Monday, 24 July 2017

Detoxification


The rural idyll is trying my patience.
I am once more in the midst of an enforced digital detox, due to a lightning strike to my phone line.  AGAIN.
And because it is summer and the trees are in full leaf, I have to go to the top of the hill to get a mobile phone signal.
Sigh.
This has its advantages.


Out in the fields, all by myself, I can get bit wild and crazy.
Sometimes I run.
Sometimes I swing from the trees.
Other times I lie on the trampoline and stare at the sky.

It is the ideal opportunity to ask THE UNIVERSE for A Sign.
I ask a question, and if the answer is YES, I  will find a four-leafed clover.

Twice recently I have been delivered of a FIVE leafed clover.
LOL


Yesterday I found one of each.
And I wasn't even looking very hard.

Now, while there is probably a good scientific reason for this mutant botany, I am all about The Signs.
FL had very little time for my belief in Destiny.
But it worked out well for me and him, on balance.

But... whatever next?!

Part of me has had enough of the enforced isolation of this farm life.
There seems little point in living in a romantic wilderness if you are alone.
Unless I embrace the poetry and become a hermit.
Always an option.

Being cut off from the rest of the world can be unnerving.
Particularly when The Universe seems to be saying it has plans for you.

I would say "watch this space" but my connection with the blog is a little fragile right now, in more ways than one.

Hopefully, it will all be fine.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Cirque-elling

Is that not the most perfect image?
Me, in a previous life, clearly.
Not even joking.

In aerial news, I had a major breakthrough last night when I successfully inverted, unaided.
In other words, I flipped myself upside down in one smooth movement on both silks and trapeze.
This is a fundamental skill, without which progress is impossible.
And it is not the sort of thing you can practice at home.
I eyed the monkey bars at the gym this morning, wondering if I dared try a modified version, but in the absence of a crash mat it seemed like a bad idea.

I realise I have not blogged about my recent circus-themed sewing.
I bought this rather lovely inky-dot patterned cotton from Backstitch, and initially planned to make a Merchant and Mills Heron top... until I realised it doesn't have significant sleeves.


Key to my design plan was to embroider "very very CIRCUS" on the sleeve, as a sort of test tattoo.
No sleeve?  Bit of an issue.

So I decided instead to make a modified Marilla Walker Mercury Top, with 3/4 length, slightly narrowed sleeves.
It took me a full day to complete, from start to finish, including the embroidery.
Thoroughly absorbing.


It is a lovely cool top - so light and breezy  for summer weather.

I am slightly shy about wearing it in the workplace, as I feel like I am wearing my heart on my sleeve.
Ha!  If ever there was a statement to explain the curtailment of my arm-tattoo plan, that is it!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

New Song: Magnet

OK... so I was just told I looked like I was singing along to Elton John.
Noooo!
I need to update my dancing style.

Enjoy!


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Yarn Tasting: BritSILK from The Knitting Goddess

When Knitting Goddess Joy put out a call on Instagram for yarn tasters  testers I barely paused to draw breath.

Disclaimer:  I love Joy's way with colour.  I have been a huge fan of her sock yarn for years, and have been really excited to see her experiment with new bases, with an emphasis on British wools.
So my starting point was one of eager anticipation.

And when this little package popped through my letterbox...?


I believe my exact words were:  "Oh MY!"

This is BritSILK 4 ply in the Almost a Rainbow colourway.

40% BFL, 20% Wensleydale, 20% Alpaca and 20% silk.
Each full skein will have 100g / 400m and will sell for £19.50


I'm sorry - can we pause just to appreciate that halo?
The glow and depth of colour?
And while it is fairly soft, it has a certain crispness, an underlying resilience.

And breathe...

The first thing I did was to cast on 56 stitches in the round on 2.5mm dpns and worked an inch of stockinette, as if I was knitting the cuff of a Rose City Roller sock.

The colours started to blend together on the reverse side, becoming altogether more muted.


As you can see from the photo above, I rebelled against such subtlety, whipped out a 4 mm crochet hook and ran a row of 3-stitch picots along the edge.

Oooh!  Pop Pop Pop!
I love how the rainbow came to life in crochet!

I started to imagine some fingerless mitts with some eyelets and a picot bind off...


This is still on 2.5mm needles.
The BFL-heavy base gives the yarn-overs plenty of structure at this gauge.

Ooh yes - fingerless mitts please!

I decided to play a little more and threw in some shaping and cable-crosses.


OMG those colours!
As my stitch count decreased, the rainbow definition increased.
Imagine the potential for stripey fingers!

