and seeing how our different items sit together
stones all ready and waiting for Sarah’s students
and back for another look at those gorgeous teasels
and seeing how our different items sit together
stones all ready and waiting for Sarah’s students
and back for another look at those gorgeous teasels
to sit and create
with a wonderful bunch of artists and
and a perky little terrier ……..
Making yet another cushion in order to try out a pattern – well you can never have enough… can you?
I always have to have an easy project on the go to pick up in any odd moment and this 20 x 20inch cushion cover is my latest easy project.
The pattern can be found on Ravelry as a free pattern by Red Heart, and if you log into Ravelry you can see 916 projects made form this pattern. I’m not surprised it is so popular, reasons for loving this pattern:
There is no foundation row
Easy enough for beginners
Suitable in any weight of yarn
Relaxing to do.
Very little counting.
I’m sure I will think of others as I go along.
And I’m thinking it will sit comfortably in front of the Summer Flight Throw.
I will crochet until there is enough to cover both sides of a 20 inch cushion insert, with an overlap at the back to fasten.
When life gives you lemons – crochet!
Life has been a bit stressful recently, blogland is one of my glorious escapes, and
so is sitting in a colourful corner of my garden next to drying poppy heads, whilst taking a little break from brain aching computer work, preparing for an important meeting tomorrow.
The colours in the crochet chime so beautifully with the multicoloured hydrangea ….
… still using Summer Flight palette in search of a winning combination, but I have added another Stylecraft DK pink, it’s called ‘Fondant‘.
And there in the garden is my favourite combination of pinks and oranges, with parsley seed heads adding some lime green – yummy.
The children are particularly intrigued that a bush can have all these different coloured flowers on it – and so am I – and it goes so well with the 80’s curtain fabric in the spare bedroom – love those kind of happy accidents
ok back to work …..
After a trying day it was truly blissful to sit till past 10pm on the bench building the rows of crochet, listening to birdsong amidst the scent of night-scented stocks and watching delicate little white moths flit about – sooooooo soooooooooothing.
How lucky I feel to live in such a peaceful place.
Nearly finished ….
There is always a mini feeling of sadness when a big project is coming to an end, like when you arrive at the last chapter in a great novel and you don’t want to leave the world of the characters and the story.
I started this throw back in April, and if you are interested in the yarn and colours, click here and you can see the list I ordered. However I did not use the ‘raspberry’ in the end.
I have loved using this process of choosing the colours and working out the best combination and pattern and making up the sequence of colours according to the painting.
Has it worked? Well, I’m not sure it has – the zig-zags are maybe too bold … perhaps a more regular and repeating pattern would have worked better with single rows of each colour.
I have so enjoyed the ‘journey’ of it though. It holds many happy memories. It has led to making cushion covers for 3 grandchildren and they have been able to choose their own colours. And Miss E who painted this picture when she was 4 (at her house, so not in sight of the painting)
as the sort of picture that Granny likes, was able to play with colour. Teddy chose this combination for her next dress!
And here is the throw, or snuggle blanket …. finished (?). I crocheted a row of single crochet along the side edge in pale turquoise.
When a creative piece is not entirely a success I like to remember that “it is not wrong, it is just not finished”. A great quote – wish I could remember where I found it.
So I will live with the Throw and enjoy it and probably try out another design for another cushion cover. And maybe make a second blanket that will harmonise in a more pleasing way. I do like it, but not LOVE it, so no big Ta Dah! on this one – work in progress.
I have been playing with a bit of grass art again
this time in grids
I particularly like the patterns in the evening light
I have tried to hold back until a few things are sorted out before sharing a new online shop with you all – but it’s no good, I just can’t wait any more!
Society6 is an online shop based in America. Alisa Burke shared her Society6 items on her fabulous blog, so I had a go at uploading photos of some of my work (above is some of my machine embroidery printed onto a shoulder bag), and I LOVE it!!!
The look of the Tote Bags and the Cushions (Throw Pillows) make me squeeeeeak with joy!
I have ordered a Tote Bag for myself, to check out the quality and to see how much I will have to pay on top of the postage once it gets to this country. I was going to wait for the bag to arrive before blogging about it but it’s hopeless, I just can not wait!
The fabric is printed with a high definition photograph and I am really interested to see if they look as great in reality as they do online.
I have searched in vain for a UK or European site which does the same thing – the prices and postage are reasonable on the US site I think – just waiting to see what charges are made once in the UK.
Loving the idea of having a crocheted cushion sitting next to it’s photographed counterpart, and maybe a clock to match in the kitchen – or is that going too far?
and different sizes and scale, and then there are the rugs
I’ve got masses of ideas prancing around in my mind for more and more things I want to photograph. PLUS ideas of things I want to make in order to photograph them and see them turned into bags and cushions .. so please pop into the shop and have a look around – I’d love to know what you like best – more to come very soon.
