Wednesday 20 May 2015

continental knitting

I've been an keen knitter since I was a little girl. I first learned to cast on with my Mum, who in turn had learned from her mother and so on, and so forth. Going into my teens, I started getting unwell with Chronic Fatigue/Fibromylagia. As time went on, I would spend more and more time off school, and was often looked after by Grandma Joan. I would spend many an afternoon sat knitting beside her or rummaging through her vast stock of knitting needles and patterns. Later, my Danish sister-in-law taught me how to knit socks, which in turn led on to knitting gloves and mittens and hats in the round. As my love and interest for knitting grew, along with my love and interes for the French language, I was then able to knit beside my Swiss grandma and I not only began to talk her native tongue, but learned to knit the continental way like she did.

Sadly my Swiss grandma is no longer with us and the other knitters in my family are far away across the other side of the Channel. But having such a deep family connection to the craft has always made it very special for me, a way to bond with these women.

Whenever I take out my five needles and cast on in the round, I feel I am somehow connected to these women by invisible threads of love, but also thrift and quiet craftsmanship. My beloved Grandma may have passed away, but she passed down to me not only her double pointed needles and darning mushroom, but also a wealth of precious family knowledge, of which I am now one of the guardians.

Perhaps one day when I am old and grey, one of my descendants will marvel with wide-eyed wonder when I tell them how I used to darn holes or unravel and re-knit socks that had grown to small like my own grandmothers did.  Or perhaps they will laugh at their excentric old grandma and wonder why she behaved like such an old woman whilst she was still young.

socks tell stories

I learned to knit from my mother, who in turn learned from her grandmother, and so on, and so forth. While I've always really admired those knitters who learned to knit not because of any family history but simply because they were interested in it, I must admit that having a family connection to the craft has always made it special for me. I learned as a kid, but I didn't really get into knitting, branching out and learning new techniques, until I left for college. I certainly enjoyed it (and obviously still do!), but I think on some level it was also really nice to have something to connect me to my mother and my roots when I was away from home. It was something we could bond over whenever I came back to visit, too. 
In the age of Ravelry my mom's started knitting again in earnest, especially as she's moved towards retirement and had more time for it. She's branching out and learning new techniques, or in some cases, re-learning old techniques, too. But mom knit a lot when she was younger. She knit a lot in an age where knitting patterns could be pretty... interesting. I mean, let's be real. Knitting and crocheting got kind of weird in the 1960's and 70's with the introduction of synthetic fibers on a grand scale. And while digging old stuff out of her closet, mom came across this particularly wonderful specimen of a sweater she made in the 70's and she sent it my way.

Monday 19 January 2015

shades of grey

{Edit: You can find this post and me over here from now on...} is once again today, winter grey. Snow flakes tumble from far above the mountains, swirling to the valley bottom to settle on rooftops, branches, the tongues of excited children.

Occasionally the sun sneaks out from behind the billowing clouds, bathing the valley in warming golden light. Occasionally the clouds part to uncover a radiant blue sky. But more often than not these days are tinged with grey. 

Some folks around these parts grumble about the grey, finding it monotonous, gloomy. Lying resting in bed looking up at the sky, I like it very much. I immerse myself in the greys and realise that it is not colourness. There is slate grey, blue grey, smoke grey, silver grey, dawn grey, sleet grey, winter grey, mist grey....The more I look, the more I notice there are not fifty, nor a hundred but a thousand shades of grey.

Of course I too love the blue sky days, when I can sit on the balcony and soak up the healing sunshine. But in between, grey is beautiful, versatile, soothing...

Monday 5 January 2015

due south

No way of knowing exactly where the path of this coming year will take me...
But I know where I'm headed today, due south back to the mountains* and my love.

* And if I'm very lucky, perhaps a little snow?

Thursday 1 January 2015

looking forward

2014 was a challenging year for me, for us.
My attitude tended to veer towards un-acceptance. Frustration. Sorrow.

But the earth kept on spinning round the sun. And now it is January once again.

For once, I'm not gonna try to "turn over a new leaf". 
The world doesn't change, we change.
Not who I am, but how I feel about myself.
About this

So this is 2015.

Where the past year was a collection of endless endings, then these months just about to unfurl will be surely marked by new beginnings.
Where the past year was tinged with a deep rooted despair, then we step forth into the blinding light of this new one with a renewed sense of hope.

So this is 2015. Welcome. 


Inspired by the gorgeous words of Rachel Violet: 

"Despite all the heartaches this last chapter has brought me, as 365 blank pages unfold I am filled to the brim with hope that day by day we will all be reunited with our health, happiness and love."