Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Scrap Happy- December 2020

Sometimes life gets in the way, so not only am I a day late, but I’ve not done that which I set out to do. I am in the process of making two Christmas coasters. They involved getting out scary cutting mat and rotary cutter, which I had totally forgotten how to use. Needless to say I re-learnt the meaning of “measure twice and cut once”. Two hours later I was mentally shattered, but ready for some hand sewing, and I now have from scraps two prepared Christmas coasters.

Not very complicated if you are not a nin-com- poop. Double negative is deliberate!

Of course whilst I was putting off doing scary cutting I totally way laid myself which didn’t help.. I stumbled across a piece of red felt and the template for a leaf- which I hadn’t got round to making-so I thought , just get on with this instead, so I did. One bookmark- also totally from scraps of felt and embroidery floss.

So there we go- one and a half scrap happy projects. Linking as always with Kate for Scrap Happy days –https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/

Knit and Natter Sunday#3

Three Sundays on the trot- nearly getting to be a regular occurance, these knit and natter posts. Please do join in the comments and tell me what you may be knitting, crocheting or crafting at the moment.

The back of grandson’s jumper is coming on apace now with the raglan sleeves taking shape.

This is the crochet blanket- single bed size I am making for a care home. It started life on a Scrap Happy project as I was using up leftover yarn- trouble is I need so many blocks and I was running out of different colours, so I have actually paid out some hard cash for some acryllic yarn- I’m using the left over bits of yarn to join four blocks at a time- the idea was that no two rows or blocks of four were the same , just to add some interest. Think I may deal with some ends too before it becomes too big a task. It’s a nice project for those evenings when I am too tired to concentrate on anything.

How are your Christmas plans going? I have started to write cards but every year it takes me longer than I expect, as I do like to write a little note or letter with each one. I received some too, way back in mid- November, which is most efficient of some people. And I have given in to internet shopping- can’t face the crowds and they must be bigger than ever this year as we were locked down for a month. I would much sooner do it in a proper shop, but what can you do?

Sometimes I just feel I might be getting a bit old, tired and crotchety- a grumpy old woman perchance.

Anyway have a good week and stay safe,

Cathy x

Yarn Along- December 2020

Hard to believe that this is the last Yarn Along for 2020, but there we are.

I have completed the front of the wonderful jumper of many colours for my grandson.

And it is on with the back now. I just love this yarn so much- bright and cheerful and sure to lift the spirits in the dark nights of Winter. The book is very good indeed- an epic tale of a poor Korean family living in Japan during the 20th Century- I’m very grateful to everyone who recommended it to me.

I realise you can’t see how far I have progressed on the back of the jumper in this picture, so here is another.

It grows much faster without the cables, but the stripes are impossible to fully match to the front- I shall do my best with the back and the sleeves.

Once again joining with Yarn Along where you can find lots of yarning- https://www.gsheller.com/2020/12/yarn-along-december-2.html

November Books- 2020

Only three read this month, but all good ones!

Peter Hoeg- Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow– set in Denmark, a small boy falls from a roof, presumed an accident by the police but his neighbour Smilla disagrees as she can tell by his footprints in the snow that he was chased- but why and by whom? I loved the first part of the book as it was filled with ironic humour. The second part set on board a ship was less enjoyable- the humour had gone and it was one fight scene after another in which Smilla seemed to inflict a great deal of damage whilst getting hurt herself. Wish the humour had continued, and there were less tussles. A good book with a heroine to make you proud.

Elizabeth Gilbert- Big Magic- Thank you to whoever suggested this book to go alongside the Artist’s Way retirement book. It is full of encouragement to just get on with your creativity, finish what you are doing, release it to the world and move onto the next project- somethings will be good, some won’t, keep going long enough and one project will be filled with Big Magic- but don’t expect the next one to be necessarily! I think I recognised relatively recently that I make things because I enjoy the process, and if someone else likes what I make that is a bonus. This book helps me to understand that this is what matters. Far too easy to beat oneself up by comparing yourself to others! If this might be you too, I highly recommend this book.

Thomas Hughes- Tom Brown’s Schooldays. Back in September I think it was we climbed the White Horse iron age fort at Uffington on the Berkshire Downs. As drove away from there towards a pub for lunch we passed a funny little building which proclaimed itself to be Tom Brown’s School museum. Now this confused me because I knew the book to be about a public school called Rugby. (Brief explanation of the education system in England- State schools are free for all and for the ordinary people. Private Schools of which there are few are owned and run by a private individual for profit. Independent Schools are run by board of governors, public schools are charitable schools. All three charge fees at very high prices. Don’t ask me about academies and free schools which are new fangled things and confuse me).

