7 December 2010


A finished object from the book 'Knitted Wild Animals' by GMC. Super easy. Didn't like the seams but it's fast and I like fast. I knitted it for a grown man.

He'll be joined by a hippopotamus in due course.
On to other taxonomic groups, I'm looking forward to planning my yearly Christmas craft binge.
Christmas is mental detox time for me when I shut myself up with my folks and settle down to two weeks of craft with a blanket over my knees. The planning is the best bit and today my new favourite thing arrived - Musk ox yarn!!!

It's 8 times warmer than wool and is combed from the bellies of these beautiful, far away, arctic creatures. My ball is combined 50:50 with angora bunny fur. It's going to be an Ishbel for my Mum. I'm being practical and assuming I won't get it done before Christmas, so I'm planning she can watch it grow with me over the christmas hols, measured by afternoon films and idleness.

2 December 2010

Crazy with the Mitts

It all started because I bought another single ball of yarn again - chronic magpie-ing. So this time I bought a pattern to go with it to try to get to the end of the tunnel and see what that feels like to complete, instead of living only in the world of yarn possibilities. I didn't think I was up to it. And now I'm addicted. Mitten madness has set in.
The first - buffalo undercoat spun into yarn.

The second some pure alpaca complete with bits of straw here and there which I was grateful to half-wear in this freeze as I approached completion.

And now for some heavenly blue sky.
Guess what you're getting for Christmas.

9 October 2010

Knitting and Stitching goodies

One of the best things so far about the show has been the discovery of yarn made from possum fur. Possums are nocturnal, marsupial, tree dwelling creatures from Australia, introduced to New Zealand and now considered a pest there. It's a bit like knitting with rat and I'm very much looking forward to it.

My favourite treat was these bobbins from www.clothkits.co.uk. Their strapline is 'Make Time'. Very apt for me and my crammed life. The ticking may appear as part of my 'Lifelong Quilt'.

And finally, I can't wait to get started on this little guy from Knitted Wild Animals. I was planning to design a monkey, but if this guy is as nice to knit as he looks, then I won't need to. Progress report soon.

We're going back tomorrow for the last crazy, oversubscribed, hedy mix of fabric, buttons, books and delicious yarn.

7 October 2010

The Knitting and Stitching Show

Just as I was taking this photo a beam of sunlight broke through the glass ceiling of Alexandra Palace and crashed down onto our table display.

It was a lot of fun today - too much to take in on one trip. Back tommorrow for more. Come and see us if you're there at the GMC stand.

3 October 2010


So much has been happening this summer I've barely caught my breath. Finally I have some snatched seconds to share some happy-making things; starting with this gorgeous bunch of hydrangeas and roses I brought home from a shoot in a florists last week - they're still going strong after seven days!

Second I've been stockpiling some bunnies (still in progress) who will accompany us to the knitting and stitching show this weekend. We're doing book signings so please come and see us and say hello - it's at Alexandra Palace in London from the 7th to 10th Oct. I'll publish the signing times later in the week. We are V. excited!

I tried out a mini-bunny (below). He doesn't look it in the photo but he is very small and wee. I will give all the bunnies their smiles on the train each day this week. I feel it needs special attention as it's the process that wakes them up and brings them to life. When I was little I solidly believed all my toys were really alive and I still think these little guys have definite characters sewn into them. Their faces wake them up like Ted Hughes' poem 'Wodwo' (Go look that up - it's worth it).

And here's an extra happy making review from Lapdog creations who loves the book. Thank you lapdog. http://www.lapdogcreations.com/

9 June 2010

FO sightings

Completing knitting projects has been the joy of this week. I worked hard as part of my ongoing decluttering detox. I realise though, that I am a process knitter, not a product knitter.
If you are a product knitter and you happen to be stranded on a desert island with one ball of yarn, you finish knitting up your item and then set about looking for suitable fibres you can fashion into yarn for your next product.
But if you are a process knitter, you would unravel your carefully made item and start over again with the same ball on something else.

I love the process. I love the feel of it all, I love the balls of yarn half way through, the soul of a thing unfinished.
This is a major hindrance to completion.
I appreciate the anxiety expressed by knitters about making the potential thing, into a thing. It's such a commitment. This week though, I have committed. I finished a bunny.

I't Rowan baby alpaca and it's SO soft it slipps out of your hand. A floppy little grey thing that is a sensual delight. I meant to give it away but I put it in my bed. Very unseemly for someone my age. But it makes me happy.

I finished another one skein wonder. This one actually doesn't cut off the circulation under my arm pits so that's a bonus. Lovely soft stretchy knitting - cashcroft aran from Classic yarns.

I even nearly finished another one. This is Rowan felted tweed - a bit sticky to knit with but I ploughed through and it does what it says on the tin. Good, solid, strong, warm. There's no mistaking it. It will double up as a floor cloth and survive.

