Published June 24, 2015 by Jackie

Last night I went to the movies with my friends. Not any old movies, it’s that time of year when the city buzzes with visitors to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and we went to see two films, both at the Odeon complex on Lothian Rd.

We’ve not been there in ages, we tend to go to Filmhouse and Cameo for movies, and Omni for the occasional mainstream blockbuster, but I’d certainly consider the Odeon in future. In fact it had been so long since my friend was there, she walked on up Lothian Rd past what was once the entrance, now a pizza place, and didn’t know how to get in to the cinema.

I’d not really looked at the EIFF programme for this year, my friend had texted from the cinema on Sunday, while they were there and could buy the tickets, did we want to see this film? It’s about an Iranian dancer… heck yes, that’s all we need to say yes! Hadn’t we just been to Glasgow the day before specifically for 4 dance-related short films as part of the Cottier Project, at the Grosvenor in the West End. A nine-hour round trip if you include the time we spent having lunch before and coffee after, and about 3 hours on CityLink coaches. So of course we’d jump at the chance for something showing locally! Oh and yeah, while you’re buying, tickets for Ben Kingsley’s latest film won’t go amiss either…

L was late… what’s new? L is always late! L is an artist and works from home, and never experiences city centre rush-hour traffic, so she regularly gets caught out like this. I work quite close, so could walk and was there early, M was taking a dance class and had to rush up from the Grassmarket!

We got into the screen with just a couple of minutes to spare, and were lucky enough to find the last 3 seats together, way up the back row, and settled down. And then were greeted by an announcement that the film director was here, and would take a Q&A session afterwards. I feel a bit awkward about things like this ~ we were seeing another movie 20 minutes after this one ended, and what if we just hated the film and wanted out? We were kinda stuck up the back!

So, here’s the blurb…

Desert Dancer, the ultimate dance for freedom…
Afshin has always loved to dance, but in his home country of Iran it is illegal. From dance classes as a boy to undercover dance clubs, Afshin has repeatedly defied society’s laws in order to pursue his passion. In the light of mounting pressure from the government, how long can Afshin and his friends continue to perform in secret? Based on the inspirational true story of choreographer Afshin Ghaffarian.

Firstly, I was surprised to discover that this wasn’t a documentary. Secondly, not a subtitle in sight! This was a drama, based on a true story, in English. And you know, not every political story has to be told in an earnest, political manner. Once the movie settled in to Afshin’s life as a student at university, and we started to see some powerful, expressive dance, I warmed towards this. Sometimes, telling a story from a different angle makes you stop and think.

I knew about the repressive regime in Iran, but not the reality of day-to-day life for ordinary people who dare to be different. I’ve seen different police uniforms in Cairo, tourist police, traffice police, diplomatic security, and as part of a group have been assigned an equally sized group of tourist police to follow our vehicle at all times on a day-trip, or discovered that the quiet guy at the front of the bus is our policeman, but this is all strictly from the tourist angle. Egypt is and continues to be a police state.

But to have morality police watching your every move is unimaginable for the average westerner, to have them threaten you, beat you up, demand you to shop your friends to them, beat you up for refusing. We don’t have a clue, with our first-world-complaints.

Several familiar faces appeared in the movie, Frieda Pinto from Slumdog, and Tom Cullen, who I couldn’t place until this morning, when imdb reminded me he was in Downton. and a couple of others too.

But what shines in this movie is the dancing, and now I understand why… It was choreographed by Akram Khan, and he’d won the Astaire award for this movie. I saw Akram perform last year in the International Festival, his final piece in Gnosis, inspired by the Mahabharata, where the queen is burned to death in a forest fire, is one of the most electric and incredible pieces of dance I have ever seen.

At the end of the movie, Afshin dances on the stage in Paris, having taken a friend’s place in an acting troupe, and there to claim political asylum. That final dance re-enacted the beatings he had taken from the morality police in Tehran, and as the movie cut between a reprise of the beatings, and the dance, you almost expected blood to spatter across the stage. It was powerful stuff.

