Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for April, 2018

April Books

Not surprising at all really that I have only read two books this month.

Kate Chopin- The Awakening- Recognised now as an early feminist novel , according to the blurb on the back. Not sure I agree, unless you only focus on sexuality and desire. It was published in 1899, and is set in New Orleans. Edna is the daughter of a plantation owner, wife of a financier and has two small boys. The family holidays one summer at Grand Isle. Here she learns to swim and begins to fall for an engaging young man Robert, who by all account has worked his charms on most of the married ladies. However Robert is attracted to Edna and realising things can not go further takes himself off to Mexico. The family returns home and Edna begins to paint. She stops doing her ” at homes”.  The children go to stay with their grandparents on the plantation and her husband goes to New York, to wheel and deal. Edna spends a great deal of time with a well-known “rake”, before moving out of the family home and into the “pigeon-house”.  Robert returns to town and both realise their attraction to each other. Robert being a gentleman removes himself and Edna returns to the Grand Isle, where the book ends. I won’t say exactly how.

Now I will be up front here. this book took me a fortnight to read, which is not like me. Mostly a couple of pages a  night and in hospital corridors where I did a lot of hanging about. Not the best way to read a book. I was disappointed. Sometimes I wonder if critics have read any of the classics like Jane Eyre or Middlemarch. Plenty of repressed sensuality there! I know others have read this book already, and some for A levels. What did you make of it? It’s certainly not the revolutionary tract on feminism I was expecting. I really thought Edna was going plough her own furrow with her own house and her painting, but no.

Melvyn Bragg- The Soldier’s Return- I was drawn to this book, partly because of the Sawdust hearts which admittedly are WW1, and the return in this book is from WW2, but the war in Burma against the Japanese, which is where my own Dad was.  Sam returns home to Cumbria, somewhat traumatized in 1946, to find the euphoria and bunting from VE day has long since gone and post war austerity with rationing and housing/ unemployment problems besetting his little family. His wife and son who is now 6 years are close to each other and to the other people in the lodging house they now live. Sam feels very much an outsider and a stranger to his family. His son is frightened of him and does not like being evicted from his Mum’s bed. Sam considers him a Mummy’s Boy.

The book is well written and the descriptions of post war life in a rural/ small town setting  believable. I especially liked the chapter with the town carnival which Sam and family throw themselves into. Then Sam attends a reunion in which one of his comrades waxes lyrical about Australia. Sam feels very hemmed in after the war and decides to go. His wife however wants to stay in the town where she feels safe.

I won’t spoil the ending, it was quite satisfactory. You do find out in one chapter what Sam and his comrades witnessed and it is extremely shocking. My Dad wrote an account of his time in India nad Burma and I am pleased that he did not have such a horrific experience.

I enjoyed the book, both for its personal link to my Dad, the descriptions of Cumbria, I love that people collected rose hips and the like and could actually sell them, the reality of the promised land fit for heroes and the austerity and poverty of the post war years. I am a fifties baby boomer, and I can recall bomb sites when we visited my Grandad in Liverpool, and how carefully Mum eeked out some food stuffs. A good read.

So what next? These two.

Have you read any good books this month? Love to know.





April photo scavenger hunt.

I found this months hunt rather hard and raided my archive for the majority of them, however they each have a story to tell. Let’s go.

Swirl– these bracken fronds  open up with such a swirl to start the Spring. Taken yesterday morning in the rain. They grow round our pond.


Rock– well there is only one Rock- the infamous Alcatraz, picture taken on our holiday to San Fransisco, in 2012.

Wood– this one taken from my big adventure in a hot air balloon in 2014. I just love the textures of the canopy.

Letter– this still makes me laugh. The knitting needle bag my son gave me.

Balance– Mr J on a walk near the North York Moors railway.

My own choice, my dear Dad at his last proper birthday celebration, April 2013. Miss you Dad.

Linking with Kate’s photo hunt. 

Please go and visit and see how much better everyone else managed.

Knit and Natter Friday!

Wasn’t the weather last weekend just wonderful here in the UK? The view from through the French windows  early in the morning with the sunlight playing on the hedge just filled me with joy.

