Friday, 13 October 2017

Autumn Crochet

I've finished my crochet shawl! It's all done in time for the colder weather ahead. Here are some photos of it. (In case you're wondering, I'm modelling. 😃)




Here's a side view.




And the back...








These photos don't really show the colours very well though. I think the light affected them on the day I took them and they look paler than they actually are, so here are some more shots which I hope show the colours better...







The way the wool worked as I crocheted, the colours seemed to naturally fall in a graduated effect, so that one side is full of pale, muted shades, while the other has more bold, deep shades.




I had to make over ninety tassels to create the fringe on the edge. 😣 But it was worth it and didn't take as long as I thought it would.

The wool itself is acrylic and very soft. I'm sure I'll love wearing it in the winter, all snug and cosy! It was lovely to work with too, so there may be more crocheted items on the way. 😊

Enjoy the weekend. 💗 There's meant to be a mini heatwave here so I probably won't need my shawl, but then a storm is forecast, so it may come in handy.




Friday, 6 October 2017

Moons and Skeletons.

Just a short post this week to show you my photos of the harvest moon from last night. It was so bright! 🌝



I couldn't quite get a good shot with all the markings you can usually see on the moon - the craters and everything, but I love the halo effect here.

Here's one with the silhouettes of leaves.




I love looking at the moon. There's something magical about it which seems to make me feel calm. Perhaps it's that the light is a reflection of the sun's light and so is more gentle.


I know we're coming up to Halloween, but the "skeletons" in the title of this post are not what you might think! 💀 😃

As I was in the garden today, I noticed that the hydrangea petals had turned to skeletons. All the colour and membrane have been worn away and all that's left is the weathered veins.




They are now just skeleton petals on the stem, looking like little, pale ghosts in the garden. It's quite sad but also quite beautiful.




I've nearly finished my shawl and my barn owl, so there'll be updates on them soon. Meanwhile, I hope you're enjoying the sunny autumnal days, even if it has turned a little bit chilly.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Autumn Equinox


“Autumn days when the grass is jewelled…..” Anyone else used to sing that song in school?  🍃

Before I get into autumn, an update on my barn owl wall hanging. (Although it does have a certain autumnal feel to it anyway with the colours.) I’ve completed the machine embroidery wheat.



Now I need to do the hedgerow behind the owl and some sewing on the owl himself.

As well as that, in my spare time I’ve been crocheting a shawl with the yarn I showed you last time and this is how it’s coming along.



I absolutely love the colour changes and I’m hoping to get it done by the time the weather starts to get colder.
But for now, we’re definitely in autumn. Today is the Autumn Equinox and you can feel the shift in the season. I love the subtle light of these days, it’s paler, not so intense as the summer sun. A bit more gentle. The cooler air is lovely too, making you need just one extra layer maybe, the start of wrapping up for the winter. It all has a kind of fragile feel to it, like nature is vulnerable at the turning points of the seasons, in a transition from one thing to another, shedding her skin or her bright summer cloak. The leaves on the cherry blossom in my garden have begun to turn colour already; a few are now that amber-yellow shade.🍂🍁




It all makes me feel a bit wistful, though I don’t know why. Maybe because the warmth and colour of summer sped by so fast, especially as it rained a lot in August which it seems to do every year now. I’m sure August used to be warm and sunny.

It also feels like a time of new beginnings, probably because school starts in September and that always brought new books, pens and uniform to go with the new school year. It seems to have stuck with me even though I left school a long time ago.

I think it’s connected to nature as well. As she is going through a time of change, withdrawing and preparing for winter, it seems to make you think about things, to re-evaluate where you are and start to plan again. To get back on any path you wandered off. The berries are already out on my holly tree, so nature is definitely thinking ahead. The birds will have food, but I feed them anyway, so they’d never go short. 🐦🍒



Happy Autumn to you. I hope you enjoy some wonderful colours on display on the trees. Stop for a while and really notice them.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Autumn leaves & Silver Linings

I'd hoped to have finished my barn owl wall hanging by now, but as I mentioned in earlier posts, things have been a bit busy recently. I have made some progress though, with machine embroidery.





