Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Where I am At

It has been two months since I last wrote here... and my journal has also been abandoned.

Who knew that simply getting on with life could be enough?

That the narrative can be found in the living of a life and in the being.
Rather than in the recording, the self-interrogation, the angst.

I remarked to the owner of these feet that I am relaxed.
That the tension has gone.
That I feel safe.

I am knitting:  socks!

And my Lakeland Sweater.

I went to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and bought some yarn.

And soon I will start to knit with it.
Or save it for a rainy day.

I am growing herbs in the kitchen, with a view to a window box.

I am making friends with a cat (who is not mine).

I am still at the gym most weekday mornings, but the compulsion is easing as I settle into my new body: the thinner, quieter, stronger one that I have built in the past year.

I have escaped the great hormonal storm which was fuelled by grief and rage and loneliness.

And now here I am, part of a very different couple from any that has come before.

The fight has gone right out of me.

Happy just to be.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Steady My Heart

blin drift  * *  mashlam * *  smoor * *  brak * * ondag * * snaw bree * * clach-mheallain

* * owerblaw * *  snaw-wreath * * clag * *  skiff * * sneachda * * clambainn

* *  skifter * * sneepa * * dry drift * * skiftin * *  spunedrift * *  eighre

* * skimmer * * tirl * *  feuchter * *  skirfin * *  wauff * *  haar-frost * * skirlie

 * * yird drift * *  liathreodhadh * *  smeuchter * *  lying storm* *  smeuk

I copied this avalanche of snowy Scottish words from here.

Savour each one as it melts on your tongue.

This weather (blizzard conditions, even in the city) makes me want to knit, so I am knitting.

Diving into the stash, trying out different combinations of yarn.

Listening to what they have to say to me.
False start number one

Third time lucky, I have cast on a sweater from the latest issue of Laine Magazine (4).

False start number two

I am using a strand of natural grey gotland from Guthrie the sheep (Hooligan Yarns) held together with a strand of coal black Alba Yarn, which is JC Rennie's shetland lambswool by another name.

Woolly bliss!!!
The resulting fabric is everything that makes me love proper sheepy wool:  fluffy, squooshy, drapey, with an underlying crispness.

The two yarns meld together so well.

This is on its way to becoming a Lakeland Sweater by Fiona Alice.

Lakeland Sweater from Laine Magazine issue 4

I can't knit this fast enough (to wear) or slow enough (to enjoy the process).

Steady my heart.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Fisherman's Ribs

I have been exploring my city in the company of one who knows it well.
The quirky cafes and the hidden green spaces are no longer secrets.

Poring over old maps, like solving crossword clues, unpicking the puzzles.

The house is not dark when I get home now, and what a difference that makes!
Suddenly there are more hours to knit, to read, to move my life forward.
So many possibilities as I embrace the unexpected.

I am working my way through a new vegan cookbook: "Power Plates" by the writer of The Full Helping Blog.

I have tried two different recipes using mushrooms, miso, tofu and barley:  a soup and a "bowl".
An Italian bean / tomato based soup.
A roasted carrot / green lentil salad.

This last was eaten alongside an Arbroath smokie - a delicacy I don't believe I had tried before.

Nor had I tasted haddock roe - made into a pate with vermouth and smoked paprika, eaten on sourdough toast.

This week I am on standby to try smoked coley, a delicacy in Germany, I am told.
I  have found an enticing recipe for that, with spiced kale and coconut milk.
Exciting new adventures at the fish market!

No, not at all vegan.
I am working on "balance", remember!

And in knitting news... I am powering through my second "Warm and Snug" sock, the February pattern in Mina Philip's latest sock club series.

It has knitted-in welts, like the wrinkles in Nora Batty's stockings.

I really don't see the point of these,  but I am well on my way to finishing the pair, using leftover West Yorkshire Spinners' yarn.

