Sunday, May 03, 2015

Standing Wool Hanging Decorations and Trivets

I have been experimenting with a new (to me) technique called 'Standing Wool', and of the sub group 'Beaded'.

Circles Wall Hanging - Shades of Green


This traditional construction technique dates back to as early as the 1870s in America. Rugs were often made with strips of worn out clothing, blankets etc. I first learnt about it through Diana Blake Gray's website, Rugmakers' Homestead.

Black and Yellow Wool Trivet


I am currently making a small bedside rug from a recycled woollen blanket and have made some trivets and wall hangings from re-purposed fabrics and craft felt, respectively.

It is quite time-consuming as each strip has to be cut, coiled and hand sewn. Before that you have to decide on the colour combinations to use and the thickness and type of fabric; size and thickness of the 'beads'; and where the piece will be used.

Standing Wool Trivet - Pastel Shades

The size of the 'beads' can be varied to create a free-form design, but if you are sewing a string of 'beads' from the centre in a spiral, they will tend to form a hexagonal shape like honeycomb.

Circle Wall Decoration - Shades of Grey and Tangerine


I find it a very appealing technique, with great potential for large and small projects. Watch this space!
Little Cloud Hanging Decoration - Shades of Grey, Lemon Yellow and White

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Screel Hill Walk

Rob, Brock and I had a walk up Screel Hill on Friday. The weather started out hot and sunny, but became a bit hazy, as you can see in the photos. (Please click on the photos to see a larger version.)

Above is one of the views from the upward journey.

The walk is all uphill to get to the summit (not surprisingly). You can stick to the forestry track of rough gravel/hardcore, or take a detour through woodland for the first part of the walk. We went up one way and down the other. The views from the track are better, with distant peninsulas and islands just visible in the Solway and Auchencairn Bay. Much of the woodland has been felled since our last visit, so the landscape looks a bit stark in places.

 Brock enjoying the walk.
Starting to climb the hill.

You leave the easy gradient of the forestry track and climb up the steep incline to the top. In a few places, you need to use your hands to scramble up. It was not too wet and boggy on the day we went up, but I'm sure it would be, in the wetter weather.

We saw a green lizard scampering about, but it was too fast to take a photograph of it. There were also butterflies, bees and ravens flying about. On the way down we saw a heron at one of the little streams.

 There are huge boulders everywhere, covered in bright yellow and black lichens.


The journey down is much faster! The whole walk is about 3 miles long and we found it rather strenuous. It takes about 2 hours to complete.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Holiday in Yorkshire - Days 7 and 8 - York Racecourse, Ripon, and Grassington

We had been going to Fountains Abbey to walk Brock, but the £11 per head entrance fee put a stop to that, and we did the walk at the York Racecourse again, before driving on to Ripon for the second time.


We went back to Ripon for a second visit, to have lunch at Oliver's Pantry, a very nice cafe in the town. I had hummus and halloumi sandwich on GF bread; Rob had the all day 'veggie' breakfast. We bought a couple of their traybakes to take home for afternoon tea.

There are some good local shops, and there was a market on, where we bought some beautiful auriculas and cowslips.

We retired to the cottage in the afternoon and just had M&S veg curries with a glass of wine for dinner.

On Friday, we had a quick clean and hoover round before piling everything into the car for the journey home.

We stopped at Grassington on the way home and had a walk by Linton Falls and along the river back into the town.




We found socks for sale at Linton Falls, made using an antique sock knitting machine, and using mixed recycled yarns. We couldn't resist buying four pairs: payment is via an honesty box (actually the letter box of the house). They are long, without soles, so fit a wide range of sizes and there were lots of colours to choose from. The fabric is a little coarse, but they should make good socks as a second pair in walking boots. The maker is R A Horner, 24 Church Road, Linton Falls, Skipton, BD23 6BQ. They offer mail order, but don't have a website.


Lunch was at the highly recommended Retreat Cafe, a vegetarian and vegan cafe that welcomes dogs. I had an egg mayo GF sandwich, followed by GF coffee cake; Rob had quiche and chips followed by a sponge pudding and custard. All delicious, and served by friendly staff. A great end to our holiday.

I also bought some fabric with the last £3 in my purse, from some bargain bins with remnants and samples in, outside an interior decoration shop - they really were a bargain at just £1 per item.  The pieces in the bottom left corner are linen from a sample card.


Saturday, April 04, 2015

Holiday In Yorkshire - Day 6 - Knaresborough and Harrogate

We had a very pleasant walk along Abbey Road in Knaresborough, along by the River Nidd.

Some of the lovely riverside houses in Knaresborough.

There were three carved tree stumps along the route of the walk; the work of chainsaw sculptor Tommy Craggs of Consett, County Durham. A kingfisher (above) ...

 a green man...

an owl eyeing a mouse.

The walk reaches a medieval hermit's (Saint Robert's) cave, then doubles back through woodland and so back to the town centre.


