In a Bunch on Monday

At last my garden has perked up and has some colour. I hurriedly put this bunch together to take to a friend

The white flowers are perennial stocks, they smell divine! Also cerinthe, quaking grass, purple loosestrife, persicaria and nigella.

This delightful fairy-like plant was in my friend’s garden

Do you know what it is?

Apparently it self seeds well and I will definitely be getting some seed later on

But neither of us know it’s name.

Joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday

Crocheted Mandalas

If you have been following me for a while you know I love to turn a crocheted doily into a decorative hanging by putting it onto a metal hoop. I get the hoops from Glitterwitch and Dannells.

I discovered Zoya Matyushenko’s designs in 2017

So textured, intricate and utterly absorbing to make. This one is called Sol

Made with Scheepjes Sweet Treat, 2ply cotton thread, Colour Bridal White and a 1.25mm hook.

I love the way each round is an adventure. I could have stopped at almost any time for a beautiful piece. But this one would not lie flat. Luckily it worked well stretched on a 30m (12inch) diameter hoop. It might have worked better with a larger hook size.

Recently the idea popped into my head that I would like to see a whole bunch of white mandalas hanging up together.

So for the past few months I have been making more

Sol is the central one on the left hand side.

The largest is 70cm diameter and the two small ones are 20cm diameter.

From top left the patterns are: Mako by Zoya Matyushenko, 2.5mm hook, Scheepjes Maxi Sweet Treat, 2ply cotton, Bridal White. 35cm (14″) hoop

Calla by Zoya Matyushenko, 2.5mm hook, Scheepjes Maxi Sweet Treat, Snow White, 2ply cotton thread. 50cm

‘A Pleasure’ by Patricia Kristoffersen (free), made with Sirdar 4ply cotton and a 3.25mm hook, 70cm hoop

‘One Mini Mandala’ by Elizabeth Laitila (free) 3mm hook, 20 cm hoop,

then Sol, and below Sol is

another Zoya Matyushenko (ZM) design, Agnes, 2.5mm hook, Scheepjes Maxi Sweet Treat in Snow White,  on a 50cm (20″) hoop.

Then the 20cm diameter ‘Frozen Lotus’, by Johanna Lindahl, made with 2mm hook

above the 30cm (12″) Frozen Lotus, made with a 2.5mm hook.

Then ‘Bella’ by Olga Mattheis with 3mm hook. This was not the eassiest pattern to follow, but I got there in the end.

I am in awe of the designers of these patterns. It is intrguing to see the design come together.

My fantasy is that these would look good hanging from the ceiling of a wedding venue or a Summer Garden Party marquee. But for now I am enjoying how they twirl in the lightest of breezes and cast beautiful shadows when the light shines through them.

Sunday Saunter

Click on any photo to see it larger

We heard the cuckoo!

 

Bonfire on the Beach at Sunset

The Coastal Crochet Cal (crochet along), Picnic on the Beach, has finished and it was a joy to take part. The pace was just right and although it is not a race it is nice to keep up and be part of seeing all the amazing blankets that are being created at the same time, all over the world. I do love the sense of community that builds through the Facebook page, and by Eleonora sharing picture collages on her Instagram pages and on Facebook.

Eleonora’s video tutorials are excellent. I am excited to see what she comes up with next.

My colours were inspired by the colours I used in Attic24’s Dahlia Blanket and the sunsets I see from my west-facing sitting room window.

One was from last week

A painting in the sky.

I used Stylecraft Special DK  and a 4.5mm hook.

Colours: Lipstick, Spice, Matador, Claret, Burgundy, Clementine, Sunshine, Pomegranate, Blush, Duck Egg, Dandelion, Tomato, Storm Blue, Petrol.

In my last post about this blanket I showed you the horror of all the ends to sew in. Eleonora did provide a tutorial on how to weave them in as the Tunisian Entrlac was being worked, but there were still a LOT of ends to sew in for this blanket. Worth it though, and amazingly they are all sewn in. Sometimes it takes me months to do that job.

