Why Create?


Do you ever ask yourself why you create?

For most of us it certainly isn’t out of necessity as it was for our parents or grandparents. We can hop into a car and buy a jumper for next to nothing with relative ease – so why make one when it takes hours of precious time?

Personally, I have many reasons. I can choose the exact colour, fibre content, shape and style of whatever it is I am choosing to make – an obvious choice for self expression.

But for me it is more than obtaining a flattering fit, or finding colours that suit.

It is the act of creating; taking raw materials and making something out of nothing. It is the anticipation of what will happen to that blank piece of paper when a pencil is moved over its surface; when a pair of needles meet a ball of yarn and those first stitches are cast on.

The creative process itself holds great appeal. Taking time from a hectic life-style to sit still and be calm and quiet, listening to the soft clickety-click of the needles or the scratch of a pencil or the swish of water.

We do not need to clothe our family the way we once did without having a choice in the matter. But perhaps it is us that are missing out. Before the time when an evening was passed in front of a television or computer we would sit together and talk, often with a female in a corner knitting away, or mending a tear.

For me, knitting is a time for escape. The housework is no longer important; the stresses of the day are put in a box for the time being. It is my time. I like to spend it talking with the children, sitting in the garden, listening to music and nattering away to friends.

It is also a time to devote to a certain person. I have a friend who not long ago moved to the USA and a recent felting project was a lovely opportunity to focus my thoughts on her.

Or making a toy for my little ones. I love to watch their imaginations come to life with something Mummy has made for them.

It sometimes feels more instinctive than that. It has quite an organic feel to make something for your loved ones for example that will keep them warm in winter.

We try to grow our own as much as time will allow and that same feeling crops up then, no pun intended. To sow the seeds, nurture then harvest and finally feed your family. Is this where I need to beat my chest caveman style?

Maybe the hard work is more important than we think when we think of the value of something. It is easy to forget when we nip out to the shop for a few apples or a jumper where these readily available things actually come from.

I think that is another appeal with the creative process. I can check a ball band to find out where the yarn has been spun or the fibre sourced and (unless my children are being particularly impish) pretty much guarantee that children are not involved in the production of the finished garment.

I can decide to buy yarn which has been reared, shorn, processed and spun within the UK meaning that its global footprint is low.

Better still I can raid the other half’s wardrobe and use his fit-only-for-the-bin cast offs to create my new slippers which I will tell you about soon.

Or maybe it’s just an ego boost. I love giving to others and I get a big kick out of seeing someone wear or use something I have made for them and genuinely enjoy it.

Take the prayer shawl. You don’t have to be religious to make and give one of these. A shawl is like a big hug; it is something you can create for someone you care about when you can’t be with them. Sure, you can buy flowers or even the shawl itself, but to spend time making for that person means that you are not just giving the shawl, but also your time and thoughts that will last longer than the average fortnight of  a bunch of flowers. Christening shawls and wedding shawls all have a similar sentiment often being handed down over several generations.

In an era when everything is disposable, taking time to make something that will be loved for years to come holds great appeal to me. How many of us have something our grandparents made? Maybe a colourful granny square blanket made with an explosion of colour from the leftovers of balls of yarn?

A friend at one of my knitting groups makes vast amounts for charity. When time permits I’d like to make something for her!

Why do you create? Do you make mainly for yourself or do you like to give? Where is your favourite “creating space”? I’d love to know what you think.

Some waldorf inspired stacking bowls made for a first birthday present

Some waldorf inspired stacking bowls made for a first birthday present

 

Knitted in Drops Nepal these Stacking Bowls are felted in subtle shades of the rainbow.

Knitted in Drops Nepal these Stacking Bowls are felted in subtle shades of the rainbow.

 

 

Posted in children, craft adventures, felting, Fibres, knitting, Waldorf / Steiner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An August Giveaway


A friend and I have recently set up a new ‘knitting’ group, Woolgathering at the Tyn-y-Capel . Nestled in the local hilltops we get to admire a stunning view no matter what the weather and enjoy conversation over a pretty darn good cup of coffee. I use the words knitting group loosely as we set up the group to include spinners, weavers, felters, knitters and crocheters. It is still in its early days but we already seem to have a lovely little group.