So what on earth was this tiny building doing in calling itself Tom Brown’s school museum? According to t’internet the author lived in these parts and the school featured in the novel . I’d have to read the book to find out more, so I did.

The book is set in the 1830s, and the first part covers Tom’s early childhood. The son of the local Squire Tom was first educated at home and then had a year in a private school before being sent to Rugby School. He is allowed a lot of freedom as a young boy and mixes with the village boys who attend the local school. This part of the book paints an idyllic picture of childhood, freedom to roam, knowledge of nature, fun and games. Oddly recognisable from my own childhood in Yorkshire, and of some of the things we enjoyed when we lived in the next door county of Oxfordshire when our sons were little. I think here of a village custom of a Feast day- in which a fair comes to the village and fun and games happen. The Oxfordshire village we lived in was called Combe, and if you have never seen a a big dipper on a tiny village green etc you probably can’t imagine it. I loved this section of the book.

The novel is meant to be read by boys about to go to their public school, to prepare them to get the most out of the experience. I doubt any boy could read such a book these days- all perfectly accessible to read and not childish in any way- it simply wouldn’t appeal, so far is it removed from ordinary childhood today. Most of the lessons seem to be about translating Latin and Greek , and sport- Rugby football, and cricket, and a lot of religion. All good character building stuff, preparing the boys for life as Army Officers or clergymen and lawyers. It is of its time and thoroughly enjoyable, and maybe does throw a fascinating insight into the scchools enjoyed by the wealthy today.

Now I feel prepared to visit the museum as soon as it re-opens – next year I hope.

Have your read any good books this month? Although I have a nice big pile of library books to take me to the end of the year, ok end of January, I’m always looking for recommendations.

Happy reading, x

Knit and Natter Sunday

I was looking through my photo albums this week for one of my sons, and realised my knitting and crochet has not changed much over the years.

Colourful multi coloured back then- spot my beloved cat in this one too.

The pattern was in a Prima magazine, and I really really wish I had kept it.

My first ever crochet blanket- long since departed.
We still have this one- now in use as the picnic blanket, but it did make a great den!

I still knit in multi colours and crochet granny square blankets- long may I continue.

Current knitting
Current crochet!

Does anyone else have photos of their old work, which reflects their current makes? Love to hear what you think.

Stay safe

Cathyx

Swan Lake

A couple of weeks ago whilst exploring the neighbourhood, I drove about five minutes from our house to follow a sign to somewhere called Mouldon Hill, which was a short way down a track. I was really happy to find my very own Swan Lake.

Swan Lake
So peaceful
Not such an ugly duckling.
I’m a swan.
It’s actually a fishing lake for which you have to pay to use, these platforms are all round the lake for the fishermen.
I am begining to think that poor old Swindon is a maligned town, not so ugly after all.

And the excellent news is that from December we are allowed to go on family walks again. I have continued to go for mid week walks with my son in which we set the world to rights, and these have been a real boon, but I do miss the children.

Obligatory sky and tree picture. I do hope everyone knows the Danny Kaye song, or the references will mean nothing- showing my age for sure. And why do I automatically say fishermen, they could be women, should I be saying fisher people?

Have a great weekend, stay safe,

Cathyx

Touchstones

A lot of us are still enduring the Covid restrictions in some way or another. I was reading my book the Artist’s Way for retirement, and one of the sections deals with touchstones. It occured to me that nearly all of us have lost our normal routines and daily touchstones, especially people whose working (paid and unpaid)life has been impacted- the chats around the water dispenser or coffee mchine, the daily journey to work, the shops we pop into to while away some time, the libraries, maybe your church. All these things change when you retire but also now, and maybe the task my book suggested can help, or maybe is just a bit of fun.

We are asked to list 25 things that bring us joy- ordinary things, and maybe you can find one of them that you can do today which will bring happiness.

We are dividing them between the five senses, and off I go,

1 Taste- Cinnamon, mulled apple juice, ginger, carrot cake and bacon sandwiches.

2 Touch- Stroking a dog, hugs, clean sheets, rain when you get really really soaked or when there is a gentle rain on your face and that heat you feel when you go on holiday and climb down the airplane steps.

3 Smell- Line dried washing, bacon, the earthy smell in a wood, real Christmas trees and heather.

4 Sound- a brass band outside, crickets, the hum of bees, lawn mowers, and family chatter.

5 Sight- Sunsets, Greek seaside vilages, city/town lights, heather moors, old photographs.

Now some of those I can do nothing about experiencing at the moment- but I reckon I can have a bacon sandwich for lunch and make an apple crumble with lots of cinnamon tonight. Longer term there is the Christmas tree to think about- we currently have a very big artificial tree, and I really did want to go smaller this year, and I think I have the stand for a real one somewhere, probably in the garage somewhere….

