Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One week: a short time in weather

We had snow, it left quickly so no photo, that's all!   Very glad the roads were clear for the first of 2017's first Inspiration to Stitch day with Terri and Hazel see http://www.institchestextilecourses.co.uk,

I made a start on sketchbook pages on the theme of journey and did some printing for the last one to go into the Autumn book.

And today the magical experience of choosing a date for a walk weeks ahead that then turns out to be a blue sky day.

We walked from Coulson South to Banstead - along the green paths of suburbia with London on the skyline. All part of the London Loop, for more details see https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/loop-walk

The weekend rain that made my drive to Kent a very unpleasant experience of spray and fog had  turned the bridleways (shared with LL pathways) close to Epsom Downs into mud baths. Thank goodness for good boots and good chat with good friends as we made our way along the northern ridge of the Northern Downs.

Our route out of Coulson took us under the wonderful walls of this new railway bridge  and
we reached Banstead over an old railway bridge with some slate 'roof tiles'. Two more examples for my collection of patterns I might, someday, stitch.   I just love the weightiness of the slate.

Finally, more lines in the evening sky as I close the blinds .... hopefully a good omen for tomorrow when I'll be dyeing fabric with the Institches fabric wizards.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Another Wall Wears a Quilt

At last, the quilt made with fabric bought in New York in December 2014 has made it way to the finishing line ... a journey of two years, so about average!

The last stitch in the hanging sleeve for this quilt was made with good timing: no need to tuck it all into the suitcase coming with me back to UK today. There's enough in there already including, of course, the tea bag work in progress.

Just love the paper that emerges when these are emptied. 

This quilt is a first for me in terms of main and border design and quilting.  But I'm not fond of large projects and can't wait to work small and slow in a sketchbook on my next Inspiration to Stitch day tomorrow.   More on this later.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Posting poems

Those of you who spend a little while with my blog know that, in the past, I've occasionally posted my poems on one of the header pages that is titled A Small Collection of Poems.

This explanation goes on for a bit so by way of light relief I'm posting photos of how the drop in temperature in the last few days has wrought its magic on our garden and the adjacent farmers track.

Just for a change, a winter leaf 

I love how the leaf skeleton is highlighted here 

Usually I kept back poems that I planned, one day, to send to magazines or perhaps and rather grandly, that might have been part of a pamphlet.  In doing this I was following poetry tradition and custom as poetry editors don't want a poem once its been published elsewhere and a personal blog counts in that respect.

Maybe a stitching pattern here

This year I plan to share my poems in a different way by publishing many more on this blog. Once a poem is on one of these general pages I'll add it to the Collection page and  look forward to your comments. I'd love for this to be a way for me to hear what you think, how the poem looked and sounded to you etc., etc.

Yippee, no more hours in the poetry office, more hours to enjoy the writing and rewriting and for reading and commenting on the poems posted on the sharing poems Facebook closed page I'm part of following the 52 project.   Its a  decision that feels a very good one to have made as a new year begins.

Answers in the comments secant please ... 

A slow walk today with my wonderful new camera (thank you, James) and some useful hints from Paul about how to keep still while pressing the shutter resulted in these and many other photos that I hope will be valuable for my new Inspiration to Stitch sketchbook.

Then we all had a fast walk with the dogs, off road, in and out of the sunshine, tracking the changes underfoot between the shady and sunlit verges.

Finally, here is today's poem (not that there will necessarily be one tomorrow). This is draft two, draft one was longer and I have some very good poets friends to thank for pointing out the repetition and the value of this particular poem being short.

 In fog

there are fewer lines to follow,
no place else where
other people live.

The smell of fog is full
of your own breath and
your ears hear you and you.

After a while the blanket
becomes a parcel and people
live in a pared down world.

And to close a glimpse of a scattering of seed stitches ...  a needle, thread and slow fingers   

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Putting the Pages Back In ...

So pleased to report that the fog has finally left us, its now very cold so I've spent the last few days close to the fire reassembling my Autumn sketchbook or with the extra layer of a quilt as I read my way through Kim Moore's poetry (see more about her work at  https://kimmoorepoet.wordpress.com), and the story of the Twin Towers tightrope walker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_Petit, plus very regular and very brisk walks with dogs, of course.

Here are most of the dissembled pages, awaiting the decision about what to include and what to maybe keep for something else ...

A few that might not make it into the Autumn Book
I quite like most of these 

Found one more use for the empty teabags ... just the right size to hold my sewn leaves 

Finally, some sort of order emerges ...
At last, a cover page
Definitely do not like these pages ... might make good collage paper another time 

I'll soon have to pack things together for my return to UK so the pages are now back in the sketchbook, in an OK order, although I've learnt to think about this more in advance. 

That's it for now by what of autumn as I've just had an email about what to prepare for the next day on the course, which is only six days aways and means a new sketchbook, new techniques and a new topic!

Leaves, and more leaves,

                                 and lots of loose ends

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Waving goodbye to 2016

Good morning, a few photos to show the tea bag work in progress.  

Tea bag paper sews well, its tough stuff and easy to get an accurate 1/4 inch seam with the very precisily cut edges.

