branching out

On Thursday it will be eight years since my stroke. I am doing pretty well now, and think that I am doing well because I have learnt that dealing with a stroke is at least as much about managing limitation as it is about recovery. I know that I need an unusual amount of sleep to maintain my energy levels, that I don’t function well in the evenings, and that socialising in noisy environments is something that my post-stroke brain is probably never likely to enjoy. I walk outside every day, I pay more than ordinary attention to my physical and mental health. I know that I can successfully manage my own limits by restricting the number and range of tiring / difficult things I do. All of this is no bad thing. In my limited life I am quite focused, less frustrated, pretty productive, and generally rather happy. But I know in some ways this makes me unusual as a professional: I don’t attend many events in any capacity, I very rarely talk about the things I design and make in person, I meet friends and colleagues in the industry very infrequently.

I also work very hard. Last year I didn’t take any sort of holiday, and lately I’ve had a yen to travel. Perhaps it is a good sign that I also feel well enough to consider this possibility. I’d particularly like to return to the US (somewhere I’ve not been since the months immediately prior to my stroke) and there are other places I’d really like to visit: Denmark, Norway, Germany, Finland. In recent years I’ve received many lovely invitations to attend various knitterly / crafty / textile events all over the world. Each time I’ve had to say no, because each time I know that my priority has to be to manage my post-stroke limitations. But this year I feel that my priority should be to expand my horizons, and possibly to test my limits. I’d like to see more of the knitting and yarn-y world, and perhaps more of the world more generally.

So, if you know of, or are hosting an event or retreat which you think I’d be interested in attending, why not drop me a line? I will have a new book Handywoman out this Spring about which I’d like to spread the word (in what I hope is an entertaining way!) I can also give lectures about my work in Shetland, about textile history, women’s history, my own design practice and inspirations. I’m not able to teach classes or workshops, but if you’d like to have me speak at your event, why not write to me at:

I’m really looking forward to seeing some new places, and to meeting some of you there!