After the movie, director Richie Raymond explained the making of movie more to us, the stories that had been reworked or cut altogether; how Frieda Pinto took dance classes 8 hours a day for a whole year, Reece Richie and his moonwalking competitions, and his doppelganger likeness to Afshin Ghaffarian, and how they had changed the film ending when, heartbreakingly, the real Elaheh (played by Frieda Pinto in the movie) had died of a heroin overdose in Tehran just a few months ago.

This was actually Richie Raymond’s first movie; it was 93 minutes long, filmed in Morocco, London and Paris, and was astounding for a first movie. As the EIFF interviewer said, most first movies feature a cast of two and are filmed in a bedroom. I predict great things for Richie Raymond, and will seek out his future movies.

After finding out that the movie was pretty much crowd-funded by a few hundred people in the UK, made in the UK and Morocco, the only country NOT to pick up the distribution rights is the UK. Shame on them, they said a movie about repression, a movie about Iran, a movie about dance, and heaven forbid, a movie about all three, not a chance of funding that…. To then say ‘It’s for women, and women don’t go to the cinema’, shame on them again! While I refuse to add the hashtags #everydaysexism or #vagenda to my tweets, don’t think I don’t agree with them!

If only I could recommend you catch the next screening, but this only screened twice at the Festival. Richie urged us to tweet and demand this is picked up and distributed in the UK. Desert Dancer was also part of the EIFF Audience Award, we all gave this five stars, so I hope it’s about the percentage of viewers who give this top marks, not the number of bums on seats…

Oh and Mr Kingsley’s movie, The Driving Lesson, was perfectly charming, and probably deserved more stars than we gave, but we all want Desert Dancer to win. I hope it does!


Busy old me!

Published June 22, 2015 by Jackie

It looks like it has been about six or seven weeks since my last blog post, and I promise that I’m not neglecting you, dear readers. It’s been a busy old time, and I have fitted in two 5-day trips to London in that time, one for work and one for pleasure.

The first trip south was for a family wedding, few and far between in my family; my nephew was the one getting married, my older brother’s third son ~ he has four in all, fine young men! So we all turned out for the wedding, which was in the garden of a lovely old Cotswold friary turned farmhouse, and then to the reception, back over the border to Wiltshire, to the bride’s local village hall. I travelled across with my younger brother and his family, as I was spending the weekend in London with them. It was a bit of a squash in the back of the car, but I thought that was a better option than staying in nearby hotels without any means of transport between venues.

It was a wonderful day, and so good to make family connections again; from that one event, a few more local(ish) meet-ups will be happening here in Scotland. My brother’s first two sons, grown men, both live in Scotland, one here in Edinburgh, and one in Aberdeen. The eldest now has a daughter (already past 2 years old and I have not met her yet), so later in the summer, a day trip to Aberdeen is planned.

And when my nieces visit in July, we are hoping to have a picnic in the park (any park) with next nephew (who lives in Edinburgh), his girlfriend Carmen, and most importantly, their shih-tzu Bobby. (my younger brother, the girls’ father, is asthmatic, so no dogs allowed there). I had planned to take my nieces to Maison du Moggy but that particular Stockbridge cat-cafe has moved into town, and they are much more excited about meeting Bobby than meeting cats.

Busy old knitting time too! Of course, I had to finish my wedding present, a cotton denim version of Vivid, 56 squares in total. I travelled down with two Vivid blankets, as I used the occasion to hand over the blanket I’d made for my great-niece. I was delighted to find out that her favourite colour is purple ~ most kids seem to love purple!

Also on my needles:
I’m also working on a cardigan for myself, in Wollmeise’s new Blend yarn, think wonderful Wollmeise colours with added cashmere, mmmm! I managed to snaffle two skeins in a Ravelry destash, and am just finishing the 3/4 length sleeves, before I knit down the body til I have no yarn left. It is lovely, it’s that deep dark magenta that is Petit Poison Dark, almost like an aubergine, but not quite so purple. I’m making the Arrowhead Lace cardigan, a free pattern on Ravelry, by Suzanne Sommer.

