Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Winter's kiss

As I attempted to snuggle back under the covers this morning, winter's beauty lured me outdoors as sun rays danced through the mists.

A good breakfast is a cure for all kinds of ills and I visited one of our favourite new places to eat, called 'dish deli-kitchen' where the food is delicious. If you are in Romsey give it a try.

I sat inside at the corner table reading my book until my food arrived, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of a quiet morning. It was cold outside.

Romsey is my UK hometown, in that it is where we first settled when we moved to the UK. It is still very dear to my heart. I took a walk thought the town. There is a pretty little market in the town centre

and a statue of Lord Palmerston graces the roundabout at the top of the high street.

Romsey has a wonderful sense of history and beautiful old buildings. This one is the Working Men's Conservative Club and it is rumoured that Oliver Cromwell hung his opponents from where the sign is hanging these days. I was never able to verify this.

I have never walked to the Abbey along this path.

Through the gates, I came upon the tree, my old friend. I have spent many hours sitting on this bench watching the world go by as I rested after a great cycle.

The Abbey is a beautiful gracious Norman building which has simple lines and decoration. It is a peaceful place inside and we attended choir concerts in its beautiful interior.

The walls outside show its age in a myriad of colours and time's inevitable erosion.

Across the road is King John's House. It dates from the 13th century and has been a thoroughfare for over 750 years. I am always astounded by the age of things here. I enjoy walking through the gardens. It currently houses a lovely little tea room and exhibitions are held in other rooms.

Look at this wall!

The snowdrops are flowering in the garden and all along the country hedgerows.

I climbed into my car and headed out into the country. I was whimsical today and followed my fancy. It lead me to cross the three bridges at Kimsbridge.

Each one has a different view

and the sun came out to light up the water on this section.

I was now driving along one of my favourite cycle routes through Lockerley and out into the country. I have noticed over the last decade how farm animals have disappeared from the landscape in this area and it gladdened my heart to see more of them today. These are sharing the field with a murder of crows.

Winter kissed the land today with mists that lingered over the ground and brought a beautiful gentleness to it.

I continued up into the hills, to catch the view over Broughton into the distant mists once again.

Here, ice lingered in the roadside puddles and icicles hung from the hedgerows.

At the Test River, near Horsebridge, I watched a heron fly lazily along the river and land on the bank, unconcerned by my presence.

There were more 'jumpers' decorating the land further on as I turned my attention to my journey home.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A London Iphone Yarncrawl Excursion

I left my camera at home so decided to test out the Iphone camera to record the day's events. It started with an empty coach of the 10.08 train which is unheard of! 

I was well prepared to amuse myself.

Two stops along the line, I got some company. The journey whizzed by and soon I was in Waterloo.

I walked out of the station and through this food market to reach get to my first destination.

I Knit London shop has changed a great deal since I was able to last visit it about 2 years ago. It is all good change. It is still full of yarny goodness and I particularly liked the I Knit or Dye range but sadly there was not enough for the project I was yarn crawling for so I left empty handed knowing that they were open until 9pm if I wanted to swing by on my way home.

I was feeling peckish as I walked along the South bank so decided to pop into the Royal Festival Hall for a bite to eat. Here I had this lovely view of the river while I ate my lunch.

While crossing the Hungerford Bridged to get to the tube station, I saw 3 busses crossing Waterloo bridge. I realised why London buses are painted red. They add wonderful contrast in a very grey world. I saw a small grey shawl in John Lewis later, in Regia sock yarn, using this contrast to great effect.

The next stop was Islington where I walked though the market before arriving at my next destination.

At Loop, once again my shopping plans were foiled as they did not have enough of either of the yarns I chose for the cardigan I want to knit. I guess I will be shopping online today. This is a lovely shop to browse around in and I got lost in yarny goodness and hence there are no photos.

For the first time in a long time, I did not leave empty handed and brought this yarn back to a good home where it is destined to become a set of gloves from a pattern in the Textured Stitches book. Not that we actually really need gloves this year, the winter has been quite mild down here.

Then it was back down onto the tube. Just look at these happy faces...