At this point I notice I'm having a grey phase.

And once this is done I'm going to finish another fabulous alpaca shrug. Oh i love that alpaca shrug. I've been knitting it since 2007. It comes around the country with me. It's Blue sky baby alpaca. It's pure love. I am so scared of finishing it. It smiles at me from my knitting basket. I put my hand in to feel it now and then.
Soon it will be over...sigh.

6 June 2010

The good things in life.

I managed to screw up my banking this week which left me unable to access any money whatsoever. I had to have a round up of all the loose change in the house just to go out food shopping. It was tough working out how to feed and transport myself all week on a handful of cash and in some places I failed miserably - how do people strapped for cash buy rounds of drinks or manage to be sensible in health food shops? It dominated all my activities - no treats and everything had to be planned.
It was sobering and a wee bit miserable and made me realise that what I do seems to be what I can afford to do - it's made me realise I have a lifestyle!

This is a bad thing because it means that making an ordinary cup of instant coffee from the office kettle makes me a different person to the one that buys an expensive cappucino on the way. My imagining of myself and who I might be is subtly connected to the social meaning of the things I can buy. Living in a tribe probably isn't any less of a lifestyle but perhaps more of the defining objects are free!

I think the fact that luxuries make us happy is inbuilt in that chimps will seek social status. It's survival. So 'lifestyles' are really all about how we think we measure up and that's all about fear. It's scary stuff because the meanings in all this are constructed. Somone somewhere knows this, and they've got us by the balls.

My budget adventure has made me appreciate the things i've had and made me wonder - why is it that, if all the good things in life are free, I'm not doing more of them.

16 May 2010

Late Night Plans

The fuss about quilts has got me thinking about returning to my 'Lifelong quilt' that began life in Spring 1994. Peace effervesces from it and dappled sparkley light from the huge swooshing trees outside the windows of my Mother's house appear on it when I look at it, still in progress. It was abandoned to make a big quilt for a friend that had patches of poetry written into it and then I started moving, living here and there, carting the box of pieces around various homes and having an ever extending project list. Not once have I imagined I wouldn't finish it in the last 16 years; it is an absolutely ongoing and current project. It was just about this time of year that I started it. You can't get the material anymore so It being made slowly out of scraps and finds. It is MY quilt in such an importantly soul enhancing way and I am thankful for the quilt fuss. I will make plans to get my sewing machine fixed today.

On to other less savoury magpie habits, I am enjoying these clashing acrylic nasties bought for a pound from the market.

I am enjoying the smallness of these needles. Ilove all things small. Stacking tupperware, travel toothbrushes, that mini-dental floss you see at M&S checkouts - SO cute. And so I love my new tiny bamboo needles. Only 20cm long and absolutely exactly what I need for bunny making.

Big things are also good.

And this is just plain and simple good.

6 May 2010

Bunny Birthing

I recieved this pic of a Knitted Nursery display in a bookshop window!!

More bunny activity has been taking place.
This one will go to a new born wee thing born
proudly into a Deaf family.

It evolved in my bag on the morning trains.

Currently legless but almost ready for its last journey.

26 April 2010

Small Successes

I found time to catch up on some zzzzz

The kitchen is finished! hooray

The first project from the book was made by a Raveler which makes me so happy. Here a bunny made from Rooster Yarns:- http://www.laughinghens.com/ takes a trip to Yo Sushi

And I found time to knit in front of a film about vampires !?!

16 April 2010

And there it was - the sky

The sky is a good teacher. Everytime I remember to look up it tells me where I fit into things. I was lying in bed so full of troubles, busyness, tiredness, and struggle and then I noticed the sky and it said deeply; There is time and endlessness. There is joy that is not dependant on any happenings at all. There is light in everything.

I felt connected to all the moments of time I've ever experienced. As though all the time I've had was there in one present. Deep and full. The happenings and particular circumstances of my life seemed to have no intrinsic measurable value in themselves - neither good nor bad, pleasant or unpleasant. They were simply experiences being had. I was, for a moment, beyond the everyday yardstick of measuring pleasure and pain.
Of course it could have been the very sleep deprivation itself bringing me these moment. I'm so busy that sleep seems to be something that other people do.

But even amongst all the doing and fretting, the sky is there anyway. Happiness that is dependant on 'things' is always obscuring and transforming. Like Clouds. But like Sky, happiness that is free from conditions is there anyway and it's beautiful. It's just so damn hard to notice.

28 March 2010


The shock of the clocks going forward was tempered by a lovely friend bringing breakfast. She's french and everything about her is sophisticated. Sophisticated Sunday breakfast: It's a lovely thing to do for someone and I resolve to pay it forward. She brought me these gorgeous girls!


It started well and got better. Up early, chores done, off to town..

