Absences, apologies & absent friends

Hello my lovelies.

This is difficult to write…so….deep breath…here goes….

I’m here to explain my absence – it’s been a long, long time since my last post. Lots has happened and I have to admit, I’ve been hiding. Hiding from the internets, hiding at work, hiding from work, hiding from friends (you know who you are and I am really very sorry), hiding from family, hiding behind smiley masks, but mainly hiding under duvets. 

As some of you may know (my tweets might have given it away!) I was devoted to my gorgeous wee fella, Mr Stinky – aka Bilko. He found his home in my heart and made my life whole.

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He was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder last year and the end was so sudden that the shock left me reeling. The vets were just awful and while Mr Stinky lost his battle, the war with them is still ongoing.

 It was so painful I never thought I would recover. There are days when I still don’t think I have, but at least I can function again. Every time I think of him my heart breaks and my eyes fill up with uncontrollable tears. I have to remind myself that the amount I hurt from missing him is equivalent to how much I loved him and how much he loved me.

I loved him a lot.

I didn’t notice that I was lonely until he came into my life and showed me the power of truly unconditional love.

Since he has been gone it has been almost unbearable.

I say almost, because I am still here. I am bearing it. I don’t know how, but I am.

I say goodnight to him every day before I go to sleep.

I say good morning to him every day when I wake up.

Walks seem pointless without my best friend.

I never noticed that before – until he showed me how amazing a walk should be.

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Oh dear. I thought I had the strength to write this to explain my disappearing act (and my sudden re-appearance!) but as I type my eyes are leaking again. They leak a lot these days.

I will love him, miss him and remember him every day of my life.

My beautiful Bilko

But, Life goes on. So, I decided to give myself a good talking to. From somewhere I found the strength to pick myself up. I have given myself all the comfort I can cope with – it’s time for some Tough Love and it’s time I got back into the real world, so this is me.

I’m back, I’m still a little broken, but I’m here.

Here and getting back to teaching, writing, designing, reviewing and getting back to my old crafty self.

Thank you for waiting.

I missed you x

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Snowdrops

Fragile flowers

I love it when the first snowdrops of the year bravely push on through frozen (or in this case, flooded!) soil – it means that the mornings are getting lighter, and Spring is on the way. I find it amazing that these delicate little flowers are the first to arrive. I thought that they must be immortalised in knitting somewhere, but was struck by the lack of Snowdrop related patterns and projects. There are some lace pieces, and a couple of charts, but for a flower that (to me) heralds a new year, a fresh start (and always makes me smile) it didn’t seem to be a lot. I am working on some lace designs at the moment, and will be studying the humble Snowdrop to see what I can add to the mix. If I like it, I might even offer it on here!

SnowdropsCreative Commons Licence: Bankhallbretherton

Granny Stripes

The Granny Stripe Delight sample worked up a treat. I really like the colour combination. It’s a nice, simple pattern and makes for a snug fitting cowl – quick to work up, warm to wear. If anyone would like the ‘pattern’ do leave me a comment/get in touch and I’ll add it on here later!

Granny Stripe Delight

(Please excuse the make-shift light box – but it works, for now!) 

The first course has now been booked – we had someone sign up within five minutes, which was lovely. It’s on March 8th (Saturday) from 10-2pm at The Wool Shop in Pewsey, if anyone in the South West/Wiltshire is interested in coming along. I’ll be covering crochet basics:

  • How to hold the yarn and hook
  • Chaining
  • Trebles
  • Turning chains
  • Changing colours
  • Weaving in as you go
  • How to swatch & translate that so you can make anything you like – a cushion cover, blanket, long scarf, skinny scarf, anything your imagination can create!
  • US/UK terminology
  • Charts

There’s a lot to cover! We are working on more classes, including Irish Crochet Lace, Crochet Motifs, Knitted socks, How to Moebius and much, much more. Drop me a line if you’d like to be added to the email list and I can keep you updated.

Aside from the Granny Stripe Delight, I’ve been all homey and house-proud this weekend (probably because I can see the dust in the sunshine!) and felt the need to bake.