Next, my niece asked for ‘a jumper like her sister got’ (because the beautiful yoked Norwegian sweater I made her is just too snug and warm for London wear ~ bah!). Her sister got an enormous ‘snuggle-jumper’, Stephen West’s Ombre Yarn-Eater made out of Twilley’s Freedom in various stone colours. I’d also started a Boreal with this yarn, but lost hope around the armpits. So I frogged all the Limestone shade, and started knitting Outer Space by Stephen West. The double-thickness neck was from the one ball of Flint I could find at the time. Then I started the body in Limestone, but soon decided I didn’t like the increases, too ‘holey’, even tho that was the part of the design. So I turned back to the Ombre pattern, and worked the yoke based on those increases, while remaining in garter stitch. I probably have just enough Limestone for the body, so I decided I would incorporate a third Stephen West pattern from my Ravelry library, Glam Lamb, for the sleeves. These are in a third stone shade, Coal, and I’m simply knitting as I frog the Boreal sleeves. The whole overall effect is not unlike Shaun the Sheep, which we watched as a family the next time I visited. Eleanor I think will love the humour! Got two weeks to finish this one….

Working on a communal baby blanket… I say communal, what I really mean is that I knit 80%, another colleague knit 16% and 16 other colleagues knit the remaining 4%. It is at the sewing together stage, and I really must get that done tonight, but I’ve been saying that for two weeks now. Baby is due any time from now, but the due date is the 29th. The person most likely to visit once the baby is born is now on holiday for a week, so that’s my target for completion. I shall be tagging this blanket with photos of everyone adding their stitches, and we’ve already achieved some notoriety on Twitter, so will add a screen-shot of that too!

And finally, I have finally found the perfect project for some strange aran-weight cotton yarn that I bought in a bargain bin. It’s called Solavita by SMC, and after 2 failed attempts at a summer top, I decided to make a couple of market bags, and at last it is proceeding at pace. (After I ripped out the first one to the bottom of the mesh, having forgotten to go up a few needle sizes) It’s the perfect thing for social knitting, a 2-row repeat, and I should have just enough for two large market bags. We now have to pay 5p for all carrier bags in Scotland, though that money goes direct to charity, so we all try to carry a shopper at all times. Not everyone has a hand knitted one though!

Upcoming projects include a Brooklyn Tweed cardi for my brother. He’s been after something knitted with Harris Tweed yarn, but that seems to be no longer available, so I swatched in brioche with Jamieson’s DK in Peat, which is in my stash already. In an inspired moment, I’d remembered the latest Wool People had been mostly menswear, so I told him what to look up on his iPad, and Shield was the choice, which is great, because I’ve just taken a brioche class with Nancy Marchant.

And once my Wollmeise cardi is finished, I shall be making a wee top in the same colour, but in the sock-yarn, not sure which Petit Poison is in my stash but I think it is Pure! I’ve found an ideal pattern already, so watch this space. Oh and some fast and furious socks too ;0)

Alternatives! Part Two

Published April 30, 2015 by Jackie

I promised a post about Reiki, both to my therapist, and to you, dear readers, so here it is. I’m half way through my course of 6 treatments now, so this may be a good time to take stock.

I mentioned in my last post that many of the positive things that have helped me start to sort out my life have placed themselves somehow in my path. Whether belly-dance or decluttering, my trip to Tanzania, meditation classes or finding Shiatsu for my migraines, most of these things place themselves in my path, rather than me searching and searching.

What’s it they say? What’s for you will not go past you. It seems that what’s for me stands right in my face so I can’t possibly miss it!

So it was with Reiki, and Wendy, my Reiki practitioner. A monthly email from Healthy Life in March said that Wendy was looking for new clients to continue her training. Shiatsu/Seiki and meditation had proved very postitive, so I asked at Reception, and Maria forwarded my phone number to Wendy, and so we began to work our way forward to a suitable date and time.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first Reiki taster session; Wendy told me that although she was just about to complete her Reiki Masters training, she felt she had been practicing this since she was a small child, so I felt sure this would be ok.

