Friday, 30 June 2017

June 2017 Photo Hunt

I am once again joining in with Hawthorn Spellweaver (click here to visit her blog and see links to other people who are taking part). This month she presented us with a list of 10 words.  Another challenging list and I present my selection below!

1   Setting sun

Just love setting suns; such a pity my camera does not capture the vivid colours and scale of
it all.

2   My local wild place
6   Mini Beasts

This old metal seat (from a bench some friends were breaking up) is where I used to sit
in my new garden and have a brew.  But not any more!

Look who lives under this seat!  I found out the hard way the first summer here.  I was
sitting having a brew and felt a tickling sensation on my hand - ants!!!
Each summer they return and live under the metal seat.
I leave them to it.  It is hard to sit in most places as there seems to 
be ants everywhere!

3  Mug of my favourite drink in the garden

This was a tough one for me as I rarely have take a drink out into the garden.
It is often too cold for me or there are ants wandering around wherever
I choose to sit.  So my preferred seat is in this chair, covered in 
a quilt I made, with my favourite mug (from a set of 4) filled
with coffee if in the morning or any other time hot water and
I can read and overlook the garden.  A lot of gardening
planning takes place here.  What you can't see is
the veranda outside these patio doors upon which
are various bird feeders.  So I love to sit here
and watch the visitors to the feeders.  
At the moment there are a lot
of juvenille birds.

4   My kind of beautiful

There are so many objects I regard as beautiful but for several months now I am drawn
to the many and varied bees that live in my garden.

5  Look to the skies

The sky is an amazing place; clouds of different shapes and colours,
planes (domestic and military) and helicopters flying above,
con trails from planes, birds in the air too but you 
just can't beat a lovely rainbow; if you look closely to the right
you will see it is a double one.

7  Rain

June 2017 started off wet which was so disappointing as we'd had some good weather
but like a typical English summer, it did not last (well not until mid June when
we had a mini-heat wave!).  Anyway, here we are parked at the view point at 
Pinhaw, a favourite place of ours.  In the distance we could see the rain
rolling in.  We did think we might walk up to the trig point but
decided against it as we did not fancy getting wet!

8  Something summery

Look was a change in the summer weather did!  This is the River Ribble at Settle after a few
days of rain.  I seem to recall my childhood summers were long and hot and the
tar always melted!!!  Since 2004 when Beloved bought some fields nearby
we've become more aware of the summer weather as we have to get our
grass cut and gathered in.  A lot of the summers since then have been poor.
I hope the above picture is not what this year's summer will be!

9  Urban wilderness

I like to see wildlife in my garden as well as elsewhere.  I feel privileged
that birds and critters like my garden.  This little cheeky mouse
certainly liked the fat balls!

10  Own choice

We moved to this area in September 1983 and the other day we decided to climb to the top of
Pendle hill!  This is not quite the top as it was too windy there.  But you have to believe
me that I did make it to the top!  So pleased we did it.  It is about 557 m high (1827 feet
in old money).  I've poor knees and coming down did not do
them any favours.   I think we would like to go to the top again but take a
gentler route, albeit much longer!

Well that's my offerings for this month.

Now I must go and look at everyone else's photos.  Don;t forget you can click here to see other people joining in with Hawthorn this month.

Friday, 26 May 2017

May 2017 Photo Hunt

I am once again joining in with Hawthorn Spellweaver (click here to visit her blog and see links to other people who are taking part). This month she gave us a list of 25 words from which we had to select just 10 words.  I present my selection below!

1  Lichen

I think lichens are amazing.  I've not tried to find the names of the above 3 but one day,
perhaps when I have time (!!!!!), I will do some research.  I suspect they will
be hard to identify!

2  Glass

Years ago (it must be at least 20) I spotted this glass ornament in a charity shop
and it just had to come home with me.  It was bought as a Christmas present
for a friend but I found I could not part with it!  When I was in the throes
of moving house I did consider gifting it to her but I failed!

3  Piano

Many years ago Beloved decided his piano had to go to make way for a desk as he
was now working from home.  It only had to move a short distance; just as well
we have a tractor and trailer to hand.  Of course one helper just had to play
the piano...  I can't remember what the faces of the people passing
by looked like as I was too occupied with watching the 
proceedings!  Photos taken with my old film camera as it
was definitely pre-digital camera era!

