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Friday, 14 August 2015

I've Found It, I've Found Me!

Over the years as my friends and family will attest I have had many many hair colours. Everything from bleached white blonde to black with all hues in between. I have never been truly satisfied. I have spent well over 30 years looking for the one, the colour or shade which is truly me. Now at last, approaching 50 I have it. It is not a natural colour but importantly it is ME! It is my colour. My hair is now a gorgeous shade of purple!


You would not believe what finding this colour has done for me, for my confidence and for my general well-being. It has set me free! Free from self doubt, free from self criticism, free from constraints I had placed on myself to be what other people wanted me to be and not what I wanted or who I am.
I have at last found myself. I have found ME!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Shouting from the Rooftops

So there we have it. Up till Wednesday we were mostly ignored, on Thursday we spoke and here now on Friday you can hear us loud and clear across the whole UK.
Scotland's people have made there choice, we have chosen to move forward, to be progressive, to leave old style politics behind. We want change. However listening to the pundits and former politicians during the night it would seem they still don't get it.
This election had absolutely nothing to do with Independence yet throughout the electioneering we kept hearing the same thing, the Nationalists will use this as a stepping stone. Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly said that this would not be the case yet the rhetoric still came.
All the other parties tried to get votes using fear tactics. They failed. As I said last time the electorate should not be taken for fools.
 I congratulate all those who won seats in Scotland yesterday, you worked hard and put a positive message across, one which people could get behind, one which people could believe in. On the other hand from the other parties we heard only same old, same old. They did not listen. We tried to tell them and they closed their ears, and some still are judging by some of the statements this morning, as they found out to their cost. Some very familiar names have paid a very heavy price for taking the people for granted. I hope lessons are learnt from this.
What will the future hold? Who knows? I hope though that through the new voices for Scotland people all over the UK will benefit.


Friday, 24 April 2015

A Voter's View

POLITICIANS TAKE NOTE!
In less than 2 weeks the good folks of the UK will go to the polls to vote in the General Election. We have been bombarded with this on the news channels, in the papers and in the election debates for months.
However, one of the main things I have noticed from most of the MP's and leaders etc. is how "old school" they still are. Politics has been around for years but the world and the voting public have moved on. We have the world at our fingertips, weare as informed as we wish to be thanks to the power of the internet. No longer do we blandly follow in the voting choices of our parents as previous generations did. We take the information available and we make up our own minds on how we wish to cast our vote.
We are not interested in the "old" way. The backstabbing, the mudslinging and the truly awful talking down to the "common folk" like we are stupid.
We are not the "common folk" we are the ELECTORATE! We choose who WE want to represent us.
Is it so hard for these politicians to understand that?
If so, then they are the stupid, not us.
There has been a lot of noise in the news lately of how bad it will be for the Scots to be represented at Westminster by the SNP. How they, or the Welsh Nationalists, should not get to vote on English matters. I have never heard anything of the sort being mentioned in the past about Scottish or Welsh Labour or for that matter Conservative politicians being told they should not vote on these matters. This is because without the votes of these MP's many of the policies of these parties would not have gotten through parliament.
Westminster wants the people of the UK to stay together and be as one but only on their terms. During this election that has become very clear.
Old school democracy has had it's day and it is time for the people of the UK to stop and think. Stop with the tactical voting to suit the big parties and vote with your true beliefs.
We are privileged to be allowed to make our choices at the ballot box. Many in this world cannot.
To the candidates who wish to represent us. Respect your electorate. You are chosen by us to work for us, not to line your pockets and be above us. Remember we pay for you. You are our employee and you are not indispensable. If you do not do a good job in 5 years you will be out. That is how a democracy works.
The people have the power, not the politicians.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Busted Some Stash

Another week and a bit has gone by, how quickly the days pass! I must be having fun.
Knitting is moving on apace and the basket dash I mentioned last time has begun. I have filled my basket with a few WIP's and some skeins to continue my 24 pair sock challenge. It seems to be working for me as within the first week (the dash began on Wed 15th) I have completed my first project.


The pattern is Ridge and Furrow Rainbow Triangular Shawl which is free on Ravelry. I can see how the pattern may be daunting to some as the original uses 54 different shades of Wollmeise yarn which can be like hen's teeth to find, but I just used one main background colour (Drops Alpaca) from stash and then some of my sock leftovers. Doing it this way made it a great stashbuster project as it used 993 yards and I managed to move 4 yarns into the "all used up" tab. Another thing that was mentioned to me was the huge cast on, the shawl is knitted bottom up, with 655 stitches. To me this is not really an issue as once you get past the patterned border as the rows make easy TV knitting and of course they reduce as you go on.

Of course I don't just watch TV as I knit. My other challenge is continuing also. I finished listening to The Fellowship of the Ring from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Although I enjoyed the book I felt I needed a break from Tolkein for a while so used a random number generator to choose the next book from the list. It's stuff done the book chosen was The Once and Future King by TH White. I must admit that this is a book I have never heard of before. The story, an Arthurian fantasy, explores the childhood of King Arthur. This I am enjoying immensely. A bonus is that 33 hours long the book is a real bargain with my Audible subscription.

Also in the past week we have had an interloper. This gorgeous tint puss came into out house and our hearts.


We have named her Abby and she is settling in well having made particularly good friends with Gibbs our big boy.


Other than that life just passes day by day.

