Friday, August 29, 2008

29 August: Lucky, lucky, lucky!

No, not a Lotto win, but the next best thing.

I have been sent an entry coupon for a Free Prize Draw to win a FREE Mobility scooter.

The blurb lists lots of exciting benefits, none of which seem to mention an inability to walk, indeed one of the plus features is that it goes into the boot of your car (perhaps not my car, which is very small). Also I could "travel anywhere you like", with the possible exception of footpaths with stiles, and "Go on trips or a holiday".

Actually, that's just what I am about to do, though with a pair of trainers, a rucksack, and my cycle helmet, not a Mobility scooter.

Monday, August 25, 2008

24 August: Day out in York

We went to York to see the exhibition at the Quilt Museum - very interesting to see some recent quilts. And the building is sensational!

No photography allowed. Over coffee we discussed which quilts we liked best; both of us really admired Future Beaches by Kathy Unwin, a beautiful balance of design, technique, and meaning. Then DH liked the simple red and yellow Welsh quilt, and the extremely intricately embroidered Pawnbroker's Crazy Coverlet; while I was drawn to the black and white Broken Images by Maggie Davies, and loved Gwenfai Rees Griffiths' Harlequin, with its interpretation of Amish colours and layout.

Then we went to see the Treasurer's House, a NT property. Again, no photography in the house, but there is also a lovely garden - here, the house is on the left, and the scaffolding is on the Minster next door -

This path with its alley of trees was particularly attractive -

And the cobbles caught my eye -

Then we walked into the streets, intending to explore the city a little. But it was so crowded and noisy, and so many people smoking in the streets, that it was really unpleasant. We perched on a barrier in front of a church to eat our sandwiches (all seats either full or covered with spilt ice cream), then almost came straight home again. But earlier we had seen people walking along a section of the city walls, and decided to climb up and walk round.

That made a third interesting element to the day. The view of the city, houses and gardens was different, it was not crowded, and we had a pleasant walk all the way round. Where we had to come down and walk on the road across one section, I snapped the wall itself -

As we completed our circuit, the raised position gave another view of the Minster -

And there were only a few spots of rain, once. A grand day out!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

23 August: Felt bag

The other item that was felted with the hat/bowl in the previous picture was a bag. This was intended for felting from the start, though.

I decided to finish it on Thursday, to take to the Guild workshop morning. I'd got a zip for it earlier in the week, so I sat down to sew the zip in after breakfast. Brain not properly engaged, so it took 2 attempts to get the zip sewn in properly. Then I found some beads that match the colour really well, and made a pull for the zip.

It's a good size, and the felted fabric is thick and firm. Great colour. Very satisfactory.

Monday, August 18, 2008

18 August: Weather necessitates knitting

There's been so much rain in the past week or so that it's been uninviting to go out. Apart from a sortie into Durham to knit with some on-line friends at the Botanic Garden*, when it was dry for long enough to have a bit of a walk too, I haven't felt like going out.

And talking of felt, I knitted a hat recently that was too big when it was finished. As I was felting another project (not yet finished, so there's no picture of that one yet), I threw the large hat into the washing machine too. It is now a nice felt bowl. Here it is on the window-sill -

And on the kitchen table -

The bag of leftover sock yarn is a little emptier now too; here are the latest 2 to be finished -

And with a view of the heels as well - you will notice that they match! -

Yesterday was supposed to be dry, and we'd hoped to go for a walk, but the gloom was interspersed with savage showers, so I cast on a scarf. I must have soggy brain cells, because I mis-read the stitch pattern and cast on the wrong number of stitches, then I mis-read it a different way, and got the spacing all wrong. Then I discovered that I was actually knitting something not quite the same as what I thought I was reading, and that explained why it was all skewiff. So, after pulling it out at least 5 times, I finally got it started properly.

I don't think I like it in that yarn.

*Edit: in the Botanic Garden's cafe.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

13 August: Sunderland relocating?

OK, this "summer" is a bit of a joke. But the right wing think tank that has come up with the idea of shifting the populations of Liverpool and Sunderland to the South has written the best comedy script of the silly season.

Their pals in the construction industry will put up some shacks and all those poor underprivileged Northerners can then improve their prospects by moving south. Oxford and Cambridge were mentioned as possible towns to receive the influx (not Henley, Guildford, or Tunbridge Wells, naturally). Thank heavens they never suggested Basingstoke.

