Mine, with a few others from Standen – plus my bowl of quinces. All over now, except the quinces which have morphed into jelly.
Bit late, but it seemed churlish to ignore it altogether! I do feel nostalgic for the festive greenery, despite still finding trails of ivy under the sofas. On the whole, though, I’m glad to be emerging from what is always an unreal few weeks.
But January? The blogs I read (and do really enjoy) are urging me to ‘welcome winter’ and ‘go with the seasons” etc etc. All very good advice – what is the alternative after all? So I am happy to reflect on winter walks, icy bracken, subdued colours of nature, roaring fires, hearty food, cosy reading (in fact, everything ‘cosy’) – but this is definitely an idealised view. The reality out there, from this urban window, is mild, damp, grey and full of scuttling, rather miserable-looking people. Luckily, I can move to another window which will give me twinkling lights and sea views!
Maybe the best thing about January for me is the holiday I take from my Etsy work. Apart from some custom dyeing I don’t usually do much for the shop. Just a little fancy spinning for myself, and stuff for friends and family. I’m currently crocheting a blanket for daughter number 4 (I’m pretty sure she never reads this!) and a few other projects mixed up below!
Weather-wise, that is. From regular mid 30s to not even 15 degrees. So hard to accept that summer is over! The days we spent in Vieux Lyon were probably peak heat – over 38C. The rather sinister looking bars above were actually our window in an amazing 15th century hotel building – very lucky to stumble across this one.
You may have guessed that the big draw for me was the Textile Museum. For about 500 years Lyon was a world centre for silk production. I have been wanting to visit this museum for almost that long…. and it did not disappoint!
Back now to work, family and a much neglected Etsy shop. Internet for a couple of hours a week is not great for running an online business!
Over this weekend I have had to offer two sorts of sock yarn. (I think people must be starting to knit socks for Christmas, though it could be for summer shawls instead!) My first instinct is always to grab the dye pots and have some fun experimenting – but I peeped into my stocks and decided to get realistic. I fished out the first 20 skeins (probably about a third of the sock yarn ready to go) and spread it around.
The first choice was not too tricky – ‘luxury, soft and feminine’. So I went for some silk and alpaca in more pastel colours, and will probably end up with this top one, which is more subtle than it looks, especially when knitted up. It was a very successful batch, though I say it myself.
But choice number two is harder. It is for ‘something different’. Hmm. I assume that EVERYONE who orders Indie hand dyed yarn is looking for ‘something different’ – otherwise there are dozens of perfectly good commercial yarns out there….
Does it mean in-your-face, saturated colours, like these?
Or just unusual combinations – maybe these?
I’m really not sure. Any ideas?
The tree that never grew
The bell that never rang
The fish that never swam….
The four miracles of Saint Mungo, represented on Glasgow city’s coat of arms and commemorated in stained glass in the Cathedral.
The outside of the cathedral did not look too promising – but what a feast inside. A magnificent medieval building, on the site of Saint Mungo’s shrine. His tomb is in the crypt, which is mid 13th century and just as atmospheric as the one in Canterbury – a really special place.
As you may have guessed, I seem to be having trouble leaving Scotland behind. That trip was over a month ago now – but it still surfaces in my thoughts every day. In a very good way.
The spinning bit! My favourite. Carding can be tedious, fighting the drum carder to make the art batts is usually interesting, dyeing the silk threads is always exciting – but nothing beats the actual spinning process on the wheel. Once you have decided on the effect you want, and how you are going to get there, you can sink into a sort of rhythmic trance, watching the magic spool out from under your fingers…
Then you have to decide whether to use it, stash it (!) – or toss it into the Etsy shop and hope for the best!
This is a bit of a test. I had decided to skip any post with June flowers in it because the serious photographer/gardeners are out there doing their stuff with spectacular results – stunning rose shots in particular – and I thought people might have had enough. But then I stumbled across this:
and wondered if my little wild shots might count? The light was not great – bit of a mist – but I was impressed by the acid rhododendrons growing crazily all over the place, often on a background of equally violent yellow! Not colours I often put together in my spinning, but you never know… I do like that rather menacing gorse in the bottom picture. There were also a few orchids – and bluebells still flowering in June (pretty much finished here on the south coast by the end of April). I have been back several days now, but am still haunted by that trip to Skye – a great experience and fabulous views, but still somewhat intimidating. Maybe that’s how one SHOULD respond to Highland and Island scenery though!
To return to Normandy Life – do check out today’s Mosaic. It is on the theme of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth, known as Sissi. I found it particularly interesting as we seemed to follow this tragic woman all over Vienna a few months ago – there was a detailed exhibition in the Hofburg while we were there.
I have been trying to reduce the size of that link (!) but have decided to leave it in, as it turns out to be another mosaic anyway!
(TREES, four floors up?!)
Via Lomond and Glenfinnan….
To Mallaig, via Morar…
And then to Skye!
Fabulous trip, even though it did involve two planes, five trains, two ferries and a taxi! The West Highland line from Glasgow to Fort William, then on to the West coast at Mallaig is an unforgettable experience.