Showing posts from February, 2012

Taking the leap!

Well, it's a leap year when we're supposed to take a leap into the unknown and do something we wouldn't normally do on the 29th February. I've been wanting more and more to get back into playing music, I just don't do enough of it and it's one of the things that makes my spirit soar.

Last night I spent half an hour with my iphone recording a song I've written.  I must have made ten different attempts to get a good take, but it seems if I get the voice OK the guitar is rubbish and visa versa. In the end I just had to accept that with my lack of practice there's no way I could ever get it perfect, so although it's not usually in my nature to accept second best, this time I allowed the pragmatist to rule. I wouldn't have had the confidence to do it at any other time but as it's a leap year... Long Distance Love.

It's often said that the best songs are written by unhappy people - Amy Winehouse immediately springs to mind. Though it's no…

Let there be light!

Woke up to the most gorgeous spring day this morning. The light is amazing - clear blue sky with a large pale sun bringing colours and textures into focus and spotlighting tiny treats that I wouldn't necessarily have  noticed - totally inspirational!  It lifts my spirits every time I see the miniature rainbows dancing around the room from the recycled glass crystals hanging in the window.

I'm an incorrigible Grecophile and this sort of day always reminds me of springtime there. The wild flowers in the Peloponnese will be glorious over the next couple of months, before the raging midsummer sun wipes them all out. A friend who has a house near Kalamata has just left to spend a few weeks there and I'm green with envy. We've spent many holidays in the Mani in April/May - there are so many things I enjoy about being there.

It's not always easy for travelling vegetarians, but in Greece there's always lots of feta salads, battered aubergines and courgettes (including…

Musical chalk and cheese

I'm an avid collector of songs, in fact my head is chockful of songs I'd forgotten I ever learnt, all jostling for places and waiting to spill out when the right cue comes along. A couple of weeks ago I heard Love Will Tear Us Apart for the first time and immediately loved it

Originally written and performed way back in 1979 by the British post-punk band Joy Division, its lyrics seem to reflect the troubled personal life of lead singer Ian Curtis, both in his marriage to Deborah Curtis, and struggling with depression in the time leading up to his suicide at the age of 23 in 1980. His widow poignantly had Love Will Tear Us Apart inscribed on Ian Curtis's memorial stone and the sad story is played out in the 2007 film Control.

The lyrics read like a wise and beautiful poem written with an emotional maturity which belies the youthfulness of the band at the time.

When routine bites hard,
And ambitions are low,
And resentment rides high,
But emotions won't grow,
And we're c…

Designer to watch!

I've been meaning to let you all know about a knit designer whose work I came across quite by chance whilst listening to her music - it's great to find people who express their creativity through several different media.  Stephanie Dosen is a talented American singer/songwriter who until recently was living and working in London. I've been listening to her music on and off for the past couple of years since Felix sent me a track on Spotify.

Her ethereal CD, A Lily for the Spectre (2007) has her sweet and sexy vocals seeming to float along the top of some fine arpeggio guitar playing - a sort of latterday Stevie Nicks. I'm told there is another CD, Ghosts, Mice & Vagabonds from 2002 but I haven't heard that one yet.
But what's the connection with knitting? Well, whilst researching the best blogs for Sweet Shawlettes World Tour - sounds grand I know, but couldn't think of any other way to say UK, Ireland, Holland, Norway and New Zealand - I came across Ti…

The Botanic Gardens in Sheffield

Yesterday was spent with Lyra, our youngest grand-daughter.  As her parents live and work about fifty miles away from York, we don't get to see her nearly as much as we'd like to, so days when we do are always special. The purpose of this visit though was that they were moving house, which I seem to remember is one of the top three major stressors along with bereavement and divorce.  So Philip and I went along to help out and I got the best job of spending both Saturday and yesterday with Lyra, who's very good company.

We headed straight off to the Botanical Gardens and once the rain had stopped had a lovely time consorting with the squirrels and friendly dogs on leads, plus the most adorable cat who looked like one of Arlo's cousins.  

The Victorian Paxton Pavillions are the fabulous focal point of the gardens, which were a part of the original design by Robert Marnock(1800-1889). His plan had a strong T-shaped junction on a south-facing slope, ideal for a glasshouse s…


The perception of colour is a very personal thing so I've never seen it as strange that for me every letter of the alphabet and also numbers have their own colour. Sometimes the difference between one letter and another is so subtle that I can hardly describe it, it's more of a feeling. The colours of the letters influence the overall colour of a word, which often takes on the colour of the most dominant letter.

One day a couple of years ago, son Felix had been reading an interesting psychology book, The Frog Who Croaked Blue, and gave a copy to Philip, who had always been slightly bemused by  comments I'd sometimes make about the colour of words. Whilst reading the book he started to question me further about this and tada, everything fell into place. Apparently I am a grapheme-colour synesthete. Knowing this makes no practical difference to me, although it does sharpen my curiosity to find out more.
Synesthesia is a sort of cross-wiring of the senses, where one type of …

Review of Rowan's new yarns

Had coffee in the garden for the first time this year yesterday - it felt SO good to be outdoors again. The sun's shining today so with any luck I'll be able to do the same again. The hedge outside the kitchen window is buzzing with sparrows and blackbirds, all tweeting (the original kind, though other would be funny image) and nest building. I love this time of year with all the bulbs coming through, spring green, anticipation, inspiration from renewal. Also Rowan's new shade cards arrived yesterday...
It's always exciting to see what's on offer from the premier designer yarn company. However, I was disappointed to see that several of my favourite yarns have disappeared - Pure Silk, Silk Twist, Mulberry Silk and Lenpur Linen to name a few. There are gorgeous new additions for us to salivate over though and lots of new shades in most of the stock yarns - I've already picked out quite a few for my next book.

It's hard for us designers when a yarn we've u…