Monday, June 29, 2009

An award!

I was given this blog award by my lovely friend Jan Lyn, over at Off the Beaten Path. She actually awarded it to Still Life, which she describes as "a really good Quaker read that is to the point, fresh and honest. She writes poetry I so enjoy as well." I said she was a lovely friend!

Jan Lyn writes beautifully about the nature with which she is surrounded, her family, her faith, home-schooling, the family animals, and the chronic illnesses she lives with. She writes about everything with grace, humour and honesty.

I'm replying to it here as I had a lot of other stuff to write about over there this week, and nothing special planned for here.

I have to share 7 things about myself here, now.


What haven't I told you???

1. I have what amounts to a passion for roses. I think I got it from my father. Wherever I have lived, if possible, I have planted a wonderful rose called Zephirine Drouhin. It is my ideal rose - thornless, climbing, quick-growing, long flowering season, hot pink blooms - and scented! I recommend it to everyone.

2. The first time I saw 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', aged 8, I was so scared that I had to sleep with the light on all night.

3. Talking of things that scare me, I am terrified of the Jacob Epstein sculpture of St Michael and the Devil at the entrance to Coventry Cathedral.

4. I played Noah in the Andre Obey play of the same name, when I was 15. It was a school production, and we were an all-girl school. I had to have my boobs strapped down (they've never recovered!), and an artificial beard gummed on with something that ripped off the top layer of skin when I took it off. Ah, the glamour of the stage :)

5. I was at school with David Bailey's wife, the ex-model Catherine Dyer. She was always absolutely beautiful, even without makeup, and a graceful and lovely person.

6. I dyed my hair blue while I was pregnant with Richard.

7. I can ice skate (I took my first three grades in figure skating when I was a teenager), but I can't roller-skate.

Wow, that took a lot of dredging up :)

I'm supposed to nominate seven people for the award now, but I'm stopping at three:

1. My dear friend Linda. We have been friends since we were around 17. We met when I understudied her in a play. She is a marvellous writer, and very funny, as well as a loving and supportive friend.

2. Gil, who writes the blog Stumbing Blocks to Stepping Stones. She writes about her Quaker journey in a way that is never less than thought-provoking and honest.

3. Mary Anne, who writes as Miss Woolly Knits. Like me, Mary Anne has severe ME, but always posts every Friday, sharing the things that have pleased her, amused her or given her joy through the week. Lots of wonderful photos, too!

Oh, and Mary Anne - you are excused duties for this. Just enjoy the award :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shawl photos!

My lovely shawl came back this week, beautifully blocked by the brilliant Rosie, and I got Richard to take a couple of photos on Lobelia the mannequin:

Raspberry Ruffles 1

Raspberry Ruffles 2

As I hoped, the blocking not only opened up the lace, which was looking very sad and crumpled when I sent it off, but also evened out the stitches in the main section, and opened up the yarn over holes.

It's amazingly light to wear, and very warm, of course, being made with pure Shetland wool!

He also photographed a dishcloth I included in this month's themed RAK parcel. This month's theme was animals, and everyone who joined in said what their favourites were. I had to send to Sian, who loves owls, so it was obvious what I had to make her:

Diagonal Owl Dishcloth 1

Diagonal Owl Dishcloth 2

...the Diagonal Owl Dishcloth (Ravelry link), designed by Janelle Schlossman. I love this pattern - it's simply and beautifully designed, fun to knit and gives such a cute result!

We had a little excitement this week, as Chloe went missing for the day on Wednesday. She never goes outside, so we thought at first that she was hiding in the house. Only when we had looked everywhere did we realise that she must have slipped out without anyone noticing.

She is nearly 19, so our first thought was that she had gone off to die. Everyone we knew in the village (and several people we didn't) offered to look for her, but no one could find any trace.

I was coming out of the bathroom at 11.30pm, very sad and wondering if we would ever know what had happened to her, when I heard a faint meow outside the back door. First I couldn't grasp the key, then I couldn't unlock the door, but when I finally got it open, in she strolled, quite unconcerned - and bone dry. It had poured all day on Wednesday, so she'd obviously spent the day in someone else's house!

She casually beat up Merlin, had supper, curled up and went to sleep as if nothing had happened. It seems the old girl has a trick or two still left ;)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shawl crazy

I've finished my 'Raspberry Ruffles' Shetland shawl, and my friend Rosie has very kindly offered to block it for me. She's even set up a project page for it on Ravelry (I don't think this link works if you're not a Ravelry member - sorry).

So, after completing a crochet project for a friend, I cast on... another shawl! Yes, I still have one crochet shawl and one knit one that are unfinished, but I had some glorious Wensleydaie 4-ply sent to me by the friend who dyed the 'Raspbery Ruffles' yarn (I'm making her a Bishop tea-cosy like Erica's, and this was thank-you yarn), and, well.... it called to me. It didn't want to be put in the stash.

Plus I'd bought Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby with some birthday money, and I was itching to try it out. The photos, as with every Interweave book, are gorgeous, and set your fingers twitching just to look at them. After much deliberation, I chose a pattern with the glorious name of 'A Handsome Triangle', which is a top-down shawl (I like shawls that start 'Cast on 4 stitches'!) in proper knitted lace, ie patterned on both sides rather than having plain purl rows.

I may regret this. On the other hand, if I pull it off, there may be no stopping me!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Cosy knitting

I end up making very odd things sometimes...

A few months ago, my sister sent me a newspaper clipping about knitted home decor, including a teacosy with MORE TEA, VICAR? on one side. She volunteers at York Minster, and joked that she should have one with, 'More tea, Archbishop?' on it. That set me thinking.

Just before her birthday I finished her tea cosy:

Tea cosy - front

I made it more or less the shape of a bishop's mitre, and turned a slight problem into a resounding success by deciding to put ties in the bittom instead of sewing it up. This was actually because I wasn't sure of the size of her teapot, but they ended up looking like the bands at the base of a mitre. I love it when a plan comes together. Especially when it's accidental.

I made the two sides separately, and made a diamond-shaped section in contrasting yarn (the one I used for the ties and embroidery) to go between the two pieces at the points. I fixed the points shut with a press stud, so that, if she wants to use it with a tall coffee pot, she can undo the press stud and have extra height if she needs it.

The embroidery was much simpler than I had feared it would be. I typed the phrase into my word-processing package, tried different fonts and sizes till I liked the look of it, then printed it off onto ordinary paper. Then I followed the instructions in this article. I had to fill in one or two stitches when I removed the paper, but by and large it worked extremely well.

The back looked a little bare, so I found an outline cross design online and embroidered it on in the same yarn:

Teacosy - back

It was a surprisingly quick make, and now I'm about to make another for a friend - whose surname is Bishop!

Monday, June 01, 2009


Still writing poetry!


the swift slip of yarn
through practised fingers
smooth wood needles
sharp and blunt

the roll and roar of language
ebb and rise
the music in my head

when words collide
and crash upon the page
the rightness of the finished line

the full moon winks
over the rounded shoulder
of the half-dressed hill
the world is silent

only my needles click
only my pen moves