The blanket has been designed as a picnic blanket and so is not too big to carry around, and works very nicely as a blanket to snuggle up in on cool evenings.

Image

Silent Sunday

Saturday walk: Hilton and Bulbarrow

For the first time since last Summer, I met up with my son and his family for a glorious walk in the sunshine. There are still frosts every morning and a nip in the wind but the weather was just right for walking.

Click on any photo to see it full screen.

We met in Hilton. You can find the walk on the Dorset Life website.

Quite a gentle uphill walk to get to the ridge from where we could see for miles and miles.

It was the first time I had met their 6 month old Border Terrier, Haggis

She is standing by a trough which I had to photograph for Cathy cos I know how much she likes them.

Ahead was our picnic spot.

A shelter made in memory of Mark Batchelor who died aged 32 in 2007.

The boys were intrigued by the little bits of memorabilia left on a shelf in the shelter, and we wrote in the Visitors book.

After lunch we set off again through woodland

Little Bro collected wild garlic and was fascinated by the wood anemones.

Then out across the ridge and down into the valley

There is something so refereshing about being up high and looking out across the county – deep breaths of clear Spring air certainly recharges the batteries.

Heading back to the village – a boy and his dog ran ahead

Once back in the village we said our farewells and then I went to investigate the church

and found this rusty iron headstone – how pretty

If I were to be buried, my daughter suggests ‘Rust in Peace’ as my epitaph!

🙂

To my surprise I could enter the church by the side door

And enjoy the peaceful interior

Just as I was leaving I noticed this piece of modern stain glass hanging from the ceiling. I do love to see modern art in churches

On the drive home I passed the rather spendid Milton Abbey, which is now part of a private boarding school

I got home just in time to watch the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

I am ambivalent about the place of Monarchy in our modern society, but there was something about this pared down ceremony to honour a life, on the whole, well-lived, that I felt I wanted to watch, to mark a point in history.

I hope you are having a happy weekend whatever the weather in your corner of the globe. xx

How to quickly access WP Classic Editor

Words Worth Writing

Oh, wow! Hello Classic Editor, I have missed you much!

Massive thanks to Wild Daffodil who showed me how to access the classic editor in WordPress without having to jump through hoops.

Basically, you go to your dashboard, go to Posts, click the drop down arrow next to Posts Add New, and then choose Classic Editor.

They’re threatening to remove Classic Editor completely, so the more who complain about it, the more likely we’ll get to keep it.

If you use the free WP, you can use the support forum here. If you use the paid-for WP, you can access support here.

If you hate block editor as much as I do, LET THEM KNOW. If block editor means you are less likely to use WP, LET THEM KNOW. If blogging with WP used to be a dream and now it is a nightmare, LET THEM KNOW.

At…

View original post 75 more words

In a Vase on Monday – Vintage Plough Share

Eucalyptus clippings and self-seeded wallflowers in a glass vase and a little found shrimp paste pot; an old brick found on the beach, and put in the fire to clean off the black tar; a vintage plough share, washed and waxed with furniture wax, and some rusty old sheep wire formed into a spiral.

I was walking along a farm track with my daughter and her three children a couple of weeks ago and spied a piece of rust embedded in the chalk and rubble of the track. (Not this track but one very similar – this photo was taken on Friday)

Oooh Rust! I cried! and bent down to try to pick it up. I couldn’t get the piece out, so said I would come back another day to retrieve it and bring a tool to work it free. The children were determined to get it out for me, and with some sticks and stones they only took about 5 minutes to free it. I always have my rucksack with me, which was just as well as it was heavy to carry home.

A precious (well to me anyway) piece of farming history. My son-in-law recognised it as a single furrow plough share, from the horsedrawn era and spent a bit of time looking online to see if he could identify it more precisely. It might have come from something like this one.

Just the sort of plough that my Grandfather would have walked behind on his farm in West Dorset.

