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Making Distractions

Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man.  It happens to nearly everyone.  You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite.  It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms.  The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet.  Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn;  it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes.  A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber.  The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale.  And then – the glory – so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes.

Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished.  And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories.  It is a lonely thing but it  relates us to the world.  It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.

John Steinbeck  East of Eden

Tom, the third son, was most like his father.  He was born in fury and he lived in lightning.  Tom came headlong into life.  He was a giant in joy and enthusiasms.  He didn’t discover the world and its people, he created them.  When he read his father’s books, he was the first.  He lived in a world shining and fresh and as uninspected as Eden on the sixth day.  His mind plunged like a colt in a happy pasture, and when later the world put up fences he plunged against the wire, and when the final stockade surrounded him, he plunged right through it and out.  And as he was capable of giant joy, so did he harbor huge sorrow, so that when his dog died the world ended.

John Steinbeck East of Eden

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What passages!  What more can I say?  These are the things I want to say and Steinbeck just says them so perfectly.  These are my deepest inclinations.  I have immersed myself in making, loosing doubts and fears in the act of creating.  No direct goals, no real intent, just the act of pushing something inside me to the outside.

Ready to fill up again no doubt!

 

 

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Happy New Year

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.

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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!

Christmas Magic and Madness

Is it me or does something happen in Setpember which causes the rest of the year to slip by as if on greased wheels?  Why do the last 4 months of the year zoom by?  Comparatively the first 4 months of the a new year sort of bump along as if travelling over a rutted farm track.  Oh well, I am not going to change it, so I must accept it, even as a bystander just standing almost clear of the escalator.

Lets start with carnival.  I took Mollie to Glastonbury Carnivalway way back in November.  It was a huge effort and freezing cold, but just magical!  I can’t think which I enjoyed more – her face or the huge effort and time put in to the floats.  Always a spectacle but especially seen through the eyes of a child (sorry, young adult)!

Most importantly the vest BEST event of the year.

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Then there was the show.  The slow show.  Unfortunately it was the weekend between black friday and cyber monday!  Enough said.  However I met some lovely people and traders (also people – incidentally).  Overall a bit disappointing but I would do it again as its a local show.

So it looks like loads, and maybe thats where the time went?  But it has taken me so long to recover!  I am still battling with nausea and exhaustion on a daily basis.  I have new tablets to take which have helped a bit.  Pacing myself is something I dont excel at.  In fact I hardly know how to do it!  But I am going to have to make a pact, if not friends with this new state of being if I am going to get anywhere.  Mind over matter does not apply when my body is working against my mind all the time.  My body is not making a terrible fuss, I admit, currently we are getting along, mostly, but this debilatating exhaustion and now nausea are the check point in every day.  When energy is a limited resource I need to learn to spend it wisely.  This I find upsetting.  I mean cancer would be ok if one didnt feel so dreadful some of the time.  Like childhood, wellness is becoming a dim and distant memory.

But I do count my blessings so to speak.  I am still active and I do still achieve.  Mostly this activity keeps me positive and forward looking.  An altered state of being is a strange concept to live with.  Like watching yourself and how you react without being fully present.

Odd.

 

 

New Stuff

October 28th is now a very important date to add to our family diaries.  On this day little Verity entered our lives in person.

 

What can I say?  Everything and absolutely nothing.  No words can sum up this occasion.

It was not an easy ride and for a while a very scary one for baby and mum.  However, we are on the mend and we are all getting used to new stuff.

On my needles?  Possibly a few baby knits(??!!!) and just maybe a few more in the pipeline??  Knitting for a small person is such a wonderful activity.  Anticipation in every stitch.  Choosing colours now we have met her, choosing patterns, yarns and needles.  everything done in small!

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I have also been knitting like mad for my upcoming Christmas craft show.  I want to take my knitted pouches and cardigans alongside the yarn.  Where energy is a limited resource these days I have to learn discipline,(often lost in translation to life), to be realistic about what can actually be achieved in a day, rather than what I desire to be achieved in a day.  Between the 2 is a rather large gap.

I look forward to handknitting in the evenings.  Peaceful, repetitive, soothing.  It is my comfort habit.

Autumn this year has been spectacular.  All the fire colours lining the fields.  Glorious.  Exciting.  Inspiring.

 

 

Hanging The Washing out

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.

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Wordpress Sept 24 016

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!

Wordpress Sept 24 005

Wordpress Sept 24 005

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!!).

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Wordpress Sept 24 010

A Challenging Day

Goodbye Stitch 024Today 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.

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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.

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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.

Lost in Stitches

Lost in Stitches of every kind.

Knitting.  I have found my complete love of this craft again.  Not just in the mindless, habit formed repetitive actions, but the absolute joy of yarns, colours, and the slow making of stitches, one by one.  Combinations of colours or textures.  What can be achieved by two sticks and some lovely string.  Slow production made by repeating methodologies stitch by stitch.  Sensuous pleasure induced by making.  The shawl is made with my handspun and hand dyed fibre.

Sewing.  Autobiographical recordings of daily walks.  Again, the step by step repetition of a meditative action keeping pace with my steps and thoughts.  This series of textile recordings have become something of their own thing,  I simply have become the tool of their making.  I am fasinated to see the years work as a whole.  Currently I am working on number 46, so my year is almost up.  What then?

Somerset beaches?

Stitch.  Ummmmm……. Beautiful, elegant, bouncy, challenging, noisy, affectionate, and so on.  Equally driving me loopy and filling me with love.  Stitch is firing on ALL cylinders.  She is growing at a phenomenal rate.  When I bought her collar, I gave it 6 months.  Well lets just say that it possibly has just 2 weeks left.  Her age?  Oh, just 14 weeks yesterday!

We took a trip to Kilve.  Kilve is an absolute favorite place of mine.

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