learning · Life

The eyes have it

I love these little Om charms and, in between booking markets and other admin I’ve been trying to keep up with sewing them on the things I’ve made so far this year (more than I thought!). The sewing on of the charms has been a bit of a challenge; I can no longer thread a regular sewing needle. There, I’ve said it! A definite sign of ageing!

For a while there I was just getting all bad tempered and huffy about not being able to thread the needle and / or find my husband’s reading specs.  Like that was helping any but it’s the sort of stuff we all do I’m sure. And then, like any shoddy workman, I started blaming my tools; the eye was too small. So while searching for a needle with a bigger eye (which by the way wouldn’t go through the little hole in the charm,) I found the ‘pointless needle threader’ that came with the ‘handy’ sewing kit in my Christmas Cracker.

I remember my Great Gran using one of these needle threaders, I remember her saying she couldn’t see the eye of the needle and as a child I didn’t get it; I could see it clear as day so I’d thread it for her. Suddenly that ‘pointless needle threader’ isn’t pointless at all.  So much of life and how we perceive the things we come across and up against is dependant on perception and context and by changing how we look at things we can change how we approach them. Also that so much of the emotion and frustration and effort we put into that emotion and frustration is ultimately pointless.

So after taking a nice big swig of Calm the F**k down tea and taking the time to accept the situation and then find a solution to the problem, I wonder why I so frequently start my ‘problem solving’ in such an unhelpful way.  The answer is easy, change doesn’t happen over night.  In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, ‘Practice [or change] becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time without break and in all earnestness’.

Just as in anything, we don’t get things ‘right’ straight away. we fail, we struggle, we reflect and attend to that which needs to change.   Slowly but surely with a kind eye the fact that now I know I’m being totally unhelpful in achieving whatever it is that I’m trying to do and then attend to the what it is that needs to be done means that I am on the way.

learning · Life

This made me hoot with laughter!

We took the train into town for passport photos for the girl and Faraway Tree books, then onto the library….

While the girl pottered around looking at books completely unsupervised (because I’m that sort of mum – she chooses her own books) I looked through the handful of knitting books I’d picked up on the way through to the kids section.

Looks like I’m going to have to up my game with the Halloween decorations I came up with last year! I laughed much too loudly when I noticed that the ‘how to’ drawings were hands from zombies and wearwolves! 😂😂 Such a clever book. I didn’t get it out. I came over all sensible and chose the cable knit books instead. I’m getting it out next time!

Anyway now I’m home, we cut the trip short as it was snowing and I didn’t want us to be stranded. There are some really lovely designs I’d like to try in the books. Seriously thoughtI do not get the cable charts…….not in the slightest! I can cable, it’s just that I worked out how to do it on my own. I don’t know how to write a chart for what I do. So, I’m going to pick a simple one, one that looks like what I know how to do, and work through it. I’m sure there’ll be a YouTube tutorial to help? Not tonight though. I’m feeling really ropey, sore throat, fuzzy head and my mantra is ‘gentleness in all things’. Time for some super simple knitting with my feet up before an early night.

advice · learning · Life

Unravelling Recovery.

Ooh look, it’s me! Enjoying a coffee with my husband, in the sun. I’m only wearing 2 layers; a far cry from last week!

I know I look like I’m scowling but I’m not; I’m concentrating. A bunch of stitches had fallen off the needle when I shoved the knitting in my bag; I’d just got them all back on! Yey for me!

Thing is stitches don’t really want to unravel. If you’re careful and deft you can recover them. If you go all crazy like “Oh my f***ing god, look!!!” While yanking on the work to get a better look then chances are you’ll ladder back loads of rows.

Even this is recoverable, but chances are by the time this has happened you’ll probably be spitting blood and losing the plot all over the place. If this happens PUT THE KNITTING DOWN CAREFULLY. Walk away. Have a cup of tea. Come back to it later, you know, when you’re calm.

So, I’d gently picked the stitches up, one by one. I didn’t worry if they were on the needle the right way – you can sort that out later… ommmmmmmmmmmm

advice · Creativity · giving · learning · Life

Just say NO!

When I was growing up the cast of Grange Hill released a chart topping song warning about the perils of taking Heroin. ‘ Just say NO!’ They sang while horrible images filled the screen. Like falling into quicksand, I thought avoiding heroin dealers would be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be. I guess I’ve been lucky. Not once however was there mention of the perils of unwanted knitting requests (UKR) during any textile and fashion class.

There are things I really do not enjoy knitting. For example, you will never hear me say “oooh I can’t wait to get started on the floor length lace poncho” not unless I was on some desert island, mysteriously washed up with 101 balls of lace yarn, some needles and a pattern. Actually I’d be more likely to try and fashion some sort of raft with it…

We all have our NO list. Mine includes anything thinner than Aran weight yarn, anything with more than a 6 row repeat, blankets, baby clothes and scarves. The thing is I have quite a strong aversion to knitted them as I discovered when my Mother In Law asked me to knit her a nice long scarf.

My first response was ‘F**k NO! I’d rather poke my eye out with a Sh***y stick’. Luckily I managed to keep this response in my head as, while there are some people would I could say this to, my MIL isn’t one of them. However that fateful pause while I tried to articulate a more appropriate response was taken as tacit agreement.

So that’s why I’m knitting a ‘nice long scarf’ and why? Because never role played what I would say when faced with an UKR. I didn’t have a response ready. If you belong to a knitting group I’d recommend regularly role playing your responses to UKR’s. if you’re a solitary knitter you’ll have to make do with practicing on your own but believe me it’s time well spent.

Even better, let your friends and family know what you ARE willing to knit (and how long it takes) and whether or not you’ll supply the yarn (gift yes, random knitting request, no) which will also avoid the perils of being hoodwinked into knitting with alpaca yarn, spun on Peruvian mountains by elves at £50 a ball ….. this might seem a bit mean spirited but think about it… if your hobby was betting your life savings in online poker games and a friend or family member asked you to bet your house on their behalf, you’d probably say no. This will also avoid those awkward request which will either involve ‘letting someone down’ or staying awake for 3 days straight to knit a bridal shawl for her coming wedding that weekend….

anyway, best crack on… I’m knitting a ‘nice long scarf’…. 🙄🤢

Creativity · learning

Always learning

We bought this beauty after Christmas. I’ve had a few plays with it but that’s about it. To avoid arguments it’s put away while the girl is around …. (I’ve just deleted hundreds of pictures of Mia and Me on the tv, chins, noses, random carpet shots… etc etc for my phone, and wiped the weetabix off the screen)

So anyway, after making a clothes drying rack which I’ve been meaning to do for ages I’ve made a nice cup of earl grey and got the camera out. I’ve already failed on two counts, the book says have the manual alongside the book and the battery is really low. Still undeterred I’ve had a bit of a read in the peace and quiet of the wood and played around with the settings to see the difference it makes.

I’ve watched some YouTube tutorials and info on the camera and I think I’m getting to grips with the different terms, what they mean and what they do… mostly in theory! And now I’m reading about white balance….

All of this might seem a bit off subject but since I take most of the photos of my stuff myself I want them to be the best photos I can achieve. And anyway I love learning, even when I don’t get it, even when the words swim around the page, even when it feels like a foreign language I keep going because slowly but surely things fall into place.