Thursday 27 October 2011

Inspired to blog

Well, twitter defeated me. It's lousy word count is great for 'I had the best sandwich ever' messages but does not allow me to explain why I think Give and MakeUp is a worthwhile cause. 

I should explain. Earlier today I noticed a Refuge tweet about Give and Makeup. Intrigued, I clicked the link and found an initiative bringing toiletries, baby food and women's essentials to women and children escaping domestic violence. One of the items listed was makeup. I tweeted my support for the chairty and received a reply:

"I love it, except the make-up part. That's not a need, YKWIM?"

and then

"I guess it just breaks my heart that women feel like they need it. Not right."

I understood the sentiment, that we shouldn't need to find our value in makeup and I wanted to explain that I agreed in part. I personally feel like choosing your own style is the choice of an empowered woman but I got the spirit of what this person is saying. I choose not to wear makeup except for kicks and giggles which averages about 6 times a year if I'm honest. What really made me sad though was I could not explain why I also supported the make up part of this initiative.  Twitter just doesn't give me the word count. I really hope she reads my blog and emails me if she does.

Many young woman and mother I've worked with escaping domestic violence or who have experienced sexual violence often reach that point where all they crave is to feel normal again. Many escaped with their life in tatters and a few items of bare essentials; their lives have been far from luxurious. The kindness of someone giving them something nice like a bit of mascara and lipstick can be overwhelming. I remember one girl I worked with saying 'I wore LIPSTICK today and I just felt like a teenager not a down and out with no home'. It was so honest but I understood. She didn't want to feel like she was recovering that day and we discussed lipstick heroes such as Marilyn Monroe and Dita Von Teese that session rather than reapplying for a new school. We did that later, when she was ready.

Another charity that I have a great deal of time for is Dress For Success that provide professional attire for disadvantaged women as well as career support. For me, it falls under the same category as Give and Makeup. When you're trying to look professional you do not want the jeans you ran for your life in. You want to feel equal to every person in that room and confident about how you feel. Yes, I could get upset that women need to dress up but men wear suits to interview and if I choose to add mascara to boost my confidence, heck I'm gonna do it.

Finally, and probably the most difficult part for me to write is the saddest moments I have shared with these brave young women and mothers. After years of feeling worthless and shamed, many cannot imagine words such as 'sexy', 'vibrant' or 'attractive' ever being relevant to them. Many felt they had invited the terrible things that had happened to them and I can remember a particularly powerful session where we grouped items that applied to them and those that didn't. Lipsticks, magazines, hand mirrors, padded bras and all the paraphenalia associated with a stereotyped view of women were nowhere near them. The only sign left of gender was sanitary towels. 

Wearing make up does not make you powerful, only you can do that. There are more ways that I can list here that you can feel sexy, or like a woman or know who you are. Applying lipstick requires you to look in a mirror, examine your face and enhance your features. It means that you see yourself as a woman. That in itself is an incredibly powerful tool. 

I hope this explains why I will be donating all future loyalty card points and buy one get one free offers to items listed here and posting them to Refuge, Give and Makeup and my local refuge group.

Monday 24 October 2011

Episode 15: Fairy Godmothers can be men

Aplayfulday is kindly sponsored by Superknits, the home of super yarns for super knits. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above- go on, spoil yourself!!!

Show notes:

Save the date! 4th December 2011 12- 5 pm for the Playful Meet up 2011 at Interknit Cafe. Enjoy 10% purchases on the day and yarn tasting.
Pondering Sock yarn scraps with the help of The Encyclopedia of Knitting and Crochet for Blocks, Blankets and Throws by Luise Roberts. 
Donation giveaway:
A set of Stitchcuddles stitchmarkers from Stephcuddles and a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in the colourway terracotta 802 for any donation or contribution towards the podcast.
Sweater/ Cardigan. Jumper KAL to start on the 1st November in the Aplayfulday group. I'm still indecisive but hoping I can make a choice between Folded or something else.....!