Liberty for stash enhancement. Coffee, chat, gossip and buns.

There was knitting - a new bunny in the most beautiful Rowan grey Baby Alpaca - my fave!

And there was sketching and painting - whilst watching films. Bliss.

27 March 2010

Things not worth keeping.

I finally caved in to the powerful and perfectly poised useless beauty of a Ruth Cross purse. I don't need a purse but then I didn't buy it for its purseness, I bought it because I am a willing participant in the idea that this is an object of purity, simplicity and beautiful otherworldliness.
It is a religious artefact, a votive presence, a thing of authenticity. We are being taught that the way to transcendance is through things. What was life like before we shopped for our identity. Why doesn't my practical everyday purse do the same job for me. And what is the nature of this authenticity as opposed to that authenticity.

I might put it up on the wall in a frame. Or even use it. I will be watching as it's significance pales and the marketing fades to find out what this thing really is.
I have been reading about 'Breakdown' by Michael Landy in which he destroyed all 7227 objects that he owned. It was a big experience for him. I find the fight against objects overwhelming. I am a magpie, alive to beautiful things, things that hold meaning for a short time. But all things go the same way and sooner or later you must 'burn what you love and love what you burn'.

23 March 2010

Getting well

I had an operation this week and I don't mind admitting I was scared as I was wheeled down the corridor with the lights passing overhead. It went well but it isn't something I'd want to make a habit of. Nevertheless I'm wierdly grateful for the suffering because on waking up, I was overwhelmed with empathy and concern for all the people who would be put through the same proceedure in the course of their lives. This was a genuine and surprising upwelling and yet it's also a disagreeable one since I hate the fact that charity begins at home. Surely we should be overwhelmed with empathy and concern for all people undergoing all proceedures regardless of whether we experience them ourselves. We should fight for everyone's rights because your rights are my rights and so in the same way, your suffering is also my suffering. As I shuffled out in my hospital slippers I truly understood this.

Being unwell connected me and I had a brief hotline to insight. I wish I could know these things every day. The nurses were amazing and each of them took time to see past the lump of meat that I undeniably was or at least they didn't mind that I had no distinctive identity - they simply understood that it hurt. In those brief moments the depth of their human beingness was breathtaking. The entire operation in a sense was an act of great compassion, one that we have simply institutionalised. It is a great thing that this is a norm for us humans - helping each other. Connecting. Responding to needs.

Flowers arrived.

Thoughtful people sent me objects to keep me entertained and cooked me food.

My living room is now filled with the smell of Narcissi. My fridge is full. Texts are checking up on me.
And I am grateful.
As soon as I was alone I unconsciously found myself reaching down the bottom of my languishing to do list and signed up to some new charities. I'd been meaning to do that for how long?
I hadn't realised it till now, but having operations can make you nicer.
It can get you well.
Suffering sucks, but I had it coming. And you know what? the good news is that really, when you get right down to it, we're all in it together right up to our necks xxx
Here's what I chose
Oh and I finally joined freecycle http://www.uk.freecycle.org/

14 March 2010

The Knitted Nursery

The book is finally out - 15 months after it was first conceived over a kitchen table. It's had nice reviews so far and we're delighted. The designs are meant to be easy to achieve. With a UFO stash like mine to think of, this is an important consideration.

The bunny for example is only a couple of days of commute time. Done in pieces it's an on-the-go project for public transport knitters like me and easily achievable whilst also holding a conversation at the same time - another important factor in my pattern choices. Multi-task knitting is essential in the metropolis.

Seeing the book become a real thing has inspired me to knit the patterns over again - this time though I'm going to use 4-ply cotton and tiny needles and make a little mini bunny in pink. Yes I'm woman enough to knit a cute pink bunny for myself on the train without feeling threatened by all the sensible commuters reading the paper. Happy knitting.

22 February 2010

30 January 2010


The sifting and sorting continues and as order appears, I find I have almost three of everything. So that's why there's no space! It seems I forget what I already have and set out to forage to find things that were never lost. There is a profound truth here. That what we need is already with us. If we are alive, well and fed, then everything is provided. I resolve to wear my finest things every day, they will help me remember that I have all I need.

Letting go of hoarded things is emotional. Each object is an experience, a feeling, a day when you wore it. An idea. They are all anchors - secure and grounding, but ultimately holding you down. Now that things are being unstuck, let go of, exiting, the flow is starting to feel good.

So to celebrate my new slimline dressing table, I bought some pretty bangles ;)

So now to the kitchen. Removing an entire room's worth of material posessions to make way for building work brings equally revealing insights into my hoarding habits. Enough crockery to host a feast! It is a particular weakness of mine and is taking up two big shelves, five boxes and a sofa.

The poor old kitchen is itching to slough off its skin and some of its crockery burden. We'll see how that goes. Maybe I want to host a feast.