Knit Love

I dedicated this year to improving my skills in making. I wanted 2016 to be The Maker's Year and so far I think I've done pretty well. I've improved a lot of my existing skills and grown more confident in trying out new things (have you seen my wreath obsession? It is out of control). However between you and me, my one true love will always be knitting. 

knitting flat lay

It's that time of year when I start to receive messages from others who don't normally knit but have dug out some yarn they meant use to make a sweater for their child. I see knitting appearing in my timeline with increasing regularity. I smile knowing why: the cold and need to nuzzle, clothe and protect ourselves and our little ones. For me though, knitting is a constant low rumble of need deep in my belly. I see a world where we can create things from beautiful natural resources and I wish I could knit faster. 

That's why this Autumn I have cast on my New Favourite Project. It started with an introduction to Ioana of Moeke Yarns, our sponsor for this month's #wipsandblooms join in on Instagram. As we spoke, we chatted about her passion for making and before long 4 skeins were whispering their magic to me and I knew what I wanted to knit. 

Moeke yarns

Each morning I wake hours before my slumbering tot. I creep downstairs in the dark, flip on the kettle and start the familiar whir of my laptop. It's time to work again. Sat at our farm table, a soothing brew by my side, I type as dawn breaks, pouring all the first energy of the day into writing. These early starts are increasingly cold and I long for a shawl to pull around me and perhaps become the companion I need in those dark hours of creative solitude. 

These four skeins have begun their journey to be just that project: The Comfort of Lines shawl designed by Melissa Schaschwary. It was a magical moment as I scooped the skeins out of the box Ioana kindly sent to me; I felt an instant connection to a story and a crafter far across a sea that understood the tactile joy that comes from a yarn with character. It would be easy to fall into cliches about rustic glory but there's a depth and crunch to this yarn that is utterly charming. The nature of its plies means that as a fabric, the stitches won't sit smooth and uniform but twist a little, give a little and tell a little of the sheep from which the wool came. 

Moeke Yarns on the needles

Moeke Yarns are produced from Romanian wool, with traditional methods and no harmful chemicals, spun in a traditional fiber mill and dyed using plants. My skeins are Elena, a 100% Romanian half-bred Tigaie wool and Heritage, a blend of the Tigaie and Romanian produced merino. Their undyed colour is partly why those skeins spoke so strongly to me that day. Emptied onto my marked and dented farm table, I smiled, feeling a connection to something I understood. Living life bestows marks, wrinkles, nubs and bumps. I was  utterly charmed and haven't been disappointed on the needles. This has become a project I linger over, smiling as my fingers find little specks of straw, a slightly thicker ply and watching the fabric shift and change with these little details. 

So while I work at my desk, shivering a little each morning, I smile too, thinking of the big shawl to come. I will clothe myself in a material that has already weathered winters out on Romanian pasture and I will know that it won't be just my cooling tea bringing me comfort soon, it will be wool. 

This sponsored blog post is brought to you in collaboration with Moeke Yarns. Skeins were recieved for review purposes. Views expressed here are my own

New for September!

Busy, busy, busy, busy! Anyone else look up and realise that it was Friday? I forgot just how fast time moves once childcare hours start and work is back in full force. Pass the coffee?

I thought I'd pop in to give a quick update because things are happening. Here's the deal:

Telling Your Story online

Workshops- 

I have TWO confirmed dates for 'Telling Your Story Online', a workshop I run for creatives, bloggers, makers and businesses. This workshop talks you through finding your voice, your people and making your story really shine on social media, blogs and websites. This is about taking the time to reflect on what you want to say and how. Then to do it all in a way that feels authentic but gets the results you need, whether that's traffic or sales. 

Want to join me and plenty of other inspiring people to network with? You can do it here:

The Forge, Bristol- 7th October 2016

A Yarn Story, Bath- 22nd October 2016

Sad you can't make one? I'll come to you. Drop me a line if you have a venue and let's make the internet a more inspiring place to run our businesses on!

APD podcast

Podcast-

Season 3 is almost ready to launch and it's a beast let me tell you. I seem to have collected far more interviews than usual and am bursting with stories to inspire you. Make sure you're subscribed to itunes or your favourite podcast catcher as the first episode goes live 15th September 2016. 

Alex Collins Designs

Maker of the Month- 

Let's say hi to Alex and her incredible work. I first met Alex over a year ago and will confess to giving her project bag some envious side eye. I was utterly delighted to learn she made it by hand and is now selling them for us to enjoy! Alex is all about making handprinted bags for makers who need beautiful bags to keep projects and tools protected and organised. What's more, her commitment to the environment means that they're made with cotton organic and solvent free inks. Caring about people and making the world a cleaner place is kind of the way I think all things should be. 

 

Of course you could have got all this news delivered to your inbox along with some lovely inspiration that I've found to share with you via the monthly newsletter. I'm guessing you're already signed up to that though. Right? Right....?

More soon lovelies! x

The Importance of Believing in yourself as a Blogger

Change is never easy. No matter how you come to the decision that an evolution needs to happen, the emotions you feel in the build up to it and afterwards can range from sheer exhilaration to gut wrenching fear. I think it's fair to say I've felt every emotion in the run up to this blog post but you know what?

It's going to be ok. 

Do you know how I know that? I know that because of so many of you are reaching out and leaving comments on the blog, chatting with me online and sharing your lives with me. You have all helped me grow into this storyteller that cheers smart women doing clever and creative things with their businesses and someone who encourages sharing inspirational ideas. 

However, something has been stirring inside of me and now has reached a frighteningly forceful chant of 'YOU MUST CREATE MORE' and I think every creative person I've ever met can relate to that feeling. 

If in doubt, read widely and give yourself time to reflect on your goals. Trust me on this. 

If in doubt, read widely and give yourself time to reflect on your goals. Trust me on this. 

In the light of too many ideas, too many barriers, too much anxiety (and not enough gin) I reached out within this fibre community and do you know what happened? People responded with excitement to hear that finally I am ready to invest time in my ideas. Personal heroes and people I have held up as my inspiration have given me time and feedback about what A Playful Day means to them and I have listened. 

the importance of believing in yourself as a blogger

So what does that mean?

It means ending some relationships or changing the way they work in my professional life to give me the room I need to grow. 

It means developing a sponsorship package for A Playful Day that creates new and exciting collaborations doing what I do best: story telling. 

It means holding my breath and taking a plunge. 

I've decided to immerse myself in this blog and this community. It starts with the 'Love Your Blog' challenge but it goes deeper than that and I hope you will all join me on my journey to create something truly special. 

Spring: Time to grow?

Spring: Time to grow?

So here we go, a commitment to YOU as much as a commitment to myself. Change is hard and so I'm asking today, will you help me? 

If you've been reading and following along in my various homes on the internet, today is a really good day to let me know you're listening and that this community is strong. Help me spread the A Playful Day message by sharing anything you love that I've created. It's important that right now, I know I'm standing on strong foundations. 

I have to change the way I support my family and so have taken on special sponsorships and affiliates. These need to sustain me while I'm developing new and exciting possibilities so if you wish please do click the links, get that Craftsy  or CreativeBug class you've been meaning to take and get what you want! I would so appreciate that at an uncertain time. 

In return I promise to be here more, to listen and to keep creating. Yes, there is a monetising effort but it won't change my voice and I promise to protect this corner of the internet we've created together. In fact, if there's someone you want to see me working with, get in touch. I want to create stories together. 

Ok?

Now go forth and have a great week. I'll be here, evolving and it's going to be great.