Autumn Projects

Mine are piling up. I have the need to make, travel, capture images. I yearn to visit cities and their galleries, to go to the coast. But heat and humidity have me in their grasp and I must wait for cooler days.

I am completing a small cowl made from Dales hand dyed and spun mohair from well-looked after goats. The yarn is curly and I have to proceed with great care so as not to add extra loops on the needles. It’s dyed in soft oranges, browns and blues, occasionally bursting in to jewel hues. I’ve not worked with this type of mohair before, it’s corse and wiry. I am not sure how comfortable it will be to wear but it will be nice and warm.

Looked-after goats and sheep is a vital aspect of making with yarn for me now. I try where I can to care about the wool I use. We have a good number of healthy yarn providers in the UK, many work from stock raised here or sustainable Fair Trade areas around the world. The history of wool and the industrial revolution of Yorkshire makes me feel that we should be considerate of the past, although I appreciate that the true cost of healthy yarn isn’t always possible every time or for everyone, but we can work towards this. I certainly don’t want people to stop making.

Along with knitting, there is sewing to do. I may tackle recovering the sofa.  I have done this over the years, having been taught by experienced people working in upholstery. You have to be both generous and brave when going for something big. Don’t be miserly with fabric! I am looking for a soft green velvet-look like this:

sofa

Aside from knitting, this weekend’s for meditation and yoga for cronkies! The autumn calendar locally is looking good, but everything seems to be happening all on one evening – tai chi, zen meditation, singing. Programming…

Looking forward to September and the goodies I hope it will bring. Time for the heatwave to go away.

Counting Butterflies – A Day Off

A longer weekend. We have rain after what seems to have been weeks of heat. In fact, it’s only been three, or was it four. I wonder if the grass will grow again, will it be green and long. No hose pipe bans here as yet. I remember the summer of ’95 and syphoning off bath water to feed the greenhouse then.

We grew all kinds of fruits in that little space. Cucumbers, loved by us and the slugs that found their way in. Peppers and tomatoes, turning from green to yellow and red, like traffic lights. An aubergine plant, a melon plant which broke through to the outside, reaching for the sky – no fruit though.

I grow nothing right now. But hope to again. Instead I go in search of good fruit. The local grocer has a decent variety as do the market stalls. The difference between a large lemon with  thick skin and a puny think-skinned one is all about aroma, flavour, longevity.

Aldi offers decent avocados, in a relaxing, meditative green that you’d want to dive in to. Piccolo tomatoes which smell as if they are straight from the soil. Clusters of beets, radishes, carrots, all bundled.

Shopping around pays, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth either.

I have gotten through a fair amount of writing in recent weeks and achieved quite a bit. There is now a brief hiatus as I wait for autumn to bring fresh results. September tends to bring change for me year on year.

As I go walkabout, it is more and more apparent to me what my life *should* be hereon in.

In the meantime, I have reading. Ivo Andric’s Bosnian Chronicle, Collected Fictions – Jorge Luis Borge and to finish Pullman’s latest La Belle Sauvage, which is delightful. Three more shorter novels on the side thereafter with cuisine themes, and a reserve at the library waits for me – George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo.

Someone once said all you need is a library and a garden and life’s just fine. Okay. I may have finally come to accept that. Except one needs yarns too.

Starting today for the next three weeks, Butterfly Conservation are asking us to count butterflies. Visit their website, download the app or chart. Spend 15 mins at a time counting. This can be done as often as you like over the next three weeks. I’ve noticed many butterflies recently in this hot summer, and bees. Just lovely, absolutely lovely.

Past, present, future – writing and making for here and now.

Knitting and stitching projects, story-writing and rediscovering poetry are working towards being in the here and now and creating a new tomorrow.

I think it can take quite some time to make a shift, through the generations, out of tradition and into modernity. I am reading a mix of novels at the moment, including Lacuna by Kingsolver, Bosnian Chronicle, by Andric, The Ministry of.. by Roy. All of them evolve around cultures and the shifting of humanity across time. I have also learnt to accept that it’s fine to be between times, one foot here and another over there.

Progress is often slow, with a lot of stalling. It can be frustrating when a vision seems to take forever to transpire. But knitting and writing demand pacing, giving time and trusting the imagination. Trusting that if something wants to happen it will, when it’s ready. The vision of my work in progress is constantly there and I allow it to lead me to tell the story of others.

It’s Easter this weekend, and that draws me to painting eggs, baking with filo. The tradition would have been to pick food colouring from shelves, make a gibanica loaded with cheeses. Now it’s more about the natural (modern) way. Eggs are dyed with turmeric and coffee, as I used to with yarn years ago. Gibanica has a heavy dose of spinach and eggs, with sparing use of sheets.

 

Shifting is possible, keeping some traditions is too, if they are a part of you, ingrained. But a new way of being is also essential, for all of us. We travel constantly. Be sure to document your journey, and of others too. There’s a common theme for all of us.

I enjoyed a year of reading Italy, fiction and history, language and cuisine. I haven’t done yet. The dream is to go back again, soon, if possible.