Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Tyntesfield Splendour

Here are some more photos of Tyntesfield, taken around the gravelled forecourt by the entrance of the house. I was waiting for the excellent mobility bus to arrive when I took these.
It must have been a wonderful thing to roll up in a carriage or early motor car for a house party here: the rooms and layout of the place just lend themselves to that sort of thing.

It's very Victorian in that there is a very high level of ornamentation, but here it works very well. There is not a sense of overcrowding or surfeit, rather that there is a careful balance between pattern, texture and colour. Natural materials are used widely - there are quantities of highly skilled stone carvings both inside and out, and superb wood carving within the house. However, colour is restrained and the house has been designed and built to make the best possible use of natural light.

Even on an overcast, damp autumnal day, there was a remarkable amount of natural light in the house. The gardens are lovely, too, but I'll have to explore them on a finer occasion, next year now aas the house closes at the end of the month for the winter, apart from a couple of weekends before Christmas.

When I look closely at the stonework, I am struck by the glorious individuality of hand crafted pattern: there are subtle differences in each little section, rather than mechanised conformity, but it all works so well and has the organic wholeness and cohesiveness of a natural form. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Last week I revisited Tyntesfield, a NT property near Nailsea and quite close to my home. It is a glorious Victorian Gothic Revival Building which was saved from celebrity purchase (Kylie was rumoured to be interested) by public donation and lottery funds, among others.

Above is the entrance porch, which is adorned by delicate stone carved bosses inside, each different. The Gibbs family made their fortune in importing guano from South America to be used as fertiliser, and they invested this in superlative craftsmanship for their country seat, easily reached from London by the newly built Great Western Railway.

Of course, time has taken its toll and there are parts of the house that are somewhat the worse for wear, but still grand and glorious enough to please the eye in their dilapidated splendour.

The family chapel was limited in the services it could hold, as the vicar of the local church in Wraxall did not want his thunder stolen, but it is a stunning building. I can't photograph inside, but the outsside is lovely, too. Each window is different. Inside, the colours of the stained glass sing to the senses.

I love these trefoil and cinquefoil windows - even found an octofoil (?) somewhere. I'm currently somewhat obsessed by these shapes.

Will post more later as Blogger will only allow me to upload 4 photos in one go. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 23, 2006

K&S Part 3

Here I'm pictured with the lovely Kerry Allman of Hipknits fame. It was somewhat worrying to discover that she knows the first line of my address off by heart! Kerry is a delightful person and a human dynamo who combines a high powered job in the near-City with the Kipknits fibre business and related projects, and being a wife and mother of two with number 3 on the way. I could have spent a lot of money at her stand but was a good girl. However, I was thrilled to see a copy of her new publication, Yarn Forward, which I have subscribed to, and decided I would like to knit the cover top - when the stash/prject pile has gone down a bit.

I also bought a few bits from Art Van Go - Kevin knows the family who ran the hairdressing salon Mum used to take us to for haircuts when we were little, so we always have a chat. Apparently they now live close to where Ruth Issett is moving to - what a small world it is

This photo of Sarah and I also features Michelle Meinhold, a K&S regular with her beautiful Schwarovski beands and jewellery kits. Michelle is Armenian from the USA, and I'm Armenian by marriage, like her husband Dale. Sarah has made one of her bracelets and started, but has not finished, one for me (my Christmas pressie from 2 years ago!). It's always good to catch up with this delightful couple and I was very impressed that they were there, as Michelle has recently had pneumonia! All better now, but I hope the trip didn't wear her out.

I forgot about the traffic jams on the route we took home - must stay away from Green Lanes in future. It was great to get back to Mum's house (my childhood home) and we enjoyed her home-made chowder for supper before a quiet evening of conversation. Next day, Sarah and I both slept until midday! We helped in the gardening during the afternoon, then went out for a meal at the local Harvester before making our way home. I dropped Sarah off in Oxford and finally arrived home at 1am!

It was worth taking a week to recover from this trip. I'm so glad I didn't have to miss the show. Now to use the goodies and ideas I brought away with me!Posted by Picasa

K&S Part 2

After buying a few essentials from Crafty Notions (Mica flakes and the elusive fleece known as Lutradur), it was on to visit my pal from Down Under, Dale of the Thread Studio. I only bought a small amount of thread, as I had an order in the post from them. However, this was the first time we'd actually met in person - she's been away from the stand "in the dunny" according to her husband, Ian, when I've visited the stand in previous years. Poor Dale (or not) was very busy so we couldn't in all conscience monopolise her attention for too long, but it was extremely good to meet her in the flesh at long last. (And the parcel arrived on the following Monday - delivered in 6 days!)

Stopping by the Knit and Relax area, Sarah and I were delighted to see Sue - the last time we'd met, a year previously, I'd just written off my car on the M4 due to a burst tyre, and was still in a state of shock. With her was Yvonne (sitting down), a new "in person" acquaintance but I read her blog regularly and have had some e-correspondence with her, so I feel I know her much better than I do (or than she does me). Anyhow, we had some good, knitterly conversation and I showed them my current project, Potamus socks knit in Fyberspates sock wool (Ocean) on Pony Pearl double pointed needles (because I'm fed up with breaking Brittany's and the ordinary metal ones "draw" on my hands) which I could only buy by mail from the USA. There were lots of interesting things going on in Kit and Relax, but we peeled ourselves away to make some other visits.

