Thursday, 23 December 2010

Work and Play


Is there anybody there?

I wouldn't blame you if you had given up on ever hearing from this neck of the woods but I am still around, and still knitting. It's taken me some time to get round to writing this post and the longer it has taken, the more difficult it has been to explain the silence.

Knitting has been a pretty constant companion through most of my life. I was taught by my grandmother at the age of four so there have been very few times in my life when knitting has not been a part of it. It has ebbed and flowed as other interests and responsibilities have had to take centre stage but it has always been a quiet, constant part of my life. I can remember many years ago when my mother was terminally ill, how we took refuge in talking about our knitting. I remember the last letter she sent me where she triumphantly announced that she had finally got to grips with using a circular needle. In happier times when my sister told me she was expecting the first child, my nephew, the first thing I did was to make three little cardigans in bright primary colours and ascending sizes and her telling me that opening that parcel was the first time that she really appreciated the changes ahead! Later on, with a new born G fast asleep in his cot she tells me that she woke up feeling very scared and overwhelmed to find me sitting at the end of her bed, peacefully knitting and knew that all would be well.

With the advent of the online knitting community, like many people, knitting has become a greater part of my life, not just from the availability of more interesting materials but in terms of the community that we have grown and the real life friendships that it has led to. Without the internet I would never have become a knitting teacher or designer, wouldn't have had the first idea of how to go about learning to spin. Through this community I have travelled the length and breadth of the country, have visited friends and festivals in the United States and Australia and become the proud owner of more handmade socks than a centipede would need to hike the Pennine Way.

Long term readers of this blog will know that I have always been particularly rigorous in keeping my knitting life and other dimensions of my world quite separate and have rarely reflected on my personal or professional life apart from when it directly interlaces with my knitting. You may have picked up that I have been working as a very senior professional in a large public service in the UK and have found knitting invaluable in helping me deal with the stresses and strains that such a position inevitably brings both as another focus to life but also as a relaxing activity in itself. Sitting on the bus, tuning in to the rhythm of my needles is such a good way to deal with a frustrating and difficult day.

However, there have been some significant and rather wonderful changes to this balancing act which in some ways have contributed to my blog silence as I have been working on how I build them into my blogging and online presence. I have been incredibly lucky and secured a job where my skills as a knitter are as important as my experience as a project manager. I have been appointed by the Charities Advisory Trust to be the project manager for Knit for Peace, one of their major activities.

I t has taken me a few weeks to think about whether I should be keeping this blog completely separate or whether I should be using the Knit for Peace blog that I have set up for the project in a different way and those ideas are still forming in my head but in the first instance I thought that it was time that I tried to articulate some of my thought processes in my own blog as a way of breaking through the log jam and getting back to something I really enjoy writing. it's going to be a very interesting journey, combining my personal interests with my career and so far I am thoroughly enjoying the ride. Whether I use this blog or some other way to tell you about them please be assured - there is knitting and lots of it!