Tag Archives: M.E

Yarn therapy

It’s been a pretty busy few days here what with trips to the dentist and Inverness as well as a whole heap of other stuff going on.

As always, my crocheting and knitting makes everything easier to manage; there been a lot of discussion recently about how therapeutic they are and I can certainly attest to that. Whether it’s filling the boring hours of car journeys, distracting myself while sitting in the dentist’s waiting room or giving me something to focus on during an especially stressful day I can guarantee that playing with yarn makes it better.

My current WIP, a crocheted poncho in alpaca

I first started knitting and crocheting about 10 years ago when I was working in mental health. One of the main things I enjoyed was seeing tangible results because after spending the day delivering talking therapy, it was hard to know if I’d said the right things, kept quiet when it was needed and generally supported clients in the right direction. So being able to whip up a hat over the weekend made me feel as though I’d actually achieved something.

Nowadays the thought of living with a chronic illness without the distraction of yarn is difficult to imagine. I belong to a few online support groups and frequently come across fellow sufferers really struggling with feeling useless, I’m very fortunate to not feel this way as all I have to do is look around our house to see the results of my crafting and there is the odd item living in other people’s homes too.

There’s also how knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving adds to my identity. I’m not merely someone with M.E. and I can do stuff that doesn’t cause me to crash (much!). I have a set of skills I can share and nothing brings me more joy than seeing someone to whom I was also to pass on some knowledge to develop a similar passion for fibre.

Ok so this has been a pretty reflective post; I often do something called a gratitude list and something fibre related always features in my top five.

Last week I had a couple of days when, during a flare, I wasn’t able to do much due to pain in my hand. It really brought home, as these things inevitably do, what a huge part of my life all this has become. Fortunately it didn’t last very long and I’m back with my numerous Wips, projects and the usual cursing because I can’t find the right needles/cable needle/stitch markers!

I hope your crafts bring you as much joy. Go well.

Blanket Overload

So my #hexipuffaday is going well (we’ll not mention the day when I completely forgot to make one and ended up last minute knitting in bed at 11:55pm) and nearing the end of the first month here is my little hexipuff stash

Not content with one huge blanket undertaking I’ve also started another epic one (thanks to someone who will go unnamed- you know who you are).

The Persian Dreams blanket is a gorgeousness of fair isle hexagons, grafted together to make this awesome throw. I’ve made one whole hex so far, it was much quicker to complete than I’d expected and am happily working my way through the second one. One of the fun things about it is that you can knit a different hexagon every time to make the standard blanket, if you like, and Jenise Hope, the designer, has also thoughtfully included a blank hex pattern to enable you to design your own if you like. The pattern support via the knit along thread in Ravelry is beyond parallel too.

It’s the first time I’ve knitted fair isle in a pinwheel style before and the first few rounds are tricky but once it’s large enough to knit on a circular it’s a ball.

The yarn is Knit Picks Palette, a range designed for stranded knitting; it’s the first time I’ve worked with it and it’s lovely, very similar to Shetland yarn.

Right that’s it in respect to fibre fun, now I’m going to have a wee self indulgent moan so feel free to turn off now.

I’ve not been too well, and am having more bed bound days as well as being unable to speak much (thanks to walking 100 yards the other day – worth it for the view though!). M.E. is a hideous illness and I seem to be worsening, to the extent that we’ve decided against going to the Edinburgh Yarn Fest later in the year as I’m just not going to be able to manage it. Those who know me will understand what a huge thing this is for me.

I’m blessed (I know, cringe) with a wonderful husband, as you know, plus a handful of friends who staunchly and unfailingly offer their support. I’ve also had offers from acquaintances that have touched and reminded me of the generosity of human spirit, all the more important in these troubling times.

However, I have also discovered how disappointing some folks can be. Especially the ones who I suspect like to think of themselves as ‘good’ and ‘kind’ people. There has been the inevitable cull of one-sided friendships, something that happened fairly early on and I have become accepting of. 

What I haven’t yet learned to accept is the failure of some people to even acknowledge me now I’m unwell. I post a lot on Facebook about M.E. and my health, to raise awareness and also as a way of eliciting some kind of social contact. Being housebound, I don’t get to meet up with friends or family in the way I’d like. So just a ‘like’ on one of my posts goes a long way, a comment fairly makes my day. It’s not hard is it? Although somehow it is. Not from so called Facebook contacts I’ve never met in real life but from actual family for one. I can’t help thinking of how I would behave if it had been the other way around. It makes me cross (and hurt if I’m honest).

Ok that’s enough of that. Thank you for taking the time to read so far and I’ll be much less self obsessed next time, I promise.

WIP Central

As usual I have multiple projects on the go, it keeps things interesting but also slows completion rates down.

It’s a bit funny too as you develop relationships with them, I mean we spend an awful lot of time together, just touching them and watching them grow oh so slowly.

For me most projects begin with touch; how soft is the yarn? Do I want to run it through my fingers? Sniff it (I know, this can be weird), rub it on my cheek. 

