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    Entries in life (41)


    Keeping it simple

    I've fallen out of the habit of blogging, as is pretty obvious on here! I will get back to it, but in the meantime I post much more regularily on Instagram. It's quick and easy; I use the camera on my phone rather than having to use my proper camera - which needs the battery charging & I can't find the charger - uploading images, editing them down to a reasonable size, and loading them onto the website. And I'm all about simplicity at the moment.

    There are lots of complicated things going on at home, to do with our oldest son, whether the local education authority will let him stay at his school post-16, claiming disability allowance & doing the attendant paperwork & interviews and stuff like that. So my head in full of complexity and I'm finding (once again) that crafts are my perfect outlet. 

    I bought an old loom ages ago and have been scared of it since. So I decided to just try it, use leftover yarns & see if I could make a simple scarf. As you can see, I did! And the potential of weaving is so exciting. Especially when considered alongside handspun yarns, with all their character. My spinning mojo is back - I'll be showing you more on the blog soon. I've been learning new skills, and went on a Quilt Routes workshop last saturday. I'm so in love with my little piece of machine sewn artwork, and can't wait to do more.


    The focus on simplicity has spilled over to work too. I had always planned to do self published work this year, with a couple of book ideas in my head that needed refining. Then an idea popped into being all by itself and wouldn't go away. So unexpectedly, granny squares have become my focus, and I'm about half way though the designs for a book! With such a clear focus, I can't go haring off, getting distracted by other ideas. I'm being very disciplined about the designs, and it turns out I'm falling back in love with granny squares. The designs are not all actually square, but they all come from that construction & I'm loving it. Happy days :)




    So it turns out 6 months is no time at all.......

    Ahem, hadn't really planned to stop blogging for 6 months, but somehow it happened! 

    So what's happened since my last blog post?

    We moved house - while the move itself was urgh, I love the house. Especially having an open fire <3

    I'm still designing - mostly for a magazine on a no name basis, so they don't need to credit me. I did submit to Knit Now in the last call though, and so you'll be seeing a couple of designs in the spring. 

    I'm still teaching - my regular Mon & Tues night sewing classes at Kingshill House in Dursley started this week. Due to a computer glitch, the classes were listed as full before they actually were, which has meant that the class numbers are smaller than normal. So if you want to sign up, there's still time! 

    I don't have many knitting & crochet workshops signed up yet, but I expect there will be plenty of them this year too!

    And to keep things interesting, I've signed up with a temp agency that specialise in providing teaching assistants for Special Educational Needs. I don't like to feel too comfortable with what I'm doing, and so this should spice things up :)

    In September, I went to Chicago to see my Uncle inaugurated as the President of Illinois Institute of Technology - impressive, huh? The ceremony was inspiriational & it was lovely to have a family meet up that wasn't a wedding or funeral. I also fell in love with Chicago, and would love to go back and spend longer there. It's a really exciting city.

    There are interesting things coming up - I'll be able to tell you more soon, but my first sewing pattern is going to be on sale soon - and if you are going to Unravel, you'll be able to see it :)

    So I'll try to avoid another long break - see you soon! xx




    Oops - sorry for the long absence.

    So somehow a month just vanished. I've had some magazine work, there has been a whole lot of gymnastics training (not for me!) and we've just put our house up for sale. Keeping it viewing ready feels like a full time job, especially for someone as housework challenged as me!

    But there is some sewing going on, some swatching (aren't the Fyberspates Vivacious dk colours gorgeous?) and jam jar posies of garden flowers to enjoy. I'm sitting in a tidy house catching up with Nashville series 3, and feeling pretty positive about the changes that are coming up.

    I have a blog hop post coming up and a book review to do and I'll try to be a better blogger - even if this might turn into a house hunting/selling focussed blog for a little while! See you soon xx


    World Autism Awareness day - part 1. 

    As most of you will know, my oldest son is on the autistic spectrum & has a complex mix of diagnoses. These include PDD, PDA, ADHD, ODD, SPD.....lots of letters!

