Happy Birthday Miss F. Now she is 4 I think I should drop the Little. don’t you?
Joining with Heather for Smalls SAL
We visited a wonderful museum yesterday. It deserves a post of its own, which I will do this weekend, when my thoughts are in line. It is the Bradford Industrial Museum, I thought you might like a taster.
Lots of machinery to see. This one is for twisting the yarn onto the cheeses, I think they are called. So much to see, I took over 45 photos for me to think about. Thought I would share one more today. This is a splendid bedspread in a reconstructed mill workers cottage from the 1890s.
Isn’t that fabulous?
Meantime there has been a little knitting on the gloves, for ME.
Bit plain? Next time I show them they won’t be.
The Repair cafe, just in case you missed the post , was good. We had £36 donated for the repairs and £26 for the teas and coffees.
I did a bit of crochet while I was there and a little bit more afterwards.
All from left over yarn . I plan to make a blanket for a raffle prize for the Repair Cafe.
I don’t seem to have done much crafting this week, still rather tired after the weekend . I also felt a bit sorry for myself as I needed an emergency dental appointment for a wobbly crown. All is well though.
Hope everyone out there is well, and if not try to just take it a day at a time, and do look after yourselves. Find some “me time” and make something nice. Over to you all now for some wonderful nattering. Have you been somewhere interesting or made something fabulous? Do tell please.
Love you all,
Last month I drew up a list of 93 authors to take with me to the library to help me choose what to read next. Thanks to everyone who helped get this list up to well over a 100. Finding something to read is easier with so much choice. All authors come from this list unless otherwise stated- there will always be a title or cover that intrigues me.
Tracy Chevalier- At the Edge of the Orchard- one of my favourite authors and this book as good as her others. Set in America between 1838 and 1856, we have mud,swamps,futility, apple trees, quilts, bad relationships, death, flight, survival, adventure, misadventure, gold prospecting, Redwood trees, birth and a happy ending.
Jo Baker- A Country Road, A Tree- The course by Future Learn, How to Read a Novel, used examples from four novels that Edinburgh University short listed for the James Tait prize. The only one that really interested me was this one. I sometimes struggle with books that win literary prizes, finding the style, language or plot, let us say – hard to appreciate. I had better hopes of this one.
Back in the day when I was a young and noisy teenager I attended a week-long residential course on drama in Chester, staying in what was then a teacher training college. but is probably now a university. We studied Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and being a young and noisy teenager, myself and a fellow participant, one Lyn Edwards from Birmingham ( and if anyone knows a Lyn Edwards from Birmingham how marvellous that would be, we kept in touch for a couple of years , but pre Facebook this involved snail mail, so fizzled out). I digress, both Lyn Edwards and I were most taken with Waiting for Godot, and began an impromptu play reading in the college grounds,to great applause, and being young and noisy teenagers, so taken with ourselves were we that we took to being strolling players and walked the city walls whilst we proclaiming the Wait. So I have a great fondness for dear old Godot.
If you don’t know the play, two chaps at a roadside wait for Godot who does not come. A play in which nothing happens, a bit like the novel The Crowded Room by Winifred Holtby which I read last month about a young woman who waits for her life to begin. So to Jo Bakers novel about Samuel Beckett and his mistress during the second world war which they spent in France, trying to keep out of harms way, write and help the resistance movement. They have to keep moving and that involves a lot of walking along country roads and waiting for people to help them along the way, and quite a bit of nothing happening,thus providing the inspiration for Waiting for Godot.
I will be honest, I struggled with the book for the first 60 or so pages, style, language etc which seemed to be a bit flowery and a bit arty farty, pretentious maybe. But then something happened, either I got over the language style or it improves or it suddenly seemed to be right for the disjointed existence of the characters. The hand to mouth lifestyle of a country invaded by another nation. There is a sense of life seeming to go on, but not going on, of fear but of social gatherings, holidays, wine, but careful what you say, and who sees you, and of what happens to your communist and jewish friends.