Still without my car, I have been treated to the scenic bus route. Ordinarily this means the long way round but at least up on the high ground it actually is a scenic route. My son was with me yesterday and we both noticed the subtle hints that high summer will soon be drawing to a close. It is now August and I have no idea where the time this year has gone.

There were a couple of trees that had the slightest tinges of the first flames of their autumnal cloaks… We were even presented with a bowl of windberries which don’t usually appear for at least another couple of weeks.

This got me thinking about how I need to start thinking about Autumn and Winter knits for the kiddiewinkles after their Summer growth spurt.

I need to dig out the thicker yarns, the inspiring browses through Ravelry’s pattern pages guaranteed to gobble them all up!

So, with the thoughts of Autumn on the tip of my forward planning mind (which doesn’t surface often – so make the most of it!!) I think this is the perfect time to give you a little something as a thank you for reading.

For the next month I am giving away my pattern Diamonds and Pearls Mitts for free* on Ravelry. All I ask is that you share a photo! Discount will be applied at the checkout automatically

Diamonds and Pearls Mitts

Diamonds and Pearls Mitts

Now, enough of these Autumnal thoughts, I’m off to enjoy the breezy sunshine …

* Offer from 5pm GMT 02/08/2013 until 11.59PM GMT 02/09/2013

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Knitting for non knitters or crafting for crafters


“Never knit for a non knitter”, or so I’m told… But is that the case? I have been pondering this of late as there have been many births and birthdays to create and craft for.

Some non – knitters I know always seem thrilled with, and look after gifted hand-knits with great care; more so than some of those who can knit.

My other half on the other hand is possibly the worst person to knit for. He sees the ongoing effort for example that goes into a detailed jumper I made for him – at his request may I add – yet he has only worn it twice and now it lays discarded in an unloved heap. He also has a slight, ahem, tendency to felt even machine washable knits to sizes fit only for the elves at the bottom of the garden.

The neglected Armas jumper...

The neglected Armas jumper…

Or there is my Grandmother. An able knitter, now limited by arthritis, has requested many an item which to this day I have never seen her wear. She has now requested a laceweight jumper for the autumn. I love her to pieces and would love to knit it for her, but how often is it going to leave the wardrobe after hours spent clicking away with my sticks and string. “No,” she says, “4 – ply is too heavy, it must be laceweight and have lots of detail, ribbing and shaping” Oh dear me… this is going to take a LONG time…

I think there are a few basics you have to stick to:

  • If in doubt – don’t do it.
  • Include care instructions. A couple of times to be on the safe side.
  • Look carefully at their style and colour preferences – that lovely deep green really doesn’t suit the bottom of the wardrobe only containing pink…
  • Check for allergies; sadly not everyone can handle being wrapped in sheep. They have my full sympathy.
  • Include some more care instructions.
  • Someone I know included a fun little tag on which she had written the approximate time taken and stitch count. Show them how much you love them by mentioning how long you have devoted to making something to make them happy!

But what about those super talented crafty Goddesses I have the honour of calling friends? What on earth do you knit for someone who can knit anything? A friend mentioned the other day that people often knit her socks as she never knits them herself. But how often can you give someone socks before they start to think you are going a little bit cuckoo?

What, for example could I possibly make for the women who created these for my daughter and me for our birthdays this year?

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I think the easiest thing to do is figure out what each friend can’t do. For those who can’t spin (yet) I have tried to spin for, those who don’t knit, knit for etc.

I have a long list of presents to catch up with but for now the wet felting is off the cards; too much felting makes ones hand a little sore! Oh, and then there is the friend that makes the world best natural soap which is perfect for felting… I know some very talented ladies!!!

Two babies have been those to make for most recently. And the knit wear is about as different as it gets. Both girls, one in need of butterflies, one in need of daughter of darkness wear.

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Amber Leaves

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Flutterby Feet

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Baby Docs

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Solemn Solenn

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I must admit, it has been lots of fun creating such polar opposites!

Another couple of babies are due soon. Plus my Dad and Step-mum’s wedding. Another 10 gothic, needle felted fairies needed there.

