Monday, 26 March 2012

We have moved!
I do hope that you enjoy reading the archive of posts here on Blogger.
All of that content and a lot more, including knitting patterns and adventures in dyeing can now be found here
Please come over and take a look!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Going large

I've finished one sleeve of my lovely lacy Niobe sweater...then I put it aside for a bit to try to finish a pair of lace socks I'm working on on itty bitty needles. After a few rounds of things really not adding up, I realised I'd mis-remembered the pattern and was basically screwing it up. Ripping out an inch of fiddly lace on tiny needles is somehow more heartbreaking than on a big sweater...maybe it's just me.

Anyhow I decided to take a detour inspired by some brightly coloured and not-so-expensive yarn I came across at Michael's. I'd forgotten how fast knitting can be on giant needles with yarn as thick as a pencil! I'm loving the results.

I threw together this chunky scarf, which will be a gift:

I also quickly ran up a blue one for my son who said he liked it.

Now on a chunky roll, I grabbed some violet wool I'd had my eye on for a while which was very inexpensive and on special offer:
And cast on to create one of these for myself:

Wrenna, from French Girl Knits
My first attempt at knitting in one piece from the top down. Don't worry, I'll get back to those fiddly lace socks and lovely fluffy Niobe sweater. But for now I'm really enjoying the instant gratification of chunky projects I can finish in a few hours!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Sharing wisdom - the right question

I saw a link to this post by the wonderful Queen Dani on Belinda's blog and I really felt compelled to pass it along.

You are probably familiar with the subject matter - why we must consider letting unhealthy relationships go. But I have not read such a simple and compelling take on it as this before. And yes, before we point the finger at the other person in the equation, we need to ask ourselves a few questions.

Being Queen - The right question

By the way if you have the chance to work with Dani, jump at it. She is both wise and wonderful.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Are you a cog in someone else's master plan?

I recently returned from New York. While there, I didn't do that much exploring, or sightseeing, nor did I take in any shows.

I worked, around fourteen hours a day. Then I came home.

A lot of this work involved reporting on what other people were doing, in an industry that I'm not a part of. I supported other people's efforts in health and safety, better career options for women, and building the product I work to produce.

Nothing wrong with any of that - helping out other people, helping worthy causes, making an honest buck. Right?

Actually when I was there, even as I was engaged in much of this, I had the distinct awareness that although all of this was at best worthwhile, and at worst harmless, something was off.

In everything I was doing, be it for someone else or for my own employer, I was helping to further someone else's dream. I identified that this is how, for many years, I have talked myself into continuing to do what I do.

But there's something missing at the heart of it all.
Where is my dream? What is my story?

I've been so busy helping others or telling their stories, that I've lost my own voice. I've been a cog in someone else's dream all along. It's a safe and easy place to be, for the most part. But often, it's hard to truly be myself.

And it's that dream, the one that never belonged to me, that I want to wake up from.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

A winner - & Steve Jobs

I have a winner pulled from the hat for the CD giveaway! (By the way a few people messaged me to join in elesewhere due to problems leaving a comment on blogger.)


...Mollie from New Zealand! Well done Mollie, your CD will be on it's way across the Pacific very soon!

I also wanted to post here briefly that due to the sad death of Steve Jobs, many of his quotes and TED talks about living your dream have been circulating on the internet. His sentiment is so utterly in tune with my Exit Project that I wanted to post one of his quotes here:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” ~ Steve Jobs
 I am still looking. Thanks for the reminder Steve, RIP.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Exit Project - and a cd giveaway

My brother and sister in law have a fantastic band called Exit Project. This popped into my head today because I think that's what I need next - an exit project to escape my day job.

Exitproject on the couch
Exit Project

I work as a freelance writer and editor. I am paid well for what I do, and have some expertise in my own niche. The trouble is, I have outgrown my niche. It has started to feel like a pidgeonhole. And I'm ready to spread my wings.

I've had a long freelance career, so I've parted company with clients a number of times before, almost always entirely amicably. Usually a project ends, funding dries up or they decide to hire a full time person rather than outsourcing. Almost immediately, a new project tends to show up.

This time it feels different. I edit a magazine for someone, I feel a fair bit of responsibility. I also, to be honest, need the cash.