4  Vast

Late 2003 or early 2004 Beloved announced his intention to buy some land near where we live;
the land comprised 3 fields....  at the time I did wonder what it was all about but over the
years it has become our playground.  Anyway I digress.  Back in about 2010
Beloved decided to plant a hawthorn hedge....  We had to do battle with rabbits
and deer eating the new growth but finally a hedge is beginning to appear.
About 2 years ago he decided to clip it using his engine powered hedge clipper.  It
did the job very quickly but then it was a nightmare to pick up the clippings
from the grass.  So when he mentioned this year he intended to trim it again 
I said I would hand cut it.  It took just over 3 weeks (on and off) to finish
the job.  He did help too!  The entire hedge is about 110 metres long 
(for that read VAST) and it is not all shown in the above photo.  Don't forget 
the inside needed clipping too!  We are pleased with the end result.

5   Bush

In reality it is bye bye several bushes!

When we moved here just over 2 years ago I noticed the island bed was infested with bamboo.
This year finally saw me finish tackling the job of hand-digging it up, bit by bit.
I found the best to deal with it was to use a little miner's pick and not a spade.

I used it to free up the bamboo and then I could cut it out with my secateurs and consign
it to the garden waste bin.  A full-sized pick is too heavy for me....
Several shrubs had to go as they were congested with bamboo roots that it would be
impossible to remove said roots.  Once I'd cleared around the last shrub I leant on it
and to my surprise it 'fell over' and I nearly fell with it!  Job satisfaction by the bucket load.
I've yet to decide what to do with this area!

6   Steam

The first photo is taken from the car as we drove along the railway track
near Embsay steam station.  This was taken several years ago.
The other day we were driving to Ribblehead and just as we drove out of Long Preston 
I noticed a man and tripod in a field overlooking the railway line.  Later on we spotted 
other people.  Just as we got to Helwith Bridge there were loads of people so 
Beloved pulled onto the grass and as I got out of the car I heard the steam train coming!  
It was a bit of a rush to cross the road and I managed to get 3 photos, 
that were literally point and shoot!
Yes we like steam trains, but then you already knew this if you read about April's 
photo hunt!

7  Bark

This is a neighbour's dog who likes to BARK at the water.  I presume it is her reflection
that she can see; she will happily do this for hours.  As I prepare this post 
I can hear her barking!

8  Weave

The top weave effect was done using Picasa Photo editor software back 
in 2005.  This was my entry in the digitally enhanced photo section.
It did not win a prize but then again the prize winners were so much better.

9  Modern

This reminds me of a Barbara Hepworth or Henry Moore sculpture.  But what it is you ask?
Question - how do you completely destroy a computer's hard drive?
Answer - burn it! (Another good use the fields are put to!)
Result - the melted aluminium formed this shape.

10 Time

Look how time has eroded the top of this fence post at our fields. So tactile and so delicate.

Well those are my offerings for this month.

Now I must go and look at everyone else's photos.  Don;t forget you can click here to see other people joining in with Hawthorn this month.

Friday, 28 April 2017

April 2017 Photo Hunt

I am once again joining in with Hawthorn Spellweaver (click here to visit her blog and see links to other people who are taking part).  She provided us with a fresh list of words and I found some quite hard; I knew what I wanted to use but the photo opportunity did not appear!

So here is my best effort!

1  New

I  spotted this delightful willow work sculpture near a former Post Office on the outskirts of
our village.  Who ever made it did well to capture the essential elements of a mother ewe
and her lambs.

2  Rust

This was hard!  I had all sorts of ideas but never the photo opportunity.
The rust coloured Highland cattle seemed to have disappeared from their
usual place; rust coloured leaves left on the beech hedge were so pale
now.  I associate the word rust with old, possibly useless items but I
wanted to indicate life.  So I was pleased to see the rust coloured outer
layers on this chestnut tree bud and the rusty piece of metal reminds me
of possible quilting patterns...  so two for the price of one!

3  Box

I love boxes, wood or plastic or fabric covered card.  I made this one from a kit
many years ago and it holds some of my essential sewing accessories.

