Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for September, 2018

September Books- 2018

I have read some lovely books this month. Here they are.

Penelope Byrde- Jane Austen Fashion- Fashion and needlework in the works of Jane Austen- The first five chapters concern fashion at the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th. Lots of coloured pictures taken from fashion magazines of the day, and plenty of references to the novels and letters of Jane Austen. The last chapter concerns needlework and was frankly disappointing in the illustration department. Again references to the novels and letters, but I would have loved pictures of the type of needlework mentioned and where real live examples exist pertaining to Jane Austen I would have liked to have a picture of it, eg the patchwork bedspreads she made with her sister and mother which are in a museum. A very interesting book though which I read from cover to cover, which is a good thing in a reference book.

Nancy Mitford- Love in a Cold Climate- think Downton Abbey meets P.G. Woodhouse, and you have this book in a nutshell. You have to get over bits of racism, the book is of its time, but apart from that it is funny with some quite ridiculous characters. The upper crust Lady Montdore who can’t believe her daughter would seriously throw away “All this” for love, meaning her houses, wealth and status and the fabulous Cedric “one” can only admire his panache, both are rather super creations.

Gail Honeyman- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”- a book of terrible secrets and devastating loneliness. I cried several times in this book. I needed the box of man size tissues. One of my best reads for this year. Jojo Moyes calls it “Funny, touching and unpredictable” It wasn’t unpredictable but I really was willing on a happy ending.  Miss O was not completely believable, too many contradictions. A woman who won’t use the communal tea mugs at work but is quite happy to drink out a mug from a charity shop, is supposed to be keen on healthy diets but eats porridge for breakfast with a plum, M&S sandwiches and crisps for lunch and pasta and pesto or spaghetti hoops for tea is not to mind on a healthy diet, but then aren’t we all full of contradictions. Fabulous book, bound to be in my top five this year I think.

Louis de Bernieres- So much life left over. I’ll be honest I did not enjoy this book as much as the first part of the trilogy (part three not published yet). I found an incident in the first few chapters very upsetting and maybe that coloured my view. This book takes Daniel and Rosie to Ceylon, but Rosie is so unhappy she wants to return to England. Daniel loves Ceylon and is heart-broken to leave, and the result is hardly unexpected. The novel focuses on Daniel and how he tries to use the life left over from WW1 in which he thought he would die. There were some fascinating chapters on WW1 that took place in the Middle East. I was amazed at my own ignorance and had to break off reading to do some background reading, where upon I was more appalled by my lack of knowledge. Shall I bother with part three when it is available- maybe.

Marguerite Duras- The Lover- Not certain how I heard about this book , but I do wish I hadn’t. Fortunately it is very short and was not quite bad enough for me to abandon. A semi autobiographical account of a French girl living in Saigon with her mother and two brothers in the 1930s. Her mother is a teacher, dotes on the older brother, and makes poor financial decisions. The brothers both seem hopeless cases. the elder a bully and a layabout. The younger his victim and also a wastrel. The elder brother goes to France at some point and continues his lazy ways and there is the implication he is a collaborator.  The younger remains in China and dies under the Japanese rule.The girl aged, 15 embarks on a sexual relationship with a 27-year-old very wealthy Chinese man, who is frightened of the authorities finding out about the under age child and of his father who controls his allowance. The book has no chapters and the paragraphs dot around all over the place and all are told from the girls viewpoint. In all fairness it is the style I disliked rather than the story. It is apparently a film. The blurb on th cover reads” an unforgteable portrayal of the incandescent relationship between the lovers, and of the hate that slowly tears the girl’s family apart”. I do hope it’s wrong and I manage to forget it very soon.

Jennifer Chiaverini- The Quilter’s Apprentice- An elderly lady returns to the family mansion to prepare it for sale. She employs a young couple to help with the grounds and house. Gradually their stories are told set against the background of the older lady teaching the younger how to quilt. A most enjoyable read.

Jessie Burton- The Muse-I had some reservations about her previous book The Miniaturist, but none what so ever about this one. This is a jolly good book. A painting is brought to the attention of an art gallery in London in the 1960s. An exhibition is planned around it but one member of staff has reservations about it, in particular how it came to be in the possession of its owner. For that we go back in time to 1930s Spain ( by coincidence to exactly the area Laurie Lee found himself in at that time- nice to make connections). Gradually the story of how the painting came into being emerges. I really enjoyed this book, and for once was not racing through it to get to the ending. Recommend this one to you.

