A beautiful winters' day here today. Feels more like spring, really. I made some things from vintage linen for my shop update today. The willow branch linen was a gift from Louana, thank you!
I wrote a little about knitting yesterday. I've decided to knit this, and have ordered the quince yarn for it. I thought I'd better start with something small. More likely to have success, I feel. There are so many beautiful knitting sites out there, it makes me a little bit crazy when I start browsing through them. Like I could sink into my computer screen and never come out again.
I finished this blue dress for Keira over the weekend. The pattern was found in this book and the design is #B. I used a soft blue wool-blend fabric, so hopefully it will be cosy with tights and boots this winter. I embroidered the yoke of the dress in white thread- with some simple branch-like stitches which wind from the front around to the back yoke. Keira's favourite thing about the dress is it's roomy side pockets, which are currently being used to store marigold seeds. There's something so clean and comforting about that sky-blue colour, I think.
In other news- I've been thinking a lot about knitting lately, and am trying to decide which design to choose from Quince and Co. All the patterns are so beautiful- the yarns aren't bad, either. I am thinking about this one, or maybe this.
The sun came out over the weekend, which was surprisingly uplifting and even inspired a trip to the beach to soak in it. Even though it's been a strangely warm winter so far, it's been dark and rainy most of the time. We saw people having a midwinter swim yesterday. Brave things.
The children brought inside this miniature bouquet of daisies from the front lawn. I've been thinking about embroidered surface design lately, the idea that stitches could be used in the same way a stamp block or print might be. I cross-stitched a pattern onto a piece of old linen in blue, yellow and white. Inspired by the fistful of daisies and the sun that came out for a day. Happy new week!
I carved these very tiny and simple stamps the other day, while the children were having their music lessons. I used regular rubber erasers cut in half, and the finest lino-cutting tool I could find in my craft cupboard. (I've made them in the past too- here and here.) The main reason for making them so small was because I wanted to try stamping in white ink, and I only had a miniature inkpad. Anyway, a fun diversion nevertheless and I love the way the white ink looks on coloured paper (that fabulous vintage scrap-book was a gift from Louana) and of course, brown paper, for wrapping gifts.
I can't remember if the jasmine vine normally flowers on the winter solstice, but I'm pretty sure it shouldn't. In any case, I picked some for the kitchen table today. The leaves are so glossy and green. Come to think of it, there are many plants in the garden that seem to be having some seasonal confusion. I wonder, is it the same in the northern hemisphere?
The flowers inspired a few embroidered items for my shop update today.
This week I fell in love with this album by British electronic artist James Blake. It's beautiful and makes me want to get my own bedroom-recording-studio.
I found this old book at our local book fair, and had to buy it after peeking inside. It's called the Countryside Companion (published 1846 by Odhams Press, London, and edited by Tom Stephenson.) Can you imagine, writing a book, and having each page so beautifully illustrated? The page-borders are populated with swallows and willows, owls and waterlilies. The writing itself is sometimes overblown and pompous, and revels in British nationalism but I suppose it is a product of its time and place. I will keep enjoying it for the photography and artwork, for sure.
Arlo turned eight over the weekend. Here are a few photos from the party we threw for him, which was a 'medieval banquet' with a spot of archery and sword fighting (with flax sticks) on the side. The banquet involved 'bread plates', potatoes and meat on bones and 'wine' in our best goblets.
It was a lot of fun to prepare for together, even if Tom and I did leave it to rather the last minute (ahem, including making the cake an hour before- thank you, universe, for bought sponge cakes), it poured with rain and I was a tad worried about 11 children in a park with an archery set. But it all went well, Sir Arlo the Brave Knight was pleased, and we don't have to do it for another year. Phew. Happy birthday, little A.
Here we have my latest wardrobe addition: a tweedy winter dress. I found the vintage fabric online - it's a kind of cotton/wool blend I think, quite thick with a sort of slub/tweed texture. And, because I knew it was a good fit, I used the same pattern as I did for this one. The only thing I'm not happy about with is the zip. Because I wanted to finish the dress on the same evening that I started it, I used what I could find in my workroom, which was a too-small zipper. It means that I have to breathe in quite deeply in order to squeeze the garment over my body, but it seems to be fine once it's on. One day I will learn patience.
Meanwhile, it's keeping me warm along with winter tights, boots and cardigans.
My recent adventures on Pinterest have been dangerous in the clothes-wanting department. I recently found this little beauty, and this, and lots more here. Despite the danger, it is a really fun place to play around and spend a bit of time.
I'm sure I've written about Kate Bush here before, but it's safe to say I'm still quite an ardent fan of her music. Last week I ordered a copy of her latest album, on which she re-works a handful of her old songs, including Deeper Understanding, from 1989. While I was listening to the aforementioned track, I realised what a beautiful one it was, and how timely for us right now. In the song, the narrator falls in love with a computer; becomes intoxicated by the alternate world it offers as she/he searches for some deeper understanding and love in their life.
I made a watercolour painting to remind myself of those lyrics- 'love and deeper understanding', and it's now pinned up above our computer. I realised, while writing about it here, that it's completely influenced by the beautiful artwork of Shanna Murray.
The embroidery I showed yesterday was sewn up into this 'project bag' for my shop update today.
I'm guest-blogging today over at my friend Helen's blog. Thank you for the invitation, H.