Skyscrapers and String


I forgive myself

Hello everyone.

After watching Susan Sarandon on TV yesterday discussing candidly how her life was made beautiful by all her failures and mistakes I have been struck by the profound nature of her words.

Having the house all to myself this morning has meant I could have a long bath and read uninterrupted for an hour.

I’ve always been a quick reader, and some books are more padded out than others. I’ve been reading a book called “Forgiveness” by Iyanla Vanzant.

This lady is one of my personal heroes, alongside Oprah. Both these ladies are my moms, alongside Flylady.

Her name Iyanla means “Great Mother”, which is appropriate seeing as she grew up without a mother. She has been a dear mentor to me without her knowing, for two decades. She will never know how grateful I am.

In the bath I have read up to about 13 chapters of the book, and as I read through I was thinking yes, uh uh, I get that and so on. I decided to get up and go out and pulled the plug and as I wrapped my hair in a towel, these words popped into my head: “I forgive myself for not trying hard enough”.

The irony of those words hit me like a tidal wave and I was then heartbroken and sobbing my heart out. Readers, if I ever was to criticise myself it would not be for the want of trying hard. My life story if I was to write it out in full would be of the child who tried so hard she nearly died trying.

So that is my lesson for today. I forgive myself for not trying hard enough.

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Who Am I?

Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a super weekend so far. Thank you to those of you who have sent lovely wishes to me after my saying how I was feeling down in the dumps after a rough week at work.

After a long sleep, the alarm went for Jon to get to work, so I sat with him as our loaf of bread baked in the oven. He’d stirred cinnamon and raisins in to the dough I started yesterday, so the smell was divine, and it permeated the whole house.

After a long bath and a breakfast of warm bread and coffee, Amber and I headed out to get her a new dress for the big awards ceremony she’s been invited to in a couple of weeks’s time.

The mittens are coming on apace, I sewed up the first mitt this morning then on the bus I knit half the second one. I am surprised that the two tiny skeins have gone so far, I have made nearly both mitts from one small skein.

Amber took some pictures of me knitting on the bus, of all the portraits of me that she takes, the ones of my hands at work are the ones that please me most.

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This afternoon, in the quiet of the day, I watched a tv show featuring Susan Sarandon, and she was a great speaker. She was sharing the lessons of her life, of how things happen for a reason, of how your imperfections make you who you are. I felt she was a tremendously powerful and honest person, and I developed a deep respect for her.

This led me to thinking “Who am I?”

What I know for sure is that my life has not been straightforward, or easy, but I’m still here, laughing and loving life.

I know I can change and evolve, and survive. And grow.

I know I have a big heart, and a deep well of feelings, and that I am as vulnerable now as the day when I was born because my heart is still open wide.

Right now I am drinking a rum cocktail, my cat is spread out on the sofa, my daughter has a fabulous new dress and I have a new handbag and two sorts of new toothpaste as both looked equally good. I’m brave enough to speak my mind, and I live a truthful and empowered independent life.

And I can knit. Oh how I love to make things. I love the feeling of my brain whirring as I look at a pile of wool and wonder what to make with it.

I am glad to be me, and I’ve found the courage to forgive myself, as well as those who have caused me problems and now I am able to step forward again. I’m also in a good mood as I found the key to the German knitting pattern I am trying to follow using my newly purchased Ally Pally wool. They had put the key to the charts right at the back of the book, I only found it as I picked it up to toss it in the garbage can. God listens.


Brown Mouse Mittens

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a jolly week so far.

My week has been abysmal, I’ve been so stressed I feel sick all the time, and I’ve not been sleeping. Yesterday I had the day off sick and a wild migraine and it cleared off about 6pm.

Whilst it is flattering to be perceived as a subject matter expert, the endless demands on my time and ingenuity have caused me to freak out.