4  Ingredients

I need to make a quilt for a large sofa we inherited when we moved here just over 2 years ago.  
The new quilt is very much in the planning stage (ah the joys of planning); I am fairly certain 
I have enough fabric ....  I've lots of books to browse through and I've no shortage of quilting and
sewing threads.  So I possess most of the ingredients!  Just need to finalise my pattern 
and then I can start.  So much for the New Year Resolution I made, ie finish UFOs and
don't start new projects......  

5  Begins with D - Dry stone walling

For years (20+????) we lived with the edge of the chicken run sloping down
to the 'path'.  Suddenly I decided I could build a dry stone wall to neaten
it and contain the soil.  Soon after I finished it we moved house but
it was good fun to do!  I had to make it wide enough to Beloved
could get his tractor up and into the chicken run.

6  Mechanical

Friday 31 March the Flying Scotsman was going to travel from Oakworth to Carlisle.  We did think we might drive towards Ribblehead to see it, knowing we'd not get to park at Ribblehead itself unless we left very early.  Beloved found a timetable and we would have had to leave at about 6 am...  so we decided to give it a miss.   Pity as I did want to see it.  Later that day we did drive there and there was no great evidence that a lot of people had been there.  

Three days later we went out for a drive and as we dropped into Haworth, we noticed people on the bridge over the railway line.  As we drove past the station, there was the Flying Scotsman!  Beloved found a place to park (on a steep hill of course) and we walked back to the station.  Just as we were almost there, there was a chuffing sound, with lots of stream and then it chuffed off!  No time to take a picture.  Back to the car and on the road to Oxenhope.  I knew it would get there before we did but I had my fingers crossed that it might linger there.

Yes I was right!  Can you image when we got there (about 5 pm) a railway man told us where to park (free), and then where to go to take pictures.  What a treat.  It stayed there for about 20 minutes before it left.  We had a lot of time to look at it.  Talking to a man with a very expensive looking digital camera, I said we considered going to Ribblehead.  He said he went, took some fantastic photos but the place was mown out with people!

What a lovely thing!  What a treat to be so close, for so long.  It would have been nice to see it go over Ribblehead but it would have only taken a couple of minutes.  Here there were not a lot of  people either.  What a great drive out it was.

Years ago as we drove to Skipton, we noticed a lot of people by the railway bridge.  So Beloved managed to park and we walked back.  I asked what was going to happen.  Mallard was due!  She came by and we saw her.  This would have been in about 1985, pre-digital camera and, whilst I did have a film camera, I rarely took it out with me.  So now I have seen 2 iconic steam trains.  I used to travel on them as a child and love the sounds and smells associated with them.

7  Something seasonal

During the lunch break at our local Quilt Area Day I went for a walk and
there was a lovely magnolia beginning to flower.  It was a beautiful blue
sky but it was not warm!

8  Recently finished

I like to have some simple crochet to do late at night; something that needs little concentration!
I finished this recently and it was destined to go to the local cat rescue place but
a fellow Knit N Knatter colleague begged me for it so I obliged her!
It is called African Flowers.  I dislike sewing blocks together as I find it so boring.  Here
I used Join As You Go; works for me!
Click here to see the pattern for the actual flower block.
Click here to read about using Join As You Go.

9  Begins with R

Ah my beloved Rheum palmatum (ornamental rhubarb) with the morning sun lighting up its
leaves.  It grows to be at least 2-3 m tall and its leaves spread over about 2 m.
Beloved hated it as he blamed its size for interfering with the satellite signal!
In the end he extended the pole on which the satellite dish sat...
When we were planning to move house he stated that it was not coming with us.
About 9 months after we moved here he spotted one in the garden!  
Little does he know I brought 7 chunks with me and they have all taken.....
I call her Gloria ....  

10 Own Choice

I've never had a traditional Christmas tree for a variety of reasons.  Last Christmas I was 'told'
by a friend that our new house would easily accommodate one.  So I decided to make an
alternative one; it is an ash branch, yarn bombed with space-dyed yarn.  After Christmas
I took off all the ornaments and put it temporarily away.  Beloved said he missed it so
I put it back (complete with red lights) and have used non-Christmas tree ornaments
to hang from its branches.  I realised the other week that I was vary fashionable
as I apparently had an Easter tree!  Yes there were (note the word WERE) some
small chocolate Easter eggs hanging on the tree but they have all gone....

