Friday, September 14, 2018

filling my cup

Yesterday in the morning I was sitting with Indi in a very busy cafe in a town near her school. She was sipping juice and typing on her computer, I was drinking coffee and knitting socks, while all around us sat clusters of women and their small children.

After a while a couple came in and sat at the table next to us. They ordered breakfast and drinks and while they were waiting he read the newspaper and she pulled some orange speckled thread and a long circular knitting needle out of a bag and started to count and cast on stitches.

Straight away I knew that we would be friends. Without a doubt in mind I knew that by the time we parted we'd have swapped all kinds of practical and intimate details. I didn't try to hide my stare but I did wait to question her about her pattern until she'd finished casting on.

And that's exactly what happened. She was knitting triangles to sew into a blanket, the yarn was from her grandmother's stash, some of the old wool is hard now but she hoped it will soften with a wash, her mother has dementia and one day woke up and forgot how to sew but still loves to knit, her mother and her friends are knitting squares to sew into blankets, she spends a lot of time sitting by her mother's bedside knitting, she'd love to learn to knit two socks at a time...She also told me some personal stories that I don't feel comfortable publishing here. And I answered her questions and told her a bit about me and mine.

And then they left the cafe and left me with such a warm glowing feeling of understanding and being understood, of community, and appreciation that spending time with someone with a shared love brings.

Later that afternoon when I was thinking about that feeling it occurred to me that I'd just experienced a miniature version of what I'd felt at The Craft Sessions last weekend.

From the minute I realised I was packing more yarn and needles into my bags than clothes and shoes, to  the crafty conversations in the car on the way there with my friend Elizabeth, to the familiar crafty faces that greeted us on our arrival, to the rainbow of hand knitted sweaters that were worn proudly every day and exclaimed over continuously, to the couches and tables and chairs and beds filled with knitters and crocheters wherever you looked, to the conversations, to the teachers, to the classes, to my new was obvious that I was in the right place. I was among my people, my community.

On Friday I did a darning class which I don't have any pictures of unfortunately.

On Saturday I learnt all about two colour knitting with Mary Jane Mucklestone and swooned over her book swatches that I have been looking at on the page for so many years.

It's amazing to think that I knitted that class-hat in one day. There's so much knitting time in a day when you take away all the cooking and driving and farming and washing and stuff.

And on Sunday I did a fresh Fair Isle class with Mary Jane.

Before I taught at Soul Craft in June and was panicking about every detail of my class, I had a conversation with Bren about different teachers we'd had in our lives and how now there are some masters of their fields that we would pay to sit in their classes just to hang out with them even if it worked out that somehow we didn't learn anything at all. He named a Japanese bowl turner and I named Mary Jane.

As it happened not only is Mary Jane one of the most beautiful people I've ever met, not only is she a master knitter and a great story teller, but she's also a fabulous teacher. I learnt so much from her over the course of the weekend. I learnt about stitches and colour and history and technique. In my classes there were beginner knitters all the way through to advanced and professional and I'm positive we all did. 

And I guess the same way that lady at the start lived a completely different life than I do and is in a different chapter of living it, we Craft Sessions attendees immediately found our common craft ground and bridged all the gaps. There were women there that I didn't have anything except craft in common with either, but those who knit together - can sit together, and chat together, and soon that's all that matters.

And despite my initial hesitation that I would be overwhelmed and feel lost, I feel richer and inspired and full of ideas and thoughts, and part of a community.

Remember a few weeks ago when I was looking for some charcoal speckled yarn to knit a cardigan? Well I found it at the mini market at The Craft Sessions. Yay!

I just need to hurry up and finish the second pair of these socks first. They're Bren's Father's Day socks so I'm either very late or very early. I'm not a great lover of knitting the same thing twice, but when he saw the first pair and said they are his favourite of all the socks I've ever knitted, well I didn't have choice, did I?!

And after filling my own cup I returned home a more patient, happy and present mother.

When I walked in the door last Sunday night after The Craft Sessions to a clean, flower filled house, we sat down to dinner and Indi handed me a leaf and asked me to tell them what I would leave there? A stick and asked me what would stick with me from the experience? And a rock, what rocked?

I think I'd leaf/leave the sharing a room thing there. Actually I know I would. Although I love, love, loved my roomie Mary Jane, and every second I spent with her, I think worrying about snoring, farting, insomnia and going to the toilet in the middle of the night are worries I can do without. I think my love of Fair Isle and the techniques I learned will stick with me forever. And that feeling of being in a like-minded, craft-loving, knitting-obsessed, community totally rocked!