As did my son and Mr B and his fiancée Miss G. They were lovely visitors. Encouraged Mr E ( who is doing well) with laughter and words, and helped me so much in the garden, chopping down ivy from the garage roof where I couldn’t reach and helping me with scary new lawnmower which turned out not to be scary at all. They deserved a cuppa in a local cafe.

After they left on the Sunday I took some flowers to my Dad’s grave. It would have been his birthday this week and I wanted some quiet moments of reflection.

Then I took a walk round the village and browsed an antique shop as you do, and GUESS WHAT. I found a WW1 sawdust heart, priced £75 , way beyond my pocket.

But it shows everything I had been reading about them. The use of preprinted pictures. The circles are called coloured wheels, there are sequins and beads, and the edging has braid and tassels. The only surprise is that it is actually much bigger than the one I have to make.

So this week I have added seed beads to the letters on mine. These just got lost in the felt. Next I tried adding sequins, but try as I might I couldn’t get them legible across the heart, it is too small and if I made the letters bigger the word Remember no longer fitted in , added to which they just looked garish. Out they came. However, I must say I can see why they were used for soldiers with shell shock, pushing the sequins, beads and pins in was very therapeutic.

So I settled for adding yellow to the stitching and made a composite stitch. I added just three sequins on the front, and now I am living with it , to see what I think. Across the back I added a short row of sequins to join the backing fabric together. I very much wanted to have some sequins somewhere, as per the instructions, to pay homage to the occupational therapy for the soldiers of WW1.

Yarn and Pencil wrote a wonderful post about junk journalling. Oh my does it look good , but also such fun. I admired her creativity. I looked at the materials. I thought I have kept oodles of paper and well stuff from other crafts and bits and bobs pulled off everything. Could I make one? Cue, massive rummage through all my boxes of goodies. Then a rummage round charity shops. Then a trip to the craft shops. Now the floor in the guest bedroom is littered with , well , junk. All I need now is the courage to get going.

There are 1000s of You Tubes on the subject, mostly from the USA, so I have been trying to figure out which glue does what. And what is the difference between junk journals, scrapbooking, art journals, smash books etc. I am now over thinking the whole thing. And although there are all these You Tubes, there don’t seem to be any books or very little written down anywhere. I really do like the idea of putting all my stuff to some use. Watch this space as the saying goes. Have you ever tried jounalling and have you any handy tips to pass on please?

Sandra at Wild Daffodil posted an update on her coastal crochet blanket, which is lovely btw, but resulted in a flurry of comments, culminating in a visit to Nudinits webpage. Oh my! I did laugh. Do check it out for a good giggle, thank you Sandra.

From there it was a short hop over to Amazon, where I thought I might buy the knitting book, till I read that only two characters were in the book. But Amazon don’t let you go that easily. “Here are some books others looked at.” they say. WHY, did I fall for that old chestnut? Needless to say two books are now on their way to me, which come on, I really don’t need. Have you seen my cupboards, floors, corners of all the rooms? Do I need some sort of therapy? I wonder is there a book for that…. no, don’t go there.

You see I have a reputation to live up too now. It was St George’s day this week and Little Miss F’s nursery was doing all about St George and the dragon. Miss F just had to take in

You know who. Apparently, and I have this on good authority via the teachers and Mrs T, that Little Miss F said ” MY NanaCathy made this. She can make ANYTHING”.

So of course I need oodles of stuff don’t I?

Which is all a very long way of saying there is not much output to share this week. The Sunday scarf is a bit longer and a lot wider. And the Eastern Jewels tile blanket has a corner and a triangle and part of the next tile.

And a few more ends to stitch in.

A gal can’t do everything now , can I? Unless anyone knows a way of making all the things and have a clean house and food on the table and a pretty garden.

One last picture to finish with.

You just can’t beat a picture of blossom and blue skies. Who knows the rain may hold off a little this weekend , so we can enjoy more of the same.

Love to know your plans for the weekend, mine include,yarn, paper, glue, thread oh and maybe some floor cleaning. That would be me using the stuff I have, it counts as tidying doesn’t it, if I lift it off the floor and do something with it.

