July 31, 2009

Dyeing and harvesting

The sun has been shining today, a great tonic for the spirit. I wanted to make another elsewhere jacket out of blue faced Leicester aran yarn as I love the first one.
I had an idea what colours I wanted but surprise , surprise I ended up doing something entirely different:)
My ideas were bright reds, oranges, golds something zingy.
I received some dyes a few days ago in colour scheme Earth so I thought I would give them a trial. However I couldn't not have something scorching so I added brilliant orange.
Here you see them hanging out to dry, what do you think? I love them and I think they reflect the theme of Lammas and harvest exceedingly well.

They will of course look entirely different when knit up, that is the fun of doing your own dyeing. Well doing it with the help of an exceedingly able assistant in Mr Mog. He is super at getting all the water out and hanging them to dry. He also took the pictures you see.
BW I used several different colours of reds and oranges on the Lammas shawl. I sploshed the colours on, nothing scientific about me:) Wrapped in cling film then steamed in electric steamer for 35 minutes. Rinsed after cooling in plain water. Final rinse with a little ecover conditioner just to add a little more softness and make it easier to use.
Then as it is almost Lughnasadh it seemed the right time to harvest a small part of the lavender we have growing. I asked the bees who were busy working on it themselves and they graciously gave me permission to take some of it. I've left lots for the insects as there will be more than enough here for storing to use in incenses, infusions, tinctures and the like. I also am earmarking a bunch for breads and biscuits. I love lavender bread and biscuits the smell when baking is gorgeous. You can use both fresh and dry lavender for this.
We will be baking some tomorrow for our celebrations.
Those are big bunches and the kitchen smells wonderful.
We may harvest some more as we have a few different varieties of lavender growing.
A more upbeat day today, Mr Mog took me up to the promenade for a meander along the sunken gardens and it felt good to be out in the sunshine.
I've edited my profile. I was going to keep the flagrant soul but decided that BWs suggestion of fragrant was far better:) I don't want to be obnoxious or conspicuously bad, well not too often and of course with all this lavender I'll be very fragrant:)

July 30, 2009

A change of name and Lammas/Lughnasadh

Those of you whose blogs I have commented on will notice that it doesn't say amber moggie now but A flagrant mind.
I was going to have a separate blog for my more spiritual posts leaving this one for my crafts. After talking it over with a friend of mine I've decided to keep the one blog.
Far less confusing for me, let alone everyone else:)
I am going to keep the new name though. i like it:)
So Lammas is nearly upon us, just a few days to go. How is it for you?
For me it is a weird time, lots of stuff coming up in dreams and lots to work through. A time of reflection on what is, what was and what will be. Lammas is a balancing time in my life, a balance between who I am and how I live my life and on the other side what I need to let go of to honour my place in this world.
Harvest, that is what Lammas is. Loaf mass, a time when the wheat is ripe and the bread can be baked. What kind of harvest? That all depends on the person and how they approach it.
Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh, sacred to the God Lugh. When we harvest it is a completion time, time when projects are finished and we can see the results. From this comes new growth a new turn on the wheel. A time to let go of things and honour their passing while grasping a new spark to work with.
There is so much negativity around at the moment, what with swine flu, the economy to name but two. Maybe part of my Lammas acknowledgement will ask for these things to be finished and for a positive outcome . I will meditate on it over the next few days.
August is a good month in many ways, I have lots of birthdays to celebrate with people including Mr Mogs significant one and a less significant one for me.
The joy of a festival comes from within, the knowledge that my celebrations echo ones that have taken place since time began. I may not celebrate in the same way as the old ones, that is part of the spiral of life, ever changing ever growing. But I have a link with the past in the fact that I do celebrate in my own way.
I am not sure what we will do to commemorate the harvest, watch this space.

July 27, 2009

A Mohair jacket give away and Status Quo

I've decided to give away the mohair Elsewhere jacket I made. I love it but I decided it was time to send something out into the world and to give something back. The jacket is that something. It is large and will easily fit someone size 20 and above.
It is large on me as you can see. I haven't worn it, I just tried it on for the photos.
It is definitely a unique piece and no one else will have anything quite like it I am sure.
If you would like to be considered for it please add a comment here. I'll choose a winner on Lammas, which is this Saturday.
I'm still experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort so my reading and commenting on blogs has been limited. I'm too sore to do much of it so I'm hibernating somewhat.
I've been trying to get tickets for Status Quo at Glastonbury for Mr Mog's birthday. He loves the Quo and I wanted to try and surprise him with tickets. Sadly they were all sold out very quickly and I haven't managed to find any anywhere. Ebay has had them at horrendous prices, too rich for me.
So its back to the drawing board for ideas for this momentous birthday he is having. Then next oncology appointment is next week and it is always a worrying time until we have seen the consultant. Mr Mog does seem to be doing well though for which I am grateful.
I've not been very creative lately, the pain seems to stop the muse visiting much, I don't think she likes to see me in this way.
It is part of the balance that we have within our lives, can't all be a high there has to be a low to balance things out. The trick is to remember that and treat the low points as positive things to work through. Not to let it beat you. Or in this case, me:)

