Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



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Sunday February 24, 2019

Unravel 2019


I've had a splendid day (immersed in a wool experience like no other) at the Maltings, including cheese scones, followed by a sociable tea time, and a yummy meal out at the Giggling Squid in Farnham. Alison and I went to view all the retail opportunities without much expectation of any purchases and then bought some luxury wools from Kettle Yarns. I have been eyeing up this specific jumper for about 3 years now (makes me wish I'd knitted it when I first saw it) ...


...and Alison became enmeshed in the same project having been seduced by the wonderful colour range.
So now we are going to do a knitalong..... or so I plan...


Posted on February 24, 2019 at 5:37 PM. Category: Knitting. | Comments (0)

Saturday July 7, 2018

Colourful Kit Bag


I've been neglecting weaving spinning and dying lately - I admit I went to a "Brioche" class last week which was interesting, and did make me think of redrafting my fisherman's rib hat in two colours in the future.... But apart from that, it's been far too hot to think about sweaters (and hats!).
What I have been involved in is making up a rather posher version of my Pattern of the Month for July. This bag (or the illustration of it) really "spoke" to me through the ages as it were, when I first found it in a 1940s magazine. As is often the case, the actual bag and the instructions were fairly rudimentary and I changed it quite a lot in the making. I am so delighted with the result - better than I ever expected since it involved working with leather - and just as well given the amount I spent on materials. [So much for the make do and mend ethos of the original bag!].

I did stick with the idea of using oddments I already had, but I used mostly chunky yarns so I did not have to work with the yarn doubled - which can be a bit of a nuisance when doing crochet, even though many old and new patterns seem to suggest it. As I selected my yarns based on colour, some of them were used double to achieve the thickness I wanted.
I used a 4mm hook with my chunky yarn, and worked in double crochet (American single crochet) in order to achieve a firmer fabric.

For the base, I used 2mm thick leather, which was tough to work but made up surprisingly well. I made the base to be an oval shape to suit the offcut of leather I had and I made rudimentary leather handles, plus a clip-on shoulder strap.

The only element I've so far failed to completely solve is the closure at the top - the bag will gape open when the shoulder strap is used - so still working on that, and nothing wholly satisfactory has presented itself yet.

Posted on July 7, 2018 at 10:28 AM. Category: Knitting.

Saturday June 30, 2018

Books in June

  • H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald [read by the author] BOM-HIsForHawk.jpg
    I heard about this acclaimed book and thought I should read it, but was very nervous as it was said to be about "loss", which did not appeal so much. However, it is a wonderful book - so everyone was right.
    And, if I had to say what it was about, I would probably say "loss" - and also "a goshawk" - which is fairly evident. I did not realise until after listening to it, that it is narrated by the author - which makes it even more special as she is (presumably) reading it exactly as she meant to write it - perfect.

  • The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear [read by Julie Teal]
    BOM-TheMappingOfLoveAndDeath.jpg I moved back to a Maisie Dobbs novel somewhat earlier in the series. Although the books do revolve around Maisie's personal life as well as the mystery plotline, I did not feel victim of any major spoilers. It does seem to be a thing, though, that the murder victims are always presented as highly sympathetic characters and you are regretful all the way through that they are so definitively.... gone. I remember a friend having trouble coping with Requiem for a Wren for the same reason; (Nevil Shute - now there's an author I have not thought about for a long time... and the friend... I haven't thought about him for a long time either...) .

  • Want You Gone by Christopher Brookmyre BOM-WantYouGone.jpg
    [read by Avita Jay, and Angus King]
    This is the latest (8th) book "starring" Jack Parlabane - and make no mistake - he is a star. Far from being stale, this book is very lively - very thrilling and very humorous.
    It involved a lot of computer hacking and scamming techniques which I really enjoyed - proving the point (in spades) that it's people that are the weak link in any security system.