Then the war ends, and Beckett goes home to Eire alone, to his Mum and her new bungalow. His teeth are fixed having suffered from malnutrition they were in a bad state. But he knows he can’t stay there, he can’t write in the comfort that is home. The only way back to France is to accept a job to set up a hospital in France, which he does before returning to Paris, His mistress and his writing, which has changed forever.
I enjoyed the book, and if you like a book with a bit of a challenge then go for it. I think that one of the marks of a good book is when you start to google things as a follow-up, which I did, and I know that Beckett married the mistress, which is nice after all they went through together, and she does get a bit fed up with him and the danger he puts them in, and the writing.
This is Jo Bakers second novel, the first one is called Longbourne, I have bought it for my Kindle, for reading when I am not at home. It is the story of Pride and Prejudice from the viewpoint of the servants, shortly to be a film. Sounds promising.
I very nearly made this number 44 in my top one hundred books. I really liked the centre section of the book, but not the start or end, and the middle bit not enough!. Let me know if you have read this, I would love to know your thoughts.
Graeme Macrae Burnett- His Bloody Project- this one was mentioned on the course as a good example of setting a story in context. For example, Bridget Jones’s diary the story is told through the medium of a diary. This novel is told through some “found papers” in the course of some family history research. I was apprehensive at first as I discovered from the cover of the book that it had been long listed for the Man Booker prize in 2016. I need not have been. The book is an enjoyable and accessible book. The first parts are some witness statements to a crime. The next the accused gives his account, which he is writing it at the behest of his council. At no time does he deny that he committed the crime he was charged with. Then comes the examination by a doctor, and then an account of the trial. It is very cleverly constructed, and the language is sufficiently archaic so that I had no trouble believing I was reading a historic document. The setting is a Scottish crofting community in the 19th century. It’s a good book and I suspect if I had Scottish roots it would make own top 100. A jolly good read. Look out for it.
Jessie Burton- The Miniaturist- not one from my 100 authors list, but found on the library shelves at the same time as the previous two books. It sounded familiar, on the front cover it says The Sunday Times Number One Best Seller. Maybe someone mentioned it, maybe it was reviewed on the Radio. An interesting book, set in Amsterdam in the 17 th century. Young girl from the country is married to an older rich merchant and travels to join his household in Amsterdam. In the house a sister who runs the household, a man-servant who may be a slave or a freeman, and a female servant from an orphanage. The new wife is given a miniature house, resembling the one she has just moved into , as a wedding present. She sources a miniaturist to help her furnish it, but soon parcels she didn’t order begin to arrive, can this miniaturist foretell the future? Tragedy follows, there is love and death. It’s a strange book by no mistake, but not a bad read. Is that the same as a good read? No. Quirky, that’s the word I am looking for. For the first time I found myself able to stop reading and think, now why is the author doing this, what is the intention of this event or that. I am beginning to read a little like a Professor!
Donna Leon-Falling in Love- Opera singer in Venice has a scary stalker, friendly detective saves the day. A pleasant read.
Some good and interesting books this month. And by sheer coincidence I see that the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough is staging a production of Waiting for Godot. Perfect or what?
Love to know what others have read recently. Anything to recommend to me please? If you have written about books this month I would be thrilled if you left a link in the comments.
Now where is my book…
Rosedale, a sunny afternoon, but cloudy, causing shaodws to come and go as I walked.
Please leave a link to your shadowy pictures in the comments.
I have been looking forward to next weeks prompt all year, it’s RUST.
The Kirkbymoorside Environment Group advertised in the Summer for volunteers to help in their new venture, a Repair Cafe. Mr E and I volunteered. A repair cafe is where you can take things to see if a volunteer can fix them for you, thus saving the environment from unnecessary waste and you from having to buy a new thing.
The first cafe session was yesterday. We were nervous no-one would come, or that we couldn’t fix the items brought to us.
We started early to be on the safe side, allowing an hour and a half to set things up.
That little notice by the flowers reads Repair Cafe. But the town is so little I think everyone knew where we would be.
In there , to left, in what was once the library. Library has moved and is now run solely by volunteers.
