A journey of creative thoughts and projects.

Working in conjunction with a wonderful local museum, surrounded by the beauty of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales, the inspiration I find for creative projects and a meet up with all the lovely people I find there.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Not just the old!

Another week has gone by, this time I was struck once again by how lively the museum was.
Each week I take over this lovely huge table in the archive 'corner' with whatever I am focused on in the moment - this time I had taken my heddle loom to catch up on some weaving but you can see some knitting had sneaked its way in too!
I had some lovely people stopping to talk, its a good space for that, people can stand by and we don't get in 'harms way' so can natter for ages if we feel the need!!

Downstairs there always seemed to be someone passing through, organising to be done - usually helped along by the lovely volunteers - no not a tea party, some lovely old china being sorted for sale to aid museum funds.....the tea party is this Saturday afternoon (27th) the community orchard in Reeth, drop by!

Thought I might show you some more of this years exhibits - knitting sticks and wool chains, each is hand carved and used by the inhabitants of Swaledale in the past as they knitted to boost household funds..

It was good to see that the knitting carries on today - another of the lovely volunteers helping to demonstrate the crafts and to talk to visitors.

Some shelving holds locally made quilts, well worn and loved and very much a part of our heritage but, I am pleased to say....

...this gorgeous tradition and craft is still alive and kicking!!

Another exhibit is of an old, handmade proddy rug frame. I am so very pleased that I own one very similar to this - made by my own grandpa and used over the years by my grandmother to make household rugs - no I haven't yet made such a rug myself but you never know!!

Yet again, here is the rug making craft still in action - hooky rugs in this case, another museum volunteer involved in making a miniature rug for the museum entry into the local Reeth show.

Isn't it wonderful to see so much happening, so many connections still being made in a dry, old, dusty museum. Hah!!!!!

Till later.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The seasons turn.

Here I was this week, on top of the world, literally and figuratively speaking! Last week saw much activity at the museum as the cycles of the seasons continued. This months knitting cafe at the museum passed in a flurry of activity and much hilarity as a newspaper photographer turned up to catch us in action so to speak - yes, fame at last!!! :) well, I and the museum ended up in the local paper for our moment of fame!!!
(www.northernecho.co.uk/features - Brilliant yarns
if you are at all interested!!!)

As for the photo, this was taken on one of my many trips between the dale where I live and the dale in which the museum resides. A great rainstorm had just passed through which gave rise to this rather brooding depiction of the hills but as you can see it gives rise also to some big, huge skies with wonderful cloud formations.

Drop back a little in perspective, and give thanks for the sun beginning to shine, and you can see that the heather is coming into bloom - unfortunately this means also that the 'glorious twelfth' is imminent and the grouse will be under 'fire' - without this countryside industry though there would not be the heather moors in this way - the rough with the smooth so to speak!!

Moving in closer still, as I love to do with my wondrous little camera, you get to appreciate the true delicacy of the heather flowers and their colour - a soft purple pink in this case.

This is such a big piece of the landscape in Swaledale that I think I can feel another adventure in yarns beginning ( now I have finished my short excursion with the colours of the moss covered drystone walls!!)
Watch this space and fingers crossed I might have some success in creating a yarn that describes the lovely spirit of the heather.

Yet another sign of the seasons continuing to turn was this image I captured of some blackberry flowers, already pollinated and beginning their change into the sweetness of the berries - another image to be shelved for use at a later date I think!

Which nicely takes me through to another image that has sat on my work-table for the last few months....
can I take you back to March this year when I first began my one woman journey with the museum and swaledale....... do you remember the coldness of the days, the mists, the lack of leaves on the trees?

...... do you remember where the predominant colour after grey was the yellow of spring, the catkins were hanging and the daffodils swaying in the march winds?

Do you remember my little foray along the banks of the river Swale and the images I caught back then of the play of light on the river surface?
Here is a little reminder.....

I was fascinated back then by the silky smoothness of the waters surface broken by gentle ripples and the river cobbles that make up the river bed. I loved how the suns light was gradually strengthening and making the water gleam and gave promise of the brighter days to follow - I hoped!!!!
I made a copy of this image, through the wonders of the modern world and home computers!, and it sat there, in various positions, on my work table. Sometimes it sat in clear view but most often it was buried beneath a pile of 'works in progress'!!
This last few weeks I have made a shift back to using natural colours in fibre, there are so many hues from cream, through greys into browns and ending in almost black - all from the wonderful wealth of sheep breeds we have here in Britain, I took a picture here of just a few of them.

Having spun a yarn in these soft natural colours, letting the different fibres through quite randomly and at the time thinking of the mists sitting on the hills these last few days - I then began to knit.
My yarn I had kept quite soft and fairly thick, I wanted to have a go at some aran patterns. Start off easy I thought and maybe I could encourage someone who has yet to try this form of knitting to have a go......

It was only as I had sorted out this easy design and begun to knit that my image of the river Swale drifted to the top of the pile in the stacking system I call my brain!! The easy flow of natural colours with its creamy, 'sunny' highlight expressed the image so well for me...

..... and the meander of the aran cable pattern was such a nice reference to the river flow, and how we and the river are inter-connected and the moss stitch pattern inbetween gave a knitted nudge to the cobbles of the river bed.
Its so good when these things come together and you find a way to express some of the beauty around you in the 'crafts' that we are all so fond of.

Thankyou for reading..