I think when (and this may just be me and my insecurities!) you make for others, devote time and love to a project, it can be easy to worry that said items will not be enjoyed as much as you hope they will. Or that, like with my darling OH, said items will only be enjoyed by garden Elves…

Is that just me?

Would you ever knit for a non knitter?

Posted in children, craft adventures, felting, Fibres, knitting, Spinning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Water wishes and the tale of a tadpole


Ah, the British summer time. All year long we yearn to feel sunlight on our skin; feel its warmth, see how the world around us suddenly becomes three dimensional and bursts with colour and life… And then we get it, the (so far 3) weeks of glorious sunlight, hardly a cloud to be seen. Of course, by the second day of this long craved warmth the air is filled with complaints of how it is too hot, how we need rain… Sigh, we are never happy.

But I can’t allow myself to complain. I love the heat – I just wish we could have a little patch of “break-us-in” weather to get us used to not being in jumpers.

Ordinarily, when the weather gets a little too warm, we head to a shady woodland or water. I love to be near water. This year though our little patch of sunny weather has been spent stuck at home as our car is in desperate need of some critical car surgery. A hosepipe has been our babbling brook and a paddling pool our ocean.

I am craving water like air. The feeling when you have walked through the woods and arrived at a stream; when you sit beside the running water, fling off you shoes and slowly sink your hot and tired feet into the crystal clear depths. Feels even better with your eyes closed.

Oh to be in a wooden belly boat!

Oh to be in a wooden belly boat!

I am missing the gentle lull of the ocean waves lapping onto a beach where the sand is so hot you could fry an egg on it.

The children seem quite content to strip off  and play in the paddling pool, but I must confess to feeling a little bit stir-crazy.

Only two weeks ago, before the weather truly hit these high temperatures we were hunting for tadpoles. The lake is about as tempting as it can get – the water as clear as ice, the trees surrounding it giving perfect shore shade.

 

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The trouble with it is the leeches. So feet firmly on the ground we cautiously got as close as we dared to the little clouds of tadpoles (clouds being the official collective noun for Tadpoles by the way!).

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Although we have taken a little break in the Home Ed, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn while we played. Toby was right in there and within moments had caught a couple in his hand, but poor Emily was getting ever so sad she couldn’t catch one. Big brother to the rescue and hey presto, a tadpole was caught for a brief moment before being placed gently back in the water.

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I’m always a little unsure of holding them in my hand… I don’t have the slightest fear of them, but the wriggling certainly doesn’t quite sit right. So I made a firm point to not let my lack of comfort pass any wariness onto Emily. Inherited phobias are not a good thing!

I needn’t have worried, she had no issue at all.

If only I would have known we would be unable to visit that perfectly serene pool now I would have treasured it that little bit more.

Sadly the local park does not hold the same appeal, with the swarms of people littering the grass, those who forgot to buy deodorant being the ones who decide to strike up friendly conversation, always that little bit too close.

Oh how I miss those quiet little spots beside the river, watching the up-tailed ducks a-dabbling. The water is calling and if my poorly car is not fixed and up to the journey soon I may be forced to to learn how to fly.

ducks a-dabbling at Llyn Brenig

ducks a-dabbling at Llyn Brenig

It is a remarkable thing water. Something we take so much for granted, yet something which gives life but can so easily take it away. It can be so soothing, nurturing and comforting. The way so many women use it during birth for its effects.

People of all religions flock to it on a pilgrimage for healing and enlightenment.

Not too very far from where we live is the well of St. Winifred in Holywell. St, Winifred was the daughter of nobility who’s suitor Caradoc, enraged by her longing to join the church, decapitated her with his sword. Where her head fell a spring appeared. Winifred’s body was reunited with her head and she lived once more. Caradoc did not fare so well and his body fell lifeless to the ground.

The well is there still for visitors to visit and bathe in as the water is rumoured to contain healing properties.

Or the waters in Glastonbury, the Isle of Avalon, with their rich iron flavour.

The is no wonder about the mysticism of  water. It is our very life blood. In particular in this heat, this short and brief spell that is our Summer.

But please let me beg a favour before I go? If you happen to be near any water, I ask you to say hello to it for me, as it is very sorely missed!

