Tour de France and Felt!

I was lucky enough to make it to Holme Village today to see the Tour de France on its Grand Depart around Yorkshire. There was a lot of standing around whilst we waited for the cyclists to arrive, which was handy as I came across a fantastic Yurt in the centre of the village which some truly fabulous felt. I only wish I could felt this good!

(I couldn’t do a post of the Tour de France and not include some photos of the very fit blokes on bikes too!) :)

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Felting – not the intended results

Having just about abandoned the three projects I currently have on the go I went to a felting workshop that my knitting circle was running last Sunday. I’ve felted items I’ve knitted before, but it was an excuse to fill an otherwise quiet Sunday with friends and yarn.

With free yarn suitable for felting available and plenty of cake I settled down to an afternoon of mindless stocking stitch and nattering.

I got a bowl knitted in a few hours and started on a bag which I finished last night. Here is the ‘bowl’ before felting.


Here’s the end results after felting. To felt them I washed them both in the washing machine on 60 degrees with a couple of towels in there for extra agitation.


The bowl is lovely and stiff but the coloured yarn stripes has disappeared a bit too much, I should perhaps have done two row stripes.

The bag however has not gone according to plan as the grey yarn has refused to felt, despite being wool. Which would be ok, and give an interesting result had I not run out of the grey and had to finish one of the straps off with some beige blue faced leicester – which has felted and also darkened in the wash. Grr.

Its nice though and that’s one quick xmas present done for later this year. At least there is one benefit of having so much time on my hands.

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Attempting to be mindful

So with everything that’s been going on I started a mindful meditation course 8 weeks ago, and tonight was the last session. I’m still finding difficulties with everything in my life, but having something to ground me and disconnect my thoughts from taking over me completely has been really helpful. I’ve never meditated before, or even done yoga, so I didn’t know what to expect when I started.

The practice focuses on activities to centre you in the present moment through breathing, and is based on Buddhism and the teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn. Breath is life, and the purposed of mindful based stress reduction is to get in touch with it and notice how being aware of breathing can change mood, thoughts and body movements.

Initially I struggled with anything longer than 10 minutes as my mind started to take over and I couldn’t switch it off. I even turned off the CD the first few times I had to do a 20 minute session as I couldn’t cope with the length. With regular practice most days I’m now into a habit of meditating with short sessions and an occasional longer session.

The 3 minute breathing space is useful for moments in the day when I need to clear my head  – as its about bringing yourself into the present moment and focusing on breathing, then expanding awareness to include sensations of the body and stepping out of automatic pilot mode and forgetting my thoughts.

Over the last week I’ve found the shorter sessions aren’t long enough for me as I’m in the zone and don’t want to stop!  It’s totally changed my mood. I’m hardly Buddha, but in 8 weeks I’ve learnt to focus on my breathing and bodily sensations as a way to be fully in the present moment when meditating and learnt to deal with the thoughts as they arise and how to let them pass by without taking me over, especially difficult thoughts. I’m now able to use meditation both as a regular practice and as a coping mechanism.

“Thoughts are not facts.”

“The only thing that exists is the present moment.”

I’ve learnt so much its been fantastic. I also came across a free app ‘mindfulness daily’ which is good, but the meditations feel a bit rushed to me, but I love the reminders.

From the course the healing meditation is the best exercise I’ve learnt and I’ve replaced my ranting at myself in the mirror and telling myself to sort myself out with the following, though this is actually more effective when done as the meditation exercise:

- May I be safe and free from suffering

- May I be happy and healthy

- May I experience ease of being

- May I find peace.


And so, thank you to all of you for being my rocks of support:

May you be safe and free from suffering,

May you be happy and healthy

May you experience ease of being

May you find peace.

Starting and not finishing/ Mentally treading water

Oh dear, despite years of monogamy for my knitting projects – diligently finishing one before starting another (if you don’t count the socks always on the go for train journeys) – I now have 3 knitting projects on the go. None of them providing the right mix of mental stimulation, joy and ability to zone out and not have to continually squint at a pattern.

Project 1: Ysolde Teague’s Follow your arrow.

Having knitted this once for my best friend recently I decided to knit it again but following the other options for each section, thereby seeing what I would get instead. However I picked a quite scratchy yarn in blue, which is ideal for mum is not providing me any joy in the knitting. It is an interesting pattern with the options of ABAAA (I’m only onto the 3rd section here), but despite the asymmetric design I’ve lost interest – largely due to the horribly scratchy yarn.

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Project 2: Dreambird

I love this pattern and I love the yarns I’m knitting it in – Noro Silk garden sock for the colours feathers and drops alpaca for the background colour. But I have to constantly look at the pattern and the endless short row shaping isn’t proving enjoyable at the moment, so its one I keep picking up and putting down.

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Project 3: Socks (always a backup)

Started another pair of socks as I felt I needed something I could zone out and just knit without thinking. Whilst the lack of thinking might be required it seems I need to think just enough to not let my mind spiral off into its own dark world. So the socks are not progressing that well in the end, I’m also not really that keen on the yarn colours as the repeat is too regular.

