Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Gigs and stitches.

The last ten days or so have been fairly action packed one way or another. First up I promised some photos of Ouse Washes Molly side at Gressenhall for Apple Day. You can just make out Nicky in her red dress, and melodeon, and me next to her looking very black with my fiddle! My dress does have lots of red satin (tasteful!) but it doesn't show. This obviously is a dancing action shot.

This is at the end of the day, following the Wassailing to the apple trees. Colin, Nicky and I then led the crowd  (many more than you can see here) in a Circassian Circle dance. Despite the cold it was a very successful day, and the organisers were profuse in their appreciation for the contribution Ouse Washes had made to the overall entertainment.

Then my trip to Bungay to watch Triette supporting The Old Dance School at Fisher Theatre. I had a brilliant time. Here you can see Nic Zuppardi and Nick Wiseman-Ellis, who were superb.

And here is a not very clear photo, sorry, of The Old Dance School, who played some really fine music, I had to treat myself to one of their cds!

I pop a quick one of me here, to show you the new hair colour....or rather the old hair colour! There are so few photos of me as I'm not keen on seeing myself (unless heavily disguised in Mollie-garb). And I notice two things - one I have no make-up on and this is not a great look! And two, I am wearing the same top I was wearing in my profile photo, taken two years ago! (The top-hat is new........)

Ok, a spot of slap...perhaps overdid the eye-treatment, never mind.This will possibly be the last photos of me to go on this blog! (Massive sighs of relief shake the Blogosphere!) I have to say, Jim really likes my hair in its natural state. Men eh?

Here is a strange little tableau, my original kitchen knife set, bought in a hardware shop in Gosport when I was in the QARNNS and about to be married. Yes, this hardworking set is 42 years old! We celebrated our anniversary last week by me being in Norfolk and Jim being in Wales doing something official with a crowd of other flyfishing chaps! Never mind, we had a romantic phone call...I expect I'll get taken out for a nice meal eventually!

A quick catch-up on the wool cushion progress - the embroidery is finished, just have to make up the cushion cover. Oh, and I found an old piece today which I'd been searching for - Jim had unearthed it and put it on display on the cushions in the porch! Without telling me and I hadn't noticed. I wanted to show you because we were talking about getting obsessed with one stitch when I did Teena's workshop at Dragon Hall the other week. Her obsession was French Knots, mine was feather stitch.

Sorry the light is horrendous. I used all my own hand-dyed fabrcis and created a design which I won't show in full as I no longer like the overall design. But I still LOVE the colours and the stitching! I hand- appliqued the shapes and heavily embroidered with seeding and feather stitch and beads and shisha mirrors.

I used various weights of thread and loved working with the variegated colours. The stitching became hypnotic, almost meditative, and although it was completed about 10 years ago I can still remember the pleasure it gave me to be working on it.

And then there's been music. Music music music. I find I'm having to drag myself away from it in order to do some stitiching. However, I'll say more about that next time. I'll leave you with the thought that although we here in the UK complain long and hard about our weather - it is a National Pastime, after all - we have not been suffering the extremes our friends and relations in the States have been experiencing. I hope if you've been directly affected that you are safe and unhurt, and that the chaos will soon subside and your lives return to some kind of normality. Til next time.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Autumn Interlude

A bunch of photos, in the main this time round, as I'm waiting for some photos from the Apple Day dance out by the Ouse Washes Mollie Dancers yesterday,  at Gressenhall; I'll blog more next time.

The garden is looking pretty ropey at the moment - Jim has been round doing the autumn prune and tidy but what with the dratted leaves and the general bedraggledness of everything, it is not the prettiest of sights. However, on my way to the compost heap the other day I did notice there are a few blooms hanging on here and there.

And in the greenhouse, a profusion of green tomatoes and a few little brave red ones. Terrible summer has done for them, unfortunately. Green tomato chutney, anyone?

Such a shame. I'll try and encourage them with an apple or two, see if we can coax a little blush out of them.

