a quiet place

I generally enjoy the hustle and bustle of other places, but just now there is too much going on in my personal life for me to easily manage being present there too. The desire to have a quiet place to call my own again where I can share my heart & hand work, explore my ideas and talk about life seems so appealing these days. If you are reading these words, I suppose you too enjoy spending time in quieter places.

Within its pages, I hope to find a place to catch my breath & gather my thoughts. To talk about my making and to delight in slow & sustainable creativity, with wool that’s been grown, gathered, and crafted in these Breton green hills: hand-spun on spindle & wheel, dyed with plants, knitted on my needles, stuffed into teddy bears. It is also a place to document the gentle path towards sustainable self employment.

 
Thank you for taking your time to come and have a look and I wish you a warm & cozy winter time.

Warmly, Fran 

Wiksten Harem Pants

A pair of Wiksten harem pants sewn from pink floral cotton fabric
A freshly finished first little pair of trousers for my baby girl, using the easiest of patterns and some precious yardage from my store cupboard. I’ve had this sweet pastel pink floral fabric since I was a teenager. Back then, it was supposed to become a tiered maxi skirt for me. Now it has become a pair of sweet little trousers for baby P, with plenty of room around the bottom (washable nappies are so bulky!). They really are such a practical item in her wardrobe for these late summer days, I can imagine many more similar trousers will be whizzing through my machine in the near future. As for the fabric, the size I cut out (age 3-6 months) used so little fabric I’ve plenty left to make her a few more items.
Pattern: Wiksten Harem Pants, size 3-6 months
Fabric: floral pink cotton, from deep stash

Pilo Cardigan

There was something rather strange to be a knitter on a psychiatric ward. On my arrival, my needles and notions were taken away from me to be “looked after” by the nurses. Whenever I wanted to knit, I had to ask permission and keep my door open.
At first I felt utterly bereft. It was so disconcerting to not have my needles nearby. Then after a few days, I discovered a wonderful routine. After lunch and the necessary afternoon sleep, I would ask for my needles and sit on my bed knitting until dinner time. Then I would hand them back over to the nurse when I went to get my evening medication.
To have these limited, concentrated bursts was an interesting experience. It forced me to focus solely on the knitting and I found for the first time in a long time a quiet, meditative side to my handwork. Seeing the project grow in my lap was also a very uplifting experience, and by the time I was well enough to leave the Mother & Baby unit, this very first cardigan for my little girl was finished.
 
Needles: Size 3.75
Yarn: Tern by Quince & Co in Rose Quartz, purchased from Laine et Tricot
My project can be found here

four weeks

Four weeks with you, sweet baby girl.

We welcomed our beautiful littlest love into the world just after midnight on the 13th June. My labour and delivery were swift and straightforward…but my physical and mental recovery are proving a little more complicated, just as we had imagined they would be.

Things remain hard day to day, but I’m glad to be slowly growing a bind with baby P, despite all the difficulties. And that growing mama love is giving me hope that recovery will come eventually.

Silas

And just like that, I’ve finished the doll for my son. We’ve named him Silas…I’m so excited now for his birthday to come at the end of the month so they can meet one another! I don’t think I’ll have the chance to make anything else for him as part of the make-along this year, but I’m so proud to have even managed to complete this project with all that is going on.

making a first Waldorf doll

“Mama! Mama!”, my little one comes bursting in the front door calling my name. Before I’ve even had a chance to greet him properly, he blurts out his request: “Can you make me a dolly just like the one’s at playschool? And can you make him look like me, with yellow hair and browny green eyes?”
And so, I’m beginning the exciting adventure of making a very first Waldorf doll for my son, hopefully just in time for his fourth birthday at the end of June.
So far, so good. I now just need to pluck up the courage to embroider the eyes and mouth and attach the hair. And then there will be the close to make too. Wish me luck!

Magic 3 MAL 2019

May just wouldn’t feel like May without the magical make-a-long organised by my dear friend in Berlin, Mimi @liebwedd
Now in it’s third year, the Magic 3 MAL is an opportunity for us to join together and make a set of three items for the dearly loved littles ones in our lives: something to wear on top, something to wear on the bottom…and a plaything to love & cuddle. 

I honestly didn’t expect to join in this year. What with all that has happened recently…and all that is waiting for me just around the corner. But at my latest appointment with my perinatal psychologist, she suggested I think about working on a small and simple project for the baby. “Something to keep my hands busy”, when I’m feeling up to it. It was the gentle nudge I needed…and I’ve been patiently waiting for a making wish to come and settle in my heart ever since.

A few days ago it came, in the form of my little boy rushing up to me in as I lay resting in bed, gushing with a request: “Mama, please would you make me a dolly like the ones we have at playschool? I want him to look like me, with yellow hair and blue eyes.”

I’ve been wanting to make a Waldorf style doll for my son ever since I joined in with the very first Magic 3 MAL two years ago. But despite the strong urge, I’ve just never managed it before now. I had always assumed it was a lack of courage holding me back. But now I realise, I was actually unconsciously waiting for my little one to dream his own doll wish…and to share it with me.

I’ll be taking my time, savouring each moment as I slowly stitch this doll for my boy into being. I’m so glad to be joining alongside dear friends & fellow makers this year…there’s something incredibly magical about making in the community of others. 

You can find out more about as we make-a-long here in the Yarn Chix Podcast Raverly group, as well as see finished objects here. There are of course also posts shared by Mimi at @liebwedd & @yarnchix_podcast) and on her fabulous Yarnchix Podcast.

Woollen Hearted

Vintage Enamel bowl of freshly scoured wool

At my heart, I’m a maker. And at the heart of my making, there is wool.  Wool is the raw material I return to time and time again. Whether hand spinning, knitting, natural dyeing, felting or bear making, the golden thread running through my making is woollen.

And this work with wool feels somehow like an extension of the whole of me. When I work closely with this fibre in an intentionally slow & mindful way, I find some of life’s many tangles become unravelled, some of it’s creases become straightened out.

Working wool with my hands allows me to reconnect with myself and my values, my wildest dreams and my most cherished priorities. Each turn of the wheel, click of the needles, tiniest of stitches is an outpouring of my heart, as it were.

Mountain Views

Snow capped mountains tower over a narrow village street covered in a first sprinkling of snow.

This morning is still and cold. As usual, I am woken early by my son. But today, instead of lingering in play by the wood fire, we bundle on woollens and head straight out into the still deserted street. Today is the start of a new week. And this morning, there is fresh snow on the ground.  How could we resist?

Inching our way around the curve of the church, trying to avoid the invisible patches of ice, my little one stoops to pick handfuls of crunchy snow. I stop for a moment to lift my head from my feet and up towards the summits.   It is so many months since I last called the mountains my home. And yet here I am, once again back here surrounded by them. We are new to this valley, having previously called a village across the peaks our home. And yet, no matter how new, it is still a familiar view. A soon to be treasured view. A view that lifts my spirits, no matter how low they may have fallen.

High above the village, the hillsides are silent and still, covered in a dusting of overnight snow. The first of this new year. Even when though the winter sun is slowly waking, the moon lingers on in the still, blue sky. And the summits of the central Pyrenees are struck with the golden early morning light.