Posted by: christinelaennec | May 15, 2015

Mid-May: no snow, no knitting

On May 15th, ca. 1994, Katharine Stewart wrote:  “Today, drawing back the curtains, I looked out at the morning in disbelief.  I thought it was a dream.  I rubbed my eyes and looked again.  It was reality.  There was a white garden out there, a spring garden lying under snow, quietly accepting its fate.” (A Garden in the Hills, p. 69).

I’m happy to say that we do not have snow today!  Although only a few weeks ago friends in Aberdeen had a little blizzard.  Here in Glasgow, the nights have been staying above freezing.  Last night was the first time I let my cosmos and sweet pea seedlings brave the outdoors all night long.  Until now, I’ve been bringing them back inside at night, but I’m progressing the “hardening off process”:

Cosmos and sweet peas after their first night outside.

Cosmos and sweet peas after their first night outside.

Some of my tulips in pots have blown over, but others are still looking lovely.  (Note the daisies in the lawn!)

Tulips, past and present.  Mid-May, Glasgow.

Tulips, past and present. Mid-May, Glasgow.

This week is ME Awareness Week, and I have been doing a fundraiser.  For a long time, I’d wanted to raise funds for AYME, the Association for Young People with ME, for those with ME age 25 and under. They have been very helpful to our family.  For example, when the Dafter was at her absolute lowest, bedbound and so terribly isolated, they matched her with an older teenager, further along in recovery, who wrote to her for a while.  That was a huge boost for her.

So I’d wondered what I could do to help them out in return.  I’m not sporty, so running a 10K or doing a swimathon was out of the question.  I would love to do a long walk such as the West Highland Way, but that sort of project is unthinkable when you’re needed at home 95% of the time.  A sponsored silence would have been impossible, given that I am the Dafter’s connection to the outside world in terms of appointments and so forth.  And then I hit upon the idea of giving up knitting for ME Awareness Week.  So, since 11:45 pm last Saturday night, I have NOT knitted.

What have I done instead?  Gardened, some crochet, read old knitting magazines, worked out how to assemble a knitted jacket:

Instead of knitting, planning the construction of my New Leaf jacket.

Instead of knitting, planning the construction of my New Leaf jacket.

Got my hair cut:

Instead of knitting, I got a haircut.

Spring chop!

And last night, I sang in a concert:

Instead of knitting, singing in a choir!

Instead of knitting, singing in a choir! (Mendelssohn’s As the Hart Pants).  I am a low alto – four of us were singing a Quintet with the men and a soprano.

I knew that giving up knitting would be a challenge, but I had underestimated how very hard it would be to go a week without it!  I’ve allowed myself to crochet (and in theory, mend), but crochet is nowhere near as relaxing for me as knitting.  I have been far more tired than usual, and all week long have felt as if my shoulders are up around my ears.  Normally, I knit for a few hours a day – taking the Dafter to appointments, waiting for her to be ready to leave, keeping her company, and especially unwinding in the evenings.  I really cannot WAIT for Sunday morning to be here!

But the whole idea is that I am giving something up, because she has given up so very much, and has had no choice about it.  And it’s all been worth it, because my friends have been astonishingly generous.  I’ve raised over £500 now!  Incredible.  Yesterday, via AYME, I received an email from another “ME mother,” whose 10-year-old is bedbound with ME and suffering terribly, both physically and psychologically.  Of course I wish I had some magic wand to wave, but at least I can support her and say, You will get there.  Brighter days are coming!  So I’m very pleased to be able to raise money for this good cause.

The Dafter has had her ups and downs this week.  Last Saturday she had a collapse in a shopping centre, and I had to borrow a wheelchair to get her back to the car.  That gave us both a bit of a fright, and she really did not enjoy being back in the wheelchair after a year without it.  But after this event she was also frightened to go out, for fear of getting stuck somewhere.  So she now has a walking stick, and loves it!

The Dafter with her walking stick.

The Dafter with her walking stick.

When she’s not doing a Cabaret-style performance at the bus stop, it has come in very handy for that bit of extra support to make the last part of the walk home.

She had to defer taking her Art exam until next May, and all her friends are on study leave and taking their exams, so she has been a bit at loose ends.  However, I am very proud to tell you that although she is having to do her Art over two years, she has won the Subject Prize in Art and Design for the Senior School, based on the work she was able to complete.  So that is a huge boost.  And she and I have fun together.  Here she is amusing herself while I have a cup of tea in town:

Out and about with the Dafter, May 2015.

Out and about with the Dafter, May 2015.

Glasgow is such a friendly city.  We went to the bank the other day, as the Dafter wanted to put some money in her account.  The lady there said, “Hello there!  We haven’t seen you for ages!  No wheelchair – that’s great!  And – didn’t you used to have glasses?”  The Dafter was amazed and replied that most of her friends hadn’t even noticed she’d started wearing contacts.  These kinds of friendly encounters, which do happen so often in Glasgow, even with complete strangers, can make the struggle of getting out of the house very worthwhile.

So this week, there’s been no snow, and no knitting.  But some happy times.