My hip was complaining a bit by the time I reached John Lewis in Oxford Street so I took myself up to the 5th floor to The Place To Eat and had another rest break, sitting knitting and reading and enjoying coffee and carrot cake.

While waiting for the Saint to join me, I might have strayed into the yarn department and fondled a few balls. I almost bought yarn for the cardigan but I have my heart set on the Malabrigo yarn that it is knitted in and I want to treat myself to it as I have been a REALLY GOOD girl (not really but I can try to fool you, can't I). 

This shot is a bit blurred but if you enjoy yarn I don't think you will really care that much. This is the Noro shelf.

After the arrival of the lovely man, we caught the tube to Embankment and walked back over the Hungerford Bridge on our way to the National Theatre. I did take a 360 photo with my new app but unfortunately did not save it so I will just have to go back and do it again!

We walked passed the Royal Festival Hall again, stopping in at the restaurants and cafes along the way in an attempt to find somewhere to sup. Who knew that at 5.45pm they would all be completely full. So we continued on to the theatre.

In the foyer was a quintet playing Greek music.  A couple got up to dance entertaining the crowd who where clapping and cheering. It was great fun. If not for the hip, I would have given it a go!

Now you may be thinking we are off to the theatre but you would be wrong. We were there for this. It was fabulous and wonderfully inspiring.

We grabbed sandwiches in the station and found some seats on the train to make our way home. This is still my favourite view in the world. Yes, I know..... 

Monday, 2 January 2012

Inkling on.

Last year I bought Laverne Waddington's book, Pebble Weave. I belong to her backstrap group on Ravelry and I wanted to learn more about it after helping my weaving teacher, Mary, teach children backstrap weaving in the summer.  

My first piece in pebble weave was this band which I loved making on the backstrap and managed well following Lavern's wonderful directions.

Unfortunately my hip does not like the backstrap however much I love the results. I found myself trying different kinds of inkle looms over the next couple of months. These Christmas bands were made on a inkle floor loom which I enjoyed using but I found that bending over it was not agreeable either.

I made Christmas cards with the book markers. My friends and family really enjoyed these gifts as most of them are bookworms!

It is traditional for our family to decorate the house on the 16th of December where the Bobbin Monster was turned into the Hippy Bobbin Monster with a festive headband. He made us all smile when we walked passed.

As he is in the dining room where I spin, he created several diner topics. People seem to be amazed that I decorate my house with unfinished projects...

The next loom was a table inkle which I confiscated from a friend who had never used it and believed it did not work. I wove the book markers and the twisting Christmas trees. It has been returned, with a woven Christmas card and I will be helping her warp it in the New Year.  This loom gave me an inkling of the kind of loom that works for me. 

Thinking I would much prefer a much smaller loom, Mary produced this out of her stock of looms and I brought it home to try it. 

The loom is an old tired lady who has seem much use and the pegs bend with the warp which then makes a bid for freedom, creating a tangled mess. I wonder how I know that...

I finally tamed the beast with elastic bands to hold the warp in place and managed to weave a lovely band which has yet to decide what it is going to be when it grows up.

Then I decided to attempt pebble weave on this loom which was really hard because of the tension issues. I could not pop the treads up that I needed for each shed. Even though I produced this pretty band, I had decided that I would not be attempting this again. I would stick to plain inkle bands. They can be fun too.

The pebble weave band decided what it wanted to be when it grew up. This happened over the last couple of days while the Saint was around to carry my ten ton sewing machine around for me. I cut and joined it to make a little bag that shows both sides of the fabric. The button is a ceramic button which I love.

I have been looking for something to store my 40cm round needles in to keep them all together. It was perfect.

All sealed up and safe. I am very pleased with it.

There is a happy ending to my story. The Saint who had heard some VERY colourful language while I was using the old inkle loom, decided that an Inkle loom would make an excellent surprise Christmas gift for me. It was waiting under the tree for me. We built it together on Christmas Day and when he went off to watch rugby in London on the 27th I warped it.

It is a delight to use. The warp stays where it should. The tension is great and it is making me dream of those pebble weave patterns which I love and have been longing to make. I am enjoying it immensely.