What greeted me in the therapy room that almost ALL my sessions take place in (shiatsu, chi gung, meditation), was a darkened room with a raised treatment bed, complete with head and knee pillows, and a couple of blankets. Incense and low lights, a flickering candle, and relaxing music too. Much more like a spa treatment than the usual futon on the floor for shiatsu.

I could tell immediately that this would be a relaxing time for me so I just got myself comfortabel while Wendy investigated and found out more about me.

{Aside: My friend said to me that there is more to this universe than we can possibly understand, and she’s right. We place our trust in someone else, and hope for the best, whether it’s someone setting up a computer, or flying a jet, we know that something works even if we don’t understand how it happens! I might be a pragmatist, but that doesn’t mean I should knock anything I don’t understand!}

Although not exclusively so, Wendy’s focus has mostly been on my head and my feet. Our sessions include visualisation, and in the taster treatment, where Wendy spent a long time at my feet while I imagined pulling energy up from deep underground through my feet, I noticed a few days later that some of the physical pains I’ve experienced in my heels, specifically when wearing flats, had vanished.

Now this was one of the reasons I decided to sign up for a course of Reiki, if my feet are fixed in one session, what can six more do for me?

How did I FEEL afterwards? Next day (Saturday) I felt amazing, but if I’m honest, by Monday I felt like death warmed up. (I lay this at the door of the statins that my doctor had persuaded me that I needed 10 days before, against my better judgement, and so I stopped taking the statins and felt better within a few days.)

In our first formal session, Wendy quizzed me about my mum as she held my head in her hands. My dearest friend’s mum had died a few weeks before, around New Year, which was the time of year my own mother died, around 8 years ago. And co-incidentally, the Met Office tweeted a picture of a moon-halo, which I had last seen on the evening after my mum’s funeral.

She and I were close, being the only daughter and living closest to her, I’d done a lot of the practical ‘stuff’ for her for several years. These circumstances had meant Mum was close to the front of my mind at the time, and because of this, I’d also recently written a wee piece for my blog.

But Wendy’s suggestion that maybe I should think about a medium ~ sorry Wendy, not going to happen. If my mum is watching over me, she will understand this…. I don’t want to know! I want to live my life for me, it’s my time now; by all means keep me safe. Honestly, she was an important part of my life for most of it, and she remains locked in my heart forever, but now the responsibility is over. If she’s there and reading this, or reading my mind as I type, she knows fine well what I mean!

How have I been feeling? There have been ups and downs, if I’m honest, and this time in my life seems to be as much about sorting some medical issues too, related to both menopause and my diabetes. So Early March was, hmmm, difficult.

In our next session, about half way through, Wendy suddenly asked where I was in 1970 ~ where did she pick that date from? Physically, I was in the place I’d spent almost all my childhood, but I had the feeling she actually meant where was I emotionally?

That time was pretty traumatic, my father had died of kidney failure in 1969, after a long slow decline throughout my entire childhood (he was one of the first dialysis patients at Edinburgh Royal for the last few years of his life, and they learned as much what NOT to do from him) and we moved over the border to Northumberland a couple of years later, leaving my two eldest brothers behind; one was heading off to college and the other decided it was time to leave home, he was about 17. So our wonderful family unit of six had fragmented to just the three of us, with my mum working long shifts and leaving us to our own company. My teens weren’t particularly great, but hey, I’ve turned out okay I think!

But this has always just been there in my life, defining me and defining my relationships with men, enough said on that matter. Wendy saw it as a blockage in my energy.

We shared a few tears for that little girl, and I was touched that it touched her too… Later in the session, more visualisation, lying on a warm beach ~ although it’s not something I do often, I’ve been to some lovely beaches in my time so that’s not hard ~ and a bird fluttering down to bring me a message. This sounds so cheesy, but I got a message, and that message was simple… ‘Let it go’

Our third session was much much lighter in content, tho as usual, I managed to shed a couple of tears. We talked about my garden, Wendy was getting an image of me in a garden… I have one, it’s shared, the younger fitter neighbours in the block look after it, but I often sit in the sun on the sofa, and knit while I watch the birds in the ivy, or pecking at the wall, usually blue-tits, there’s an occasional wren, a blackbird that drives me crazy at dawn in the springtime, singing in the trees at 4am. This year a pair of magpies are clattering in the trees, and late at night I’m sometimes lucky enough to hear a solitary owl.

