Monthly Archives: February 2014

Anticipation

We have a new member of the family joining us next week, a Louet David floor loom. Needless to say, I AM VERY VERY EXCITED. I’m wanting to weave wider warps and he (he is definitely a ‘he’ not it) will enable me to do this. He also has a shuttle race, this is a kind of ledge the shuttle races along rather than crashing through the warp, something that happens all too frequently at the moment. It makes me very grumpy. Here is the last warp on the table loom.

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I may have already shown you that? Here’s another one just in case…

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I have already wound the first warp for David (excited, moi??). It’s gorgeous!

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Pray for good weather, he’s travelling from Holland and we don’t want him to go missing at sea.

Sunshine and waves

I have been very busy, very happily busy. I have a table at Dornoch Fibrefest on the 15th and 16th March to sell some of my hand dyed yarn which is why my Etsy shop is looking a little neglected; the yarn I’ve dyed recently is ready to be packed up for the Fibrefest and hopefully is more Spring-like.

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I hope you can make it, there will be lots of different suppliers from the Highlands as well as workshops on everything from quilting to upcycling.
The dogs and I have been enjoying the sunshine after our rather damp weekend and the wind blew away any remaining cobwebs, I love the waves when it’s a little rough.

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The pale blue Caithness skies are stunning and today’s walk inspired my latest weaving colour scheme. I’ve tried to reflect the hues of the above photos in this warp which may well be the last one on my table loom…more about that another time…

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A wonderful wet weekend

We had a night over on the West Coast of Scotland this weekend in Torridon. Last November we had a week there but found it rather bittersweet as I wasn’t able to get out and about much so this weekend was a chance to explore some of the places we had wanted to see last time.
I’m maintaining my energy levels and staying comfortable in my body so it’s time to improve my fitness and start to go up a few hills.
Saturday brought lots of rain but I like Sir Rannulph Fiennes’ quote:
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing’
and we were covered from top to toe in waterproof outfits.

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I’d like to say I made the most of some of my knitwear but I have to admit I do like fleeces for walking in as they’re lightweight and not too bulky.

The dogs had a great time scampering up and down the hillsides; Bess needed half of the Highlands cutting out of her tummy fur when we arrived home as she discovered that rolling in heather is the Best Thing Ever!

Morning all!

I am sickening full of joy today. I am acutely aware how irritating this can be if you’re in a different place but I want to let all of my kind readers know that the changes brought about since completing the lightning process training are continuing. I’m scheduled for my first follow up phonecall with my trainer later today and I’m looking forward to catching up with her.
I’m just back from walking the dogs after making some bread and setting it aside to prove.

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I’m planning to return to work next week and can’t wait to just get back to ‘normal’ and not feel disabled.
I had a lovely chat with a good friend yesterday and we were discussing what it feels like to be in a wheel chair.
I am fortunate as I’ve only experienced this on a few occasions (one being last week on my journey to London) but my friend described it succinctly in that you stop being a person but become like a package that’s being delivered; you lose some of your humanity.
I am indescribably grateful to be feeling well, just for today.
On the yarn front I’ve woven another length of fabric

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This is my favourite part of weaving:

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Cutting the finished piece off the loom and unwinding it from the front beam is so exciting as unlike knitting, for example, you don’t get to see the results until it’s all done, only a small part and then just one side of it.
This fabric has a warp of 2/8 cotton in a rich purple, blues, dove grey and a little green; the colours pop out much more in real life. The weft is a charcoal cottolin (cotton and linen blend) and it is the first time I’ve worked with this. It didn’t feel as soft before wet finishing but is lovely now. I’m not sure what to do with it!

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It measures 16″ by 120″ and is the wrong colours for more tea towels I think. Any suggestions?

My journey so far

This time last week Mr Knittingkitten and I were on our way to a slightly dodgy B&B in Central London (just behind Buckingham Palace don’t you know?) hardly daring to hope that the reason we were there would be a successful one.

After reaching a point in my life where I was (am? This hasn’t changed…yet) about to lose my job and I had received a little encouragement from someone who cared enough to be persistent I had decided to try something called the Lightning Process, so called because it works so quickly.

There were many reasons why I had doubts about doing it, but thought I really didn’t have much to lose. The first step is to read a book – ‘An Introduction to the Lightning Process’, and I had made this hard work, partly because I have a tendency towards cynicism and also because I found the thought of ‘getting well’ from M.E. overwhelming.

It was very frustrating as no-one will actually tell you what the lightning process is so how can you judge if it will be the right approach for you?

A week later, today I’ve taken the dogs for not one, but two walks, done a fair bit of weaving, made soup, cooked dinner, kept up with Twitter and FB (previously just doing online stuff would have been my limit) and done my lightning process ‘homework’. Now, for those of you who have experienced issues with fatigue/pain, let me make this clear, I haven’t pushed myself, I’m not ‘fighting’ anything, I’ve just been doing what any other healthy, albeit unfit, person might do.

So what has changed in the last week? Maybe I didn’t really have M.E? I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, I definitely had M.E. and that had been confirmed by two GPs and two Consultants. I had all the typical symptoms; the post exertional fatigue, joint and muscle pain, disturbed sleep, digestive problems, brain fog, migraines and a weird kind of sore throat thing.

The lightning process, as I understand it, works by ‘resetting’ your neurological processes. The idea is that the symptoms of M.E are caused by the body’s flight/fight/freeze response getting ‘stuck’ and producing all kinds of unhelpful hormonal and autoimmune issues. By using the process you can change this response and therefor stop the stuff that is making you feel rubbish. This is a very crude description and only my understanding, not a definitive description of the lightning process and the theory behind it.