Have a great weekend and Be Happy,


Knit and Natter Friday.

Once again thank you for all your good wishes and kind words for Mr E. I am delighted to say he came home on Monday , and we are both learning to adapt to the new reality. He is doing great.

The weather has helped. We have been basking in glorious sunshine in North Yorkshire. Nature has gone into over drive. In the space of a week the frogs have laid spawn and we have tadpoles; bees and butterflies have reappeared, and I am told that swifts and swallows are here. I shall keep looking for them. Spirits have lifted. Mr B and Ms G are coming to lend me a hand this weekend. We may even figure out how to use scary new electric lawnmower, between the three of us. All new gadgets terrify me, especially if they can fuse the house soon as look at you.

With spirits lifting the urge to create has returned. One Unicorn now on its way to Wiltshire.

She wouldn’t tell me her name, she says she will whisper it to Little Miss F, who I am sure will be delighted with her as she only eats chocolate apparently. I suppose that’s what happens if you are made over Easter.

I completed the first tile for my blanket.

Not at all certain I followed the instructions correctly for the cross over double trebles but heigh ho, who is going to know?

I decided I better  get a wriggle on with my WW1 sawdust heart. I decided I would cover it with  a pillow cover type thingy, incredibly I did manage to follow the instructions for this. I spent a long time thinking about what I wanted to say with my heart. I remembered a few lines from a poem by Laurence Binyon entitled For the Fallen. This is the verse.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

I have previously made some felt of a sunset and done nothing with it. It seemed right to use this.

I wanted the words remember me to be included within the sunset. However I think the effect is too subtle. Now the point of sawdust hearts is that they are decorated by using sequins and beads pinned into the heart. Should I use seed beads to go over the letters do you think, or embroider the letters with a more contrasting thread. Thoughts and ideas please.

I should add that I making this in memory of my Great Uncle from Liverpool who died in December 1917 of wounds.

Finally I have been doing a little knitting, on my Sunday Scarf, which is asymmetrical and the pattern is just two lines long and is copyrighted by its owner on pain of something absolutely awful happening to me should I divulge how you make it this shape. The best thing is I can knit this  whilst being too tired for anything else.

Hoping so much that this warm weather continues for a while, it makes everything feel just that little bit brighter.

May the sun shine on you this weekend,

Be happy


Knit and Natter Friday.

Thank you all for your good wishes for Mr E. He is continuing to do well and there is an outside chance he may be home today or tommorrow. Most of this week has been spent driving through road works to hospital and back again. Not my favourite occupation. I have a friend Claire whom I used to work with. When the powers that be used to come up with daft ideas that just add to work load and do little good, she would tell me it was an OPPORTUNITY! So when things look pretty bleak I try to and  don’t usually succeed to look for her much vaunted opportunities. In this instance she was right. There was an opportunity glaring me in the face.

Visiting times begin at hospital begin at 1pm. I have to be in Leeds, so why not visit

before I go. So on the Friday night I did my food shopping for the weekend, fettled the house, packed up bags and drove off bright and early on the Saturday morning and managed to be at Spring into Wool by 10.15. I had done my research so I knew just which stalls I wanted to head for and what I thought I might like to purchase.

This ladies bright and cheerful smile was so welcoming and to say she had been lambing all week. Yes that wool is all hers, hand dyed by her sister. Based in Oxfordshire but the sheep are Wensleydales, therefore proper Yorkshire and details here

I choose this lovely wool and pattern for some mittens

which are going to be all for me, except for the cream 4ply yarn which will be for my secret santa recipient this year.

Next I headed for the wonderfully named Joes Toes

where I choose some super slippers to crochet

for me… . Then to

where I bought some wool fat soap, and finally to another stall where I bought

what I hope is going to be quite an easy to knit scarf… for me. And see that titchy bit of knitting, that is all the knitting I have done this week.

After that there was just a time for quick whizz round the rest of the show, where I managed to pick up things as I passed by.

The two cards on the right caught my eye as I went in, and I had to go back for them.

