For Monsieur

Today’s previews have been selected by Tony – we thought that since so many of you knit for the men in your life, or are men yourselves, that we’d highlight some manly shades from this week’s selection:

Sophia 4ply Midwinter

Sophia 4ply Instinct

Eva 4ply Ivanhoe

Eva 4ply Encore

Lei Meteorite

Lei Mob

Emily Jagger

Emily Mandalay

Helena Savannah

Helena Trouble

The shop preview is now up. Have fun browsing, and we’ll see you Sunday at 6pm!

Summer Brights

This is my favourite part of my job, picking out yarn for the previews. This week I’m especially drawn to all the bright colours – probably because the weather is so grey and nasty here in Wales. I need some summer colour!

Cecilia Leprachaun

Cecilia Ab Fab

Eva 2ply Hamptons

Eva 2ply Lemon Twist

Sophia 2ply Cornflower

Sophia 4ply Hussy

Eva 4ply Java

Emily Mosaic

Emily Tart

Emily Limeade

More previews tomorrow!

Pip & Squeak

Our new babies are settling in beautifully at Posh HQ. They are still a little nervous of strangers, and don’t like sudden movements or loud noises, but that’s all very sensible when they are so tiny and defenseless. As their confidence in us grows, we are seeing more of their personalities emerge. Pip, the brown boy, is a real hunter. He has a squeaky elephant toy which he carries round in his mouth all the time, growling if anyone goes near it. He’s already establishing himself as a daddy’s boy. Squeak, the chocolate boy (he’s more the colour of biscuit right now, but his points will darken as he gets older), is very loving, and VERY greedy. He likes to sit on my chest, where he stares into my face, and rubs his head against my chin. Very sweet. But if there’s food around, look out. He stuck his nose right into my cup of tea yesterday, which startled us both.

They are just as devoted as Snickers & Jaffa were, and I’m so very glad we got two of them, because Jaffa still won’t come into the house, and so one kitten would have been very lonely. I hope Jaffa will come round in time, but at the moment, he’s made a home for himself in the outside workshop, so we’re letting him have his space. The kittens aren’t the slightest bit frightened of him, even though the few times he has ventured inside he has hissed and screeched at them in a very frightening way.

The only thing that is less than endearing about them is the fact that they have the most appalling flatulence. I’ve had cats all my life, and have never come across this problem. If it doesn’t resolve itself soon, we’ll have to change their diet or something. It’s quite horrifying what overpowering smells can come out of such small creatures!

But oh, it’s so lovely to have them here. And little things they do remind me so much of Snickers (after all, they are very distant cousins of him).   

Dream in Colour

Oh dear, I have a confession to make. I started a new knitting project last week.

And I’m not using Posh Yarn…..

Isn’t that awful?! But I fell in love with a Rowan pattern, and a) it would have cost a fortune to knit it in Posh Yarn, because its a Fair Isle cardi, and uses lots of different colours, and b) I wanted to knit it in a cotton blend, and we don’t do any cotton yarns.

The pattern is Dream from Rowan 35, and its a gorgeous design, Fair Isle, with an unusual buttoning style, and knitted in darts. Amazingly, I can’t seem to find anyone who has knitted this cardi, and it isn’t even on Ravelry. I can’t imagine why, it’s such a great design.

The pattern uses Rowan Cotton Glace, but I didn’t fancy knitting it in pure cotton, so I’ve replaced it with Rowan’s Wool Cotton. Of course, it’s not the easiest design to work on while two kittens are clambering over you, so I haven’t made a great deal of progress yet. But I’m really enjoying it, and I think the colours work well together (although they are more contrasting than I would naturally have chosen, but these are the colours the pattern calls for).

I’m having a long weekend off work this weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday – four days! count them!! – and I’m really looking forward to it. I have my knitting, my new babies (who we’ve finally named Pip & Squeak), and a couple of good books. It’s supposed to rain all weekend, but I don’t mind in the least – it’ll give me a good excuse to light the fire and stay in my pjs! Whatever your plans are, have a wonderful weekend. I will see you back here on Tuesday.


Thoughts on Depression

I listened to a very interesting piece on Radio 4 yesterday about depression. Gwyneth Lewis, Wales’ first National poet, was talking about her experience with depression, in the segment “What Disability Means.” If you want to listen to it yourself, here’s a link.

It got me thinking about how my view of depression has shifted recently. Nowadays depression is considered as an illness, something far more complex than just a mood problem, something that has as much of a physical cause and effect as a mental one. In one way this is a good thing, since it treats depression with the seriousness that it deserves. But at the same time, it gives the impression that when you are suffering with depression, it is a transient problem, a disease that can be cured, something you will eventually shake off, like the flu. At least, that’s how it appeared to me. It seemed that one day I was feeling fine, and the next day, bam! I’d caught a nasty dose of depression. Pop along to the doctors and get a prescription for something to clear it up.

And of course, it’s not that simple. There is no magic pill, there is no therapeutic formula. Doctors talk about ‘remission’ from depression, rather than recovery, because once you have experienced a bout of major depression, your chances of suffering a recurrence are very, very high, even with correct treatment. Around 80% of people who have had clinical depression will experience a relapse at some point in the future.

(Of course, it’s important to acknowledge that this also means that 1 in 5 people who have a bout of depression will recover from it, and not experience a relapse.)

But this is not something you want to hear when you are undergoing treatment for depression. You want to believe that you will get better and stay better. You want to live without the fear that the big black cloud will descend upon you again. You want to be free, to live your life to the full, to be joyful and at peace, instead of watching yourself all the time for signs that you are backsliding. But I am beginning to realise that as long as you have that attitude towards depression, you are making everything much harder for yourself. You are placing far too high expectations on your treatment plan, whether that is medication, therapy, nutrition, herbal, or anything else. You are placing too much pressure on yourself too. Perhaps you do well for a while, feel really good, think you are cured. Then you hit a bad day/week/month. The bubble bursts. Your worst fears are realised. Nothing works! You’ll never be well, never be free. You plunge even further into the depths. Everything goes on hold, waiting for that day when you are finally ‘well’.

I’m coming to realise that, as with most difficulties in life, acceptance is the key to dealing with depression. Not a passive acceptance, because there is so much you can do to help yourself. But acceptance that this is now a part of who you are, and that you need to make room in your life for it. Acceptance that there will be good days and bad days, and that both will pass. Acceptance that bouts of depression may recur, and that there may be little you can do about it when they do, except to face them with courage and patience. Acceptance that this is your life right now, and recognition that you still have the choice to live it however you want to, despite the depression. I think that acceptance brings strength with it.  

And that strength, that courage, is the strongest tool we can fight depression with.