Well that's all for this month.  I hope some of my ramblings made you smile (or even sigh!).

Now I must go and look at everyone else's photos.  Don;t forget you can click here to see other people joining in with Hawthorn this month.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Hawthorn's March Photo Hunt

I am once again joining in with Hawthorn Spellweaver (click here to visit her blog and see links to other people who are taking part).  She provided the list of words before the end of February and as usual I had to think hard!

So off we go.

1  Flowers

For a long time now, Caravan Girl has given me
an Amaryllis bulb just before Christmas.
This year there was a second flower stem but it
grew out at a funny angle; perfect for displaying
its wonderful flower.

2  Baking/Cooking (with recipe)

Top - size of dough
Middle - first set of 9 cookies cooling
Bottom - sampling one (or was it two?)!

Maple Pecan Cookies

Makes about 40, depending on how big a heaped tablespoon you use!

110 g unsalted butter
225 g granulated sugar
85 g dark brown sugar

Beat together; it will be grainy rather than a smooth mixture.
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Add to beaten butter/sugar mixture and mix in.
285 g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Sift together into the bowl and mix in; it will be more like crumbs rather than a smooth mixture.

2 tablespoons maple syrup
55 g pecan nuts (chopped/broken into pieces by hand)

Add to bowl and mix in; again it will be crumb-like rather than a smooth mixture.

1   Preheat the oven to 150-180 °C (GM 2-4); you will need to experiment with the temperature.  I find GM 4 is best for me.

2   Line two baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.

3   Drop a heaped tablespoon of mixture onto a tray and allow room to spread.

4   Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.  I find mine take at least 12 minutes to bake.

5   Cool on the baking trays for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  They tend to be crunchy with a chewy centre.

6   They freeze well and are as good as if just out of the oven.

3  Reading

I love books!  I used to have many, many more but when we moved I had to be realistic and
only take what I thought I would use!  Not an easy task.  In addition I downsized all my
gardening and cookery books too!

4  Comfortable

Thank goodness for Lucy from Attic24!  Here are the 3 blankets I've made, inspired by
her blog.  I've another one waiting to be done....  The top right one was made for 
Beloved and he wanted it lining as he felt it was not warm enough so I lined
it with some fleece fabric, I just happened to have in my fabric stash!
The one at the top left has been made for me!
The one at the front is Lucy's Moorland CAL blanket.
They are great to snuggle under .......

5  Favourite Colour

Mine is red!!!!  Closely followed by black and purple.  I treated myself to this yarn and pattern
back in early 2013 and it is only now that I'm getting around to knitting it up.
Having nearly done the back I found out that I've misunderstood the YON instruction
in the pattern.  Blue and Yellow Morning (one of the Knit N Knatter ladies) showed me
where I was going wrong!  Oh, we had a good laugh.  So my plan is to stop work on the 
back, start a front piece using the correct YON technique and see if I can master
the pattern.   If I do, then I will frog the back and start again....
Might be finished this time next year as I have to concentrate very carefully
and can only manage about 4 rows before I have to put it down.  I need to do about 170 rows
for the back.....  there is no rush to finish it.....
Update - pattern sorted, back pulled back and I can knit the pattern in company!

6  Candles

Well Hawthorn this was a hard one!  Whilst I like scented candles, I do not have any (fire hazard as I know I will walk away and forget them and Beloved does not like the flickering light or smell).

Talk about a light bulb moment!  I remembered I had
some candles to use when we have electricity cuts.
They have never been used (I do have other that are used).
They were bought from a local hardware shop back in about
1984 but it sadly closed a few years later.  The label
takes me back all those years and what a good
old-fashioned shop it was too.

7  Hat

I like hats!  I am generally cold so always wear a hat (and gloves and scarf, even when others are in shorts and short-sleeved blouses ....).