Please do tell me some of your favourite things, and is there one something you could do today?

Heather Moors- old photo 2017- two of my favourite things in one.

Monday Notebooks

I have finally got round to taking pictures of most of the rest of my notebooks, should you be interested!

The event book.

This is the one I use for recording the birthday and Christmas lists, cards and presents, given and received,and in which I make plans for the parties I organise. They are lovely to look back on.

Dad’s 90th Birthday

Happy days.

These are A4 size, and the top one is my journal which is now nearly full, the one underneath is for the New Year. I started this way back in 2013, it began as a record of things I was making, but gradually became a journal- it may go months without an entry, then followed by weeks of daily entries.

The first page!
This is the book in which I simply note the books I read.
Started in 2003.

I had the brilliant wheeze in 2003 of reading the books on my home book shelves and deciding whether I would ever read them again, and if not give them away. It was short lived, but I kept on writing down the books I read, I have an on going project to compile a list of 100 books that everyone should read- I’m still only half way there! A tick indicates that it was a good book- they need a star to be in the top 100 list!

And finally the latest additions to my notebooks.

are these.

The top plain one is for my morning pages, which I have kept up and am now on day 34. I used to think it made no odds if I wrote it at night, but it does. Things that have annoyed me during the day if written up at night seem to stoke the fury ( think hours on the phone listening to musack waste of time annoyance), whereas if I wait till morning I have mostly forgotten it.More importantly whilst feeling cross, knowing I am going to write it all down in the morning helps take the sting out of the source.

Also morning pages help me plan the day rather better- I still have to do lists, but writing in the morning helps clarify the thinking that goes into each item. Does this make sense?

The blue one underneath is the book I am using for the tasks mentioned in the Artist’s way in retirement- I have just started week four- a week can be quite flexible , which is why it’s bit adrift from the morning pages tally. I’m glad I started this, it’s giving me some useful insights, and the thoughts coming from it has produced some strange things I put on my Christmas wish list- for example I added chop sticks- I can’t use them, and on the rare occasions I go to a restaurant where they are used I am stuck! And embarrased by grand children who can. Time I learned. I’ve also suggested a kite!

I wonder has anyone else suggested unexpected gifts when asked for a wish list, or is it just me? I’m also on the look out for bubble mix and a ball. I found bubble mix in a GINORMOUS pot but I only want a little pot, and balls, where have all the balls gone? Second childhood here I come.

So that’s more or less it- there are of course more notebooks, but none that are used very regularly- if I get more then i will tell you!

I wonder has anyone else suggested slightly strange gifts, or is it just me? Last night husband said “why do want a bike now?” Well because there seem to be lots of cycle paths round here and it sounds fun- I don’t want to go 100s of miles!

Knit and Natter- Sunday

It’s ages and ages and ages since I did a knit and natter post- they used to be on a Friday, but here we are it’s a Sunday, maybe a new norm for me, we’ll see. In the UK we have locked down again, and today’s joyous news is that it will continue after the predicted end of December 2nd, region by region and in tiers according to risk. I just feel so sorry for everyone who’s livelihood is effected by it all. Hard to shop local when local is shut, the big boys must be thrilled to bits by it all.

Moving on swiftly, here’s what’s on my knitting needles at the moment, a glorious rainbow of colours, by special request from Master T for the V neck jumper in his favourite of all my multi coloured knits. The yarn is called Partytime, by James Brett and is chunky weight.

We worked out last weekend that people from two different households could meet up on a one to one basis outside- suddenly occured to me that I could meet up with my son for a walk during the week, when he is working from home and the children are in school, and we have done so twice. And it does feel like exercise and not a stroll, we go at a fair lick I can tell you- no time for photos, he’s on his lunch break, but so far from his house we have walked along an old canal and the route of an old railway line, now a footpath and a cycle route, and we can go further than when we have children with us, and I am seeing even more of my new town.

Amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it.

An added bonus this week is that the sun sets earlier and earlier and as the sun has moved in the sky I have sunsets I can see from the house. If you could only have the sun setting near you at certain times of the year, wouldn’t the end of autumn and Winter be the best time of all.

View from just outside the house.

Knitting, walks with my son and sunsets have kept me going this week- how about you ,what everyday joy has kept you going? Do please join in, we all need to chat….

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