Sociable Saturdays

Hi All – I am still here! Life is hectic so thank goodness for the railway and time for hooky.

Lovely to use yarns from the stashes of others. Wonderful to incorporate the pale brown Patons 3-ply wool that had belonged to JGs mum. It is really delicate and inspired me to use an adapted Victorian circle motif to make a light-weight scarf. Chunkier yet beautiful in its own rustic way, it’s……

Comfort Blanket Part 2! Comfort blanket 1 was getting too weighty to take on the train then I had a brainwave (I know, me? have a brain? and a wave to wash through it?!)…the blanket could be made in panels! Now my daughter has a chance of seeing it before the end of the decade.

Its amazing how much you can get done while sitting on a train. Crochet and audio books play a large part in my commute. Cumbria Library Service have a free audio book download service. Its great. I have in-train entertainment and a good story on the walk home all through my library membership and a few clicks to download a Clipper book onto my iPod. Ann GrangerI listened to Ann Granger’s atmospheric Victorian murder mystery, jumping at every shadow on my misty, dark early morning commutes. I never learn. Now I am listening to Susanna Gregory’s marvelous medieval murder mystery the Tarnished Chalice…Susanna Gregory

I love her characters and some of the dialogue is very funny.

So far so self-contained. What about these sociable Saturdays? Since I’ve been working away in the week the only chance I get to see my friends is Saturday (sorry Sunday but you are chore and a snooze day) and what a lovely few weekends I’ve had.

Last Saturday began with meeting up with JG. She came over to help me clear rubbish out of the house and take it to the tip. I know that doesn’t sound promising but it was funny and what would have been an awful chore turned out to be easier and quicker because I had a fantastic friend to help me with it.

I spent the afternoon at KC’s with FT and AW having a good old chin-wag and eating a delicious salad-y lunch finished off with one of AW’s creations a berry cheesecake:

let’s catch that again… 20131123_151826droooooool.

Delicious though the food was we were really there to meet the latest addition to KCs family,

Hello Kiciek! What a friendly and courteous cat you are, gorgeous. Kiciek a rescue cat has obviously settled into her new home. She sweetly said hello to all her guests and spent time with everyone. The perfect hostess.

Yesterday kicked off with a Latin catch-up with AH. Unbelievably we reached the end of Book 4. Whoowhooo… and its only taken us 4 years!

But you know what this means? BOOK 5!!! Next time we meet for Latin AH and I will embark on the last (yes the last) book in the series. Then what will we do? well, with an average speed of a book a year I don’t suppose I really need worry about that just yet, maybe this time next year.

Yesterday was rounded off with a relaxed evening of chat and shared best books (Ken Follett and Henning Mankell at the mo’), best TV (loving ‘Borgen’ and recommended ‘Legacy’, must watch  Alan ‘Imagine’ Yentob our guilty fancy…), radio, film (live stream of Richard II with David Tennant sounded excellent), you name it with JG and AJ. With all that cultural input all I could do was  curl up in bed with a good book, H Mankell

look forward to the next one, DSCN0935

and drift off to dream about projects to come…

Have a good weekend.

Comfort blanket

Having been averse to technology I had to question my sudden rush to blog and I think I have hit on why I turned to my keyboard. It was the end of Wool ‘n’ Stuff a group of  local woolly people to which I belong…sniffle…belonged…Let me tell you a little bit about this marvelous group of craft-y women.

The initial impetus to set up Wool ‘n’ Stuff had been to explore wool crafts in the ambient surroundings of Kendal Museum. The museum was facing hard times, even the threat of closure and we hoped to lend it some moral support. We gathered for the first time in the autumn of 2006 to the strains of Viking music – creating the mood for the ancient Scandinavian craft of tablet weaving – in the midst of medieval and Roman artefacts and since then we have continued to celebrate the woolly textiles that are our Cumbrian heritage, after all ‘Pannus Mihi Panis’ (“Wool is my Bread”).

While based at Kendal Museum each activity was run by a Wool ‘n’ Stuff member and between us we covered tablet weaving, drop spinning, knitting, and prodded rag-rugging. In addition the owner of  ’Spinning A Yarn’ from Ulverston  visited us and gave a wonderful talk on the History of Knitting. Did you know there is a North-South (class) divide in how you hold your knitting needles? Apparently Northern working knitters like the Knitters of Dent who knitted to earn a living kept one needle firmly tucked under their arm while ‘middle class’ Southern hobby knitters  knitted with both needles free. Being a born and bred Northerner my mother always clamped one needle tightly under her armpit. Consequently I do the same…but I have yet to earn a penny from knitting!

The museum remained safe but at the time a reduction in staff and hours meant we had to find a new home which we did in Kendal Library where we resided for a couple of sessions – looking at different fleeces  and holding a quiz on our woolly friends. So many breeds of sheep! Unfortunately we are a mucky lot and sought out our next venue the YWCA because we could branch out into the messier crafts of natural dying, felting (textile artist Annie Coxey visited us for this one), and tye dye.

In our YWCA home we held sessions on easy-weaving, tubular tablet weaving, hooked rag rugging, spinning wheels and crotchet. Thanks to The Brewery Arts Centre we were supplied with marvelous teachers and three funded sessions through their ‘Motto’ (you remember “Pannus mihi Panis”?) project.

When building work meant another move we found ourselves in the grand surroundings of Kendal Town Hall and finally we have been ensconced in the Art Room of Castle Street Community Centre where we could again indulge ourselves with wet wool crafts like felting and its beautiful cousin Nuno felting.

Wool ‘n’ Stuff-ers are a smashing bunch. Each session has been rich with laughter and probably more biscuits than are good for us. It’s been a privilege me dears.Flowers, yarns and wreath2

During our years together we created a beautiful handmade archive. Our felt covered  book is currently being brought up to date. Once it is looking its complete best I’ll take some photos to show you. So watch this space.

I don’t know if the end of Wool n Stuff has anything to do with this but I’ve started a ‘comfort blanket’.

Crochet is relaxing – most of the time – working round and round and round an ever growing granny square is almost meditative and starting this blanket has kept me sane over the last week. In using up my stash I am hoping to have a snuggly cover ready for the chilly winter nights.

Meanwhile back in ‘sunny Cumbria’ (yes summer’s still here) it was a very strange morning. As I toddled in to the library there was something special in the air, shops were open that would usually be closed for at least another hour, the town was very spick and span and the good folk of the Auld Grey Town were gathering along Stricklandgate.

I don't think this was meant for me!

I don’t think this was meant for me!

Bunting was everywhere,

Flying the flag in Elephant Yard.

Flying the flag in Elephant Yard.

So who was it all for? The Queen and Princess Anne who visited Kendal today (thanks to ST for taking the photo for me).

And the Queen seemed happy to be here!

And the Queen seemed happy to be here!

It all felt very jolly. And it continued to be very jolly as I was invited out to lunch with a couple of my bestest buddies. It was well worth the climb…Stoney Lane

No need for the comfort blanket tonight. Sleep tight.