Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Finally - Progress!

I have actually managed to break new ground on my shawl! I have got further than ever before and it feels great. I have been knitting whilst listening to a couple of months worth of the Archers (an everyday tale of farming folk on the radio). I have to say that the knitting was relaxing in comparison to the hideous story line about Rob and Helen Titchener which is excruciating to listen to. I hope he gets his comeuppence soon as I am not sure how much more I can take.

I have even read a book with my actual eyes rather than through my ears this week, on account of spending almost a week ill on the settee. Diane Chamberlain's Breaking the Silence was a good read on the whole with an interesting story line about psychiatric experimentation in the US in the 1950s and 60s. I did enjoy it but it was not a massively satisfying read, a little too superficial, skimming across the top of the story rather than giving me something to submerge fully in.

There is an air of excitement here at Misty Cottage as not only is Easter coming but the children will be 14 on Monday and all sorts of plans are being hatched for celebrations and birthday treats. I have set each of them a budget this year so they have organised what they would like to do and what presents they would like within their budget. I think it has been good and has made them understand a bit more of what is possible/sensible rather than the completely blue sky thinking of previous years. (Mum can I go fishing in Panama for my birthday treat?) They were born on a Maundy Thursday at the full moon, so how old will they be when they get to have their birthday on a Maundy Thursday with a full moon again? I don't know, Easter moves about and so does the moon so I think it would be very complicated to work out.

I'm joining in with Ginny for the Yarn Along today and in an attempt to get the post finished on time I will have to save writing about progress in the garden for another time.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Gratitude Sunday.

This week I have been grateful for:

Antibiotics - I can't believe that we allow conventional farming practices and irresponsible prescribing to endanger the effectiveness of antibiotics. When you need them, you need them and my goodness what a difference they can make!

My husband, who is very good at looking after me on the rare occasions that I need it.

Signs of Spring during this week of beautiful sunshine.

Why not join in with WoolyMossRoots with a post about what you have been grateful for this week?

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Baby Steps

The eagle eyed among you will notice a tiny bit of progress has been made on my ... well I hesitate to call it a shawl yet - as the old adage says, 'many a slip 'twixt cup and lip'! What ever it will be in the end does seem to be a long way off.

Reading is still missing actual books apart from study prep. I am listening to Diana Gabaldon's Written in My Own Heart's Blood and am enjoying it very much. Ms Gabaldon has written such engaging characters that even when the action is a bit slow, the day to day interactions of the characters is interesting and enjoyable.

Any excuse for a puppy picture!

Despite the distractions I blogged about last week - namely Molly the wonderpup - I have been active, listing new journals for my shop, and trying to be a bit more present on Twitter. Twitter does not feel like my natural habitat but there are some very interesting people on there to follow.

As usual I'm joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along, a great place to browse through some very inspiring blogs.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

What Does Making Mean to You?

I listened to A Playful Day's relaunched podcast last week where Kate posed the question "What does making mean to you?"

I have been allowing a response to brew and find that I have a few seemingly disparate things to say in answer but find that there is a strong linking element between them.

Firstly, my mum made most of her own clothes and mine when I was growing up. She worked full time as a primary school teacher and had three children to look after but when she had a little pocket of time in which to do whatever she wanted (I imagine these pockets must have been few and far between) she would be found at her sewing machine, making. This means that as I grew up the act of making was the activity of choice, if you could do whatever you liked, you would make something, what could be nicer?
My son in an Aran knitted by my Mum

Secondly, my Granny was a prolific knitter and made jumpers and cardigans from arans to 1970s loopy, zip up cardigans to sloppy Joes to school jumpers. All of these wonderful garments were presented with a huge amount of love, so I also grew up with the idea of making something for someone being the highest expression of love and care for that special person (me!)

Twintastic ponchos also knitted by my Mum

I didn't do much making myself until I had my children. When they were about 18 months old I decided to travel to Bath once a month to  attend Joy de Berker's wonderful Steiner Early Years course 'Education for a Happy Childhood'. After which I enrolled on the London Kindergarten Teacher Training course, traveling up from Cornwall to London once a month to learn as much as possible whilst helping to begin 'Periwinkles' a Steiner Parent and Child group. At both of these courses I learned about the importance of making for our children, protecting them from the experience of toys as an introduction to collecting and mindless consumerism. Providing them with playthings that allowed them to engage their amazing imaginations fully.

A beach in the living room for rainy day picnics complete with hand dyed muslins, homemade felt fish and hand dyed silk

I realised the advantages of natural materials not only for the young children but also for the maker and even the environment - if you have made your children's toys from natural materials you are more likely to take the time to mend them when they break and you can compost them when they are no longer mendable.

So through this the act of making became an expression of my love and care for my children. It also became a wonderful learning journey as I worked with fibre to felt, spin, knit and crochet, with willow to weave and create living play spaces, with hazel to whittle gnomes and their homes etc.

Daughter in the willow dome

Through my work leading the Parent and Child group I was able to introduce the importance of making to new parents, not only during the sessions with the children but also through setting up a monthly craft evening (which now, 10 years later has moved to the morning). In this way the act of making has become an act of community, an opportunity for people to come together in this sparsely populated area of North Cornwall.

This month's craft morning complete with lots of biscuits and the last remaining piece of home made barfi courtesy of the Misty Cottage Son
This all leads me to the making paradox, apart from the one group morning a month, I am generally a solitary maker, I drop the children off to school hideously early in the morning and come home and make, alone, until it is time to pick them up again in the afternoon, yet my compulsion to make is rooted in love of and from other people throughout my childhood and that of my children.

Thursday, 3 March 2016


Can you imagine a better reason than this to be a bit distracted?

Especially when what is on the needles has got smaller rather than grown. As usual the lace pattern, although straightforward has proved tricky and mistakes were made and rows were undone and then my friend and I couldn't work out where we were in the pattern and all of a sudden the easiest way forward was to go backwards and start again.

Since then I haven't had the heart to pick it up again and of course there is also the question of what shall I do, knit something tricky and not very relaxing or play with the puppy? Hmm, a bit of a no brainer really!

I am not reading an actual book at the moment except for study purposes and I have already blogged about that one here. I am listening to the last of the available Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon 'Written in My Own Heart's Blood'. This is proving to be a bittersweet experience as these books have been in my ears for coming on for a year now and I am not sure how things will be once I have finished this one. How long will I have to wait for the next one? I believe it is in the process of being written but these are very long and well researched books and Ms Gabaldon is not giving any indication of when it might be ready.

Oh yes, and did I mention Misty Cottage's newest addition?

Molly is a lurcher, 3/4 whippet and 1/4 greyhound/deerhound. She is currently 9 weeks old and is a delight to be with. Kizzy, our 2 year old whippet X bedlington lurcher  is being extremely patient, if a little boisterous at times so the introduction has been blessedly harmonious despite a fortnight of worrying about it beforehand!

In other crafty news I have completed three small needlefelted journals for my shop and have another two just awaiting their pages.

Massive excitement was caused this week by an order through my Etsy shop from someone in New York! I have now sent a beautiful angel off to live in a country I have never visited! I love the feeling of international community that the internet gives.
Joining in as usual (though a day late) with Ginny's Yarn Along, another great example of the international nature of the internet community.