Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Spring Weather & Knitting News.



Spring: I can feel it in the air; see it in the hazy light & slow unfurling flowers; hear it in the increasingly loud birdsong emanating from outside our window where finches flit frantically from branch to branch. And today I felt it in the hot sun as I walked across the beach.


It is close enough to touch and even if the weather should turn icy the clock still ticks toward the brighter months with the promise of all that brings.


The seas have been brisk and swirling myriad shades of blue. Oyster-catchers and herring gulls skim across the foamy waves in a dance of catch-me-if-you-can, sea spray fingers reaching up to cast silvery trails into the sky as wings dip and dodge and hover.

Sunlight turns the dullest patches of seaweed into illuminated tableaux full of vibrant citrusy yellows back lit to render them a stained glass quality. Spring light does this. It takes the ordinary and humble and shouts,"look at what is here! Take note!" ... and I do.


It is precious time, though I am spending far too long walking Pepper. The air is so fresh, the waves so enticing that the thought of being shut indoors does not appeal so very much. I think, "I'll just see what the next wave does," and so it goes on.


Plus, as ever, there is treasure to sort through and search out. The strong stormy winds have thrown plenty for us to turn over and that sun, when it is there, is telling me there is no rush.


 Pepper is in no particular hurry either. She has friends to play with on busier days or, when I find us a secret spot hidden away as is my favourite, she pootles through rockpools with me, her lump-of-coal nose shuffling around under stones to chase out something special to amuse her for a while. Then we sit and watch and listen and just breathe it all in.


Eventually home calls but even here I am filling the shelves and sills with signs of spring. On Saturday I decided it was time:our first duck egg shone bright white in the duck pen and told us that the ducks are ready for a change of season even if the calender isn't. The first egg from the ducklings I hatched and hand reared last year. I must admit I feel quite proud! 


Bowls and baskets of shells are popping up everywhere so that the light can bounce off their surfaces.. pretty flat winkles, cowries, whelks ... so many.


My pockets are always full of things I find.


Evening time is still so chilly though and so we light the fire and I pick up my knitting. Yes, I finally settled on a pattern from the masses saved to my Pinterest knitting board. Not an easy thing when I want so many of the things I have on there, but I have started with Deco by Kate Davies.



It's a lovely cardigan which I am knitting in Sirdar Sublime extra fine Merino DK. The shade is as you can see but with more depth than my photo shows. It is giving me the chance to use my Knit Pro circular needles from a set I treated myself to a long (long) time ago. They come with a gorgeous range of coloured interchangeable tips and are very comfortable to use. The patterning is simple with enough going on to keep things interesting.


Of course, I bought a few more balls in another colour at the same time as I was having trouble choosing. Davey encouraged this as he was heading off to purchase a little more yarn himself. I call him ' The Enabler!'


The blue I am using is called Spruce & the other is aptly named Gorgeous, which it is.


 And so that's me for now.


 Bye for now x



Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Yarn, Masculinity & Choices.




I have finally managed to have a weekend free from work - well, the sort of work that pays my bills that is. No sewing for a whole two days after weeks of no break. January sort of eluded me apart from my forays into the world of mud & rain with Pepper dog, and thank goodness for those brief moments as I would otherwise have seen only my studio walls.


Seven day weeks with evenings included are hard. On the upside, how fantastic it is to know my work has brought me so much business. How lovely to think my designs are so popular and that is the biggest spur to me when I am almost weeping with gritty eyed tiredness and a desperate need to lie by the fire of an evening.




So, this weekend has been full of cleaning (much needed) and eating (much enjoyed) and generally lazing in or on my bed.




I am now in the midst of choosing a knitting pattern. Yes, another. Three projects are waiting to be finished and they can blooming well carry on waiting too! I want to choose a new pattern that calls to me, something I actually feel like knitting rather than working on some stuffed away project. Life is too darned short to worry over such things. I will finish them when the mood takes me and in the meantime comes the fun of new yarn...the picking of colours and texture, glorious texture. Breathes deeply in anticipation.




Mr Davey has also got has knitting mojo back & has worked two sweet hats for babies of friends and is now rapidly knitting up some socks for Lucy in a gorgeous soft tomato red & cream. I am most impressed! The photo makes the red quite harsh when it is actually more a nautical red or perhaps a Scandi type, if you know what I mean. Better images next time maybe.