Today I feel a lot better, I’ve had a lie in, and a nice walk, I picked up some library books on embroidery, and knitting, and I’ve nearly finished knitting a fingerless mitt from one of the mini Ally Pally Colinette skeins. These were a bargainous £2 each, and I bet most people who went picked some up! The colours!

I found two matching ones, they’re brown, pink and green. Overall they look very subtle and dark and natural.

Like a mouse I want to hide and not be seen, I want to be left alone really.

One mitt is done, nearly. I am very pleased!

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Ally Pally Weekend

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a super weekend. I have had heaps of fun and am looking forward to the week ahead, life seems gentle and peaceful all round.

On Friday, three of us from Knitting Club went round the Knitting and Stitching show.

I have no photos as my iphone 4s dies if away from a charger for more than three hours. Accordingly I was trying to save power by not using it but it was flat before I got overground on the district line.

Nonetheless, I can say the show was a great success, although some stalls I hoped to find weren’t there. Last year there was an excellent stall with purse clasps and the like, and I promised myself a splurge but no, it was not to be found.

I did find and purchase my vintage americana bear embroidery kit I regretted overlooking last year, and finally I got some yarn for the bobbled poncho I am longing to make:

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Also, I found some red yarn to finish a shawl in progress, and two small skeins in brown Colinette Jitterbug for mittens.

A surprising hit of the show was the handmade chocolate stall, I bought about 5 lots: truffles, rose and violet creams, fudge, solid rabbits and giant buttons. The truffles evaporated on the train home as I was starving! Jon had the fudge, Amber had the rabbits and we shared the creams yesterday whilst I was sewing the linings for my pencil cases. It felt very luxurious wafting a bag of choccies about. They were yummy!

Knitting wise, I am making a vast garter stitch shawl and thought I’d follow the directions in a pattern I used before. Unfortunately, I am using smaller needles than the pattern, so I have run out of directions and have another 10 inches of shawl to knit. It’s a semi circular shape, so I will have to guess the rest. Oh dear! Lol!

My nipper took some fab photos of me actually wearing my handknits for Ravelry, she always makes me look nice. Have a splendid week!

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Planning and Poppying

Hello all,

At Knitting Club, we compete as to which of us is the most OCD when it comes to knitting. I must say, I am not even in the top three. lol, who am I kidding?

My obsession is with lists and my Ravelry queue, organising my stash and so on. I love to have several projects on the go at once, and it can be stressful to have too many things on the needles and to lose track of what you’re doing.

I get really bored doing one project at a time, so keeping several projects purring simultaneously is a must for me.

What I’ve been doing, and it’s working well for me, is to knock up a little table for each project, and I’m marking my progress on each project as I go along. This keeps the projects clear in my mind, and it prompts me to do a bit on each every day.

Let me show you the tables:

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Basically, I have divided each item into units, so in my green shawl, each garter ridge is a unit, on my Mitred squares bag, each square is a unit, and on each poppy, I can mark them down as I knit them, then work out how many felt leaves I need to make, and it becomes a neat production and assembly process.

On the subject of poppies, I made great progress on these this weekend, about another 8 went into the fancy Parisienne Macaron box I am using as a poppy store.

Here you can see the display of what I’ve made and finished so far – I set a target of 30 poppies, and I’ve made 26 so far, and I’m still really enjoying them.

Have a look, what do you reckon?

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From A Knot To A Thing

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I had any quiet time to write to you, which, is a jolly thing for me, as I am not a solitary creature, and I have a tendency to mope about and get nothing done when left to myself.

It is all guns blazing on the knitting front, both secret blankets were delivered to the new parents in Knitting Club, and I am so relieved I didn’t lose them on the train, or ruin them when blocking lol! It is quite a responsibility to be trusted with the combined output of a dozen keen knitters. Lovely wool – Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran, and jewel bright colours.

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Also, I showed you the tangled shoebox of yarn in my last post. I have made a pencil case, a shoulder bag and a back pack so far and the shoe box is still quite full!

