Monday, October 27, 2014

Walking in the Steps of Ancestors

Today was a glorious day, the kind of day that calls out for a long walk.  So that's exactly what I did, a wonderful circular walk along the Suffolk Essex border.  I walked from home down to the river Stour and along towards Sudbury,

across Friar's Meadow in Sudbury,

and onto the old railway line.

Nowadays the train line terminates at Sudbury, just running up and down to connect with the main line services to London at Marks Tey, but in the past this line would have taken people up to Long Melford and then on to either Bury St Edmunds or Haverhill and Cambridge.

After a short walk I left the railway line and was on the Sudbury water meadows where I came across this rather magnificent grey heron.

I walked past the old bathing pool

and across the water meadows towards Brundon Mill.

I was amazed that on this glorious day in 1/2 term that there was hardly anyone about, but it was nice to have it to myself!

At the mill the swans came to greet me.

My route then rejoined the old railway line and as I walked under some wonderful old bridges I couldn't help but think about my great great uncle David Ward, who lived in Long Melford until 1940.  He part owned the foundry there, Ward and Silver, and would have travelled by train along this very line many many times, passing under the same bridges.

I was coming back towards Sudbury now, glimpses of buildings visible from the edges of the railway line, scenes that haven't really changed since he would have travelled the same route.

Soon I was back at Friar's Meadow where the trees are just starting to turn autumn colours,

past the willow damaged in last winter's gales, bent over but not snapped, 

and back along the river to home.

If any of you are interested in walking some of this same route, the middle section was the Meadow Walk, part of the Gainsborough Trail - details of which can be found here.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Despite the fact that I still can't really do any gardening and haven't done any for what seems like years but is actually only about 6 weeks, the garden is still hanging on to many blooms.  It seems reluctant to acknowledge that it's autumn and rapidly heading towards November, preferring to keep its late summer blooms.

The arbutilon still has buds on but will need moving into the greenhouse soon,

I don't remember sweet peas still flowering this late before

and the bedding fuchsias are still going strong,

as are some clematis.

Soon it will be time to protect the dahlias (I don't lift them and they seem to survive fine).

This salvia (Cambridge Blue) is still flowering well,

as is the hardy fuchsia.

But there are signs of autumn - this rose (Wollerton Old Hall) nestles amongst the decaying seed heads of the poppies,

Sedum (Red Cauli),

and this Japanese Anemone,

are surrounded by autumn leaves.

But I am still harvesting courgettes, generally only 3 or 4 a week now though,

and there are flower buds on the hollyhocks!

This little robin was singing his heart out,

he's clearly enjoying the mild weather.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Grand Day Out

Leaving Suffolk early and driving into the busy streets of north London and arriving at the Alexandra Palace with wonderful views across London always make this a special start to a day at the Knitting and Stitching show.  I didn't take many pictures as I was too busy looking (and buying) but here are a few to give you a taste of what I loved; starting with the work of Sue Walton and Ann Small.

Their exhibition was called "A Walk on the Wild Side' and they used everyday artefacts with fabrics to create a magical and enchanted display.

I also really enjoyed seeing the work of Renate Keeping - the apples which have been stitched to show the growth, ripening and decline of the fruit,

and the cake sculptures (more info about the apples and the cakes can be found on her website via the above link).

I was so pleased that I got to see the work of the Prism group of textile artists - I loved this work with tea spoons by Jackie Langfeld

and it was lovely to see Gina's dolls in real life too (sorry for the slightly out of focus picture).

The colours and shapes created by the work of artist Elisabeth Rutt, part of the Hue Textile group really appealed to me as well.

And of course we did some shopping too - I bought yarn, cotton and wool mix for a sleeveless sweater and some beautiful indian silk yarn for some kind of scarf/shawl,

some textile bits for something (I know not what as yet),

and loads, yes I mean loads, of fabric!

6 pieces - enough to make 2 skirts, 2 dresses, a tunic and a blouse all for just over £70!  The prices were so cheap I just couldn't resist and I've already started the tunic.

It was a grand day out :-)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shirt Tales

Back in April, after I'd visited the Textiles in Art Exhibition at the Fashion Museum I strolled along to John Lewis and bought some fabric.

The fabric on the left I made into a reversible skirt but the pieces on the right remained in the fabric pile until August when I cut out and started to sew a shirt.  I was making good progress with it and then I tore the tendon in my elbow.  Since then sewing has been a painfully slow (in the literal meaning of both words!) affair but I have eventually finished it.

Although I had 2 different prints I didn't want it to look like I'd used them just because I'd bought them so I've used the contrast print very sparingly.  It's on the inside of the cuffs,

and on the arm opening band.  It's also on the inside of the yoke (which no-one will ever see!) and on the collar band and the inside of the button band.

I also covered all the buttons in the contrast fabric.

I have to admit that the double lines of top stitching brought out the worst of my perfectionist nature and many 2nd lines were ripped out and re-stitched as they'd strayed off course by a millimetre or so!

But despite that, and my arm injury, I have now finished it - ta daa!

(You'll have to excuse the poor ironing of the finished shirt, that's something I'm still struggling with as I can't actually lift the iron in my right hand yet).

I'm hoping to go back to the Fashion Museum at the end of October to see the Knitwear Chanel to Westwood exhibition - have any of you been yet?