A recent chat with an acquaintance surprised me. It seems the idea of a man knitting is still viewed as a sign of lacking masculinity. Oh dear me. When will things change? When will the notion of a man knitting or sewing or cooking or whatever cease to be worthy of any mention other than to comment on how gorgeous the yarn, how sumptuous the fabric, how delicious sounding the recipe? I truly do despair and frankly worry about the rubbish some children have to listen to when they are growing and forming their own ideas around identity. Hmm, I am on my soap box...climbing down as I type and posting a calming image to get the heart rate down.



Anyhoo, back to me! I can't decide whether to look ahead to spring (not mentioning which year I am thinking of obv) or to stay firmly in the chilly moment. My Pinterest board has plenty to choose from, as does my Ravelry queue. A little more looking & lusting is needed I think before I decide. It may just be a new hat is needed before any larger projects are started. Who knows but I am having fun looking. I quite fancy this Poolside pullover by Isabell Kraemer


  Poolside by Isabell Kraemer pattern €4.50 on Ravelry at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/poolside-4


or this gorgeous Brandied Cherry jumper by Thea Colman, perfect for chilly walks on the beach.


Ravelry: Brandied Cherry pattern by Thea Colman


On the other hand I may go for something smaller for little granddaughter Scarlett (guilt smotes me down about now)



So many lovely choices! 

Are you knitting anything? x


P.S. those top three photos were 'borrowed' from eldest son Tom. Gorgeous aren't they? xx

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Thoughts on Patience.


It is Saturday. The sky is flat, a shade of harsh grey that is not remotely inspiring or comforting or anything much really. Drab is perhaps the best way to describe it. I have work piled up all around & am wishing I could ignore it in favour of some gentle knitting by the fire, but I am already feeling the threads pulling away from me where work is concerned and seven day weeks are a necessary to merely keep on top of it all just now.




My head is full of all I want to do: Knitting, sketching, painting, making this little house work better than it is just now. Sorting is at the base of most of my thoughts and I am feeling the need to improve, move forward both at home and in my work. If only I had more energy. Hmm, isn't that always the way? The mind is willing and the body retaliates with a bout of labrynthitis that had me stumbling to the floor as Lucy chatted to me. Quite funny really, almost as funny as keeling over in the bathroom as the room turned itself upside down. I only wanted to clean my teeth!




Common sense says to rest, but I don't want to (she whined in a childlike way); I want to create, make great strides, grow my business, become....something, I-don't-know-what and I want it all now. Sighs deeply in despair at her own impatience. Thought that was improving with age, but apparently not.



This leads me to thinking. Patience is a funny thing. When younger I wanted everything to happen fast; why wait if you can make things happen now, after all? I walked with great strides and would stay up all night if necessary to move furniture until it looked 'right' rather than just 'live with it for a bit' as I would regularly be told. I still hate that phrase. If it's wrong and you know it's wrong then move it! I would feel annoyance when people said they were tired all the time, or wanted to nap an afternoon away. Whatever for when the world is out there waiting for you to make things happen?




Time walks quickly doesn't it? Before you know it you are a family of seven children, a business, a house crumbling around you, a partner, a large garden holding ducks & hens & fruit &... you are whatever you make happen. Suddenly the big hand moves forward and you notice you have learned a little patience, that most desirable of traits. You can hold your tongue a bit better; you can allow a few days to pass before finally accepting that the dresser looks better on the other wall and will need to be moved. You pat yourself on the back. Good girl, your head says. Isn't that better?




Well, frankly no, it is not! I find that with patience I have become lethargic. I miss the enthusiasm that made me such a fidget to be around. I miss the energy that went with me everywhere. I miss the moving of mountains (or furniture) and the bringing of change. 




I realise how much of this is mindset, messages fed constantly to oneself when things become a little over-whelming that become habit thus guaranteeing they become self-fulfilling. I am frustrated at myself for allowing it to happen and determine to stop. of course, a shiny new year is a good time for this isn't it? I have plans and mean to take control, whatever that means. I just need the world to stop spinning quite so fast - both literally and metaphorically - so that I can get going, make things happen. And I will...




          Just not today.  x


Friday, 22 November 2013

Pepper the Puppy Comes home.



Hello again. I warn you, this is a photo heavy post as I am about to introduce you to the fluffy bundle of gorgeousness we call Pepper. I was bludgeoned by friends, family & mostly Dave until I caved and agreed to have a little look at some puppies. We knew the dad - a lovely huge Australian Shepherd x French Briard dog belonging to friends. Next we met mum - a bearded collie x black lab with a lovely temperament. And then we met the babies...all nine of them! 



