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Life; based on a true story.

When I was studying Fashion at Falmouth School of Art, I loved to look at the design books of the designers…  I loved the wonderful fashion illustration, the mood boards and so on.  In my year there was a girl there who used to do the most striking design drawings, I can’t remember her name, it was a long time ago.  Many years on here I am with a list of colours and a question mark as to whether to use Mallard with the storm or Ice Gem…. Oh yes, that decision I made … I decided that the Flax needed to go and replaced it with Storm.  I’m still sad that I’ve not included Marni – the wonderful red in the Erika Knight Collection.

So I’ve got my designs, I’ve knitted them in a super chunky yarn but not the Erika Knight yarn so it’s the moment of truth.  When the yarn arrives I’ll cast on and see if my designs and the patterns I’ve sketched out work.  The Erika Knight comes up a bit smaller than the Super Chunky I’ve used for the ‘roughs’ – I’ve tried to allow for that.  I’m also working on different sizes for the Cape,  working up a UK 8-12 and a 14 -18.

It’s a process you never get to see in the books about fashion designers, I guess a list with errors and question marks might not portray the right image!  That’s a shame. We create myths around things where errors and questions are erased… that’s so often true in the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we tell others. The best we are able to offer is as Derran Brown said in his show one based on a true story.  We leave the bits out that don’t suit us at the time for better or for worse.

Facebook and other social media gives us the edited highlights of others lives.  I know for myself  that every now and then when ‘Timehop’ presents me with a picture full of happiness and good times I was having a pretty miserable day.  I’ve since endeavoured to make my posts more authentic.  On the flip side, the stories I tell myself about myself, when examined are not accurate either, you know the sort, when you’re having a bad day and make it worse by falling into the ‘worst person in the world’ hole. So here I am, in my 40’s and in everything I do I try to find the truth of things. Not the ‘based on a true story’ truth but a truth borne out of examining facts with understanding and a critical eye.

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Sometimes we all do…

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People who know me know that sometimes I can get a bit ‘stabby’, They know that I am far from being some kind of serenity guru.  So if you’re reading and enjoying my blogs, thank you, I appreciate it and you need to know that things get under my skin… first world things. Like……

  1. People who don’t say thank you – like how hard is it? Two. Words.
  2. When people seem to go out of their way to be unhappy, like the guy who used to come to my  Body Pump class, stand directly under the speaker and then complain the music was too loud Every, Single. Class
  3. When people wait until the lights have turned green before even thinking about getting into gear.  Seriously, it’s not a surprise is it?!

Now some days these things don’t bother me,  other times they do. And then I have to have a word with myself.

  1. Sometimes I don’t say thank you.  Some times I have so much on I forget those 2 words.
  2. Although I have NEVER been able to send something to my printer and then walk away and come back to it being printed, I still merrily click print, walk away and then get really cross when I come back and for some mystical reason the thing has stopped printing.
  3. Sometimes I don’t get into gear on time, Sometimes I’m miles away, in a world of my own.

While I’m having a word with myself, I remind myself that all of this is so petty anyway, none of it really matters. What I also remind myself is that underneath we all have our struggles, I am no more or less flawed than anyone else. When it comes to sharing ideas as to how to live a calmer and happier life, I am in as good a position as anyone.  I know how it feels to be a bit ‘stabby’,  I know some things that can help.  And then I reach for my knitting.

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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.