Top - find a crochet pattern in one of my books and select yarn from my stash.
Middle - follow instructions to make the hat; problem is, it does not
turn out as planned and I had to do extra rounds (decreasing!) until it fitted; it is
like a beret and I do not like it.....  spend several days thinking about it.
Bottom - look!!!  I had enough yarn left over to start another one.  At round 10 (out of 23
rounds) it said to repeat round 5.  This was an increase round - WRONG!  It should 
have been repeat round 6, which was not an increase row.
I do like this hat as it fits snug; I've made another 2 using the correct pattern!

8  Walk

June 2014 Beloved and myself went for an evening walk around our village.
Look what we saw in the sky, a moustache cloud.  Click here to read about this cloud.
Amazingly the 'cloud' on the right is someone on the Recreation ground flying
a kite of a very similar shape....

9  Favourite mug (or cup and saucer)

I love mugs.....  whenever I am out I often see beautiful mugs but I don't
buy any as there is no room in the cupboard!  I rarely break a mug but
I will be good and not deliberately break any.
This was a gift from a lady I worked with in my last job; she knew I
liked chickens and that my kitchen was red.... 
I used to keep chickens until we moved....  still miss them but
I do not miss the work of looking after them!

10  Own choice

A silk-painted scarf I made on a day course.  Yes, it is a chicken!
I've never worn it but hang it on a wall, out of direct sunlight.
I think it was made in the mid 1990s and I still like it!

Well that all for this month.  I hope some made you smile.  Sorry I could not sneak Boris in, but who knows if I will succeed in the future!

Now I must go and look at everyone else's photos.  Don;t forget you can click here to see other people joining in with Hawthorn this month.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Making Kumihimo braids using a disk

I was asked what I meant by using a Kumihimo disk to make braids, so here are a few notes and pictures!

Braid making can be found throughout the world, but as with many other subjects, the Japanese braids have a distinctive character of their own.  Kumihimo has been an integral part of the Japanese culture for many centuries, used for both function and decoration.  These braids were used in all walks of life but notably in the construction of Samurai armour.  There were no buttons or zips then, so braids were used instead.

Kumihimo braids can be made using a wide range of equipment including the wooden Marudai.  This is not very easy to carry around and demands good dexterity and tension.  Enter the Kumihimo disk.  It is easy to carry around and so simple to use, as well as being very cheap!

The disk is primarily used for round braids but flat ones can be made on it too.

The above pattern can be found by clicking here.  You can print out a copy too.

I used a card disk to make many, many braids and it was fine.  It is possible to buy foam disk (look on eBay, Amazon etc) but I’d suggest you don’t bother until you decide to make braids seriously.  Save your money!  Click here to see an example of a form disk.

For long length of threads, I wrapped the surplus around a piece of stiff card.  Again if you want to make a lot of braids you can buy bobbins to wind your thread around.  Click here to see an example of a bobbin.  They do some in different capacities.

Using Beads on your thread
If the yarn/thread is not strong enough for the bead, you can use nylon thread of bead-stringing thread in a matching or toning colour for the beads and use it together with your braiding thread.

You will need to push the beads down at the point of braiding so that the next move will lock them into place.  You move the bead up when it is needed.

1      Creative Kumihimo, Jacqui Carey, 1994, ISBN 0 9523225 9 1 - for use with a maradai but some of the patterns can be used on the disk; best book I have used
2      More Braids on Card, the green book from Shirley Berlin, £4.00 + P&P; order by email to (note she is in the UK).  Full of handy hints and tips for the starter and more adventurous braider.
3      Beautiful Braiding Made Easy Using Kumihimo disks and plates, Helen Deighan, 2006, ISBN 0 9540333 5 3; a good book.
4      Beads and Braids, Jacqui Carey, 1999, ISBN - 0 9523225 2 8; for the person who really wants to be inspired
5      200 Braids, to Loop, Knot, Weave and Twist, Jacqui Carey, 2007, ISBN - 1 84448 652 48; for the person who really wants to be inspired


Jacqui Carey                  
Kumihimo supplies       
Kumihimo supplies          (US based company)
YouTube                                 for videos on all aspects of using the Kumihimo disk, marudai etc

Yarns to use

1      Wool, any colour/thickness/type, eg, mohair, cotton, DK, Aran, fancy, chenille
2      Embroidery thread
3      Silk
4      Ribbon, knitting or otherwise
5      Garden twine
6      Anything that can be roughly classes as a yarn

Uses for braids

Use braids in any circumstance where you might ordinarily use a cord, or a ribbon, or a trim, or a woven band.

