June 22nd, still wearing masks, still knitting, still safe!

I hope that you are keeping well and safe as I write this. The lifting of restrictions in the UK hasn’t gone as we’d hoped and we have a bit longer to carry on carrying on. We hadn’t planned on going abroad this year anyway, and with the colour coded destinations changing, it seems to be encouraging everyone else to have holidays in the UK too. This is lovely because it is doing our economy good, but our usual holiday haunts are becoming very crowded and the locals are wary of holiday makers bringing in the new “Delta” variant of covid. So much so that Scotland are now banning folk from certain areas of Manchester from daring to cross the border!

We went to Yorkshire in our touring caravan at the end of May,  maintaining a distance from others, wearing masks and hand sanitizing all the time. I think this will be the way to live for some time, even though we have been fully vaccinated!

Fantastic views from our steam drawn first class carriage on the Settle to Carlisle journey!

Now for news about my knitting activity.

As the song goes…” Where do I begin?”

It has been a very busy few weeks since I last posted in this blog!

As far as The Knitting Companion goes there has been two festivals, one was a new one “The Cambridge Craft Festival” which was incredibly quiet for me personally. The other one was “The Wool Monty” which was extremely busy. I posted short videos into their facebook group on the day, but their promotional work was so efficient, that I started having sales before the festival started, which continued after the weekend had finished!

I am currently trying to prepare for the Yorkshire Yarn Fest that is to be held virtually this Saturday – (26th June, 2021). Their theme is “Midsummer” so I searched and found some perfect fabric by Riley Blake and designed by Katherine Lenius called “Midsummer Meadow” that was beautiful and perfect for the theme. I made some bags and circular knitting needle cases with beautiful lining fabric in a contrasting pink. For the festival there will be a silver butterfly progress marker with each “Midsummer” item purchased!

There have been a number of challenges with this festival that have yet to be resolved. I can see that my other half is going to have to help me. I can persevere so far and then get frustrated and have to put the kettle on.

  1. I was invited to download the “slack” app for the Cambridge Craft Festival, this I did and then was overwhelmed with a whole new way of communicating. The notifications keep on dinging and distract me, when I looked it would be a conversation that was obviously public and lots of people were commenting… ding, ding, ding. It drove me mad to be honest. I have enough to do at the moment without reading about suggestions and messages to and from others!
  2. We were scheduled to have some building work done. This should have been completed a fortnight ago, and so when the bad weather came, it put everything back and so I have two gentleman, working away, doing a brilliant job, but it means that our house is upside down. The only rooms unaffected are the bathroom, cloakroom and kitchen. We have cupboards, furniture, toys and junk everywhere. Difficult when you have lots of orders to pick, pack and post. Difficult when you have sewing to do and you have been moved to the craft room upstairs that is now cramped, south facing and so with it’s large window, is absolutely flood lit in the morning. I had to giggle though, my sewing machine is currently right in front of the window and on one occasion, Stuart, the builder, was standing up to his waist, directly in front of me! You have to laugh! It was a bit off putting!
  3. Setting up a mini-stand for the Yorkshire Yarn Fest was fun, and I tried a number of different positions so that the light was good, the items were in shot in the background, and I wasn’t in complete darkness. The plan was to do a 15 minute video describing my wares. I must admit, it doesn’t phase me to do such a thing. I have spoken to groups during my career, presented at conferences, taught student nurses, presented to colleagues and managers, so I planned the process. After setting the scene, I printed my contact details on an acetate sheet so that I could turn it and it would be legible on my phone. (This was after hours of googling how to reverse the text in word and failing miserably). Another example of my struggles with technology! I printed off an order of discussion and placed it behind the camera on my phone so that it was in clear view, placed the clock underneath my phone, placed things I wanted to handle close to me, but not in sight and off I went!
  4. I introduced myself, shared the contact details, and happily described how The Knitting Companion was developed. I talked about the various products and closed by saying that I would be away for a week, that all orders would be processed promptly on my return. I then set about uploading the video via slack and it would not send. It prompted me to try again – you can guess the result. Plan b. I contacted the organiser who suggested I send it via another piece of software that I am not familiar with “We Transfer” – I downloaded this, created an account and tried again. This time it wouldn’t send because it is too big. It suggested that I set up a professional account so that I could send larger videos and that I pay a fee for the service. I don’t think so.
  5. In the meantime, I have put the tiny camcorder that we have on charge. It hasn’t been used for a few years and so it will take ages. I will record my video again, look at making the data use smaller and see if that can be sent! Fingers crossed!

As well as all of this activity for the knitting companion, I have my carer duties too. I check on my Mum regularly and am taking her for a very early appointment tomorrow morning. She has recently bought a mobility scooter and we are taking it with us to North Wales for a holiday on Saturday. I am picking up my sister Julie, then collecting Mum and my other sister Helen before driving to Porthmadog. It is Mum and Julie’s first holiday since losing my Dad in January 2020 and we will be visiting some of his favourite places. It really will be “wish you were here” and I am sure some tears will be shed. He used to be passionate about sea air, and he would be really pleased that we are having this holiday together!

I should be packing! Dad used to say “You can take whatever you want so long as it fits inside a shoebox!” We became quite skilled at packing our essential toys in a shoebox! Happy days! Father’s day was difficult for us, I know that time is supposed to heal, but Mike and I both became emotional when remembering our lovely Dad’s.

Julie has learning difficulties and lives in supported housing, helped by staff from Lifeways. She has done so well since she moved there ten years ago! She has gained in confidence, her speech and vocabulary have really improved, she has developed interests and in particular has become a keen gardener. The staff have really thrown themselves into this, and despite them not knowing about gardening, have done wonders growing flowers and lots of vegetables! We can never thank them enough for helping Julie and the other residents to live as full a life as possible.

Mum has a quiet time after lunch and so we have activities to do, a sea-side jigsaw, adult colouring books, new crayons, sketch books, pencils, watercolour paints, and of course knitting! Julie can’t knit, but when we are watching Mamma Mia for the umpteenth time, singing along to the Abba songs, I will be knitting with my gorgeous Wensleydale long wool aran, making yet another Beryl jacket! Thank you Mum for my birthday pressie!

My next blog will hopefully be in a month’s time, with lots of photo’s of our holiday!




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