The Lakes & Knitting Sticks

We spent a glorious few days in the Lake District over Easter, with Tristan, Jane and the grandbabies, Lyra and Louis.
Despite the dire weather forecast, the sun shone and although it was bitterly cold, once out walking, the landscapes are so amazing that you forget to notice the icy winds.
Didn't get any pics of the cafe, but this is the river at Hawes.
Can you see the icicles?
On the way there through the Dales, we stopped in Hawes and found the ideal place for tea with a roaring fire, the papers and comfy sofas on the main street. 

We soon arrived at Pudding Cottage, our base for the next three days.  It was cosy and well equipped, with even a stair gate and toys for the children. We were up early next morning looking for ancient carvings on the stones of the Langdale Boulders or Copt Howe as the locals call it.
I must say it's hard to find them,
but look carefully and they're there.
We walked back along a beautiful valley full of Herdwick sheep, then warmed up with coffee  in the village tea shop.
Copt Howe
Next day we visited Grasmere, one time home of William Wordsworth, who described Grasmere as the loveliest spot that man hath ever found. We walked in his footsteps along the banks of the River Rothay, through fields still covered in places by last week's heavy snowfall.
Lyra loved making new footsteps in the snow
We also took the boat down Windermere to Ambleside and had a scrumptious lunch at Zeffirellis, the veggie restaurant attached to the renown art-house cinema.
Queen of the Lakes
Boats by the pier in Ambleside
On our final day we visited Troutbeck, a beautiful village not far from Pudding Cottage. As we were parking Tristan noticed a house with wonderful windows and, as he always has an eye for interesting places, we went to look at closer quarters. We were met by two women, a mother and daughter, who owned the cottage, and they told us it was the oldest house in the Lakes, dating back to 1541.
Everything conserved, the roof was restored in 1967, using the same slates 
On the advice of the friendly postwoman in the local shop, we walked up Troutbeck hill. This was a steep and stony slope and I was amazed that Jane managed to carry little Louis all the way up, but somehow she managed it - you don't need weight training with a baby on board!

At the top we were all rewarded by the fabulous view over Windermere...
All too soon we were making our way back to York and decided to stop off in Dent, once home to the Terrible Knitters of Dent.
Dent village
There are some gorgeous stone buildings in the Dales and the Lakes, in fact you're spoilt for choice, everywhere you look is a picture opportunity. However, I was particularly keen on this old barn with its brilliant yellow lichen - great design inspiration.

The other noticeable thing is that there are sheep everywhere too - the ancient breed of Herdwicks which are hefted to the land, so theoretically no fences are needed, except to keep them off the roads.
So you can get some idea of scale, here it is with a teacup
When we got back I saw the old knitting stick sitting on the mantlepiece that Tristan had given me several years ago. I started to wonder who had used it and what its provenance was.
Top side
I wondered if they were used like love spoons as a token, carved and given by young men to their sweethearts.
Underneath
And I couldn't help but marvel once again at the intricate hand-carved work on every face of the stick...
First side
Other side
I know that the sticks were definitely used in Scotland and the north of England, but it occurred to me that maybe they were like ganseys, each one depicting patterns that are local to the area in which it was crafted. Could it be possible to find out more about my stick by its motifs?
I also wondered what type of wood they would have been made of - fruit wood maybe? Whatever it was it would have to be fairly hard to get this amount of detail.

 If you have any other info on these beautiful artefacts, please get in touch.

Comments

  1. I love, love, love this post. Anything to do with knitting sticks has got to demand my attention! I am very late in replying, as I have not been reading blogs to much in the last several months. Jean, I must say, I'm having a closer look at all the things you share with the world via your blog, and I feel like it's a book on the shelf I've taken down to open the cover, but for whatever reason, I've gotten distracted and put it back on the shelf. Expect more visits from me in the coming weeks. I'm really looking forward to the date of your book tour you've got scheduled with me !

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