Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Columbus Day & Frome

October 18, 2013

Hello is there anyone there?

I know I’ve been away for months so you have probably all given up on me and gone home. I’m sorry I haven’t written since January, there have been a few reasons why but the main reason was that my archaic laptop just couldn’t cope with anything and I got fed up with it taking an eternity to do anything. To be fair, it has been very reliable but it’s just too old, I got it in 2004 which makes it about a hundred in technology years.

So finally in September I sorted my life out and ordered a new laptop which arrived this week, and you won’t believe how happy I am with it. It’s like Christmas and my birthday all at once!

It’s become a tradition that I take this week in October off work to do crafty things.  I go to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace on the Sunday and then spend the week making things while I’m still in a creative mind space.

Ally Pally was as inspiring as ever, even though the weather was horrendous, and I bought some wool, fabric, lace zips, ribbon and spent the coach trip knitting socks.

On Monday I celebrated Columbus Day in the same manner as they did on The Big Bang Theory (series 3 episode 4) because I thought it was a fun idea.  I watched 4 films directed, written or produced by Chris Columbus and ate pizza.  It was brilliant, the films I chose were:

The Goonies – awesome and one of my all time favourite films.  Watching it always brings back memories of seeing it in the cinema when it was first released and seeing Jeff Cohen (Chunk) interviewed by Terry Wogan and talking about the Truffle Shuffle.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone -my favourite because it’s the first time we see all the little details of the wizarding world. Diagon Alley, wizard chess, chocolate frogs, Quidditch and I love it when Harry goes to Ollivander’s for his wand.  Also, I love the soundtrack by John Williams.

Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief – reminds me of my job at Ottakar’s when I first read this book.  It’s a good adventure and I really enjoyed it.  I can’t wait to see the sequel.

Fantastic Four – chosen predominantly because it has Chris Evans (the sexy one not the ginger one from Radio Two) in and I like looking at him and because it’s a good hero action film.

The Columbus day marathon started at 1pm and we finished watching HP1 at 10.30pm which was the best film to finish on!

In Country Living (November 2013 issue) I read that Mary Kilvert had opened a shop for her sheep designs on Catherine’s Hill which is one of my most favourite crafty streets.  It’s a lovely cobbled hill in Frome, Somerset and it’s full of crafty, artistic shops.

St Catherine's

Clockwise from top left: spiral staircase, Herbs On The Hill, counter in Make And Mend Vintage, St Catherine’s sign, inside The Garden Cafe.

We had a wonderful lunch in The Garden Cafe (brie, cranberry and celery toastie and lentil & spinach soup) which is an eclectic cafe at the bottom of Stony Street that sells artisan bread and organic veg.  As the name suggests it has a nice garden and they even supply blankets and throws so you can sit in it when it’s a bit chilly.

Frome craftiness

Clockwise from top left: Marmalade Yarns, Frome flag holder (or possible Christmas Tree holder as we saw a few of them), Millie Moon, haberdashery section of Millie Moon, Hunting Raven Books, lovely autumn foliage.

Then after lunch it was down to the main reason for our visit, all the lovely shops in St Catherine’s.  I bought a 5 inch charm pack of Moda Road 15 fabrics from Millie Moon Haberdashery Boutique & Sewing School and a fat quarter that looked like a map of Manhattan.  I don’t need more fabric but I just couldn’t resist the Road 15 fabrics.  I plan to just sew the 42 squares together in a 6×7 rectangle and make a hanging of them, nothing too complicated or I won’t get it made!!

We had a look in Marmalade Yarns but didn’t buy anything as mum and I had both bought yarn on Sunday.  The lady that runs it is really nice, last time we were in she recommended a wonderful local butchers that sells Tomato Sausages just like mum used to get in Lancashire when she was little.

And then we found Mary Kilvert’s shop at the top of Catherine’s Hill, it’s a lovely shop and her husband was really helpful and friendly.  Mary was apparently preparing lots of stock for the Country Living Fair in London at the end of the month so we didn’t see her.  But we did get a card of her Colourful Sheep that mum wants to frame.

The last shop we found was Hunting Raven Books on Cheap Street, it’s a wonderful independent bookshop, with a brilliant Children’s department.  I always judge a bookshop on the children’s and craft sections and Hunting Raven did not disappoint.  It’s tiny but is absolutely crammed with shelves and books and obviously has a someone who loves books doing the ordering.

It was a really lovely day and I must remember not to leave it so long before we go again!!  (and I won’t leave it so long to blog again!!)


July is on the way….

July 21, 2012

I have finally created my July Calendar page but I haven’t taken photos of it yet. I only made it last Sunday so I’m well and truly late this month.  But at least I did finish it during the month. I’m not thinking about what to do for August so that I’m not late again.

Work is not great at the moment and it’s sapping my creative energy big time. I have got knitting group tomorrow and I’m hoping that I’ll feel more like making things while the sun is shining.

