Here is wishing you all a very happy new year!
Its always fasinating to think of what the year ahead might hold. This time last year we did not know that our bonny adorable baby girl would join us. So the beginning of this year is full of beautiful liquid smiles and occasional protests which state clearly that the available staff are simply not fulfilling their duties fast enough! We try…………
Christmas was spent house sitting. It was peaceful and a lovely change. New walks for the dogs and us. Evenings spent knitting in a different setting. Refreshing.
We had a family meal when my son and his wife came down from the Isle of Skye, it was so good to see them. Island life has fully infiltrated them, running through their blood in every sense. Their remote croft on the north of the island sits next to the sea and re-defines the term ‘windy’. They describe the boulders which have to be placed on absolutely everything to keep within walking distance! The pictures of their life and views are the stuff that dreams are made of, it is simply stunning.
To start the new year I decided to follow a tradition which I started when the children were young. We went to one of my favorite places in Somerset, Kilve. The rocks and contours of this landscape never fail to inspire.
I thought perhaps that this year I should try to revisit places which resonate with me deep down. Places to revisit which touch me deeply for one reason or another. All of these are not too far from where I live. I have never yearned for far off places, I have never been on a plane, I just live and love the areas around me.
I have been using up my stock of wool in creative ways. Finishing another batch of cardigans and dyeing them for a shop in London where they sell well. Each individually handmade, dyed and finished.
I have plans afoot for smaller projects and very individual ‘art’ pouches and bags. Landscapes, lines made by walking and a tribute to local, in every sense.
I do wish creative dreams being realised for everyone for 2019. Let the journey continue!
Today is beautiful. The best of autumn, crisp and clear with stunning displays of glorious colour everywhere you look.
We had a grim weekend with non stop rain for nearly 48 hours. We also had an upsetting (and expensive) incident involving squirrels and rusty barbed wire. Two surgeries later with a hefty bill we are now feeling better. Mostly we are on crate rest, but under supervision while its sunny, soaking up the last of the summer warmth seems like a beneficial healing strategy.
With the next lot of blood results due this week I find I am restless. The uncertainty is unsettling at best. Time is now chopped into short fat blocks of weeks. Learning to live with a deteriorating future is tricky at best. I have found huge therapy in concentrating on various projects. Making stuff by hand concentrates my mind and requires my full attention. This especially so when my bones are loosing strength so that jobs which I have never engaged any thought in, now require methodical step by step concentration.
Here are some of my knitted panels ready to be made into my new zipped, lined pouches. I have had so much encouragement for these I am making more.
I have a shaming amount of ‘stuff’. I am doing what craft fairs I think I can manage. This has actually been an amazing experience. From the least expected places have come such wonderful support and kindness. I have been humbed by a few people these last few weeks. You know who you are, but I have to record my heartfelt thanks to Maggie, Rebecca and Sharon in particular. Guys you are true lights.
Meanwhile I can hang my washing out – literally!
Next week I will know what the following few weeks will hold. Strange, this way of thinking. All decisions out of my control and yet somehow I keep planning my life. Our new baby (my 4th granddaughter) is due in October (towards the end) and this event has been my ‘carrot’ since January. This wonderful event certainly puts everything else into perspective. What a wonderful event to focus on.
In the meantime, I keep making….. (going to have to use a horsebox to transport all the baby gear if shes late!!).
Today is a huge challenge for me. I have to behave myself with incredible self control. Today my adorable special pup who is now 16 months old is going to live with her auntie as her new forever home.
I love this pup beyond reason. It is because I love her so much that I am doing the best thing for her. This is a raw post.
My dreams now fix on my new granddaughter and making is such a salve.
My other granddaughters have on going projects with me making stuff together. Here is the quilt of the eldest so far, 9 months in the making together. We have chosen and stitched new (chosen by her fabrics), together with fabrics used in her mum’s quilt, new baby quilt and cousins quilt. Some I have done (sashing) the rest she has done. This is indeed a MEMORY CLOTH.
These small makings give me focus and occupation. The planning and joy of making. It keeps lead weight weariness at the door instead of allowing it to consume me. The biggest battle is in my head. This is more challenging when my physical expectations of myself can not be coerced into cooperating. But just one small project at a time. One or two fat quaters a month, a few rows of a shawl, a couple of pages of reading at one sitting. This and music. I listen to music while I make and it lifts me.
Setting new goals, learning new skills, polishing skills, these things all help to bring focus and a sense of achievement to any week. I simply refuse to open the door to ‘whats the point’ syndrome. If it comes to it, what is the point in anything? Because we care and learn to love and this is what is important.
I was born in Weymouth many years ago. The Jurassic coast line holds a deep resonance for me. I never fail to feel refreshed, inspired renewed from just being ‘home’.
This fueled some work based on grids and rust and water. I work with the effects of time mostly thee days in my art and so the process is slow and meditative. I hand stitch.
Hand stitching, hand spinning, hand dyeing, hand knitting, drawing, markmaking, walking. All these activities have become part of my existence from week to week, part of a ritual I suppose. Time. Time spent, taking time, making time, documenting time, marking time, journeys in time, remains of time, impact of time.
“Either way, this world
has picked me enough times for its madness vase
for me to know sanity is not
running from the window when the lightening comes.
Its turning thunder into grace,
knowing sometimes the break in your heart
is like the hole in the flute.
Sometimes it’s the place
where the music comes through.
