A gifted day

Sometimes you have days that don’t work out like your diary said they would.  It can’t be helped, it just happens.  Today was one of those days.  I was supposed to be going to visit a friend but her little boy was poorly so we had to cancel – disappointing for both of us as we plan our days together weeks in advance and look forward to them, but sometimes that’s just how it is.

Instead, I decided to have a day off at home.  We call these days “gifted days” in our family – a day that’s given back to you to do something other than what you’d planned.  It might not feel like much of a gift when you’ve had to cancel something you were looking forward to, but doing something else that’s pleasant makes it become one.  I could have spent the day cooking or cleaning or working in the garden, but instead I sat in the rocking chair and knitted, caught up on tutorial videos that I wanted to watch, and thanks to the internet, still spent time chatting with my friend even though we are many miles apart.

Of course, the day had to start with hot chocolate and cake …

and I got myself nicely set up in front of the fire.  I studiously ignored big daughter’s suggestions that I might like to go and collect her from college instead of leaving her to get the bus seeing as I was at home, and I also managed to avoid a neighbour’s suggestion of how I could fill my day doing outside work as he clearly thought I had nothing better to do.  It’s hard work, this having a day off at home malarkey!

All in all, it wasn’t turning out to be a bad day at all, even if it wasn’t the day that I was planning to have.  There’s no point in moping about because moping isn’t going to change anything – you have to make the best of what you have at the time.  Have I always been this annoyingly upbeat positive in the face of disappointment?  No, I haven’t, and it’s not always easy to be like this either, but something happened a long time ago that changed the way I think and now I prefer to live my life like this as best I can.

When small daughter was two months old, my husband was suddenly taken ill.  Life-saving-surgery-type ill, not just man flu. The sort of situation where you just have to put your head down and get on with it or you’ll never make it through the day.  It wasn’t a good time for us, although everything is fine now, and somewhere in the middle of it all I started to think that however bad it was for me, it was always worse for someone else, and somehow that made it feel better.  We all have a choice to fight or go under, and I wasn’t about to go under with a family relying on me to keep them all afloat.  And that was it.  The more you practice looking for the good in a situation, the easier it is to find it.  Things happen for reasons and going with the flow isn’t the same as going under – you still get to keep your head above the water, you just get to look at a different view.  So as far as today goes … at least my friend’s son isn’t really ill; at least he isn’t poorly over the school holidays; at least I get to finish the sock I’m working on which seems to be taking forever … you get the picture!

And finish the sock I did!  Thank goodness!  It really has seemed to take a long time (not helped by the fact that it is a very large sock), but the combination of eye of partridge heel which involves some concentration, knitting at night with earth-coloured (brown) yarn and watching a subtitled Norwegian thriller series (called Occupied, we were gripped!) has not been the most conducive to getting this sock knitted without a lot of unpicking and some rather rude words.  The Debbie Bliss yarn is a gradient yarn too which means that the colours flow subtly, changing beautifully from one to the next – which meant that when this happened …

and my subtle colours became a very obvious colour change, I wasn’t very happy.  Yes, scissors were involved and yes, there were more rude words.  However, all of that is forgotten now as I have one sock completed and the other is up to the foot and the abrupt colour change has been avoided.  The pair is going to be a gift so you’ll understand if I don’t show you the whole sock now just in case it gives away the surprise.

I can show you this though – I eventually got round to buying myself some sock blockers and this is one of them.  Purple too!  How fab is that?  It’s an adjustable blocker which I thought might be quite useful seeing as these socks are going to be for someone with bigger feet than me.  Up until now, I’ve always just pressed my socks before gifting them, but I have to admit that they do look good when they’re stretched out to their proper size.  Blocking socks involves soaking them and then putting the blockers inside so that the socks dry around the form.  There are lots of different types, from wire to acrylic (like mine) to wood, and you can even make your own from foam mats, chopping boards and even old coat hangers – have a look on YouTube for videos.  I just cheated and bought mine.

I have a second ball of the Debbie Bliss yarn and this one is much more the sort of colour that I would wear.  No, it isn’t going to be a pair of socks.  It is going to be a shawl as I wanted to see how the colours changed and flowed, and so far I’m pleased with how it’s looking.  It’s going to need blocking once it’s finished – it’s at that “screwed up dish-towel” phase – but I’m confident that it’s going to look really good.  It’s giving me a chance to practice my Norwegian knitting too, which is actually easier on a straight run rather than around the curve of a sock needle.  One of my tutorial videos was on Norwegian purling and although it seems rather complicated at the moment, I can see how it could be an alternative to the way I purl now.  I don’t think that I’ll ever give up my English flick entirely, but I do like being able to switch between methods.

I didn’t have quite the same lunch as I would have had if I had gone out, but I still enjoyed my plateful of Alphabetti Spaghettiall the same!  It sounds quite ridiculous, but I do prefer spaghetti shapes on my toast to the long thin stuff.

Being at home also meant that I was here to take delivery of some new yarn – I love squishy parcels and the dog loves the postman, who’s taken to bringing him a biscuit!  This is Regia Iglu, an 8ply (DK) yarn, and I have a plan for it – I’ll keep you posted!

It’s time to go and pick small daughter up from school now, which means that my day off is over. Dinner, after-school clubs, homework … it all starts again now, but I feel refreshed after having a day doing just what I wanted to do, even if it wasn’t written in the diary.  I can definitely recommend it every now and again!

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11 Responses

  1. sewhappy says:

    Love those Gifted days!! You're right regarding feeling down. There is ALWAYS someone going through worse than you. If you can't change it – don't worry about it

  2. Shelagh says:

    I'm desperately trying to resist the Debbia Bliss yarn and you're not helping! It looks lovely 🙂 I do like the idea of a 'gifted' day – it's a nice way to look at it.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I'd try to put you off a bit more by saying it's not a beginner's yarn – it does go a bit fluffy as you re-knit it several times which can make it hard to see the stitches (especially the brown shades in low light!) – but I know you're not a beginner so that probably doesn't help! 🙂 xx

  3. Emma F says:

    What a lovely post! I have been struggling with chronic illness for a long time now, and am trying every day to have a positive attitude. I was really upset this morning that my dishwasher has broken, but realised how lucky I have been to even have a dishwasher. Talk about first world problems!Love the Regia yarn, may have to try a ball next month.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment, Emma! I hope that you manage to find a way to alleviate your struggles, and perhaps knitting helps with that. I think I would be very upset about the dishwasher too – sometimes it takes quite a while to find the positive in something! xx

  4. Amy at love made my home says:

    Sounds like a wonderful gifted day!! Glad that you made the very best of it and enjoyed some relaxing. Hope that your friends son is better soon. xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thank you! I think he has the lurgy that's been doing the rounds of the schools at the moment. I'm expecting it to hit our house some time over Easter … xx

  5. Buttercup and Bee says:

    Your post made me remcall someone once saying to me that if we were all to throw our problems into the middle of the room, we'd want our own back. Of course we'd rather have none in the first place but there is a lot to be grateful for if we look for it. Hope your friends son is better soon. Six children were off sick in my little boys class today. There seems to be alot of it going round 🙁

    • Winwick Mum says:

      They are wise words, and I'm sure they're absolutely true. The grass is always greener until we stop to look more closely! Hope you manage to avoid the lurgy over the holidays! xx

  6. Unknown says:

    You're so right about those "gifted" days …. either wallow in what didn't happen or get on with something fab! Glad it was good for you. xxx

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