I am reading tonnes though and bought 25 second hand books today, mostly Agatha Christies as they are perfect reading for my tired brain at the moment.

I’ll try to post pics of July page tomorrow.

Crafty goodies

June 23, 2012

I haven’t done much playing with paint this month since my calendar page, the lack of sunshine seems to be really affecting my creative mojo. I have part knitted 3 socks and they are all up to the cuff now.
I did receive some fab crafty goodies for my birthday at the start of the month, including the wonderful Cloth Paper Scissors book and Mixed Media Explorations by Beryl Taylor.  Both are really inspiring and full of techniques I want to try.  I also got 3 back issues of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine including the Jan/Feb 2012 one that has the word birds by Ann Ellis that Kate Crane made here.
Mum and I took a trip to London and went to visit Blade Rubber Stamps near the British Museum. It’s a lovely shop filled with loads of stamps, inks etc but most of all I loved the fact that they have loads of inspiring magazines that I can only get by mail and I so much prefer to have a flick through before I buy a magazine! I just wish I lived closer as I’d love to go and do a workshop there. We also visited Liberty’s and oooo’ed and ahhh’ed over the haberdashery, yarn, fabric and the Manolo Blahnik shoes!!

I have bought myself a small “kraft A5 landscape  scrapbook” from Paperchase, as a cheaper alternative to a SMASH book and I SMASHed pages for the trip to London, my birthday and a pretty tea bag from a meal at Wagamama’s.  If you haven’t heard of SMASH books (and I hadn’t until the end of May when I read about them on go to the link and click on the video.  It’s pretty much a no fuss scrap book for all those little things you like to keep i.e. cinema tickets, pretty leaflets, labels from clothes that are nice, all the little bits and bobs you usually just chuck in an old shoebox.  Well now there’s a place to SMASH them without some of the planning involved with scrapbooking.  They have pages with designs and print on already and come with a pen/glue stick for smashing on the go but I decided to try it out with a plain book before I splashed out the cash on a real one.  I will try and post pictures of my pages soon.  But now I need to go and get inspired about my July Calendar pages as it’s only a week until the first!!!

I can’t believe it’s March already

March 3, 2012

My March page is ready! I only finished it last night so I was a little late this month. It was a lovely way to de-stress after a week at work though, I must remember to do something creative/crafty on Friday evenings in future. The background was sprayed with Dylusions inks in lemon yellow, satsuma, poppy red and bubblegum pink (and I ended up with very messy hands after doing that!).  I then stamped the leaves from the Dylusions Around The Edge and coloured them in using my inktense penciles.  I also stamped a sort of frondy grass stamp by Hero Arts in Dusty Concord, Broken China and Shabby Shutters Distress Inks all across the bottom. The other edges are stamped with another Hero Arts circly-wavy design with Spiced Marmalade and Worn Lipstick Distress Inks.  March was done using the free button flower stamp coloured with inktense pencils from Craft Stamper, only gluing them in the centres to make it a bit 3D.  The stalks were inktense pencils with extra leaves from the Around The Edge set again.  And the butterflies were another freebie from Craft Stamper.  The days were done using a set of typewriter letter stamps and the day squares are all random distress inks and Crafters Workshop stencils experiment left overs!

And here’s February all finished – the eagle-eyed may notice it has an extra circus tent now because I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern twice this month and loved it so much that it sneaked onto my journal.  Also, the circus is black and white with a hint of red so it fitted with my colour scheme.  I just love the descriptions in the book of the clothes, the circus and the wonderful Wunschtraum clock. It’s difficult to explain what it’s about without spoiling it but I really enjoyed it.  (P.S. It’s not out in paperback yet so I borrowed the hardback from my local library).

And here’s a close up of my March flowers.


June 5, 2010

Look what I got today!! It’s so awesome. It’s a copy of Really Wild Tea Cosies by Loani Prior. And even if I never knit any of the tea cosy designs I still love this book as it makes me smile. The designs are just really good fun. I only have a small tea pot and I have made it a very functional cosy but I am really tempted to make it one of Loani’s now. But which one? there are too many to chose from. I may end up making some of them into baby hats instead as they don’t care what you put on their heads!!

I also got this wonderful bag made by my mum.  I chose the fabrics from her huge stash and she’s made it for me.  It has pockets inside for my phone and iPod and loops to tuck pens into so they don’t disappear to the bottom all the time.  I chose a turquoise lining so that I could see inside it –  I hate it when bags are all dark inside and black straps so they won’t show the dirt. 

It’s got a strip of multicoloured scraps down the middle that are a mixture of modern and older fabrics.  One was from a dress mum had, one used to be a shirt and there’s even a piece from a dress I had when I was little.  I can’t wait to take it to Amsterdam on Monday!!


