Friday, April 27, 2012

Olympic Knitting

To say that sport does nothing for me would be an understatement.  Team games leave me completely cold, and I have never been able to see the point of competitive running, swimming, jumping....Maybe I just never found the right sport for my physical capabilities.  For some reason, I do see something splendid about the paralympics, particularly where the competitor was not interested in sport before they were disabled.

However, some months ago our Guild was approached about contributing to the Cultural Olympics, taking "Culture" in its broadest sense.   Someone with a degree in drama and a taste for pyrotechnics on the grand scale had come up with the concept, which cannot be described as lacking ambition. 

Essentially a street theatre group were to present a series of events in locations across Essex.  Two large effigies, one called Marina and the other Boreal, would start at Harwich and Stansted respectively and progress through Essex to a meeting at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, where there is to be a spectacular fireworks display.  One could not make this up - but someone did.  At each stopping point on the way the group are to collect a giant perspex "Bead," containing artefacts to represent the area.  When all fifteen have been assembled they are to play "The Glass Bead Game", which, I have to confess,  I had thought was a concept rather than an actual game.  What can this possibly have to do with knitting?

It's this: The Braintree area, now largely commuter-land, has for centuries drawn its wealth from textiles.  Wool and its processing built the magnificent wool churches.  Silk and the weaving of it was vital to Braintree, and can still be found just over the border at Sudbury.  So our bead was to be filled with sample textile pieces, each contained in a smaller perpex bead.   Having knit some of these before Christmas last year - this one from a pattern on Moth Heaven - it seemed appropriate for this purpose too.

 I knit this in the round to cover a styrofoam sphere.  Once past the central band I reverted to flat knitting to facilitate the decreases.  I was quite pleased with the result.  Whether one will ever see it again is an open question.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Familiar paths

To Cumbria, for Easter and a family gathering to celebrate a group of birthdays - or, as my husband said, anyone who has had a birthday this year.  I think we felt that, after the gathering for my mother's funeral in September last year, it would be good to meet for a happier reason.
This image of Sale Fell shows the gorse blazing away.  The weather was not very kind to us, but it held off admirably as we walked one of our favourite routes.

Another day saw us on the Lorton walk, where we were pleased to see the little red squirrel still in residence.  He must think that this is his own pantry.  Certainly he does not trouble himself to move for the odd walker going past.

Around Loweswater and to the Kirkstile Inn for lunch, we were struck by this dramatic scene.  In fact we missed the snowfalls as we moved up the country, but they added an edge to the higher ridges, as here.

And the Solway coast, just north of Allonby.  One of the great empty places; miles of beach with no one else in sight.  We took our lunch, looked for sea-glass, and watched flocks of oyster catchers.  On our last evening, it had warmed up enough for an evening picnic, watching the light change over the Scotch Hills.