It’s been a busy month with a lot of stresses, ups and downs. No more than anyone elses I imagine, but in the last week I’ve had a few really good days. It reminded me, in a really positive way how your life can change in a moment.
It’s normally the crappy things that slap us in the face with this realisation; death, sickness, accidents, arguments, infidelity, earthquakes and other force majeure. But I realised that it can work in the reverse too, recovery, surprises, falling in love, engagements, babies, survivors, good news, sunshine, random acts of kindness. I think what I’m trying to say is take time to appreciate how the good days can really turn things around. Even a simple change in mood can change your life.
So my recent happy days have not been of these life changing proportions, but definitely mood altering (legally so). After a run of shitty things, it’s been really helpful to remember that everything is temporary!
Firstly, on Thursday it snowed! The novelty of snow has never worn off and I hope it never does. I mean it wasn’t enough to make a snowball, let alone a snow person but it was enough to bring a hopeful smile!
Secondly, on Thursday, out of nowhere, I received an email from Love Crochet telling me they had selected my Christmas Pudding Hat Pattern for their Pattern of the Month contest for December with 9 other patterns, all of which are lovely! This resulted in a huge happy dance. If you’re interested in such things, you can click here to have a look at the patterns. The one with the most likes at the end of the month wins so any likes are very welcome! I was so flattered that I had to use a thesaurus in my email response because that’s not even the right word. It was just bloody awesome!
Thirdly, Thursday is really winning by this point, I managed to hold a handstand for about 4 seconds in my yoga class (whilst watching the snow out the studio window). I know yoga is non-competitive and meant to be ego free but this was a big achievement for me. About a year ago on a work night out I joined a friends contest to learn to do a handstand in 2017… I hadn’t really given it any further thought until I realised that probably counted!!
Fast forward a couple of days, through which I carried the good day vibes, to Sunday where I went off to The Toft Alpaca Shop to a yarn dying workshop. I love seeing hand dyed yarns but the alchemy behind it has always been a mystery to me. I always have fun playing with paint and colour, even though I am a clumsy messy nightmare and end up with paint everywhere, so when I saw this workshop, I decided to treat myself. It’s a bit of a drive but I have turned driving into my podcast time so that’s really a bit of an incentive! (Little did I know when I booked a couple of weeks ago that I would be driving some random tank like courtesy car because someone drove into the back of me. There was be no working out how to make my phone play through those speakers, but I had a good sing along to the radio instead!).
The Toft Shop is on a picturesque farm just outside Rugby on the edge of a village called Dunchurch. The countryside is just lovely. I think I was driving about 15 miles an hour through the lanes so I could take it in!
I also learned that Mr Kipling has his very own roundabout complete with plant based cupcakes as you come into the town. I wish I had been able to get a picture because it made me smile a lot.
Toft felt like a genuinely magical place. Converted barns full of yarn and amazing amigurumi in it’s own fairytale setting . It probably helped that all the christmas decorations were up, including the most amazing alpaca tree ornaments I am ever likely to see. How I didn’t take one home with me I have no idea!
If you’re even remotely interested in amigurumi then you must visit their site at least. They have the most wonderful menagerie of characters!
The ladies leading the workshop were fantastic. You could tell they were genuinely passionate about what they did and they were so knowledgable. I have a bit of an idea about colour theory, but understanding how it works when you layer colours on yarn… well lets just say that without them everything probably would have ended up brown mush like when you mixed all the paints together by the end of class at school! Plus they gave me tea and cake and in the break I made a new friend…
The class came with two natural skeins to dye with the option to buy more. I was incredibly restrained to stick with the two but had a great time trying out colours on the test skein then getting to it. I hadn’t really given much thought to what I wanted to do other than knowing I wanted to go bright. I’m not ashamed to say I just went for it!
After adding the dye to the yarn, it is cooked for varying lengths of time, to set the dye, then left to cool to room temperature before you wash it and hang to dry naturally.
I found it fascinating how it looked different at every stage and what you end up with may be quite different to what you think you are going to get!!
I loved how everyone there did such different things. The airer looked amazing!
Here’s a peek at my two as I took them home and as they sit drying on my airer this morning.
The grey one ended up being something very different to what I planned but I think i like it. It’s a bit like an off colour leopard print!
I’ll need some time to work out what to make with these, I think maybe a pair of wrist warmers with one of them and perhaps a cowl with the other, but I can’t wait to see how they work up.
A big part of my brain is very logical but working out what this will look like is beyond my calculative powers. I have a feeling getting hand dying right is all about trial and error (which regular readers know I am a little obsessed with) and that only experience teaches you what does and doesn’t work!
All in all, I have a new found respect for all those indie dyers out there, as well as some envy because this was such fun. It was a bit of a Christmas present to myself and so worth it. I could have stayed for hours playing with colours (I tried to talk them into locking me in overnight!). It was the kind of activity where you don’t care about time, you just want to play! And PLAY is so important in a world where so much seem serious and scary and out of our control. It’s my favourite.
Thank you Toft for an awesome afternoon! I’ll be back with plans!
Here’s to another week full of good days