When I sent this photo to my son-in-law later, he said it looked like an alien snail

So the working title for this little sculpture is ‘Snailien’.

What does it look like to you?     What would you call it?

It’s catching – Little Miss M, 8, has now started her own rust collection!

and this is Miss E (13) having her first welding lesson from her Dad, what a cool Dad he is!

It turns out she was making a flower/plant for me! and when I got home that night she had planted it in my garden!

Oh my! Better than diamonds – this makes me so happy.

This is a great fat rainbow I saw on my walk on Friday – it looked so much closer and bigger in reality. Maybe there is a pot of rust at the end of it! 😉

Joining Cathy who is Rambling in her Garden this morning and giving us a Little Love to help us grow.

❤ 🙂 ❤

Access Classic Editor!

In WordPress ‘Help’ I asked “How to access Classic Editor” and this came up

I took a photo of this page on my phone and then clicked on account settings, in the explanation above the photo – it took me straight to the page.

I followed the instructions and now I can access Classic Editor via the loop hole!

Yippee!!!!!

Hope this helps.

The First Bluebell

Yesterday I went on a lovely walk with my daughter’s mother-in-law. There really ought to be a name for our relationship. There was a nip in the wind but the sun shone and created the most glorious colours in the sea.

The sun filtered by the clouds gave us purples and blues

shimmering steely glints

and glorious aqua greens.

We walked from Osmington Mills to Ringstead and came across this cottage that under normal circumstances would be buzzing with people. I took the number, because I might like to stay there one day – just a 5 minute walk to the sea.

Walking up through a sheltered wooded valley, we saw our first bluebell in flower. Crumbs! that’s early!

and then this stange plant which turned out to be a Japanese Butterbur or Sweet Coltsfoot.

Next time we go there for a walk, we hope the cafe near the beach will be open and we will stop for a coffee.

Fingers crossed.

 

Happy Mothers Day!

My daughter’s children and me in the Hot Tub.

We’re in a Bubble!

I hired a Hot Tub as a treat for my daughter and and myself for Mothers Day and it has been a huge hit.

Cheers!

We have had it since Thursday and Little Miss M has hardly been out of the water. At night it lights up with changing colours – Fun!

I hope you have had a lovely day – and for those of you for whom the day is difficult, my heart goes out to you – sending love and hugs.

Coastal Crochet Crochet-Along

I do love a Crochet Along and Eleonora’s pattern, Picnic on the Beach, intrigued me.

It starts with Tunisian Entrelac, which I have never done before.

Eleonora’s video tutorials are superb!

In Eleonora’s pattern the squares represent red and white Gingham, but ever since my Sunset blanket, made from Attic24’s Dahlia pattern, I have wanted to do another project in sunset colours.

There is one drawback

Yikes! All those ends.

I have sewn them all in, but if I did it again I think I would crochet a plain square  in single crochet (US) to cover them up at the back.

The pattern comes with full photo and video tutorials in both US and UK terms.

Week 1

This is the central square.

Stylecraft Special DK and 4.5mm hook

Colours: Lipstick, Spice, Matador for the small squares.

For the basket weave stitches: Lipstick, Claret and Burgundy.

Week 2

We added waves and I was reminded of the colours over the sea I saw from my Christmas Hideaway

Colours for the waves: Clementine, Pomegranate, Blush, Duck Egg, Dandelion.

My background colour and the colour that will tie the blanket together is Tomato.

Now that the waves have been added, the dark edges of the central square makes me think of a bonfire, so the working title is now

‘Bonfire on the Beach at Sunset’

It gives me a warm glow just thinking about that as I am making it.

Silent Sunday Sunny Saunter

so good to see the sea again

Free Pattern: Sea Fairy Shell Scarf

I was talking on the phone to Twiglet (8) the other day and she asked me if I was making anything for her. We haven’t seen each other for well over a year.

I said.”If I were to make you something, what would you like?”

The reply was, “a scarf in blues please”.