After two days immersed in digging and delving in my garden, my body aches and creaks and groans, but what joy at the end of the day to peer deep into these gorgeous flowers and imagine……. I just want to dive in and live in them
entrance to the fairies’ night club – there’s nature’s strobe lighting going on in there …
opium poppy ball-gown
- come prance with me amongst the petals before curling up in a tussle of taffeta and dream of sunny tomorrows
aaaaaaaah – that view!!!
On Monday a friend and I went off to meander around West Dorset and take in some ozone packed Art on display through Dorset Arts Weeks .
We drove to Abbotsbury and visited Dansel Wood Gallery. We had met there when we both worked in the Gallery 20 years ago. The view above was on my journey to work each morning and it never failed to give me a gasp of pleasure, and I thought I must have one of the best commutes in the world! (the ferry across Sydney Harbour Australia possibly just beats it!).
I can highly recommend the coffee shop at Dansel too – giving time for a catch-up chat with our former boss, and to do a spot of crochet
I’m so enjoying building memories into this throw.
Then on to a blustery Burton Bradstock for a blast along the beach
before dropping in on Carolyne Kardia’s Open Studio – what a fabulous space
adding a few more stitches at the original home of Summer Flight
Gorgeous Exhibition!!!! Wonderful space, delightful artist!
And on to lunch at Down House Farm Cafe
Do you like my co-ordinating new sandals! Made by Adesso, bought in Wimborne’s Doris and Daisy ?
whilst my friend browsed through the book to see where we would go next
A wonderful sunny Dorset day filled with Stunning Views, The Sea, Art, Friendship and re-connecting with old friends – all now crocheted into and held snuggly by my Summer Flight Throw.
I took the beginnings of the throw on the train when I went to stay with my son and his family in London, setting off from our little country station
Started the night before just to set the pattern, I managed to do nearly a row whilst waiting for the train and had done this much by the time we got to Bournemouth
We had a delightful and very camp ticket inspector who gasped with joy when he saw my ripples! And held it up declaring
“Look what she’s doing isn’t it FAAABulous, LOOK it goes up and down as well!”
Very unusual on an English train!!! The usual reserve broken and little slightly self-conscious smiles and nods all round.
People often ask me how long it takes to make things, which I find hard to answer because I do it for relaxation and in between other things and whilst watching children play or in front of the TV – so how long it takes is irrelevant to me – but to answer the question, I timed a row of the throw – it took about 11 mins.
But a better answer would be to say, how long does it take you to read a book.
Later I was on the long tube journey to the outer reaches of London and a burly bloke says in a cockney accent – “Gor blimey, slow down , you’re makin me dizzy” as I thundered on seeing how much I could do on the journey.
I love the way doing crafts in public often gives the go ahead for conversation.
And now I am home again here is the throw so far
I’m loving doing it and the way the picture is guiding the colour sequence – not sure it actually works and I can already see how I would like to have done it differently – but that is the creative mind – never completely satisfied – always thinking of the next project.
I think I would have preferred to do it in this sequence with 4 single rows every so often
I briefly contemplated unpicking the throw, but it is not only the time and work invested in the piece – but also the happy memories as it’s made – I can always do another one!
I seem to have got the hang of it ….
Maybe it helps to be a Granny.
Weigela, black cornflowers, marigolds, red campion, and sweet cicely for a bit of froth..We are going to a Quick Draw event at Sculpture by the Lakes tomorrow – lovely!
The postcards had to be weighed as with all the collage and stitching they needed a higher postage than standard postcards – something to think about for next time.
This is a gem of a shop with gorgeous local produce and people from the village at the till
Pascal always does inspirational window displays and is keen to advertise village events – in this case the upcoming Open Gardens on 25th and 26th May
If you want to hear the latest news the shop has a Facebook Page.
It sits close by the world heritage Jurassic Coast. How lucky am I to live here!!!
So perfect to pop in for picnic ingredients if you are off for a walk around Lulworth Cove.
If you would like to go and see the spectacular array of postcards others have made, click here for a feast of inspiration!
I always look forward to iHanna’s Post Card Swap, I think this is the fourth I have been part of.
You make 10 postcards, Hanna gives you 10 addresses from around the world and then, when she fires the starting pistol, you send them off and await for 10 wonderful works of art to glide through your letter box. It’s magic!
I have used one of the collages done at the beach hut for mine this Spring Swap. You can see the start of it by clicking here. Gosh, that is about a year ago!
A large piece of card, approx A1 size, gathered from the Dorset Scrapstore, gets covered with a fairly random assortment of pictures in a chosen colour theme – this time, yellow for Spring!
Then I paint over it, and machine stitch (inspired by Tammy at Daisy Yellow – see link on the blogroll on the right).
I love the way the stitching looks on the reverse side
Greta, a recipient of one of the cards called this ‘sewed on gold’ – LOVE that!! Thank you Greta.
Then cut them into post card sizes
And add an edging
in this case a leaf design on sellotape
You can see links to other participants posts here – what a beautiful bountiful bunch of inspiration!
My mind is awash with ripple combinations as I go through the design stage for my lovely new project.
The ripple pattern is so relaxing and satisfying to crochet – as I go up and down along the row I’m wondering what the elements of this pattern are that makes it so soothing.