After that?
All of the things...
I am obsessing over the entire contents of Laine Magazine Issue 4.
Have I knitted anything from Issues 1, 2 or 3 yet?
But that doesn't stop me dreaming of fisherman's rib cardigans and oversized brioche sweaters!

Thinking I might even be able to do it from stash...

This one, Black Ice by Susie Haumann, for sure:

Two yarns held together... ooh yes, I have a plan for this one!

In a really mad moment I wondered to myself if I might be able to knit this sweater in time for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival...  but that may be pushing too hard.

As my yoga teacher announced last week:  "Life is a playground and not a battlefield".

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Dolphins and Leopards

On Sunday I watched dolphins in the harbour.
I had no idea!

Passing the binoculars back and forth between us.

Leopard sculpture at Marischal College, image from the BBC website
And then a leopard - neither pictured by me, too busy being in the moment.

My birdfeeding station may shortly require planning permission.

Daylight when I reach home in the evenings brings with it a new sense of ease.

A new plant cascades to the floor in rivulets of tiny hearts.
And breathe...

The evolution continues.

Friday, 19 January 2018

The Freedom to Knit

Irving Socks
I have already shown you my knitting nest, the chair in my bedroom where I curl up with my needles and wait for the owls.

I have yet to see them, but I have identified the calls as belonging to at least two tawny owls, which swoop in from the north west and almost certainly perch on the roof of the ancient building which marks the boundary between my little group of cottages and the gardens of the grand mansions beyond.

I sit there in the early hours of my weekend mornings, waiting for the rest of the world to wake up so that I can do the weekly food shop or burn off some energy at the gym.

And in the evenings, I often retreat upstairs with a bundle of sock projects for some Pick 'n Mix knitting, accompanied by a podcast or my latest audio book (The Life of Charlotte Bronte).

In addition to  sporadic Brighton Plaid crochet square production, I am all about the socks.

I have:

My Christmas Eve cast on
My Christmas day cast on
My New Year's cast on
Then there was the need to cast on the Irving Socks...

Coming up in February I have signed up to two new sock clubs, from the Knitting Expat and Curious Handmade.

At some point soon I will hit peak anxiety about the number of unfinished objects that litter my knitty nest.
But for the moment, I am enjoying five rows here and there on one or the other.

This weekend, I might finish two socks - not a pair, but  certainly a couple!

There will be knitting.
There will be dancing.
There will be owls!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

2018, apparently

This is the year in which I will:

Fresh ink, a clean page, sustainable living

  • Go on a writing retreat
  • Attend Dance Bootcamp again 
  • Commit to Aerial Hoop as my preferred circus medium
  • Renew my passport and actually use it
  • Know when to push myself
  • Know when to stop.

Those are not resolutions, they are intentions. 

Tulle Shawl by Curious Handmade, Knitvent 2017

I thought about having a word for the year - you know the concept?
A logo to slap on my forehead and stare at in the mirror every morning, to repeat like a mantra until I become a better person.
The words that occurred to me were "strength" and "balance".
So I am teaching myself to perform a handstand.
No, really I am!

First square of my Brighton Plaid blanket
I am still very much "a woolly person" as my new neighbour described it, on viewing the state of my table.

My current works in progress are mostly socks (five pairs!), but also mittens (two pairs) and the beginnings of a Brighton Plaid crochet blanket, which I am very excited about.
Christmas Eve cast on:  Twas the Night Before Christmas pattern
Day One of my return to the workplace knocked me out, for no good reason.
I could not summon the energy for my aerial class, failed to eat properly, and was in bed by 7.30pm.

Day Two was better.
I took a sock to knit at lunchtime, bought the ingredients for dinner (Black Bean and Peanut Stew) and talked myself back off the precipice of anxiety, because... WTF Roo?!  

Know when to push myself and know when to stop.

Read more, write more, eat more, treat myself more kindly.

Take more time to just... be at peace with myself.
That's the hardest thing of all.
Trying to do... less?

Happy New Year, dear readers!