Sunday, 11 June 2017

Easton Walled Garden

We've been out to Easton Walled Garden today, a very blustery but mostly sunny day, for a bit of a photographic foray of the late Spring/early summer flowers.

 The terraces below where the house would originally have stood have been planted as wild flower meadows and the wind today made the grasses look like they were windblown water.  The ox-eye daisies were beautiful.

There were lots of allium in various stages of flowering and seed both in the borders and among the wildflowers.
These guys were having a breather from zooming around capturing flies.  (Swallows).  A red kite made several passes over the gardens but I wasn't able to capture him with the camera.

 This intrepid photographer kept getting in my way!

The gardens are about 7 miles or so south of Grantham just off the A1 and they have a great tea room.    Unfortunately they don't take passing trade at the tea room but it's well worth paying the garden entry, you'll find you'll stay longer than you intended.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Dovecot Studio Edinburgh

As promised, here's a review of the inspiring Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh.  The studios are housed in an iconic Edinburgh building which used to house the Infirmary Street Baths.  The studios house an exhibition gallery, shop, cafe and a huge workshop area that is open to public viewing at certain times so that you can watch the artists at work.

There was only one person working while I was there but there was a wonderful atmosphere walking around the gallery and looking down onto the workspace.  The large groups of cones were so inspiring and I would have loved to have scooped up the waste to use in my own weaving.  I wonder if they would have missed a cone or two?  Sadly I would have had to abseil down to snaffle one.

This tapestry above is being made for a commission to The Perse School which I think is in Cambridge.     I think the method being used is tufting where the wool is fixed into the rug by use of a pneumatic gun.  The tufts are then trimmed to length (cut pile).

At the empty looms it was possible to see the cartoons and preparations made for the tapestries.

These bunches are used to test out the colours and blends in an approximation to how they will look in a piece of work.

This exhibition piece seems particularly relevant these days.  Regrettably my phone didn't capture the maker's name.

Down the staircase was a large weaving made as a site-specific project.

I was really tired by the time I got to the studios but the visit was stimulating and well worth the effort.  If you're in Edinburgh and in any way interested in weaving or tapestry it is well worth going.  The building has its own beauty and while it hasn't been a tapestry studio for many years it has a great sense of history and is a beautiful building in its own right.  Until 1 July there is an exhibition in the gallery focussing on the apprentices of the studio.  It was interesting to see how some techniques had evolved over the decades.

The photos are all from my phone so apologies if they are not clear.

Back soon with more Edinburgh sights and a visit to the Rosslyn Chapel.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Edinburgh and Wool

We've just come back from a few days away in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.  My motive for going was to attend the Edinburgh Yarn Festival which I had found out about recently.  I lured my long suffering husband along with promises of lots of photo opportunities.  Actually he didn't take much luring and he even came to the Festival with me to act as pack-horse, but more of that in a bit.

We let the train take the strain and had a very pleasant journey up, enjoying the views of the Northumberland coast.

We caught a glimpse of the Angel of the North as we passed Newcastle and Gateshead.

We'd no sooner arrived at our hotel than we all had to troop out as the fire alarm went off.

Happily it was a false alarm but we still stood around in the cold for about quarter of an hour.

Friday found us at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, or rather, queueing to get in.  The organisation of the show was excellent and there was a good atmosphere in the queue with everyone being very patient.  I think it took about half an hour for us to get in but the queue moved steadily so it wasn't a chore.  The organisers did a great job all round.

Ironically, I went again on the Saturday, having a weekend ticket, and the queue for ticket holders was longer than the queue for non-ticket holders.  If you click on the photo above you can see the little finger post announcing the Festival.

Hubby, who has little interest in wool, amused himself taking a couple of videos,

Since I had Mr Muscle with me I bought the heaviest items on my list on Friday.  I bought an art flyer for my Louet Victoria spinning wheel and an inklette loom for making straps and narrow weaves on.

The art flyer is a different colour from the original wheel but I'm not bothered.  It is really simple to change over to this larger flyer and I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of it.  I've had a treadle with it this afternoon and it doesn't affect the stability of the wheel.  Happy, happy!

There wasn't a lot of fibre available at the Festival as it's set up with knitters in mind but John Arbon of Devon were doing a roaring trade as ever.

The cafe was extremely busy and I didn't bother fighting my way in.

Hubby very generously suggested that I go back on my own on Saturday so I gave up fairly quickly on Friday as it was very busy.  Saturday I had a lovely few hours browsing the stalls and getting way too tempted with all the beautiful yarns on offer.

Eden Cottage Yarns, Ripples Crafts, Watercolours & Lace and A Yarn Story all tempted me.

The lovely textured pack is by Añañuca and I'll enjoy either weaving or spinning it.  The mohair was a bargain at £2.50 and may get some dye added to some it.

The Threshing Barn not only sold me the Inklette loom but also tempted me with a sumptuous batt and some ribbons that will appear in some art yarns soon, to be spun on my new gadget.  I was delighted to find some Colinette bulky yarns in a shop on the way back to the hotel (as if I hadn't bought enough yarn already!).  Colinette no longer produce their beautiful yarns so once the available stocks have gone that will be it. (sad face here).

Edited to add a YouTube video of the show:

If  you're really interested there are several more on YouTube (you might want to turn the soundtrack off).

Once I'd worn myself out at the Festival on Saturday I headed back into Edinburgh to visit the Dovecot Studio and gallery.  To quote their brochure, they are "a landmark centre for contemporary art, craft and design built around a leading international tapestry studio."  I have an interest in tapestry weaving so I was keen to visit, especially as the viewing balcony was open.  I'll make a separate post of the visit so I don't bore you to death if you're not interested.  More to follow too of meanderings around Edinburgh and a visit to the Rosslyn Chapel.