This very much feels like the current mood.
Turns out that when you can't go anywhere, and when you have walked the muddy steep fields around the house, and practically nowhere else for the past year even the beautiful Welsh countryside stops filling you with joy. Particularly in this, the dullest time of year. There's hints that spring is on the way, but they're teasers, and only remind you of what you're looking forward to in March and April. It's bit like looking at posts in your social media feed from those living in Australia and New Zealand.
It's so wonderful to see older people and those who are more vulnerable being vaccinated, but for those of us who are low on the priority lists it all still feels very worrying. I suspect the pressure is going to mount for lockdowns to be lifted soon, and meanwhile the younger generations, those who are most likely to be working in low-paid, yet high risk jobs are still unprotected. Yes, the risk of fatal disease is lower for these groups (and that's why it's right that they are vaccinated later), but even "mild" versions can have some dreadful long-term consequences. I am very fortunate that I can carry on working from home, my social life has largely shifted online, but for many of my friends and family members that's not the case.
I've no plans to go back to doing in-person events until I'm vaccinated (which will basically be the completion of the vaccination programme). If you have been vaccinated, keep wearing your mask, keep abiding by the rules, and if in doubt about wether something is a good idea be more cautious rather than less.
Sadly Wonderwool Wales has been cancelled again this year. The past few weeks have been slightly nervous for me. I was quite willing to loose my stall fee, because I would not have been attending if it had gone ahead. The organisers made the decision to cancel last week (and will be refunding stall fees held over from last year). I'm sad not to be seeing you all in person, but a crowd event with people travelling from all over the country just isn't wise right now. There are plans to do another Virtual event, and unlike last year, when we were all still trying to work out what on earth we were doing, this year we've all had a year of practice!
Speaking of online, my diary is rapidly filling up with online talks, lectures and workshops with guilds all over the country. It's been great to get back to teaching, it makes up such a small part of my income, but the enjoyment I get from it more than makes up for that! I can probably squeeze a few more sessions in, so get in touch if your guild/group want know more (international inquiries welcome!)
Meanwhile, if you're not a member of a group I am continuing to build up the catalogue of online courses. These are self paced, available "forever", and still have the ability to ask questions and get feedback. In addition to Spinning with a Purpose: Thickness I've now added Corespinning and Beyond!
Spinning these techniques were just the sense of fun I needed this month. It was often a workshop that people were unsure about when I taught it in-person, but by the end of it so many were converts to this great method of creating usable yarn, and recognised the increase in skill that could be applied to their other yarns. If you fancy finding out more then there's a full course description on the Online Courses page.
Whilst the weather is cold and icy I'm going to be getting on with writing the next course, the water pipes are frozen solid, so I'm inside in the warmth.
I have finished off next to nothing this month, after clearing the loom and the sewing machine at Christmas. But I did manage to finish off the red and yellow warp from last month...
And have warped the loom for the next big project.. a somewhat ambitious plan involving my own handspun as the weft and the thought of turning the yardage in to a garment of some kind. I can even call myself a proper weaver now because I actually sampled!
The Mighty Networks group has had a bit of minor tinkering...
It's still where there is lots of Hilltop Cloud chatter, but the name has had a tweak to The Fellowship of Yarn.
I'd been missing rambling chats about anything and everything, and I just like seeing things that people have made, regardless of where the supplies have come from. I like hearing about recipes that are tasty, and books that are great. I want to see pets, and gardens...
So if you have something you want to share, if you're feeling lonely and just want to talk, if the world is getting too much then know that you are not alone.
One of the good things about the current group is that there are no algorithms, you get to choose what you see. If you have a topic that doesn't interest you then you can change your preferences so you don't follow those conversations. It's also easy to find people who speak your language, or who share you specific interests.
Over the past few week people have been developing their ideas for the St Distaff's Day Challenge, and it's great to see how such a small set of photos can develop such a wide range of ideas.
If you have friends who you think would like to join in then send them in an invite, or if you're not yet a member come and join us.