So that’s it for this month. Have you read anything really good recently? I love everyone’s recommendations.


Knit and Natter Friday

This is a no knit Knit and Natter, but there is some patchwork going on.

We went to the Repair cafe last week, and so glad we did as the 100th repair was made on the cafe’s one year anniversary.

Photo by June Emerson, mender is Stuart Hobbs. The lady you brought in the 100th repair was awarded the pumpkin. The wheels were fixed but she was referred on to have it repainted.

Mr E was inspired to bring home a broken table. It had to come home as it needed hours to set the glue and clamping. It has gone from this

to this

I gave it a good polish with the bee’s wax polish. We returned it to its owner yesterday, and she was very pleased. She took us down her garden to pick apples. I have two big bags full to freeze.

Another busy week- the library, a trip to Scarborough, gardening, planning of walks. I love being retired, the days just whizz by.

Kate wrote about a project she has become involved with here called Days for girls, highlighting the problems girls have attending school when they have no sanitary protection. The project involves making environmental friendly sanitary towels thus enabling girls to go to school. They are made pretty so the girls don’t mind washing them.

My Mother used to tell me horror stories of the rags she had as a girl and how her older brother would tease her when they were hung out to dry. ” B’s got her period!” Brothers hey. I was lucky as a girl and had access to sanitary towels and the only reason I missed school during my period was when I had crippling tummy ache and need my bed and a hot water bottle.

Anyway it set me thinking and I recalled hearing that girls in the UK miss school because they have no sanitary towels which is quite appalling in our country, and really upset me. So I set about googling the issue which brought me up against the problems homeless women face and those who flee domestic violence. I cannot imagine how horrible it must be to be on the streets and having a period. So next time I go to the supermarket I shall be buying sanitary towels and tampoons and donating them to the food bank.

I did see a project which sells franchises to women in Africa so they can make their own sanitary towels and sell them. I wish I could be certain they weren’t a rip off. Maybe I should stop worrying about whether charities miss appropriate funds and just hope for the best. Such mixed feelings on the subject.

Pain relief at such times too, concerns me….

Moving on. I have made the unicorn cushion and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. The unicorn was fun to make.

But for me she was the easy part, I can do embroidery and applique. It was the bit I did next which made me so happy. After umpteen years of wanting and being too scared to making a log cabin cushion, I have.

It took two books and five hours, but I did it.

And the back.

And all from stash. The only thing I had to buy was the cushion pad.

Oddly for me, there has been no knitting this week. But all the ends have been stitched into the Eastern Jewels blanket, three evenings that took. I have now embarked on the 12th tile.

The fairy is under construction she just needs a face and her ears doing- the tricky bit.

I have  a quiet weekend ahead- maybe some gardening and walking and some knitting.

So what are you up too this weekend? Something nice I hope,

Look forward to hearing from you,

Be Happy,


Walk and Natter

It’s been a really busy week. Fun, but exhausting. My tablet computer broke, mid typing , I have been bereft! I have my normal laptop, this one which I use for writing on and emails and shopping, but the tablet is my device for reading your blogs, so if by any chance you actually noticed I wasn’t around every post the moment it appeared that’s why. It’s been a mini detox in some ways, because it is an effort to climb the stairs, switch on this computer, log on, and wait while it configures it’s umpteen updates, so I have tended to only come on-line once a day.

Mr E discovered that the tablet was still in guarantee, so I went on the  relevant website to investigate what I could do, and up popped one of those live chat boxes. Hi my name is Dale can I help you? I rather like those chat boxes, the person or algorithm on the end is usually so polite, no teeth sucking and don’t you even know that, at my somewhat basic questions. Anyway after a nice exchange with Dale he gave me a phone number to call. The chap on the other end was equally lovely when I called. He said take it back to the shop and we will exchange it.

Which would have been simply marvellous, only they don’t make them any more. I had to settle for a refund. And now I have to select a new tablet…

Anyway the busy bit- psychology group to attend, family history group, a visit to the hospital for Mr E- all is going well, and AND I led my first walk. When no-one but me and the person I had given a lift failed to materialise at the bridge I had specified as the meeting point, it occurred to me that maybe they had gone to the foot bridge rather than the road bridge.Which they had. After this hiatus we finally set off and had a jolly nice walk and an even a nice cup of coffee, if only a very large coach party had not preceded us to the cafe by five minutes. Fortunately there was a garden, it wasn’t raining or windy and we got two tables together so all’s well.

Did I mention the wind before- it has blown down the wisteria on the front of the house. Could have been worse, could have been a tree.