How am I? Lighter in life, lighter in spirit. lighter in weight, lighter in everything, carefree and enjoying life as much as ever, whether its with friends or at work, or alone at home. And perhaps proof that this is visible to others, a long-time friend asked for Wendy’s contact details so she can try Reiki too.

And finally, well, we’ve also set the universe a wee challenge, more on that another time.

Alternatives? Part One…

Published April 17, 2015 by Jackie

One thing I don’t do is live an ‘alternative’ lifestyle. I don’t eat particularly sensibly, tho I have cut out a lot of junk sugars over the last few years. I don’t do exercise, tho since our office move, and the recent arrival of Spring to Edinburgh, I have taken to walking home, but it IS downhill all the way, and only 20 minutes.

But over the last couple of years I have been trying one or two of what I call ~ thanks Miranda ~ alternative therapies.

I shall give you some background to this first. From the age of 25 I’ve been a martyr to migraines, most probably the common type, rather than classic, but I’ve had those too, and visual migraines, which I much prefer ~ those come and go for me within 20 and have never been a pre-cursor to full-blown migraines of any kind. What I experienced were headaches that lasted either for 48 or (latterly) for 72 hours, that responded to high levels of ibuprofen, but were always still there when the drugs wore off. I could function well enough, especially if I could work from home, as travelling on public transport was made difficult. All I required was stillness, a calm environment. And just occasionally, for the classic migraines, a darkened room and sleep.

I’m getting older, the foundations of my general health are getting a bit more wobbly now ~ I’m aware that things are not as they used to be. I’m sure much is about menopause, it can be physically debilitating to go through without some support, and I’ve also developed Type 2 diabetes around 4 years ago, which until very recently, I’ve managed to avoid medication and controlled through dietary changes ~ not huge ones, but enough.

However, around 2 years ago I started getting migraines that simply would not shift. My back muscles would become rigid with the pain, and my GP went so far as to prescribe co-codamol and valium combined. No way was I going to function as a normal human being on that cocktail. She also recommended finding a physio or (a chiropractor or an osteopath ~ I can’t remember which now, and she said to avoid the other one).

What I found instead was a Shiatsu practitioner, just round the corner from my office, and he was able to see me the very day that I contacted him, within a few hours. I had a couple of hour long treatments and they seemed to be doing good, so within a few weeks, I’d decided to drop down to regular half-hour sessions, about every 4 weeks to a month.

Sometimes, I was told, we experienced Seiki in our sessions, beyond shiatsu, something deeper.

Here, an aside to the audience, and from the Healthy Life Centre’s website, what is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a type of Japanese hands on body work stemming from ancient Oriental principals. Like western massage it uses pressure, stretches, holding, joint mobilizations and rocking to affect the physical structures of the body. It also works with the body’s ‘Life Force’ known as Ki in Japan. Shiatsu has positive effects on the body’s physical structures and the internal organs, but also, the emotions can be touched and helped to heal. Shiatsu is a therapy that addresses all aspects of our being: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

And Seiki?
Seiki can be deeply relaxing but can connect with life issues at a deeper level.
Seiki is about eliminating unwanted energies, it can assist in affecting change on physical and emotional levels, help move life’s issues into a more clear perspective and help the re-establishment of harmony. Seiki unravels the everyday pressures that push us into physical and emotional distortions. Seiki focuses on the here and now, helps eliminate confusion, aids healing, helping us to let go of our physical and emotional problems.

So sometimes, the way I read it, the physical massage would move something in my emotional being as well.

Around the same time, I had the very good fortune to join a choir, and then a couple of months later, I joined a the lunchtime chi-gung class at the centre, then in the last year, I’ve joined a wee meditation class there too.

And the bottom line is, I started to feel so much better! What was working? Does it matter, maybe it’s one thing, maybe it’s another, maybe it’s all of it together? Don’t knock any of it, just carry on!

