Thursday, 19 November 2015


This isn't a cooking post, sadly, it's actually about crochet! When I was a child I would often spend long hours sat with my Gran learning to crochet.  She was amazing with wool and could make the most complicated patterns into huge, warm, snuggly blankets.  She didn't have very much money, so she went with my Grandad to the Jungle! This was her word for the Jumble sale.  My Gran didn't have much of an education or 'learn her words' as she would say, so she would often use words that sounded about right! She would take apart old jumpers from the jungle that cost just pennies and then use the wool for her blankets. Of course, this meant that the colours would be crazy and random. No boring brown blankets for us, which was the common theme in the 1970's. Gran's blankets were lovely and she was so patient when she taught me as I wasn't a natural with wool!

One thing Gran made that I will never forget was the Pastie! This was mine and my Sister's term for Gran's homemade slippers.  They were often a bit itchy and baggy on our feet but she would insist on making them for us and we would have to wear them for the duration of our visit with her! I'm sorry to say that we did not love these slippers and we would tease each other constantly about the multi coloured monsters.  They were made much the way you would make a real pastie. A crochet circle stitched up the front to midway and then your foot went in at the back, with a little tuck behind the heel to keep it on. I may have to make a pair in my Gran's honour <3

I think my Gran would have loved these slippers, below. she may have thought them a little fussy and a waste of extra wool, but I wish I could have made a pair for her in return for all the wonderful things she taught me.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Wild weather.

It was stormy last night. Wet and windy and wild. I slept badly as my little house shook and my roof tiles rattled under the heavy rain. The sun rose this morning in a pink and gold sky.  It's very beautiful but there is a threat in the air of another storm. 
I need to sculpt or spin this morning, but I also need to get out in that wild weather.  Feel the sting of the rain and the wind tug at my hair. I need to be at the coast and listen to the roar of the ocean. I don't know how long we'll last, but it will be fun.  I'll take towels and coffee and the dog will think I'm mad, but he'll love it because he's as crazy as I am :D

Wet walk in the woods.

Despite the threat of rain, we simply had to get out for a walk.  It clears my mind and helps me to feel more 'real'. I never tire of walking in the woods near my home as the view changes constantly from sunny and green to dark and mysterious depending on the weather.  Of course, the seasonal changes make it fun to explore as well and right now, we're full into mushroom season.  These are Polypores of some type, but I'm not certain which as they're not exactly like the ones in my little mushroom book!
These ones look like Hoof Fungus, which is similar to the Polypore. I'm learning as I go, but it's fun picking out the different types of fungi that grow in my lovely woodland.
A pair of Giant's legs???
Although the picture is misty, this is a lovely colourway that would be good to incorporate into some seasonal wool.  I feel like spinning it up after I've finished with the lovely white Southdowns that I'm working with at the moment. I can see a beautiful Autumn/Fall shawl taking place.
New in the Etsy shop is a ceramic bird skull with a pheasant feather and goldstone and silver beads. All based on the things I find on my walks and also what my little cats bring to me - skulls, lots of them!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Bring the wild in.

The book I'm reading (see first post) talks about the many ways to re-wild yourself and your life.  One way, that I really love, is to slowly replace artificial things such as plastic with natural fibres, wood and stone.
 This is my favourite Goddess pot.  I bought her many years ago and she was one of a kind at the time.  I'd love to make some statues like her. She adds beauty to a wild corner of the garden.

 I take inspiration from my surroundings when I go walking, find the poetry in the land
 and take home a piece of it in my heart to place in my home.
 It finds it's way onto my walls in many ways. I must finish adding the tiny branches to these Windling trees. I first came across the idea of painting trees onto walls a few years back at Domythic Bliss and have been doing it throughout the house since!
It's a dry day today, but very windy, I'm hoping I can get to the woods with the dog, stretch our legs and breath in the lovely damp tree odour.

I love this time of year when the world curls into itself and prepares for the long hibernation of winter. It's so strange to imagine that on the other side of our planet, their world is stretching and waking from her long sleep.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Not walking!

Certainly not in the rain! When it's damp, let alone wet and wild, my lazy lurcher only wants to be in bed and early mornings with a big mug of Earl grey seems to draw all the other household members as well!!! I'm under there somewhere!
So when I'm forced to stay inside, I spin. This was the result of plying 'leftovers' from my bobbins.  Manx Loughton dyed with henna hair colour and supersoft white Romney (my all time favourite fleece!).
And this is Romney plyed with undyed Manx Loughton. Not much wool here, but I'll find a use :D
This was a fleece I bought with great excitement and a good deal of ignorance! It's Polwarth, which is renowned for it's dense coating of lanolin and oil.
I washed it in my usual way, in a small bag with some gentle detergent and a lot of hot water.  Not too much agitation and then a cool rinse. Imagine how disappointed I was to find that the lanolin had just redistributed itself among the fibres and the oil had formed a thick tar on the tips! A lot of research led me to the conclusion that this special fleece needed some special handling. I have something to try and I'll post the next stage when I feel like giving it a go!
Finn tried to assist but was in danger of just creating a pile of felted mess!
Instead I took comfort in this delicious cotton roving.  I managed to get hold of some, despite it not being widely available in this country.  It is soft and easy to spin, although it needs more spin in the thread than most sheeps wool. It needs to be treated like silk with a good strong twist in the fibres. I've had fun playing with it, but this lot is destined for the Etsy shop Here.
Tomorrow is supposed to be dry but windy, so lets hope I can get out for a much needed walk with my camera dog and maybe a companion :D

Monday, 9 November 2015

A new start.

A fresh start. I started my first blog around 9years ago at the end of October and I suppose it's for similar reasons that I'm starting this new one now. Instead of feeling the year coming to it's end, I feel like this is the beginning.  A time to draw into the home, assess the future and coming months and take time to heal, plan, scheme.

I bought this book a short while ago and I suppose it's having an influence on me.  I'm not 'getting' it all right now, but it's making me think about how I live and so for that reason, it's a good book to have.  I think it will be one of those books that I take more from each time I read it.  I have a small tower of books beside the bed that I read almost every year and if I don't read them cover to cover, I at least dip in and experience my favourite parts.  These aren't fictional books (apart from Blackberry Wine), these are books about real people, real lives lived honestly with a bit of dirt and a lot of effort. Over time, I'll share these books and how they've shaped my life.
So what am I talking about in these future pages? Not just my walks, although I do live in a very beautiful area, but why I walk and how it affects me. I used to be incredibly fit, riding my horse daily, caring for a busy household with my husband and children.  It seemed perfect. It wasn't. It all came to an end and with it my robust health.
I fulfilled a long held dream and bought a puppy, Manchee. Together we explored the woodlands around my home.
Since then we've had many beautiful walks. It's where I draw my inspiration, take pictures and fill up my empty self when I'm weary.
I bring back pictures that inpsire me to paint and sculpt, I bring back moments, captured in the simple lens of my camera.