Is Wool Expensive?

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Knitting needn’t be an expensive hobby | Life and style | theguardian.com.

Memory Loss

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Is there a word for forgetting what a word is?

You know, just a single word

A term, I think they call it

I can’t even remember the word for that

So how am I supposed to remember the word for forgetting words?

 

I think there must be a word for it

There always is

I remember a world of fancy words

Vaguely

A once upon a time world

That never was

 

I’m nostalgic but have little idea of how I arrived here

I can’t remember what I’m forgetting

 

How Do You Like to Journey?

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Charity Shop Needles - Pink (English) Nines

Life is all about journeys, metaphorical or otherwise.  Sometimes we don’t even realise that we’re on the journey and although some would prefer the comfort and control of a well thought out itinerary, some of the best, some of the most memorable, some of the most meaningful were never planned.  I have to admit that I am one of those who likes to obsessively cover all eventualities, to know where I am headed.

Of course, life doesn’t always turn out that way.

What about you?  How do you like to journey?

I return once more to the metaphor of knitting.  Whether or not you knit, I’m sure you can draw parallels in your own life.

It is said that there are two types of knitter.  The process knitter and the product knitter.  Are knitters one or the other?  Sometimes.  But as with all definitions, us humans rarely conform to the boundaries, to the limits, to the black and white.  We are what we want to be in the moment, or what we need to be.

For me, knitting is very much about the product.  But I say that only as regards the concept of knitting.  Surely knitting is about making something, something likely as not practical and necessary?  I do love the idea of having a finished product, something that I successfully made.  A bit like the whole been there, got the t-shirt thing.  But is that really the point of travel?  To just come out the other side with a souvenir?

Car journeys can be fun.  It’s no fun when you’re stuck on traffic, our local trunk road is particularly notorious, and you have a deadline, an appointment, a clearly prescribed time of arrival laid upon you.  And shouldn’t knitting be fun?  Few of us are knitting for our bread and butter, we’ve taken it up as a hobby, a craft, a pastime.  Aren’t we meant to be enjoying it?

In my knitting, as with I think probably everything else in my life, I do not like having a deadline or even some form of obligation laid upon me.  It stresses me out and completely demotivates me.  (I am a recovering perfectionist).  Whilst I am happy to knit for other people, you’ll have to join the pipeline and accept that it’ll be knitted when it wants to be knitted.

However, I have to shamefacedly admit that I like the buzz of instant gratification.  Hey, I’m human!  And I have a short attention span.  I like the excitement (although this often feels more like trepidation) of casting on new things and I particularly like the thrill of finishing something, especially when it’s something wearable.

So am I a product knitter?

Well, the end product does motivate me.  I like to choose my journeys knowing that I can come out the other side.  And preferably in one piece too.  I want to know where I am going (or at least where I am meant to).

But as much as I like to know my destination, I also enjoy planning and envisioning the journey that I am embarking on.  I do want to know what the highlights are, what to look out for.  I’m interested in side roads, shortcuts, detours and distractions.

So am I a process knitter?

More than likely.

I’m not the kind of person that can churn out projects with regularity and precision.  I get distracted.  I change my mind and want to go elsewhere.  I’m happy to work on something else for a bit, whether like a family game of I-spy to distract and dull the pain or as a leg stretch to give me a breath of fresh air.

(Incidentally, I am under a lifetime ban from the game of I-spy).

So I guess that the kind of knitter that I am is the kind of person that I am.  I like to share my experiences with others, I like to connect with other people.  I don’t want to travel alone, I am a sharer.  It doesn’t matter where we end up or how but I want to be part of other people’s journeys, to help them, to abet them, to enable them.  And most importantly, I want to learn from other people.

Maybe I could be called a social knitter.  Although, I might not be propping bars or the like (one of the associations with the term), my knitting definitely accompanies me.  But it’s more than that.  It helps connect me, one stitch at a time.  And that’s part of the process.  The process of knitting, the process of life.  One stitch at a time.  That’s how I do it.