I’m a great believer in what’s right for you will present itself to you when you need it. This has been true of many things in my life, and maybe the reality is this: that the things that have not presented themselves to me are simply not meant for me. Or at least not yet!

Why am I telling you all this? I was asked today by another therapist if I could write about the treatment I’ve been having with her lately.

So I shall publish this post now, with the promise that my next post will be all about my Reiki treatments. Have a lovely evening, peeps, I’m off for a Reiki session right now!


Published March 19, 2015 by Jackie

I don’t believe in them, but I get a daily one emailed to my spam account. Sometimes it’s amusing to look back on them after the event…..

Here are my horoscopes for Yarn Festival weekend:

Your schedule is packed with social plans, and you’ve been looking forward to them. (and then it went on…. There may be some confusion when it comes to the role of some other person — maybe a friend, or your significant other (if you’re seeing someone). They may have an entirely different agenda, but they may not be sharing it with you for some reason. Ask for some clarity to avoid impending conflict.) irrelevant!

There’s a lot going on right now, and the odds are good that you’re quite the social butterfly, flitting from person to person and party to party. Settle down for a few moments, so a particular conversation can be more enlightening. Putting your head together with someone else’s gives both of you considerably more brainpower — and then some big, confusing matter turns out to be a piece of cake.

maybe this last phrase referred to my Brioche class the day before? it WAS a piece of cake, and I’ve already cast on my first Brioche project

You love experimenting to find new shortcuts that can save you a few minutes in the middle of your commute, but more than that, you love gathering your tribe together. That’s even more true right now, even though you all know perfectly well that you might regret all this tomorrow. Accept that that you’ll be yawning tomorrow afternoon. Share the new shortcut with your people,and at least you should all be able to give the snooze button an extra slap.

Hmm well I could regret all the extra Twitterers I’ve followed, I seem to be spending much more time than usual there, or at least this week!

Now I could read all kinds of things into those sentences, but the bits that made me laugh the most were the ‘social butterfly’ ‘gathering your tribe’ and the ‘yawning tomorrow afternoon’ ~

I was quite the social butterfly over the weekend, as you might have spotted in my last post. And I was certainly more interested in gathering my tribe on Twitter on Monday, than I was in my work, I think I followed about 20 more people and they me! And by the end of the Monday I couldn’t stop yawning, went home and had an hour’s nap, waking at precisely the time I should have been starting my meditation class across town!

(ps these horoscopes are always sent the day before, but I was still a wee bit confused about whether the yawning was meant for Monday or for Tuesday)

It was the best of times….

Published March 18, 2015 by Jackie

… full stop! No need to continue with the rest of Dickens’ quote, there was no worst of times here, that’s for sure.

The aftermath of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival… Yarn Party to end all yarn parties! Until the next one, that is ~ there will be a next one, won’t there? I know, I know, you need a rest now, Jo and Mica, but just a hint of a knowing smile, even if you stick with that 2-year calendar…

Seriously, I had the best of times! I got exactly what I wanted and needed from EYF, (despite some rumours I heard that I’d not enjoy the full experience by booking so many classes, so don’t worry on that account, my friends!) I knew that my health has been too unpredictable of late to volunteer at the event, and a recent blip has proved my point: that’s it’s a younger, (or fitter) woman’s game.

I did my volunteering time in my 40s, different genre mind you, stuck in a cupboard while my friends were on the dance floor ~ ok I was the DJ, providing the music for them ~ but I feel I’ve done my bit, just sorry knitters that it wasn’t for you.

But if you can’t be a volunteer, be a participant instead, throw lots of money at it! I missed out on classes at the first EYF, but maxed out this time. I booked 3 classes, enough time to leave myself a slot for the market…

and of course, I’d be at the Ca-baa-ret! H O O O O L D M E B A C K!

The classes were wonderful, inspiring; the market place was seriously overwhelming, a real box of delights! But the best thing about it was the people.

The people who ~
~ came from ALL over the world, including a charming lady in my Brioche class who insisted that two weeks in London first meant she hadn’t come specifically from Australia for the event (aye right!)

