Archive for February, 2009

Quilters Day At The Fairground

February 21, 2009

Last Saturday was the “Quilters Day At The Fairground” in Andover, Wiltshire, UK.  It’s held on the 2nd Saturday in February and I think this was the third year.  This year it was a demo & dabble from 10 stalls in the morning, followed by a talk from Fay Maxwell after lunch.  I managed to have a ‘dabble’ at fusing fabric with Margaret Beal (the author of the fusing fabric book I got for my birthday) and made a lovely simple greetings card.  I also had a play with slashing fabric in grids with Fay Maxwell, who’s work I have been admiring for a couple of years now.  There were demos on beading, felting, lutrador, fabric notebook covers and how to make a pincushion ring out of a bottle top. 

I will post pics of my dabbles but unfortunately my camera is still not working. 

Fay Maxwell’s talk in the afternoon was really inspiring, she has been doing embroidery and textile work for many years and loves to combine traditional techniques with modern colours and fabrics.  She mixes stitches from India, with traditional applique and then makes it all in modern colours that go with her home.  She passed round at least 30 examples of her work as she talked and they were all really wonderful.  I just wish I could do something like it as my job!!

Mostly this week I’ve been knitting hats – another poppy 1920s style hat for Nic and a baby beanie for a colleague’s little girl to put on her doll.  I had a cold at the start of the week and didn’t feel like knitting so I dug out a cross stitch of a flower fairy that I had started about 5 years ago and finished all the back stitch outlining on it. 

Yesterday I took the day off work to try to catch up on my sketching homework – we have been told to find a subject for a still life that we will use for 4 lessons so I really wanted to find something that I could draw for that long.  Usually when the tutor says “draw whatever you like” I pick something really stupid to draw – before Christmas I tried drawing a holly wreath.  Do NOT try this at home! It’s so difficult, for starters the edge of a holly leaf is actually very pale in comparison to the rest of the leaf so almost as soon as you have drawn a line it is wrong.  (unless you are drawing in white on black paper!).  I popped over to mum’s for some inspiration and have borrowed a few seashells from various holidays that are proving to be my best choice ever.  So I spent most of the day yesterday sketching sea shells.

Did I tell you that Nic has set up an Etsy shop? It’s called Bellebuttons and I am now the proud owner of a pink/purple button bracelet and matching brooch (which lives on my poppy hat).  Go look, and buy her bracelets, rings and brooches. They are all beautiful!!
Talking of buttons – it sounds like the film of Coraline is amazing but I’m so peeved that it’s not out in the UK until MAY!!!! In the meantime Tikabelle has written a pattern so that people can knit the gloves that Coraline wears in the film, apparently ;o(

Books – remember I bought 3 books two weeks ago? Well I’ve read them all now. The Ninth Stone was a real victorian adventure pageturner. It’s set in London and Bombay in the late 18th Century and tells the story of Sarah a young ragamuffin who is given a job at a newspaper office. The descriptions of London and the East End are compelling and I almost couldn’t put it down. It’s a tale of murder, mystery with an Eastern twist and reminded me a lot of Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart stories.

Embers is almost a monologue by one elderly man thinking about and discussing his life with his best friend as they are reunited after 41 years apart.

Nada is the story of a young girl who stays with family in Barcelona so that she can study at University. It is the most disfunctional family you can imagine and reflects the state of Spain just after the Civil War. It’s a very twisted and dark story and at times I really couldn’t see where it was going. All three were good and very different from each other, I think I enjoyed the Ninth Stone the best because I could look up the streets in London and imagine myself there with Sarah. Next time I go to visit I shall look for Amen Corner opposite St Paul’s Cathedral and wander up Paternoster Row. I shall avoid Temple Pier as that is were one character met his end…..

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3 for 2

February 7, 2009

Was suckered in by a 3 for 2 offer in a bookshop today. Not that I don’t have a dozen books to read already but there you go, you can never have too many books!!!
I got:

embers Embers by Sandor Marai. A story of two men who were inseparable friends in their youth meet again in the 1930s in a castle at the foot of the Carpathian mountains. 
Nada by Carmen Laforet. A story about a young girl who travels to Barcelona during it’s post Civil war era to study and stay with her strange relatives. nada
ninthstone The Ninth Stone by Kylie Fitzpatrick. A victorian mystery set in London and India, involving diamonds and dangerous cults. I’ve started reading this one and I’m drawn into the 1864 world already. It only took 4 pages.

I’ll let you know whether they are any good or not, I’m hoping to read a lot of the Ninth Stone tomorrow as the weather is going to be cold and snowy AGAIN.  Soooooo bored of snow now.

Clapotis photos!

February 7, 2009

Aren’t these colours wonderful?  It’s a picture of the Clapotis I knitted whilst off work for 12 days over Christmas.  It’s made of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn and I love it, it’s so bright and cheerful.  Mum washed and blocked it for me and it’s now much softer and doesn’t want to curl up at all.

Here’s another picture of it draped out of my window.  It’s the only way I could get enough light to take a picture as the flash on my camera is not working at the moment.
Talking of Christmas this is a patchwork bag that my mum made me as a present.  It’s really lovely and is a really useful sort of bucket shape, it’s my current favourite for carrying my latest knitting project around.  She’s made one for herself so now we have matching bags and claptotis.  ;o).

It’s not my usual colours but it’s nice to have something that isn’t.  And it goes beautifully with my Autumn scarf/hat set. 

This is the birthday card I made for mum last week.  It is layers of organza and sheer fabrics on a background of synthetic black felt bonded together using my soldering iron.  I made marks on it with a circular metal template and then cut it with the iron into strips. I wove the strips together and bonded each cross over with the soldering iron.  Then just for good measure I added some embellishment with beads and lazy daisy stitch.  Good old double-sided sticky tape a la Blue Peter stuck it to a card blank.  Voila, a card for mum!

Also this week I’ve been making progress on my Lacy Tea Top, it’s now about 8 inches long, I even took it to the local Arts Centre for Big Band Brunch – this is a monthly lunch with Jazz and is a wonderful way to pass two hours on a Saunday!

Last night I cast on a new hat pattern I found.  This week in the UK we have had unheard of amounts of snow -I don’t think we’ve had this much snowfall since I was born. As a consequence of this I’ve realised that I need a hat that is a little longer to keep my ears warm and so prevent there being a cold gap between my hat and scarf.  I wanted to knit a hat with a sort of 1920s Flapper feel to it, sort of a cloche hat but knitted.  I found the Poppy pattern on Ravelry by Justjussi and it was exactly what I wanted.  It’s knit straight using short row shaping to knit the segments and then you pick up stitches all around to knit the ribbed edge which has a small overlap that you fix into place with a button or some other embellishment.  Mine is knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK in a wonderful bright purple and so far it’s going well.  I knit the 6 segments last night and am now just knitting the rib.  I will probably knit a longer rib than is suggested for the aforementioned ear-coverage! I did increase the size of the pattern slightly as it’s designed for babies but I think it’s worked well and I really like the construction. I hope I finish it today as there’s more snow forecast for tomorrow……