learning · Life

Do the math

Tonight is about knowing my limits and respecting them. I’m really enjoying knitting the glorious tank in Erika Knight’s Artisan, I just want to keep going and going with it. Trouble is I’ve got to a bit where I need to work out EXACTLY what needs to happen.

It’s been a lovely but long day that started with me dropping off the little one early at a friends house so I could teach spin. A wonderful day with my friend followed out and about with the little ones. Now it’s late, I’ve got to learn some choreography for some other classes I teach and my brain is just fried.

Now is NOT the time to be working on the pattern, especially with my imaginative grasp of maths. Now is not the time for multitasking or trying to get MORE done. Now is to consolidate what I know and leave what I don’t know until tomorrow.

For years I’ve tried to fight this, tried to squeeze more out of the pint pot. On the surface it seems like it can be done. We get lots done, we meet deadlines, achieve, achieve, achieve. Long term we are just stealing from ourselves.

I’ve spent more years than I care to remember being chronically tired; why? I was robbing myself of sleep, by staying up too late, being so wired when I finally turned in my sleep was long jn coming and patchy. Why? Because I felt this level of activity, of getting stuff done could somehow validate me. Prove something; I never actually got as far as thinking what exactly I was proving.

So, I’ll be going to bed in a bit, snuggling up under my glorious weighted blanket (wonderful birthday present from my husband) my sleep is so much better! And I’m working on letting things wait. Not rushing to get things done while missing out on the enjoyment of doing. Knitting has taught me that and I am so very grateful 🙏🏼

Creativity · Designing · Life

Making it

Today while having a tidy up I found the drawing of the Maxi Ear Warmer. I love drawing. And look how it turned out! I reflected, rather smugly, that I am achieving much of what my teen self wanted; although I wondered if my teen self would be particularly overjoyed. True, I am a designer, musician and fitness professional, however my teen self would have wanted ‘famous’ to preface those professions. That fame was as important as the actual thing that earned it. I guess it’s part of being young. Now in my 40’s I’m delighted I can pretty much do what I like. We have enough.

This got me thinking about the idea of ‘making it’, you know when people say they want to ‘make it’ as a singer/designer/artist/whatever. The idea of being a celebrity/household name/whatever for doing something. How hollow, how temporary and how little it has to do with the act of creating something. There are many many artisans /artists etc who pretty much do what they like and have enough to live but whom few people have heard of.

Our little girl has recently started playing ‘pop stars’ with her friends at school. I’m not entirely sure what this entails. And so it starts again. I hope I can help her see that it’s the act of doing that’s the important bit, not the fame that might or might not come as a result. And why is that important? Because when ‘Making It’ is measured by fame and mass recognition by oneself and others it’s too easy to be encouraged to have ‘back up plans’. My back up plans sucked and brought me very little happiness; I wish I’d had the confidence at the time to accept my own judgement as valid enough rather than relying on external recognition.

Knitting · Life

Here again!

I’m here again at the beautiful campsite in cornwall. This time my husband is here which is lovely; we’ve done a bit or busking and I’ve done a whole load of knitting. We’ve eaten ice cream, played push-penny in the arcades, bought tat and today, best of all went to The Monkey Sanctuary. (Seriously, who the hell keeps a monkey as a pet!?🤬)Oh and we had a wonderful Indian meal out.

I’ve finished knitting a scarf and started on a child’s version of the same; can’t promise these items won’t have bits of grass knitted into them and I’m pretty sure they’ll smell a bit of wood smoke! Seriously I wash stuff before I sell it!

Right now I’m laying in our tent listening to the rain… I love that sound. We’ve been visited by a huge hedgehog and the little one has made friends with a bunch of kids also staying here. She’s asleep next to me as there was a spider in her tent. My baby, brave enough to sleep in her own tent, except for tonight when she was chased out by s spider! 🕷 She’s growing up so fast.

Creativity · Designing · Knitting · Life

R&R

I’m having a wonderful time with our little girl camping. It’s a fantastic site, right by a river in the woods… fires allowed and a toilet and shower block, what more do you need?

Last night after setting up camp we went for a riverside walk in the wood. We ate the sweetest blackberries (which we had with our breakfast) and then we saw real live, flapping around our heads bats 🦇😁.

Today little one has made friends and is running around have a ball and I’m taking in the view while I work up the ‘Flame’ scarf in a different yarn, seeing how the pattern works and how much yarn it takes. I love this bit of the design process, it’s always more interesting that the first time around, sometimes making little adjustments, sometimes frogging because it just doesn’t work for some reason 🐸.

Life is good.

Home · Knitting · Life

Supervising & not looking

This weekend has been hectic. The girl has a better social life than me, mind you that’s not difficult.

Towards the end of the day she was playing outside with a friend. They’re still too young to be playing out near the road on their own and it was cold so I climbed into my trusty (not rusty) van and watched.

I’m working on some gorgeous soft storage pots in a super chunky merino / acrylic mix. It’s a great yarn, basically you’re knitting an i-cord and it’s really robust.

