14th December 2017

Mixing with people who are passionate about their interests always seems so life afirming. Yesterday I was with tree people. As part of the Great Trees of the Clyst Valley project there was an event at Poltimore where there were some talks on the project to record the ancient, veteran and notable trees in the Clyst Valley. I was more interested in the trees at Poltimore and we had a tour round the grounds learning about the collecting history that led to many of them being planted there some several hundred years ago and some in the 1950s. Monkey puzzles, Monteray Pines and Handkerchief Trees to name a few. We just need more people to get involved so that the scrubby bits of the grounds are cleared and more trees can be planted. 'The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is now - Ancient Chinese Proverb.'
Today I was back at Poltimore - too wet to work outside so I got taught some willow weaving. Thanks Amanda for sharing your knowledge. Didn't quite finish today but it is going to be a flattish basket, possibly with a handle. The willow was left-overs from a workshop so not as long as we needed. Some was steamed (brown) and some was not (green). 48 lengths of long as poss brown, 12 lengths of shorter brown and 10 lengths of green all had to be pre flexed before starting to weave.It's the kneeling down that is the most stressful part but the best way to hold the lengths down was by putting a kneeler over them and applying weight. We stopped before the curving up the sides part and have put the all the willow under a tree so that it can keep wet.

10th December 2017

Having been spending quite a bit of time making blankets for my children or crafty things to sell a few weeks ago I decided to do some selfish knitting and make myself a cardigan. I had already dowloaded a pattern from the Garnstudio website for the Lobeilia pattern which uses the Drops Nepal yarn (DK wool/alpaca). Just before this I had splurged on some (quite a lot actually) light grey 4ply Drops Flora. I had been planning to make up a lightweight waterfall style top on the knitting machine but have reallocated it to this project. Knitting two strands of 4ply gives the Double Knit I need and the Flora has the wool/alpaca mix I wanted. Three weeks in and it is like working on a warm hug.
It is all worked in one peice from the top down and is shaped rather than straight. It is getting heavy now, especially as I have made it a bit longer than the pattern (not being able to follw a pattern is a genetic trait for the women in my family). Nearly time to cast off the bottom and then knit the sleeves.
Tuesday morning's are one of my Poltimore House sessions. Had a lovely morning working n the sensory garden with another volunteer clearing out the nastursiums that had succumbed to the frost and replacing them with some hard working pansies (this will be their third planting) and some rainbow chard. This plot is the plants to eat one so the pansies are pushing that definition a bit but they can be turffed out in the spring if needs be. After lunch it was off to Honiton for a Knit and Natter session at The Wool Stack. A fair few rows of the hug completed. The next two crochet workshops are now in the diary for Feb 3rd (beginners) and March 3rd (beyond the granny square - flower for springtime/Easter/whenever.

9th December 2017

My third attempt at selling at a craft event. I forgot to take a picture of the table when I had set it up but here found an image from the first event to set the scene. The baubles were hung froma hazel twig tree this time and the gloves, scarves and beady things laid out on the surface.
The first two craft events were a bit of a wash out, firstly I was up against some very cheap christmas 'crafts' in a cold room and next time there was zero footfall. This time seemed to be going the same way having only sold one item for £3 to a fellow stall holder for the first few hours. Chatting to other stallholders is a great way to pass the time as usually it is fellow crafters that appriciate the design and effort that goes into making something from scratch. I loved these bags made by knitting and then felting. Heather is going to be at the next Ottery Community Market in Feb. Then a few people I already knew came to look at my stuff and several of them made a purchase. That got me to thinking and I realised that at all three events I had only sold to people that already knew me. Is this because (a) my freinds feel sorry for me and buy out of pity, or (b) I have friends with taste that appriciate the quality of what I make?????

8th December 2017

Leaves and leaves

A cold but clear morning. Made a start on clearing the leaves off of the front drive. They had become compacted with the cars going over them so it was a hard rake to get them loose. Ten barrows later the skid hazard was reduced and there was a nice pile of leaves ready to transfom into leaf litter.
Coming in from the cold I sat down with a cup of coffee to make a few crafty items for the Ottery Community Market tomorrow. Half a ball of arran weight green wool was left from a previous project so I set about to make some holly leaves. . My first plan was to add them to a hazel wreath but one i had made a few they told me they wanted to become broaches so I crocheted them onto safety pins and here they are.

4th December 2017

I've spent most of today messing about with the coding for this website. Checking lines of code and deleting stuff which I had put in and which didn't seem to be doing anything. The world outside has definitely taken on a wintery feel, most of the leaves are off the trees and piled up around the garden waiting to be raked and stashed away to rot down. This was a couple of days ago. There were several birds on the verbena bonariensis. When I first looked out the kitchen window but of course as soon as I got the camera on my phone on most had gone.
From where I am sitting now I can see the old apple tree through the window. My eye keeps getting distracted by the various birds moving around in it (it doesn't take much to cause a distaction). Within the last few hours there have been great tits, magpies and blackbirds.

28th November 2017

Well 2017 may be nearly over but I think I will be gald to see the back of it. Having left a job I loved (teaching physics at secondary school) I found myself with time on my hands. This ended in a rather obsessive learning of beading as well as by general fall back of knitting and crochet. Many projects later and here I am. I have met some new friends through a knit and natter group and have had the opportunity to get involved in the wonderful work being done to restore life into Poltimore House.
This moring I woke up before sunrise and the stars were amazing. Time to celebrate the wonders of the world and the universe through yarning on about it.

27th November 2017

Thank you Penny for the meet up and pep talk.