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Did you know this blog has been going for four years?!? That’s a lot of yarn, knitting, spinning and nonsense. I have been wondering whether or not to continue, I mean why on earth do I do it? Some of you lovely readers have been with me since the beginning (for which you really should be awarded some kind of endurance prize) and others might dip in and out occasionally. Altogether there are, on average, 16,000 of you a year (well not so many the first couple of years but now that seems to be my stable readership). Thank you, having just gone to find that out, I’m pretty astounded to be honest.
But back to my wondering about blogging and life and the universe in general. Well, just the former really. I started a video blog for a couple of weeks, however I have decided not to continue, for several reasons. Firstly, it’s more work over an intense period. I thought talking to camera would be easier than actual writing, energy wise, but as it happens, this is less tiring. Then there’s the exposing factor. I mean you get to see me with all my stutters, pauses and sniffs (I discovered I do that a lot!) whereas there’s a chance to edit this (I know you can edit videos but I have no idea how to and no inclination to find out). So I think the blog is the way forward for now.

Right, now we’ve sorted out that dilemma, let’s return to a little yarny chat.

I have two main wips on the needles and one finished object. Joji Locatelli released a new pattern not so long ago (have you noticed she’s one of the pattern monsters? She releases tons of them, I have no idea how she manages it) called ‘I see Spring‘, which is a plainish boxy-style sweater with just a little lace detail at the front neckline. Having some Eden Cottage Titus burning a hole in my stash I thought it would be perfect; I was right! It’s a lovely pattern with some interesting short row shaping and I’m really pleased. I know I’m pleased as I didn’t take it off for about a week after finishing it.

My only misgivings are that I made the sleeves slightly too long, although I quite like that as it makes little ‘hand hugs’, and that the Titus, probably due to the silk content, is very unforgiving. You can see every tiny inconsistency and hiding balls changes is difficult so I think in future I’m going to save it for shawl knitting. I like the boxy shape and the dropped shoulders, especially as it means you don’t have much knitting to do on the sleeves, plus the colour is very wearable. I’m a bit slow to the party as it’s only just dawning on me that I need to knit in colours I actually wear as opposed to any random pretty skein colour.

So I had my usual couple of days of moping about with finished object trauma then started this

which is on its way to being Tegna from Caitlin Hunter (aka Boylandknitworks). After the lace border, it’s a tedious hike through stocking stitch tundra but at least this one has short sleeves (there’s a tiny voice inside reminding me I hate short sleeved tops, but my other ‘this time it’ll be different’ voice is happily drowning that out).

And to see me through the boredom, I’ve started a shawl from Curious Handmade, I’ll tell you more about it next time but here’s a wee photo to keep you going.

WIP crack awaaaay!

Following a change in one of my boobs, I went for a mammogram recently (all clear thankfully) and though I wasn’t unduly worried, while ‘tidying’, aka moving around, some yarn I caught myself thinking ‘if I have cancer then I’m casting on that shawl right away’. That shawl being Exploration Station by Westknits and the yarn being this:

It then occurred to me that this was such a ridiculous thought. Why on earth do I need to wait until I have cancer before I cast on another shawl?

It’s a little like housework; I have never been an especially houseproud kind of person and I can’t imagine lying on my death bed regretting I hadn’t hoovered under my sofa on a regular basis (something that never happens, I know there’s a small dog under there but if it gets cleaned up another one will only appear). Frankly life is too short and energy too precious.

So I’ve eased up on myself WIP-wise, hence two new sock projects, a new spinning one and yarn ordered for another shawl (this time the Transition Stash Buster, yeah I know it says stash buster but you know…).

As someone who has previously worked in mental health, I am all too aware that self imposed rigid rules are a recipe for all kinds of issues including depression and anxiety, certainly as a contributing factor anyway. As I have started noticing mine I’ve realised I have quite a few, from eating pizza only on a Friday night to always getting up out of bed every morning even if it’s to have a cuppa then return back to bed on a bad day.

I think they are a way of creating a sense of control over my life, something that anyone with a chronic health issue struggles with as you never know how you’ll feel tomorrow.