The thought of making a scarf with hundreds of short rows is not my idea of crochet fun, so I decided to create a pattern that goes around a central long row of double crochets at the centre.

Here it is:

Sea Fairy Shells for a Child

(This pattern is untested at the time of posting – I would love to know if any of you try it out – all feedback welcome ❤ )

Size:

104cm x 11cm

41inches x 4.5inches

About 54gms DK yarn and 4.5mm hook

I use US terms and I am left-handed

Special Stitches:

V st : (dc, ch1, dc) in the same stitch.

Shell: [dc, (ch 1, dc) 4 times]

Foundation chain.   Ch 154

(when I create a foundation chain I put in a stitch marker every 20 sts when I am counting.

I don’t count the loop on the hook)

Foundation Row: Dc in the 4th ch from the hook, dc to the end. 

Counting the chains at the beginning as a stitch. 152stsRound 1: Ch 1, sc into the same st, (dc over the bar of the last dc of the Foundation Row, ch 1) 4 times, dc over the bar, sc in the first loop at the base of the foundation row,

(skip 2 sts, in the next st: [dc,(ch 1, dc) 4 times], skip 2 sts, sc),  repeat 24 times to the end of the row.

In the end bar (which is the foundation chain that formed the first stitch of the Foundatuion row) [ dc, (ch 1, dc) 4 times],  skip2 sts, sc in first st (where the stitch marker is in the photo),

[Skip 2sts, dc, (ch 1, dc) 4 times, skip 2sts, sc]  Continue making these shells to the end, making sure that the centre of the shell is opposite the shells on the other side of the Foundation row.

25 shells each side of the Foundation Row and one at each end.

It takes about 20gms yarn to get to this point.

Round 2:

(Round 2 and 3 use approx 15gm)

Colour 2: Standing sc in the third dc of the end shell., *ch3, V st into the next sc. Ch2, (sc into the 3rd dc of the next shell, ch1, V st in the sc, Ch1)  24 times, sc into the 3rd. dc of the next shell, ch2, Vst into the sc, ch3*, sc into the 3rd dc of the end shell, Repeat from * to * . Sl into the standing sc.

 

Round 3:

Sl into the V of the standing sc. Ch4, into the V of the standing sc (dc, ch1, dc)

ch1, *sc into the ch3 space, (make a shell into the ch1 of the next V st, skip 2sts,  sc in the next sc) 25 times,

make a shell into the next Vst., sc into the ch3 space, ch1,• into the V of sc [dc, (ch1, dc) 4 times], ch1,

Repeat from *to *, into the V of the standing sc (dc, ch1) twice.

sl into 3rd ch to complete the round. Cut the yarn and fasten off.

Round 4:

(Round 4 and 5 take approx 20 gms yarn)

Start with a standing sc in the 3rd dc of the 13th shell on one side.

(starting here so that the sewing in of the ends can be as discreet as possible)

^^(ch1, Vst in the next sc, ch1, sc in 3rd dc of the next shell)^^ 13 times.

**ch1, Vst into the next sc, ch1, Vst into the same sc, ch2,

sc into the 3rd dc of the end shell, ch2, Vst into the next sc, ch1, Vst into the same sc, ch1, sc into the 3rd dc of the first shell of the next side.**

Repeat from ^^ to ^^25 times,

Repeat from ** to **

Repeat from ^^ to ^^ 12 times.

Sl into standing sc, do not cut the yarn.

Round 5:

ch1, (skip 2sts, shell into Vst, skip 2 sts, sc into sc) 13 times

^skip 2 sts, [into the next ch1 space, (dc, ch1) twice, dc] 3 times, skip 3sts, sc into the next sc.

skip 3 sts, [into the next ch1 space, (dc, ch1) twice, dc] 3 times. skip 2 sts, sc into next sc,^

make 25 shells in the V sts to the end.

sc in next sc, Repeat from ^ to ^

Make shells to the end of the round, sl into ch1.

Cut yarn and fasten off.