I think it is the combination of sections of plain sailing and then a little bit of concentration, so the mind can wander for a while, but is interrupted before getting into troublesome thoughts.
And then there is the interest of seeing how one colour plays against the next; do they lie quietly together side by side snoozing; or do they zing together and bounce off each other in a jive rhythm; or glide along to a gentle waltz.
Lucy’s wonderful ripple bedspread – what a joy to behold! is worked in a 2, 4, 2, 2, 4, 2 repeat – I tried that out (the sample on the left)
But when I put that against ‘Summer Flight’ the swirls of the painting and the crocheted ripples looked too frenzied together – not cosy and relaxing. Do you agree?
So I tried a 2, 8, 2,2,8,2 repeat (the sample on the right)
This did not seem quite right either
Next experiment was with a 2, 7, 2,2, 7,2 repeat with some wider bands of colour to keep the energy of the pattern calmer – I think I’m getting close to the effect I’m after.
Just look at those neon colours leaping about on a dull day. (I won’t be using this colour combination for the throw, this will be a cushion cover)
Next I thought I would try out the wider bands in the 2, 8, 2, 2, 8, 2 repeat, for another cushion cover.
Multiples of 22 + 3. 3 times 22 + 3 = 69
Crumbs – I still want to try out another combo now – 2, 10, 2, 2, 10, 2 with the wide bands 3 rows wide rather than 4.
For this combination, x 3 is too big for a cushion cover, so I’m gonna go for it and make it throw size:
Multiples of 26 + 3. 6 times 26 + 3 = 159
So I will Ch 159 for the foundation row in the pale turquoise (aqua), exactly the same colour as the ‘frame’.
I will be on a train for nearly 3 hours tomorrow – perfect!!! I’ll be able to make a good start.
Buzzing with excitement!!!
After the slow business and concentration of learning the new skill of stone carving, Miss E thoroughly enjoyed working with clay and made this delightful leaping dolphin
Exploring a familiar medium in a different way
The dolphin was left to dry and the conversation turned to how the clay was used and stored etc, so Sarah showed Miss E how to recycle clay by smashing it with a hammer,
mixing it with water…………. and swidging it about
and then ..
which when held up to the light
gained magical halos where the paper had absorbed the water.
It was wonderful to watch this process unfold as E was supported by Sarah to explore things as they emerged, E always taking a next creative step with what she was doing.
can you see it?
and so a print was made.
For want of a printing press Granny’s great weight was used and because even that was not quite enough to make a decent print, I picked Elfie up and we jumped up and down on the board and … ta dah!
She now had a picture of a .. oh , it turned into a tiger prowling towards the viewer. E was down on her hands and knees demonstrating just how the tiger was moving …
The three of us were entirely absorbed for those two and a half hours of wonderful exploration – a very special time – and so lovely to be able to share it with you all.
Sarah runs workshops for all ages and family groups – tis a fabulous experience and makes a great present. Take a look at this website to find out more.
Have been wanting to start a new big crochet project and inspired by Lucy at Attic 24 who has put together a palette of colours on the Wool Warehouse and Deramores websites, I wanted to have a go at putting my own palette together.
The throw is to go on the futon that sits below ‘Summer Flight’.
So, how about using the same palette of colours.
I found the yarn in the Wool Warehouse
Stylecraft Special DK – Bright Pink (1435)
Stylecraft Special DK – Raspberry (1023)
Stylecraft Special DK – Magenta (1084)
Stylecraft Special DK – Fiesta (1257)
Stylecraft Special DK – Soft Peach (1240)
Stylecraft Special DK – Sunshine (1114)
Stylecraft Special DK – Citron (1263)
Stylecraft Special DK – Cream (1005)
Stylecraft Special DK – Turquoise (1068)
Stylecraft Special DK – Aspen (1422)
Stylecraft Special DK – Wisteria (1432)
Stylecraft Special DK – Teal (1062)
Stylecraft Special DK – Midnight (1011)
Stylecraft Special DK – Petrol (1708)
14 colours, and I hope to keep them in the same proportions as the painting, but we’ll see how it goes as I’m making it
Very excited about playing with different combinations of colours within the same palette.
I had such fun arranging them on the sofa – glee! is the word that comes to mind!
I also just had to add a brilliant orange colour
Stylecraft Special DK – Jaffa (1256)
Because I am also wanting to make some things in one of my favourite combos of pink and orange. With maybe a bit of purple and turquoise too – oooooh – I so LOVE that combo
makes me want to dance!!
E just loves Sarah’s studio and enjoyed looking at, and talking to Sarah about, different pieces there
and how to make shapes and marks on the stone.
She worked with a chisel and a mallet to make a carving of a shark leaping up over the edge of the piece of stone and then did some
Stone carving is hard work for a 6 year old but she worked for about 45 mins before needing a break.
She discovered that when you come across a fossilised shell in the stone the stone is harder to work.
We went down to sea to look at the rocks that had been broken by the storms and found fossils in them.
and found a warm sunny ledge to have our picnic lunch on and watch the fishermen
and do some knitting – the crocheted blanket was great charity shop find which lives at the hut and the knitting will be a jacket for Miss E.