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Woodland Wings and Birthday Rings


My little girl has just turned four. I have no idea where the time has gone. As I sit here writing this I cannot help but smile at all of the wonderful memories she has given me; that both of my children have given me. I am so grateful to them both for bringing such magic into my life and the inspiration and joy they both give me daily. 

When we asked Emily what she would like for her birthday she replied that she would like some marshmallows (a rare treat as vegetarian ones are not easy to come by) and an R.V. Of course she does, what else would a four year old ask for?!?!

We also asked her where she would like to go. The answer was to the forest to find a fairy. So off to the forest we went!

I have a few pictures I’d love to share with you, so please forgive a moment of parental pride!

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After a little stop off a Llyn Brenig to stretch our legs we headed into the deep woods…

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Robin Hood stepping out of his hollow

Robin Hood stepping out of his hollow

 

 

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Surely we would spy a fairy…

Ah! Found one!

Ah! Found one!

 

 

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Emily’s Daisy Doll is finally finished!

 

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After a rest by the water’s edge, Emily grew serene…

 

 

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She asked for a little story and took a short nap on my lap.

 

 

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So we headed for home where a birthday cake waited.

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I am so very, very proud of both of my children. When you hold your baby for the first time, and you get the overwhelming rush of love for them, no one could have ever made me believe how much that love could keep growing.  All I know is, I vow to always be there for them, I will always try to catch them when they fall, let them know that their individuality should be cherished but most of all, let them know they are loved. Every. Single. Day.

I also have a thank you to give to you lovely readers – you have put up with my ramblings for a whole year now!!!  Thank you!!!!!

 

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Posted in children, craft adventures, felting, Fibres, nature, seasonal, Stories, Waldorf / Steiner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Midsummer Fae – a donkey short


It is a tradition to make fairy houses at midsummer. It is the time they will visit your garden to celebrate the Summer Solstice, singing and dancing into the wee hours.

The morning of the solstice, both Emily and Toby raced around gathering as many little things as they could to make their tent…

It was lovely to sit beside them as they created a tiny world fit for Titania, Oberon, Cobweb, Peaseblossom and Mustardseed.

They got very excited throwing ideas into the air, catching them and bringing them to life. I must admit, I LOVE midsummer preparations.

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We had a rose-petal path, edged in pieces of rose quartz (which would shimmer in the moonlight) with plenty of butter cups. Toby insisted we fill a small bowl with petals to infuse water so they could have a rosewater swimming pool…

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Rhubarb leaves became the floor, dolls house finery graced the tables, created with the shells from My Little Atelier.

 

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Knitters may recognise the little Hexipuff beanbags from Tiny Owl Knits.

 

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We had a Faun’s recorder (as Toby calls them) for music, a lantern for light and one of Toby’s prized slices of crystal for the dancefloor.

But why the donkey short? Well, later that evening, after tea, when we ate some of the first lettuce from our garden, we watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It occurred to the kiddiewinkles that Bottom was missing from our fairy palace and that we must find the little wooden donkey fast! I am sad to report that he is still missing.

We did not get to enjoy an evening of jumping the flames of a bonfire this year which very much upset Toby, as we had promised he could for the first time this year. Sadly, before the evening wore out the wild Welsh winds began to whip around the garden and the rain began to fall. We protected the palace as best we could, but it did suffer some damage during the moonlight hours.

The children were still left little silk pouches with little crystals inside by the Fae, though whether or not they got to enjoy the palace we will never know.

Ordinarily, when it goes dark, I put a little circle of tealights in the garden and wake the children to show them the dancing fairies from their bedroom window, but this year it wasn’t possible.

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They still had a wonderful time though, and that’s what counts.

Did Titania and Oberon visit you this Summer Solstice?

Posted in children, garden, Home Education, knitting, nature, nature table, Pagan, seasonal, Waldorf / Steiner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nuno Felting and a Drive Through the Hills


I finally plucked up the courage to Nuno felt the edges of some gorgeous fabric I bought from WonderWool this year.

Trust me. This took a lot of guts. I had to cut it down the length and was utterly terrified of spoiling the fabric!

Nuno felting is a process of wet felting animal fibres etc to lightweight fabric, thus creating a lighter felt than you normally would, plus adding texture with the combination of felt and fabric.