Baking FeverAs I was going out with My Boy for a long walk,  some stodgy nourishment was called for, so I plumped for Toad-in-the-hole (with cabbage and mash!) to warm me up afterwards. I’d love to show you the results, but it is still in the oven and I’ll probably shcoffle it before taking a pic. Well, it was a looooong walk! We (Bozo and I) had great fun in the sun – although he did get a little confused with the ‘hitchhiker’ on his nose…

Dinner’s ready, so I’m off for some yumminess now…until next time,

pw x

Counting my blessings

I realised today that it has been about one year since My Boy, Bilko, came into my life. Bilko is the first dog I have had as an adult, having had rescue cats all my life. I had just moved into a ridiculously rural area, was working from home, and the time was right to give a loving home to a dog. I originally went to the Little Valley rehoming centre to see another dog, Murray, who had been with them for about four months. Murray was a German Shepherd cross (but no one knew what with) who was very wary and just couldn’t connect with anyone who came to view him. As my friends will tell you, I have a real soft spot for sob stories and the underdog, so Murray intrigued me. I met him and he was painfully shy. Now, I’m no animal psychologist, but it made sense that I made myself as unthreatening as possible so when I met him in the field, I first walked and talked with the trainer, paying him no attention at all. When he seemed a little more comfortable with my presence, I crouched and offered him a treat (given to me by the trainer) behind my back so there was no eye contact. I gradually brought my arm round to the front with several more treats, until he was facing me and absolutely ok with me. He was such a lovely boy!

I went home and did some research on the breed, having not had a dog before, and it broke my heart to realise that my home (and I) would not be the right match for Murray, for several reasons. I didn’t know what he was crossed with, GSD’s need a lot of exercise and around deadline time I was usually superglued to my mac for several days in a row. They also shed a lot, which (on a purely selfish level) would mean a lot of work to keep it away from my yarn. Working on commissions with dog-fluff flying around is not ideal! Also, anyone who visited me who had a dog allergy would suffer. So, it was with great reluctance that I went back to the rehoming centre to explain my reasons for being unable to offer a home to Murray. They understood, but it didn’t ease my conscience any. On the way out, I saw a rather scruffy looking Tibetan Terrier, who took one look at me and started barking like mad. It was definitely not love at first sight! I enquired about the TT, and was advised that he had been a house dog for an elderly gentleman, he hadn’t been socialised and was a problem dog who needed a quiet household, no other dogs nearby and someone with lots of time to be with him. I knew a bit about the breed, as a friend has several TT’s so I know that they are demanding, intelligent, don’t like to be left alone, bond closely with their ‘owners’ and wasn’t looking at it through rose tinted glasses. I also knew that, due to their double coats, they tend not to moult like other dogs, which is great for allergy sufferers (and for my yarn!).

Bilko and I went for a walk, with a trainer, in the field. He had clearly bonded with the trainer, and viewed me as a stranger. Although I held the lead, he was more eager to walk with her than with me. There was no magical ‘connection’ at our first meeting, in fact I left wondering if we were right for each other.

All that changed when I got him home a couple of weeks later and it quickly became apparent that we were a perfect match! I can still remember how uncertain he seemed of everything, but I let him take things at his own pace. I talked to him all the time (and still do!), let him investigate and find his feet. He quickly became my little shadow. In the year we’ve been together, he has changed beyond recognition. He is a confident, assured boy, who takes commands well (sit, stay, up, down, wait, gently, rest, high five!) and is my best friend. He is no longer a ‘problem dog’ (unless you count his predilection for Hungry Hector biscuits as a problem), has canine (plus the occasional feline) friends and is the funniest dog I have ever met. He snorts like a little piglet when he wants something, shakes with excitement when he’s happy, hides my slippers, loves to play ‘Biscuit!’ and regularly has ‘funny five minutes’ when he dries his beard after drinking!

Right now, he is snoring on the sofa after a lovely walk, and I will join him in a moment for some Sunday Afternoon Knitting on a very secret project indeed, involving almost ONE MILE of lace yarn. More on this later…x

It’s bliss and I am happy to count my blessings today.

*Bilko images are copyright of the lovely and talented Magda at studiomag.co.uk