It was a really special creative time at Granny’s Hut
Miss E also worked with clay – pictures of her creations to follow in another post.
Hurray for Spring sunshine!
and the Amelanchier in full bloom!
Don’t you just love that word – Amel …… anch …… eeeee …….errrrr.
I’m not even sure that’s how to say it, and I can never remember it, but it is a grand name.
With the white narcissi underneath, my garden seems to have a bridal feel to it at the moment.
I wonder what other delicate white flowers I could grow to flower at this time of year, any ideas?
I like the way the cerise cyclamen and bright pink and purple hyacinths of March gave way to this froth of white in April. It will change again into the pinks, oranges and blues of the summer planting. Totally unplanned, but I like it! Serendipity – yes!!!
Post script: I went for a walk round the village this evening, to look for other white flowers in bloom and came across some white muscari and white myosotis – they will join the bridal theme next year. Loving the theatre of it. I have never thought of playing with colour in the garden in this way before. Fun!
With stacks of black plastic pots stored in the garage, I was looking on Pinterest for ways of using them and came across living walls.
DIY is not my thing, or I would have made 3 or 5 shelves to go on an outside wall and arranged the pots on them, tilting them at a n angle and putting the largest ones in the middle, grading them down to the smaller ones at the ends.
But I do have some redundant fixings in a south facing wall.
I wired the pots together with plastic-coated green wire, putting a stick at the base (painted pink) of the largest pot, and threading through one of the drainage holes.
To reduce the weight in the large pot, I turned a small plastic pot upside down, before adding the compost.
then a second wire starting under the next pot and threading the 2 wires through all the pots all the way to the top.
The wires are twisted round the supports on the way up to prevent wind rock and to help spread the weight.
Ideally I’d the two rows to be hanging closer together, and have more of them, but that is where the supports are, and it does give me satisfaction to use what I’ve got and not take too long putting things together.
I couldn’t resist a bit of doodling!
And once I’d started ..
Later, after the risk of frost has gone, I’ll plant more ordinary strawberry plants in the larger, lower pots, and maybe some thyme.
This is an experiment – I don’t know if it will work but I will keep you posted.
Loving the white Narcissi the most, their scent ….. the scent of spring, caught here in the early morning light.
just look at that powder puff centre
I’ve been itching to write a post about the writing workshop I went to at Walford Mill in Wimborne, Dorset, led by Simon Olding and Sara Roberts. It was called ‘The Craft of Writing; Writing about Craft. 3 hours Fee: £35.
Writing has never come easily to me – at school, I would write something I was pleased with, only to get poor marks and hear other brilliant pieces read out in class. Those childhood memories can hang around to haunt us can’t they!
So I was a teeny bit nervous climbing up and up the wooden stairs to the Learning Loft
However, the atmosphere that Simon and Sarah created was friendly and non-threatening.
We were asked to think of two words to describe good writing about craft and after a discussion, one word to describe bad writing.
Some excellent examples of good writing were shown to us and after a coffee break, we were given an exercise to do.
We had 25 minutes to find and object or group of objects in the Gallery, for which to write a 50 word label.
The label was to be directed at a particular group of people of our own choice. We would then read out our descriptions and receive feedback from our tutors and fellow students.
I was so glad the time was tight and I had to make a quick decision on what to write about, otherwise that process alone could have taken me ages.
As always, I was drawn to textiles and a collection of Ceramic Patchwork by Zoe Hillyard
“Ceramic Patchwork to add zest to creative recycling. Doesn’t it just make you want to go home and smash a pot. Zoe offers a new relationship with the unloved and forgotten object. Where does this take you? Would you use different covering materials? Would you keep the original shape? Would you add collage and texture?
Zoe Hillyard – what will she do next?” (62 words)
The hardest part was to keep my words to 50, which some people managed to do exactly.
I was fascinated by this collection and am wondering about having a go myself, but mine would be much rougher and textural as nowadays I don’t have the patience for the amazing finish Zoe gives to her pieces.
Some of the other objects that my fellow students chose to write about were:
a fabric representation of fungi in decay
and some wildly whirling glass bowls by:
I was amazed at what we all managed to write in such a short time and I left feeling more confident than when I walked in.
So thank you Simon and Sara, I thoroughly enjoyed myself!
And Walford Mill is always worth a visit.
Yumsk! Those colours just make my heart sing!
After a taxing week I was SO looking forward to Saturday’s Felt Making Workshop led by, local artist, Di Pattinson.
There is something soothing and wonderful about a group of women crafting together, and every so often I just have to book a day for myself to have a go at a new textile related skill.
I first came across Di’s work some years ago during Dorset Arts Weeks, an almost overwhelming richness of Dorset Art on show for 2 weeks every 2 years. (It is about to happen again soon, in May, click on link above to go to the website)
The pictures above are of Di’s work – lots of variety to inspire.