July 25, 2009

Lammas shawl

Lammas is almost upon us and I thought I'd show you the shawl I made to celebrate the festival.
The colours aren't true, the last ones are nearest but red is very hard to photograph. True colour of the bottom of the shawl is actually a darker red.
I wanted the colours to reflect the festival, bright orangey red to celebrate the harvest and the fire of the festival
A more scarlet red for the next part to reflect the blood that this harvest represents. To harvest the crops they have to be cut down, hence the blood aspect.
Light into dark as the year also turns from the light growing half to the dark inner meditative half.
As we get to the bottom edge the colour darkens even more, still flashes of the previous reds there but a more sombre aspect also.
Finally finishing off with a dark garnet red bead.
There is so much energy in this shawl. I think it helps that I dyed the yarn to the colours I wanted. There is a glittery golden thread running throughout the yarn , for me this represents the golden thread of life and the vibrancy of the spirit.
Lammas is next weekend and I feel the earth poised for the turn of the wheel. It is waiting as are we.
There is so much negativity around at the moment with the swine flu disaster, I am hoping that the turn of the wheel will lessen the media hype if nothing else. Part of me wonders about chemical warfare also, is it a coincidence that SF is sweeping the world at this time?
It certainly takes the media's attention away from the recession doesn't it?
I'm still taking it easier than usual. I've hardly looked at Ravelry or browsed the net. Rav is and can be a major time sink and I don't want that lately.
I made a decision to use the Internet less and enjoy the days more. It is better for me while I'm like this.
I think the poor health ties in with Lammas, I'm feeling this turn of the wheel more than the past couple. That isn't better or worse it is just what it is. I think the Goddess is reminding me that my spiritual side is important and this festival will honour that.

July 23, 2009

Did you miss me?

I'm back in the land of the blogging although it will be sporadic. I think I may need to have one of those banners, BWO (blogging without obligation)
I am not well my pain threshold has been reached and passed more times than I chose to think about. I did enjoy the trip to the Isle of Man with my daughter and grandsons, it has been so long since I last visited and it was good. I didn't sleep much while away and I'm catching up now.
We had 3 nights there and it was excellent. The hotel was top class and we had a room with balcony overlooking the harbour. This was our birthday treat from DD , a thoughtful gift and one we appreciated.
I haven't done much knitting, not been well enough to. Same reason I haven't blogged, it hurts too much most of the time.
Lammas is approaching and despite it being a festival of harvest I always think of it as a dark festival as well.
It is the end of the light half of the year and beginning of the dark half and as far as I am concerned that means death in one form to allow rebirth.
My moon card was death yesterday and at first I shivered at what it could mean.
When common sense returned I realised it is tied in with Lammas and also with the dark moon, beginning of new moon.
I used to fear the death card in tarot and in my moon cards, superstition and ignorance as I hadn't thought through the death/rebirth cycle.
We can't have rebirth or new growth without saying goodbye to something. It is a balancing act.
So what does this increased pain show? Does it say even more loss of mobility will bring in something and if so what? Will it be good or bad?
All very mysterious and I'm not ok with it by any means. I think it is the out of my control aspect that I mainly dislike. I want to feel in control of all my life and I know that isn't feasible but I can still want it:)
So Lammas approaching then. How will you celebrate it?
I don't know what we will do, I'm leaving it flexible and in the hands of the Goddess how she wants me to celebrate this year.

July 15, 2009


Not too well so I'm quiet at the minute. Joints too sore to do anything especially type so this will be short and sweet. Hoping that this latest round of agony will go soon, it is stopping sleep and is there all day and night.

July 13, 2009

Mohair elsewhere finished .

The mohair Elsewhere jacket is finished and I love it. I love the mismatched sleeves, the softness and the size. I made it larger to allow for layering over autumn clothes.

It feels luxurious to wear.
It doesn't match but yet it tones. The next mohair one won't:) I want clashing colours.

Before that though I'd like to make another in BFL aran and to further the intention I've managed to procure a cone from Laal Bear to do so. I'll get it skeined up and dyed next week hopefully
Do you like it?

