Love Your Blog: Gratitude


I have a funny relationship with the word "gratitude". I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's because I don't tend to use it? I'd more likely say; I'm "thankful" or "appreciative" or "touched" or "thrilled". Maybe it's because it feels a bit formal and I'm particularly informal? Maybe it's just because I've been spending too much of my time recently moaning, groaning and grumbling than feeling grateful. My old self would always be looking around for the good stuff but lately I'm having to remind myself to stop, see and appreciate what's right in front of my nose. I'm afraid I've been far more grumbly and grouchy this past year than grateful.

Our move from the UK back to New Zealand has been hard work. Not just physically but emotionally too. I knew it would be hard because we've moved countries before, but this time it's felt so final and I'm not sure I was entirely ready for that. I have been trying hard to look for the positives and get stuck in to my new life but I've really missed my friends and my Cambridge life and it's been a very slow process readjusting and letting go. Unfortunately, over this past year, many days and even weeks have gone by when I've not felt anything resembling gratitude, appreciation or thankfulness.

Although I'm improving, every now and then I'll still look wistfully over my shoulder at my old life and compare it to my new one. I'm trying not to say it aloud because that is super annoying to everyone else but to be honest, it's getting a little tedious even for me now and I'm ready to shake off the funk. I've been trying to cultivate more good feelings and I've actually been looking around me and listing things that I'm feeling thankful for because I'm determined to get over this natural grieving as quickly as I can. It definitely helps that there are loads of things to be happy about, and when I stop to notice them I feel good.

  • Living in the countryside is gorgeous. It's spacious and green and the air is fresh;
  • My family is close by;
  • Chickens are fun;
  • New Zealand Summer's are amazing;
  • The growing yarn scene here is exciting;
  • There are lots of fantastic people doing interesting, creative and off-beat things in New Zealand. You just have to hunt them out - luckily I've already found some of them;
  • Someone breeds alpacas on my street and soon I'm going to pluck up the courage to knock on their door;
  • I can grow veggies all year round;
  • There's a stand of beautiful autumnal golden and orange trees about to lose their leaves at the end of my street and I love seeing the change of seasons in them;
  • My kids are barefoot and happy.

It's a good list. I'm sure I'll find a few more things tomorrow.

I'm also fond of showing that I'm thankful by giving or doing something for someone, especially when they're not expecting it.

This past few days I've been receiving lots of tips and suggestions for washing fibre from Instagram and Facebook. I love that about the internet, there is so much collective experience and it's available right at your fingertips. I'm really appreciating the advice and so far I've tried three different ways to wash various pieces of the suffolk fleece from my friend's sheep. I'm amazed at how white and fluffy it's becoming! This same friend gave me an old spinning wheel a while ago too and I've been plotting a way to say thank you to her for her lovely gifts.

My plan is to prepare and spin the fibre on her wheel (assuming I can get it working!) and then knit her a hat with the wool. It might be a while before I get everything done (I still need to figure out carding ...) but I'm really looking forward to giving it to her and saying thank you.

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This post is the last in the Love Your Blog Challenge launched by Kate from A Playful Day. If you fancy seeing what other people have written for this week's theme "gratitude" you can see them here. xxx

Postcards: Filling The Bobbins


I'm feeling desperate to knit something with my handspun and the upcoming Must Stash Handspun Stashbusting KAL (and the fantastic new handspun feature on Ravelry) has me all inspired.

My luxury blend of merino/alpaca/camel/silk feels as light as air and is spinning up beautifully. I wonder if I can finish it in time to start knitting with it on the 1st of September?

Who wants to join me?
Love Lib X

Postcards: Stash


I got a little nervous I'd run out of fibre to spin. So I indulged in a little stash enhancement.

The green is Merino, the pinky (hairy) braid is Shetland Wool. Both are hand dyed, from Shunklies and they are very, very lovely.

That should keep me going.
Love Lib X 

Into The Good Stuff

Into The Good Stuff
Into The Good Stuff Into The Good Stuff

There's something very invigorating about laying all your unfinished projects out. At least, it was for me. I was mobilised into action after telling you about all my WIPs last week and in a flurry of activity, have finished quite a few.

Here's the first. Handspun, delicious, bluefaced leicester. It's my best spinning so far. Still with a distinctly handspun feel (read: a bit thick & thin and overplied in places) it's pretty even and so super soft. I filled two bobbins then crammed them both onto one bobbin when I was plying and was chuffed to work out I had about 305m of roughly a four ply/heavy fingering weight yarn. Although I imagined that I might dye it - now it's all skeined up, I'm thinking not. The creamy colour is just edible as is.

I thought you'd like to see the high-tech way I skein my yarn. I don't have a niddy noddy or a swift or a ball winder but I do have chairs. With the help of my kids (usually my 11 year old son who loves everything to do with numbers) I wind my plied yarn around two chairs, measure the distance around and count the number of times it's wrapped. Distance x wraps = rough length. I'm sure there are easier ways to do it - but this works very well for now :)

Into The Good Stuff

Our trip to Fibre East this past weekend was fantastic, as usual. My main aim was to get spinning supplies (although I couldn't resist just a bit of yarn and some buttons too ... ) Anyway, here's the fibre I got. Clearly, I am feeling in the mood for natural and earthy tones right now ...

Into The Good Stuff

This little beauty was first. It's a 100g braid dyed by Katie of Hill Top Cloud. I love her dyeing, she has a great eye for colour. I can't find a colourway name, but it's a 70% BFL, 15% Seacell and 15% Baby Alpaca blend. I'm going to have a bash at spinning it to about a DK weight. I'm laughing as I type this - I'm not sure if I have much control of how thick or thin my spinning is yet. We'll find out. It's good to aim high though, right?

Into The Good Stuff

Mr Myrtle spotted this swirl of creams and browns first and once I squeezed it, there was no going back. Ooh la la! It's an undyed, luscious blend of merino, alpaca, camel and silk. Soft is not the word, it feels silky, with incredible bounce and I am in love. Swept away, I bought a whole 200 grams. I have no idea how many metres of yarn that will spin into, the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned.

Into The Good Stuff

And finally, this silky, "pink champagne" suri alpaca needed to come home with me. I bought 100g from the lovely woman on the The Woolroom stand and I'm thinking (again with a bit of a panicked giggle) that I'd like to try to spin it as a DK weight single (is that even possible?)

I don't know what to spin first. I've "pimped" my wheel with a new plastic stretchy drive band, a thumb tack under the tension knob and a new bobbin and asked a gazillion questions of the very patient ladies spinning in the "have a go" tent, so I'm ready to go. I better start soon before I'm struck with the affliction where you can't bear to use the lovely stuff.

Any suggestions?