It works in the same way as standard wet felting; layering fine layers of wool in a criss-cross fashion while gently rubbing with hot soapy water. You just pop the fabric between the fibre. You can also add other textures, such as silk or bits of thread which will not felt, so long as they are “anchored” down by over lapping felt-able fibre.

 

Fabric sandwiched between the layers of fibre. You can see a strand of silk which will not felt, but will end up puckered below the merino.

Fabric sandwiched between the layers of fibre. You can see a strand of silk which will not felt, but will end up puckered below the merino.

It is great fun, almost like painting with fibres, but it is also very slow!

A full day later and I have my ocean wrap almost complete. I’d like to add some tiny seed beads here and there, but that can wait.

I took it out for its first adventure the other day while we went for a drive through the foot-hills of the Snowdonia Mountain range.

 

see how the silk glints below the felt...

see how the silk glints below the felt…

 

 

A strand of un-carded teeswater has behaved in a similar way to the silk

A strand of un-carded teeswater has behaved in a similar way to the silk

 

 

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Whilst on our travels I think I may have found my dream home…

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…and Emily and Toby found theirs

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During a walk we met some new friends…

 

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…perhaps they could smell themselves and got a little confused as to why it was coming from a pair of sticks. My latest project is the Hemlock throw found on Ravelry.

 

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Have you Nuno felted before? If not, try it! It is very rewarding and something the kiddiewinkles love to get involved in too!

And just to say thank you for stopping by, have a flower to brighten your day!

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My Little Atelier


I have a couple of preferred websites when it comes to birthdays and present buying occasions for the children. I have found it quite difficult over the years to find quality alternatives that aren’t plastic or centered around popular culture and, after a lot of virtual surfing, I came out with three favourites that we have returned to time and time again.

Woodland Children was perhaps our first choice, followed by Myriad and then several sellers on Etsy. We wanted subtle, natural toys that inspired play rather than dictated it; Art materials which didn’t contain lots of nasty chemicals (as they always seem to end up over faces as much as paper) and toys and games with an ethical background. Each of these sites offers a wide range of Waldorf inspired toys perfects for our little people. Imagine our disappointment however, when Woodland Children closed. I knew it was in the process of changing hands so kept popping back but it seemed to stay closed for a long time. But now its back! Not only do they have the same array of all of our favourite, sorry, the children’s favourite (I don’t play with them, honestly!) toys, they have lots of fresh ideas too.

We recently ordered a new product of theirs, My Little Atelier. It is a monthly kit which arrives bursting with art materials centred around a specific artist.

We awaited our first box with great excitement. For Toby, being home schooled, this seemed like a brilliant idea for his art “lessons”. I am rather biased with my favourite artists and tend to incorporate their work as examples or subjects for study. I hoped this kit would open the doors to the world of other artists for both the children and myself.

I was not disappointed. The parcel arrived a couple of days ago and we raced into the garden to see what was inside. It contained a covering note explaining the Atelier, then a couple of pages about the selected artist of the month, Andy Goldsworthy and nature art. Under the sheets of paper hid the art supplies. I can honestly say that both Toby and Emily gasped when they saw the contents. Nestled inside finely shredded, ocean coloured tissue paper, lay a large array of shells, exotic seed pods, cinnamon sticks, dried fruits and more.

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After briefly reading the information about Andy Goldsworthy Toby and Emily were ready to jump right in and get to work creating their own transient nature art.

The kit must have been a success as it held their attention for a solid three hours of play with only one single bickering session as to who got to use the ‘white’ shell. I would say that is about as good as it can get!

It was beautiful to sit back and watch them both work together deciding what could go where, and telling each other what each creation reminded them of.

We had Mandalas, butterflies…

an ocean mandala

an ocean mandala

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The other thing I found lovely about this kit was that it was very tactile; the textures of each item were all very different, so, while Toby continued to create art I was able to sit with Emily and talk about rough and smooth, which she thought may float or sink, which were plant material etc.

The contents also later served as a feast, with the larger shells becoming plates and cups and the dried plant materials being the food along with a dessert of age old classic, mud pie!

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It must have also had a good impact on Toby, as, a couple of days later as we walked through the streets of Chester, he pointed out a street artist making a sculpture out of sand and asked if his work was transient too.