July 12, 2009

Of this and that

A strange painful week that hasn't become any easier as the week progressed. I've not been able to get much pain relief at all lately and it is a little wearing to say the least. The week has been odd but I think that has something to do with the wheel turning. I can smell and feel autumn in the air this week despite it being July. We went into the local park today and a lot of the leaves are starting to turn. Turning golden and rust coloured on the edges. The conkers are growing fast and there were a few underfoot this morning after the winds of yesterday.
I do love Autumn,it is my favourite time of the year, but that doesn't mean I want it to appear just yet. Mr Mog is steaming along on the garden revamp and it is looking very good. I've not done too much of anything, the pain seems to have sapped my creativity but I'm hopeful that my muse will return soon. She is maybe taking a holiday to recoup her creativity, who knows?
The mohair Elsewhere jacket is almost finished, I just have the borders to do now. I may have pictures tomorrow we will have to see.
I wore the aran Elsewhere this morning for the park and it felt great, I loved the effect of the shawl pin holding it together. I now want to do another aran one, dyed in autumn or fire colours I think.
I do still want to make another mohair one using clashing colours but the aran is calling first. If I can get the yarn and get it dyed I may be able to take it over to the Isle of Man with me. It would be suitable knitting for the boat. We are looking forward to visiting, I haven't been since I was 18. Mr Mog has never been. I used to be a photographers assistant on the boat that sailed daily so I went every day for a year. I loved it and enjoyed exploring the island. After all this time I am not sure how much I'll remember. I do remember fairies bridge though.
Part of the discordance has been my son. He has been struggling to keep clean from his drug addiction and the past month has lapsed a couple of times. He is aware of the problem and has asked to see a councillor once more. I am not supposed to know about the drugs, my daughter told me as we try not to have any secrets where things like this are concerned. I know my son didn't want me to know as it upsets me. He told me he was seeing a councillor but didn't say why, sometimes I don't think he realises that saying that screams out that he has a problem:) But being aware means that there is a very good chance he will keep off them once more. The problem is that he doesn't really have any interests apart from fishing, he doesn't socialise well and I know he is very lonely.
As a mother you want to put your arms round them and make things better. I know that this battle is his, not mine and I can only be there as support. I can't win it for him.
It doesn't make for good days though.
Part of being pagan for me is knowing that my pagan path is a work in progress. Working on myself and my place in this time , not changing others. Not even changing me drastically, just working with who and what I am. Part of this discordance comes through as a lesson. It says don't interfere with my son's path just be there for him. Lessons are never easy are they?

Tarot cards this week have been mixed, a state of flux and that reflects my inner self of course. I've spent more time in bed, no early mornings. My body seems to be using bed as a healing place so I'm honouring that choice and going with it.
Not an uplifting post but balance in the world means good and bad so this time you get the bad, sorry:)

July 08, 2009

bright colours distract from pain

The garden remodelling is going great. Mr Mog has excelled himself today.
Here you see a shot towards the shed and Mr Mogs new project an outdoor model railway
behind the trellis panel is another angular bed and next to that his shed and outdoor rail start. The intention is to run the trains around the garden when complete. Watch this space.
I went outside to check on progress and had to take a couple more pictures of the flowers.

The lavatera is flowering well now, I think all the rain and sun have helped.
As is the fabulous crocosmia, just look at the colours on this.
The yellow loosestrife is in full bloom and I loved the little pink weed popping its head up amongst the gold. We will be keeping it.
Another shot of the crocosmia just because.
I find that when pain is really unbearable bright vivid colour helps. Going out into the back garden even if for a short spell lifts the spirit and fills my heart with hope.

This n that

We(Mr Mog) are remodelling the garden. We visited friends for dinner Saturday evening and they have transformed their garden. Naturally I came away full of enthusiasm to do something with ours. It was made easy access mainly gravel when we moved in and some of that was for me but also some for the grandsons. They are growing up and don't play out as such and I only need easy paths to the 2 seating areas. That means we can revamp:)

I had all tubs down the side you see and none matched. The aim is to have one long tub to the seat and angular ones each end. Trellis to stop you looking straight down the garden.

Not bad going Mr Mog for just a few short hours. The tubs won't be staying there we will be filling up with soil and planting directly into it. The royal we of course. I help with the ideas, Mr Mog does the physical labour.
What have I been doing?

It is growing quite speedily now and I'm ready to start knitting the sleeves since this picture was taken. 1 sleeve purple, one green I'm thinking.
Not done a lot past couple of days as I have been exceedingly sore.
Weather has cooled down and we have had quite a bit of rain this week, saves watering the garden.