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I know why I’m restless with knitting at the moment.

Its purely down to frustration in my life, a need to feel like something will change and for it to happen quickly.

I’m struggling, but managing to overcome the crippling need to email him again having found a few jobs in his neck of the woods that I really do want to do and not just applying for out of desperation to be with him. But I know I can’t. I’ve already come across as desperate which isn’t exactly attractive. Rationally I can only contact him if I actually get a job near him and make the move independently, so that I’m sorted on my own in case its all just too late.

And I’m trying not to wait around hoping that he might take me up on my offer of getting together between our birthdays in August. I’m trying not to wait and hope that he misses me enough to contact me. I’m trying to get on and make the best of what I’ve got, even if that’s a job I’m not keen on, in a house I don’t want to be in. But I don’t know what else I can do?

All I can think about is moving to be near him which is stupid I know and I’m so worried I might turn down a good opportunity up here foolishly chasing him and a dream of a future I want. A future that I could have had if I hadn’t been so scared about everything. And I’m so desperately to tell him that my initial reaction was purely fear of the unknown. He might believe me but how do you pick up the pieces after so long? I don’t know what to do anymore.

I’m thanking God I have a holiday in a few weeks so I will be properly distracted otherwise I might go insane!

climbing back up/ learning to fly

Wow, this weekend couldn’t have been any rougher if I’d actually tried. But despite feeling the worst I ever have, I’m also able to give it some distance now and I’ve learnt so much about myself. So much so I’m both glad and disappointed. If its possible to have both at the same time. Glad I’ve learnt more about myself but disappointed it didn’t come sooner.

The email ping pong continued, I told him I was thinking of moving South for work, he responded with shock. Amazed that I’d changed my mind in 2 months. But his response was otherwise void of emotion and simply about how expensive it was going to be for me to move south and commute in and out of London. And once he’d heard that news there was no mention or response to suggestions of meeting up as friends.

When he’d told me about moving abroad he’d said he needed a fresh start; when I replied to say that was all I needed too and I wasn’t chasing him across the country when he’d never said that he wanted to be with me, I didn’t get a response to that comment and did get a rebuff that he wasn’t after a fresh start as he wasn’t changing jobs and had been to that part of the USA for 14 years. I noted that he had said he wanted a fresh start and I was only trying to wish him well if that was what he wanted.

So I can see this other life I could have had – I move, we meet up for drinks occasionally, sparks fly again and we live happily ever after, even if we end up moving to the States. Naive or what?

I think the real problem for both of us is too deep in our personalities. When I first met him he said he couldn’t believe anyone could really want to be with him, his parents split up when he was younger and has had a string of unsuccessful relationships – he’s desperate for a wonderful family life his friends now have but is clearly scared of committing his heart to anyone.

And I have realised over this weekend how much I’ve inadvertently allowed mine to make decisions for me, without realising it. The tattoo was the first permanent life decision I’d made without seeking opinion/approval from my mum. (She was pissed off big time and while I hadn’t realised it at the time, I’m pleased I annoyed her. I’ve never rebelled in my life). I know parents imprint you with their opinions but I’d never realised how much until she jumped on the chance to have my house when I suggested I might rent it and I’ve known since mr wonderful raised the issue of having kids that my anti-child opinion was really hers. Not that I really know how I feel for myself yet. How did we both get to our 30’s and end up so fucked up?

So here’s where I’m at. Still an emotional wreck but coming out of the other side.

He’s made no attempt to sound excited I might move south (probably as I’ve thrown him a curve ball he doesn’t know what to do with) and I’ve realised I don’t want to move south if I’m simply running away, as that’s not positive at all. I’m happy to consider it if at some point someone wonderful (and genuine and not afraid to feel) is on the horizon and its worth it. But at the moment all I’m doing is chasing an impossible dream, and won’t be happy. But at least now I have realised I can be happy anywhere, which I’ll admit I’m sad I couldn’t have realised months ago as I could have saved us both heartache.

But I’ve also realised I don’t want to be with someone who isn’t willing to change for me, to have a conversation about the tough stuff, who really wants me and say so. His comments about having an emotional void in his life without me and not having someone to go walking with haven’t really been about me but about him being alone. I want passion, I want romance. I deserve more that to chase someone who doesn’t really seem to want me.

We could have been great together if I’d have been more open to moving earlier and if he had been open to a conversation about stuff and not hidden away from it. We could have been great together if we’d have talked about the future earlier and not kept it all in. But I’m trying to be positive about this, I’ve learnt this for the next time, and I’ve learnt how to love thanks to him after having a lifetime of not doing.

I’m still confused about a whole load of stuff, also because I expect him to contact me at some point as he has before and I’m still not sure what I’d do about that having realised what I have – but having had a great session of reiki last night I’ve decided not to make rash decisions, or indeed any decisions. I’ve already applied for some jobs and I’ll see what happens but I’m not making panic decisions about my future. I’m worrying about a whole load of stuff I have no control over, so why bother?