Yes, let's cram millions more people and their 4x4s into already over-crowded towns and roads, building yet more houses on land which is likely to be under water within 30 years (global warming, rising sea level, flooding London - remember that story?), houses that would cost at least twice as much as a house in Sunderland (somehow I don't think these new houses would be local authority estates). Let's shift all those people with flat caps and whippets, with their close-knit extended families, and pigeon crees, into civilised, forward-looking parts of the country.

What's that? Some of the northern natives might not want to live in the south?

Unless it's Spain or France, of course.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

10 August: Yet more socks - and a rug

After knitting socks for some time, I had a bag full of small balls of left-over sock yarn, in many different colourways. Never one to let anything useful go to waste, I have used some of these to make some odd socks -

As they will never match anything, this is their main feature. They will go into the sock drawer, and a random 2 will be taken out to wear. If I like them enough, I may never knit a matching pair of socks again.

And on the theme of never letting anything useful go to waste, there has been a box of rug yarn in my possession for the last ooh, 30 to 35 years. There was also a certain amount of the same yarn in my mother's belongings when she died in August 1983.

Last week I wove most of it into a small rug on my peg loom, a very low-tech affair consisting of nylon pegs and a length of 3" by 2" wood. I used 5 strands of the yarn together, to mix up the colours and to produce a squishily thick and soft rug.

It's about 29 inches long and 25 inches wide, and the cat has already selected it for a favourite place to lie.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

7 August: Out for a walk

I've just been reminded why I dislike walking in a group.

Lovely bright sunny morning, though a bit humid from yesterday's rain, but pleasant for a walk round a favourite local circuit. A dog walker uttered the normal "Morning" as we passed each other. Then on the narrow path with wet undergrowth on each side, there was a party of middle-aged ramblers. All the gear, big boots, thick woolly socks, rucksacks and walking sticks. Two abreast, filling the entire path. Nobody glanced up from the earnest contemplation of the ground and the conversation, until I was forced to stop to avoid a collision. Then they looked at me as if I had landed from Outer Space, and passed by without even a smile, let alone a friendly greeting. (And no shorts were involved.)

Group walking means ambling along slowly, chatting all the time, and not noticing a thing you pass. Whereas I prefer to stop and look, or otherwise walk fast enough to enjoy the air and exercise.

This morning it seemed autumn is just around the corner. The buddleias are peaking, rowan berries turning orange, elderberries starting to colour, a few ripe blackberries, and some horse chestnut leaves are starting to turn.

Part of the rape seed harvest is in -

And the martins are gathering -

In the hedge was this old gatepost, unused for many years but still standing -

Old and disintegrating, but still interesting.

Monday, August 04, 2008

4 August: Now on the needles

While waiting for the radiator in my workroom to stop dripping, I knitted nearly a whole sock. I also contemplated the fact that the kitchen ceiling is a funny colour where the drips have ended up, and felt pleased that I didn't paint the ceiling when I painted the kitchen walls. Because it would have been wasted.

Then I cast on the project I've been planning for a while - a stranded waistcoat.

This key pattern was used for the felted bag I made in March, and I wanted to use it again. It's not often that I repeat myself in knitting, but it's a very satisfying pattern to knit, and I like the effect of the varied green shades with the black.

Here it is at the point where the ribbing is done, and half the first pattern repeat. I did a few more rows while sitting in the garden this afternoon. Then the British Gas man came to repair the radiator, so I couldn't carry on with it.

It needs looking at (and some counting) while knitting, so it may not be possible to knit this and watch TV (New Tricks tonight); another sock may be on the agenda.

Yes, that pencil sketch in the bottom right hand corner is my pattern for the garment shape. Very hi-tec, this knitting stuff.

Friday, August 01, 2008

1 August: Cumbria

We've been meaning to visit Acorn Bank garden near Temple Sowerby for ages. A couple of times the weather has turned nasty, and we've gone somewhere else. But today, we got there.

The house is not open; parts have been turned into holiday apartments. But you pass the front of the house to reach the garden. And the tea room (the scones are recommended).

The walled gardens are in 3 parts - the orchard, the herb garden, and the well garden. This is the well garden -

And this attractive gate was at the end of the herb garden -

There are woodland walks; they were closed today, because the overnight rain had caused the beck to wash away part of the path. This is what the beck looked like down by the water-mill -

After all these outings this week, there may be a period of lying in a darkened room.
Perhaps with a bit of knitting.