How To Knit a Sweater (a Realist’s Prayer)
(whether male, female,
unreasonable or just
whether or not),
we are practical people
who hedge our bets.
As I hold my loved ones
this day in my thoughts,
meditating on our hopes
and wild adversities,
I also hold a skein
of good wool,
needles that click like
rosary beads working
through Hail Marys
of knit and purl.
By involving fiber
in my invocation
I feel assured
of a fairly positive outcome.
Where is the time going?! I cannot quite believe it is almost the end of May. But as the time line in my trusty ANOGM workbook shows me, time is indeed marching on and keeping everything crossed we will hopefully have the first ANOGM retreat since 2019 happening soon! The loose theme of my writing this week is therefore around knitting, starting with a knitter’s prayer. Don’t you love this poem? Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favourite writers and she sums up the spirit of the archetypal knitter so well here. Understated (well apart from Stephen West!), practical, realists who are mainly looking for a fairly positive outcome. Amen to that.
For the retreat in June, fourteen gentle makers will be gathering in the woods and with the expert guidance of Jeanette Sloan we will be making her Dionne Shawl. I am knitting a pre-retreat version so I can help people on the retreat. It is not the easiest of motifs to knit but with some careful practice I have now mastered it. Knitting is not for everyone and not all of the attendees are confident to knit the shawl. I am all for people doing what suits them, so some folk will be knitting their own thing alongside the shawl makers and also some will not be knitting at all !!
I’ve just been reading the May chapter in Lia Leendertz’s Almanac. This month the astonishing migration of the swift is described. From wintering on the edge of the Congo Basin and then leaving in early April to travel up to the Atlantic coast of Africa, then through Spain and France, to arrive in the UK in early May. This is where they nest and breed before leaving us again to travel south by the end of July. Amazing.
My sister Millie has been busy mending her favourite top. It’s such a joyous print anyway, with beautiful colours. She has done a grand job of patching and stitching and blending all of the sewing in to the overall pattern. Bravo!
I’ve been having all sorts of fun playing with new-to-me salvaged spinning wheels (yes, more than one!), knitting little sheep with the spun wool, weaving here and there and also dyeing some beautiful local wool with natural dyes that I have mostly grown. The skeins of wool below have been dyed with woad, marigold, coreopsis, madder and logwood. I find spinning, weaving and dyeing so absorbing and the process makes me feel really connected to the earth.
And so to Kate:
I hope this May Musings finds you well and enjoying new found freedoms. I’m so looking forward to seeing some of you this time next month, hopefully in person at Hazel Hill Wood for the ANOGM Retreat where I will be on hand for you individually as well as running morning and later afternoon yoga sessions. I adore quotes, poems, writings, and metaphors and some of these are helpfully etched in my brain, having read and quoted them for years now.
Recently life has thrown me a few interesting curved balls and it’s been an opportunity to ‘practice what I preach’, ‘walk my talk’, ‘take my yoga off the mat’. It’s one thing to be all zen like in my lovely peaceful studio with the diffuser wafting essential oils in to my practice space, it’s quite another to keep my s***t together when faced with a few unexpected dramas!
This quote reminds me that it’s my attachment to expectations that creates the majority of the stress I might experience.
This month I am sharing with you some of the very helpful quotes I have been using as mantras over the past month. The brain, like the body is only as healthy as the diet we feed it in the form of thoughts and beliefs, so when the going gets a little tough, the diet can often need a boost. I hope that perhaps these resonate for you and that they might be helpful to add to your own cupboard of resources.
This quote makes me smile and reminds me that life doesn’t have to be hard – it is inevitably challenging sometimes but we don’t have to make it harder! Rest is good!
Sending you lots of love and light,
ANOGM Retreats October 2021
Boconnoc, Cornwall, UK.
Retreat One: Saturday 16th-Tuesday 19th October 2021: Block Printing on Fabric and Stitching
Retreat Two: Tuesday 19th- Friday 22nd October 2021: Colour Inspiration, Painting and Tapestry Weaving
Or why not treat yourself to both retreats and make it a week with our combined retreat package!
We are so excited to have the opportunity to bring A Nest of Gentle Makers to Boconnoc House. https://www.boconnoc.com/. This beautiful country house estate is the perfect place to relax in comfort whilst feeding your creativity. There will be creative workshops, walks, yoga, maybe some swimming and plenty of time to connect and chat. They will be intimate retreats of 9-12 guests. Each retreat is a half week (3 nights) and we will have different guest teachers for the two retreats so it would be completely possible (and rather wonderful) if you wished to join us for the whole week (6 nights).
We will be in the wonderful company of guest teachers Louisa Loakes (Retreat One) and Luna North (Retreat Two) who will be imparting their wealth of knowledge on us. We will then be taking what we have learned from them to make a notions roll (Retreat One) and a small woven tapestry (Retreat Two). And of course we will have our yogi Kate on hand to teach and inspire us throughout!
The retreat attendees will each have a separate bedroom (or shared room if attending with someone in your social bubble). We will adhere to social distancing guidelines. In the event of cancellation due to Covid-19 we will offer a full refund or the ability to come on a rescheduled retreat at Boconnoc.
And so, it’s time for me to get back to that list of things to do, taking care not to do too much and to have some fun along the way. I hope you have a great month and find time for your creativity.
With love, Charlotte x