This is the middle.
Things have had time to get complicated,
messy, really. Nothing is simple anymore
This is the thick of things.
So much is crowded into the middle
too much to name, too much to think about.
- Billy Collins
Oh dear lord I’m in the middle of a craft project which I’m wait for it 5 MONTHS INTO nearly. Naturally I’ve not been on the case fulltime there have been diversions for making blankets for dog statues, babies, and 15 blankets worth of squares for orphans and a little light knitting for myself. But I now have a deadline and I’m that oh my god I’ll never get there stage. Which is a kind of sign I should NOT be online but return to my piles of crochet. I wish I could show you what my kitchen looks like at the moment but alas WordPress has deemed that I have used too many images and will not load up new ones so I’m having to rely on old images from my store.
I’ve just been out to buy more yarn – the last few days I’ve been using up my stash, finding squirrelled away balls and even unravelling things to recrochet. But I could see I was coming to the dregs. Not that Its a yarn desert here yet but the project I’m working on can’t have wool yarn used in it so that is all set aside for ‘my orphans’.
One reason why I love crafting so much and I expect a lot of others do too is that it is the socially acceptable way a grown up can ‘play’. For me its playing with colours. The equivalent of a large packet of kokie (fibre tipped pens) to make patterns with. Instead I do it in squishy yarn.
I’m about 2/3rds into finishing a blanket for knit-a-square… I bought the wool in Cambridge (Sew Creative on Kings Parade has a very good sale on !) I’ve been crocheting away for a week – not the pic above – blog is being odd and refusing to upload new pics. Today I shambled out with my recycling went to get life essentials loo roll and milk and have spent the ENTIRE day with the hook and yarn. I’m making a blanket I’m calling African Sun. I was very busy over the weekend doing work preparing stuff for this week and socialising so a day of deep engagement with one thing has been bliss. Off to see Derek Jarman’s The Tempest and a bit of crafting later at Granny Greens.
It is one of those thoughts that flit past – how good it would be to be more in touch, especially with people not on social media.
So how to translate this into an action and habit?
- Gather supplies Get stamps in advance of writing, which cover the cost of where ever you are most likely to send cards. I find that if you write cards and then intend to buy stamps the written cards tend to migrate towards dark corners of handbags or finding places to lurk on the desk and are finally discovered weeks or months later.
- Keep your address book / stamps / cards on you at all times. This means that you can use spare moments. Waiting for a friend or waiting to catch a train catching up with correspondence instead of checking facebook. Make an effort to gather snail mail addresses in one place.
- Write postcards not letters. Ditch the thought you will write long literary screeds (ripe for publication later) Instead start with the postcard. It’s the analogue equivalent of the email or text but nicer. If you start writing a card which you realise that you need to elaborate further – just write a series of postcards labelled 1 of 1, 1of 2 etc.
- Finding cards. Once you have the intention they will start to pop up. Galleries, museums, stationary shops, advertising can be re-purposed. Its good to start looking for particular cards for particular people. Portraits of 18th C dogs for dog people. I also sometimes buy books of cards (they often work out cheaper).
- Reasons to write. Become super polite and revive the art of sending thank you cards, or just ‘I saw this and thought of you’
- Be creative. I’ve sent a series of postcards in the run up to someone’s birthday. Just calculate the average delivery time in your area and work your way backwards. I once wrote a card every day for a year for a friend battling a brain tumour.
- Get a box where you can throw supplies into when not in your bag so when you do want to write it’s again – easy.
- No pressure – writing has its seasons and its reasons
Last call for Postal Joy 2014 ! for those who prefer to receive rather than send mail! 12 items of mail in the next 4 weeks. Sign up here.
Back in blighty from Paris jaunt. Many more photos to download, process (yes ! took the Holga to Gay Paree). Meanwhile the largest load of washing is purring away in the kitchen. I’m gathering presents for my mother ( a small collection of French sugar lumps carefully filched from every cafe I sat in in the last 7 days). Also to arrange things online like my offering of Postal Joy ! this year. Sign up for my newsletter HERE. For a 25% discount code (+ I send every subscriber some real mail analogue snail mail).
Btw ‘old clothes and porridge’ is how my family describes that feeling of flatness when returning from a trip. Not sure how widespread a phrase it is.
I could imagine this strung across the window of Anthropolgie.. it is however 295 8″ squares knitted or crocheted for Knit-A-Square by my craft group Granny Greens. We’ve committed to 375 squares to make the height of Grayfriars Bobby statue. I think as Morag Deans squares are quite thick we’re probably at the right height. But keep the squares coming! Knit-A-Square makes the squares into blankets for Aids orphans – and the 375 would make nearly 12 blankets which would be great. As these children live mostly in shacks without insulation it’s incredibly cold in the South African winter and in the Highveld the temperatures can drop below freezing in winter.
The house on the links – Holga
There isn’t any snow here in Edinburgh at the moment but its gray gray and more gray. The light seemed to go at 3.30 on Thursday. I keep on making excuses to stay indoors. The hibernation continues. I do however leave occasionally to go to the post office! If you are fed up with junk mail, bills etc sign up for my newsletter here and I’ll send you a postie.
Picture of French Postie’s bicycle Grenoble
I’m offering my postal service Postal Joy! again this year. Postal Joy is a month of mail (ten postcards, one packet of home made table and one surprise) over the month of January to ameliorate the gray and gloom. The postcards will be a mix of cards from my own images and from Scottish artists. Check out my Etsy Shop for more info. If you subscribe to my newsletter you get 15% off (see sidebar to the right). NB in London to Tuesday if you are subscribing to newsletter for the discount code will email it to you when I get back from my travels.
A quick trip to London. Partly a belated birthday present – will see Jude Law as Henry V – hurrah! As I have been in the slough of strange lurgy am hoping that I will be fighting travel ready.
Have returned home from the station – due to high winds all trains out of Waverly cancellec – I shall retire to bed until tomorrow…
I’ve decided to Officially Declare Hibernation Time
1. I shall reduce my hours at my work for money job
2. I shall spend a lot of time crocheting in my bear cave
3. I will emerge only for very festive occasions
4. I will have enough supplies (especially of coffee and milk) so if the weather is inclement I do not have to get my paws damp or cold
5. I have enough reading matter ( a visit to library is in order)
6. I will reconnect with people. This means supper parties when energy is high and when low starting to write to far flung friends.
7. Overall I will embrace S L O W living.
(if anyone wants an analoge email ie a postcard from me sign up for my newsletter HERE).