The stitches represent the wheat in the field around the owl. There's still a lot more to do, much more machine embroidery and some hand stitching as well.

I found this leaf this week and I couldn't resist picking it up. The colours on it are so lovely, starting to turn from green to autumnal yellow and red.




We've had some sunny weather this week which produced beautiful sky scenes that I managed to capture in photos. A lovely blue sky with white fluffy clouds and the sun shining off them like silver lining.



This photo would be better if the telephone line wasn't right in the middle of it but I had to take it anyway! 😁 I thought the clouds looked like fluffy white hills.





I received a delivery of some gorgeous yarn this week which I'd ordered to try out as the colours are so beautiful. When I opened the package, I was surprised at how soft it is.




I can't wait to crochet with it in my spare time to see what it's like to handle. It's dyed different colours along the length of yarn, so the shade will change as I work and should produce a great effect. I'll show you the results when I've finished.

Have a great weekend. 😊

Friday, 18 August 2017

Musings on Spiders.


*Arachnophobes Beware!*

It’s been a bit of a slow week on the textile front due to various things, but I wanted to share a few thoughts with you.

On Tuesday, I found a garden spider weaving her orb web in the garden early in the morning. I’ve seen a spider making her web before – and walked into a few! - but I’ve never actually taken the time to watch properly, so I stayed to see how she did it. I know she’s a she because she’s fairly big and the females are bigger than the males.

She’d already done the “spokes” and was in the middle of creating the sticky spiral, working from the outside to the inside. I hope you can see her spinning her web in this photo. It was quite a big web!




Just after I took this, a miniscule fly crashed into her web and she immediately scuttled to the centre. The web bounced a bit, which seemed to be too big a movement for the tiny fly, so I’m assuming that the spider was bouncing it to determine where in her web the fly was. Within a few seconds, she went directly to the fly, untangled it from the wheel of silk and took it back to the centre. That left a hole where the fly had been. I couldn’t see whether she ate it or kept it in her mouth to suck the juices from it, but she didn’t stay there, she carried on with her weaving, like a working breakfast. Coffee and toast to go! Sorry if you’re a bit squeamish.

While watching her, the story of Robert the Bruce came to mind, something I haven’t thought about in years. He watched a spider spinning her web in a cave while he was hiding. To be honest, I couldn’t remember who it was who took shelter in the cave so I had to look it up. But, while I was doing that, I found one version of the story that said the spider was trying to climb the cave wall to get to her web at the top. She kept falling down but tried again and again to reach her web and eventually succeeded.

This isn’t the version I remembered, so I kept searching and found another version which said Robert the Bruce watched the spider trying to spin her web. The first strand she sent out to the other side of the cave didn’t reach, nor did the second or third, but she kept trying and on the seventh attempt it worked. This was also not the version I’d heard, but is similar to it.

From what I remember, the story was that Robert the Bruce had gone into hiding after his Scottish army had been defeated by the English. He hid in a cave, thinking about giving up his defence of Scotland and while there he saw a spider spinning her web at the entrance of the cave. (That’s all the same so far, but this is where the versions differ.) She made her web but when it was complete, a strong wind came up and blew it away. She spun another, but it began to rain heavily and the web was washed away. She created web after web but even though it kept getting destroyed, the spider determinedly continued until eventually the sun shone and her web stayed in place. This made Robert the Bruce realise that he shouldn’t give up. He rallied his army, fought the English again and won.

The whole point of the story, of course, is that if you’re determined and keep trying, you’ll succeed in your aim. I did used to wonder why spiders build their webs where they keep being destroyed, but watching this one on Tuesday made me realise how they just keep going. Web gets ruined - never mind, build another one! However many times they need to weave, they weave.