Understanding it like this works for me; I am a psychotherapist and am very aware of the impact disruptions to our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems can have and a technique called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing is widely evidenced as being useful and is used in the NHS to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder. Like the lightning process, it effectively allows you to establish new neural pathways and integrate experiences.

Now, I’m not about to tell you any more specifics, not because I’ve signed something saying awful things will happen if I disclose details, or because I’m being paid, or even because I’m mean. But because it’s important for anyone who is planning on maybe giving it a go to actually go on the training and learn to do it properly. I read a blog before I went on the training (the Lightning Process is training, not treatment) that described it so I tried what I had read, when it didn’t work I believed the training didn’t work. An analogy they use on the training is that when baking a cake you need the right ingredients, combined in the right order then cooked at the right temperature; when I tried what I thought was the process I didn’t have all of the ingredients and certainly didn’t mix them properly etc etc. 

Two key criticisms of the LP by some people on M.E. forums are firstly that it costs money. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a therapist and if I were working privately I could charge around £45 per session and would expect clients to commit to a minimum of 12 sessions which is an awful lot of money, but this is generally accepted. NHS therapy is largely limited to CBT and often has long waiting lists so clients are happy to pay for good therapy delivered professionally. Also it is recognised that therapy tends to be more successful if people pay so even charities offering therapy, such as Relate, charge on a sliding scale as the client is ‘investing’ in their mental health. Why should it be any different for the lightning process?

Secondly, there are questions  about whether the recovery experienced by people is permanent as maybe if it wasn’t those who had done the process wouldn’t want to admit to being ‘duped’? As I’m only in very early days I can’t answer this one but I can guarantee I will tell you either way, I have no compunction about doing so, believe me! What I do know is that the quality of life I have experienced over the last few days pretty much make it worth while already.

Finally, why isn’t it endorsed by NHS professionals? I don’t have the answer to that. I imagine it is something to do with the same reasons why 12 step programmes (Alcoholics Anonymous for example) aren’t recommended by many working in the alcohol treatment field. I work in this area and am aware of several specialists, both doctors and nurses, who actively discourage attendance at AA, or don’t ‘believe’ in it, despite it being the most effective treatment for alcoholism in the world. Just because we don’t understand anything doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.

My hopes include returning to work as soon as possible, I’m sure my colleagues will be happy to have some of the strain relieved, and I want to climb a mountain or two. 

It’s been a while…

There has been rather a lot of water (rain especially) under the bridge since last we met. I have been on quite a journey in several senses of the word.
Firstly let’s just catch up with my last finished project which is the scarf I showed you on the loom. It is all done and dusted (well not really the latter) and I am vaguely pleased with it. I think the lesson has been that, as with knitting, to follow my inner weaver and pay no heed to stash reduction. It never works. Well, depending on how you define that; I see all yarny adventures as joyful meanderings and that means I need to knit/crochet/weave what I want to, not what I feel I should just because the yarn is sitting on my shelf looking down at me in an accusatory manner saying ‘I’ve been here a while, you ought to use me, you’re a bad owner if you don’t use me NOW, especially before you knit/crochet/weave that project that whispers to your fingers, Heaven forbid you enjoy knitting/crocheting/weaving’ etc etc, I think you get the drift.
Anyway, I digress, this project was definitely a guilt soother. I didn’t really want to weave it, in fact what I really wanted to weave was some more tea towels but the voice telling me to use up some yarn won over.

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I’ve also realised I’m not that keen on overshot as it’s too fussy and ornate for me. I like clean simple lines and this is most definitely not that.
Moving on, we have been to London this week which is a very long way from Caithness both in distance but also in atmosphere. Where Caithness is quiet and laid back, London is fast and noisy; where Caithness is clean and open, in London I don’t think I would know which season it is apart from the difference in temperature; where…you get the drift.
As some readers may already know, I have M.E. The general consensus about M.E. tends towards learning to live within your limits by using pacing and resting appropriately. There are no treatments as such; the NICE guidelines suggest CBT (a talking therapy) and, controversially, something called Graded Exercise Therapy which, in my opinion, recommends the one thing that people with M.E don’t need to do. There are also various treatments or strategies that some people who have recovered from M.E. recommend such as a paleo diet, Mickel Therapy or supplements. Another of these is the Lightning Process, for various reasons I decided this was the one I was going to try.
It’s early days but so far I’m feeling fantastic. We explored lots of London which included a trip to Loop in Islington. Look at all of this wonderful wool!

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Some of it leapt into my bag…leapt I tell you…including this rather fabulous Crazy Zauberball

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As well as some Misti Alpaca sock and some Wollemeise sock yarn, seeing that it is the year of the hand knitted sock in my world. All lovely lovely stuff, I had a very happy time.

Mid week mumbles

Winter is beginning to show signs of remitting; the days are noticeably longer and the bulbs are coming up. It reminds me that everything is transitory and change is inevitable. I have a tendency towards imbalance and remembering that everything shifts weight, eventually, enables me to remain stable…this too shall pass, both bad and good.
Right enough of the hack philosophy and onto what’s importantly, i.e.yarn stuff.
I cut up my lovely woven fabric (ouch that was painful!) into kitchen towels and spent Sunday evening finishing them. I am unhappy with my hemming, it reminds me of sewing together knitted garments until I discovered knitting in the round. I would have all these glorious pieces – sleeves, a front and a back, with neat increases and decreases having taken time to cast off in pattern – only to end up with ugly seams that detracted from the pleasure of finishing a hand knit.

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Despite this I do love them, they are wonderfully soft and aesthetically pleasing yet useful; surely fulfilling the important functions of a handmade item?

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There they are modelling some of our hen eggs! Unfortunately, as they are very hard to part with, I am selling them in my new Etsy shop (WeavingHeart).
My next weaving project is to use up some yarn, here’s a sneek preview.

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