Autumning

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As It Goes

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This month has sped by with all manner of demands on my time. Magazine deadlines and trying to get my Green Man Art store ready for Christmas, whilst also keeping two boys fed, clothed and educated has meant very little time crafting for pleasure, or indeed, leaving the house much!

I’m dividing my time and attention between this blog, my Green Man Art blog, and my new Patreon site, which allows me to try to earn enough pennies from this art gig to pay my bills and feed my kids.

Add to that, my laptop is still very much broken (allowing me to work for only 5 minutes before crashing – good job I’m can speed type) as well as my car, and to be honest there isn’t really much to blog about here.

It seems my entire life is spent waiting for things to get fixed.

It’s the way it goes sometimes.

Shawl Weather

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After the success of my green ‘Close to You‘ shawl I promptly cast on another, in some hand dyed tutti fruity yarn that was sitting in the nearest basket.

I quickly blasted through two of those skeins, then added some remnant hand dyed yarn in oatmeal. Then once that was done I scrabbled around looking for more yarn and settled on some red and deep burgundy to finish it off.

And that’s that. It’s a thicker yarn and has a stiffer drape, definitely a shawl not a cowl like the green one, but very warm and just the ticket as we move into these cold months.

But. As suspected, I think I’m done with knitting. It has not made me want to cast on anything else, and the thought of picking up yarn again bores me. How we change…

Surviving Autumn

An Autumn Manifesto

Surviving winter starts in autumn in my book. I always take a little nose-dive at this time of year, so as I sat rocking back and forth, speaking in tongues one evening, I thought I’d do that thing that brings me peace: draw. Before I knew it I was planning a little ‘autumn manifesto’ to remind me to find the beauty in this season.

With help from some instagram friends we came up with this list above (thanks to Rachelle Blondel, Jax Blunt, Slugs and Snails, Aisha Malik, Emma, Becky, @umm_aymandeensakinah, @Pootle_momma, and a couple of private users. Phew!)

I’d also like to add some practical things for the manifesto: take Vitamin D3 by the bucketload! Maybe think about getting a SAD lamp… because I’m SAD…, and plan special treats – days out and mini-breaks that get you out of dodge for a while, let you recharge and have something to look forward to.

Can you think of any others? Add them in the comments!

If you would like a copy of our manifesto then feel free to print out your own! (And if you do and have an image of it posted in your home then tag me on instagram @greenmanart!)

Before the Machine Was Put Away

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Just after the quilt was finished, before the sewing machine was summarily dismissed from duty, I ran this little pouch up.

I bought this Cloud 9 fabric ages ago with the intention of making at least a pencil case for all my art supplies. It never happened, then last Christmas I sold a huge chunk of my craft collection, which included all my zips.

Fast forward to the day I needed the zips…. and another Plan B was called for. I settled on a simple pouch with button detail, to fold over and keep things inside. It’s not the case I envisaged, nor really wanted, but it works.

And that’s the main thing. I’m the Queen of ‘Making Do’.

When the Break is More Work than the Work

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The weekend before last I was feeling rather tetchy; I was all ‘arted’ out with meeting artistic deadlines and pushing myself to draw way past several bedtimes. I needed a break. I had wanted a day out in the forest, in that special place that quietens and recharges, but alas, my car is dead and will be so until a veritable miracle occurs, and so plan B was called for.

Plan B in this case was a bit of sewing. I felt the need to make something for no reason at all, and I decided on a new pillow cover – in log cabin style – yes! A little stitching would be just fine. And so that is what I did. And then, as is the way with me, I thought, ‘you know, now that the machine is out, it wouldn’t take so long to make a lap quilt for the winter months – I have an entire woollen bedsheet for the batting and some Liberty Tana Lawn that I’ve wanted to use as the backing forever’… and so that is what I started.

And I think I was into the second block when I utterly regretted starting it. I wanted a little stitching for a break, and what I ended up with was a weekend long project!

Persisting, I managed to rattle the quilt out over the Saturday and was hand sewing the binding on Sunday evening, busting it out as fast as I could.

In the end I was happy with the quilt and was glad I’d made the effort, but the state of my studio, the ache in my back, the obliteration of my fabric shelves and the thread all over the floor, left me with no stitchy itch left. The machine was put back in her hidey hole, and goodness knows when she’ll ever see the light of day again, and I tidied the room ready for my back-to-work art on the Monday.

But I got my log cabin pillow.

Back Behind the Wheel

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As afternoon gave way to evening, the dinner on the stove, the children catching the last of the day whilst they still could, I dusted my wheel down.

I spun until the children came in. We ate and washed up, and I spun some more. It became full dark and I’d moved onto plying, and just when my energy gave out, I was done. A hank of 50g yarn.

I sat on the couch and chatted with the boys as they played and I knit. And it was another day of wonder at the power of persistence, and how much can be achieved when we just put one foot in front of the other.

Only 150g of this fluff left before I can cast on to knit something special. And I know that won’t be achieved with a monumental amount of effort, but simply plodding along, stitch by stitch.

Ah, here’s to a slower season!

Coming In

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It seems that’s the task of the moment: settling into home. Early evenings, cooler temperatures, a garden getting put to bed, and it seems we’re all hungry for nourishing broth. It won’t be long before wool is on the beds and around our shoulders.

Just for now I’m enjoying this new rhythm, the art of ‘coming in’.

Step by Step

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Those nights are drawing in earlier and earlier; inevitably we’re finding more time together in the sitting room of an evening. I’m picking up projects that weren’t really calling me in the hotter months; slow projects, some projects that have been on the go for years, are now finding their time in the sun, or lamplight, as it were. I’m in no hurry. I know that stitch by stitch, step by step, they’ll get there.

Just have to keep going, that’s the trick.

Interesting Knitting

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For a while knitting has not been calling me; last winter I sold a huge chunk of my yarn stash for this very reason. I kept some tempting skeins back, but they were failing to work their charms.

I was about the put the last lot of yarn on eBay, to clear a space and admit I’ve moved on, when a friend sent me this free Ravelry pattern. I think a combination of being autumnish weather and an easy, but interesting, pattern spurred me to cast on in a yarn I’ve been waiting to use for years (sorry, the label went missing years ago, no idea what it is).

I found myself eager to do ‘one more row’ after a chore, or before bed, and thought that maybe what was missing was simply patterns that keep me interested.

I’m not sure I’ll be an avid knitter like I once was, but for now, the yarn stays. Just in case.