Off the needles
Fallberry Mitts by Anne Hansen in the colourway Smoky Quartz in Road to China Light

On the Needles
A joyful reunion has meant Kai Mei by Cookie A in Superknits Mary, Queen of Socks, colourway 'With my tv and CD collection of Bob Marley' is now back in rotation but I've not yet worked out where I was in the pattern!
Purl Ridge Scarf by WestKnits in Madelinetosh DK, colourway Graphite.
Juno Regina Stole from Miriam L. Felton in HandMaiden Seasilk in the colourway Salt Spray.

Munch Burp Schlurp
Visiting podcaster and food lover, Subway Knits shares her favourite Greek inspired Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Saganaki is another favourite and you can buy Greek Products from this website.

Fly, Fly, Fly by Adrina Thorpe, available on Music Alley
I'm Alive by Gilli Moon, available on Music Alley
Contact me at:
RSS Feed

Saturday 22 October 2011

Needle destash

I have a collection of Addi Turbo, fixed circular needles that just aren’t working for me. I’ve been experimenting with different needles to help combat RSI and I need a pointy-er tip or I start tightening up and it hurts. It’s just the way I knit.

All are still in their bags and I’m really happy to trade for Knit Pro harmony needles, chiagoos, or patterns if that helps anyone. I’m just looking to pass these on rather than hugely gain from destashing them.

So I have up for grabs:
40cm cable-

60cm cable-

80cm cable-

As a rough guestimate I think £5 inc postage and packaging is what I’m going for but as I said, I’d rather see these go so email me a price and we can work something out. I’m happy to do multiples and knock some money off and obviously if you want the whole set that would be super easy for me.

Thanks for looking

Sleepless nights

Are built for music such as this

And this was posted on a favourite blog. Oh my word. Chills.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Things I saw

I've not written much about my commuting experience lately. Largely because I've not written much lately but that's besides the point. 

I now have a new journey to work and I have new lemmings to ponder over. I make up stories for them while I knit. The ones that stare, slack jawed I tend not to bother much with but I did watch a delicious interaction the other morning that just made me smile. 

I noticed a girl standing next to me, wearing voluminous red. I glanced up at her face and approved of her blunt fringe and slight frown of concentration as she read. How lovely. I then saw the man 2 foot away, peeping up at her from across the carriage. He couldn't help himself. It was so cute. 

In my head they got off at the same station and then she bumped into someone and dropped her book allowing her to glance up and see him, smiling at her. He hands her the book and they get coffee and forget to go to work until it's 11am and they jump up, suddenly aware of the world again.

Soppy? Yes. But you try being cheerful on the circle line at 7am.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Further thoughts on Mending

Well.... I'm clearly not meant for playful things lately and despite promises to jump back into blogging more frequently I've failed. Instead I'm sticking my fingers in my ears and singing loudly. If you've left a comment lately, mailed, pm'd or other please don't take it personally that there's been a lack of response. I'm mending. It's now a verb to describe moi. Even the giant has had sparse contact but then he has this habit lately of putting oceans between us. I'm trying not to take it personally.

I appreciate the contact, I really do, I'm just not very good at returning it back right this minute. I mean, it's not like I haven't TRIED to be playful. I did a mini yarn crawl with girlfriends that included Superknits and cocktails. Yes, cocktails. Well, it was cocktail rather than cocktails. I know, everyone is starting to panic at this point as cocktails usually fix everything. Also a paracetemol and tea according to my Nan. 

I have made a new friend though. A special friend. In my hellish job there is a kindred spirit and it made me smile. Then I returned to stomping and railing against the lack of justice there is where I work. 

Then I tried yarn. Just look at the goodies Amber sent me. YES. But I have placed it in the favourite yarn basket (don't judge me for having one of these, I know you do too) and returned to gift knitting. This shall be saved and I don't know what for yet AT ALL.It just sits whimpering at me as I walk past it in it's basket.

Then there was the winning moment when I left the green grocers, laden with autumnal goodness and realised that the local library IS open on a Sunday. I skipped in (gingerly as I was laden with goodies) and found.... MY FAVOURITE COOK BOOK. Oh Nigel, how I love you. But have I cooked from it yet? No. Have I even read it? Erm... no. 