So very beautiful and such a range of sizes. There were ones with enormous paws and one very, very tiny one who was the first born. There were all black puppies; black & grey puppies, tri-coloured puppies.... you get the gist. All we knew was that we wanted a bitch (so hate that word) and Dave chose this beautiful girl.



And we waited and visited until it was time to bring Pepper home with us to live in this crazy house full of crazy people and other crazy animals.



And then she grew. And grew. And then grew some more until at 18 weeks this is what she looks like and she still has plenty of growing to do! We love her to pieces. She has the loveliest nature and loves to be taught new things (which is good as the deal was that Dave would 'do everything, all of it....all you have to do Pip is train her!!!'). Oh is that all? Hmmm. So now I fit a long walk in at the beginning of the day which is just perfect whatever the weather - and boy, let me tell you I have been out in ALL weathers. I can't tell you how much I love that I have finally got the excuse I needed to give myself to get back out in the world. 



I walk the beaches and woods, the coves and rivers of my beautiful Cornwall. I just need to remember my camera a bit more often because I want to capture the amazing colours of an autumn sun on seaweed,



the texture of silken fronds on smooth, wave-worn stone.



I also want to try and capture this sweet girl as she grows from puppyhood into adulthood. It makes me smile to think we have another addition to the family, albeit one with four very long furry legs!



Just look at that face.




So there you have it. The ducks are fully grown and well, and you have now met Pepper Puppy too. If you should ever be in Cornwall and see this raggle-taggle hound with a similarly raggle-taggle (and usually soaked to the skin) me, then please do stop me and say hello. 




We do a lot of this. Pepper and me. We watch the world go by, listen to the sound of the waves and generally just poke around in rock pools looking for treasure.



Because there is so much treasure to be found. You just have to stop and look. Nature's colours are so amazing aren't they?



and don't even get me started on the subject of light.



Ohhhh....



Take a little time, have a look around and have a wonderful weekend x


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Lots Going On.




Been a while hasn't it? Rather than an endless ramble on what we have been up to I thought a couple of short-ish posts - well, short for me - with plenty of photos may help explain what has taken place at the homestead. Can you tell I am in the mood for hunkering down with Little house on the Prairie now the weather has changed! First up is this...



You may remember that we were waiting to see if our beautiful duck Pecan would manage to hatch her clutch of eggs. Unfortunately as the very first one began to cheep its way out of the shell a fox arrived on the scene. Now normally our ducks would take flight onto their pond and so we haven't had a fox attack since we built it years ago. This time, poor Pecan stayed on the nest to protect her babies & the fox killed her and one baby to get to them. I raced out on time to save the eight remaining eggs.



We brought them inside, some nestled in coat pockets where I could hear them cheeping & tapping as they tried to break free of their shells. Found the incubator (a miracle as we haven't used it for years) and I stayed up all night watching one after the other emerge, wet, wobbly and perfect. Both Lucy and Isabella, plus a few friends witnessed this magical hatching over the coming few days. And so, while we lost our dear girl Pecan, we now have seven gorgeous fully grown ducks - one didn't make it out of the egg.



This was all a while ago now so they are huge compared to the tiny things in these photos. We have had such fun with them, particularly when they used to follow me all around the garden as I had become Mamma duck! Seven little bundles of fluff racing all around like a load of bumble bees.



Names were chosen: Sunlight (Bella), Cotton (Lucy), Theodore (Sam), Conrad (Dave, of course!), Nutmeg (me), Cinnamon & Silver. They now live in the duck pen with their papa, Clarence and spend their days quacking and swimming and quacking and quacking and driving me nuts demanding to be fed! As is the way of things here it seems.



I will post some pictures of them now they are fully grown next time but for now, enjoy the bundles of fluff that filled so much of my day earlier this year.




Of course, we also had the most amazing weather and being good Cornish folk, we headed off for many beachy days out such as these. Seems a long time ago as I sit here typing in the chill of an early morning.



Now I know I am biased, but isn't she gorgeous?!!! Well, all our children are actually. Just saying.



Nothing like kayaking with a pal on a blissfully blue sea is there?



And even the duller days were taken up with walks and drinks by the water's edge.



Just perfect.



When did she get to be this grown up!!




Well, that's it for now, but next time I will introduce you to Pepper. Who is Pepper? This is she...



Bye for now x