May 8, 2010

Since my week off I’ve started back at college on Tuesday evenings doing my sketching and drawing – this term focussing on my mark making and possibly doing some linocuts.  I’ve started a course on Thursday evenings at the local arts centre learning to make silver jewellery and have made a simple silver ring already.  I’ve had a stinking cold and felt completely crap. 

I’ve just finished reading Beads, Boys And Bangles by Sophia Bennett, which is the sequel to Threads. Two books about Nonie and her friends and how they discover Crow a young fashion genius. I loved the first book when I read it last year and I’ve just read the second one today and love it just as much. Nonie’s best friends are Edie who wants to save the world and join the UN, and Jenny who has just become a famous teen actress. But what is great about them is they are normal teenagers who have to go to school, do their GSCEs, have boy trouble and mum’s who say they can’t stay out late. I love Sophia’s descriptions of Crow’s designs and all the fashion. I wish I had read these books when I was at school!

Creative Knitting

August 1, 2009

I’ve just been in the ‘junk’ room at my mum’s house looking for a copy of Wuthering Heights.  I want to read it as the new paperback version is being cleverly marketed along with all the other ‘black and red’ vampire/gothic books in a certain chain of bookshops.  I love the Stephenie Meyer Twilight series and am currently reading the second book by Cassandra Clare so I thought I’d give Wuthering Heights a go.  But I didn’t think there was any point buying it when I was fairly sure there would be a copy lurking at mum’s.  Well after being distracted by a box of my old stuff and a couple of photos I found WH and then my eye was drawn to this.

It’s Creative Knitting by Sherry Wilson and was published in 1979 by David & Charles.  It proclaims “you’ll never need another pattern!” across the cover so I think it’s more along the lines of the Elizabeth Zimmermann books.  I haven’t had a chance to look at it properly but the photos are suitably dated for a 70s book. 

However, the introduction starts with a couple of sentences that apply just as well now as they obviously did then.

“Handknitting – fascinating, therapeutic and satisfying – is one of the most creative and international of handcrafts.  This is a craft which will never die out.”  

Well I think we would all agree with that.

In other news, 2nd knitting group was last Sunday with Ebolajez and Shazspun joining us, which was great. Now we just have to hope that Daintykitty will be over from the US soon. It was a really nice afternoon and we even had our photo taken by an Italian tourist – probably thought we’ve been knitting together for years!!


June 20, 2009

Ok so I haven’t blogged for a while AGAIN – I am sorry. My laptop is still suffering from lack of space and it’s making it a real pain to do anything so I’ve just been doing the bare minimum for it.  And good heavens I mustn’t even think of using iTunes at the same time as anything else as then it slows down to a standstill. Anyway, enough whining about technology.

While I’ve been absent it was my birthday and I got quite a few things you may be interested in, I had a week off and I’ve done some knitting so I shall get on with telling you about it all.


For my birthday I was given two books on making Amigurumi, Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden (a.k.a Needlenoodles) and Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Amigurumi by Tomoko Takamori. They are both quite similar in that they have the basic instructions and patterns for making Amigurumi animals/creatures only Needlenoodles book is much more me as it’s all Zombies, Ninjas and other creatures of the night as it were. I’m not saying I won’t crochet any of the cute animals in the Kyuuto book but when given a choice I went straight for the creepy creatures. I’ve started making a mini Cthulu (wikipedia link) as I couldn’t resist!


I was also given Socks From The Toe Up by Wendy Johnson as I’d seen how fab it was on Jane’s blog. I had some leftover Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Wild Cherry colour from when I knitted my second Demeter so I have cast on the On Hold pattern (just noticed I’ve knitted them in a very similar colour to Jane!) as it was the one that required the least messing around with to fit on a sock with the number of stitches needed for my little feet. They are progressing nicely and I love the stitch pattern.


I also got Handmade Embroidered Purses by Jenny Rolfe as it was on my birthday list too. I have the Handmade bags book and wanted the purse ones. I have yet to make anything from either book yet but I will one day and they fill me with inspiration.

Other crafty goodies I got were: vouchers for a local bead shop, packs of scrap material by Jennifer Trollope, Lucy Neatby’s 2nd knitting essentials dvd and a pack of oil pastels for my art course.

Catch up time!!

May 30, 2009

Hello!! I am still alive, I’m sorry for neglecting my blog for most of May.  I’ve been having issues with my laptop suffering from lack of memory, mainly due to my iTunes library from what I can figure out.  So whenever I turn it on it spends most of the time flashing up little annoying messages saying “you are low on memory”.  I’m not quite geeky enough to know what I can do to solve this problem.  Anyway, enough of that, what have I been doing in May then?