A welcoming table with a disclaimer for everyone to read and agree in writing too. A signing in sheet, which records what needs to be fixed and whether it was fixed. A pot for donations, this service is free. Donations are welcome, because there is the hire cost of the hall to consider. Tickets for the queue.
Sewing machines in place. The other three tables we covered in the cardboard to protect them from oil, solder, glue etc.
A place for people to sit, have a chat, and drink tea and coffee. There was cake too.
So did anyone come? Yes they did. We had 19 people over the threshold, 1 was just curious, but ended up carrying a lamp to a car for a satisfied repairee, 1 came to say he could fix toys and stayed to fix something , 1 husband came to be with his wife who helped with the teas and fixed a drill whilst he was there, and 16 people with more than one thing to be fixed.
Lady with a hedge trimmer which she had fetched on a bus all the way from Pickering.
Mr E fixing it. It was working when it left but the advice was to replace it as it was very worn internally. We gave her advice on where to buy a new one.
Our first lady in the door with a skirt to be altered, way past my abilities. Here she is discussing it with a talented seamstress.
And here leaving, very happy and making a donation. The chap is having a favourite shirt repaired.
Broken zip on a bag under discussion, and see the people waiting behind enjoying the refreshments.
I think that’s a dvd player under repair. The CD player behind was fixed. Periodically a machine or music player would leap into action to the joy of the owner and delight of the volunteers. Each successful fix was cheered mightily.
I made a note of the things that came in :-
a skirt, a shirt, a pair of trousers, 2 laptops, a plate, a flower pot, a hedge trimmer, a watch strap, a radio, a dress, two hoovers, a CD player, a driil, a hot plate, a speaker, an angle poise lamp, a cassette player, a charger and a handbag.
Sadly for me, no darning or knitting to fix, but as I had been put on the Welcome table, I was kept busy and I crocheted 6 small granny squares, apparently I am now making the group a blanket to be raffled for all the people who come for fixes, and some how that was my idea. One day I will learn to keep my great ideas to myself.
We thought that the room was too small, but actually it was the right size unless we get more volunteers. Two of the volunteer repairers let us down, one had a cold and one just didn’t turn up and wasn’t answering his phone. Which meant Mr E and Mr C in the last picture were rushed off their feet, and some people had to wait a very long time to be seen.
Some went off and did their shopping and came back, some stayed and chatted. One lady sat with me for ages, mesmerised by my ability to talk, crochet and not watch what I was doing the whole time, we compared the way we held our crochet hooks and yarn. We talked about yarn and knitting for our families.
I spent a while too chatting to the bag lady, the broken zip could not be fixed on the bag , we contemplated some velcro I had with me before deciding 2 buttons and nice strap or tape to link them might work.
The atmosphere was relaxed and casual. It was lovely the way people waited patiently and were so very happy. One of the broken Hoovers was brought down by the owners daughter and she was especially thrilled for her Mum.
One lady said the publicity had been good, posters were up in all local shops, so she said you could not avoid them or forget when it was.
We have scheduled the next one for November. October being half term for grand children, family visits and a give and take day.
The whole day was a huge success, so much saved from being thrown away. The lady who organised us all is 80, a talented and still professionally performing musician and artist. Her organisational skills are phenomenal, minutes kept, people chased, hall negotiated, insurance checked through the group, forms written, posters made and distributed etc . She is a marvel. Don’t believe me, this is June Emerson.
Her daughter now runs the sheet music business, but wait for it June still does the office work. What a role model.
It’s a privilege to be part of this repair cafe venture.
If you have the chance or the wish to be part of one, then go for it. It really is worthwhile.
Now I just assumed that everyone knew what a twiddlemuff was, and it’s nothing to do with Ann Summers! At the Thornton Dale Show the WI had a whole table of them! “What’s with all these twiddlemuffs, they are everywhere!” commented a lady standing to next to me. I’ll tell you what I told her.