I also had to plan the walk for next month so it could go in the newsletter, and I thought maybe you would like to come with me and check ou walk number two while we chat a bit.

Down the lane a little way.

Maybe you came by here for the knitting. Problem on the knitting front. The jacket I am making for Baby J’s birthday which was black with white flecks, is enormous. Quick consultation with his Dad Mr J and we agree I make a blue one for his birthday. Five minutes later Baby J’s Mum Mrs M has asked if it could be pale grey. Pale grey? Seems an odd choice to me but I am now awaiting a delivery of some yarn called Cloudy Grey. Meantime I finished the back of the black with white flecks jacket.

We have now gone down the road, up a hill and down again and are crossing this rather nice two-way bridge.

I have come from the gate and turned right and we are walking alongside a beck. You could also cross straight in front of the handgate across another stream.

The second knitted fairy is still in bits awaiting construction. But I have been very busy on the crochet front.

We’ve crossed back over the beck to start a nice gentle climb up.

Crochet- yes I have now completed another tile in the Eastern jewels blanket, which means just six more to go and one square too. Lots of ends to sew in still, I think they are multiplying when I put the blanket away at night.

Goodness this poppy is a bit late and I rather like these what ever they are calleds.

Now Kate has some very nice blogging friends and together they make some wonderful quilts to raffle to raise funds to fund research into breast cancer in Australia. I have extremely limited experience in the patchwork quilting front and may well have bitten off more than I can chew when I said I would love to try to make a block. So far I have borrowed a book from the library, I have found a doable design online,Lynne has made it here for the self same quilt, but as mine can’t possibly look like this it won’t be obviously the same block I hope, and yesterday I went shopping and got some rather nice fabric. The plan is to warm myself up patchwork applique wise by making the unicorn cushion next week when life is not so busy and then to have a bash at making my block.

I do love a nice stack of hay bales. We are nearly at the end of the walk, just the school playing field to cross and down the lane to the church.

I loved the way the light caught this budliea.

I did make a birthday card for Little Miss F, it has a fairy on it , and it’s somewhere about.

Tomorrow is the Repair Cafe. It will be our first time there this year as Mr E has not felt up to it. I am taking a tea pot lid for fixing, and maybe Mr E will take his soldering iron just in case.

We’re back by the car, and oh what a suprise there is a tearoom.

So a lot later than usual, it’s over to you for some natter. Love to know the weekend plans.

Take care,

Be Happy,


Scrap Happy September 2018.

Linking with Kate  for Scrap Happy Day, I have had fun. Everything was from my scrap bag. The blue calico background was dyed by me around the same time as the lace on the head of you know who. I actually don’t think I need to say anything more, but there are a few details at the end.

Out to sea lettering was from the selvedge of some fabric by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller. The cat was one of five buttons , one still remains the other three went on a bookmark and two cards. The owl , well he’s been kicking around for years looking for something useful to do. The green is leftover from a tree on a wall hanging I made years ago, embroidery threads, various, all left over from other projects., ditto the sequins and beads. Goodness knows what the silver fabric was used for.  Waves are couching, chain stitch and some seeding.

Nothing like a bit of Nonsense.

Knit and Natter Friday.

How is everyone this week? Schools have gone back and if you are a retired person, our clubs and activities have got going again too. Sometimes August can feel a bit of a non month if you know what I mean. Maybe it’s just me.

So I was having a little bit of telephone chat with Little Miss F at the weekend and we were talking about all sorts of important things, birthdays, parties, unicorns, princesses, as you do with some one who is nearly five. I asked her about school because she has gone to BIG school now and is reception class. She told me she had two teachers , and about playtime and  school dinners, the important things in life. She is having a Unicorn and Princess birthday party in her own home this year. I asked if everyone had to dress up as Princesses , all ready with a witticism about what her brother would say if he had to be a Princess. But no, dress code is unicorn. At this point I miss heard her and thought she told me that her Mum was also making her a unicorn cushion. I mean really what was I thinking. Of course Little Miss F said costume not cushion. I bet you can see just where this is heading. “Nanny, you can make me the cushion”.

Now what can I do? I have a reputation to live up to. After all she did once say to her teacher ” My Nana can make anything”.

It also turns out that Mum doesn’t think she will be making a unicorn costume. I shall do my best. With the cushion.

Meantime I have finished knitting the jumper for her big brother.