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I cannot recommend this kit, or Woodland children highly enough. We have had lots of fun with it, and I’m sure will continue to do so. The service is friendly, reliable and personal too, which is always nice!!!

On a grown-up crafty note, I have almost finished my Medieval costume. A friend very, very kindly gave me a sewing machine which has made life very much easier and quicker.

I also finally finished spinning my rainbow and am now spinning some lovely dyed Wensleydale roving I bought at Wonderwool Wales.

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On the knitting front, although time has been somewhat lacking, I am working on some baby items, including a pair of booties – a new pattern from Knitsofacto’s blog.

I must urge you to go and have a look at The Woodland Children’s website before I go. I will be popping over in the next couple of weeks in preparation for Emily’s fourth birthday for some new paints, a wooden animal or two and most importantly a number 4 for her birthday ring! Where on earth does the time go?!?!?

Posted in children, craft adventures, Fibres, Free Patterns, garden, Home Education, knitting, nature, seasonal, Spinning, Waldorf / Steiner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spinning and storytelling


“When people told themselves their past with stories, explained their present with stories, foretold the future with stories, the best place by the fire was kept for the storyteller.”

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.

I have recently joined a medieval re-enactment group. I am still on probation, so need to be on my best behaviour, but I had a magical first day last week. I wore my Medieval handmade dress (more on that later) and had my first fighting lesson with a wooden pole in place of a sword. I got to walk around in costume with my drop spindle – a dream come true!

The spinning wheel came up in conversation with another group member. Obviously, my Ashford would not have been invented in the 14th century, but the great wheel was. We spoke about how those who would spin on a wheel were often looked upon with mistrust.

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The drop spindle was a sociable tool that was easily portable. It could be taken in a pocket and used in a village gathering spot, or when women would get together for a good Old-e Chin Wag-e*. But picture a spinner on a great Wheel. The sheer size prevented it ever moving – one would have to go to the wheel and would more often than not be secluded with it.

Imagine how a group of people would view the person who chose to be alone this way. Imagine the stories that would be told of that strange woman who locks herself away. Imagine the stories that would befall the wheel itself…

Pretty soon the wheel caught on and spinning at one became standard practice, but just for a little window of time the magic seeped in and stories about the wheel are known by nearly every little girl and boy out there.

What are the first stories you think about with a Wheel? Sleeping Beauty? Where the beautiful Briar Rose pricks her finger on the wheel and falls into a century long sleep. Or does she?

There are several theories about what she did actually prick herself on as there is nothing that sharp for simply spinning wool. Some say she in fact pricked her finger on the distaff used to hold the linen fibres ready for spinning. Others say it was not the wheel at all, but in fact a piece of poisoned flax that found its way under her nail. The Brothers Grimm, the 18th century story collectors, said:

“But scarcely had she touched the spindle when the magic decree was fulfilled, and she pricked her finger with it”

 

I am currently awaiting the arrival of a book, About the Sleeping Beauty, by P.L. Travers (author of Mary Poppins) in the hopes of learning her theories on the matter!

But what of the lesser known, or less Disney-fied stories?

We have read 5 from the Brothers Grimm so far. There is Rumpelstiltskin, the Three Spinners, Sleeping Beauty, The Lazy Spinner and The Spindle, the Shuttle and the Needle. There is also a collection entitled “Spinning Wheel Stories” by Louisa May Alcott which you can download here and another I would love to read “the Cat Woman and the Spinning Wheel”.

I know I am biased when it comes to Spinning. For me the wheel is magical without it being any more than it is. But think of its transformation from being an object of fear and suspicion to what it is today. I love the quote “you have to spin a good yarn before you can weave a great dream”.

Spin a good yarn. Tell a good story. They do go hand in glove, do they not?

Have you ever heard the soft clickety clack that comes from a spinning wheel? The gentle hum as the wheel spins and the treadle rocks? Combine this with a crackling fire, an evening of darkness and a soft voice whispering tales of enchantment to sleepy little children.

I have yet to meet a child that does not relish a bedtime, or an anytime story. Stories hold dreams and inspirations. They contain morals, and laughter and tears. Even in a world filled with computer games and the internet and audio books, for me nothing can compare to a single voice sharing a magical tale where words are spun into an adventure (especially when a Wheel is involved).