We had a walk around the ruined castle, then stopped for very good coffees and cake at The Moat Buttery, a cafe overlooking the castle. We were able to sit outside for the first time this year - it was almost too hot.

A view of the Victorian railway viaduct, seen from near the castle. A history of Knaresborough by Alyson Jackson can be found here.

It was a downhill trek to the car park, and then we drove on to Harrogate. Having covered 3.5 miles in the morning, Brock had a little 'rest' in the car while Rob and I went off to Wagamama for lunch.
I had their new warm salad with tofu, little gem lettuce, roasted vegetables and nuts. The dressing was replaced with Tamari to make it GF. Rob had the Yasai Chilli Men with noodles and a side order of Japanese pickles. We both had a vegetable juice: Rob's had tomato, carrot, orange and apple in it; mine was apple, mint, celery and lime. They were both delicious, as was the food.

We sidled straight off to Hoxton North for excellent coffees, and Rob had a flapjack. We bought a big bag of coffee beans of the same blend to enjoy at home, then had a happy hour looking round the many interesting shops.

Much later that evening, my brother Philip came back to the cottage at Askham Bryan to join us for dinner at the Nag's Head. Philip had scampi and chips, I had cheese and onion omelet and chips and Rob had lentil and mash pie. Philip and Rob had lemon cheesecake for pudding, and I had banana split. The food was superb once again - everything homemade and locally sourced, where possible. Highly recommended! The only way it could be improved, as far as we are concerned, is to serve more vegetarian food, with gluten free options.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Holiday In Yorkshire - Day 5 - York

We started the day with a 2.5 mile walk around the York Racecourse.



There were people jogging, cycling, walking dogs, exercising children: it was busier than it looks!

We parked at a very expensive city centre car park in York, to make sure that Brock was under cover.

I went to the Quilt Museum, which consisted of a large room in a historic building with numerous beautiful quilts, and quilted items on display. There were two side rooms with smaller exhibitions of "Voices From The Inside" showing quilts and other items made by people in prison; and "Chinese Whispers", which was an interesting project. One person in the quilting group is shown a photo of something. They make a quilt on the theme, then show a photo of their quilt to the next member, who then responds with their own interpretation of the theme. Each person only sees the previous one quilt, and the theme evolves and changes - fascinating! What started as a view of Glasgow went through themes of recycling and ended up as trees.


This was my favourite quilt in the exhibition, known as The Billings Coverlet (1805-1810) - featuring fifteen frames of extraordinary piecing skill. (This image from the Quilt Museum's website.)

The museum also has a small gift shop with souvenirs and crafting kits, sewing notions, fabric etc.


Rob wandered around The Shambles area in the meantime, and we met up in El Piano, a gluten free, vegan restaurant.


This is my main course - 'fiery' kebabs, pineapple fritters, salsa, vegan mayo and herb/yogurt raita dip. Rob had a similar plateful (with spinach fritters and hummus). It looked good, but was a little bland for my taste. I would have liked more herbs and spices. The drinks are a generous portion, served in a jug. We had one veg energy drink, one delicious hot chocolate, and one coffee afterwards. I had a portion of the Victoria sponge cake, which came with a tiny dish of strawberry puree. The cake was quite solid (as GF ones often are!) with incredibly sweet, faux butter cream filling. It went quite well with the coffee, though, which was strong and black. The bill came to £34.30.

I would go back again, but maybe try something different from the menu. It's the only place I've been to where I can choose anything from the menu. The hot chocolate and coffee were both very good. The staff are friendly and the interior decor is interesting - Spanish style. I read that they are hoping to plant an edible wall outside. You can buy various specialist foods and kits from the restaurant, too, and from their website.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Holiday in Yorkshire - Day 4 - Scarborough and Bridlington

After breakfast, we set off for the one hour+ drive to Scarborough. We parked in the South Bay area and walked down to the beach. Brock found a friend to play with on the beach, but it was much quieter than our last visit, and a bit chilly, so we headed up into the town. (Please click on the photos to see a larger version.)


The seaside has lots of arcades and typical tourist shops, and the town centre has the usual chain stores, with a mix of smaller businesses. We had planned to go to The Gallery Cafe, but it was closed. We happened across Cafe Heart, near the covered market and saw that it welcomed dogs and also had vegetarian and gluten free menus. Bingo!

Rob had veggie sausages, mash, peas and gravy. I had jacket potato with cheese and beans and salad. With two large coffees, the bill was less than £12! Excellent value, and our waitress was very friendly; Brock got a lot of attention, three biscuits and a bowl of water, so he was delighted.

We drove on to Bridlington next. Neither of us liked it very much: it had a rather run-down feel to it and the beach front was very commercial, with arcades and fair rides etc.

Last time we had visited nearby Filey. It was a more genteel place, with an old fashioned parade to walk along next to the beach, nicer architecture and a more unspoilt ambiance.

It depends what you are looking for really, as a child I would probably have loved Bridlington! Nowadays, I prefer country walks, art galleries, independent shops and good food ;o)

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