Forward Planning

I decided quite a while ago I don’t really DO the New Year thing.   I like the fireworks, but I’m not really into crowds, kissing strangers and Aul Lang Syne.  And anyway, it’s just man made numbers, a hook on which to hang the passage of time, and get our taxes paid regularly. (Sorry, this sounds like a cue for a grumpy old woman alert!)  We decided quite a while ago to turn our year around at the Winter Solstice on the 21st of December, a more satisfactory arrangement in tune with the natural order, and with the promise of longer days ahead.  This is celebrated with close friends with much jollity, silliness, good food and wine.   So my new year has already started.

However, having said that, there is much to be said for a review of the past year when looking at the last page of the diary and seeing the unsullied fresh pages of 2010.   If I have a resolution it is to procrastinate less, and to be more creative.  (If you’ve heard this one before, don’t all shout at once, I’ll be deafened!)

The big project for the next few weeks is a humdinger – a NEW STUDIO!  I have a little shed which was great before I overflowed out of it  into every room of the house.  Now I have to find somewhere to store it’s contents (it has turned into a glorified cupboard) so it can be dismantled and transported to a new home leaving space for – the NEW STUDIO!  So much hangs on this because I have been struggling for so long with not having all my materials and equipment easily accessible.  by the time I’ve tracked down every thing I need to realise an idea, I’ve run out of time, or energy or inspiration.  I’ll also gain space in the house, and it might (might) just stay a little tidier …well I can dream…

I’m off now, to pack a box or two, but I shall leave you with a little puzzle.  This is  my Christmas present from my dear friend Kit, who is also my creative partner in crime.  What do you suppose it is?  Do leave me your guesses…

…and in the meantime I hope that 2010 brings you everything you could wish for, see you in the next decade!

Happy Christmas…

…from me and from Higgins, who has decided that snow is FUN!

We’ll be back very soon, have a wonderful Christmas….

All Stitched Up

Having confessed to having such a butterfly mind even making two matching socks challenges my boredom threshold you will not be surprised to hear that I have struggled to complete one of my latest projects.  I am comforted to know I am not alone in this lack of application, I recently heard someone confessing to never sewing up her knitted creations, she found sewing the knitted pieces together so boring she always got her mother to do it. I’m not that bad, although I have every sympathy with her.   This being said it was probably asking for trouble deciding to make a Sophie Digence inspired scarf from my basket of hand dyed wool.

I first saw these wonderful scarves in Selvedge magazine, a year or so later I saw them on the Selvedge stand at the Knit and Stitch Show and this Autumn one graced the pages of an issue of Country Living.  I was not alone in being inspired, Vanessa of Do You Mind if I Knit was not the only blogger to render their own interpretation.  Sophie Digence’s take is in the finest wool, dyed in wonderful jewel or landscape colours, tiny, tiny postage stamp sized pieces of delicate crochet.  One initial reaction when finding the price is ‘HOW MUCH!’ but it only takes a short time trying to duplicate such fine work to realise they are worth every penny

I did have a few Higgins generated setbacks but  over the last weeks I have soldiered on, crocheting the little squares leaving short tails of wool with which to sew each one to it’s neighbour, and finally it is finished.  It could possibly be wider, and  longer, but the next project calls and it is perfectly sized to keep me warm and happy when I wear it.  I will announce now that is unique, no other scarf will be made using those colours in that wool, it’s price is above rubies as there is no ruby large enough to induce me to ever make another one!

Life is too short…

Away in a Manger…

A while ago I mentioned the Crib and Wreath Festival at our local church, and the contribution the Knit and Stitch group were working on.  Last week we all gathered at the church to set up our pieces in readiness for the Festival.  At time like this you see anew the beauty of the typical English church and St Michael and All Angels at Barton Turf is very typical.  It is, of course, far to big for the parish it serves which now no longer has even a village shop, and so it functions under that peculiar regime of worship and fund-raising found up and down the country these days.

   Inside, the stalwart band of ladies essential to the running of any village affair mustered their troops.  How could anything function without these unpaid treasures who organise events, arrange flowers, polish pews,  run errands and generally oil the wheels of rural life?  Years of fundraising for St Michael’s has resulted in the recent installation of a loo and small kitchen, no mean feat to sympathetically integrate these modern necessities into the architecture of a 14th Century church, but it does allow it to function as a community centre, and give it a role which justifies its upkeep.  And means a plentiful supply of soup, rolls, tea and cake for visitors to its various displays, festivals and celebrations. (and coffee and biscuits when you turn up on a cold wet morning to set up your stand!)

I was really happy with the swags we had made for the font, a loose interpretation of the wreath idea which  meant that there were four pieces to be entered for the secret auction, and the rich colours looked beautiful against the pale old stone.  The Knit and Stitch Ladies had been really busy making small items for sale, knitted crackers, stockings and baubles, crochet snowflakes, gift bags, angels and hearts, and the whole display was topped off with an amazing knitted crib scene.  I apologise for the lack of photos at this point, I was over absorbed by the task in hand!

Yesterday afternoon I persuaded my mother out of her house to visit the festival.  Not easy these days now she is wheelchair bound and these things involve ramps and other people fussing.  She hates to feel she is a nuisance.   I’m so glad I did.  The weather was sunny, with a gentle breeze, the church was bright and warm and there were lots of people she knows but hardly sees these days.  She loved the exhibits and then, unexpectedly, there was a Navity Tableau put on by the local primary school.  Are you, like me, completely undone by a childrens Nativity play?  Our local rock star(well he would have been, given the right breaks) strummed carols softly on his guitar while his wife read the Christmas story as the children enacted it.  At the first sight of Joseph in his dressing gown, teatowel on head and glasses slightly crooked, alongside a diminutive Mary teaming traditional blue with Ugg boots, the pair of us welled up.  The shepherds tramped down from the hills in search of baby Jesus, who had been found with surprise under her chair by Mary, and quickly recovered for a cuddle.  As the shepherds reenacted their route from the hills by walking up and down the aisles (gently steered at the corners by a grownup when they looked as if they were heading off course) the smallest one happily swung his lamb backwards and forwards in the air.  Angel Gabriel looked stern, the star twinkled prettily as she led the Kings to the stable, the rock star played ‘Away in a Manger’ and Mother and I dabbed our eyes.

What nicer way to start the run up to Christmas?