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A book to be read outside

A Book To Be Read Outside

‘This is a book to be read outside – may it go waterlogged, sun-buckled and wind-chapped.’ Epigraph to Wild Woman Swimming: a challenge readers as far afield as Australia, Canada and the Arctic Circle have enjoyed taking up.


Patchwork of friendships formed through a common love of water

‘Our wild swimming group made its first patchwork blankets for Jackie when she got married, and then for Linda when she became seriously ill. We decide on a broad colour scheme and square size, and individuals either crochet, knit, felt or applique squares and add-ons which they post or bring to a bee for stitching together. Yesterday, a few of us met at Castle Drogo to see the Grayson Perry and Louis XIV tapestries currently on display there, and I was given the fabulous blankets made for me by my fish friends afterwards.

My beautiful blankets, and the muffler and bag, represent a map of friendships forged through a common love of water and nature. It’s about shared adventures, shared confidences, shared scares, shared perspectives. Some of those who made and sent squares are wild swimmers I’d only ‘met’ online.

There are all kinds of styles, interpretations, and approaches to both crafts and the world stitched in, with flashes of inspiration and unique embellishments abounding. I love them. It’s overwhelming to receive such a gift. My mum was completely overcome when I showed her and spent ages looking at each element.

Kari’s square came attached to a piece of ribbon; she made it from sterling silver and copper. It features the MRI scan of my brain tumour, Hunt, replete with cerebral oedema. How Grayson is that?’

Extract from Wild Woman Swimming: Castle Drogo, 15 April 2016. Photos of the quilt taken at the book launch at Dartington, September 2018.