    What these letters mean is that he is an intelligent teenage boy who's mind is wired differently to most people's. He runs on a different operating system. Mac in a Windows world. Or for those of us who remember the 80s, Betamax in a VHS world.

    At the moment he's frustrated at everything. Societal, educational, parental expectations, the injustice of being expected to take exams that he doesn't care about, the rage at being told he has to revise in HIS FREE TIME, without the ability to rationalise the need for a few month's extra work in order to get GCSE exams out of the way. The pressure, the injustice, the unreasonable nature of it all is leading to meltdowns & despair. It's not easy being Matthew right now. Then again, is it ever easy being 15? Never mind dealing with puberty & exams, even without the added autistic spectrum challenges. 

    A few months ago he wrote about his school. It's a residential special school for autistic spectrum kids who don't have learning difficulties. Long term readers will know about the struggles we had to get him into the school. It looks like we have won the latest battle to keep him there, but I have a suspicion that we might have to fight again next year. I thought you might like to read an extract of what he wrote;


    "Firstly, one of the best things about the school are the teachers, who are well trained, and are able to make most of their subjects very interesting and engaging, they also break up the work really well- they don't just give you a sheet and say "do it" - they actually break up, say into doing 10/15 of one thing, then 10/15 of another, as to keep it fresh and engaging. One teacher in particular does this really well and can make the most boring parts of her lessons still engaging, while encouraging creativity and deviation from normality.
    Speaking of normality, that is something that the school does not have, in fact, most of the students dislike normality and everyone is completely different, yet we all fit in.
    After all, what sort of jigsaw puzzle has pieces that are the same?
    Continuing on the subject of students, they have so much variety, no two people are even close to being alike, we have our straight A students, we have those that attend few classes, but have massive potential, we have those that are friends with everyone, and those that have a small social circle of a few, but extremely dependable friends, we have our random people, and we have those that will stick to the rules like glue, we have  our sportsmen/women, we have our gamers, we have our artists and we have our engineers. but most importantly of all, we have no stereotypes, or people that conform to them."
    Doesn't that sound like the sort of education & acceptance that we should strive to offer all our children? And also - no, he hasn't watched The Breakfast Club
    I love the idea of a teacher encouraging 'deviation from normality'. I know which teacher he means, and she encourages the students to be original rather than derivative, but I prefer the way Matt put it.
    I'm going to do a couple more posts about awareness & how to learn more about AS. I'll tell you about books & films that I found helpful, and link to some videos that are only a few minutes long but do wonders in exploding some myths about people with AS. Let me know if there's anything that has helped you that should be included xx





    Finished objects and photos 

    There was so much I made last year that I didn't show on the blog. This was partly down to having a microscopic attention span, but also because I didn't get modelled pictures of a lot of things. A lot of those things have been worn to death, but a) it's hard to take pictures of yourself and b) I hate having my photo taken and tend to be hypercritcal of how I look. But not everything needs to have a modelled picture, does it? I'd rather post about something I made and show a picture of it folded up than not post at all. So that's what I'll try to do this year :)

    Having said that, remember my Icelandic lopi sweater? I wear it a lot, and love it. We went up to Scotland to visit friends on boxing day last year, before heading to Yorkshire for New Year. Neither place is known for their warm winter weather. And my coat didn't get packed. Luckily I had the sweater with me, so I got myself swathed in knitwear & ventured out with everyone else for a walk at the nearby country park & beach.

    The wind was chilly but I was ok - but felt the cold around my neck. Got that sorted for the next day though.

    Now an oversized hoody under my lopi sweater is not the most slimming outfit I've ever worn,  but since Scotland had gifted us the most spectacular - if cold - day I was not going to be stuck inside. I was toasty warm, and in no danger of being missed! 

    Lots of us are a bit scared of choosing colours for jumpers like this, or fairisle designs. But if an image appeals to you, why not try picking colours out of it to put together? I've got loads of inspiration from the beach that day.

    All of these photos have the blue of the sky & sea and the earthy tones around. But there's also the hit of white, and the zing of yellow or acid green to liven the whole. I'm sure these will make it into my knitting some day. You might even get modelled photos - but don't count on it!!