18/10/2014 § 1 Comment
Last week, I escaped for a whole afternoon, caught the train to Southampton and took my place amongst the audience at the Mayflower Theatre, and totally lost myself in the story of an eccentric toymaker, Dr Coppelius, and his dancing doll.
Delibes’ magical, melodic score brought the dancers to life and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed myself.
I’ve booked another treat for the New Year – the Russian State Ballet are visiting for one performance only and I’m going to be there!
Enjoy the weekend.
12/10/2014 § 7 Comments
Those yarncakes that I wound a few weeks ago on our return from west Wales couldn’t wait to be cast onto my needles. Many a happy evening have I knitted along and I’m thrilled with my Shetland wool shawl, from a flock of sheep near Newcastle Emlyn.
I made the shawl especially to be worn over my favourite vintage wool coat made from Welsh tapestry (I have several of these coats) and I love them all. This one though is the longest and comes right down to my knees. I’m hoping that the weather at the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market will be crisp – and dry! I know I’m going to need to layer up to keep warm through the long days in my log cabin and there’s nothing like layers of wool to keep out the cold.
This morning I found the perfect clasp – a vintage belt buckle that after a few adjustments is perfect. The stones pick up the colours of the coat and I love the filigree effect on the textured wool.
I didn’t use a pattern for my shawl but did find a tutorial online that I can’t for the life of me find now, but it involved casting on 2 stitches, knitting 6 rows and then doing something complicated that ended up with 7 stitches. Anyway, off I went increasing in the middle and at either end, adding in a row of k1, psso for a bit of interest every so often before I found another stitch that I think is called Textured Stocking Stitch. It’s SO easy. Every knit row simply s1 purlwise, k1, yo needle then psso. It creates a lovely long textured stitch pattern and it’s easy to work out how to keep the pattern in line as the stitches seem to fall into pairs ready for the next knit row to be worked (if you see what I mean). Every other row is purled.
The original triangular shawl didn’t ‘do it’ for me so I added in a garter stitch collar to match the border, and worked a wide panel on one side (no pattern, it just sort of happened this way), but I love the shaped effect, creating a shoulder. I always wanted to wear it with the centre point off-centre at the back and this does the trick.
I’m not an expert knitter but love making up textures and seeing something that I have in my head taking shape on my needles.
What do you think? I’m going to pop over to Handmade Monday where I used to be a regular visitor so I’m off to see what everyone’s been making and I’m in for one bit catch-up!
07/10/2014 § Leave a comment
Way back in the late Spring, I met someone who had a very special project in mind – Memory Quilts. We arranged to meet and I’d asked her to bring along some of the fabrics – I admit to gasping a little when her car boot was opened and tubs of baby clothes lurked within! I love making quilts – and this lady had a wealth of memories wrapped up in these fabrics so I accepted the commission and four quilts were poured over and created. Here they are …
I’ll do a post about especially about making Memory Quilts one day as the processes involved in creating them are very different from making ‘normal’ quilts. It’s a privilege to be trusted with so many special fabrics that hold someone’s personal memories and sometimes the fabrics are far more difficult to work with than usual patchwork cottons but the end result is a unique journey – for both the commissioner and the quilter.
Here’s what Catherine, commissioner of 4 Happy Memories Quilts, has to say:‘I am leaving a belated and whopping THANK YOU for my beautiful 4 commissioned quilts. You know how much I adore them all and that I cried when you gave me every one of them. For you to finish 4 huge quilts in a very short time frame that I gave you was simply astounding. You realised my dream of memory quilts made from the weirdest bits and pieces of fabric that other quilters would not touch with a barge pole, let alone a needle!
You took on this simply mahoosive project during a particularly difficult time for yourself and never once wavered in your determination to do the most amazing justice to all of the beautiful clothing. Your finished quilts with their personalised embroideries were so gorgeous and mine took pride of place on the wall at my recent wedding. Everyone who has seen them has said how amazing they are and now friends are collecting clothing rather than selling it on.
I always wanted to be able to see the beautiful childhood memories and not have them stuffed up in the loft. What you have made for us has surpassed every vision I had and given me the chance to move on with my life and keep my memories in my quilt.
The twins had theirs for their 18th birthdays and my daughter has taken a little bit of home off to university. I could wax lyrical about you all day Val. I have come to know you well and consider you to be a great friend – kindred spirits perhaps. My love and thanks always.’ Catherine. ‘Thank You so much for your kind words. It was my pleasure. I loved making each one.
Wishing you all many more – Happy Memories’. Adaliza x
02/10/2014 § Leave a comment
It’s been one of those weeks.