I have knitted the body etc for another fairy, she just needs construction. I have half crocheted the next tile for the Eastern Jewels blanket, and started a cardigan ( please not pretty colours , bells and whistles) for Baby J- says his Dad, it is black with white flecks, but if I can think how to add a bell I shall.

No way would Mr J like Baby J in something that looks like the jumper for Master T, whose Mum and Dad have learned the wisdom of bright colours in a playground of children.

But mostly this week I have been having enormous fun with scraps of fabric, ready for Scrap Happy day tomorrow.

Now for an announcement.

Drum roll- the winner of the bookmark was Rainbow Junkie Corner. Please email me your address, and I will pop it in the post for you.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with lots of crafty things to do and see. Love to hear about them.

Be Happy,





Knit and Natter Friday

Have you heard that song, not song- ditty about the shark. My Daughter in law made a video of the children singing it, and it is going round and round in my head…. here’s the original

I am annoyed this week, not about the ditty but the book binding workshop I was going to on Saturday. You’ve guessed it, it has been cancelled, insufficient numbers, grizzle, grizzle, grizzle. Nanacathy goes grizzle grizzle, Nana Cathy grizzle grizzle, it fits so nicely into this tune.

On the plus side I have found an Art’s festival we can go to at Staithes, if it doesn’t actually pour down. Details here if you fancy a day at a very pretty seaside location. The lady who is Mad about Wool with her wooly chairs should be there.

We did go to the traction engine rally and the sun shone (25C), blue skies and much happiness. I even spotted a fairy, multi coloured leggings and t-shirt, then I realised she wasn’t a real fairy as she was smoking, that is one way you can always tell an imposter fairy.

Now we have lost the excessive heat I am enjoying being in the garden again. And joy of joy, I was hacking back the under growth round the pond when I spotted that we have actually got a bulrush. It must be five or six years ago that my Dad had a clear up in his pond and gave us some of his surplus rushes, and finally one of them has produced a bulrush. Such a wonderful way to remember my Dad.

Gardens really do go on giving. Talking of giving, just in case you missed my Giveaway in Yarn Along and I wouldn’t blame you if you did, because I do tend to rabbit on at times.

I am giving away this bookmark and if you would like to be in with a chance of winning it all you have to do is leave a comment of a wonderful memory to do with books. People have come up with some fabulous ones too, although I am still reeling a little about the image of a school teacher demonstrating 1960’s disco dancing, string vest and all.You can leave comments till the witching hour on 13 September and I shall make the draw seconds before next week’s Knit and Natter.

Row two of the Eastern Jewels blanket is complete if you ignore the ends to be stitched in still. I love making this and it is getting easier and quicker which in some ways means I have to concentrate more, if that makes sense at all.

And all that needs doing on the jumper for Master T is sew up the seams, add a neck border and buttons. Hopefully all done by Saturday night.

You won’t be able to lose him in a crowd!

So , what plans does everyone have for the weekend? Love to hear from you , after all my ramblings are only half of this post, and your comments are for sure the better half.

Have a great weekend,

Be Happy,





Yarn Along!

Sometimes it is easier to just give into a fairy, and let her have her moment of glory, again. Her name is Morgana. I found a wonderful website here that generates fantasy names, and I just kept going till I found the perfect one for a rather pushy fairy.

I followed the pattern from this book , Knitted Fairies by Fiona McDonald, for the Rainbow Dream Fairy. Now there are two ingenious things about these fairies. You get them to sit up, by shoving a roll of cardboard up their bodies and into the head, and you add wire to the outside of the wings so they keep a shape. I don’t want to give away the authors secrets completely, so you will need to read the book to see what you do exactly, and although it doesn’t tell you I used the same method for the wire in the wings as you do for the card in the body.

The author actually paints the faces onto her fairies and I have to say they are stunning. However, for ordinary mortals like me there are instructions for making eyes and lips from felt, they are just not as satisfactory, although of course I might get better with the next fairy.

The other brilliant thing is that all the fairies in the book have the same basic body so you can mix and match the clothes and the wings. She was actually easier to knit and construct than I thought, and was great fun. Once you have found the yarn for the hair, the rest just follows. I got this from a charity shop.

In fact Morgana came almost completely from stash. I bought yarn for the wings as I had nothing suitable, the rest I had. The lace I dyed myself years and years and years ago, it was just perfect for her. It is long enough to go right down her back. You can’t really see the necklace I made. I think I got the beads from Christmas crackers or something of that ilk. There were three lots of three beads on wire which had clearly been wrapped round something. So I unstrung them and made a necklace. the skirt is fastened with a popper and the wings are sewn on, but could be attached with a popper too ( sorry snap fastener), only I didn’t have another one. I have bought some since.

