Sunday, December 28, 2008

Seasonal walks.

We are so lucky here. There are so many local walks to enjoy.

On Boxing Day, 26th December, we all set out to enjoy one of these. A rare time for the family to be out and about together.

We went to the Anderton Nature Park. This is right next to the famous Anderton Boat Lift. This amazing structure was closed for seasonal repairs, so we went off to explore the woodlands and the walks around the nature park. This is a wonderful place to visit with a number of wooden sculptures marking special sites of interest. We spent a wonderful couple of hours getting ourselves lost and found again wandering the pathways.
This is the beautiful sculpture at one of the ponds and meres. It was placed here to remind visitors to look at the gorgeous dragonflies and damselflies which live here in the Summer and early Autumn months.

Here is the beautifully carved notice which details the types of dragonflies and damselflies which can be seen here.
It was a beautifully sunny and yet very cold wintry day. Wonderful walking weather.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Season's Greetings!

Now where did December go? Its been rather hectic here - a number of concerts in a number of venues.

The first of these was a performance of "Zadoc the Priest" by Georg Handel and Vivaldi's "Gloria". Such wonderful music to sing. These were performed by the Hartford Choral Society on November 28th alongsideside instrumentalists from the Grange School, in the Grange Theatre. This was in aid of Action Aid and their work with African Aids/HIV sufferers.

This was then followed by a short concert performed by my class at the Old Friends Christmas Concert in the village. This is a group of the retired villagers who get toether each Tuesday afternoon. My class have been invited along to sing at their Christmas party for the past few years. The children love getting to meet the elderly at the party. Each year they are enchanted by being fussed over and chatted to. The Old Friends are such a wonderful audience and enjoy the singalong we do after the children have sung their songs. We share christmas carols and fun christmas songs like "Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer". As we walked along back to school afterwards, one little boy came up to me and said "I didn't think I'd like that. But it was fun wasn't it."

For two successive Saturdays, I joined the Vale Royal Recorder Players to perform in Tatton Hall as part of the Christmas Celebrations there. We performed a number of recorder arrangements of Christmas Carols both old and new. This is the Recorder group I regularly rehearse with. Such a lovely group, so friendl.y. We have a lot of fun together.

Then, last Saturday, the last of the concerts I have been involved with. It was the wedding of one of our past members. She left the Recorder group last year to move away for work. She returned to the church she used to belong to for her wedding. Such a lovely event to be a small part of.

Amidst all this, and teaching too, I managed to complete my aran cardigan.

You'll notice that I have forgotten the buttons on this one. I just did not fancy buttons and buttonholes. It will be interesting to see if I can live with a cardigan fastened by a brooch. The brooch is made up of three different buttons fastened together. I did not make this, but it is an idea I may copy myself at some stage.

A lovely time of year, even when the weather is not so good.

Season's Greetings to you all!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Knitting for chilly weather.

I managed to get two items completed this week - the cowl (Aibhlinn by Mary Burr) and also a hat (Cabled Beret by Ashley Hasse).

Here is the beret sitting atop my Aibhlinn. I wore the cowl for the first time today, since it was very chilly outside. It is so cosy! It will quickly become a favourite.
The beret is now in my younger daughter's possession. It only took a day to knit, so I think I shall make myself one.

Speaking of chilly weather, I took some photos of the spider webs before they thawed this morning. You may just see the frost still lying on the grass under fence. These water drops have still not thawed enough to fall.

My bamboo yarn arrived during the week. Oh it feels so gorgeous.......... I keep handling it, it is so very soft. I bought it from Cucumberpatch. The colourway is called Mocha.

My final photo is of a sticker I bought from the Quilter's Guild stand at Harrogate. This is now in the back of my car, on the side window. I used to have one of these in my old car a few years ago. I just loved the message. Sadly, the sticker was too fragile to be removed from my old car and I have had to wait until now for the sticker to be republished.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate.

Well, I am so glad I went to Harrogate yesterday. The weather today has been dreadful. Cold and wet with hailstones and very windy.
The following images are all of the wonderful Royal Hall in Harrogate. The Knitting and Stitching show used the exhibition halls linked to this wonderful building. This was where the fashion shows were staged during the Show. Sadly, I was too busy elswhere to remember to return and come and sit to watch. Still, I would not have missed one moment of the time I spent searching around the exhibitions and stalls.

These first two show the stage and the wonderful ceiling in the ornate hall.

The next two show the design and decoration of the passages serving the main hall.

The last photo is of a pair of doors opening off one of the passages.

I travelled to Harrogate on a coach organised by the local Embroiderer's Guild. I am not a member, but they are happy to take non-members. It is so much nicer to be driven to such an exhibition and also brought back. I took Kathryn, my next door neighbour and her daughter. Kathryn beads when she has the time, and her daughter is studying Textiles for one of her GCSEs. Emily had not been looking forward to coming with us, but on the way home she was enthusiastic about coming again next year. She bought some items for projects of her own too!

