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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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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!

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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

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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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Phew!! Almost there……………..

Almost there!  Pups have been leaving for their new lives with the remaining ones mourning their loss.  Fewer pups I thought would be less trouble, but they have more space and are bigger and bolder and…………!

Its exhausting having pups.  I don’t think there is a good time of year.  They are a huge amount of fun alongside destructive, messy and exhausting, and thats before the accidents happen!  They do not have any sense of self preservation and even when you imagine you have everything covered, they will find a way to fall over, bash into each other and generally create havoc.

Then they sleep.

 

A lifestyle choice definitely.  Accessories come cheaper and in less destructive forms.  A puppy is a challenge in just about every possible way.  They will test you to the limit everyday.

Then they sleep.

I can see that life may develope into something resembling normal.  Except that ‘normal’ will now include a small challenge (I say small, but legs are growing at an alarming rate…there must be giraffe in the mix…).

I finished something!!!!  Just have to say it once more.  I FINISHED something!!!

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So, slowly I am developing some ideas into reality and plans afoot include new dyeing plans, new designs AND an exhibition next year.  Well if they dont all get eaten by sharp small teeth that is!!

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Four and a Half Weeks and Growing…..

Pups are growing and adventuring now.

Playing at eating………….

Playing at playing………

Looking cute!!

This is how I found Granny

And mum

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Pictures speak volumes!

Other work:  Sorrell dyeing, blanket patches and sketchbook.

To be honest most of the time is taken up with canines at the moment and to finish this week here are some portraits of some of the pups:

This boy we call Bobby because it rhymes with Dobby, his grandfather.

Tabitha who is behaving beautifully this week!  No longer the mischief maker.  Very friendly and fun with a beautiful coat.

Balou!  Mr I AM JUST SO COOL!!

Bye for now!

3 Week Characters

How quickly things change.  The weather in particular.  The pups as a good second.  Politics and current affairs.  I can not bring myself to talk about the awfulness recently in London and Manchester.  Grief and horror do not even come close.

Life continues albeit with more grey.  Things that are important we hold a little closer perhaps.  I am grateful for the things which make me smile.

At 3 whole weeks now we have little characters forming, opinions being voiced and bouncing being practiced.  So many legs and tails these days!

As you can tell, taking photos has become nearly impossible!  They are way too busy to pose!  So my solution is one at a time;

This little boy reminds me of his grandfather.  He is pretty and very serious!

This little girl is adorable.  Chestnut at the moment.  A sweet person, not a trouble maker – so far……

This stunning boy has the longest coat in the litter.  He is again, a sweet person, not a trouble maker, not too opinionated…….yet!  He is paler than his look-alike sister.

Another little boy.  Very pretty this one very gentle and sweet person.

Well, what can I say?  She is strikingly pretty, and has to be!  We have nick named her Tabitha as she looks like a tortoishell cat and sounds like one at times too.  This little girl is first up, last back and has opinions about absolutely everything, whether asked or not!  She is a character!

Merlin.  He is spoken for.  He is playful but not pushy, he is very drawn to people and loves cuddles!  I think he will be spoilt!  He is lighter than he was but has a gorgeous coat and dark markings.

The first pic shows the correct colour.  This girl will be blonde.    Mrs playful and curious.

The blondest in the litter.  This chap will have a long coat and he is so so pretty!  Mr laid back.

This girl is reserved.  No name yet.

Phew!  Does that make 9 or 28?

Other things, here is the Euphorbia dyed fabric which is amazing!

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Here are other plays;

And to prove that officially hats are no longer my only nervous habit!

Re-entering

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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