Then comes colours. Do the colours sing to me? There’s something avaricious about this part, I want to possess that particular shade. Unfortunately what doesn’t come into this part usually is whether or not it’ll actually fit into my wardrobe or home decor, it’s very impractical that way.

Then the pattern; is it complicated? I tend to shy away from anything too involved nowadays as it would take up too much energy, but I like a little challenge, no yards and yards of stocking stitch here (unless you’re rewarded by a stranded yoke at the end of it). Could I wear it? There’s a beautiful cabled sweater popular on Ravelry right now, it’s beautiful but the cabling is in the chest area, somewhere I certainly do not need to add bulk! What do other knitters/crocheters finished projects look like (you’d be surprised, sometimes they can look very unlike the posed photos of a pattern). Is it free? I have sooo many projects queued that buying a pattern is fairly unnecessary (except when I fall in love with something, this inevitably happens when the pattern writer feels they need exceptional reimbursement for their creation, sigh) (not that I’m denying their right to charge  for their hard work accordingly, this is purely from the buyer’s perspective).

So as you can tell, it’s a very involved process.

Once a project is started, I get an idea fairly quickly as to whether or not it will develop into a full blown love affair, you know the one where you can’t keep your hands off them and they go everywhere with you. It can be like reading a really good book, unputdownable and you can’t wait to get to the end but at the same time you’d like it to go on forever.

Ok enough wittering on, you’re probably wanting to know what the first photo is about. Well I’ve decided, with a very heavy heart, to knock weaving baby wraps on the head for now. I just don’t have the energy right now either to do the actual weaving, or to properly engage with the handwoven wrap community so I’m stepping away.

The rest will continue, I’d like to get back to just weaving for fun! As some of you know we moved not that long ago so there are endless possibilities for home furnishing plus I have a heap of handspun yarn to use up so I’ll keep the blog updated and let you know what’s going on.

It has been an absolute joy to be able to make something to carry something so precious and I’ve got to know many amazing women through the course of it too. So thank you everyone for supporting me through such an amazing experience.

Wheely good

Meet ‘Aunt Sally’, my new wheelchair. She’s very light, responsive and easy to use, well as being a most fetching metallic blue.

So how did I end up here? Well, as you will know if read my blog regularly, I have been experiencing an increase in symptoms (I have M.E. and fibromyalgia), my fatigue and pain has restricted the activities I’m able to engage in significantly. But throughout the course of my illness it has never occurred to me to get a wheelchair, I mean I can walk right? Only really disabled people use one, and anyway I’m just putting it all on for a bit of attention (believe me there is still a little part of me that thinks like this).

However, the turning point was a Saturday evening, a few weeks ago combined with registering at a new GP practice and having a review.

Mr Weaving Heart whisked me off to see the Highland Military Tattoo, over at Fort George, just outside Inverness. We knew it would be demanding for me so I rested up for a couple of days prior to going and my thoughtful hubby packed various blankets, coats, waterproofs so I would be as comfortable as possible. He bought ‘disabled’ tickets so we would be able to park closer to the Fort and made sure I had my stick with me too.

Despite all of this, and the sterling efforts of the Tattoo personnel, it still involved quite a lot of walking and sitting in hard plastic seating for over a couple of hours. The actual Tattoo was amazing, I would heartily recommend it to everyone; for two hours I had no thoughts about how I felt, I was completely absorbed in the performance.

Afterwards was a different matter though, I was in a lot of pain and completely wiped out. While we were there we observed a few wheelchair users and I’d felt a little envious of them. I raised the topic with Mr Weaving Heart the following day, expecting him to tell me not to be ridiculous, except he didn’t. Instead, he spoke of how he’d thought for a while that I needed one, but he hadn’t wanted to upset me.

So after a bit of research, combined with talking through the course of my condition with the new GP which always brings it home how much my life has changed, ‘Aunt Sally’ (I always name my fibre equipment, why not this?) has come to live with us.

Oh my word, it’s completely changed my life. Really. We’ve had a couple of shopping trips, one on a very fatigued day where without it there would be no chance of me leaving the house, as well as a few walks out with the dogs. Rather than feeling embarrassed or invisible, I’ve felt empowered and have a real sense of freedom. It’s very comfy, I can wheel myself a short distance, which isn’t nearly as tiring as walking, and randomly my Mother-in-Law is over the moon (it turns out she’s also thought I would benefit from one for a good while)!

Finally, rather than reducing the amount of exercise I get, I think it’s increased it. The trips out using my chair are not replacing walking, instead they’re replacing times I would have spent resting. It’s so good to be able to get out more and join my husband and dogs on a few of their walks. I’m very fortunate as we do live somewhere quiet and safe, I’ve only encountered kindness and thoughtfulness from others towards me and I suspect it would be a little different in a big city. My next goal is a scooter, watch out Helmsdale!

Lastly, I came across this recently and want to share it with you. Enjoy your day.

Blogging away

This is what’s currently on the loom at Weaving Heart, a custom in some gorgeous colours. It will be woven in heart weave, a twill variation with a charcoal cottolin weft. To be honest, while its lovely and everything, it’s nothing different from the usual warps I work on (except for the customer of course); it was just a calculated lure to ‘encourage’ you to read the blog. Sorry about that. 

