Monday, August 31, 2009

Catching up

Some time since I posted, so long it is hard to know what is worth recording.

Knitting first: Two more panels of the Celtic throw almost complete - the duplicates of the previous ones for symmetry. Now we have been able to photograph the replica of Gosforth cross which stands in the churchyard of St Kentigern's in Aspatria, it becomes clear to me that the central panel needs to feature two opposing cables terminating in animal heads - like sea serpents.

Elsebeth Lavold managed this on the sweater she designed for her husband, and I can see it could be adapted from a pattern for a toy - a giraffe, say - and applied in low relief. not exactly mindless knitting to work this out. The blond cables to divide the panels, on the other hand, should be easy to set up.

I am almost done on a cardigan adapting the Sirdar pattern I used earlier in the year. Some time ago, at Woolfest, I bought a skein of very expensive handspun, hand-dyed, russet colours. As usual, no use for this came to me, but I used some in the Newfoundland Mittens last year. Now, I have used a chevron lace instead of feather and fan, and incuded a section of the handspun at the sleeve-ends. This will feature also on the front panel. The lovely russet colours really "pop" against the olive green.

Thirdly, a pair of Opel socks on the needles, made more satisfying by finding the yarn and pattern in a charity-shop for £1.30. Lovely, dense wool it is too.

The summer found us in Fife, "where the Norweyan banners flout the sky and fan our people cold", I find myself adding, inevitably. Somehow, I had expected open moorland and fellside, but the richness of this lowland farming country is evidenced by the sheer number of castles, most of which we visited.

First, To Stirling, where the thing that cought my eye was the tapestry project in the castle. Of course, it is really no different from restoring the roof or replicating the roof-bosses, but surely there is something odd in commissioning such time-consuming works but choosing such a well-known series as the Unicorn tapestries. Would it not have been better to locate a more obscure , contemporary model? It just strikes me as the equivalent of hearing Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" one more time.

A relaxed day in Culross, where the National Trust has created a sense of a past that never was, Culross having actually earned its living by salt pans and smelting, featuring large amounts of coal smoke. In the palace, something I've never seen before: themed needlework in every room, produced by a very active local group. Bargello seat covers, crewel-work window seats, samplers - it really made the rooms alive for me.

A walk and demanding climb up West Lomond, from which the whole Forth was visible.

Pittenweem Arts Festival with many studios open,most impressive the lovely pottery in the Page Gallery - if only one's kitchen had that pared-down simplicity
A glorious day walking from Anstruther to Crail, the sky burning blue for our lunchtime picnic.

And then the homely glory of St Andrews: I don't often find myself yearning to be a student again but three years here, with constant access to that glorious beach, seems like an attractive prospect.

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