The biggest problem I had was with the second ear, which went really and truly very badly wrong, and I had to cut it off when I finally admitted to myself that it really would not do.

Anyway there she is, Morgana, now I am just going to park her up here

for some flying practice whilst I get on with the rest of this post.

Oh dear she looks a bit sad, makes a change from stroppy.

Gillyflower blogged about some fabulous book marks she had made, and I just couldn’t resist making some myself.

The charms sit at the top of the bookmark on a loop.

I wondered if

maybe someone would like to have this bookmark, and would like to enter a little giveaway. All you have to do is tell me in the comments of a wonderful memory you have to do with books. It can be any memory at all, as long as it is decent. To get you thinking, this is my wonderful memory.

Many years ago, there was handsome young man. He had two older brothers , and they had both done rather well for themselves in their history A level course work. One had written of Billy the kid, the legend, the films, the books and he had got a very good grade indeed. The other brother had written of the Great Escape, he had done such thorough research, he had gone to the record office at Kew to look at original documents. He had got a very good grade too.

But the handsome youngest son was in despair. He worried and he fretted, what was he going to do, how could he get a good grade? He thought and he thought and he thought. He consulted a wise woman, a very wise woman indeed.

She said “We must make a journey , a hazardous journey ( you try the A64 and you will know what I mean), we must leave early in the morning so we do not encounter the CROWDS. We must travel to York”

“Oh yes” agreed the young hero, let us go the ancient city of York. “But why?” he asked the wise woman (believe me she was very very wise indeed).”

Together they faced the hazard of the A64. Boldly they entered York, and paid the fee demanded by the York City Council for leaving their beloved new Citroen C3( it was a becoming shade of Tuscan blue). They traversed those narrow streets and entered the comforting world of the Book shop. They settled on the floor and perused the erudite tomes on the Prohibition years in America. They read and looked and swapped volumes, until at last they had the magnificent books that contained the information that the hero had thought he would never never find.

Dear reader, I was that wise woman, and my son did indeed get a very good grade for his A level history project.  We had such a good time, sat on that floor surrounded by books, one of my many happy memories with my boys.

Now that was probably a bit over the top , but you get the drift.

The giveaway will remain open till the witching hour on the 13th of September , with the winner announced in Knit and Natter on the 14th. Good luck.

Quickly now, because the flying practice is not going well, and I need to go to the rescue. Here is the current book I am reading.

Which is actually quite funny, and the colourful bit of knitting is the second sleeve on Master T’s jumper.

Right that is quite enough from me. I am linking to Ginny for Yarn Along  and Ginny for the Woolly Linx Party


Photo Challenge- Case

Luckily for me there were some rather nice vintage cases at the Traction Engine rally on Sunday.

A rather wonderful trunk .

Cases galore!

Linking this to Wild Daffodil for the monthly meet up.

The Great Northern Quilt Show 2018

OH MY. That’s it, I have nothing else to say , the quilts were all am az ing!

I should add that this is hand embroidered too- the flowers and the fruit

In all I took pictures of over 60 quilts that caught my eye. There were entries from all over including abroad.

There were some more homely ones too , can I call them that?  They looked more achievable, but these blew my mind.

Hope you enjoyed them.

August Scavenger Photo Hunt.

A photo hunt in which the story behind the pictures is important. This month we had two words for each prompt which sound nearly the same. I didn’t manage all of them.


Ten am on Bank holiday Monday morning, I visited the church in Slingsby whilst Mr E went to the car boot sale.

An hour later at a plant fair at Newburgh Priory. An hour later it still said the same time. Time stood still.


Looking towards the altar in the church. Rather a grand light for a village church.

And in the other direction towards the bell tower and font.

Or was the word Isle?

The Greek isle of Thassos taken in 2016.  For which of course you  need a Ferry

or was that a Fairy

Morgana just had to get in on the act. Really?I had this one in mind.

Did anyone else call these seed heads Fairies when they were a child? I don’t even know what they are the seed heads of, but rather appropriately one appeared in the house.


Not you again , no TEE

Teezal- Taking liberties myself now

Whilst I am outside we have Flower- a late lupin.


Or was that Flour- the windmill we saw last year used for the filming of Jonathan Creek

Hope that was a flour mill.

Finally my choice

Fascinating display of corn dolls at the British Wool Festival.

Linking this post to Kate  for the photo hunt.


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