And that’s something I should bear in mind the next time that I’m stuck in traffic.

I am My Own Summer

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Pink Flower Portrait

In the depth of winter,
I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

- Albert Camus

Humans without Hips or Waists

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It appears that little changes…

Humans without Hips or Waists – February 1925 | Gretchen.

Yarn Envy

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Envy is an ugly word.  What it really means is that you want something that belongs to someone and not to content with just feeling that, you want to take it off them.  And technically, the yarn doesn’t really belong to anyone else anyway; it’s available to purchase but having a non-existent yarn budget, I am limited to coveting but I thought you might like to see some pretty things too, whether or not you’re a knitter or not.

(And if someone else did have it, I’d be really chuffed for them but want to pet it.  And I would give it back … eventually).

These are the two most must-have yarns that I have my little idiosyncratic radar on at the moment:-

Signature 4 Ply - Country Birds

Photograph from the West Yorkshire Spinners’ Website

I love sock yarn.  I like knitting socks (however slowly (yes, that is just a lone sock) but sock yarn is so much more than socks.  It’s a very versatile yarn because although it’s basically just four ply (in the English weight terminology), it comes in an apparently endless variety of colours and colour combinations (think variegated, semi-tonal, striped, stripey, faux fair isle ….) and fibre compositions.  And you’re not limited to just socks… Personally, I like knitting (and wearing) shawls too.

So yes, this is just another old variegated/stripey sock yarn… but wait!  Look at the name.  It’s inspired by the humble garden bird, the blue tit, a bird which is very dear to my own heart.

Bluefaced Leicester Country Sock Collection - Birds/ Blue Tit

Photograph from the West Yorkshire Spinners’ Website

They also sell them ready-knitted, if you need to be instantly enabled.

I must be the first knitter ever who actually wants Manky socks!

So that’s the first yarn and the second one?

It’s a German yarn but it’s hugely popular and adored by the American knitters.  Perhaps I am joining a bandwagon but it looks such a beautiful yarn and not just in terms of looks either because it works up beautifully as wel,l which is possibly even more important!  It’s hand-dyed and only has limited available, which seems to make it even more desirable.  (What is with telling humans that they can’t have something that makes them want it more?)

Seriously, go over to the Wollmeise website we can admire and drool together… it’s good, right?

Look at the beautiful rich colours! (Wollmeise’s Blend in Stella Polaris)

Or something more tonal? Wollmeise’s Lace in Sail the Seven Seas

Sock Yarn from Wollmeise

Or something a little funkier? (Wollmeise’s Twin in Glückstag)

What would you choose?  And how?  By colour?  By yarn weight?  By project?

I don’t know because I am like a little child in a sweet shop (or a stationery shop) and I struggle to make decisions at the best of times.  Perhaps it is just as well that I have no money!

So these are the two highest entries on my yarn wishlist and I didn’t even realise that they’re linked.

Any German speakers out there?

Wollmeise means wool tit.

It seems that I always gravitate towards these small birds!

(All photographs in this post have been nicked from their respective websites and remain the intellectual property of their copyright owners)

My Goldfish Year

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A Little Green and Blue Handknit Fish on a Hand

I have learnt to live with my limitations on a day-to-day basis; I mean, I just don’t have the energy to fight it anyway!  Most days, I don’t expect myself to do anything in particular and certainly not by any particular time or in any particular order.  I let my day unfold as my body allows.  It is frustrating.  And it is, at times, so very boring.  Once upon a time, I had a hyperactive mind – dashing from one thought to another idea to ooh, let’s do this!  – and I thought doing nothing involved doing at least two things.  Now I am a goldfish in a very limited, very empty glass bowl.  I’m not sure if I’m cut out to be a goldfish.  I know about welfare standards; even goldfish need enrichment.  Can I have a plant?  Or a tacky castle?  Just anything to look at, at least!