Writing a blog can be a funny old thing. In a part of my mind, you (the lovely readers) don’t really exist, so when I meet someone in real life who tells me they read this it’s very strange, a little like hearing someone has read your diary.

I also have the urge to overshare here which must be curbed for both our sakes. So I’ll continue to witter on about weaving, spinning and suchlike. Just don’t be fooled that everything in my life, as in yours, is all happy fluffy fibery things.

Winter, much as I love it (the snuggling down in a cosy sofa while the wind and rain batter the roof is one of my favourite things), brings poor health and M.E. flare ups. I’ve had more days feeling like a lump of concrete and a sore thing. Unfortunately when my body is saying ‘no more’, my head is very active and frustrated by it all. 

So I’m telling you this not for sympathy or pity but just as when I started blogging I made a promise not to only show the good things but also some of my struggles. So many bloggers (and I’m not judging this at all, just expressing my opinion) write about their lives as if it’s all sunshine and lollipops, which can give the wrong impression sometimes.

Anyway enough of that. How are you? When was the last time you checked in with the little person inside? How is she/he doing? At peace or a little neglected? I think, especially at this time year, it is so very important to pay attention to our emotional insides and maybe give yourself a little hug. It doesn’t cost a penny after all and is possibly one of the best antidotes to Black Friday.


Today’s post is coming from the depths of M.E. Slightly ironic as it is around 12 months since I went on the lightning process training. As (hopefully) I have a few more readers than a year ago (according to WordPress I set them on fire last weekend although I suspect that has more to do with the wrap competition than any eloquences in my actual writing) I shall provide some background.

1. I had a ‘successful’ career after having studied for a MA whilst working in the NHS, running a private practice and (albeit haphazardly) looking after a family. I.e. I never really stopped. Weekends were for flinging myself up the biggest mountain I could find.

2. We moved to Scotland where there be giants (of mountains).

3. I got virus after virus; my new work mates thought I was a bit of a skiver.

4. I decided to take a couple of days off sick; my GP took one look and signed me off for the next 8 months.

5. I didn’t move very much at all and learned to be careful what you wish for (lots of knitting time).

6. At the point I was about to be dismissed due to ill health I undertook the lightning process, a kind of neuroprogramming to teach my head to be well again.

7. It worked, however, as my trainer told me the very first time we spoke, I have regained appropriate energy. I can live as I wish as long as I listen to my body and focus on balance (said in a very disparaging tone of voice).

8. I realised the NHS rat race was no longer for me, that I react badly to stress and now work for myself as a weaver.

So there you have it in a nutshell. The last few weeks have been fairly s**t and I have been stressed which equals body shock. It hit me rather hard today and I took myself off to bed with a cup of tea after having, yet again, realised what fantastic friends I have, eliminated the stress, as best you can, and feel better. Thankfully life goes on.

I’m very happy with my crocheting. I’ve just started part 5 of Sophie’s Universe and am enjoying it immensely, not least as I saw the first parts of this pattern in Ravelry a while ago and didn’t think I would ever be able to follow the pattern for it.


Swapping wool

I will never make a good business person. There, I’ve said it – denial isn’t just a river in Egypt and all that…
I’m quite talented at coming up with hair brained schemes, usually involving fibre of one sort or another; like the time I thought it would be a good idea to send my own wool off to be spun into yarn and then sell it, when I don’t even have my own sheep; or the time I thought I’d ‘acquire’ some angora bunnies and spend my hours gently combing them for the wool; or the other time I thought about running knitting workshops except I don’t have a workshop and we live miles from anywhere…you get the idea.
One of said schemes led to colouredinCaithness my very small dyeing business that has until this weekend been solely online.
The Dornoch Fibrefest led to my first stall and actually selling yarn face to face with real people. Now, bearing in mind, only five weeks ago I could hardly leave the house, due to M.E, this was a significant undertaking, and somewhat ambitious given that at the time of planning I had no idea that I would be healthy and well.
Fortunately, thanks to the lightning process and a wonderful husband who supports me on whatever loony yarn journey I lead him on, it was a great success.

Above is my glamorous assistant, adding a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings.
We sold some fleece, spindle kits and, of course, lots and lots of lovely wool. I then, of course, bought lots and lots of lovely wool from everyone else at the Fibrefest. Oops.
Hence the title of today’s post; I’m too easily persuaded by all the goodies on sale at all the other stalls. My ‘finds’ include the pattern and yarns for the Ecclefechan mitts by Kate Davies and some gorgeous weaving yarn from the Weaver’s Bazaar.
I don’t think I’ll ever make any pennies from selling yarn as long as I keep buying it, but it makes me very happy.
The organisers of the Fibrefest, all volunteers, were fantastic and went out of their way to look after us all. For their energy and enthusiasm they were truly an inspiration and I’d like to say a huge thank you to them and everyone who took the time to visit my stall and make the weekend wonderful.