On a different tack, I found myself shelling out £12 YIKES!!! for this chunky publication:

Now I'm not really into the vintage vibe too much, and have resisted the other new vintage-type mags. This one caught my eye though and there is quite a bit of interesting stuff in it; if you collect ephemera for collage and journalling as I do there is a fair amount here, and some interesting articles and photographs. It will certainly be a one-off for me. I did my usual sniffing and tutting in Smiths this morning having a quick flick through the outrageously priced Selvedge - I know it is rated by the textile cognoscenti but frankly it is really just an upmarket Mollie Makes at twice the price. There are a couple of good articles now and then, but I seldom find more than one item of interest just a lot of nice pictures. I shall get a lot out of 'Pretty Nostalgic' and it will be canibalised quite thoroughly, I can tell you!

Right, time to put this 'to bed' as they say before the BT engineer arrives (and he's cutting it pretty fine) to install the new hub for Infinity. He's already 3 days late, and only coming today (We hope) because Jim complained long and loud after being let down with no apology on Friday. How to run a business, eh?

To end on a good note...I am going to Bungay (provided I can find my way in the dark!) tomorrow to the Fisher Theatre to watch TRIETTE! Yes, they are supporting the Old Dance School, a really great folk band. I'm staying the night with Mollie friend Elin who is roadie-ing for Nick! Should be a great night. But there are still tickets if you fancy coming with us!!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Textile Jaunts

No, I didn't polish off all of this! Just a 'remains of the day' shot of the detritus of last week's Stitch and Bitch. It was a post-birthday meeting, so there had to be cake...no, honestly, they twisted my arm...... and pressies, it was lovely.

And lots of work was done too, so that was pretty good.This is the beginnings of a wool cushion cover.

Love working with wool/felt/felted blanket, just so soft and NO TURN-UNDERS! Though I do love needle-turn applique, I have to say.

So that was a jaunt to mine, you might say. I took a jaunt out off to Heacham for coffee with S&B Lynne, and before I got to hers I popped into a lovely shop just up the road from her house, called Bradfields, an old fashioned hardware shop circa 1898 which has moved with the times and become a wonderful home furnishings and accessory shop. I was meeting with Pam, the owner to discuss some workshops which I'm putting on later this year. I'll take some photos, as the room we will be using is part of the old house which has been  renovated and decorated and is just gorgeous. I want to move in!
So I shall be doing a mixture of one-day workshops, and some on-going classes. More  anon, but it's quite exciting to be planning workshops again -  I haven't done any for ages, totally went off the idea some years ago.

Another textile jaunt for me happened this weekend, when I took myself over to Norwich, to the Dragon Hall, a wonderful mediaeval building run by a trust, where numerous workshops take place , including several textile related classes. I was doing a class run by lovely Teena Vallerine, whose blog kitschen pink I have read and enjoyed for ages. Teena creates lovely textile pictures using bonded applique and simple embroidery - the whole process is simple but the results are fabulous! And Teena is very laid back and accepting, it's a very unthreatening workshop, we had a great relaxing time and throughly enjoyed ourselves. The earlier classes had been quite large, but we were lucky there were only four of us so we had Teena's undivided attention.  Here are the results of our labours:

This is Pat's picture, she has used that lovely scroll stitch on this flower. We only really got onto the stitching way after lunch, as the preparation and positioning takes a lot of careful thought.

Joy, choosing just the right shade of thread to make her flower 'pop'!

And this is Margaret's. She was a newcomer to bonded applique and boldly set off in a landscape direction. Her choice of fabric for the sky is inspired, I think.

And this is mine, sorry, I am in a tearing hurry and i know I should tip these photos but I haven't the time. Tip your head, instead! I now think I need a flower slap bang in the centre to balance the whole thing, so will titivate things later on. So far my embroidery is very, very basic. But it will develop. I'm really enjoying doing this. Do you like my 'in yer face' colour choices?? A whiff of the Indian sub-continent, I think.

Here are some shots of Teena's work, but you can get a much better idea from her website/blog.

Lovely, isn't it? She really has the 'eye' for placement and design. And was also very generous with her fabric and scrap stash! We'd all taken stuff, in fact one or two of us had been panicking, and worrying about whether we'd packed the right things, having so much to choose from!  However I think we all dived into the scrap pile and and came up with our hearts desires. It was a lovely day, thanks Teena for a great class, and to Joy, Margaret and Pat, lovely meeting you, hope your finished pictures are all you'd hoped they would be.