However, I was also keen to see how the yarn played at a looser gauge.

So I took the other end of my ball and cast on 30 stitches on 4mm straights.


This is possibly a little too loose.
I would try again at 3.75mm if I was swatching for a full-sized project.

Hold it up to the light?

Yeah - a little bit too airy for my taste.

When I squoosh the stitches together you can see how this might behave on a larger scale.


It holds its shape well:  not at all floppy.
Great for pleats?
Are pleats a thing in knitting?!

OK so now I am thinking it would work well with an i-cord edging.
Something geometric...
Ooh - how about a Clincher?


Imagine the contrast of the garter stitch, with the colours blending into one another, set against the pop pop pop rainbows when the same yarn is worked as an i-cord?

Ooh yeah baby!

You want some now don't you?
Me too :)

It will be launched at Fibre East at the end of this month and Joy is adding it to the shop on Friday 4 August.
Form an orderly queue, please.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

This is not a Crisis


When I was a child I fell in love.
And it was madness.

So no surprise
That I still look for you
That in truth I see you.

Every day
A glimpse
At the edge of my vision.
A movement
And my heart stops
Dead.

I hear you speak in another voice.
He says my name and I fall apart.

I blaze.
I flare.
Consumed by the shame
By the flame
Of my teenage crush.

It's not you, it's me.
It is Him, not You.

So sudden
I am older.
One day I wake
And understand
That I am old.

How unfair, I think.
To be free of my fertility
When all that men can see
Is my absurdity.

I reinvent
Reconfigure.
I am fragile
I am strong.
No spare flesh on these fine bones.

My clothes are black.
A widow's web.
None small enough to fit
The fragments that remain.

My locket is silver
Our child asleep within.
My amulet.

Rest?  Rare.
Peace?  Impossible.

I dance.
I sing.
I paint.
I write.
I throw my self
on the pyre
that is love.

Who am I?
I am a risk-taker.
Un-mitigator.
I lose my inhibitions.
I have nothing else to lose.
For all is lost.

Except...

I am alive.
More than before.
Fierce and free
I am ME.
Vibrant with energy
Afraid of nothing.

Except myself.

Oh yes.
Believe.
I am afraid of me.

I am dangerous.

Beware, take care.
You!
You who are not Him?
Stay well clear.
Guard yourself.

Trust me when I run away.
It is for the best.
For this shy mess
Is not to be trusted.

Leave me alone to haunt the fields.
To rattle in an empty house
Like the skeleton I have become.

But

If my hand creeps out to you,
Seeking connection.
Please stand strong.
Let me hold on
For dear life.
Until the pain subsides.

I promise to let go.
Releasing that ring
That brands your finger.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Going with the Flow

July.
The mid-point of the year has passed.

Sometimes it feels like time is running away from me, and other times it seems to screech to a halt and I am a rabbit in the headlights.

I have a terrible compulsion to over-fill my days, for fear that if I stop I will have to confront myself, and my alone-ness.
Tsk.
Sunday is my "day off" from exercise and inevitably I get twitchy and take to stomping round the fields or dancing madly to Radio One, because I cannot bear to remain still.
I find myself standing with my car keys in my hand, thinking I will just pop to the gym for an hour, because there I will find my balance again.
NO.

Union Square pattern by Mina Philip
So I try to settle down with my knitting.
All of the socks, all of the time.
I am working through the New York Sock Collection by Mina Philip.
I have finished one pair and have another two on the needles.
Two further patterns in the series have been published and I plan to cast those on soon.

Avenues Socks by Mina Philip
 And I have almost finished my first Mercury Sock, using a Baerenwolle speckled yarn in the "Birthday cake" colourway, with mad neon heels, cuffs and toes using mini skeins from Hand Dyed by Kate in "Sunglasses Not Included".

Mercury Sock
My happy place is at the circus fitness studio.
I am by far the oldest person there, but I do not feel judged.
It is hard physical work. 
One week I am better at aerial silks than trapeze.  The next time, the opposite.
I tried aerial hoop too... and it was fun... but I can't do everything.

Mermaid pose - my hand should be lower down the rope, to fall further
I discovered that I am far less bendy than I assumed myself to be.
In my head, I am still that drama student who can touch her forehead with her big toe.
Ha!  Not so much.
So I have added a vinyasa yoga class to my regime.
I was so relaxed at the end of my first class that I had to drink a strong coffee before I felt alert enough to drive home!

Flexibility and balance - much needed.
Allowing myself to go with the flow.
Letting life wash over me.
Open to possibilities.
New adventures.
Sometimes peaceful but never quite at peace with myself.