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As you can see above the lid of the shoebox is getting lots of love as well!

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Here you can see the bag pieces, I am still at work on them, but the colours are lovely and it will be nice to have a matching shoulder bag and backpack.

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I am loving the colours, they remind me of Tiffany stained glass windows. I have so much left I will get something else out of the remnants in the box.

It is also time for Knitting Club to start poppying for charity, and I have made about 25 poppies so far. Lunchtimes and bus journeys can result in quite a few poppies with very little effort, today I am going to the hairdresser and. I am spoilt for choice as to which projects to take.

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Life is really good right now, I am enjoying everything. It is nice to not be caught up in any dramas at home or at work and have a peaceful patch in my life. I love my commute, my park walks, this week I saw crows herding seagulls, dogs racing after sticks at top speed, lots of clouds and sky, and I adore the smell of grass and being out of doors. Work is fun, varied, the week speeds past so I am at the weekend again. And how lovely is the weather right now!

On my Birthday recently, Amber and I sat in the park during the day as warm as in summer, and it is still too hot to need covers over me in bed. Unheard of for October.

I am neglecting my reading books, however as Jane explains for Mr. Bingley in “Pride and Prejudice”, “I wish I read more but there always seems to be so many other things to do”. I am really happy, I hope you are too!


Unravelling knots

Hello everyone!

I hope your week has gone well, it’s now the weekend! Yaay!

We met for an impromptu knit lunchtime Tuesday and I knit all the wool I’d brought with me for the day, so I had to travel home on the bus with Jon and Amber with empty hands. I thought I’d ask Amber to bring spare travel knitting to the pool from home but figured that probably would be excessive..

We like going swimming. It is super to be part of a pack. The three of us are a proper team, it’s the kind of family unit I wish I’d grown up with. This time, I’ve made my own family, and I feel very proud.

My friend Tamsyn got her baby shower blanket from all of us at knitting club this week, it was fab to see her face, she really loved it.

This week has been busy on the knitting front, I fixed my brown bag which had a huge long strap if you remember, I can show you here how I took my scissors to the strap, cut a foot off, then rejoined using a three needle bind off.

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Here you can see what I’ve done with a bag of knotted mess of wool which is the end result of my tidying my stash. It comprises the odds and ends from hundreds of projects. The ugly mess is behind me, but today I selected some small oddments of blues, turquoise so and purples, and I’m making a little bag.

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Here you can see what I’ve done with these so far! I get more excited by a bag of useless scraps than anything probably. I like the small scale, the random colour combinations.

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I hope you’re enjoying your knitting!


The Bag That Grew, and Other Knitted Fails…

Hello all,

One big part of the weekend is getting ready for work on Monday.

I had made a new knitted work bag, so this got packed with my Travelcard, purse, phone, knitting travel kit and lippie.

This morning, I came downstairs a bit late as Jon had trouble sleeping and if the worlds biggest bear is grumping up and downstairs all night, noone else is likely to sleep much either.

Here is the bag:

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Anyhow, after showering I revived a bit, and put my backpack on and new bag. Over the course of the night, the knitted strap on my bag had grown several feet, due to the weight of the contents. It bashed against my calves. Useless.

Another fail is this babysack, it is knitted nicely but I’ve lost the knitting pattern and I don’t know how to finish it. It has been so many years since Amber was little, I don ‘t know what to do other than give it to a friend who both has a new baby boy, and can knit. He can sort it out!

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The older you get, the wiser, or so they say – I think the idea is more that you don’t necessarily know the answers to everything, you just get over the things you sod up.

Long ago I heard the concept of acceptance. I didn’t get it. Now, having got so much wrong and can relax a bit more as there is a balance with so much right, I feel that over all I am in a place where I can be ok with my world.

Knitting has been a great teacher. My epic fails only test my patience and hurt my pride. I don’t mind if things go wrong. If noone sees them, or if they do, it’s fine. I can always undo and remake. It’s only sticks and string. Acceptance.

