I dare you!

Kick around on instagram for a while and you realise that there is an ‘right way’ to do things: pattern weights rather than pins, rotary cutters not scissors, mattress stitch for your knits (don’t even think about back stitching the very few seams that you have – that’s if you still knit your sweaters in pieces – and duh, why aren’t you knitting them top/down in the round…).

Sometimes it feels like your whole life is directed by a bunch of rules.  Fashion and beauty can be fun and playful, but they can also be restrictive and tiring. Don’t wear jeans if you’re over 50, baggy clothes make you look fat, heels and low cut tops – are you kidding me! No make-up selfies were a big thing recently implying that make-up was a given and ‘normal’ women didn’t leave the house without a full face of slap.

You can’t be too thin or too fit, but don’t get all muscular, cos people hate that too. I don’t think I need to labour the horrors of fat-shaming that larger women have to face on a day to day basis.

Women are at the sharp end of so many cultural conventions: newspapers have headlines that suggest that anyone bottle-feeding or going out to work (or conversely indulgently staying at home with their baby on their breast) are somehow at fault. Their kids will suffer somewhere down the line. Allegedly.

I’m 56 this year and quite frankly I’ve had enough – I am fed up of dancing to someone else’s tune all the time. I’m going to keep as fit as I can but I don’t give a stuff about my ‘abs’, my kids (who were bottle fed, and saw me being a stay at home and working mum’) are all grown up and they’ve turned out fine. I am going to prioritise comfortable clothes (and I’ll make them myself) with flat shoes that I can walk in and forgo makeup for the 30th consecutive year.

I will use scissors and pins when I sew, back stitch my sweaters (which will almost certainly be raglan sleeved and knit in pieces).  I will keep on doing the things that make me happy and that I’m happy to do. I dare you to do the same.

Things I’m knitting and sewing: I’ve finished a pair of socks, I’m still plugging away at Cranberry Gose (I took it to the Peak District with me last week and knit under the camper van awning as the sun beat down…. and I discovered that I’d stuffed up the instructions, but without any stress at all, reckoned I could call the resulting error a design feature)… I also started a shawl (Tales from the Isle of Purbeck) in a gorgeous wool. cashmere mix but sternly reminded myself that the Cranberry needed to be finished before I knitted another row of lace. I am meekly complying.

Summertime

What does a knitter do when it’s too sunny to knit? 

All my knitting projects (bar one – socks. I’m never not knitting socks. Ever) are stalled at the moment while the weather in the UK remains oddly mediterranean. Every time I pick up a project I put it down almost immediately: that woolly goodness that I usually relish is really not doing it for me at the moment. I would sew but my sewing space is a south facing conservatory (blindingly bright and very, very hot). It’s also my art space, but to be honest I think that the practicalities are secondary to the simple truth that this weather sucks the enthusiasm right out of you. (note: if you’re un-used to it. British people have one of these spells every 20 years and have no chance to acclimatise!)

Having finished my latest crochet blanket I’ve been looking for a new project that is weather appropriate and not a blanket. I came across these squares on Ravelry and thought that a wrap/shawl fashioned from this yarn might be a good in-betweeny until I can start another blanket (I know, I know…you can have too many blankets but I can’t help myself). I’ve made 4 so far and I think its going to be a big square. The yarn lends itself to drapiness and when washed, relaxes even more. Having said all that, I’ve not picked up a hook in a week. Sigh.

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I’ve a little embroidery project on the go which is giving proving to be much more engaging: here’s a sneak preview…

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….I don’t know how it will turn out  and I’ve had some issues with this sort of work in the past so don’t be at all surprised if you don’t see it again!

In exciting news, I will be a student again come September. I’ve been accepted by Huddersfield University to do a Masters Degree in Fashion Textile Practices. I’ll tell you more about that nearer enrolment but it’s an exciting opportunity to expand my craft.