  • Unnatural Death, Strong Poison, and Have His Carcase
    by Dorothy L Sayers [Dramatisation]
    I downloaded this little collection of Lord Peter Wimsey plays to listen to at bedtime.
    I found Unnatural Death a bit complicated to follow just before sleeping, but the other two I am well familiar with. As I had just seen a reprise of the TV adaptations, I know them almost backwards - and in fact to my surprise the scenes, plotting, and scripts seemed almost identical. With my eyes shut I could even will myself to imagine that it was Edward Petherbridge providing the dialogue rather than Ian Carmichael, so similar was the performance, even though previously I always thought Carmichael was a bit more over the top (don't ye know).
    BOM-UnnaturalDeath.jpg BOM-StrongPoison.jpg BOM-HaveHisCarcase.jpg

Posted on June 30, 2018 at 12:58 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Sunday June 24, 2018

Historical Breaks


As well as time for an excursion on the Lakes we visited some National Trust properties on the way to and from Wooldfest.
Outbound it was a new one on me (and Alison as well, of course): Packwood House. Usually I travel a bit further than Warwick before finding a place to stop but ... I set off a little late and the driver was ready to mutiny due to hunger. As it was Packwood has a lovely garden where we ate our perfect picnic, featuring my underused picnic blanket, a shared Pimms (driving), and wonderful sunshine. The staff were particularly helpful and pleasant, but although we took a walk in the gardens, we didn't find time to go round the house as we were many miles from our destination.

On the way back, we stopped off at my old favourite: Little Moreton Hall. Here we did go around the delightful old building, and then sat in the blazingly hot sun in the garden, eating cheese scones and a cream tea. Highlights included a medieval parade and entertainment (involving small children and musical instruments), and astonishingly tame birds - a sparrow snatching my scone while I was actually eating it, and a duck snuggling up on my foot under our table throughout the dining experience.


Posted on June 24, 2018 at 8:39 AM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Thursday June 21, 2018


Guess where I am.
OK I'll give you a clue:


My weekend in Cumbria took a different turn with Alison (at last) able to come with me. I don't think we bought that much - actually Alison may have done - quite a few kits as gifts for friends and relatives - plus I encouraged her to buy a Hooked by Design picture of seagulls for herself - I loved it but as I have done nothing with the sheep kit I bought last year I had to restrain myself! [I did finally manage to put the frame kit together in preparation - and now I'm guessing I will be loaning it to Alison before doing anything with it myself... ]. Alison was very smitten by the Teeswater sheep and even went as far as to buy a tiny amount of highly prepared fleece to spin - plus a more extravagant sheepskin rug for her new house. As for myself - I also made a fairly big purchase in that I ordered a new woollen duvet - to be shipped to me later.


We stayed at the Trout this year - more expensive than I am used to but more fun for the two of us. The weather was pretty fair and we spent the evenings drinking a pre-prandial gin (or two) by the river. We even went out on a boat trip on Saturday round Ullswater, (recommendation from a fellow guest at the hotel), before heading back into Woolfest for a couple more hours mooching.

Posted on June 21, 2018 at 11:15 PM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.

Wednesday June 13, 2018

De Morgan, Fashion, and Quiz

Today my sister and I had a Big Day Out in London.


We kicked off with what my sister was really interested in - seeing the De Morgan tiles exhibition, Sublime Symmetry at the Guildhall's art gallery in London. They were wonderful - just wanted to take some home of course - and exhibited alongside interesting information and artifacts from his life and work. While at the Guildhall we were also able to get access the Hall itself, and have a tour of the crypt.
We wandered out to lunch via Postman's Park - which has a Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice founded by Watts (he of the Watts Gallery where my sister volunteers) and with dedication plaques designed by De Morgan.

We then drifted on to the V&A to (drink lot of tea and) see Fashioned from Nature - making good use of my membership while I can.... The exhibition was about the use of organic objects (from dead birds to beetle wings) in fashion from early times, through to a more "green" way of thinking that influences (some) designers today.

Finally we went on to the theatre.


Quiz is a fun and popular show based on the "coughing Major" trial (where the Quiz in question is Who Wants to be a Millionaire), and we enjoyed it along with everyone else. The audience vote twice during the show to give a "verdict" - and we were duly manipulated to alter our votes in the way intended by the author. I was interested to read Chris Tarrant's newspaper articles about it in the Guardian - his point of view is quite clearly put.

Posted on June 13, 2018 at 7:39 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Sunday June 10, 2018

Alabama Chanin


Quite some time ago, Alison gave me a "kit" to make myself one of these skirts from instructions in the well-known designer's book. We finally got together and I made my own stencil and started painting. Here I am continuing at home. The weather is really warm and I have carried on the theme to make a "tent dress". It's looking good, but slow going, so expect another entry in some months time showing the finished objects.


Posted on June 10, 2018 at 5:28 PM. Category: Friends.