What do you think?


Secret Projects and Fairy Godmothers

Hello everyone,

I am sitting here with my cat, feeling a bit emotional because for the first time in probably a decade I have spoken with my Godmother. Not due to I’ll feeling or anything, quite the contrary, we regularly exchange cards, and we’ve been writing occasionally as well, but I didn’t have their phone number.

I wrote to them recently to let them know about my Mum being placed in the home as she has dementia. She called me as soon as she got my letter as I had the genius idea of putting my phone number on it.

My Godparents were proper Godparents, gentle, loving Christians who made a bond with me directly. They bought me a charm bracelet and every year when I was growing up they sent me something to add to it.

It was a lovely conversation last night, she and I talked about everything that has happened, and she was so understanding and sympathetic, I feel like a weight has lifted from my shoulders. She also knits and we chatted about what we enjoy making, I feel I have a kindred spirit.

I have been finishing projects at a rate of knots recently, and I am feeling very pleased with my crafting.

In previous posts I have been alluding to a secret project which has taken up a lot of time, and now Russ from Knitting Club has been given the baby blanket we spent ages making between us, I can share this with you too.

Ta daah! He was well surprised. We had managed to keep the project a total secret and he looked really happy!

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Basically, the blanket is made of mitred blocks, it’s a really enjoyable technique that knits up quickly. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, and it is luscious to use! I am not sure if I would machine wash it like it says you can on the label, it really bloomed just being gently soaked ready for blocking.

I made a matching hat with the leftover wool, it only took 6 balls in total.

Here you can see some “in progress” pictures:

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Here you can see the picking up of stitches, you join the blocks as you go along:

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This morning I just tidied my wool cupboard. Woozle helped.

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More than one way to bake a cake..!

Hello everyone!

What a week it’s been!

I was poorly on Monday, which in all truth was probably stress from work. Tuesday we went to a funeral, it was very jolly as funerals go, seeing people you’ve not seen for years, we also got to pay our respects at Grandad’s grave, I still miss him like mad. I am particularly missing him today, we always spent Bank Holidays together. I made a cake and I rarely make fruit cake since I lost him. The smell of fruit and spice just brings him back into the room.

Wednesday was back to work, and I had to work on Thursday And Friday as I’d swapped my day off for the day to attend the funeral.

Friday at work was Very Odd. I saw my colleagues in polo shirts and jeans. I wanted a nap mid afternoon!

Saturday, Lesley and I went to Leigh on Sea. What a fabulous place! So many nice places to eat and drink, such lovely views of the estuary. We had bright sunshine for the whole afternoon and my lungs were full of the salty sea air. There is a fabulous haberdashery there and I stocked up on buttons, on ribbons and lace, and bought some red and cream yarn to make a toy fox.

Yesterday was just quietly indoors, catching up on chores and Knitting. I bought red and cream aran weight yarn to make my latest toy, the stitches flew off my needles and this morning I put the finishing touches to the jolly little chap. Here, what do you think? Isn’t he adorable!

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I am missing my Nipper terribly, she is having a week’s holiday in Spain. I hope she is having a super time!

Anyhow, as Jon is out gallivanting with his friends I needed to sort out my craft corner. I have been through everything. I have so many half finished things. I want to make new things, I think it is known as Startitis!

Here you can see my cake making efforts, I am quite happy, my mouth still tastes the spices. The recipe called for several layers of brown paper and stuff, I had the brainwave to use my new silicone breadmaking pan. What a triumph! If I’d had a proper brain, I would have saved myself washing up and could have stirred the cake in the same pan!

Still, what a success! Delicious cake ! I used the recipe from Kirstie Allsopp Crafts, its the fruit cake that won first prize. I used half measures as I only had half the dried fruit for the recipe as written.

When I finish this post, I will get some more. It is lovely! I hope you are keeping well! The weather here is ghastly! What else is there to do? Lol!

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