Saturday, February 21, 2009

A genteel adventure and other exploits.

Well its been an interesting week. The school has been on Half Term Holiday, usually a good time to try and catch up with all kinds of things. This last week has been no exception.

Apart from sleeping through Saturday (I was so tired, that was literally all I was fit for!) I went to Quiltfest on Sunday. This is an annual exhibition held in the wonderful town of Llangollen in North Wales. The exhibition was wonderful with some really good pieces of work. Nikki Tinkler was the featured quilter this year. Sadly, I have no photos I can share of the wonderful exhibits.

I went to Quiltfest with my friend Hilary. We visited the Traders Bazaar too. I bought this delightful cat print.

The photo above is the rather wonderful globe that hangs outside the entrance to the exhibition hall.

I had a second, rather genteel adventure on Thursday. This was part of the celebrations for my mother's 80th birthday. Mum is an adventurous and delightfully busy person. So it was rather a privilege to be chosen as mum's companion for this treat.

She had been given a couple of vouchers for afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel. This is a rather wonderful building in the centre of Manchester, down near the Manchester Art Gallery.

We decided to stop and explore the Art Gallery whilst we were in Manchester.

We were so lucky! Ten drawings by Leonardo da Vinci were being shown as a special exhibition. Such a wonderful opportunity, it is so rare to be able to actually see these drawings. They are so beautifully detailed and so small. I hadn't realised that they had been drawn on paper made from rags which has helped preserve them so well to this day.

But, on to the main event. This was such an adventure for both of us. Needless to say we had dressed up for our afternoon tea.

First of all, we were escorted to a table for two in the Octagon. We were the asked if we wanted champagne first or with the cakes. This was a complete surprise to both of us. Tea we had been expecting, but not champagne! Well, we started with sandwiches - rather special sandwiches beautifully presented on a plate. We were given a glass of Madeira each too. Delicious.

When we had settled in to enjoy the sandwiches and the madeira, we were brought a pot of tea and cups. We both felt very spoilt by the gently attentive staff.

When the sandwiches had been finished a cake stand was brought to us. There were two levels. The first held a couple of fruit scones, freshly made. These were presented on a plate with butter or clotted cream (a very thick fresh cream, which is solid rather than soft). There was also a small dish of fruit jam (jelly) and a second dish of a mixed fruit compote. So refreshing adding compote to fresh scones. I think I shall try doing this myself.

The second layer held a collection of small cakes - individual portions of carrot cake, and a number of others.

When we had finished with the scones, our attentive waitress returned with two champagne flutes served with half a strawberry.

A magnificent and extremely special treat. I cannot imagine that this was at all inexpensive. The Hotel and it's staff were genuinely kind and helpful and well worth a visit if you can. Just dress appropriately. A visit there is quite an occasion.

I managed to finish Liz's Christmas jumper this week, adding some clips instead of buttons on the front. This is the same design I made some time ago, it is based on the Open-collared Pullover by Elizabeth Zimmermann from her book "Knitter's Almanac".

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A quiet week.

The past week has been rather a quiet one on the creative side of things. There has been little opportunity or inclination to knit or sew.
I have managed to complete some repairs to one of Ian's jackets. I had to rebuild a couple of pockets and make minor repairs to the lining. Then restitching some buttons which had fallen off or loosened. This had languished in my mending pile for some time before I got around to working on it.
Another item is also being worked on - a simple woollen skirt I made for myself some years ago. I have started adding a lining, since this had never hung properly - being rather too prone to clinging due to static.
Speaking of linings, I have also cut out and prepared the lining of a bag belonging to one of my friends. Hopefully, I shall have sufficient time this week to complete both these projects.
I had a piece of luck yesterday, finding a piece of tartan fabric in a local Charity shop. The piece is almost three metres long, a really useful length. I am hoping that I can use this to make a dress like that in the recent Sew Hip magazine.