Stay safe and happy crating
Mary

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

It Has Been a While

Gosh, how time flies.I am having difficulty believing that I last posted in January.
However I am still here knitting away and dreaming up new challenges for myself to keep life interesting.
One of the things I have challenged myself to I have been thinking about for a number of years and now I have finally figured out how to take it forward and continue with my main passion. Way back in 2003 the BBC commissioned a year long survey to find the nation's favourite books, full list of the top 200 can be found here, I have often thought about trying to read as many as I can but was foiled by the fact you cannot turn pages or read words and read patterns and knit at the same time. The bingo! a solution came to me. I have an Audible subscription, why not have the books read to me whilst I relax with my sticks and string thus combining two of my favourite things.
I took the plunge and started at No 1. The Lord of the Rings. I have now finished the first of the 6 books and am a way through the second. You may find it hard to believe, especially with all the hype there has been in the last few years, but this is a book I have never read nor have I seen any of the films. I will admit that at times I am struggling to stay focused with the story but I will persevere and I am sure I shall enjoy it.
Another challenge to myself is to knit 24 pairs of socks this year. To many folk that will sound a lot but in my mind it is 2 pairs a month, not so bad. So far I have 7 pairs completed so am bang on schedule.


To keep things interesting I am trying to use a different pattern for every pair. My Ravelry queue has expanded madly as I have added nearly 500 of the free sock patterns available. In my mind this equates to roughly 20 years of socks. Hey, we can but dream.
I am not just knitting socks though, I have a few other projects on the go and one of my Ravelry groups has a basket challenge about to begin. This involves filling a basket, real or imaginary with yarn, or wip's and trying to do as much as you can from that basket within a set period of time. It is a great way to stay focused and work your way through the stash.
Speaking of stash, mine has taken a bit of a giant leap in the wrong direction twice already this year. Firstly when a dear friend was de-stashing and I got some gorgeous yarn and a very good discount and secondly when I took myself along to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. What a wonderful day out that was. Over a hundred stalls packed with yarnie goodies of all descriptions. It was heavenly. However being me I was like a deer caught in the headlights and there was simply way too much to choose from. I ended up just buying yarn from my favourite hand dyer and a beautiful basket for my basket challenges.



The dates for next year's festival have just been announced and I have already made a promise to myself that I will branch out and try some new yarn.
Other than that I have no major planned yarn purchases this year so it is time to climb back on the sheep and work my stash down. I will however have one skein of yarn arriving each month as my wonderful hubby gave me the most amazing gift this past Christmas. He has signed me up for the Yarn Notes from Assynt yarn club which includes a skein of hand dyed sock yarn, a beautiful picture card and some very well researched and written information about the area around the picture. The first 4 months of this club have been a joy to receive and I look forward to each and every parcel arriving.
That is all I can think of for now.

Stay safe and happy crafting
Mary

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Island 14 - Boreray, North Uist

This baby blanket was finished in early November 2014 but I had to wait to share it as there were not many folk who knew the sex of the baby.
Baby Isaac has now been gifted his blanket and whilst I do not know his feelings on it I do know that his mummy and daddy loved it.


I used Knit Picks Shine Sport in the colour Sky. The yarn is an absolute delight to knit with and furthermore is completely machine washable as well as tumble dryable. I find it a good yarn to use for baby items where the parent wants natural fibres but ease of washing.
The pattern is Floralized by Cheri McEwan, which was the summer MKAL in 2014 and is a free pattern. I must admit that the finished blanket looks much harder than it is to knit. Cheri always creates wonderful designs which seem to flow off the needles with ease yet look stunning and complicated.

I am so chuffed with this project, here are some more photos.




Island link - Boreray, North Uist

Stay safe and happy crafting
Mary

Friday, 2 January 2015

Catching Up. Islands 8 - 13

Happy New Year everyone.
Gosh I have really got behind in sharing my finished projects with you so I will keep this post as brief and factual as possible.
First up is Island 8 - Barra

These socks for hubs are knitted in Ripples Crafts 100% BFL yarn in the club colour Post Office Run April 2014. The pattern is Hermione's Everyday Socks which is a very popular free pattern on Ravelry. Bill has declared that these are the most comfy socks he has ever had and wants all his future socks in this pattern.
Which brings me nicely on to Island 9 - Berneray

These are his 2nd pair this time knitted in Ripples Crafts reliable sock in an Assynt Storms colour.

Moving on Island 10 - Auskerry

This is a fabulous warm winter jumper knitted in one piece from the bottom up. The yarn is Drops Karisma which I purchased from http://www.woolwarehouse.co.uk/. This yarn was a dream to knit with and I have ended up with such a cosy jumper to wear whilst out walking the dogs.

Island 11- Boreray, St Kilda

I knitted this shawl in just 5 days. The pattern is LaLa's Simple Shawl which is designed as a top down knit. I decided to do it bottom up and cast on 305 sts and worked backwards. This is knitted in DK acrylic yarn which I bought from The Wool Shop in Woodburn Dalkeith.
I gave a similar shawl to my M-I-L a few years ago and she loved it so that is where this one also went.

Islands 12 & 13 - Barra Head & Bigga
These are socks for me.
Barra Head are some plain Vanilla socks in Opal yarn, Thelma colour


And finally Bigga are in my favourite pattern Dragonfly Socks knitted in Yarn Pirate merino/alpaca yarn which is just soooooo soft and comfy on my feet.

I do hope you enjoy the trip round these Islands and I will try not to be so tardy in posting in future..


Stay safe and happy crafting
Mary