I wish you a very happy weekend, and in case you missed it, I’m doing a Harris-related giveaway at 8 pm GMT, Monday evening May 18th:  click here if you’re reading this before then.



  1. Lovely photo of the Dafter. She is very like you.

  2. That girl is beautiful. Well done on no knitting. I get twitchy if I dont paint.

  3. Well done for raising so much money not knitting. I am the opposite to you I prefer to crochet and use crochet as a relaxation tool at all the medical related appointments. Lovely to see your beautiful daughter up and about, enjoying life.

  4. What a lovely post! Very pretty pink tulip!
    I’ve seen your progress on the New Leaf Cardigan on Ravelry. Looking forward to seeing it finished. 🙂 Beautiful knitting….and it must be hard to give up knitting for a week. I find it so relaxing too.
    Congratulations to the Dafter on winning the Subject Prize! Ups and downs ~ but getting better. She’s so pretty in the photos ~ smart walking stick and just lovely with her sweet smile.
    Love your new “Spring chop”. You both look so pretty and happy. Enjoy your times together and keep looking up ~ to Him.
    God bless,

  5. Such a lovely read!!

    Have reserved a Katharine Stewart book from the library…

    I’m considering doing the ‘Autumn chop’ :))

    So nice to see the Dafter…and you…looking so happy despite setbacks…

    I’m in my Scottish phase again 🙂 Trying to work out how I can spend 6 months living in the Scottish Highlands :))

    And giving up knitting!!! I think I could…if I could still crochet…I tend to alternate between the two anyway.

    Congratulations on your fundraising!!


  6. That is so exciting that you’ve raised 500 pounds!!! I can just imagine how you’ve felt all week with no knitting. Glad it is almost over. 🙂 Wish I could have heard your concert. I’m sure I would have loved it. Rachel had her last school concert of the year last night. I took her to get her ears pierced in the afternoon so she looked even more grown up. 🙂 Congratulations to the Dafter for winning that prize!!! That was surely an encouragement! Glad she has a walking stick and isn’t afraid to use it!! Off to a morning of soccer games and an afternoon of piano recital.

  7. Congratulations to you and the Dafter on your achievements! Also, your tulips are beautiful. I love the pink one on the right – so many pretty petals!

  8. Hello Christine, tomorrow is Sunday and you’ll be able to enjoy your precious knitting needles. I so admire your fundraising effort for this Wonderful cause. The Dafter is so lovely; she is so special. Give her a hug from me (and Lilly, too). It’s raining here in Spokane and I week return home tomorrow to rainy southern California. My best to you. Hugs, Pat

  9. Ahhh…contacts. I look back on my ten years or so of contact wearing as being a good time in my life. I was teaching at the time and one of my (‘mature age’) students suggested them. For some reason I hadn’t seriously considered contacts up to then. I found them surprisingly easy to adapt to and wonderfully liberating to wear after having suffered with the weight, the ‘steaming up’, and obtrusiveness of wearing glasses since I was a teenager. Although I thought her glasses suited her well, the Dafter looks great in contacts.

    Congratulations on your sacrificial fund-raising efforts. For non-knitters, such as myself, the pleasure of knitting can be a little hard to appreciate, but it is abundantly clear that this pleasure is highly addictive for many people (witness the number of blogs etc devoted to this) and is an integral part of your life. AYME, however, seems to well worth that sacrifice. Who better to support ME-affected people than one who has been through the experience – and survived.

  10. You’ll be glad that week is over then lol. Did your whole body relax when you picked up those pins again? Dafter is looking well, her new glasses free look is good. I’m glad you were able to keep yourself busy for the week though I’m sure you’re glad its behind you now well done on doing so well. x

  11. Dear all,
    Thank you very much for your good wishes and encouragement. I have passed on your congratulations to the Dafter, who is still in shock (“part-time people don’t get prizes!!”). She’s also pleased you like how she looks in contacts. Flora, how interesting you say she looks like me. That isn’t the general consensus, as most people say she has Michael’s eyes and colouring. She certainly has my love of talking, though!

    Yes, I was very glad to be able to knit again. Jill, I DID get very twitchy indeed. Kind of prowling around without being able to settle. I suppose, like art or crochet or yoga or running, it’s one of those activities that relaxes you by taking you “into the flow”. I suppose that could be any activity. It definitely had an effect on my brain. I felt really tired last week and, very unusual for me, found I just had to sleep a bit in the middle of the day a few times! So it obviously is addictive, as you say oldblack, but I think in a good way.

    Anne, my goal is to finish it by autumn!

    Heather, we also sang some Gaelic songs and South African songs, some of them in African languages. It was fun!

  12. It sure is hard to lay down the needles. Glad you could raise that much money. Your daughter looks so classy with that walking stick.

  13. Superb result on the fundraising front, very well done with surviving a week of no knitting. It was interesting to read that you had physical symptoms from going without it, it must do a lot to relax you. The Dafter’s looking great, and so are you with your lovely new haircut.

  14. Thanks very much, Lucinda and Lorna!

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