Monday, 18 September 2017

This week I've finished ...

...all the first drafts for the big pattern series for 2018. They're not great - the photos in particular leave a lot to be desired - but I feel I'm finally getting somewhere with this one. I do hope that it will be popular after all this work. It seemed like a great idea when I first came up with it but has occasioned much muttering of things like "making a rod for my own back" and "too much work and no play" for months now. I hope that by the time the first pattern is published on January 1st I shall have had time to decide I like it again.

I've also finished ...

... designing this year's Christmas pattern series. I've still got some knitting and assembly to do, as well as the photos and writing but it's starting to look good. As I keep saying, this year's pattern is much simpler and shorter than last year's. I decided I needed a break from complicated 3D designs and maybe you do too. There's your first clue Isolde!

This was also the week I finally got this crochet blanket finished and published. It's called Paintbox and uses 30 lovely colours of the wonderful Stylecraft Special DK. This is a good quality acrylic yarn which is both reasonably priced and, most important of all to me, comes in a huge range of colours. I love the look of so many cheerful colours combined in this blanket. The texture is more evident than I thought it would be too which is good. All those ridges of colour are achieved by working into the back strand of each stitch only.

While I think of it, did you know that Stylecraft Yarns have brought out three new shades of the Special DK?  I was lucky enough to win a ball of each in a giveaway on twitter recently and here they are ...

From left to right, they are Lapis, Lincoln and Blush. It took me ages to decide which order to arrange them in for this photo. I wanted to put the blue in the middle to balance the colours but then that would leave the two new design ball bands next to each other ... me? obsessive? I don't know what you mean. I know for a fact that my daughter would have had just the same problem. Mind you, she is a professional list maker so there's no hope for her.

I agree with Pat - Woolhelmina on ravelry - that the new shade of blue is particularly welcome. It definitely fills a gap. Oh, and I have to say I like the new ball bands.

This is the first giveaway I've ever won, yet another reason to love twitter. Do come and say hello if you're there. I'm @MyKnittedStuff (Frankie's Knitted Stuff was too long for a twitter handle). Having thought I would use twitter to talk woolly stuff, I spend most of my time talking about books with a group of lovely people and admiring the art posted daily by Dr Liv Gibbs. I've discovered several new artists through the pictures she shares (Stanley Spencer for one); I think it's particularly clever how she often chooses art that is topical. When the new term of school started here in the UK she found paintings of children on their way to school for example. Don't be put off by all the stories about twitter trolls; yes they're horrible but you don't have to read them, you choose whose tweets you want to see and I've met some wonderful people through chatting there, many of them local to me.

And now I must stop chatting and get on with some work.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Walking into the 12th Century

I'm still very busy designing (the Christmas project is coming along nicely, thank-you for asking) and most of the things I'm working on aren't ready to share yet so I thought I'd show you a walk my son and I did a few weeks ago. This is one of my favourite walks; it has everything - trees, water, history and, of course, lots of green everywhere.

The walk starts from Burford, one of the most picturesque Cotswold towns and takes you across fields, through woods and past a farm ...

... great sign, isn't it?

We stopped for a picnic, saw a buzzard and I got stung by a wasp. Naturally, I made a lot of fuss about this. Why does a wasp sting feel nothing like a sting and more like being punched hard?

One of the most beautiful parts of the walk is the wonderfully named Dean Bottom where we met these ladies ...

At the end of that line of trees you get the first glimpse of the highlight of this walk.

Yes, that's right,  it's a church in the middle of a field. It was once part of a medieval village but now stands alone. This is St Oswald's which dates from the 12th Century and was once part of Gloucestershire, despite being firmly within the county of Oxfordshire. 

Before going inside, we visit the grave of the Rector of my daughter's old college which we discovered our first time here. His epitaph reads 'A humanist, bon viveur and, above all, a wise and constant friend.' 

Anyway, would you like to see inside the church?

It's a tiny building with early nineteenth century box pews, Roman mosaic underneath the flagstones and medieval wall paintings.

You can read more about St Oswald's in this guide which also has lots more pictures; it's really interesting so do have a look. Despite the fact that the church is only accessible on foot, services are still held here once a month (Sunday Evensong, Easter to October).

The rest of the walk could seem a bit of an anti-climax after that but luckily you walk alongside the River Windrush back into Burford which is lovely - I once saw a kingfisher here and always hope to see one again.

I do this walk in all seasons and there's always something new to see. 

And now I must get back to work. I'll leave you with a glimpse of the crochet baby blanket I'm finishing off - pattern coming soon.