1      Bracelets
2      Necklaces
3      Earrings
4      Bag handles
5      Wrapping a gift rather than using ribbon
6      Key rings
7      Curtain tie backs
8      Coiling to make a basket
9      Light pulls
10    Jewellery - broach, neckpiece, cord for a pendant
11    Choker or Necklace
12    Coiled to make Earrings
13    Bracelet
14    Ankle Bracelet
14    Glasses Cord
16    Watchband or Wrist band
17    Purse handle or strap for a handbag
18    Hair ribbon or headband
19    Hat band or strap
20    Belt
21    Strings for a drawstring pouch
22    Trim for the edges of clothing
23    Attached to front of clothing in loops as closures, with buttons on the other side
24    Closure for a box or instrument case
25    Obi: a sash used with modern traditional kimono dress in Japan
26    Tie-closures on little sacs
27    Straps for lingerie
28    Twisted, couched and knotted to make a closure on a jacket
29    Decoration on a garment (edging on a collar, along a seamline as piping)
30    Trim for the edges of cushions
31    Curtain tie-backs
32    Edge trim for lamp shades
33    Hiding seams on upholstered furniture
34    Lamp or Bell pulls
35    Bolo tie/cord
36    Hanging plant holders
37    Coiled for rugs or floor mats
38    Bookmark
39    Camera or Binocular strap
40    Guitar strap
41    Keychain
42    Dog collar or leash
43    Horse reins, lead rope, headstall
44    Napkin rings
45    curtain tie-backs
46    gift wrap ties rather sellotape, etc
47    Let your imagination run wild!

Other useful websites - mostly UK based      designing braid colours  The Braid Society   Jewellery findings and beads

Beads - very many places to find them, including charity shops.  Beads used in the examples shown were seed beads, size 6/0.

Now for loads of pictures!

I bought a leaflet from the Braid Society called More Kongo Gumi (round braid)
patterns for your card.  I do not know if this is still available.  
It has 19 different patterns, which I made and use the above stand
to display them, as a reminder of each one.
I had the foresight to label each one!

Turning the stand round to show more braids.

Yet more braids.

Last twirl of the stand!

Beads used on this one.

Interesting yarns, of unequal weight etc were use to produce this bumpy sample.

Some of the braids produced using yarn of the 'same' weight.

Another close up of some of the braids.

Another close up of more braids!
The pattern for the top braid (yellow and green) is given later on in this post.

Yet more!

Last lot!

The stand I use to store/display my samples.

A typical label.

These were the instructions/yarn layout and I used 10 yellow and 6 green, with 2 of the green
yarn threaded with beads and placed where shown above on the disk.

Why use a disk?  Look at my marudai below!

Beloved made it for me, including loads of wood bobbins.
It is not easy to carry around!  On it is a sample in progress
so I can demonstrate when necessary.

Looking down onto the top; the pencil is there to stop the braid made popping out through 
the hole as the wooden bobbins want to pull down!

I made this rather fine braid on the marudai; took forever!

This flat braid (my sample piece) was also made on the marudai.
It is possible to make flat braids on the disk but I don't think I've tried!

Now compare this to the foam disk!  It is small, portable and can easily be taken
out with you if you have time to fill while travelling, waiting somewhere, etc etc.

If you look closely you will see at the 6 o'clock position there are three threads!
I leave it like that so when I come to pick it up I know to select the white thread
(left most) and move it up to the left of the single yellow thread at the top.

Remember the movement is        Right down, left up

So in the above picture I brought the purple thread down (from the 12 o'clock position)
originally at the right of the yellow thread  and moved it down to the right side
of the red thread; I will take the white one up when I continue.

The card is then rotated and the right most thread of the next pair moved directly down.
You just keep repeating this process whilst keeping slight tension on the braid
emerging from underneath the card/foam disk.

Braid beginning to emerge.  This is only a demonstration piece so I've used short
pieces of yarn and there was no need to wrap them round card or use my bobbins.

Well I hope this had been helpful.  Don't hesitate to ask questions!