Saturday, 31 October 2015

Sampler finished

at last I've finished the first bit of the Branch stitch project. It really has taken far too long, in fact I see it was started in January this year, which is a little ridiculous! However, I've learnt a huge amount and have really enjoyed it. It looks a little darker here than in reality, but with dark fabric you have to trick the camera by taking the half depress to get the tones from somewhere else, at the same distance of course. In this case I focused on the carpet, which is a light beige, then moved the camera to take in the stitching

What have I learnt? That you need to use the right needle for the weight of thread, otherwise it doesn't pull through the fabric well and gets more wear, so doesn't last as long; that the shinier rayon threads have a tendency to untwist much more, so they squiggle and wiggle about while you are stitching, which can be very counter productive; that starting and finishing tidily is really helpful; that blanket stitch is far more versatile than I could have imagined; and finally, that I'm very glad I didn't get French Knots!!

I love these little knotted buttonhole stitches in the bottom right quadrant, and will use them in the next, pictorial bit of stitching, to evoke some flowers in a field

and of course how could one forget buttonhole stitch as used in Stumpwork? OK, I nearly did, but amended plans for the central circle to include a little setting sun of corded buttonhole, which I'm really pleased with.

All in all, a really interesting and enjoyable project with plenty learnt, not least the getnly art of finishing!! Hope you like it.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

evening's beauty

Just some pics from a walk down to the seaside this evening.

So lucky

Cooden Beach Oct 2015

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Lull

I'm in the real doldrums at the moment with my stitching and textiles in general. I've nearly finished the first of my stitch pieces for the Guild, but just can't settle to finishing it.

I've still got my ordered squares of linen I took to Birmingham to work on, but have done very little since except stitch them all down to the background. I have a Studio11 session tomorrow, and am feeling all squirbled because I have done no preparation and have no idea what I'm going to do at all, except take pleasure in the space to just be and perhaps ponder. I will at least put some threads together for the linen squares and take my Guild piece to finish!

In part I think it's probably down to some health issues. For several years I've had an intermittent nagging pain in my midriff. Having had some keyhole surgery go disastrously wrong a while ago now, I'd always put it down to aftereffects from this - you don't want to see the scars, I look quilted!! Then, in the week before we went off to the Lakes it got considerably worse for a number of days; so much so that we wondered if we'd go at all, but it settled down to bearable. Since we got back I've been for an ultrasound scan, always a fascinating process, such magical technology. It turns out, I have gallstones! A veritable constellation of them in fact, so my good doctor and I decided today that it's time to sort it out. Expect an announcement of surgery sometime in the future. Hopefully this keyhole will go right ....

Meanwhile I've been reading some treasures. A friend recommended both authors, first Kathleen Dean Moore

Then Kathleen Jamie.


Both write wonderfully about being in nature, in very differing ways and in very different places. I've been struck as much by the contrasts as I have by the pleasure of reading. The first, who is American, writes from a philosopher's point of view, and the landscapes she describes could only be those of her homeland. There is a particular quality in what she describes and perhaps also in the way she writes that belongs there; a sense of largeness, openness. I found myself wondering whether growing up in a huge continent with such immense scale somehow evokes a similar expansion of thought and aspiration.

Kathleen Jamie is a Scots poet, and my near contemporary. She has a poet's feeling for language and for the landscape and at times touches on her own past in such a way that I can almost feel myself in the same place and time, so familiar it is. She however, had the courage to follow her ideals; I was never so brave. I have nearly finished the second book, Sightlines; Findings came first, both borrowed from work, and will feel a sense of missing an almost friend when I take them back. Her writing is intimate, her focus often close and with a sense of the deeply personal about it, you feel you have been offered precious bits of her life to share.

I'd recommend them both

Sunday, 18 October 2015

A little bit about Ganna

This blog has a URL that includes the word "Ganna". Those of you who are regular visitors here may have gathered that she was my maternal grandmother. I've been putting together a page here that gives a little bit of background on those people who form part of my past - without whom, in fact, I would not have been formed at all.

If I was a clever blogger I would not give you a link to just the little bit I've written about Ganna. However, I don't have the skills, though I'm sure it is possible, so if you'd like to know a bit more about a woman who was very formative in my life, who introduced me to embroidery, who played the piano like a concert pianist and who brought me up from the age of eight, click on the link to "Grandmother and others" up at the top and scroll down until you find her picture.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Lakes 2015

Well, a week away in the most lovely weather we've ever had in the Lakes, it truly was delightful, warm sunny days after the morning mist lifted and the beauty of mist and dew to enjoy beforehand. There are always things I enjoy again and again when we go to the Lakes.

The way the light is layered, reflected, captured, bounced around, as the sun gets lower in the sky

The early morning mists and dews

The pleasure that the ever present dogs take in their surroundings

Boating activity on Windermere - we always take a trip down the lake

A gradaully fading away willow tree that may well be the last Ent in England

And this year, the wonder of the "supermoon" close

and eclipsed

The curious carvings, which look as though they should be ancient, but are actually try outs on slate at the local slate workers at Skelwith Brisge

Driving through Kirkstone Pass, morning and evening

on the way to a fascinating walk up the valley of Martindale,

past the C16th farmhouse

and on, guided by John White, to watch the wild deer there. If you closely at the pics on his FB post, you'll see a couple of curious folk peering over the wall - we had the privilege of being the only people John took out that day. It was truly magical.

There are some more pics here if you'd like to see them

Lakes 15

and at the bottom, some images I took of the Langdale Millennium Tapestry, which sits in the lovely Holy Trinity Church in Chapel Stile, surely a very old pace of worship, given the still running spring and ancient yew tree which exist in quiet company with the simple cross in the curchyard

I particularly like the St Francis window with its rich and delicate colouring

The Langdales Millenium Tapestry. Holy Trinity Church, Chapel Stile, Langdale

Hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse of what draws us back, year after year.