On the whole most of mine are functional. It doesn’t hurt to get up every day, even to discover that it’s a bed day as sometimes I can discover I feel better downstairs, and eating pizza every night is a fast track to heart disease but some I can really do without. So here’s to numerous WIPs, SABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy) and UFOs (unfinished objects).

In the meantime, enjoy a photo of what will soon become a very rare finished object. Happy knitting.

Dear diary…

Oh man I’m having a grumpy day today. Probably not the best time to write a blog then, if you’re a sensible person…I’ve never been accused of being sensible so here goes.

I’m not grumpy about anything specific, it’s just a day where I find most people annoying.

One of the reasons I object strongly to the idea that M.E is a psychological, whether partly or otherwise, is because, to coin a phrase, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. Some of that included learning how to be angry as our culture tends to discourage angry women. We can be kind, compassionate, caring, and within reason funny (although not too much as that would be threatening right?), but not angry. 

So I quite enjoy it now, as long as I don’t act inappropriately it’s kind of fun, and feels a little like being naughty.

Right onto ‘proper’ stuff. I realised that this blog is becoming more about M.E (me me meeee!) than anything else and as it reflects what’s going on here then it’s pretty inevitable. Life is very dictated by my health and my activities shaped accordingly.

It’s been a very quiet weekend as Mr Weaving Heart kindly drove me all the way to Inverness on Friday for a posh haircut. Now this is a big trip for me and requires resting before and afterwards. My hair is one of the ways I’ve adjusted things to fit with my health, I now have short hair (and getting shorter) as it’s so much easier to look after and I was slightly anxious about how I would manage sitting in the hairdressers for a wee while. I get orthostatic intolerance – basically unable to remain upright – so wasn’t sure how this would be but it actually went fairly well. One of the paradoxes of M.E is that I can run on adrenaline, and do this for quite a while, adding, of course, to the myth that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. It’s very useful as long as I don’t do it too often and this was one of those days; my hair cut took less time than expected so I had a little spare time before my lift arrived and quite happily walked over the bridge and back feeling ‘normal’. It was lovely and quite bittersweet as it reminds me of how I used to feel prior to chronic illness.

Contrary to how I may come across, I’m actually very content with life. It’s been five years (five years!!) since I was diagnosed and having travelled through the various lifestyle changes that come with this, I’m now very grateful I don’t have to force myself to work anymore. I have a comfortable and safe (especially important as so many don’t) home with a life partner who accepts my illness and doesn’t see it as defining me.

Everything from Netflix and social media all contribute to a sense of community as well. There are some great M.E groups on Facebook and I’ve just started participating in ‘Spoonie Mail’ where I exchange proper letters (I know right? Such a long time since I’ve done that other than the odd card to family) with others living with health conditions. It like having lots of pen pals all over again and writing letters gives me a good way of hopefully bringing a little joy into someone else’s life; I know how exciting it is to get post that doesn’t arrive in a brown envelope.

Right, as I need to add a few photos to this I’ll give you a brief update on my FO’s and WIPs. Firstly, I didn’t  immediately cast on that shawl I mentioned last time but managed to get the socks finished.

I’m a complete convert to the Fish Kiss Lips heel after my friend recommended it. It’s so much quicker than a more traditional heel flap gusset thing except I’ve discovered that unless I ensure my measurements are completely on point then they don’t fit well. It’s less forgiving, as I discovered with this pair – one sock fits perfectly, the other is slightly shorter and is, well, annoying. I guess I could frog the toe and reknit but life really is too short.

So having completed a project I had the perfect reason to start a new one, never mind the half dozen or so that are currently on the needles. So here’s my Peachy shawl, using the yarn originally intended for a cardigan (Shusui) that was completely frogged.

It’s very similar to the cardigan pattern, being written by the same designer, and is a top down brioche garter stitch combo. It’ll be very snuggly when finished and hopefully perfect for keeping my shoulders cosy in bed.

Right plenty enough for now, I hope you’re having a slightly less grumpy day and I’ll be back very soon. Thanks for reading.

I found my fade

I’ve been putting this post off because I have no lovely, artfully arranged and lit photos to accompany it. However, my body has conspired against me and I’ve been too ill to take any except for one above which is a pre-blocked snap.