July 04, 2009

We all need colour in our lives

We all need a touch of colour in our lives, it makes our hearts sing and it inspires us to create. It inspires joy within us and a sense of wonder.
I thought you would like to see my garden today with its mass of colour. Mainly pinky purple but with a touch of something else. The verbena above are just beginning to flower. They can seem almost weed like as they colonise everywhere but I love that.
Lavender comes in all shades, I love harvesting the flowers for various uses. I adore lavender biscuits especially.
These are ready now for me to take a few of them and hang them in Mr Mog's shed to dry. I don't take all the flowers, the bees and other insects need the nectar.
I do love my lavender plants as you can tell.
We had a visitor this morning in the back garden, he is watching the large tadpoles swimming around in the green.
I love the way that green leaves compliment flowers so perfectly.
Another picture of our visitor . He is unconcerned now if we are in the garden, previously he used to scoot if he saw us.
Crocosmia Diablo I think, just coming out this morning.
A very shy mini foxglove hiding behind the comfrey leaves.
Lavatera or tree mallow
A friend gave us this last week it still awaits a permanent home. Once in the ground it will self seed profusely.
Purple spikes among the sage leaves
A fairy hat perhaps?
These tomatoes and dill plants cost just 15pence each a few short weeks ago and are thriving in the old coal bunker. We have many flowers and the fruit has set on some of the tomatoes.
Isn't buddleia aptly named as the butterfly bush? This is probably much too big for our tiny back garden but I don't care. I know that it will be covered in bees and butterflies for many weeks now and each evening the smell of honey is beautiful. It more than earns its keep.
Just to give you an idea of its size.
This holly tree was taken on our last walk in the local park, I like the berries this colour.
This was in the park as well

and its larger sister.
This is my lavender and lemon balm border, just coming into flower now. The smell is especially good if you brush the leaves as you reverse the car. Mr Mog often does that so I can enjoy the sweet perfumes;)
Colour always inspires me, it is one of the reasons I love dyeing bright colours and creating art with it. For me it lights a fire in my heart and that is a good enough reason to do it.

July 02, 2009

Of mohair in jackets and spirals on tops

Thanks for the kind comments on my additions to the top Jan made me:)
BW asked how I did the spirals. I'm not a very good crocheter yet but simple things I can do. I love freeform as you have probably guessed so this is out of my head.

I started with a chain of 8 stitches, then I did at least 2 double crochet in to each stitch, on some I did 3. Did this all the way back to the top edge then double crochet to where I wanted the next spiral and repeated. Some spirals are 15 stitches, some 9, some 17 and rest 13. Really whatever felt long enough as I went around. I did this all the way round doing plain double crochet in between each spiral. I then stitched crystal beads on the ends. I used 2 x 8mm beads and a tiny bead as the end stop. Thread through all including the end one, then return ignoring the end one, do this twice for strength then finish off.
Hope that makes sense?.
I decided I wanted another elsewhere jacket and this time I wanted to use up some odd skeins of mohair on it. I didn't want it to match, my intention is to have mismatched colours but ones that tone. My next jacket will be completely clashing if this works out.

What do you think so far?

Still very humid and incredibly hot here. I don't function too well in hot weather it makes my joints much more painful sadly:( I seem to retain more water around the ankles which doesn't help as I am unable to take water pills due to other health issues. I'm drinking lots of water to try and help.
The 15pence tomato plants we got a few short weeks ago at the local council garden centre are growing wonderfully and there are lots of flowers on them. A good buy I think.

July 01, 2009

Dipping my toe on the dark side:)

I've been dipping my toes on the dark side:)
As you may have seen on my previous post the wonderful Jan made me this top. When she gave it me at Woolfest she said it was up to me how to finish it as it would need a little more length probably.
I pondered a while and sorted out beads wondering what to do then it came to me. Crochet dangly spirals. It seemed sacrilegious to add knit to it after all, the top said crochet so crochet it was .

What do you think?
No fixed length of spiral dangles just what came to me as I crocheted. Then crystal beads added to the bottom of each spiral

I love it

Such rich colours.
Jan is hopefully coming to stay soon and I think I'm going to take the next steps along the crochet path by getting her to teach me a few more stitches.
I'm not giving up the knitting, more broadening my horizons.
The weather has been a tad hot to say the least, too hot for doing much except stay inside. It is too hot for knitting for long spells as my hands stick to the needles.
I have however started a new project. It is another Elsewhere jacket but done in mohair. Specifically random skeins of mohair different colours. I think it will be quite different,so watch this space.
I've been contemplating the turn of the wheel, this time seems more of a lethargic shift. I'm not as fired up with energy and not as intensely pushing to get things done. A different place on the spiral, not better and not worse just something new.
It is a more thoughtful phase, more spiritual and inwards. A taking stock of who I am and what I want to do or learn next.

Poetry for Brigid Imbolc

  The Lake Isle of Innisfree BY  WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay a...