Sunday, 14 April 2019

Like Buses...

Nothing for weeks and then they all come at once. Well maybe not all at once but two posts in five days from me which feels like a lot. To be honest I need a break from clearing out my studio. The logistics of trying to decide what I might need for the next six to twelve months and what I can put in storage is making my brain hurt but I'm slowly sorting out every box and drawer which has been quite cathartic. The realisation that I will never do silk painting again and the satisfaction of passing on a box full of supplies to the local school was a high moment. The four large crates of knitting yarn I plan to keep (after already getting rid of several bags full) doesn't feel quite so good... until I remember that knitting is good for you!

And I was reminded of this by a special little parcel that arrived this week... so beautifully wrapped.

A few weeks ago I bought myself a ticket to an evening talk at Craft Days in Saffron Walden to hear a talk by Jame McIntosh. I think that people often think that I am confident and outgoing but actually the opposite is true and it takes quite a bit of courage to venture out to an event like this on my own. I can quite happily stand up and give a talk to a room of fifty people, or teach a class full of students, but in a small group of I often struggle. But James was talking about how knitting helped him overcome a serious bout of mental illness... literally saving his life. And long time readers will know that this is an issue close to my heart as my youngest son continues to battle with his mental health. So off I went... I took my knitting as a security blanket and on arrival I smiled a lot  at everyone but said very little! Of course as it turns out everyone was really friendly, including James, whose talk was inspirational and very funny.

His book "Knit and Nibble" has recipes for sweet treats as well as sweaters and we were treated to several of the fabulous cakes and biscuits while we listened to the story of how knitting helped his recovery from a severe breakdown. I loved the sweater he was wearing... simple shapes and stitched up with brilliant big embroidery stitches. Definitely on my list to make (just remind me I don't need to buy any new yarn!)

By the end of the talk everyone was mingling and chatting and I got talking to an interesting lady called Addy, an ex airline pilot and now a rep for Rowan yarns, who had her own story of over coming mental illness. We got chatting because she was wearing a gorgeous hand stitched brooch featuring a little fox with his knitting needles. She told me it had come from a lady called Lorna also known as Stitchbirdie.

When I got home I sent a message to Lorna asking if I could buy one of her beautiful brooches and this week a little parcel arrived for me and here he is! The photo doesn't show how beautiful the stitching is on this gorgeous little brooch which is entirely hand stitched. The little sweater is exquisite and the whole thing is beautiful done on a piece of Harris Tweed. And for me it is a little reminder that we all have our own struggles in life to some extent or another and we just need to be kind to each other.


  1. What a lovely little brooch - it would look good on the tweed jacket I seem to remember you buying some years ago! Glad you had a nice evening x

  2. I am pleased you have kept your yarn.I have lots of yarn and am currently working through my stash making blankets for the homeless and refugees.It is something I can do watching TV

    1. Although I have kept a lot of the yarn I have given away about six bags in total to people who knit for charity... so nothing gets thrown away if I can help it!

  3. Would that little fox fit in your matchbox project (that was fun to read about)

  4. It seems that you really did yourself a favour by making the effort to go to the talk; I know how difficult that would have been. I shall look out for James's book.

    I like your Fox brooch, I have a feeling that I have seen a similar one recently but can't recall where it was. My favourite brooch is one that you made - from an empty tube of tomato purée and some turquoise thread, I love it.

  5. Sounds like a brilliant talk and meeting up with like minded people. Do love that little brooch.

  6. It is good to know when we need to give ourselves a gentle push, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the talk and found yourself among 'friends'. The brooch is charming and beautifully made. 'Keep Calm and Carry On'!xx

  7. Awe what a gorgeous little brooch ... sounds like a really good talk, I totally believe in the benefits of knitting!!

  8. Glad you went to this knitting event, it sounds like a perfect way to spend a couple of hours. I was interested to read that you don't mind talking to a large group of people but feel shy in smaller settings. I am just like that and it is good to read that there is hope for me to one day be a bit less awkward in small groups. Thanks for encouraging me to make an effort. The little fox brooch is delightful. x

  9. What a lovely little brooch! There are certainly some very talented people out there.

  10. What an inspirational evening that must have been. I am sure you will find time in your crowded life. You know of course that two days after you have put all your things into storage that you will need an item which is at the back of the container!!
    You must be dredging up lots of happy memories as you pack up all your stuff from years back.
    That little brooch is lovely. XXX


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