There was so much to see. I went to see the exhibition about the Schiffli Project. I bought myself a copy of the book and it's accompanying DVD so that I can revisit the wonderful range of work which came out of the project. This was one I have been promising myself I would see for ages. I missed the exhibition when it was housed in Macclesfield, so was delighted to be able to catch up with it in Harrogate. The exhibits were every bit as fascinating as I had hoped.
Another thing I had hoped to find was yarn - well, specifically bamboo yarn. Toni, the writer of "A little yarn on the side", had suggested I buy bamboo yarn for a knitted top I had been having difficulties with. I didn't fancy buying yarn that I had not been able to handle first, so waited until getting to Harrogate. I did find some, but it was sock yarn and not suited for the top. Oh, it felt gorgeous. A definite must-get. Not finding any at Harrogate, I ordered some on-line today! I chose the mocha. I'll let you know what its like when it gets here. I can hardly wait!

I bought myself a new book full of gorgeous applique designs. The designer uses gauze and a soldering iron to create her wonderful pieces. Needless to say, I bought a small soldering iron too.... I'm looking forward to trying these techniques.
Then I treated myself to two new magazines.

Then it was off to the second-hand book stalls, my favourite stomping ground.

I even got some old patterns!

Then it was off to find threads and buttons, fabric for a project I should have completed months ago and some special wadding.

The fabric is silk and so is the wadding. They are destined to help me complete Serenity. This is a doll I started rather a long time ago. She will recline upon a chaise-longue, clothed in silk. The wadding is for the quilted cover of the chaise.

This is Serenity - not quite ready for her entrance yet. She is made from self-hardening clay, garden wire and cloth scraps. The fabric and rat tail silk ribbon is all to be used in the project. I have an idea in my mind, but I'm still not sure how she will turn out. This link is to my first figure.

This rather strange picture is Serenity, before I started wrapping her in strips of old cotton sheeting. Her joints are designed to work so that I can position her. She looks rather better now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My posts now total 100.

Now how did I manage that? It really surprised me today, when I went to start writing this post to find that I had reached 100. I had not noticed.

A lovely day again today - so lucky to have some fine weather. The leaves are all falling now, so the trees will soon be completely bare. I do love their autumnal colours.

The cowl has really been coming on this week. There is now 8 inches of it, so I am now a third of the way to completing it. It will be such a welcome addition to my cold-weather wardrobe.

I do hope that no-one minds my putting a followers section on my Blog. Please feel free to add yourself as a follower, but do not feel that you have to. I have added a list of those Blogs I follow. These are some of the really talented artists out there and it is such a privilege to be able to read their Blogs.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Oh what a sky!

The sky is very heavy with rain out there - well, it will help me when I need to get around to washing my car later.

I shocked my poor husband yesterday - I actually cleaned the inside of my car! I haven't done that in far too long. Sorry, but housework, and cleaning are really not my "thing". I now need to get the windscreens and other glass surfaces cleaned today. Then I can wash the car - with the help of the rain that looks as if it will arrive later today.

What has brought about this madness? Well, I have been sharing my car with my younger daughter. At long last, she now has her own!! Yesterday, I had great delight in emptying the boot (trunk?) of all her paraphenalia. Now I can really make my little car my own. It is a Ford Fiesta. Quite fuel-efficient and big enough for my needs, I really should look after it a bit more than I have been. I must own up to looking after my sewing machine rather better than this faithful mode of transport.

It has been rather a hectic week. I have really not got very much of my own "work" done. School has kept me rather too busy.

Firstly, I am now on to the third attempt at starting my cowl. I have kept on getting it twisted. Infuriating. This time I have started knitting it on dpns (doubled pointed needles). Hopefully I shall get it right this time. What is it they say? Third time lucky............

When I went into town yesterday, I was lucky to find a second copy of the Therese de Dillmont classic "Encyclopedia of Needlework." This copy was rather more expensive than my first. This one still has it's dust cover and must be around forty years newer. The photos on the cover seem to date from the fifties and early sixties.

Madness to buy another copy of the same book? Well, perhaps. The newer copy is one I would feel happier actually using. It is a little bigger and is in excellent condition. My older copy - well, that has such character. It has clearly seen a lot of use and I love it for all of that. However, some sections are a little fragile and I would be worried about using it out of the house. Will I ever actually use these books? Of course I will. There is so much valuable information and such a range of techniques within these pages, I shall probably not get around to trying everything.

I told you I had had a crazy week. Well, it all started last weekend, when I was asked to repair my younger daughter Rosie's favourite dress. The zip had broken and the zip needed some reinforcement since the dress also has lacing to both side seams - probably the cause of the zip breaking in the first place. It was needed for Thursday evening. A rush-job in a madly busy week................................... It got completed on time. I added a flap behind the zip with a strip of velcro as an extra reinforcement.

Rosemary arrived home on the Thursday after visiting her elder sister, Liz. "Mum...."

