privilege to be included among so many esteemed professionals. It is one of those surreal moments when you have to pinch yourself to tell if it is real life. How am I part of this?! It was pretty exciting!

Unfortunately, I woke up on Sunday morning with a terribly sore throat and was hoarse. The night before, I attended a family wedding, and I was already feeling under the weather. Adrenaline carried me through the wedding and subsequent party afterward, but everything came crashing down by Sunday. Three Ricola throat lozenges, honey laced tea, and a salt water gargle allowed me to have some semblance of a voice and would have to do as I addressed a room full of participants and students.

I prepared an outline for discussion with the help of my mom. As prepared as I felt, nerves started to settle in. Dennis prepped me ahead of time and in our preparations, he let me know that it will seem as though I am talking to him for the most part. Although there were students present, Dennis let me know he would guide the presentation and that put me a little bit at ease.

One Hour. A lot to cover

The presentation was approximately an hour long. In that time, we covered how I began my YouTube channel with my dad, how my mom and I handle all the creative design, blog, marketing, and social media, what it took to gain followers, and producing revenue through advertising and affiliates. We touched briefly on the highs and lows of being a blogger and YouTuber. I also offered tips and tricks on ways those looking to get into blogging or posting on YouTube can navigate the process. Soon the hour flew by and we opened a discussion up to questions and answers from the students.

Several questions were asked and it made me think on my toes. I am not the best at that, and I also had a bit of difficulty hearing the students. In retrospect, I could have been a little more prepared for that part of the presentation, but I was very satisfied with the outcome.

Closing thoughts

After the presentation was over, I felt pretty exhilarated. I did it! This was a great event to practice public speaking and a wonderful learning experience for me. I realized there is room for growth, and I definitely can make some improvements if I have the opportunity for more speaking engagements in the future. I learned several things in this seminar, and it also has me thinking of new avenues to explore for YARNutopia.

I want to say a special Thank You to my good friend Dr. Dennis Frohlich and all the students and attendees of this media summit. It was a fantastic experience. I appreciate the invitation and opportunity to talk about YARNutopia and for them to provide the platform to do so. It was truly wonderful!


This post contains affiliate links, which I may be compensated for when you make a purchase. That means if you click on any link and buy from the linked websites, I will receive a small percentage of the value of your order. The amount you pay is not changed. Thank you for all your support in clicking the links in my blog!! You all are so amazing!! ~Nadia


My dad will continue to be the videographer, editor, and photographer for our videos when I move away.
Support YARNutopia today so we can continue to bring you clear, quality crochet tutorials even after I move into my new home!
There will be an added expense of more travel and hopefully this won’t deter our ability to provide consistent videos on a weekly basis.

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Broken Roads Point the Way

Broken Roads Point the Way

Yesterday, I had a follow up physical and doctor appointment after having a bit of a health scare last week where I ended up in the ER. After going through a number of tests and scans, it was determined that we will postpone any surgery for now, and I will undergo additional testing and possibly a HIDA scan, for newly discovered issues that are affecting my gall bladder and other organs. Other than that, things were looking pretty “Normal for Nadia” as my doctors like to say! I’ll take that!


During this appointment, I was telling my doctor about my recent engagement and how Nate proposed on our trip to Europe. She was so genuinely excited for us. She hugged me three times and was overjoyed because she has seen me through so much. She also asked about how the transition will be as I prepare to transfer some of my medical care to a new city. Although it is far down the line, I will need to find a new physician and leave her behind. That’s a very difficult thing for me to do. It began to hit me how many changes are about to take place not only in my health journey, but life and business as well! Oh Boy!


Support goes a long way

My entire life has been spent with my parents; it is no secret that my Mom is my best friend. Although I did spend a short time away from home attending university, illness/surgeries impeded my ability to continue. After 6 separate attempts at going back to college, I decided to postpone it indefinitely. Illness won that battle. (I am still winning the war) I may consider going back one day, but for now, it was the best decision.