On my way to Norwich, the sun was shining, and as I drove through the dappled light in the country lanes to reach the A47 (the story of my Norfolk life is writ large on that road!) I was thinking how fortunate I was, a day to myself in congenial complany, stitching, sunshine, and Jim doing the vacuuming at home, bless his cotton socks. Then just as I left to come home, the heavens opened. It was torrential! Only a short sprint to the car. But I don't sprint, so I did get a bit of a soaking. Never mind, soon warmed up with the heater on, it's just that I drove home with the odour akin to damp dog pervading the car. Ah well, you can't have everything!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Darning, cooking and reading

My favourite cardigan, hand knitted using hand-dyed yarns by a Newcastle lass called Lorrie Marshall. I have three of her pieces and wish I had a dozen more; when I can afford them I buy them at the Knitting and Stitching Show. This one has been worn and worn and worn, and, indeed, has become very worn - into holes. You can't tell in the photographs but the yarn is very fine.

Ooooh, not a good thing to happen at all. Funnily enough when I discovered these holes I happened to read a blog-post about darning, I THINK written by Sue at The Quince Tree. It spurred me into action.
So I thought I'd do a spot of darning, using some hand-dyed (not by me!) yarns,and I think it worked quite well.

And I did one hole and was quite pleased with it, when I spotted some pieces of silk velvet knocking about the sewing room. Aha! Thought I, I'll PATCH the other holes. So I did, and I love the look. In fact, I'm not going to worry if any more holes appear, I shall continue to patch this garment until it is more velvet than yarn. How lovely will that be?

On the cooking front it has been soup.....roasted buttenut squash, mmmm.

I'd like to say I wiped the edges of the jug before taking the photo but have deleted the wrong one! Hah!

And this  someowhat brown, worthy looking sloppy mess on the Rayburn is actually a mixed grain risotto, to which I added some seafood , along with the leeks, garlic, mushrooms and spinach. That was GORGEOUS! The change in the seasonal weather has made us long for rib-stickers and warmth!

On the book front, I have been in a bit of a dry sterile kinda place, and unusually for me, unable to settle to read much. So I was putting some things away upstairs in the spare bedroom when I paused by the book shelf and picked up an Iris Murdoch; I suppose I've got about eight of hers. Anyway I started The Bell and really enjoyed it all over again - must be about twenty years since I first read it! Now I'm half-way through The Unicorn. Murdoch's books, to me, seem quite formulaic, in a very Intellectual Manner. For instance, she sets them always in a very rarified environment, with an isolated group of characters who don't seem to have any existence away from the plot. There is always an air of menace and sexual repression, and High Anglicanism or Roman Catholicism play a large part. Lofty academics are in abundance, and there is usually a stray homosexual with self-doubts to add to the boiling pot. They are books of their time, and would not and could not work today; attitudes have changed so much.(Fortunately, in the main!) I am enjoying the writing, though. I remember buying the first one, An Accidental Man, from a book club when we were first married and penniless. I had never heard of Iris Murdoch, and it was like a door opening for me into the literary world, though I had always been a reader.

Since starting to re-read these, I have been introduced to two new (to me) authors, from Blogland: first The Cornish House by Lisa Fenwick...thanks to Maggie at The Reading Corner,(bookloversplace.blogspot.co.uk) and also Red Bones, by Anne Cleeves which is from her Shetland Trilogy. (Actually I have read the first one, Raven Black, I remember now.) I found this reference on someone elses blog but I'm afraid I've forgotten whose.....leave me a comment if it was you, it was definitely one of my regular favourites!

Oh, and on the Listening front, I have mostly been head in the clouds listening to the new cd by Triette, my melodeon tutor's band which is absolutely wonderful. I now want to learn ALL the tracks on it!  wish there was some way I could enable you to listen on my blog, but you can hear three tracks if you go to www.triette.com and have a listen. I am struggling to learn the last track, Special Reserve, it is so lovely! Have a listen, they are superb!

Well, that's your lot this time, you'll note it was going to be a short post.....(sigh) oh well, I hope you enjoyed it! Catch up again soon..........