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Thursday, 29 December 2011


Sometimes I make things for people and I really don't want to let them go once they are finished. This is one of those times, but I have to let this little chap go to his intended home because he is for a friend who is celebrating her 40th "30th" birthday in a couple of weeks. She wanted to go to Borneo and spend some time with the orangutans, but medical issues over the past year have meant that she can't go now. So I'm bringing the orangutan to her instead:

He's about 12 inches (body), made from acrylic Robin DK yarn and Patons Whisper yarn, my own pattern (that I probably could repeat but I didn't write it down as I went because I want him to be a one-off). He's currently sitting near to the computer and I can't help but smile every time I look at him, so hopefully he will have the same effect on my friend too.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Complicated family ties

Ours is not a normal family (define "normal" anyway), and we're not even a normal blended family as people like to refer to these days. We're really just a group of people, slowly expanding and tied together (losely for the most part, but some tightly and strongly) by blood and desire. We've got adoptions, second (and third) marriages, kids, step kids, grand kids, new partners, old partners and plenty of skeletons and ghosts as well.

Sometimes it's hard to deal with. No, most of the time it is hard. But sometimes there are bright sparkly bits as well that make you feel like you are doing this for some purpose other than your own needs.

My ex-step-daughter-in-law-to-be (get your head round that one!) will very soon be having a baby girl. I am blessed that she keeps in touch with me - it would be so easy and convenient for her to not to, given the tenuous nature of our connection. So today I have finished a cot blanket for her and the baby in the purple and white colour combination she requested:

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest day, but it has felt very long indeed. In fact, half past 2 this afternoon seemed to last about 3 hours. Such is the way when you work in a department where every other team does a fraction of the work that yours does.

I had a present to open tonight. As you may know, I don't celebrate Christmas but I do observe the solstices. Today a friend at work came bouncing up to me waving a wrapped gift in my face and said "I know you don't do Christmas, and this isn't something that means you have to get me anything in return, but you know when you see something and you just know who would really love that thing? Well I saw this and knew it was for you!"

This particular friend has had a rough year with her health having being diagnosed as epileptic, and her father currently has cancer. She is though, one of the most sociable people I know and we go out for lunch every 6 weeks or so for a good gossip. She is celebrating a birthday next month that she has decided will be her 30th (*cough*) and I am desperately looking for some rust-coloured mohair yarn to make her an orangutang with but that's another blog post!

Butterflies are very symbolic, and they are something I strongly associate with both my mum and my friend Ciel. I have just opened the gift to find a writing set inside a cover that has butterflies all over it.

I believe that the Gods talk to us in ways they think we will understand. I believe many people go through life ignoring the Gods simply because they don't listen. Both my mum and Ciel promised that if there was any way for them to communicate after they died, they would find it and I would know.

Today, I know. Message received loud and clear.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

If you tolerate this, your children will be next....

So here we are, in another season of excess and commercialism, where the rest of the western world seems to spend a mad month spending money they don't have buying presents for people they don't really like, eating enough food to keep a small African country out of famine for a decade and drinking as much strange alcohol as they can (the likes of which they wouldn't touch during the rest of the year - take Advocaat/egg nogg for example, why on earth would you?!).

I don't celebrate Christmas, I focus on the Winter Solstice instead. When I tell people that I don't do Christmas, the usual response is to think that I sit at home being miserable on Dec 25th doing nothing at all. Not so. We do our celebrating on the shortest night (or over the weekend closest to it) and you may be surprised to hear that it is remarkably similar to other people's Christmas celebrations. Just less commercial and hypocritical.

This year, today in fact, our Prime Minister David Cameron has been bemoaning the lack of morals in British society, and has gone further than recent PMs in declaring that the country needs to get back to Christian values. I'm still hoping that we can do a political exchange with America and that Cameron and Mr Obama can spend a year (or more) running each other's countries - they would be so much more at home!

Britain is a Christian state, make no mistake about that. Our Queen (thanks to Henry VIII) is head of the Church of England, and there is no pretence of separation between church and state here at all. But as a country that has accepted immigrants of all shapes, colours and faiths over the years (sometimes a little more unwillingly than others), we are not a nation of Christian people. We are a truely multi-faith country, which includes those of no faith, and those whose faiths are not written down or widely practiced. Does that make them less moral? I would argue absolutely not.

Christians don't have the monopoly on morals. Indeed, there are many people in the world who claim Christianity and yet hand out some of the most abhorrant punishments to wrong-doers. They claim to be against abortion, but in the same breath cheer when someone is put to death by the state. They claim to do good works for charity, but display more greed than the moneylenders outside the temple. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

David Cameron's words would not be quite as worrying if he had not previously in the week stated that there would be measures taken to "help" the most anti-social and disruptive families in Britain. Nothing wrong with a bit of focused encouragement, but what happens when the families labelled as in need of "help" decide they don't want to aspire to middle-class Christian yummy-mummy cupcake baking with children who can't cross the road by themselves? What happens if these families "in need" become more and more from non-Christian homes? We already have parents moving house and pretending to go to church so that their kids can get into what the parent's perceive to be a "better" school. Better for whom though?

One of the best things about being British is that we are all different people living on a tiny little island, and for the most part we all get along. We don't have to all be the same, we're not milk that needs homogenising to stop the thicker bits floating to the top after a while (that happens with our politics regardless of what we do). Yes, anyone who wants to and has the academic capability should have a chance of a University education, but University-level education doesn't suit everyone. Yes we need lawyers, bankers, politicians and teachers, but we also need plumbers, zoo keepers, hairdressers and bar staff too.

What David Cameron seems to have missed is this: no one in Britian is better than anyone else, we are all good at being ourselves, and some people just get paid more for being themselves than others do. Instead of telling the majority of the country that we have no morals because we're not Christian, David Cameron would be better off recognising that he is the only one of him that we'll ever need, and somewhere in the Bible it mentions being there for the sick, needy, imprisoned etc and not bullying them by taking away their homes, jobs, children, money and self-respect.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Meet Phoebe, just a simple rag doll kinda girl

Though I love making the more detailed dolls, I had a hankering to make something - for want of a better word - vintage style. Just a simple rag doll but knitted, something I could use up some more of the hand-spun yellow fibre on that I acquired in Ciel's yarn box.

So, I now present Phoebe, who is for sale in my Etsy shop if you think she would like to come and live with you.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Resolana's November 2011 Newsletter

Just a link really, so that you can read more about all the fabulous work this charity is doing with the women in Dallas County Jail, Tx:

Newsletter pdf

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Knitting like a maniac

As well as working of course and doing a big spring clean of my home after my daughter and her boyfriend moved into their own place, I have been so busy over the past couple of weeks with small knitting projects.

It's that time of year when friends of ours celebrate Yule as well as Christmas, and traditionally between friends we swap small handmade gifts. I took delivery a couple of weeks ago of a large box of assorted yarns as a gift from a friend, and what a treasure trove it has been! So far, I have completed:

* a tri-colour beanie hat
* a set of tree ornaments
* a bamboo yarn scarf
* an amigurami unicorn (a Secret Santa gift for someone at work)
* a pair of boys mittens in gorgeous hand-spun yarn
* a little girl's beanie hat with crochet flower trim

The yarn talks. This may sound odd to those who don't do fibre crafts, but each ball or skein of yarn knows what it wants to be and who it wants to go to. Most are single balls, and some less than whole, but all were chosen originally by my friend Ciel and now I can feel her selecting and suggesting again as I pick through the box.

Next on the list is a plain pair of socks for myself, before I launch into a another doll and a baby blanket as our grandson is going to become a big brother in a couple of months time.