This, in turn, brought to mind the Nelson Mandela quote:

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

It’s something I think I needed to be reminded of this week, so I feel grateful to that little spider for being there. It’s not only a personal thing; with the way the world is at the moment, I really hope the human race can rise from where it is. ❤

There was a heavy rain on Wednesday night and when I looked on Thursday morning, the spider had a new web: there were no holes in it where flies had been caught. Again, yesterday and today, it has rained and last night her web was reduced to a few strands, but she was still there, near some leaves. This is her web today:




She’s woven a new, smaller one and I have no doubt that she will continue weaving.


While I’m on the subject of spiders, and as an extra point of interest, in Anglo Saxon England, they apparently believed that apprentice wizards/shamans journeyed to the Otherworld with a Spider Monster while in a trance to go through their initiation. Another Spider Monster met them when they arrived and the shaman would have to prove he knew his stuff. It’s thought that the spiders represented the Wyrd Sisters who wove the web of life. I read this in The Real Middle Earth, Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages by Brian Bates.

I used to be arachnophobic and here I am writing about spiders. But as much as I’ve found a new respect for spiders, I don’t think I’d like to go through that initiation! 😉😊

Friday, 11 August 2017

Dragons!

I was able to go to Kidwelly Castle recently where they had the dragons which have been at Caerphilly Castle for a while. I've been wanting to see them for ages and had a lovely sunny day on which to finally get there. I have to show you the photos!

They were near one of the towers, the mother protruding from the ground and the babies in their nest.



Dad Dewi, who is red, has stayed at home in Caerphilly Castle while mum Dwynwen and the twin dragonlets are on tour around Wales.





They were all made by Cardiff based props company Wild Creations. The adults keep still, but the babies are animatronic and move their heads, eyes and wings. You can also hear a roaring sound from them. I love the way they look quite realistic, with the detail of their scales and mottled colouring.

Here's a close up of Dwynwen:



And one of the babies:




While I was there, I also took photos of the castle itself.

Here's the tower by the dragons:




This is the view from the very top of one of the towers (yes, I was very brave! 😉😊) You can see the river Gwendraeth just behind the castle in the centre of the picture and the landscape beyond.





There's a lot of history surrounding this place. Gwenllian, a Welsh princess, daughter of the king of Gwynedd and wife of the ruler of Deheubarth, led a battle against the Normans in the fields just to the other side of the castle while her husband was in North Wales gathering men to fight. The Normans moved earlier than expected, so Gwenllian and her sons went to face them. This was before the castle was built in stone as it now is. Sadly, Gwenllian lost the fight and was killed in the fields. That area is known as Maes Gwenllian (Gwenllian's field).

Although I've been to Kidwelly before, it was well worth the second visit to see the dragons. I've waited to see them for a long time and it was even better to do it now the babies have arrived. It's all part of the Year of Legends promoting Wales's history, mythology and tourism.

You can find out more about the dragons by clicking here:

http://www.caerphillyobserver.co.uk/news/964692/baby-dragons-hatch-at-caerphilly-castle/


We've had quite a few rainy days recently, but on a rare sunny day, I took this photo of a hoverfly on a dahlia:




I think at some point, this photo may make it into a piece of art.

Friday, 4 August 2017

New Ideas, New Work

Hello! I'm back. Did you miss me? 😉 After the busyness of 30 Days Wild I only intended to take a break of a week or two from blogging, but it became an extended break due to various things that happened. 😑 I return, though, with new ideas and new works in progress to show you.

Here's the first one, my barn owl painting. If you've seen my last post for 30 Days Wild, you'll have seen this painting already, but now I've developed it further. This is the original:




I've dyed some cotton and muslin with tea. It turned out quite well I think and it matches the colour I painted in the background. Tea gives a lovely muted, natural colour and it's also eco-friendly, something I'm very conscious of. I don't want to harm the environment with chemicals just to produce my work.




I've printed my painting onto fabric and next I'm going to layer it on the tea-dyed cotton, then sew on it with a combination of hand and machine embroidery.



That's my work in progress so far, it's been a bit slow the last month or so! 😊 I hope to get this done though, so I can show you the finished thing. I haven't really planned this one, I'm letting it unfold in it's own way, so I don't really know what will happen with it. I hope it works. 😉