One nine patch and the first book 

In contrast, until I removed the paper thin metal flange from inside the Juki bobbin case,
my end-of-year quilting was rubbish!!! Thank goodness for Google and the leather workers website with its wealth of help about what can go wrong with Juki bobbins and how to fix the problems.

Unsurprisingly the solution was simple - remove said flange. Quilt now done and just one more to do (for now).

To leave or make a mark in some way ... tomorrow's decisions 

Loving that pages that arrive with their own marks 

And the very tedious news is that it is still foggy here at Enmatte, four days now and we'd like our January to be warmer, drier and lost clearer please. Oh, some sunshine would be good as well, thanks. 

from the terrace ...  

My not favourite corner on days like this but Crumble likes this route away from the giant tractors driven by our farming neighbours 

And to any keen knitters out there here's a challenging challenge for January  - brioche stitch, maybe with more then one colour. For more details see http://www.louisetilbrookdesigns.net/blog/   

I'm still undecided:  to join or not, to begin yet another project, or perhaps just to knit a sample? Its a great looking stitch, new to me and sounds perfect for cosy hats and scarves. Maybe one more project won't matter? 

Wishing you peace, good health and happiness for the New Year ... and see you in 2017.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

the reading list 27-12-16

Enough said ... here it is. Comments very welcome.

I'll post again when there a space for a new one.

Rethinking the Blog

I spent some time today doing one of those between Christmas and New Year tasks so this blog has a new look. Simpler with just three main pages for poetry, stitching and reading where, hopefully, it'll be easier to find finished or near finished poems and stitching pieces, and where I'll try to remember to post something about books  - those I'm reading, those I've yet to read etc. No promises mind!

For now here's an update on the way rust alters and adds beauty to plain fabric.

Bits and pieces from my fabric stash, wrapped, rolled and weighted down on various rusty objects  ..
plus vinegar solution, plastic bags, elastic bands and patience.

I just know these swatches with their unique marks and lines will be useful soon ...

And the teabag rescue has already proved valuable. I've used teabag paper and other up cycled bits, including the published poem One Afternoon at Teatime in the opening pages of my sketchbook for sharing project.

The book is small, thank goodness and in January I'll pass it on to someone else on the Inspiration to Stitch Course. I'll be given one from someone for a month.

The idea is for us to take the originator's inspiration and fill four pages with our interpretation and work in our style.

The first two pages provide a mini bio and some comment on source materials

Random stitching here with old thread ends 

A text covered teabag bag for the printed poem 

Stitching with string from Abel and Cole veg boxes ... I always knew it was worth saving. I love writing on thread lines, taking a pen to where the line goes. 

And finally, if you head over to the reading page there's a photo of my current bedside table books ... only possible with paper books and one more very good reason for their continued existence alongside the early useful e-books. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

London Loop: Hemsey Green to Coulsdon South

With shorter days approaching we've set aside walking the Thames Path and taken our boots onto the London Loop, alternatively known as the London Outer Oribital Path .

Thank goodness that yesterday I was walking from Hemsey Green to Coulsdon South with friends ... getting more than a bit lost was OK in a team! Our 'guide', downloaded from https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/hamsey-green-to-croydon, got their right and left muddled in places and missed out some key landmarks that could have helped us find our way across meadow and through trees. Google Maps came to our rescue as we looked for the pub to stop for lunch, We had circumnavigated Betts Mead Recreation Ground and still not chosen the correct gap between two trees so I reached for the iPhone!!

The first great place was Riddlesdown Quarry see http://www.londongeopartnership.org.uk/gla26.html. We all found its steel fencing a very useful handrail as we climbed down and down and down its eastern edge, ending up at a Jewson's Building yard and a very busy main road.

The quarry and the road: the quiet and the busy - hallmarks of walking green spaces in suburbia.

Further into Happy Valley, we walked soft earthy paths, the sun shone and the landscape came alive with a autumn rainbow   - a beautiful place to be and an open and free place to be grateful for.

Finally we reached Farthing Down, where on a clear day, and this was a clear day, the City of London is easily seen.

Three trains later we were on our way home - clearly we're going to learn lots about the rail network as we walk around the capital as well as discovering more walks that qualify for the label a wonderful walk.

And I had fun I earlier this week preparing for the next day of the Inspiriation to Stitch course ...  we were asked to look for words and had been working with leaves so
courtesy of http://www.wordclouds.com  here is a haiku by Basho, translated by Hess.

Finally, the sky and the sea looked very lovely today ...  and I added another possible quilt pattern to the list after seeing the arrangements of these pilings.

#londonloop #walking #autumn 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

From just one leaf ...

Second day on Inspiration to Stitch course .... we created a nature table, I added Plath's Blackberrying poem to the Autumn pin-board and then it was onto stencils, or in my case one stencil and an all sorts of colouring tools.

So, from just one leaf

and this wonderful bundle of prickles was my model for drawing without looking .....   turned out rather porcupine like!

The exercise of following an object with the eye while making the page felt OK ... perhaps because
I'm someone who doesn't like the D word. It felt like writing morning pages  - not lifting the pen and paying attention to the object rather than thinking 'what next".   

Now I know this is called blind contour drawing   ... more details here  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_contour_drawing and in many other places on the web.