After that there was just time for a coffee and a piece of carrot cake which served as lunch.

I was very glad I went, so good to be me for an hour and a half and not just another anxious relative in a hospital. So Claire is right there are opportunities to be found in even the most inauspicious things.

My bags were veritably bulging by the end

The crochet bag, gifted to me by my Secret Santa Sheila was much admired, and I consider that this show was a worthy first outing for it. Thank you. I could get in rather a lot!

I had my sister-in-law stay on Sunday and Monday night, she flew up to Leeds/Bradford airport which was rather convenient too. She also knits and had had a bash at crocheting, but couldn’t figure out how to handle her wool with her guiding hand. So you can imagine that both nights when we got home after supper were full of yarny talk and demonstrations and practice crochet exercises.

Meantime Mrs T had sent me some more pics of Easter which I thought you might like to see, well actually I thought I might like to share..

Finding those easter eggs

Cuddling Sparky and oh, this next one melted my heart. Master T insisted that his Mum took a picture of them with me before they went home.

Love them to bits.

And one more link here , just in case you missed the BBC4 series Make- episode 2 has the wonderful Dr Phil and her amazing chair, here. And Dr Phil blogs here as The Twisted Yarn

So I am hoping that Mr E comes home soon and life slows down again. And I hope you have time for lots of crafting this weekend, or whatever helps you relax.

Once again thank you for your kind words, they are so appreciated.

Be Happy,





Knit and Natter Friday.

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable Easter.I have been very lucky as my son and family have been holidaying here this week and lending us much-needed moral support. I am pleased to tell you that Mr E had a major operation on Tuesday and is now recovering as per schedule. He will be in hospital for a while longer and I shall be zipping down for visiting also for a while longer. The relief I feel is enormous, light at the end of the tunnel and all that. Thank goodness for family, friends, blogs and yarn.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts.

However,it was Easter and there were things to be done.

Belinda the dragon duly made herself a nest on top of a blanket and Easter eggs.

Little Miss F was taken under her wing immediately.

Not quite certain why Little Miss F needed the kitchen stool or why my Easter rag doll was in a star wars thingy but there we are. And the duster was there as something else that was required.

The dragon is now called Sparkly.

There was an Easter egg hunt in the garden between rain showers cloud bursts.

We even squeezed in a trip to Whitby and I finally got to eat a meal at the famous Magpie Cafe.

It was a very good fish and chips too. The children’s activity packs were well worth opting for too, and the grandchildren were kept occupied during the wait for food.

To things yarny- I managed to complete the back of the cardigan I was knitting, but Master T had apparently won an enormous basket of Easter goodies at school. Little Miss F decided I was just the person to make this unicorn which was included.

So of course I set to work. The body is done, and Little Miss F stuffed it. I had hoped to finish it before they went home, but sometimes even knitting is too much.

Mrs T also returned these four , now too small.

That fabric is too nice she said, and she didn’t know any little girls to pass them onto, maybe I could make them into something else… what? Or maybe I could put them in the airing cupboard to marvel that I ever made them in the first place. Ideas anyone.

I have my sister-in-law coming to stay on Sunday for a few days. I have to clear the guest bedroom of all the yarn, fabric, threads  etc etc that I had arranged to my satisfaction on the bed! That’s this morning gone for sure.

I shall be glad of her company.

I am glad of your company, thank you for stopping by. I may not have been reading as many blogs as usual or throwing in my tuppence worth, but I am still here and I will be around from time to time and dipping into your blogs.

Thank you, and do stay for a bit of a chat.

Be Happy,



Photo Challenge- Yellow

Time for Sandra’s photo challenge. This month the theme is yellow.

The gorse just coming into flower at the Ellerburn Nature Reserve.

The inside of my crocus bulb,

Some tete a tete daffodils that have bloomed in spite of everything the weather has thrown at them in 2018.

My Easter vase of flowers.

But if you say YELLOW in this family, it can only really mean one thing. Mr J and Mr B’s football team, now totally embraced by fiance, wife, and sons!

This picture was taken in 2016, the rest were taken in March this year. What does yellow mean to you I wonder.

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