Anyway, I decided to go for it nevertheless and will attempt to use words to describe the deliciousness that is my ‘Find Your Fade‘ shawl, an achingly hot right now pattern on Ravelry.

I think knitters love it so much because it uses seven+ skeins of hand dyed sock yarn that encourage you to play with colour and use your individuality to create your very own version. The pattern is essentially very simple; an elongated triangle shaped shawl with sections of garter and easy (think k2tog and yo repeated) lace. The fun bit comes with the ‘colour melting’ where you blend one skein with the next to fade from one colour another. It works with solid, semi-solid and speckled yarn equally well as well as a blend of all three. 

I chose some gorgeous yarn from Skein Queen and used my first single ply yarn (I know, right?). I’ve avoided it as I was worried it wouldn’t hold up but actually it’s perfect for a shawl. 

There’s also a skein from Clover Cottage Yarns, a smooshy yellow and grey, and I ended up swapping the one on the far left for one from Burrow and Soar as I fancied a variegated yarn instead of the original semi-solid. 

I’m over the moon with it, it’s huge. Like 3m long huge and perfect for winding around my neck to keep me snuggly in bed.

Which is good as I’m spending quite a lot of time there right now. I’m not great symptom-wise right now and have had periods where Mr Weaving Heart has had to cut up my food and stuff. Not great but it will pass and having a fabulous new shawl makes everything better.

I’m on a shawl splurge and have immediately cast on another one, this time the glorious Eyeball Shawl from Stephen West. Now I’ve been a little reluctant to leap into his patterns as neons aren’t really my thing but they are ingenious and I’m now a convert to speckled yarn, if not the eye aching colours associated with his creations.

It’s a super clever construction and apart from the central puckering which, ahem, reminds me of something I’d rather not say here, is going very well.

Anyway, that’s enough for now and I’ll show off some proper pics of my FYF shawl very soon…

Sumptuous Summer Socks

What does a girl need in the middle of a British heat wave that has even reached up to the far north but a pair of hand knitted wooly socks. I finally finished a pair of vanilla socks that have been on the needles since about February (when wooly hand knitted socks may have been a little more appropriate). I used some yarn bought on our trip to London (for the Lightning Process training) from Loop and I can’t remember for the life of me what it’s called, sorry (blogger fail, again). Anyway, enjoy a pic:

Ok, I admit it, the socks are a ploy. I’ve been blogging just long enough to know that a pretty photo of yarny stuff will grab your attention. I also know that a mention of the lightning process makes for lots of views, randomly.
So let’s talk about what’s really important right now. Not yarn, although life enhancing, not essential. Not the lightning process, although more than life enhancing, this isn’t what is on my mind today.
A friend shared a link to a broadcast by Jon Snow, a news presenter, who has just returned from Gaza. It made me cry. In fact, just watching the news recently makes me cry.
Now I, despite being a well educated professional who likes to think I am well informed, ashamedly knows very little about Israel and Gaza. I do know that for as long as I can remember the Middle East has been on the news and I have zoned it out for being impossibly complicated. I have no idea who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’; I assume there are many aspects to each side and I do believe that it is likely that we are only fed information that supports a particular Western agenda.
So I don’t want to discuss the politics of it, or do I? Because when children are needlessly (is there ever a need?) dying then just how long do I, as an individual, sit by and do nothing. When people are being denied the right to proper medical care such as effective pain relief, where is the tipping point into taking action? Well for me, watching this today was it. As usual when seeing this kind of atrocity, there is the accompanying sense of utter powerlessness and the urge to leap on the next plane to go and…do what exactly? So I did what most Westerners, when faced with this dilemma, does. I donated some money. Not much, certainly not compared to the luxury I live in. I am surrounded by creature comforts, I have access to medication, (too much) good food and clean water and I sleep safely next to my loved one. For those ‘living’ in Gaza, I imagine that none of these are widely available so parting with a few pounds is insignificant really. I donated to Medecins Sans Frountieres;lots of people do remarkable things for this charity so the charity can do remarkable things for people. If you would like to read about an example of this, have a look this blog, a woman well known in the knitting world who is undertaking a very very long bike ride to raise money for MSF.
Have a think about donating, it made me feel fractionally less powerless.
If you would like, let me know via the comments and the socks could be yours.