Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Seeking solace in knitting

My thanks to all who commented on yesterday's post. It was a hard one to write and I was touched that so many readers took the time to reach out here, on Facebook, or via private messages. I don't really feel like writing very much but routine is good, so as it's Wednesday I'll show you what's on my needles... 
Seeking solace in knitting - Crafts from the Cwtch
Carmen of and her seamless pullover
When I posted a link to the "Seamless Pullover" class with Norah Gaughan on Creativebug, Carmen (aka Crafty Queens) started knitting it. She was working on hers when we met up in Holland a few weeks ago and as soon as I saw it I knew I'd have to cast on.

I'll tell you about the (very cheap and splitty) yarn I'm using, and more details about the class and the design when it's finished, but it's a nice simple pattern. More importantly it's keeping me busy without having to concentrate too much - true "comfort knitting". Provided it knits up ok, this will be counted towards my Handmade Wardrobe Project, for which I've also made another knitted garment in the last few days (this is the most knitting I've done in months!), but more on that another time.
Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Finding the words: On the loss of my friend Wink

As a verbose person, writing blog posts usually comes easily - editing them to a reasonable size is the hardest part. But since a phone call on Sunday, telling me about the death of my friend Wink (Marinke, but she liked 'Wink'), I have been struggling to find the right words to start this post. I want to honour her work but at the same time I am sitting here in tears (again) for the loss of a dear friend. A friend who stood a whole foot taller than me - more in heels - and frequently made jokes about it! 
Standing 'shoulder to shoulder' in February this year!!! 
As an artist, Wink's work brought colour and joy to many. She generously shared so many wonderful tutorials and patterns and gave help and encouragement to many people. As well as being known for her beautiful shawls and mandalas, Wink's CAL with Scheepjes was an unprecedented international success. She was so proud when her first book launched earlier this year, and the second (as yet unpublished) is absolutely stunning. She leaves behind quite a legacy, and that's without considering her music and other talents. The response to her death (including hundreds of posts on Instagram and Facebook) has shown just how deeply her colourful creations touched people. 
One of the 'Inspiration' images Wink used on a guest post she wrote on her use of colour
As a person, Wink was funny, warm and generous. In the early days of this blog she was a fabulous sounding board and helped me in many ways. When it turned into more of a personal friendship, we would send each other silly messages - getting excited over journals, dreadlocks, tattoos and all sorts of other things that had nothing to do with blogging. When she visited we sat up late, putting the world to rights, while drinking wine and eating "Gluten Free Dutch Apple Cake" although she had never heard of Dutch Apple Cake before. We laughed a lot. Wink credited me with inspiring her to knit and called me her biggest enabler when she picked up a spindle earlier this year (she teased me about that too, but I was proud to have encouraged her). 
Wink's first time spinning, at Unravel 2015
For the last few years Wink came to the UK to visit Unravel festival with me (find the posts here). It had become a tradition for us to meet up with other crafty / blogging friends and to spend the weekend squishing yarn and nattering. We had already planned next year's trip and found a restaurant with an upstairs room we hoped to fill with our favourite crafty people. It simply won't be the same without her. We made other plans too - joint projects and blog collaborations - all things that can never happen.
It is devastating that someone who was so loved, had so much talent and was such a beautiful person (inside and out) was in despair, and felt that taking her life was the best way out of it. I feel so incredibly sad for Wink's family, her boyfriend and all her friends. My thoughts go out to all of them, and I hope that the massive show of love for her - from all parts of the world - brings a little comfort. She may be gone, but her legacy - in her work and in the many lives that she touched - lives on. 
Rest in peace my friend, I hope you found the light you sought. 

Postscript: If you would like to honour Wink's memory, her family have set up a memorial page and there are various 'events' happening on social media - search for #mandalasforwink #mandalasformarinke and #wearingflowersinmyhairforwink. 
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