Yes, big sister needs me to replace the pocket zip on her favourite jacket. The jacket is leather. Not a project I have ever tried before. I bought replacement zips for both pockets yesterday, not having been able to match the zip which had originally been used. Luckily, there is no immediate rush to get this done. Just as well, since I really don't have the time.

I am extremely lucky. Both daughters are great friends, and very appreciative of my efforts.

Oh yes, I made the mistake last week of asking my elder daughter what she would like for her birthday. There was a list - she has recently moved into a flat with her boyfriend. Amidst the list was a request............ could I make her another jumper? Blue and cream this time. No hurry.

So of course, I had to go and get some colour charts. I shall have to ask the question - which blue? There are several these days. We are so lucky as knitters and stitchers to have such a wealth of colours we can add to our creative palette.

In sympathy, the rain has really started outside. The sky has gone very dark and I do not think I shall venture out until it stops.

As I edit this post, the rain has just stopped and this is the sky outside my window. I think I am being urged to get off this chair, away from this computer to get on with things! I have a feeling that the rain will not have stopped for long.

Bye for now.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Keeping on keeping on.

Its been an interesting week. I managed to complete my Nutkin socks and quilt the sashing of my Black, Red and White quilt. Its ages since I last worked on this.

This is the top, below, you can see the reverse side of the same quilt.

My next task is to attach the binding.

I also started a cowl to go with a fleece jacket I made some years ago. I already have a matching scarf, but the playground at school gets rather too windy for a scarf to stay around my neck. Hence the idea of making this cowl. This is Mary Burr's Aibhlinn design from Knitty.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Cold, but sunny. Perfect for some pruning and general tidying up around the gardens. Our little close here gets together to share the work once in a while. Four men complete with ladders, secateurs, cutters, saws and various other implements set to work. My husband was one of these. My job, and that of another wife, was to ply everyone with tea. There was such a lot of laughing going on it was amazing that such a lot got done! Our neighbours make it such fun to live here.

The last photo is of T.C. after his inspection of my garden shed. He was supervising the work going on in the various gardens. His owner was one of the team actually doing the work.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting things finished.

Well, its the Half Term Holiday. A useful time to try and get some things finished.

So far. I have managed to get three items completed.

The first of these is a hat. I knitted it for my younger daughter to replace a hat she accidentally felted. The poor felted hat is shown at the top of this post.

Knitted in Sublime extra fine merino wool double knitting, I really hope she does not manage to felt this one too. It was a most enjoyable knit and only took three days to complete. The design is "Felicity" by Ebony Butterfly.

The next completed item is a felted bag which I started some time ago and then managed to lose the pattern.

I finished these funny squiggly bits the day before yesterday, then promptly lost the last of the yarn! What is it with this design? I keep losing bits and have to go searching the house for them. I found the scrap of yarn this afternoon when I was looking for something else. So now they are safely stitched onto the front of the bag.

The last thing to be finished was the first of my Nutkin socks. I have already started the second sock.

I recently bought myself some new needles. The first ones were so I could finish the hat for my daughter Rosemary. I just didn't have circular needles in the right size. So I sent off for some Addi bamboo needles and saw these:

Knit Picks dpns in a size I don't have........... I couldn't resist.
This may not seem very exciting if you are from the USA, but Knit Picks needles have only just arrived in the UK.
Now to get on with some needlework for a change. I won't bore you with the list of items I really need to get on with. Its embarrassingly long!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A new camera!

I finally have another camera to replace my old one. Sadly that one could not be repaired. It was too badly damaged. I don't think I shall let this one out of my sight for a while................ Its a Sony Super Steady Shot DSC-W200. It will take me some time to get as comfortable with it as my old one. Still it will be fun learning. My dear husband found this one in a sale of ex-catalogue items. What a find!

At present I am working on three knitted projects at the same time. This one is my main priority at present. I really need a cosy cardigan and this will be it. I am most of the way up the back now, so should be able to start one of the fronts next week.

Sorry the second photo is so blurred. It shows the colour of the yarn far better than the first picture.

The next picture is my second version of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Open-collar pullover. I shall attempt turning this into a v-necked jumper since I could really do with a warm one. I already have a bought one, but it really just isn't warm enough.

This next photo shows the progress with my Nutkin socks. The design is by Knitzi. Such a pleasant design, these are intended to be worn with my new short brown boots.

The lovely little zipped project bag was a free gift when I renewed my subscription to Selvedge. So useful! Its just the right size for the socks.

Last time, I mentioned the pattern I had bought from Sandie Lush. Here it is. The second photo shows the thread pack I bought at the same time.

The next photo shows the lovely little booklet about hand quilting which I bought at the meeting. The ISBN number is:1 870264 27 4. You can get these booklets direct from Sandie Lush.

The last photo is the Travellers Chuck pattern which I mentioned last time.

I was really intrigued by this idea and really want to make one.