The workshop was held in The Old School, Upwey, home to the Upwey Potters and next to Upwey Wishing Well Cafe and Water gardens (which by the way is for sale if any readers are looking for a quaint old English Tea Rooms steeped in history, magic and mystery) from which we could order delicious lunches, which were brought across to us.
Di has a very upbeat and encouraging, relaxed style of demonstrating and supporting her students, so that one does not feel pressured to achieve, anything goes and she has a mass of materials to choose from
I can’t seem to get enough of the hot pink, turquoise, orange, acid green, yellow combo – this obsession has been going on since the 1960s
Here I am aged 15 (ha!) the colours of the photo have faded a bit – but that dress was BRIGHT!!
note the Dr Scholl sandals – remember those?
I had a brief foray into terracotta and subtle greens in the 80s, but it did not last long.
Back to the felt – We started with a flat piece and I just threw it all together very quickly as I did not really want to think too much or have any finished object in mind – the day, for me, was about pure relaxation. Very much a Process Art approach, be drawn by a colour and go with where it takes you, and this meant I could dash off another piece before we stopped for lunch.
If ‘dash off’ can really describe the 400 rolls, back and forth, you need to do to get the wool fibres to felt together.
Others went for more subtle colouring (mine on the left) and produced some beautiful and fun pieces, which were left to dry on the radiator – some were destined for needle felting and/or other embellishments later.
I was still going for ..
adding tassels of knitting yarn to decorate
Here is my Ta Dah! moment.
I’m not sure what I will do with the flat pieces but no doubt embroidery and beads will be used. The first piece with circles I think I will cut into strips and machine embroider into a collage.
And the second – well I really like this one as it is – I might add a few beads and some simple embroidery but I’m pretty sure this one will go on the wall
Now, I wonder whether it would it sit comfortably next to Summer Flight
Still savouring Sunday, with more pictures from Sunday’s wonderful walk in the crisp, clear Spring sunshine.
wonderful to be up so high – the views from Hill Forts are always 360 degrees and magnificent on a clear day
view of Stourpaine as our walk takes us back to the village, wild violets were in flower and there was the promise of bluebells to come.
A walk around Stourpaine, a friend and I were walking the paths of our ancestors.
The larks were singing the sun was bright …
First we stopped off at Compton Abbas
this rhododendron was showing off magnificently
Victorian lych gate
a grumpy looking little ‘Thelwell’ pony
and then for a walk on Hod Hill …….
The sun is out and I’m wanting to wear bright colours and have them all around me!
it was iHanna who inspired me to wear turquoise nail varnish, and then I found all these other gorgeous colours too – yummy! Loving the combination of turquoise, orange and acid green.
The clothes above are floral print trousers from Landsend (last year), a Boden orange cardigan (a few years ago) and a T-shirt from, I can’t remember where. With bright pink shoes they all put a Spriiiiiiinnnnnnnggg in my step :-)
And these needlepoint daffodil squares are just the colours I want around me at the moment:
I created the pattern and these 16′ squares about 10 years ago, and they have been sitting in a roll waiting for me to do something with them. Crazy! Should they be framed as pictures or used as cushion covers – I know I am bad at making decisions but this is ridiculous!
AND I would like to be able to sell the charts for them – now where have I stored those things …
A Spring clean is needed – and SOON!
What a glorious day of sunshine we had yesterday.
I planted some gifted rhubarb plants, autumn fruiting raspberry canes, and managed to finish planting the snowdrops (over 200 altogether!). The neighbours were out in their garden too – chatting over the fence whilst both pottering in the sunshine is precious after a long winter of snatched hellos whilst dodging the wind and rain. And they kindly gave me some of their naturalised anemone blanda to put amongst the snowdrops.
I keep going back out and looking at all that potential for gorgeousness and imagining how this will look next Spring and even better the next when they bulk up a bit – ooooo! Exciting!
This seems to be turning into a blue and white themed border – I’m wondering what can go in there to continue this colour theme throughout the year.
Here were the crocuses the day before, bravely adding colour on a cold dull day
(They are in a pot, planted under a eucalyptus tree and have been joined by some self seeded flat leaf parsley)
and then the sun came out!
Some days go by and I feel I have done very little and then other days – like today, I feel full of energy having achieved much – it is no coincidence that the sun has been shining ALL day:
I woke early and cleared out some 150 or so emails from my Inbox – my how they increase when you are not on it! (up to just over 900, which is ridiculous!).
Finished off a knitted Hat Wig (or Wig Hat – which sounds better? hmmm?) with a 3 needle cast off, my new favourite finishing technique,
I rarely get up before doing a bit of knitting or crochet, with my first cuppa of the day – green tea.
Charged phone, lap top, and camera ready to go to a meeting at work (this is some work I do with groups of children) and set off for the weekly market in my local town to buy snowdrops ‘in the green’, and some wonderful local produce.
I bought 20 little bunches of snowdrops from a local grower
and he kindly threw in a few extra and some advice to plant them at least 5″ deep to prevent them from being dug up by mice and squirrels for a tasty snack.
And then to work – I was a bit earlier than I needed to be so I sat in the car listening to ’12 Years a Slave’ on BBC Radio 4. and carrying on with some knitting – I was so engrossed in both that I was nearly late for my meeting – oops!
