gone creating

Sis and I have been so busy creating that we've been shamefully remiss where our blog is concerned. And the irony given our name is not lost on us. We're working on a joint project (more on that another time), and at the extremities of the UK, so our only way of sharing what we're up to is to mail images backwards and forwards. Shameful not to add some of my share here then... all works in experimentation with patterns rewritten daily and much switching, and swatching, of yarns... Baby bootees in the softest of bamboo yarns, my own pattern but only made possible with the wisdom of countless women, knit in the round to eliminate the seams, and I'm still trying to work out how to use a figure of eight cast on to get rid of the last seam on the sole. Silver plated wire knit with beads into a bracelet - so tough in execution on the hands, and indeed my bamboo needles, but so very delicate in completion. And little knitted felted bowls for storing trinkets, though these haven't felted terribly well, leaving some unwanted stitch definition, so I'm on the hunt for a new yarn to try. And oh how I wish for my grandmother's ancient top loading twin tub washing machine! C



If you're sick of making jam and have no more space to store it you just have to try making blackberry ice-cream! We made ours without an ice-cream maker using Sarah Raven's suggestion of partially freezing it and then whipping it up before replacing it in the freezer which worked fine. It is simply delicious but also worth making just for the pleasure of stirring the cream through the beautiful magenta pink syrup - yum. V



Well, as usual, I've been side-tracked from my drawing project and instead I've been absorbed with thoughts of "how on earth can I make some money?" So, I was thinking back to the days when I spent my summer holidays making Christmas cards for Heal's and was considering doing the Christmas market here with various bits and bobs - cards, knitting and sewing... I have loads of cellophane bags left from my card-making days so there would be very little outlay for that side of things. I fancied doing something a bit fresher looking than all that red and gold of previous times. What do you think of these two samples sis? - they're made from insides of envelopes and are dead easy so can I can churn them out! V


all that glitters

I have made a few of these over the last couple of years - only for people who deserve all those stitches of course! Knit in gorgeous Kidsilk Haze on large bamboo needles, these make great TV knitting, though they aren't the most challenging of projects. Once blocked they take on an ethereal quality, and drift beautifully, but with surprising warmth. The first is for a very good friend, and to suit her, is knit in single rib in a gold Kidsilk Haze Night shot with a glitteriness. The second is in a beautiful blue grey garter stitch and just perfect for another favourite person. Though I truly admire all the lovely elaborate lace wraps and shawls out there knit in this yarn, the simplicity of these is much more me, creating a scarf I love while leaving me to simultaneously enjoy Gray's Anatomy! ...C


man's work

There's an amazing shop near our parents' house in France, which sells everything you need for the home and, being France, a great deal more besides. In fact, quite alot I wouldn't allow in the same postcode as my home... Anyway, one rainy day in January, we went on a trip there to spend some happy time browsing the aisles of the weird and the wonderful (some aisles distinctly more weird than wonderful, but that's another story). The one thing that stuck in everyone's mind were the paella pans, ranging in size from a deux to catering. So this summer, having done a fair amount of experimentation with cooking on wood fires outside, dad found a large, old tin bath and proposed we cook a paella over a wood fire outside. Mum and I didn't take much (OK, any) persuading to pay another visit to the weird and wonderful shop, where we bought a big paella pan, more than half a metre across. Of course dad and the Working Man duly told us it wasn't big enough when we got home... A date was set, an excuse was seized to make a new long wooden table (dad of course) and on a beautiful Sunday when everyone was sure it would rain, men made fire and paella was cooked outside in the glorious sunshine. Man's work obviously, with dad as head chef, and the many, many cooks and stirrers did nothing to spoil this particular dish. It was served up in the shelter of the trees to lots of happy friends who were happily holidaying nearby, and after alot of cake to finish off, worked off with some very competitive, and slightly drunken badminton. Pretty much perfect, destined to become an annual family tradition, and there was even paella left over for lunch the next day... See? We told you that pan was big enough... C



The Working Man and I have been in the south of France for the last two weeks, hot on the heels of sis and family, soaking up some sunshine, spending time with mum and dad and having some fun. Lots to share, but guilt still has me battling the tide of laundry, so in the meantime, a little sunshine to brighten this very dull day... C


thinking aloud

Well, here I am again, the other two are still in France so they'll have to catch up when they get back.
I thought I'd just put a couple of images of my most recent pieces onto the blog to give myself something to think about. I definitely want to get back into a new studio-based project over the winter months and am thinking of starting some sort of material-based drawing project. It needs to be something fairly simple so that I can do it whenever I can snatch some time - I enjoyed the 'Index Card Summer' project that 'domesticali' has on her blog and think something based around a diary might be a good idea, even just until I can define the area that I really want to explore. I still like the last pieces I made for the 'Found Word' exhibition made from long wrapped slices of text from discarded solicitors' papers and like the idea of continuing to work on long slivers of material. When I was in India, I went to a temple where I was given a private showing of their collection of chronicles written on long thin cut palm leaves tied together in bundles and the images have always stayed with me so maybe a collection of daily thoughts would be a start. Anyway, watch this space... V


summer's end

Well, here in Scotland, we're all getting back into the routine of school and nursery and looking outside, you'd think it was the depths of winter already! I know that nowhere in the UK has escaped the awful wet weather this summer but there is something about the rain that falls on the West Coast of Scotland that feels endless and seems to penetrate every nook and cranny so that you continually feel damp - it makes me long for the cold, dry and crisp sunshine of the East Coast that we left behind nearly two years ago now. Ah well, no better time for settling down with a good film and some knitting!
Although the weather hasn't been great, we've all had a lovely holiday and it's been quite a wrench to take Joe, my four year old, back to his morning nursery place. I'm not sure what I find more upsetting, leaving him there or the fact that he has only one more year of this before he starts school and what then? Whatever the reason, I'm afraid I shed a few tears again each time I left him last week and miss him dreadfully for the few short hours that he's away.
So, projects, projects...my mind is working overtime on where I go from here. Since we moved here, I've been really lucky to meet some great women, some of whom have become really good friends and we're all in the same boat - wanting to be around for our kids when they go to school yet wanting to fit in something stimulating for ourselves but what? At least I'm lucky in that I have come from an art and design background and therefore I can happily work from home but I need to decide how I want to target my work for now. It's been over two years since my last exhibition and slightly more since my commission for the Arches Healthcare Building which is the longest gap I've had and therefore a bit daunting but it also gives me the opportunity to think again about the direction my work should or could go in or indeed, whether I should change direction altogether and pursue my love of gardening and growing. Over the summer, however, we've had lots of fun doing some major projects, building cruise liners and chocolate factories as well as growing some lovely veg.
And I've been painting pots for my little cacti from Ikea. I still love that spring green, I know it's dead common but it gives me such a positive feeling when I see little snatches of it around the house.
I've also finally knitted up the yarn I bought from Loop when I was visiting big sis in London this time last year and you can't really get more autumnal than this. It needs a bigger button to make more of statement but I'll need to find one - hopefully I have a little time before I need to wrap up quite that warm!
Other than that, I'm still finishing a nice long black belted tabard-like top in a soft Debbie Bliss yarn and I am knitting a Kidsilk scarf for my sister in law and one for her daughter. I also went to John Lewis at the weekend to stock up on baby cashmerino as there's a couple of babies on the way, including one rather special one!
Anyway, it's time to pick up Joe and have some lunch so no major decisions have been made this morning, ah well! V