Well that was quite the marathon blog post wasn't it.

Tell me about your week. Pretend I'm handing you a leaf, a stick and a rock and tell me what you would leave behind, what stuck and what rocked.

Until we meet again next week my friends, be kind to yourselves and each other.

Love, Kate xx


  1. My week is leafing my fear behind whilst they poked a stick (wire) into my boob to take out the rock(mass) formed in my boob which leaves me not able to knit my Newley started socks so reading it is for another few days! You to are a Mary Jane to us out here 😃

    1. Oh Lynne, I've been thinking of you all week. I hope you are back to knitting by now and that your results were good ones. Lots of love xxxx

  2. Lynne I commented an hour or so ago but nothing shows. My best wishes to you. Bbe kind to yourself. I have travelled this road with my sister since her diagnosis in 1997. Jan

  3. I'm getting ready to leaf the oh-it-is-too-cold-to-get-up feeling and stick it to the I'm-getting-old feeling and just rock on.

  4. That speckled wool is lovely. I've picked up a new-to-me op-shopped pattern book that has a pattern requiring speckled yarn so I am on the hunt now too.

  5. I 'leaf' behind worry about stepping up into a new job role,what sticks is that my colleagues believe I can do it and what rocked was my weekly choir session with amazing teacher Yvette Staelens.

  6. I 'leaf' my worry about getting all my deadlines accomplished in one go; what sticks with me is my friends belief in my knitting abilities, they are such a wonderful cheering section to have around and what truly, truly rocks is...the fact that I was very blessed to have celebrated my 35th wedding anniversary on Monday; 5 whole yrs after my husband had a massive heart attack and open heart surgery. {He is my ROCK} :)

  7. Wonderful post and a joy to read.
    We are parked in Broome at nearly the half way point of our journey by distance and over half way in time. For the last week I have been anxious about what will happen when we return. My anxiety has impacted our time here, so I made the decision to leave that part of my anxiety here. Broome is a town built on embracing constant change and reinventing itself. And still lives in the moment and one of the reasons why no house has a letter box and all mail is collected at the post office in town. This lesson in life is going to stick with me and will embrace not owning a letter box. My faith in Jehovah is my rock and anchors me whenever the wind of change blows me about and buffers my reserves.
    Thanks once again for a wonderful post.

  8. I find that many of your posts move me but this one I felt in my heart and my soul.
    I would leave all my anxiety about my inadequacies. What sticks with me is the absolute beauty of nature (I have just returned from a week trip to the Scottish highlands) and what rocks is that I got to spend an uninterrupted week with my lovely husband, we had so much fun.
    Thank you for speaking to me and so many others, you are an inspiration x

  9. I'm sitting at my daughter's home in Oxford UK, on a visit from Melbourne. I have brought my knitting with me but have only done one row which was wrong so it has to be unpicked- colour work- grr. It is something I'd dearly like to do, fair isle. I do all sorts of other stuff-- lace, plain, cables all sorted over the years but not fair isle. Last year in Shetland I bought a book by Mary Anne Mucklestone and brought it all the way home only to discover I had left it at the airport in Heathrow. Shock! horror! distress! I immediately bought another via Amazon only to discover a week later the first one was hiding in a hidden pocket of my suitcase. I still have not started a project! My brain space can only cope with so much and a mild set back in a pattern send me straight to my blanket-- I'm doing a 'magic square' blanket out of my scraps and have fallen in love with it so now it gets good wool and I have unpicked the bits of scrap I didn't ever like and knitted others in. I agree with FB in previous letter, you are an inspiration and I have been impressed by your photography and the colours. I noted some months ago the UPPSALA slippers you made and so tonight, I bought the pattern and will make them for my daughter here out of the 10 ply wool I have left over from the hoodie I made from a Morris and Co pattern in Bendigo wool. I will see how it goes. I do have a grandchild due in January and a blanket to knit for her so I suppose I should do that first. Although knotted slippers in a cold UK winter V's a knitted blanket in a hot Australian summer-- which first? Slippers I think. Thank you for sharing. I hope the joy of the sunshine soaks you with energy and the year 12 ending to come is smooth going. Cheers.

  10. Love the photos of colorwork together!!

  11. A lovely post. This week I’m on holiday for the first time since my baby was born in December. So I’d leave behind the exhaustion and chronic sleep deprivation. The beautiful sun filled hours with my big and little love will stick with me, and being on holidays rocks! ;)


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Kate XX

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