During those struggling years, my parents encouraged me to start a small Etsy shop and website to showcase my crocheted items. It was also during those times that, while in the hospital, so many nurses, nursing assistants, and doctors asked for help learning how to crochet. I began showing them basic techniques and taught while I was in the hospital. Teaching crochet in that setting helped me SO much. It also gave me a great idea!

Planting the seeds to grow a dream

I will always be grateful to my mom for her insight to give me yarn and a hook so long ago. She pushed me to do something constructive during those long months when I was in isolation or just spending a month hospitalized for whatever health problem I was having that kept me there.

When you are isolated and feel alone, having a skill or hobby to pass the time becomes invaluable. It becomes a lifeline that keeps your mind occupied and stops it from wandering straight into depressing thoughts. Thankfully, I was able to take that time to hone my skills in crochet and develop my craft into such a blooming network and community. It helped to open a platform that I could teach others my craft. My dad helped me start a YouTube channel, and I could reach others with my video tutorials. Having that connection to others quite literally SAVED me. There, an idea born out of a desperate situation, became the seed to grow this dream.


Challenges ahead

Looking forward to next year (2018), I am excited to be getting married and starting my life with Nate. Out of respect for my Pakistani culture and my personal beliefs, I will not live with Nate before we get married. What has me feeling a bit anxious is how my life will be structured to continue YARNutopia from a distance. I will not only have a new marriage, new doctors, a new home, and a business to balance, but an entire change from everything I know. Moving even a few hours away from home hits me at times that is both exciting and scary. This weekend, while celebrating Mother’s Day, we sat down to discuss this.

Structure and Discipline

Presently, we try to film 2-3 videos a week. Prior to filming, my mom and I design several items that I create off camera. I perfect and refine the pattern and then proceed to head into the studio for filming. It is in the filming process that we decide what videos to keep, what projects will be popular, or what ends up on the cutting room floor. Sometimes only one video will make it to our channel. This process is lengthy and tedious. It requires many hours invested and a lot of trial and error. Our days are planned, structured, scheduled. We each execute our particular tasks and responsibilities. My mom handles a majority as she also takes care of our home on top of everyone in our family as well as running and managing our business.


Having the structure and discipline of working with parents who have built a photography/videography business from the ground up so many years ago has been priceless. I just hope when I move away into my own home and start my life with Nate, the lessons they taught me will carry over into our life. I have never had the opportunity to work outside the home and this will be a big challenge to maintain this work ethic on my own, which incidentally, I never have had to be alone. Nate’s career has him working 8-12 hours a day. That is another idea that will take some getting used to.


Nothing Can Stop Us

Recently, Nate and I have begun to search for our “build a dream” home. We have been scouring the listings for a house that can accommodate our must have list. We sat down and made a checklist of things we want in a forever home.


My top priority is a place for a craft room/studio (and a dishwasher, but that’s another story!) We have gone through several places that have potential. Let’s see if we are able to find a place where we can create our life and provide me with the ultimate craft room! (That will be a future blog post of its own).

My dad will set us up with an in-home studio, and his plan will be to travel and film at our home. My mom and I plan to design, create, and work remotely via Skype. So many fun and exciting changes to come in the next 300 days as we plan out this move! As much as I look forward to all these changes, leaving my old life behind and starting over feels a bit daunting and overwhelming at times. I’m just eternally grateful for the support of a wonderful man, my parents, and all of YOU, who will continue to accommodate all these changes in order to see YARNutopia through this growth and transition.

Oh song lyrics, you give me the feels!

When I look back and reflect over the past nearly nine years of health challenges and life detours, I never pictured this being the way my life would turn out. I honestly wasn’t sure I would ever meet anyone willing to accept not only the voluminous health issues I came with, but also accept that I would need to manage a job that would fit my abilities and challenges. I could not ask for more in anyone and somehow through God, or destiny, it led me down this path. There is a song lyric that says, “This much I know is true, that God blessed the broken road, that led me straight to you.” No words could ever be truer to describe how I arrived to this place in my life. At times when I faced another health challenge, I always asked “Why!??” maybe this was always the answer.


“What is meant to be will always find a way” ~Trisha Yearwood