My Aeolian shawl is coming along really well and I love knitting it.  I’m supposed to be knitting it on a 32″ (80cm) circular needle but I didn’t have one so I cast on on a 24″ (60cm) one and to be quite honest at over 600 stitches I don’t really think I need to longer needle at all.  But it does mean that I can’t stretch the lace out properly to look at it and therefore, can’t take a really wonderful picture of it as it’s all a bit bunched up! So I’ve taken pictures of the stitch markers I made last Saturday night at about 10pm because the ones I was using were annoying me so much. 

They are made out of tiger tail, beads and crimps so they have no bits to catch on the lace or yarn AND because there are no split rings involved they don’t move to the wrong place in my knitting.  My other stitch markers are wonderful (from here) but for knitting with really fine yarn they weren’t working properly as the yarn kept sneaking through the joins in the rings and the marker would end up 2 or 3 stitches or rows away from where it was supposed to be.  I’ve been using the tiger tail ones all week now and they haven’t annoyed me once, so I consider it time well spent making them.

I am knitting the edge set up charts at the moment which I thought would be really stressy but to be honest once I’d got past the picking up stitches on the cast on it’s not been a stressy pattern at all.  The purl rows are really long and a little boring but it can’t all be fun, fun, fun  can it? There has to be a little bit of hard work for it to be worth while! I don’t love making nupps either but mostly I really like this pattern and I can’t wait to see it blocked.  And because it’s lace it’s light and doesn’t take up a lot of room, it’ s not heavy on my lap so it’s quite a good summer knitting project. 

Now what else have I been doing? I made rolls of felt with mum which I’m hoping to cut up and make into a felt bead necklace but we’ll have to see how that goes.  I’ve been doing a new project at college on rhythm and pattern, I took pictures around Salisbury of tiles, paving, railings and other patterns and then have turned the patterns into a tonal ladder going from highlight to deepest shadow.  I’m now going to draw a tonal picture of an object and then produce a tonal ‘map’ of the drawing.  Then I will apply the patterns from the tonal ladder to the map of the object and it should produce a picture using patterns from around Salisbury.  I’m working on the tonal map at the moment and I may add elements of stamping to produce the final piece. 

But I do have to admit that I’m pretty obsessed with knitting the Aeolian shawl lately and haven’t done much else. ;o)

If you love fashion and want to be a designer, read Threads by Sophia Bennett when it is published in September.  It’s a young adult read from the Chicken House publishers and I loved it.  I’ve been reading whilst walking to work lately as it means I get much more reading time in a day and it doesn’t detract from knitting time!!!

I’m ill, therefore I grouch

March 28, 2009

I have man-flu.  I feel rotten I can’t stop sneezing, coughing and blowing my nose.  I figured out that last night I must have woken up on average every 45 mins to blow my nose as there were that many tissues in the morning.  Consequentially my knitting is not really happening. 

Last weekend was Mother’s Day and I didn’t have any knitting with me on my visit to mum’s so she said “you could knit those sock heels for me….” so I did.  Mum had started knitting the same toe up sock from a pattern in Simply Knitting 4 times and stopped at the same point (just before the heel) on each one.  I think she did attempt it on one but the pattern had a slight misprint/ambiguous instruction and she gave up – 4 times! Don’t worry she knows I find this hilarious/frustrating.

So last weekend I knitted FOUR sock heels in a row. And it’s a silly way of doing it, if you ask me. I much prefer the widdershins pattern, it’s so tidy and there are no picking up stitches requirements. AND you end up with a double thickness heel due to the slip stitches, very sensible.  (you can tell I’m ill – I sound grumpy)
This week I have knitted the leg parts of two of the socks for mum and am ready to cast off if they fit her ok – I knit tighter than she does.  I always have, ever since I was little. I remember handing her my knitting every few rows when I was a kid so she could knit a row and loosen it up for me as I would make it progressively tighter and tighter on each row until it was impossible to get the needle in the stitches and then I’d expect mum to fix it – as you do!  I figured I deserved to be allowed to knit the fun leg pattern bit after doing 4 lots of penance on the heels!!

Today as I’m mostly feeling crap I am reading The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, as recommended by Nic here. I had seen it in a bookshop but hadn’t bought it but then Nic said she thought I would like it as it’s feels very similar to 84 Charing Cross Road so I bought it today and have been reading it all afternoon. I can’t tell you if I like the ending but I like the starting very much. The characters are lovely and warm and I feel like I want to go and visit them on Guernsey myself. My parents and I went there on holiday when I was 16 and I remember visiting the La Valette Underground Military museum so reading this book is bringing back those memories as well. I have family there still from Dad’s side so who knows, it may bring on a visit.

College has finished this week for the term but I’m going to enrol again in April. My painting of the sea urchin and shells is coming on well but it does take so long to do anything…. I do find that combining knitting with painting works well. I paint a bit and then while it’s drying I knit and look at it to decide which bit to paint next. If I didn’t knit in between I would pester the wet paint and ruin it – I’m too impatient!!