I ask you, what is blogging?

Oh, it’s telling out a yarn,

And sometimes it is jogging

Memories of Malham Tarn

Or a wedding dress in Cambridge

Or a tartan in Dundee

Or the knitting that unravelled

When a grandson claimed a knee

For another bedtime story …

For another chapter, yes!

“And would you tell me that one –

When the world got in a mess?”

copyright Kathy Labrum McVittie 20 September 2020

That was an impromptu dawdle with doggerel, leading – before we begin today’s Ripping Yarn – to a bedtime story, in a video courtesy of Tomfoolery. Please listen right to the end ,so that you get a taste of Hope by the closing lines:

from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GImHBBbH5E4&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR3km0SoWDfQCx9dGk2ZZR5yLbgywE7F4L8HNwGorr77p220WqGnMsbuUbI


Burst onto the page all the synonyms (words similar in meaning to) “yarning”, or “yarn” and see where that thread might lead.

You can do this exercise upon the shape of a ball of yarn if you want, or in speech bubbles … I’ve given some clues to get you started.

Try to do this exercise before you go any further, even if only on the back of an envelope or on a notepad, real or virtual.

Copyright Kathy McVittie 25 September 2020

Then put it aside and follow the thread of a golden ball of wool to this:

Brain Dump

List some quaint (or ain’t) sounding tools of the trade of the spinners of yarns (metaphoric or materially):

3 x Today if I could chose who I’d swap stories with (over a leisurely lunch) I’d pick ……… because …..

3 x Today I choose to pick up the threads of the following projects, over the coming winter (summer, for our Antipodean friends):

3 x Today I’d like to walk freely in … (name three favorite places) without having to weave my way through crowds of (name three imagined obstacles or hindrances)

3 x This winter (summer) I don’t want to chatter confidences against …./share secrets to the detriment of …

(Except perhaps in fictionalised form in the safety of this ThoughtBook … To whom? That would be telling…)

Listing three (or thirteen) books I’ve enjoyed/poems I’ve read that refer to the textile or maritime industry (if only in bodice-ripping or swash-buckling style):

Sharing a diablogue

On the subject of things yarny and bloggy I would like to share a (Word)Press release from an award-winning Scottish company kdd that promotes knittery, nattery and examples of skilful writing and publishing and beautiful photography that leaves me speechless.

Kate Davies of KDD & co promotes her new yarn club here:


One of the names for a new range of dyed-in-Yorkshire wool yarns was ‘Faded Overalls’. That reminded me of a “game” we played in an English lesson aged 15, creating definitely unattractive names for paint shades. For homework I produced a range of these, including Synthetic Sapwood, Dejected Dungaree, and my class’s favourite, Stagnant Yolk.

Even though I no longer have that English exercise book (unless it’s still lurking in a drawer in Cambridge) those shades are painted indelibly on the retina of my memory. Do you retain any such shades in your mind’s eye?

You may like to read Kate’s earlier 2011 blog referring to the mountain Schiehallion, which indeed includes a picture of her up the mountain in pyjamas. For someone recovering from a major stroke, that’s not a bad yarn.


Finally today, before our appreciations, I want to honour the recent turning of the seasons from summer to autumn, and the festival of the Autumn Equinox last Tuesday. Here is an extract from a poem that I wrote last autumn.

Star-soothed at Autumn Equinox

At the dawning of

the Equanimity

the days and nights

settled down to a

comfortable consensus

on whether it was more

important to gather and resource,

or to rest, dream, see

visions in the pellucid sky,

travel through

constellations in a

sense of child-

connecting awe.

© Kathy McVittie 9 September 2019

Four lines that I added as an afterthought, back in 2019 before I was aware of the impending pandemic, seem prescient now:

The jaw dropped open and –

agape – I wondered where

I would explore,

throughout the coming winter?

© Kathy McVittie 9 September 2019

And the answer is that I shall be continuing to explore the Sutherland shores and moors (and my own inner landscape) throughout this winter, hopefully with your companionship online.

I trust that together we can continue

writing our way whole : at home safely,

and out and about spaciously.

You are all very welcome here.

Appreciation practice

Today I am grateful for:




Further resources

Poets’ Corner

What words rhyme with yarn, so that the first letter changes? e.g. barn

What other words can you list, that differ only from yarn only by one other letter? e.g. yard

Look through your listed words. Do any of them entice you into verse or, worse, into doggerel?

Go, write!