Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spinning Day

It was a case of keeping the breathing even and giving it a go today. This was true for trying spinning yarn on a wheel for the first time ever and also for bringing both babes along to an event like this. A new friend, made at a local knitting group I've been attending recently with M (thank goodness for the smoking ban that means I don't feel guilty taking her to a pub/restaurant at night time!) organised the day at her home, invited us and assured me that she truly didn't mind me turning up with a lively toddler in tow. True to her word, when we arrived her sons had sorted through childhood videos to find things P might like to watch, there were toys out for him and some very young rabbits and a rather old cat for him to make friends with. Coupled with the fascination of wheels used in a way he'd never seen before and rather more biscuits than he'd usually get his hands on he had a whale of a time. M meanwhile was passed from one pair of arms to another, was hypnotised by the gentle rhythm of the pulling of wool tops and treadling of wheels, eventually giving in to sleep under my Manu cardigan.
As for me, I finally got to try out spinning and unsurprisingly I loved it. Yes, I struggled with the wheel going the wrong way, let my yarn get too twisted, found it hard coordinating pulling out the fibres, pinching the thread and keeping the treadles going, got lumps and bumps in some parts then went so thin that the yarn snapped- in other words all the issues a newbie spinner has apparently, but I loved it all the same. It's definitely something where you have to get into the 'zone' and be somehow aware of what's happening, while letting go and almost 'listening' to the yarn. I love the idea that you can go right back to the source, creating the yarn and then knitting the garment from it- the connection with craftswomen of the past seems even stronger than with knitting alone.
I don't think that now is quite the time to be acquiring my own wheel and starting up with spinning, but it's firmly on the long-term wishlist!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A precious gift

Around a year ago our little family, having been thrown up in the air by C's redundancy, finally came to land up here. Relief that a new job had been found was somewhat counterbalanced with loneliness as I came to terms with having moved a long way from friends and family and having given up what had been a happy balance of teaching three days per week and being at home with P the rest. Loneliness could have been a big problem if it hadn't been for a chance encounter at the local child health clinic when I got chatting to the mother of a little girl there about the Steiner playgroup P and I were going to. Turned out she lived at the other end of our street. Turned out that she was also a teacher. Turned out that she liked the idea of going walking in the Lakes with the babies. Turned out that she and I shared a lot of values, ideas and a sense of humour. Turned out our children got on like a house on fire, stretching out from their car seats or buggies to hold hands when we went out and about.
One year later and we've been on many, many walks; eaten a good number of picnics; many including hilariously lumpy vegetable soup and the obligatory flask of redbush tea; dealt with a few medical emergencies; seen our babies become toddlers (and tag-team wrestled them into car seats when necessary!); discussed our worries and shared our joys about family life; both got pregnant again and shared sunshine and showers in so many ways.
Today we went on a walk by Elterwater and realised that this was one of the first places we had walked together when we first met. I hardly need reminding of how much I appreciate the precious gift I have in this friend of mine, but today was as a good a day as any to think about it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September shoes

It might be a bit early to write off summer- we did have a barbecue on Saturday after all and are praying for dry weather at the very least when we host M's Baptism celebration at the end of the month. However, the duller days are just that little bit nippier, the morning air makes me feel that recent and current knitting projects are not going to wait that long for wear and evening turns to night just a little bit sooner now. School may not be a big feature in our lives just at the moment, but September always feels like a new year to me, more than the real New Year does. Just as the old traditions had this time of year for gathering in (and word from the farm is that the harvest is safely in, despite the challenges of a missing bridge), sorting out (there's a lot of that still going on round here) and deciding what stays for the winter and what goes, so it is in my head.
These shoes for P:

And these for me:

were bought way back at the start of the warm weather, when M was still an ever growing bump and we were only just starting to pack boxes and hope for the move to the new place. Despite a lot of distractions, they've nevertheless had some good wear over the season, walking, splashing in puddles, running, jumping (the latter two more him than me, especially pre-birth!) and so on. It certainly shows in the now fading colour and worn out soles! Recently he's taken to going and putting his own shoes on, usually on the correct feet, then fetching this pair for me, ever hopeful that we might go for a walk or to the swings or in the garden. It's time he had a new pair- doubtless his feet have grown yet more now and he needs something a bit more warm and waterproof, even if it does mean he has to wear socks again. But these shoes are testament to a summer well lived if you ask me- how funny to think that by this time next year there will be another tiny pair of shoes being worn out, as our wriggly little girl gets on her feet!