Friday, 22 March 2013

How Time Flies

Despite all my good intentions to blog on a regular basis at the start of the year, circumstances have conspired to prevent me from posting until now.

It is hard to believe that we are almost at the end of March.  The weather outside is cold and we already have a good few inches of snow with yet more falling.  As this has changed my plans I have time to do this update.

My health continues to place more and more barriers between me and life. So my creativity has become more important as a way to relax and channel ideas.

This shawlette was a really easy knit and is in the softest of yarn and has been in constant use since I finished it. Working on smaller projects seems to be the way ahead for me.

Last week our dear cat Moppett died. She was 20 years old and had been Alexs' companion since he was 1.  We have a cat sized hole in our family as she was very much a part of our lives.  It's amazing how her became part of our everyday routine.  Everytime I parked the car in our drive she was looking out the window, meowing her hellos.  The window looks empty now without her being there welcoming us home.
I continue to push the boundaries to learn more techniques in knitting and was so pleased to complete this Sheep Carousel tea cosy, designed by Kate Davies (  This had me learning; provisonal cast on, vikkel braids, steeking and colour work.  It is great to learn so many new techniques to me in a small project. 

Each month I am trying to find positive things to do from going out for hot chocolate with my other half, listening to an audio book or sorting out the contents of a drawer.  The simple pleasures in life are often overlooked but their impact can really make a difference.  So I am looking forward to baking bread, working on a lovely shawl and (hopefuly) being able to get out into the Spring sunshine.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Vintage Books and Boxes

Outside is a blanket of white snow, which gives me every reason not to go out and to spend time in my studio. With all the snow around the light that comes into the studio has changed, making it much brighter which I hope is an indication of how it will be later this year. 

So this week has seen me and the dog spending afternoons in the studio, listening to Harry Potter and going through bags of unfinished projects.  We, that's me and the dog, are deciding which projects are worth completing and which ones should be parked indefinitely.  So socks have been darned, skirt hems altered and buttons re-attached. 

I have also been messing around with patchwork, making panels which will eventually be used in some bigger projects and knitting a rainbow mohair shawl.  Getting the sewing machine out and working has been a real step forward and I look forward to developing new ideas when I feel more inspired.

Besides sorting through the projects I have also had a good rummage through my sewing boxes, of which after years of auctions and car boot sales, I have a great many.  The joy of wooden cotton reels, packets of needles and tins of buttons transports me back to my Nans as she made costumes for amateur dramatics and dance studios. Vintage fabric which is made to last - no disposable fashion when it was made.  Pin cushions filled with emery, no plastic foam or filling in them and a reassuring crunch as pins and needles are pushed in and kept bright and sharp.

Not everything has been so positive though as I have had a few bad nights and some days when even getting out of bed has been impossible, such is the nature of depression and fibromyalgia.  The levels of pain invade every part of me, even making my hair hurt.  In an attempt to keep myself from dwelling in the dark I have spent time re-reading nostalgic "girls" fiction from my childhood.  Immersing myself in the likes of Malory Towers, Abbey Girls and others I have been transported away from my life and into one of my and the authors imagination. 

Part of the steps forward for me is to start to write down each day, or when I can, things that I am grateful for.  At the moment it is relatively easy as there are a great many things that I am grateful for, such as family and friends but as time goes on I know that this will be much harder and will mean looking at negatives and trying to see the good in the bad.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The beginning

This is the start of a journey for me, putting my feelings and achievements into writing.  Logging the highs and lows and the barriers that I face to develop my creativity and manage the disabilities that I live with.

So who am I?  Well that's a biggie to start with;

 I am a mum of one adult son, who lives at home with his girlfriend and are both at university

 I am a wife of a wonderful man who had Rapid Cycling Bi Polar which can cause great problems and some hilarity (well you have to laugh because otherwise you would cry)

 I am a daughter who lives miles away from her own Mum

 I am me - a 50 year old woman who over the past 3 1/2 years has had her life turned upside down having been diagnosed with cancer in 2009 which involved surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, following on from that I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Sjogrens Syndrome both have extreme tiredness and pain as key symptoms.  I also have limited mobility which means I use crutches or a wheel chair to get around. 

I also experience the lows of depression and loss of confidence and am starting this blog while feeling very depressed.  The depth of uselessness and loss of confidence is really hard to explain to those that have never experienced it.  My feelings are like ocean waves that continually crash onto the sea shore, each wave batters a fragile confidence, brings on another wave of tears, the inability to even move from the bed, the totally disbelief that things will get better.

During my treatment for cancer I re found the love I had as a child for making things, knitting and cross stitch helped me through the painful and energy sapping treatment.  As my life fell apart the desire to make things grew in me.  By seeing things being formed helped me to realise that beautiful things can come from ordinary things.  So my interest grew and I began to knit - lots.  At first I did not mind what wool I used as long as I could make things, but as this blog develops you will see that this has changed dramatically. 

As I slowly recovered from the cancer treatment, we started to go out to car boot sales and auction, looking for things for me to use to make things with, collecting vintage patterns and equipment.  We also started to collect more vintage items with a plan to start up a business going to vintage and antique fairs, which for me was something that I had done before and enjoyed.  But this has had to be put on hold until I feel more able to handle all the organising and setting up of the business. 

Then in 2010 things started to go wrong again, I became really tired, my body was aching all over and just getting up sapped my energy from me.  So once again I went on long term sick leave and was subjected to a range of tests.  My biggest fear was that the cancer had returned, fortunately those tests came back clear, but it took a further year before I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Sjogrens Syndrome. Having both has had a major impact on my life.

Once the diagnosis had been made it quickly became clear to my employers that I would be unable to continue in my job and as it was in the Public Sector and cuts were being made I was retired on the grounds of ill health.

The retirement was a relief, finally I could focus on managing each day without the constant pressure to "get better" which some people felt I should have been doing.  So each day I tried to make something, knit something, try something new to.  However, I also had to cope with people disabling me even more that I am, because they tried to "do the right thing" but the constant "oh don't do that" "you'll get tired" "Don't" "Don't" "Don't".............. dragged me down, made me feel bullied and pushed me into depression.

My family have been a great support during all of this, no more so than for my last birthday which was the big five zero when I was given a "studio", well a shed at the bottom of the garden.  I am going to call it the studio as it will be a space for me to work, sit, think, develop ideas and in the end produce them.  At the moment the studio feels like a million miles away as I cannot even get out of the house I feel so down.

I hope that when I look at this in a years time I will be much happier, have more confidence and feel able to manage those presumed ideas others have about my disability.  However at the moment I feel dark and sad, a bit like the weather that we have been having.  I am waiting for the first glimpses of a sunny day, a blue sky both within me and outside.

So  to help me move to that sunny day I am going to list 10 things that I can pick up and do when I am feeling able to over the month of January.  So here goes:

1.   Fill up the bird feeders and sit and look at the birds in the garden for an hour
2 .  Read an Enid Blyton book
3 .  Go out for a hot chocolate with my Other Half
4 .  Use my carding machine to prepare some fibre for spinning
5 .  Use my drop spindle for at least 30 min a time
6.   Listen to an audio book while sitting in my studio doing very little
7.   Knit - lots and lots!
8.   Sort out my button box - its like going back to my Nans house
9.   Make something with pipe cleaners
10. Sit and relax

None of these are going to shake the world but they will help me in my attempt to get back into the real world.

As this blog grows I hope to be able to share the things I make and do, explore some of the vintage things that I have and get to know other bloggers who have similar interests and/or are dealing with similar disabilities.