Friday, April 29, 2016

 The tulips are in full bloom at Paycocke's, the National Trust House where we volunteer.  Looking at them back-lit by sunlight is just lovely.  Behind is the part of the building dating from 1420.

This is a really extensive garden with some shady areas.

Two different seats.  Visitors often take trays of teas and coffees out to enjoy in the garden.  It has been bitingly cold this last week, with hail showers, but also sunny intervals.

Some of the quainter detailing around the house.

And another jumper for Knit for Peace.  I found the yarn in a box in the attic, along with a part-knitted back.  This smaller jumper uses up some of the rest of the yarn, which must have been there a good twenty years.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tower Bridge

 To London, to meet my younger sister for lunch.  The weather had turned again - back to bitterly cold with brisk showers.

This is a part of London we do not know well, but it is familiar to my sister through her work.  We met at Shad Thames, a street of former warehouses, south of the river, now packed with eateries.  We were soon ensconced in The Chop House, with a fine view of the river.

Such an assemblage of buildings from different periods across the river.  It's always interesting to spot the remaining spire among newer shapes.

The Shard, the top of which was shrouded in mist when we arrived.

And back over Tower Bridge to explore the area around St Katharine's Dock. 
Those of you tracing the progress of spring might be interested to see that our pear trees are in blossom just now, while the apples have still some way to go.  Since we are still having frosts in the mornings, the apples may be taking the wiser course.
Showers of blossom on the viburnum at the bottom of our garden.
And all the yellow tulips out this week.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Wash out...

So, as usual, we went north for Easter.  However, this time the weather was stereotypical.  Each night we watched the forecast, and it was all the more galling to know that "Down South" it was lovely spring weather, while where we were there was a sequence of rain squally showers, hail and a bitingly cold wind, interspersed with tantalisingly brief sunny intervals.

We  went out for our regular walk around Lorton, and ended up quite wet. 

These two were just taking their ease.

A slate-hung end wall.

Everywhere, and especially leading into Cockermouth, birthplace of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, great swathes of daffodils.  Enough already with the daffodils.  What's wrong with primroses, or even celandines as seasonal flowers?  Wordsworth was surprised when he saw the original daffodils; no one is surprised by them today.

A little knitting.  This is Nantucket, by Alice Starmore.  That strange feature of starting the cables up through the ribs does tend to pull in the fabric.   I used most of a large ball of Hayfield Traditional Aran.  The clue is in the name.  It is 100% wool - or more correctly, 99% wool and 1% vegetable matter.  Every few inches there would be a piece of dried grass to pick out, a process which became quite addictive in itself. 

This has gone off to Knit For Peace, hopefully to keep someone warm.

Monday, March 28, 2016


That's "Bockers", as in "knickerbockers," Mary-Lou (Comments, last entry)  The sort of underwear into which one might have been sewn in winter.  The pattern features a gusset, and presumably no picture for fear of offending public decency.  It would have been helpful for the knitter though.

Just as much of its time is this set of patterns from a booklet called  "The Aran Look" - pre-decimal coinage, so sometime in the 60s perhaps.

  Would anyone have left the house dressed in this get-up?  And imagine a country walk in Aran gaiters like this. 

A change of theme - around our village, various dated properties.  This one once fronted up the King's seeds site.  Growing plants for their seed was a major enterprise locally until quite recently.
(Click on the picture to enlarge.)

By the bridge over the Blackwater, this blue plaque:

Coggeshall Abbey was an ancient foundation, standing to the south of Coggeshall.  The remaining buildings are now a farm in private ownership, but the Grange Barn, where the monks stored their harvests, is run by the National Trust.

This one kind of brings it home to you, doesn't it?  Twenty years ago we had an allotment on that same Vicarage Fields.

Here's one where the date is very precise - and probably correct.  However, I used to rent a flat just behind this house.  The owner had brought up her children in the house pictured and one of her sons had trained as a wood-carver.  I think that horizontal beam - the bressumer - in the picture may well be his work, from about 1967.
And, finally, the clock tower from the village square, above the Clockhouse tearooms.  This counts as modern, for us.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Camibockers, anyone?

Alternate days of lovely, sunny, spring-like weather and bitter chill.  Last Sunday,  we ate lunch out on the patio.  Yesterday, it was a huddling sort of day.

Browsing the bookshelf at our cottage recently, I came across this little booklet, published, I think, in 1933.

I do remember the Scotch Wool Shop in our local town, Whitehaven.  It was right next to the department store, The Beehive, where we often shopped.  It did look like this on the outside, as - I guess - did the other 350 branches -  "a mile of shops."

In the booklet a wide selection of patterns, some impossibly archaic.

And the illustrations even more so.

However, one could possibly knit a cricket sweater for a twelve year old from this pattern.
Unfortunately, no illustration accompanies these instructions.  It does say "Begin at the knee..."so you would have some clue, but it is a while before it reveals that you are knitting one half of the garment.  I'm almost tempted to try knitting it, or should I say, them...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Colour Therapy

So - a smallish jumper for Knit for Peace, in a yarn so thick that each row adds about a quarter of an inch.  Should be a fun knit, you' d think?  Sadly, it proved very wearing on the fingertips.

This is a yarn recovered from a giant jumper I knitted for myself some ten years ago and never wore.  Nowadays it's layers of fleece for me on winter walks.  But this jumper looks thick enough to keep out the chills.

A pair of Newfoundland mittens in a colour scheme which hurts my eyes.  Strangely, someone from South Korea commented on how pretty these look, so maybe they will find a taker.

And, a third pair, using up thirteen different colours of acrylic yarn.  These really glow in the sunlight and were both quick and fun to knit.  Colours like these really lift the spirits.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Knitting from deep stash

On Ravelry recently a group was started aiming to knit only from "Deep Stash" for a while.  Non-knitters might not recognise this term.  "Stash" in this sense is your store of knitting yarn, and "deep stash" has been in there for a longish while - up to fifty years in my case.

Hard to believe, but there are some addicts who spend hundreds of pounds augmenting their stash, but never actually knit any of it.  Or else, they have lots of yarn in store, but always feel the need to buy more for new projects.  Now, that seems quite reasonable to me.  As does picking up bargains in the yarn line from charity shops as the opportunity arises, without a clear idea of what it might be used for.

Around our house I would say I have reached Peak Yarnage - ie almost all the storage spaces are full already.  Several carrier bags are floating free in our lounge, where they ought not to be.  So I am setting myself a challenge.

It is this: How many garments can I make from yarn already in the house? 

In fact, I made a start with those Sanquhar hats.  Many years ago, when my nephew was a small boy, I knitted a dark green jumper with a bright red tractor worked in intarsia on the front.  That dark green yarn must be almost forty years old.  Good to see it used up.

Just posted off already, to the same organisation, is this oatmeal pullover in Jaeger Shetland, made to The Una Vest pattern by Marie Wallin in "The Knitter."  It's a straightforward pattern and should be warm, but the finished effect on me was a little more rustic than one would wish.  It looked great on the young girl modelling it in the magazine, as is always the way.

Next up, these Newfoundland Mittens, a satisfying and quick knit.  The pink here is the remainder of two skeins of art Yarns sent to me as a prize for having knitted fifty of the Innocent hats for someone.  Lovely yarn, but with sufficient variation in the two skeins to make it more suitable for small projects.