This picture is of Lynn Lucas, another cyberpal. She was stewarding with her textile group, Textile Studio, and there were some super pieces on the theme, "Puzzle". Lynn's textile is on the wall behind her: I love it. The photo doesn't do it justice, but then it was supposed to be of us rather than it!

Sarah and I were feeling rather peckish by now, so we returned to the "Knit and Relax" area and sat on the floor to eat our lunch while watching the Elle Knitting Fashion Show. Then Sarah went off to do a workshop (on making masks for cloth dolls' faces with Barbara Willis) while I went to roast in the main hall and look at what was for sale there.

I was thrilled to find Sue Morgan of Get Knitted being rushed off her feet, but managed to purchase some sock yarn from her (a stretchy one I've not tried before) and find out more about their plans to move into a retail location - a humungous ex-supermarket in Brislington, Bristol, complete with lots of parking. This has incredible potential and I await more news with interest.

My next stop was to meet Jen, dyer of my Fyberspates sock wool. She was very interested to see what I was doing with it. She's a lovely lady and I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk with her.

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Knitting and Stitching Show 2006 - Alexandra Palace

I really didn't think I'd get to the Knitting and Stitching Show this year - I was poorly with a nasty virus throughout September, so missed it at the NEC, and then another virus laid me low for the week before it was on at Ally Pally. I was rather heartbroken, so when I rallied at the last minute (on the Friday), I decided to make the trip to London after all, as it had the added bonus of allowing me to visit my Mum as well. So after supper on Friday, I drove off to Oxford to pick up my elder daughter, Sarah, and then on to Mum's at Highams Park, not too far from Alexandra Palace.

Had a good night's sleep, but overslept. Sarah and I stopped off at Sainsbury's to pick up some salads for lunch, and met these two lads, promoting a new kind of coffee. We enjoyed a free sample but were sad that this new product involves a lot of packaging, if rather novel. Here's Sarah giving it the thumbs up.

By the time we arrived in Muswell Hill, all the disabled parking spaces were spoken for, so we had to go back down the hill to the car park, where we managed to find a place reasonably close to the bus stop for the courtesy bus to take us back up - and a bus was waiting for us. I was relieved that I did not have to use up my energy just getting into the hall.

Sarah is very interested in cars and loved this red Ferrari, which was on display in the entrance hall. It is knitted (on a metal frame) and so she did the Motor Show model thing, but without removing her clothing, I'm relieved to say.

This is the view we had while queueing for our entrance tickets in the Palm Court.

This year's K&S was, for me, mostly about people rather than shopping (not that the latter didn't happen), but I really enjoyed renewing old acquaintances and meeting some cyber-friends as well. First was Sarah Lawrence, who I first met some time ago when she taught me feltmaking at the Embroiderers' Guild at Hampton Court. This was before the days of Crafty Notions, of which I've been a regular customer over the years. I was thrilled to see that she had an exhibition of recent work, both 2D and 3D, of her stunning embellished felt, and enjoyed seeing her again. I love her new hairdo and she's also adopted the white tunic/layered look so we sort of match.

Next to her stand was Alysn Midgelow-Marsden. who had a breathtaking display of her textiles. I'm a great fan of Alysn's work, and she has taken an enormous leap in style and technique which thrilled me. I was so overcome that I neglected to ask my faithful photographer to take a photo, but I enjoyed chatting and catching up with her news and creativit

Stranded socks

Although I've been poorly, I haven't been totally idle while I've been quiet on the blog. Here's a pair of Crusoe socks, pattern adapted to 64 stitches, and worked in sock wool I bought from eBay. Cosy and snug, I think they will get a lot of wear this winter, and they were fun to knit. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 20, 2006

Playing Again

Instead of doing some housework, I've been playing with Photoshop and Picasa again. Much more fun! There are still some lovely roses in my garden, but the leaves are falling from the trees quite seriously now. Not long until the clocks go back, and darkness shortens our afternoons, so it's good to concentrate on the summery aspects of nature. Posted by Picasa

Autumn Fruits

My son has a new hobby: collecting chestnuts. He dallies in the park on the way home from school most days, adding to his collection. He must have over 300 by now! Here is a selection of them. I had not previously appreciated the beautiful striations on their shiny shells and am quite fascinated by them.

What does he intend to do with them? Goodness knows. It is enough to have them at the moment, although he is tantalised at the prospect of being able to grow trees from them and might plant a few to see what happens.

Meanwhile, I've participated in my usual autumn activity of collecting viral infections, and have been quite poorly, hence the long-neglected blog. However, hopefully I've now had my share and will have the opportunity and energy to catch up a bit. I missed going to the Knitting and Stitching Show at the NEC, and thought I was going to have to miss Ally Pally too: however, last Friday I was feeling rather brighter and decided to make the trip to London, after all, via Oxford to collect my older daughter. I'll blog that separately, but we had a lovely time and it was worth feeling worn out for all of this week while I recovered. It was also good to be there without being in a state of shock: last year my car had a burst tyre on the M4 and got written off, so although again I got there, I was in a daze and preoccupied with thasnkfulness that I was still alive. Much less dramatic this time, and much more fun. Posted by Picasa