So I'm decidedly out of sorts. The best news was that today, my beloved hand made project bag that I lost on the underground was found. I truly skipped to the office and informed the nice man at the window that he was a fairy godmother and hugged my bag, openly and unashamedly in public. My knitting project was still there. My signature needles glistened invitingly. 

But did I knit?

No. I came home and worked on a report for work. 

A very UN playful response if you ask me.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Episode 14: Mending

Aplayfulday is kindly sponsored by Superknits, the home of super yarns for super knits. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above- go on, spoil yourself!!!

Show notes:

Save the date! 4th December 2011 for the Playful Meet up 2011 at Interknit Cafe. Stay tuned for more details.

Donation giveaway:
A set of Stitchcuddles stitchmarkers from Stephcuddles and a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in the colourway terracotta 802 for any donation or contribution towards the podcast.

Off the Needles
Test Knit for Rose Beck in Sundara Yarn Sock Yarn, in the colourway Brown Sugar over buttermilk and Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in colourway KatyDid.
Little Colonnade by Stephen West in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock colourway Baltic.
Skew Socks by Lana Holden in 4 ply 100% BFL Sock yarn from CatsCradleYarn. 

A tragic ending for the Kai Mei by Cookie A in Superknits Mary, Queen of Socks, colourway 'With my tv and CD collection of Bob Marley'.

On the needles
Fallberry Mitts by Anne Hansen in Road to China Light

Munch Burp Schlurp
The Porridge of Champions
You will need:
1 cup of sultanas (or dried fruit of choice)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
2 cooking apples roughly skinned and chopped
Knob of butter
1 tsp Brown Sugar (or low G.I alternative)

1. Soak dried fruit overnight in apple juice
2. Remove from fridge in the morning and add spices. 
3. Heat a pan and add the butter before browning the chopped apples.
4. Sprinkle on sugar and caramelise a bit
5. Add fruit and spice mix to pan
6. Dollop onto porridge and enjoy with fresh coffee and a good blog or ten to read. 

Fly, Fly, Fly by Adrina Thorpe, available on Music Alley
I miss you by Adam Stokes, available on Music Alley
Contact me at:
RSS Feed

Monday 3 October 2011

Blog naivety or why I shouldn't just assume no one reads this.

This morning I woke with a crushing feeling in my chest, I was in pain and convinced today would be my last. I hit my alarm and announced 'I'm not going in to work today, I'm going to the Dr's'. 

Allow me to explain. One of my many health complaints is asthma. This weekend it pretty much taught me a lesson: I should respect it (and possibly always have the giant nearby, he saved my life). I've been wheezing since and not overly thrilled at the idea of a) going on the underground b) exerting myself running around at work or c) the giant going away for 2 weeks and I might die alone in the flat where only my corpse's smell will alert neighbours to my demise. 

I often write when I'm anxious. This very blog was started as a remedy to crippling PTSD and I have fiercely protected it of any negativity and up to this point not been prepared to state why I needed playfulness. It's not shame, I'm just not a fan of oversharing on the internet. It makes me feel icky in my tummy. Instead, I have a journal that I keep when I travel, a recipe journal and a kind of 'whatever mood takes me' note pad where I doodle, write play list ideas and jot down feelings that need to be documented sometimes in order to be owned. 

Today I didn't want to write it in a book. I wanted to see how it looked on a page. An obscure thought and leave it at that. I didn't care for it sat on this playful page and hit delete and walked away, to the Dr who agreed anxiety is a natural response to a near death experience and I was wise to call in and check my peak flow and that the dreadful beast PTSD was not about to cut me down again.

I returned and found an overwhelming number of contacts from people, via Ravelry and my inbox that asked gently if I was ok. I had managed to forget that by hitting delete, the RSS feed would still appear in google reader etc but there would be no post. This would be quite daunting seeing as it stated that anxiety was a killer.

I am honoured to know you all and embarrased that I didn't think that one through. I don't like oversharing on the internet but stating the obvious today seems ok. Today wasn't a good day but it's getting better. I promise xx

Now back to recipes and yarn....