Saturday, 29 March 2014

Ups and Downs

It's been a funny old week: after we limped over the £12 Challenge finish line, I just seemed to drift back into clouds of melancholy. Thinking about Dad.

Being outside in the garden helps - always has when sadness or anxiety crowd in; but I've not been able to get out much. Instead, rushing from one thing to the next and getting nothing done: like pedalling madly and going nowhere.
Tell you what really didn't help though - my eldest eejit leaving the bath running and flooding the place...

The Challenge was a good distraction - glad when it's over, but always glad we've done it. Makes me cook with more imagination and makes me think about things I take for granted.
Usually leaves me brimming with good intentions too: the thing is, I know it doesn't take long for bad habits to creep back into my kitchen and my trolley. So, a return to spur of the moment mundane meals and the same old same old. I'm going to try a bit harder this time, and force myself to meal plan more often, because it does save money (and sanity), and I'm going to stick to making bread at least once a week. Think I'm quite quick and it now.

To celebrate the end of the Challenge, I bought these…

..honestly I'm hoping they won't get used for aaages, it's just they were cheap! £2.50 in Asda. And it's sod's law isn't it that if you leave sledge-buying till it snows, they'll be as hard to find as hen's teeth. Pretty nifty forward planning I thought. Certainly for me!

The highlight of my week is without doubt The Great British Sewing Bee. Love, love, LOVE it. Simple pleasures. On Tuesdays I shoo the kids upstairs by 8; daggers if anyone dares come down again.  I'm totally hooked this year; they're such a happy, talented group, and seem genuinely fond of each other. Makes me cry when one of them has to leave. Though, to be fair, it doesn't take much at the moment. I'm in awe of what they produce in such a ridiculously short space of time. Mind you, making clothes is way outside my crafty comfort zone, I don't have the patience for a fabric pattern and am still slightly nervous around sewing machines.
At least mine is out in the open now. And sometimes gets used.

I'm more at home with hooks and big needles. A bit of click-clack comfort. I took some needles and wool with me when I went over to Northern Ireland to spend time with Dad in hospital. He slept a lot, and it was sad but peaceful sitting there with my stepmother and my sister - nurses and visitors coming and going. I don't think I've ever sat so still for so long. Not speaking. Sorrowful silence.
Reading didn't feel right, so I started knitting. Don't ask me why, but I made a kangaroo…? Shame I didn't write the pattern down, - don't think I could knit another one. Anyway, it made Dad smile. Happy/sad memories when I look at it now.

The dalmatian was for Dad's birthday a few years ago. He really loved dalmatians - they had one when he remarried, and Dad adored her. She was totally gorgeous, but mad as a brush.
So, this is Dotty.

It's a Debbie Bliss pattern and possibly one of the trickiest things I've knitted...not just dealing with random dots, but when I'd finished knitting, there were about 28 pieces to sew together.

With the sea between us, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with Dad, so there aren't that many reminders or associations with him here. And I think, while it's all still raw, this kind of helps me just trundle on with things; but there'll come a time when I know I'd like to have more of Dad about.
Maybe I'll ask my stepmother if I can have Dotty.


  1. Isn't the GBSB fab. I'm glued to it every Tuesday but like you haven't yet made anything that involves a pattern.....although I have one waiting in the wings. Your kangaroo and dalmatian are delightful, you are such a talented knitter! Can understand your feelings about having more reminders of your Dad around the place, it will get easier Tracey but it takes a while. Tomorrow will be especially poignant for me. :(

  2. Your knitting is a amazing, if you have the dexterity to produce stunning items like these you would soon master a sewing machine!

    1. Thanks so much Josie! Still a bit wary, but a friend has offered to give me a hand deciphering a pattern, and I have got some lovely fabric. Feel I should make the most of the Sewing Bee buzz!

  3. I am slightly in love with the kangaroo, and dotty of course. You must ask your step-mother for it, I bet she wouldn't mind? Huge hug, it must be so very hard xx

  4. Sorry about your melancholy, Tracey. Hope these last two sunny days have helped ( they helped me!) and that you were able to get out in the garden - always helps too, as you say. Love the kangaroo and the Dalmatian! Abby x

    1. today did help, just glorious outside, and I gardened like a dervish…stiff as a board now though! x

  5. I must admit I’m enjoying this series of the GBSB much more than the last. What a shame about David - last man standing (albeit with the aid of crutches!). Not sure I have a favourite now.

    I was surprised tha a crafty lady like you had never used a sewing pattern. Go on. you’ll be fine.

    1. I think it might be the thought of all the prep - pinning, cutting, tacking, but I have made quite a lot of fabric toys now - maybe a simple little summer dress for my daughter?
      Sad about David going, he'll be missed, probably was his time though.

  6. You are ever so craftily talented... brilliant with those knitting needles. I am going to take up knitting again this year! Sorry to hear how you are feeling though - be very gentle on yourself. X