March has been a lot about babies – I’ve been knitting for family ones, plus adding stock to my Etsy shop. I got rather carried away by this little jacket – I think I have made eleven of them recently, and not much else. The pattern is adapted from a traditional old favourite that now seems to be known as the ‘five hour baby sweater’- lots of free versions out there, so do check it out! It is constructed in one piece from the neck down, SO HARDLY ANY SEAMS! Just thought I’d shout that bit out….
Otherwise it is music and buildings that stand out this month – especially music IN interesting buildings. This is St Paul’s church in Brighton – a really pretty Victorian church I had never set foot in till we chanced upon a performance of early music there – result!
We also saw “Cosí” at the Opera House. Still a grand building with a splendid interior, and some of the changes are very welcome – but what have they done to the long bar? Shuffled it away to ram in more seating… Hmm.
Music sublime though!
Next was The Magic Flute at the Coliseum in St. Martin’s Lane. An exuberant Edwardian theatre – much bigger than I remembered it. Not a great photo, I’m afraid.
The ENO’s production was spectacular, especially the Queen of the Night – more than enough to distract you from the crazy story which I always ignore.
Another London raid – walking along the Thames between Tate Modern and Covent Garden. Scowling skies and high winds – good job the Millenium bridge no longer wobbles.
Should I own up to seeing at least some of the paintings in the Tate as potential sock dyeing colours? It’s not an easy habit to break….
In the end I went for these two very different colour sets – off to poke the dye pots right now!
Yes, I know, it’s the middle of March. Keep up, SpinningStreak.
But I’ve been busy. Fighting freezing conditions in the way I know best…
Walking over icy Sussex Downs with my lovely sister-in-law – all about the frozen dew ponds and shivering sheep:
Hiding away for a week in a cottage in Rye. Entertaining family members from over 90 to under one month!
Visiting Tenterden, Hastings Old Town, Tunbridge Wells…
Listening to tales of a childhood in the early 1930s and really really wishing I had recorded it…
The weather was frankly grim. The following week, of course, was almost summer – though vanished again now.
Three year old granddaughter’s current favourite place to visit – ‘Pirate’ park in Reigate.
Working, reading, working, knitting, working, spinning – well, no change there.
Some Serious Planning is also going on backstage – but enough – I think I might have just about caught up!
Joining in this for the first time!
Walking over the misty Sussex Downs. Thinking Ravilious.
Reading: three sorts of scary.
But also dipping into these.
Making: wonky bread, marmalade, quince jelly and chutney.
And making fires – LOTS of them.
Sorting china – plenty more where that came from…(the roof!)
Watching and waiting – think the narcissi are winning!
Listing: in the Etsy shop – cosy stuff! Cushions, cowls leg warmers…
AND plenty of time spent BlogLoving: this month I have particularly enjoyed:
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 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!
Because it doesn’t sell!
It seems that few people (apart from me) are impressed by yellow socks…. or cowls, or mittens. But that doesn’t stop me gazing at my daffodils every Spring and thinking why not…?
This yarn above was achieved by a combination of dip dyeing and hand painting .
This plum and lime one has more intense colour sections and was done by injecting the dye in several stages.
The yarn below (a rather subtle colourway called crocus – note the sneaky touch of yellow…) was almost entirely painted by hand, using a small brush.
If you are curious, take a peek at my Etsy shop (button top right) to see some other techniques.
PS. If yellow is the least popular colour, which set of shades do you think regularly flies off the shelf – and not just off Etsy? Please comment with your guess.
Answer next time!
Some recent geometrically inspired pieces, mixed with angles from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna – mostly taken around the famous tea room.
The building is as splendid as the exhibits – late 19th century Viennese marble, stucco, gold leaf, over-the-top painted surfaces including the Klimpt decorations around the main staircase.
We spent a memorable week in Vienna just after Christmas. So much to see – three art galleries/ Hapsburg palaces meant we walked over 11 miles one day. Maybe the highlight was managing to get tickets for a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in the Karlskirche. But just wandering around was fun too – and you have to keep scuttling out of the way of these!