People with dementia have what is known as restless hands, and they fiddle with everything, especially medical equipment when they are in hospital. A twiddlemuff, is a muff to keep their hands in, and warm, just like Lady Up Her Own Nose in her posh carriage, back in the day. And the twiddle is the buttons, textured yarn and other bits and bobs attached to the muff to twiddle with , rather than the needle stuck in a vein! It also helps stimulate the senses, and no more about Ms Summers here !
Instructions abound for them on the internet, usually with diagrams and descriptions which quite frankly bamboozled me. Then a very nice lady came to the library hoping to recruit knitters and with her she had some real life examples. Now all of the instructions say helpful things like cast on 40, 48 , 45 stitches, use size 5-7 mm needles. But Which ones!!
So here’s what I did. I used 5mm needles, I cast on 50 stitches and used chunky or two strands of DK yarn. I used machine washable yarn figuring it would get grubby and need a wash or several washes.
I then knit for 24 inches swapping yarn frequently. I tried to use a variety of yarn and strong colours , figuring that old eyes are weak eyes. I also varied the patterns but only using knit and purl stitches. I was tempted to put in some bobbles but I didn’t.
There is some of the lovely snowflake yarn in there all fluffy and soft and some tinsel yarn which I paired with a strand of matching DK yarn. I tried to make the cast on and cast off ends quite dense in texture to enable a strong join.
Next add buttons and other twiddly bits. I didn’t add lace or anything which I intended to do as I found whilst I was knitting it I kept stroking the fluffy and tinsel yarn and decided it was quite tactile enough!
You are going to fold it in so leave the middle section without any extra bits,
Now fold in half , short sides together, right side inside and stitch the two sides together, not the cast on/cast off sides.
Then turn right side outside.
So you have this on one side, I left the yarn sticking outside for a bit more twiddling, having secured it tightly inside already.
The other side looked like this.
Now fold it middle to top to creat a muff with twiddly bits inside and outside, and sew the middle to the cast on/off edges.
I used a ladder stitch and then over sewed it to make sure it was really secure.
And voila a twiddlemuff!
which I have to say is incredibly warm , strokeable and twiddliable!
It was also the most fun I have had knitting in a long while! Now can I just ask you to look at this bit again.
Apparently there is also a demand for twiddle blankets. I wondered if I knit in strips like this but longer with a garter stitch border and then joined them together to make a blanket, would it work? Or would it look a mess? Be honest Yes or No?
Anyway I am off to a Repair Cafe now, wish us luck! I find I am nervous, what if no-one comes…..
I have been busy this week with lots of things! All the Spring bulbs are in now. I love choosing new bulbs every year, having something to look forward to the other side of Winter! I have started the Autumn garden tidy up, which means another trip to the recycling centre with the debris is imminent.
I have also started to look again at my own Family History research. I bought myself a workbook in which to record names etc, it is helping show up gaps in where I got too when I did a lot of the work 8 years ago. I am hoping to go to the Borthwick Library based at York University next month, to search for Wills that are stored there.
So all that has left a little less time on the crafty stuff. I sewed buttons onto the Snowflake hoody!
They sort of disappear into the yarn but they are actually
ABC buttons! Then I had enormous fun knitting a Twiddlemuff.
It took a while to figure out what I was doing, so I took pictures as I went along to remind me, and I will write a separate post about it.
Then whilst I had the spare yarn ( not stash, but unused, leftover yarn) downstairs I crocheted a cat blanket!
Think that should be big enough for an outside kind of moggy.
Then I finally got round to starting to knit some gloves for ME.
The yarn is Sirdar Country Style DK, colour is called linen.
I borrowed this book from the library.
I have to say the projects inside are really CUTE, and the yarn they use is everyday yarn, not cost you a fortune hard to find yarn, which is a big plus to me. However two of the patterns are rattles and call for a rattle inner. I have never come across rattle inners for toys and I wondered if anyone else had, and if so where to buy them? Teddy growlers I have seen but not rattles. I am intrigued. I may also have to buy this book…..
Tomorrow is Repair Cafe day! That means weekend washing and shopping has to be done today. So organised!
Do tell what you have been doing this week, I so love our natters.
Have a great weekend,