So why do I need an Exit Project?

  • I feel out of alignment with the audience I write for. We have nothing in common (beyond being human).
  • I don't enjoy the topics I write about.
  • I feel constrained and limited in what I can do.
  • My creative ideas to improve things have met with strong resistance, even though that was part of my job description.
  • I have frequent issues with a disrespectful co-worker.

Most importantly?

I get a feeling of deep dread in my gut every time I turn my attention to this work. It feels all wrong.

How have I come to this place of feeling wrong?
Well, to be honest there were some early disappointments. But I have also been doing a great deal of inner work on myself, including what I want to do with my time and talents. Some of the people or courses that have helped along the way are:

A visit to Portland to see Havi Brooks from The Fluent Self at her Rally course

Online work with Andrea at The Creative Magic Academy where I recently took part in the Creative Dream Incubator

And finally a beautiful piece of magical transformation at Jane's Reframing Your Story, which I felt was the icing on the cake after the deep in-person and online group work from each of the other two courses.

After all of this work I am very clear on what I need more of in my life, and what feels good. I'm starting to work more intensively on some creative projects. These may or may not lead to some kind of income - but whether or not that comes to pass, I still have to acknowledge the deep discomfort I'm feeling in my current role. I'm just not a good fit.

So how do I plan to exit?

I have some creative changes to turn the business around that I want to attempt to implement. I want to create clear documentation - a few lists and processes - to leave the role easy for the next person to take on. And then in the New Year, I plan to leave.

I think it's time for a new chapter to begin, and shedding this part of my career is the final step towards being really authentic.

I have a copy of Exit Project's very aptly named CD Single, Healing Slow to give away. Leave a comment below and I'll put names in a hat Thursday!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Following your own pattern

I’ve always formed my knit stitches the ‘wrong’ way – I knit each stitch through the back loop (ktbl in knitting shorthand). Under some circumstances it makes no difference – the stitches either ‘untwist’ depending on what I’m doing as I knit back along the next row, or they form a particularly tight kind of stitch that actually works quite well for the majority of simple patterns.

But if I start to knit lace, where you make holes deliberately, my work starts to ‘fail’. Here’s what I mean – the stitches are often dropped and then loops made to bridge the gap. If you knit through these the wrong way, what was intended as a shape in the design can end up leaving very little hole in the fabric at all. Or it can create holes where the pattern did not intend them.

The lacy motifs can end up not resembling the pretty pattern image at all. Where did I go wrong?
I have my own way of doing things, and I’m trying to be true to my own vision and values. I am very lucky to have grown up in an environment and been part of a community where, by in large, everyone was making their fabric in their own way, the way that felt best.

And some of them weren’t even aware there were patterns to follow.

I soon learned that a lot of the so-called ‘real’ world was not like this. There were certain boxes you would need to fit into, that others could recognize. If you wouldn’t fit, they were puzzled, and often frustrated. It was easy to end up thinking that I needed to change – I thought I had to work with the system to succeed.
Despite being intelligent and good at a number of things, no-one was really too clear on what I could do with my life; least of all me.

Sometimes, the light would dawn, that I was never going to fit into any of those boxes, or be able to follow any of those popular patterns, and I would have to leave my job or move and change to shake things up.
But culture and expectation are powerful, most of all in our own minds – even if we don’t always see that. The wonderful storyteller and Jungian Clarissa Pinkola Estes goes into this in beautiful depth in her audio sessions on this, which I am really enjoying listening to right now.

Currently I’m working on a sweater, which has lacy, bell-like sleeves. I started to make it my own way. But I soon realized that this wasn’t going to work. I decided to change my thinking.

I invented an exotic new stitch, one that was special and for use just on this project. It’s called knit through front loop. Most of you would just call it “knit”.

I have decided that my way is not wrong: it’s just different. By dipping into and re-labeling this bit of knitting culture, in a curious and playful way, I can borrow the mainstream pattern without the need to judge anything.
It’s easy to blame ourselves for not fitting in, to lose confidence, and maybe to continue to do things in ways that feel wrong to us to satisfy the prevailing culture: the inner and the outer cultures both.

I’m waiting to see if the end result looks anything like the pattern.

Even if it does not, I thing I like the results so far.