Having hit a point of questioning a lot about myself in the short term I’m going to take up a friend’s ‘prescription of a summer of fun’ and reduce my hours a bit at work. I can afford to, so I need to do things that make me happy again and not stress about the future. I also need to work less and enjoy life.

Having had a few weeks of not being able to knit as it was giving me too much time to think, I’ve started the dreambird pattern. Apt, since I feel like I’m currently one of those oil slick covered bird trying to fly at the moment. I just need to take time to recover (having had the week off work with stress I’ve realised for the first time in my life that I actually do get affected by stuff and I’m not as tough as I seem) and I need to find my own happiness. And then I might meet the next Mr Wonderful, who will actually turn out to be wonderful for real and I’ll be able to accept his love, the problems of life and love and not get so wrapped up in the fantasy that I get so hurt if and when it all goes wrong.


Hitting rock bottom

I’m sorry its been so long since my last post. I had hoped to have knitted something beautiful to share, but having had a week in Northumberland walking in the sunshine the knitting I took with me is progressing slowly and isn’t providing much joy.

And then I emailed him. I didn’t want bad air between us, I wanted us to be friends and to at least be communicating. So I let him know when I’d be in London next if he fancied meeting up. I knew it wasn’t necessarily a good idea and could lead to tears if we met, but I was trying to be mature about it.

Then he emailed back last night. Having had communication cut off from me while he was in the States he’d obviously confided in his boss, who has offered him a temporary job in the States. Which he’s asked if he can make permanent to have a fresh start. I don’t blame him for feeling he needs to move on and have a real chance of happiness. Particularly as I’d previously said I wouldn’t move to the South to be with him and he didn’t want to move up here and risk his job.

I’ve hit rock bottom though as in that time I’d found that I truly hate my job and need to leave, and while I’ve always loved where I live for being in the countryside I’m effectively trapped here. If I want to find a job I love I need to leave, if I ever expect to find anyone else I need to leave (that sounds dramatic but I’ve been here 7 years and don’t have any really close friends nearby).

So I’d decided I could live down South and had been busy applying for jobs in London and the South. And now he says he might be leaving….

He did say its not confirmed, his company is looking at what relocation package he might get and stuff could go wrong. And he said he’d like us to stay in touch as friends, “until such time as he knows where he’s at”. So I don’ t know what to do now.

I’ve emailed him and said I’m in a process of moving South but I doubt he’ll put romance before his career after everything that’s happened. Moving to the States is too attractive, I’m not sure I’d turn it down in his position.

I so want to get a job down there before he has chance to leave and be able to change his mind (unlikely with my ludicrously long notice period on my job – 12 weeks!!)

I’d even accept that situation for a couple of months of happiness with him, and if he then asked me to leave with him I would I reckon. Having decided I have nothing here. I love my parents but I’d still leave given the chance. But I’d need to know it would work first. I don’t really know why I’m allowing myself to even fantasies as neither of those option is going to happen.

I’ve made a decision to move South and now he’s leaving. Which just leaves me thinking everything is shit all at once. I was ready to give it all up and now he’s no longer there to have. And having made that decision for myself, I now no longer want to stay, but find myself terrified of moving and being alone. But then I’m alone here so I guess what’s the difference.

How can everything dissolve at once? How can I have left it six or eight weeks to late to make the decision? How can I have cut off communication 3 weeks ago and now find everything I want and could have had before has gone?

How can everything be so shit all at once?

Follow your arrow

Two things have got me through the hard and emotional month I’ve had since Easter, my best friend and this knitting project, so it makes sense that she gets to keep the finished shawl.

I started knitting it the weekend I went to Wales at Easter instead of seeing him, and I finished it last night after he replied to my email saying I couldn’t be his friend as I wanted more. He replied saying he felt I was putting him in an all or nothing situation and he didn’t want to make a rash decision and hurt me if it didn’t work out again. I respect him for that. And he said he didn’t want to give up trying to find a solution.  So we’re not being in contact for an undefined period of time. Which makes me sad but I know is the right thing to do. I need to not hang on his every email, and he needs to not feel guilty for what’s happened.

So anyway, that’s me, on to the shawl. Spoiler alert: if you want to  knit this yourself and want the surprise don’t read on!

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The pattern is Ysolda’s Follow Your Arrow which was originally a mystery KAL. The pattern is fantastic as there are essentially 5 sections of which there are 2 options of each, making 32 possible combinations. I knitted option B for all except the second of the sections. This is section 1 and 2.

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This is section 3 and 4.

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Section 5 was a sideways knitted section to cast off, which did take a while. There is a brilliant video clip to aid completion which I definitely had to use especially to understand how to make the chain effect which continues the line of stitches from the section above. The section gradually reduces from an initial 30 stitches down to about 6 at the other end.

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While it took a while to knit this bit it was worth the effort for the effect. Its also the first circular shawl I’ve knitted and I think I prefer this shape to the triangles I usually knit. And I definitely loved the element of surprise and being able to chose which option to knit.

I’m glad she likes it, she deserves it for the amount of advice and support she’s given me.

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