The biggest challenge is being upright.  I can’t really explain how easy it is to take for granted the ability to sit up.  It’s something we do at an incredibly early age and then just go on doing naturally ever after.  I used to see pictures of people in my story books, lying on their bellies reading in front of a fireplace (it was always a fireplace) and wonder how on earth they could do it.  I can’t breathe.  I certainly can’t read.  I am sitter.  Although, invariably, cross-legged (even in chairs) to help maintain my balance and to ease the pain.  And that was probably Mongrel Beast’s fault too but it’s been so long my normal that I don’t really blame it anymore, it is just how I sit.  This last year, however, I have learnt to do many things lying down.  I can use a laptop, with a mouse so my little temperature fickle paws can stay under the covers and so that I don’t need to overstretch my grumpy muscles and at times, even with an onscreen keyboard.  I have had to eat and drink lying down.  Sometimes I haven’t been able to do both – sit up and eat.  Multitasking is not Mongrel Beast’s strong point and you’d be surprised what does count as multitasking for it.  I learnt to knit.  Lying down.  How ridiculous is that?  But I need my knitting and it’s well worth the aches that it sometimes gives me so knitting lying down it is.  (I get dizzy working on DPNs and I can’t knit anything too big, not just because of the weight and drag on my hands but because it’s very difficult to manoeuvre if you’re lying down, and sometimes I can’t follow the most basic of instructions and sometimes I can’t remember what the abbreviations are and I have to wear a little sock on my index finger because nearly all the yarn irritate my skin one way or another… but I keep knitting).  Even if I manage to sit up to do something, I list.  Like a shipwreck at the bottom of a goldfish bowl.  And there’s always a price to pay.

There’s always a price to pay.  But sometimes I don’t care.  Sometimes I need to be with people, sometimes I need to go out and do something.  And that’s just the things that I want to do.  There are often things that have to be done (although I have minimised my appointments to virtually non-existent).  I can’t keep swimming in circles looking out at the world.  That’s why I have the laptop so that the world, what used to be my world, can come to me.  But sometimes I want to be in a bigger pond again.  (Goldfish can grow huge, just so you know.  (Not that I’m huge, please)).  I miss being with people, being connected and knowing how they’re feeling.  I miss not being there for people.

So to some extent, I have stopped fighting this.  Because I didn’t have any other choice.  It won.  Very much so.  I can’t pretend to be well whenever I go out into the world like I used to because Mongrel Beast rules everything I do and how I do it.  The effects of this relapse are very evident, very transparent and I cannot hide them behind a veneer of pride or a sense of duty.  I have elderly people hold doors open for me and ask if I’m alright, if I can manage and if I need a hand getting up.  I would feel a lot more mortified if only I had the energy.  My friends carry my belongings and wait for me to catch up.  (It feels like I’m always playing catch up now).  There is shame in losing a war.  Especially when everyone else has to know.  But I didn’t get a choice.  I’m still not getting a choice.  So I plan to keep on swimming because that’s what goldfish do.

I may not plan my days or my weeks but I still catch myself – it’s a little bitter sometimes – assuming that the future will be different.  You can’t accuse the Chronically Ill of being lazy because my heart is not lazy, it longs for and can only imagine a future where I am doing all the things that I want to.  I’ll be better by then.  Of course, I can do that then.  In my heart, I am not Chronically Ill.  I do not have these limitations because these limitations are not me.  Come the summer, come the autumn, next year… Then the other night I dreamt of something future and I had my Legs.  Both of them.  They were there in my future.

It broke my heart.

And I tell myself, well, it’s only been six months since I collapsed.  But those six months have got longer as the year goes by.  And it’s been a very surreal experience.  I might not personally be an optimist but I did truly expect this year to be different, even as it was happening.  I didn’t have goals or anything fixed but I couldn’t comprehend a future, however short term, that would look like this.  I still can’t.

Instead, I appreciate not needing at least eighteen hours sleep a day, I appreciate it not taking twenty minutes to walk to the bathroom across the hall, I appreciate it when I can sit up, I appreciate it when I can string a sentence together.  I appreciate it but it still isn’t enough.  I want my life back, such as it was.  I want me back.  I miss being me.

And now I need to rest.