These scarfs are like hugs and kisses for my Granddaughters

Twig’s Scarf: Teal and Lobelia

Scarf 2: Storm , Duck Egg, Petrol

Twiglet’s Scarf +1: Stash busting, machine washable DK yarn.

 

 

WetWetWet

We have had SO – MUCH – RAIN!!!

 

I have never seen the river as high as this at the ford.

When my son got married, in October 2008, the newlyweds left the church in a horse and trap and drove across the river here. The water would have covered their knees, sitting in the trap, if they had attempted it on Friday when I walked over the bridge in the rain.

And then the sun came out

and the heath was looking all rusty and glorious.

From cave dwellers til now – is it “ART”?!Icy weather to come apparently – I wonder if this will turn into a skating rink.

What is the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Squares Together

Back in July 2020 I made a piece of crazy patchwork

Chopped it up and sent the pieces off to 15 members of the group Stitched Together – a splinter group from The Stitchbook Collective, made up of people who would like to work collabratively on pieces of textile art.

The aim is to make some pieces in a relaxed and enjoyable way and then to exhibit them to raise money for both national and local mental health charities.

I sent a little bit of sari-waste ribbon with each piece. This did not have to be used but some did.

Magic happened!

It seems like a miracle to see how all those 2″ squares have been transformed

I have had permission from all participants to share our work on my blog.

It was so exciting to open each envelope and discover a beautiful gem inside.

The eye suggested Egypt to me and the nearest I had to a parchment background was some reused teabags that I had sewn together in layers and painted with Gesso.

I painted it a pale sandy colour and started to arrange the pieces.

Each time I thought I had arrived at an arrangement I liked, I left it overnight and then in the morning realised something needed to change. I tacked the squares down and undid and rearranged them 4 times before I was satisfied.

Here they all are now sewn into place and ready for some surface stitching to complete the piece.

If you are wondering what has happened to the Wild Green Twinches, I will be working on them when I have finished this piece.

Winter Woodland Walk

It has been so wet for so long and some of the woodlands near me are looking particularly lush and mossy – elves and fairies peeping out from behind every tree and fern.

To give everyone in my daughter’s family a much needed break from the rigours of home learning, I have taken two of my grandchildren out for a ‘keep-your-distance-walk’ a few times.

Little Miss M and Master R love to draw and grasp every opportunity, so when they found some chalk on the ground ….

This is one of the cyber characters that inhabit Master R’s imagination

and then – throwing the chalk at the tree to make marks was a good game too – who could make the highest mark, how far away could they stand and still hit the tree?

(Yes I did knit the bobble hat 🙂 )

And something to melt any Granny’s heart – a card from Little Miss M

She had made one for both of her Grannies. Awww! ❤

You might remember that Little Miss M and I are walking 500 miles together – You can go to this link to see a wonderful walk we did in March 2019.

We did not add many miles to our total last year (I wonder why?!) but we are both determined to do more this year.

Our total to date is 133.5 miles, only 366.5 to go!

Have you been able to go out for any walks this week?

The Stitchbook – Ta Dah!

I signed up for this project in May 2019

150 of us joined Helen Birmingham’s STITCHBOOK COLLECTIVE and the journey began.

Who knew when we got our first box of goodies in September 2019 how important this project was going to be for keeping us busy, creative and connected.

Each month for 12 months we recieved a kit through our letter box, and even though we had paid for it, many of us felt like it was a present arriving through the ether to cheer us up – happy post!

We chatted via our Facebook group, encouraging and inspiring one another

We were initially working towards exhibiting the books at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. This was cancelled, but we kept on stitching – the cancellation gave some of us the much needed time to finish the project.

I get very excited at the beginning of a project. I loved the feeling as inspiration flooded in with each new box – but then I go off at a tangent and make a multitude of my own experiments and lose focus.

I am so good at NOT finishing things – anyone else out there like me?

I wonder if I ever would have pushed myself to complete it if it hadn’t been for Helen’s flexibility and gentle encouragement to get me over the finish line.