Since returning from Wales and riding that little horse, things seem to be running a bit out of sync here. Himself has had an accident on his bike – a whizzy electric bike that means he can get around town without using the car. As accidents go, it didn’t seem too bad at the time and nobody else was involved but he toppled over and is SO badly bruised – absolutely black and purple, not even black and blue at this stage and it’s been a week. His leg looks like something from a horror movie.
Other messy property stuff to deal with has meant that we’ve been quite pre-occupied and I haven’t felt much like creating anything. Isn’t it strange how that creative vibe disappears if body and soul are not calm. My usual sewing times have been interrupted, I don’t seem to have time to design and I haven’t finished a quilt for 2 weeks.
I’m hoping that yesterday evening was a turning point though. I rather excitedly drove off to Medstead WI to give a talk all about Patchwork & Quilting – my style. What a wonderful evening – I hope the members of the group enjoyed it as much as I did – such lovely people to meet and chat to. I took along about 30 quilts with me and talked to my presentation that had SO many photos of quilts! Thank you for a lovely evening, Medstead and especially to the lady who helped me out with a dilemma.
I took along half-finished quilt along to show what a quilt sandwich looks like. These fabrics have been worked up into a fairly complex patchwork and I couldn’t think of a name for the quilt. Usually, as I complete larger quilts, they sort of name themselves. This one has been nameless – until last night. “Vintage Violet” was suggested and it fits perfectly.
So I shall attempt to rediscover my mojo today, as October sweeps Autumn’s cloak of gold across the trees, and get on with quilting Vintage Violet ready for the Retro Market in Winchester on Sunday.
Do you love the Autumn? I’ve always thought it’s my favourite season, but this summer may just have changed my mind! I’d love to know your thoughts.
26/09/2014 § 2 Comments
and more expertly ridden by my daughter …
I had an amazing day out yesterday, with the pretty Welsh cob shared by my daughter. What a wonderful little horse. With curry comb in hand and polo mints in pocket, I relived all of my youth and happiest days, messing around at the stables and finally having a walk and trot around the school myself. I never thought I’d ride again but once in the saddle, that magical view of the world between a horse’s ears, completely made my day.
Thank you, Thank you – C & S xxx
20/09/2014 § 3 Comments
We have, on many occasions, stayed at the Nantbrenni Farmhouse in Rhydlewis for bed and breakfast. It’s always wonderful to return and this time we stayed in the Old House Cottage – a self-contained 3 bedroom cottage off the old farmyard. The weather was gorgeous and we breakfasted on the sun terrace overlooking the Ceri Valley every morning. The cottage was beautiful, comfortable and cosy. I enjoyed early morning walks around the ponds with the girls whilst watching Red Kites swirling overhead. We walked the girls on local beaches and enjoyed some great times with Dad and village friends.
I love old farm buildings. The refurbished cottage and newly converted Stable Cottage are amazing, beautiful stone built buildings, open right up to the beams – light and airy. The farmyard also has many original buildings with those traditional carvings and good luck symbols left by previous generations:
Did you know that you can tell exactly which hoof a horseshoe was worn on? Hind shoes are more oval than the rounded front shoes. If you lay the shoe flat, with the toe clip uppermost, there are usually more nail holes on one side of the shoe and that’s the outer edge – so, it’s easy to identify the precise hoof – front or hind :: off or nearside. I love old horseshoes on stable doors. I have horseshoes tucked all around our home, from the horses that I’ve owned over the years – Prince, Cinderella and Storm.
So now we’re back ‘home’ where we enjoyed a quacky welcome from Flora Puddleduck and as ever, I’m feeling a little homesick about leaving Wales. It takes me a few days to settle down again into my daily routine – quilting, dog walking, cooking – so today I started with mooch around the garden and some yarn-winding:
I couldn’t resist this Shetland wool, from the farmer who keeps the sheep! That’s just the best thing about country markets – meeting the people who make/grow/spin the products. Yarn winding was an easy early morning job, to ease me back into being at home whilst remembering our jaunt. I’m not sure what to make – the yarn is described as ‘light aran weight’ but I reckon it’ll end up as a huge and very warm shawl/scarf to keep me snug at the Christmas Market at Winchester Cathedral in November/December.
The garden is still blooming though I’ve long since given up trying to keep up with the weeds. They’re all dying back now anyway so I’ll just mooch and enjoy some late summer blooms:
I hope you’ve had a lovely week too. I picked some sloes when we walked the dogs earlier, so I’d had better wash some jars and start my favourite Spiced Sloe and Apple Jelly. Enjoy your weekend.