Andrea Gibson. The Madness Vase.
I am building up confidence through small insignificant tasks which give me time for a meditative approach to the everyday. Exploring what its like to be me and do the things I enjoy again. I enjoy much more, much more!
What a seductive habit rushing has become. It is a default setting. If I feel insecure, or inadequate I find myself speeding up, rushing to fit as much in 24 hours as possible! Not only is this unproductive but it adds chaos into my head, making it feel more full than it actually is!
I am no master at this, but as a discipline I try everyday to set aside half an hour or so to just do something slowly, carefully, thoughtfully. Today I ventured to Pinterest…………. (more than half an hour………….).
Re-entering my life after a period of absence. Trying myself out again. Do I still engage with knitting, spinning, art, creativity? How have these elements changed in my life during my period of vacation?
Let me re-introduce myself. I am re-grounding. I set up perimeters to establish routine, ritual, habits. Boundaries and disciplines enabling devices to think straight and channel direction.
First on the list is walking. Daily. Not just walking, which has to be done everyday with the dogs, but walking with awareness and attention. I notice the ordinary becoming extraordinary. Smells, sounds, sights. I am gaining a sense of place which reflects in my work.
Second, I love what is around me and take time to enjoy the everyday stuff of life. Feeding the birds, growing plants, trying to engage with details. I have slowed my pace.
I am working again. Drawing and making art. I established a routine of between 10 and 30 minutes a day. This has become a ritual. Already I have worked everyday for over 22 weeks. To my astonishment I find that I am establishing a body of work. Out of the discipline of everyday work new ideas emerge and forge forward. I am excited and feeling positive. I am becoming the artist I am but it is happening from within, quietly, surely.
Spinning and knitting have slipped into new roles of calm and purpose without any rush, comparison. Like the art, they are acts more of meditation and reflective process than about the need to complete and critique.
I am reading…………….. consuming words and concepts as if I was back at uni again! Discovering like minds and companions who speak the same or similar language to me. Also those who dont. Other minds, disciplines, ways of seeing. Lifelines.
Not so much hands to hold but lights in the darkness.
What strange unpredictable weather May has brought us. A little of every season all jumbled up and selected at random. Regardless, the shearing has started and the sheep are free of their heavy load. The fleece are being picked over and sorted. I have a bubbly feeling! I adore this sorting and selecting and skirting. Probably i should get out more, but hey ho! At least I am happy!
I have started THE solution today with 2 of the most gorgeous soft Shetland fleeces ever! I need the solution is deal with these in a gentle manner, so I start with the finest fleeces. The solution gets fierce as the summer goes on and often i will have to dilute it if the fleece is fine. It needs diluting or the fierceness of the mixture can literally eat the fleece. So here is the start of this years cleaning. It felt good!
The large blue barrels are employed again!
Does it say something very large about me that I find this exciting? Just a thought!!!……..
Moving on……. to the weather? Like the weather I am trying little bits of lots of things in no apparent order. Inspiration is coming thick and fast and I have started lots of ideas and patterns.
The barn is full of colour, just like the hedgerows
And the Clematis is stunning and covering the back of the cottage completely!
It’s been a while since you heard from me. I’ve undergone a massive career change, and to say that it’s kept me busy is somewhat of an understatement.
I’ve had a quick look over the past few entries, and it would seem that you guys have been overrun with puppy portraits, but nevertheless on their week birthday, I thought that it was high time I waded in and shared a few pictures, too:
They’re unbelievably small and delightful.
At the moment I want to keep them all, but I’m sure that in a week’s time I’ll be playing a different tune.
When they were being born, this time last week, it was disgusting and amazing in equal part. On the whole, I’m not completely sold on the whole birth/miracle of life thing. It all seems a little bit yucky. Lace didn’t seem to be too sold on it either…
What a glorious start to autumn this year! I feel optimistic and inspired which may not be a good thing for my family! The colours in early turn are gorgeous and they have inspired lots of action on the knitting front.
Here are some new designs and new colourways and inspirations ………
I also recovered from my single crochet attempt which turned into a bathmat. The bathmat is successful since it lies beautifully flat if you stand on it! Result!!
Now I am on to new pastures. I saw the Lorna Doone shawl from Natural Dye Studio and I love it. Being a mostly wild child at heart, everything appeals about this design including the name. So for my second attempt I am trying this. As a ‘ps’ I think possibly one should have crocheted a bit more before attempting this! I have reduced the time on a motif from one and a half days to 4 hours now! And have completed in my fashion 8!! This may be my life times work since there are a lot of motifs in the shawl! BUT I still want it and so will plod on…………..
This morning I dressed for winter.
The skies were overcast, and rain was drizzling down, unrelenting. It was as if the weather had no regard for the fact that it is mid-August, and thus, on all counts, the middle of summer.
Alas, I pulled on jeans and a jumper and ambled off to work.
The day passed, and I gave no more thought to Britain’s cruel and taunting weather systems. I stepped out of work none the wiser, but ho, BLUE SKIES were there to meet me.
I dashed back out to our rural abode, and we did what we always do, and took the pack out for a walk.
The only interruption to the tranquillity of the Somerset countryside was the determined parping of my mother’s wellies. With every second step, the most almighty farting noise would escape from what she claimed were her aged rain boots.
Birds were singing, grasses rustling, and lo, the trump of rubber on rubber.
The perfect way to unwind from work, no?