My smaller knitting projects have up to now been kept in very basic white cotton bags, but I wanted something a little larger and smarter and with a bit more body, so I've made a lined drawstring bag following these comprehensive instructions.
I used navy linen for the exterior, Liberty Tana Lawn 'Ianthe' for the accent piece, and 'Betsy' for the lining, with some cord from the ribbons and trimmings box for the ties.
The finished bag is 10.5" tall by 10" wide with the base 3.25" deep, and as it was fun to make and has turned out exactly as I'd hoped, I'm going to make some more.
Keeping up the productivity here, the first sock of this pair is finished, and the second underway. Not really my colours, I think these will go to one of the girls when they are done, but they are fun to knit.
Quite a while ago a friend who was visiting Spring Farm Alpacas very thoughtfully bought me some of their yarn. The gift included two balls of DK weight huacaya totalling 160g (I have no information as to yardage), and a bit of searching on Ravelry revealed that the Cabin Socks pattern from The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes might suit that amount - I hope I'm right!
The stitch pattern is the Broken Rib (the picture below shows the wrong side), and it's a simple knit but makes for a very squishy fabric.
The alpaca is so lovely to work with I'm taking my time over them and enjoying every stitch, but when they are done I anticipate they will be 'feet up in front of the fire' socks, or even bed socks - very soft and cosy and luxurious.
"Wind S.W. Brisk, sunshine warm. Warm, hazy air all day till sunset. Mezereons(i) bloom. Gooseberry and Elder put out their leaves. Apricots just show their blossom buds. Lesser Tortoiseshell Butterfly appears. Single Hepaticas in full bloom. First Violets blow, and Single Daffodils and Persian Iris(ii)."
Myerson comments, "Each moment seemed to bring a new gift ... It was as if small wonders were being conjured up by a magic spell. The garden was coming back to life one flower at a time... Yet at the same time, as a promise of all that would soon come, there was also the 'full bloom' of the Hepaticas. Their cycle of bloom was completing as other plants were just beginning. Gray was looking at the wonderful intricacy of time itself in this miniature of the natural world, forever consummated and reborn."
(i) Daphne mezereum.
(ii) The pictures are of Iris reticulata 'Harmony', not Gray's Iris persica.
If you watched this evening's Channel 4 programme The Edwardian Grand Designer - good as far as it went - and want to know more about Lutyens, I can recommend The Letters of Edwin Lutyens to his wife, Lady Emily edited by Jane Ridley (who appeared in the programme) and Clayre Percy. The charming pen and ink drawings with which he illustrated many of his letters are included alongside the text, and there are also architectural drawings and photographs. It's clear he was an expressive man, whatever the medium.
"It was by this time about nine in the morning, and the first fog of the season. A great chocolate-coloured pall lowered over heaven, but the wind was continually charging and routing these embattled vapours; so that as the cab crawled from street to street, Mr. Utterson beheld a marvellous number of degrees and hues of twilight; for here it would be dark like the back-end of evening; and there would be a glow of a rich, lurid brown, like the light of some strange conflagration; and here, for a moment, the fog would be quite broken up, and a haggard shaft of daylight would glance in between the swirling wreaths."
Jenni Calder notes in her introduction to my edition of Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (from which that passage comes, and which we're talking about here) that the atmosphere of the book is one of its most memorable features. "The setting is London," she goes on, "but the ambience is without doubt Edinburgh, the Edinburgh of the Old Town's dark wynds and closes, where the turn of a corner could, in Stevenson's day and even now, abruptly leave behind the world of surface respectability, and the lingering shades of Burke and Hare, the grave-robbers, and Deacon Brodie, cabinet maker by day, criminal by night, still flavoured the atmosphere."
So I've made not a cake to go with the book, but a pudding: the appropriately named Edinburgh Fog, as the recipe says, "thicker than the mists that envelope the city today, but like Edinburgh itself, deliciously rich and elegant."
Here is a generous offer for Cornflower readers: if you quote the code GLOBE5 when booking tickets for the play Eternal Love at Edinburgh's King's Theatre (March 18th. to 22nd.), you'll get a £5 discount.
This is the Shakespeare's Globe production of the story of Abelard and Heloise by Howard Brenton and it's billed as a "funny, passionate and legendary love story". Click here for more information including a short video clip from the writer. It sounds excellent, and I shall go if I can.
Reading a publisher's catalogue yesterday, one book in particular caught my eye: Adventures in Stationery: Stories From Your Pencil Case by James Ward is not due out until October, but a lot of us are stationery fiends so may want to add it to the pre-Christmas wish list! Here's the blurb:
"From the first fresh sheet of a hipster's Moleskine notebook to the last gnawed biro lurking at the bottom of a briefcase, stationery is an inescapable part - and pleasure - of our lives. But while few are immune to the lure of of flickable rubber bands or a novelty Post-it note, we rarely, if ever, think about why they are and who first dreamt them up.
Drawing on a lifetime's obsession and research in the obscurest of places, this is a tale of brilliant designs, accidental inventions, bitter rivalries and epic feats of procrastination, laced with Proustian nostalgia.
In a quiet way, the inventors of Sellotape, the highlighter and Tipp-Ex have changed our lives; this book, for anyone who's ever had a favourite pencil case or pondered the evolution of desk organisers, restores them to their rightful place in our hearts and minds."
And speaking of "procrastination" and "desk organisers", as I tackled the overflowing inbox this afternoon and moved books from one pile to another, I thought this might prove helpful!
Following her trip to Amsterdam, Rose has very kindly sent me Van Gogh's Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies (1887) for us all to enjoy, so my thanks to her for brightening this dreary day with some summer colour.
Related to this, do read Rose's comment (here) about Van Gogh and his wool, and click here and scroll down to see the box and contents.
To remind me which handknits require hand washing and which can happily go into the machine: a sheet of A4 paper with holes punched down both sides, a snippet of yarn threaded through each hole, the name of the article to which the yarn pertains, and then the washing instructions.
I've slipped this into a polythene sleeve and put it with the laundry supplies.
- A papier mâché dog called Spencer. - Mary Portas - looking soignée, despite the gale force winds and rain - in the taxi queue at Paddington station. - The very crowded interior of Polpo (Covent Garden) - they don't take bookings and there was a long wait for a table, so sampling their food remains a pleasure postponed. - Lots of lovely lady authors - meeting them was worth the hair-raising buffeting on the descent to Heathrow!
"... but the word was set in a circle of thorns. Pax: Peace, but what a strange peace, made of unremitting toil and effort - seldom with a seen result: subject to constant interruptions, unexpected demands, short sleep at nights, little comfort, sometimes scant food: beset with disappointments and usually misunderstood, yet peace all the same, undeviating, filled with joy and gratitude and love. 'It is My own peace I give unto you.' Not, notice, the world's peace."
I wound the yarn (80% merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon) in the summer of 2009, began a cabled sock, decided it didn't cut the mustard, unravelled it, and in March 2012 cast on the first Cauchy sock (from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.). I finished it last month, went straight on to the second one and cast off today.
I made a mistake on the top of the right foot, but a blind man running for his life wouldn't notice, so there it will stay.
If I were to make them again I'd do a ribbed cuff instead of the picot one, but otherwise they are fine, they fit well, and I'm glad to have them finished.
Edited to add: I've now blocked the socks (I gave them a good wash and eased them into shape), and the yarn has fairly bloomed.