I’ve come up with this kinda wavy pattern for the Flick Wig – it’s probably a well known pattern, but it pleases me because it is a cable that does not need a cable needle,
and it gives the wig a bit of texture and creates a snugger fit, which is especially important for chemo caps/hats/wigs.
A very productive meeting at work, and then back home to plant snowdrops in the sunshine
I am planting them in front of my new espalier pear trees – Concorde, Conference, Clapps Favourite and Baronne de Mello which I got from Thornhayes Nursery in Devon. They were planted in early December.
And in front of the snowdrops will be a mass of forget-me-knots, from the seeds I was given last year and grew in my fabulous Veg Trugs
The heart is made of poppy seedlings, the ‘kisses’ are black cornflowers, and the sprinkling around the edge is the forget-me-knots.
I love how the shapes grew
I planted the snowdrops with a little of my own home made compost to give them a good start – you can see the amazing whizzo black rotary compost maker in the background
There is very little that gives me more pleasure than using my own compost! It ticks so many boxes for me – using up waste (the hoarder in me LOVES this!), environmentally fabulous, creative, and just so magical how kitchen waste can turn into rich earth so quickly to give my food and flower plants such a good start. Heavenly bliss!!! My children roll their eyes at my glee and delight!!!
And now the sun is going down so it’s back inside for a currant bun, vanilla chai and a cosy log fire – and more knitting of course!
How was your day?
A little sea sprite danced into the Abu Dhabi creative meanderings
a frolic of shells!
In emails from home I knew my daughter was having a challenging time with her amazingly creative, energetic, frolicsome, imaginative, demanding, mischievous trio of joyful delight! At 6, 4 and 19mths, her children are delightful, and juggling the needs of the whole family can be exhausting!!!!
It was hard to be so far away and know how much she could have done with a helping hand. So I sent her this picture of the sea sprite to dance into her day and hopefully give her a boost of sunny playful energy……..
along with a little visualisation/meditation – so if anyone is feeling a bit lack lustre, or is feeling at the effect of the grim weather we have been having on both sides of the Atlantic – she is happy for me to share her visualisation just in case it helps:
Close your eyes, deep breath, I am sending you a dose of warm and healing sunshine.
Can you feel it all through every cell of your body, down to your tippy toes and tingling in your finger tips.
Add a hug of jacuzzi bubbles softening to the sound of gently lapping waves on white sands, with sparkles of joy and warm oceans of love ………….
feel a bit better?
Some more shell mandalas – they make me feel calm and creative, just looking at them – hope you like them too …
this one is simple but one of my favourites
it became the centre of a few more mandalas
i could spend days sorting, categorising, re-sorting and putting into size lines
this quote seems to sum up the zone I was able to get into on holiday
grr! I can’t remember where I saw this quote – it might have been on Quinn Creative, she comes up with such great quotes and comments about all sorts of aspects of creativity.
this happened .. which led me into other designs…
and they are for another day….
Hope you have some peaceful meandering creative time in your day or week.
Escaping from the relentless rain here in the south of England, I go over my pictures of the glorious sunshine of Abu Dhabi. I can take my self back there with this view from my bedroom
Join me in soaking up the sunshine,
wandering along the beach …
finding interesting pieces of coral – is that what this is?
the beach did not at first look promising for beach combing – one of my very favourite pastimes – but when I looked really closely
there were such delicate colours and beautiful fragments to be found ….
and eventually finding a few larger shells, I started to write names
I got into a lovely routine of wandering slowly along the beach first thing each morning and ……..
mandalas started to take over from knitting designs.. . . …
Such a grasshopper mind!
What is it about sorting and arranging that is SO pleasing and relaxing ……
A couple of years ago, I was hopping around the internet looking for knitting inspiration when I saw a picture of a knitted wig. I couldn’t find a pattern for it so I made one up myself. To get the pattern right I had knitted several wigs.
which we had fun with at Stonechat – but what to do with them – so i put them in my Etsy shop.
I had no idea what a wonderful journey this would take me on. The first to sell was the Daisy Wig, which was bought by a woman in America for her friend who was going through chemo and I was told “she absolutely went nuts for it!”
And since then I have had such heartwarming messages from people who have bought a wig and say it has cheered up an otherwise grim time for them and their families – other members of the family wanting to wear the wigs too!
And of course they still come in handy for fancy dress parties
This is my lovely daughter-in-law modelling the multi-coloured clown style wig, getting ready to go to a ‘Bright and Tight’ Fancy Dress party.
and I have come up with these bob-styles.
It has taken several attempts to get the shape right – and now to get the pattern perfect for others to follow …….
So that is what I was working on whilst putting my feet up in the Middle East
swapping our little .beach hut studio at dear old wind-battered Portland Bill (crumbs, have we had some storms in the UK this winter!) for a different ambience altogether.
You can see my new toy in the picture – an iPad – mainly bought so that I could work on the patterns on the beach!!!