The covers done and the book bound together with bead spacers – it sat there – it did not feel finished – bizarrely, it did not feel mine.

It was a huge effort for me to focus on the covers, make them to Helen’s specific instructions and get the book exhibition-ready. The front cover has tabs on it so that it can be displayed for exhibition. The effort to get the covers made took away some of the joy, so it had to sit in a corner for a while.

Seeing other finished books online and a few text messages with Cathy (thank you Cathy!) gave me the kick of enthusiasm I needed – out came the beads, the stamps and the paint brush

and here it is – Exhibition-ready!

AND £3,344.00 has been raised by Helen and the purchasers of her kits for the mental health charity, MIND. 

Feel good project all round.

You can see other posts about this book by typing Stitchbook into the SEARCH box and here is a video of the finished book.

A HUGE thank you to Helen Birmingham for this project and to the other members of THE STITCHBOOK COLLECTIVE community.

Beach Walks

On my retreat I got up each morning eager to see the sunrise,

hoping to catch that moment when the sun just peeps above the clouds.

After some crochet, and timed according to the tides, I went for a walk to one of the two little beaches nearby.

When the sea was calm, there was a heron

 fishing

but I was looking for rusty bits and seaglass

On the whole the weather was good

with the low sun adding beauty the the hedgerows.

Looking back from the path, if you zoom in, you can see my caravan perched above the beach.

So back to my cosy nest for some more crochet

This is what two weeks of mosaic crochet looks like – in Stylecraft Special Aran and 5mm hook. The pattern is Santa Cruz by Daisy Knots.

Then out for another walk to catch the sun setting

I wonder where I will go for Christmas 2022.

If you could go anywhere in the world for two weeks on your own, where would you go?

From my nest on the cliff

7.06 am 25th December 2020, looking out from my static caravan window.

Click on any image to see it full screen.

As some of you will know, every other year I escape Christmas and find a hideaway where I can be on a blissful tinsel-free retreat.

This year, I could not go too far from home, but luckily a friend owns a caravan at Sandsfoot Castle, overlooking Portland Harbour, just 10 miles from where I live and she was kind enough to let me have it to myself.

I have not been away from my house overnight for about a year, so it felt very exciting to pack a suitcase and stuff the car full of craft supplies and head off to the sea.

8.00am  30 December

watching the sun come up each morning was the biggest thrill.

Each day a constantly evolving Rothko painting would gently, gradually, change with the light across the sea and sky

Lots of people seem to find it too odd to comprehend that I enjoy going away on my own to be in some far flung place in isolation – but I LOVE it. My very own silent retreat, away from village life and all the practical ‘to do’ lists of home and garden.

I often get asked “but what do you do?”

Most of what I do fits around Tide Timetables, the weather forecast and the time the sun rises and sets  – and that is a wonderfully calm and simple way to live for a couple or more weeks every other year.

In 2008 I went to California for six weeks,

In 2016 I stayed in a treehouse on the Pembrokeshire Coast from the 15th December to 15th January.

paddle boarders

This year, I was able to walk from my nest, along the Rodwell Trail, that follows the old railway line, from Weymouth to Portland. From there I could tramp up along the top of Chesil Beach

This photo was taken at 1pm on Christmas Day. Whilst so many were tucking into a turkey, I was walking for about a mile along the top of a nearly isolated beach in crisp clear air and glorious sunshine – it felt SO good!

I say nearly isolated as there was one family having a windy picnic lunch looking out to sea and in the carpark, looking out over the harbour, where it was a bit more sheltered, there was a couple in red and white Father Christmas hats sitting at a picnic table covered in decorations and having a lobster and champagne lunch. Fabulous! The camaraderie of doing things differently.

There are plenty of old rusty bits and pieces to enjoy along that stretch

I would love to know the story behind this abandoned boat

The Pheonix

But oh the shed!

Look at those doors – all that texture, the colours! the corrugated rust!

ART!

So, dear readers, I am sure YOU don’t need to ask me, “but what do you DO?!”