It was lovely to be knitting the Freyja pattern again. It’s got a wonderful rhythm to it. Also I can knit without looking, well for most of the time anyway. So I watched as they gathered up all sorts of stuff from the house, dumping it on the grass verge in some elaborate game. It was fascinating to watch but I didn’t want them to feel watched. Wouldn’t have happened if I’d been scrolling through my phone at the time….

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.

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I know how to partay!!!!

No really, I’m just some kinda wild child. Somebody hold me back …. yeah!!!!

Because only the coolest, badass party animals take blondies, knitting and decaf tea bags to a party….oh and did I mention, we sorted buttons into colour tones. I was dressed like some one out of Dexy’s Mindnight Runners and believed (while stone cold sober) my host when she said she’d been out with Ant from Ant n Dec- I had a BRILLIANT time!!!!! THANK YOU!

It reminds me of the parties I’d have back in Cornwall when, come a certain hour people would start sorting the bottles and stuff into the recycling and start washing the dishes…..

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The Power of One

Today I was delighted to give these beauties to my good buddies Sonia and G. I think they liked them too, well they certainly liked the cans of G&T inside!!

I’ve enjoyed working on the ‘Cup Cosy’ (purple) and the ‘Mug Mitt’ (brown). The cup cosy is a simple sleeve while the mug mitt comes with little pockets to keep your fingers warm. I’m going to knit one for me next.

I know some coffee shops offer a discount if you bring your own cup but even if they don’t you can just enjoy the knowledge that it’s one less cup to landfill. Now I’m sourcing bamboo reusable cups…..

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Time for reflection and celebration.

This time of year is a time for reflection for many of us, a time for stopping and taking stock. We had a wonderful family celebration in our woods. It was magical and a complete contrast to the run up to Christmas where both my husband and I had been working at such a hectic pace. It’s the nature of our work so the quiet of Christmas is most welcome.

I have such plans for 2018; so many it feels like sometimes my head is spinning. There is so much I want to do and achieve it would be easy to get lost. So it’s a time for planning, reflecting on what is REALLY important, what resonates. To go with the heart. I have never been terribly good at doing things that don’t resonate, and the times I have I’ve just become terribly unhappy and ill.

So before I start, before we step through the door to 2018, I have stopped. I have become my own still point, listening to what calls me, draws me the most and for me it’s important to always be learning.

Top of my list is deepening my Yoga and Qi Gong practice. Somewhere on the list is the rapid induction / street hypnosis course. And of course most important of all, my wonderful family. Which brings this to a close, it’s nearly 6, my husband has built a fire outside, I’m waiting for the chips to par-boil, and we’ve got friends coming over for New Year Celebrations.

So let’s take the learnings from 2017 into 2018 and have a wonderful 2018

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Enough is a feast – part 1

IMG_5286I will start with a story

I was lamenting that I needed to go shopping for clothes, something I really don’t enjoy and a friend suggested I go to a well known budget fashion store as everything there was so cheap you could buy more.  Like some how it was better to have three of the same top.  I’m not going to go into how well made the stuff might be, or how they come to be made so cheaply, the real question is ‘for what purpose?’  What do we achieve by collecting more of stuff we don’t actually need?

That is one of wonderful by-products if you like of making.  It brings us closer to the truth of things. If you a have knitted each and every stitch of a sweater, it is thus imbued with a value.  If a small hole appears, you fix it, you don’t throw it away.  Once you have hand knitted a thing, other, non hand knitted things can also hold that value.  That’s not to say I don’t buy a cheap sweater, but I do so with knowledge, I buy only what I need, I repair things.  In addition, once you have hand knitted something, you don’t usually go knit half a dozen more because the yarn was cheap.  You spend your time wisely, knitting stuff that you will love.  And it doesn’t stop with hand crafts.

Another story – I was having a tea party and  decided to cook some millionaires shortbread, you know, shortbread, covered with caramel, covered with chocolate. It took 2 packs of butter, over half a large bag of sugar and a of couple cans of condensed milk. They were lush. I enjoyed every mouthful.  But each mouthful contained a truth.  After physically putting all the ingredients together it was impossible to not realise, to not know exactly how full of fat and sugar these wonderful little sticky melt in the mouth  moments actually were. That’s not to say you don’t eat them, but you eat them knowing, really knowing the truth of them.

Modern day life means that we are often disconnected from the truths of our life, the clothes we wear, the food we eat.  We buy throw away clothes,  eat pre-prepared meals, have the heating on full in winter so we can wear a t shirt around the house, we waste stuff, we lie to ourselves about the impact of this on our lives. By getting closer to the truth of things we can better know ourselves, which may not always be comfortable, but it also brings with it a freedom. Making stuff, not just knitted stuff, brings with it the opportunity to get closer to these truths and with that a simpler life. And for me, that has to be a good thing.

So that’s one of the many reasons I make things I love, why I unravel things to make more things I love, that I think others will love.  It makes life better.