I must go now.

I have some rainbows to finish spinning and I need to herd together the small people in my life as I suddenly feel the urge to share a story…

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away an old woman settled down to cook herself a soup of beans. She lit her fire with a handful of straw, but one straw escaped and landed on the floor. She placed the beans into her pot, but one fell and landed beside the straw on the ground. After a short while a hot coal hissed and spluttered and also fell from the fire, landing beside the straw and bean.

Together the three decided to run away from their deaths before they were discovered and fled for their lives.

After a short while they came upon a stream. Hatching a plan to cross, the straw laid itself down, bridging the stream and the hot coal proceeded to cross. However, half way over the stream the hot coal found itself in a bit of a panic and froze at the sight of the swirling water which would drown it. No matter how the straw urged, the coal would not move and before long the straw found itself burned in two and both he and the coal fell into the water, thus meeting their deaths.

The bean, which had been waiting patiently on the bank, began to giggle at what had happened. The giggle turned into a laugh and the laugh shook his body so hard that his sides split and he burst.

Fortunately for the bean, a tailor passed, and, upon spying the bean, felt a moment of pity.  Taking out thread and a needle, the tailor proceeded to sew the little bean back together again. But, as punishment for his unkind laughter, the bean, and all of his future generations were left with a big black scar, right down the side as a reminder of where cruelty will get you…”

*did you know, when you see an ‘E’ at the end of old English it is actually silent? It was just the spelling of the day. Similarly, ‘Ye’ was pronounced ‘the’. The letter that was used in place of ‘th’ happened to look very much like ‘y’ so was confused over time. It originated from the rune ‘Thorn’ and evolved to                         – (ye) an Early Modern English abbreviation for the word the.  Therefore ‘Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe’ would be pronounced exactly as it is today!

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The Green Man, Fire-eaters and Dragons!


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“In times long past lived a man of green

and his footsteps brought life wherever he’d been

In the deepest wild wood was the place he’d once been

and the people did love and protect him…”

 

 

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Clun put on another fabulous event this year with its GreenMan festival.

We got held up in traffic on the way there so sadly missed the ‘Battle on the Bridge’ between the Frost Queen and the Green Man where the Green Man defeats the rule of winter, driving her from the town. He lost to her powers last year, resulting in horrible weather for the whole year, but this year he won!!!! Roll on the sunshine!

We found him atop the castle hill, overlooking the valley below where he blessed the valley with spring; and didn’t he just… the day was roastingly hot and utterly beautiful!

The children and I decended the steep steep hill, kicked off our shoes and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with family and friends eating from No Bones Jones, drinking real Lemonade, watching performers, listening to live music and playing to our hearts content.

the giant jester

the giant jester

 

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Toby had a little pottery lesson,

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While Emily and I enjoyed a dance, feeling the beat of the drums and the sun

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We met the Lord of the Forest himself

Emily and Toby, with a friend of Toby's

Emily and Toby, with a friend of Toby’s

 

 

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and Dragons; the left being a non fire breathing variety; the red American Dragon apparently does not have the correct kind of rock to digest, and is flightless, unlike the fire eater below!

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The end of the day drew in, and we watched with our breath held as these performers danced with fire…

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“…and they saw his face change with the turn of the wheel;

of the seasons they heard his voice sing…

I’m the horned God, I’m the face of the trees, I’m the breath of the wind that rustles the leaves – I’m the Green Man in the wildwood I roam, Cernunnos, I’m pan and I’m Herne!”

Damh the Bard – noon of the Solstice

 

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We didn’t see my longed for Maypole this year, but the spirit of Mayday certainly paid us a visit!

I also tried my first sip of the amber nectar that is Mead. I am not a drinker, in fact I avoid it at all costs, but when Toby asked if we could sample a stall holders Heather Moorland Honey I spied it on a corner of the table.

Oh my… the smallest sip and my senses were alive with the fragrance of honey. Wow. I can honestly say I am in love. That evening, when the children were fast asleep I stole a quite moment alone to reflect with a little esspresso cup of mead in the garden ,watching the darkness drift over the newly bloomed life that the Green man left in his tracks.

Clun Castle

 

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