~ chattered excitedly on the bus to total strangers they’d sat beside, but could tell where they were heading to because they were wearing hand-knits (seriously, there were 3 Epistrophieds on my bus on Saturday alone… and 2 Striped Study Shawls on Sunday, not to mention my monochrome Puffin Mantle)

~ are old friends, or new friends, or friends you hadn’t realised were knitters! Friends you saw last week, last month or last year; or friends not seen for 5 years tho you’ve chatted on Ravelry off and on, or from a totally different part of your life, unconnected to knitting; folk you follow on Twitter or who follow you, even though you’ve never met them before. People you sat next to in class that morning too!

Saturday evening, waiting for for the Ca-baaa-ret doors to open, seemed to be a flurry of interrupted conversations, as someone I’d not seen in years (or weeks) wandered by and had to be greeted. Then turn around and the person I was talking to had moved on, apologies of course, but I think you were all experiencing this too!

So I have reached 500 words +, and think I’ll stop and publish this post, and come back to tell you more about the Ca-baa-ret and Sunday in my next post!

Are we nearly there yet?

Published March 13, 2015 by Jackie

It’s Friday (not quite 5 to 5, so no CrackerJack!) 13th (eek!) of March today, which means tomorrow is…..



woohoo! and all that kind of stuff! I’m almost ready for my classes, of which there are three over the two-day festival (mostly to keep me out of yarn-buying trouble!)

For Nancy Marchant’s Basic Brioche first thing tomorrow, I have a ball of Cascade 220, and I might look out another ball I know I have somewhere. Looking out needles is tonight’s task.

For Tom of Holland’s class on Sunday, I’ve dug out my holey socks, the ones my trainers ate in Jedburgh in a single day! One sock has a very large hole, and the other you can see daylight through. That should be enough for a couple of techniques… reminder to me to find yarn to darn with.

And for Helene Magnusson’s Icelandic Steeking, I made a yarn dash to Mei’s Be Inspired shop in my lunch-hour for a couple of odd balls of contrasting Lett-Lopi. (Important knitters’ electronic gadgets and apps include the Lothian Bus-tracker app for maximum shopping time and minimal lunchbreak hassle)

Although not physically the closest yarn shop to me, Mei’s is much the easiest for me to get to from home ~ walk to bus-stop, wait for the 24, quick 15 min journey across town, then cross the road at the other end, voila! ~ so I think of it as my lovely Local Yarn Store! It’s full of lushness and covetable skeins, and amazing samples that are right up my street! She will be at the Yarn Festival, along with her MadeleineTosh skeins… sigh!

Sunday will be my main shopping day at the Yarn Festival, although I might make time to buy a sheepy mug from Ingrid at the Bon Papillon pop-up gallery on Saturday.

One of the times I’m most looking forward to is after class on Saturday evening, there’s a wonderful ca-baaa-ret planned for the evening, but some time before to simply chill and knit with friends. Quite a few Ravelry friends from distant locations will be there, as well as local friends, tho a lot of my local friends are volunteering at the event. I’m looking forward to seeing them all!

But what to take for casual knitting? It’s going to have to be my much-neglected-of-late Scollay, which is languishing in the bottom of a bag I’ve not used in a while. Maybe this will motivate me to finish it? It’s at the back-and-forth stocking stitch for 10 inches stage, and one row is just too long for my work journey at the moment. But what do I want for social knitting? something that I can just go back and forth and not think about, or make a mistake on, so ideal! Problem solved!

On Sunday, however, I’m planning to leave as if I was going to a 10am class again, and have a good mooch around the market. There are a few stalls I will definitely visit, and a few more I’ll look out for, I have a couple of ideas but I have no definitive shopping list, and a finite amount of cash in my purse to spend, having blown my £2 coin stash on a painting a few weeks ago!

here’s a picture of my picture, painted by my dear friend Lesley Skeates

you can see more of her paintings on her website

oh and can I just add how very pleased I am that my toothache was last weekend and not this! (well you know what I mean, I’d rather not have had toothache at all, but at least it’s over and done with now and i’ve done with the ‘avoid alcohol at all costs’ antibiotics!)