So, at one point I was 4, 410 miles from home, on the beach, listening to English radio live on the iPad, whilst reading a Thomas Hardy novel downloaded for free onto the iPad and knitting wigs – surreal?
I love my life!!!!
This blog had been a bit quiet recently due to a little bit of hibernation followed by a self styled knitting retreat in Abu Dhabi – oh boy was it WONDERFUL to get some sun on my bones this winter:
My favourite knitting spot
I went for a fortnight – Now how much yarn would you pack for 14 days of virtually uninterrupted knitting
I went to stay with my brother-in-law who is working in Abu Dhabi. He was at work all day and I had the place to myself to work on my Hat Wig designs.
I thought I was taking so long to get new ones finished because I have so many other calls on my time at home, and a fortnight away would see a batch of new patterns ready to put in the Etsy Shop and on Ravelry. It turns out it just does take me AGES to finish writing a pattern. Ideas, creating designs, knitting new creations – easy, but actually getting them down on paper for others to follow – that is HARD work. If anyone has any tips or computer programmes that can help PLEASE let me know!!!
and that does take time of course, but it is the methodical, ordered, organised careful writing of knitting patterns that my grasshopper mind resists.
And then of course the view could be a bit distracting ……
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.
Stormy weather leading up to Christmas with lashings of wind and rain, fallen tress, power cuts and flooded roads … would we all be able to gather together as planned?Thankfully things calmed and on Christmas Eve my son, daughter-in-law, their twins and 3 year old were able to get here from London. They set off at 5am to be sure of missing further bad weather.
With 8 grandchildren under 7, and the babies now all toddling around, I had the (brilliant!) idea of hiring the village hall for a few hours where we all gathered for tea and the kids were able to race around and all play together without wrecking anyone’s house!
We had a great time, and Christmas Day passed without any fights over toys – a minor miracle – hope your Christams Day was all you wished it to be.
Everyone safely back in their own homes, then more storms and rain. AND we are forecast with more gale force winds again tonight.
So today a friend and I made the most of clear skies and glorious sunshine and went for a really Wonderful Winter Walk. Again we went to west Dorset. We parked at Powerstock Common and walked towards Toller Porcorum. The Latin name seems curious in deepest Dorset.
A short drive to lunch at The Crown at Uploders …delicious Watercress and Celeriac soup, with garlic bread
A time of shifts and changes – the longest night, the shortest day
- from now on the days get longer, the light returns. I am feeling such a sense of celebration and wonder – of the seasons turning in continuous motion – beautifully and symbolically represented in the ‘Never Ending Card’.
A Magical new discovery courtesy of my You Tube feed – find a tutorial and demo here .
I was looking for a break from yarn based activities and along comes a little bit of simple magic just in time to make a birthday card for a very dear friend
This one is 6″ square.
just had to make some more
This one is 4″ square
which are cut into 6″x 3″ and 4″x 2″ and will appear as Never Ending Cards soooon!
Sometimes I get obsessively fixed on a ‘thing’ and can’t let it go until it has worked itself out. It’s a WONDERFUL feeling! There have been the doodle weaves, (actually loads of different sorts of doodling), and the machine embroidered crazy patchwork, mandala making, knitted wigs, and daisies to name but a few …..
I am in the delicious grip of another obsession right now. AND I have felt a low level of inner critic muttering away at me, saying that these obsessions are somehow wrong – like an addiction and should be avoided or at least kept under control. Where has that inner critic come from? Was it school? Or was it in my childhood? Being the eldest of 4, I was expected to help, not sit in my room all day reading or drawing – getting lost in a story or the endless variations one could create with a Spirograph – my most treasured Christmas present, and first experience of a creative obsession.
I am currently obsessed by knitting little cream coloured pigs – ??/@*! – I know!
My friend likes all things white (or cream) – her house is a sunlit haven of whiteness – she also loves cuteness. We sometimes give each other silly presents at Christmas, so …. could I knit a couple of little pigs to join her Rose Swann collection …..
My toes curl at the horrendous commercialisation of the Winter Holidays and as I knitted the 8th little pig – I was trying to get the pattern right – I had the idea to give each of my 8 grandchildren (aged 1 – 6) a little white pig for Christmas. My thought is that as the years go by, I will make the same thing for each of the 8, every Christmas. This will link them together, link them to me and link each year. I hope to take a picture of them all together with the gifts so there is a record all those weird presents Granny gave them!
Because I am lucky enough to have so many grandchildren, each item will have to be quite small and quick to make – little white pigs fit the bill – (well we are a farming family, does that make it any less weird, probably not!).
The validity of this obsession grows as the next little pig lines up on the table. As I subtly adjust the pattern, each pig is subtly different, it has its own little character.
And then I watched a programme about Edmund de Waal.
He makes thousands and thousands of simple straight sided porcelain pots – mainly in white. It might seem a bit ridiculous to relate little knitted pigs to de Waal’s pots but the creative process is definitely related. I feel a kinship in the creative process – hurray!!! Repetition allows for a meditative atmosphere to develop, and in that rich ground other ideas creep in and grow and become – well poetic and meaningful and to me, beautiful!
Have I gone too far!!?? No! we creatives must celebrate the process and enjoy the fact that other people think we are crazy!
“He who can not hear the music, thinks the dancer is mad”
If you too would like to make some cute little pigs, I’ve put the pattern, with photos to help along the way, in my Etsy shop. £1 for an instant download PDF. (I’d love to see some pictures if you make one)
Are you too in the grip of any creative obsessions?
I’ve had some fun requests too which I can’t share with you yet – but hopefully when I have perfected to new designs I will be able to tell you all about it.
Looking forward to having a go at this!!
Using metallic paint on Tyvek and then an iron to distress it, you can get some great effects for Christmassy crafts or textile projects.
Here is the link to the You Tube Clip
The clip is 11 minutes long.
I have some Tyvek that I got from the Dorset Scrapstore, off to get some metallic paint. . .
Ravelry.com is an amazing source of all things knitting and crochet. You can find all manner of patterns on the site for free and to buy. I have a few patterns for sale on Ravelry and Etsy – and gosh it takes so much work to put a pattern together! I am working on several at the moment and they take SO much longer to get right than I ever imagined. Knitting and designing is the easy part – getting the pattern in a form that others can follow is another thing altogether.
I found a great pattern for a crocheted Hoodie on Ravelry. It didn’t work out quite as I wanted it and so I have adapted it and am offering it for free:
Click on this ‘Woodland Hoodie’ link for an instant free pdf of my version of the pattern:
183 Ravelers have already downloaded it – exciting!
THANK YOU!!!! to all of you who have put yourself on our MAP.
North America, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Australia ………
Click on word MAP above to see who has taken the time to put themselves on the Stonechat Visitors map. Thank you, thank you , thank you!!!!!
I met up with some old school friends for a nostalgic wander down memory lane, a walk in the wilds of West Dorset and a delicious pub lunch at The Three Horseshoes, Powerstock.
a voluptuous oak tree
and walked a disused railway line
the smell of autumn in the air
West Dorset has a feeling of the land that time forgot and it is where my paternal ancestors come from. I most probably share DNA with the Iron Age inhabitants of the nearby Pilsdon Pen – a cosy, rooted feeling.at the end of the walk the sun tried to squeeze through
Bliss. . . .
This is my third iHanna Post Card Swap.
I LOVE making all these wonderful creative connections across the world. During your visit to this blog, it would be fabulous if you would be able to take the time to put yourself on our Map. It is fun to see where everyone comes from.
Here are the cards I have sent this year – all made from A1 size collages cut to post card size and further embellished with doodles, paint and washi tape.
Go over to Hanna’s blog and see all the links to all the other fabulous swappers, truly inspirational!
It was my birthday on Monday! I had SUCH a wonderful time. Friends and family gathered for a disco in the village hall – just like the ’70s. And I danced all night to all the old favourites – PERFECT!!!
My son made a wonderful speech and we had a couple of brilliant jives together. My daughter did a STELLAR job of welcoming everyone with a drink and then persuading even the most reluctant ones onto the dance floor. And a dear friend made a lemon drizzle cake sparkling with edible glitter and champagne-bottle-shaped candles.
There are no photos of the party as it is usually me who takes them – and then, often, I seem to only experience gatherings with a photographers eye, looking for nice shots of people and things – I decided I just wanted to party and don’t regret it one bit – I’m loving all the images of crazy dancing and laughing friends that are in my memory bank of smiling happy faces.
So I am including pics of some of the lovely cards and presents I was given (the camellias above centre, painted by my friend Anne, who gave me the card)
One of my sisters had JUST (supreme effort to make it to the party) returned from Abu Dhabi and brought back this AMAZING presentation box of the MOST glorious selection of dickered-up dates (I LURVE dates!!!)
the photo doesn’t really do them justice – they are amaZING!!!!!
Heaven in a box……
……and the box is fabulous with a magnetic clasp – just right for storing knitting needles in me thinks.
The ‘put on your dancing shoes and party’ card was from my other sister who sadly couldn’t make it to the party as she is head down studying for a degree in Homeopathy – so Monday night not a good one when she lives 3 hours away.
Quite a few notepads came my way – which is great because I need them all over the place so that I remember moments of inspiration AND tasks I need to complete – if I don’t write them down, I’ll never remember anything – my contemporaries obviously understand this!! I’m particularly intrigued by the ‘mousepad notepad’ lots of gorgeous patterns to be recycled as collage material once they’ve served as mousepad AND notepad – ingenious. Designer: Amy Butler
And I can highly recommend the CD, Kenosis, made by a friend and neighbour…
My daughter, as well as being life and soul of the party, gave me a wonderful momento of our very special Pembrokeshire holiday.
I had mentioned , just in passing, when we were in Solva that I had an ‘I love Newgale’ mug and must look out for an ‘I love Solva’ one.
So I danced my feet off to the good old sounds of the 60s, 70s and 80s, surrounded by friends and family – what a great birthday – ‘Celebrate Good Times Come on!!!!!!’.
Huge thanks to one and all for making it so special.