Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Snow Day

SNOW!!!!! I love snow although I know lots of people hate it. My particular favourite kind of snow is when it is thick and heavy enough that you know you can't get anywhere even if you want to. I did attempt to get to work this morning, getting up and carrying out my normal routine- even walking to the bus stop- but when the bus arrived the driver just laughed at me when I asked if he was still going to Crowborough (typically one of the worst areas during a snow storm). So I returned home again and have been watching the snow blizzard down ever since.
These photos were taken about three hours ago and the snow just keeps coming so we can no longer see the Snowdrops which are completely smothered in several more inches of snow. I went out with my ruler about two hours ago and it was 7-10cm in places then.

The cat loves snow. It is the only time of year that he blends in and he always pretends that he is interested in catching birds, going through the whole chatter routine when he spots one foraging in the undergrowth. He is currently alternating sitting on the windowsill on top of the radiator and going out into the snow and dashing around, throwing the snow in the air and rolling in it. So sweet.

We have put out some extra food for the birds although they are having to dig for it a little bit as the pellets we put out on the ground and on the flat raised feeder get buried pretty quickly. We are very much a bird loving family and watch with glee as the garden birds visit the feeders positioned outside of our kitchen window. This morning we had Robins, Speckled Thrushes, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Greenfinches, Wrens, Starlings, Jackdaws, Great Tits, Goldfinches, Sparrows and lots more! Lots of puffed up feathers as they sit huddled amongst the rose bushes or in the relatively safety of the fir tree.

As I look out of the window now it is a total white out! The roofs of the houses opposite have blended in with the sky which looks a bit strange, and there are big fat flakes falling. The last time I can remember it snowing like this was in 2010 when I was at Art College in Brighton. We had been away for a couple of days in Amsterdam on a college trip and on the day we were due to come back we woke up to a couple of inches of snow! The coach driver was very determined and we found ourselves in a coach going 5mph on French motorways, then on the Eurostar to Dover, at which point the snow in England was even deeper and we were in traffic jams all the way back to Brighton. The Parents were snowed in and siblings stuck at friends/relatives houses so I ended up being rescued by a friend's Dad who had snow chains on his Landrover. He managed to drop me off at the main bus station at Uckfield and I had to walk home through thick snow with my suitcase. We were snowed in for about three days after that!

So at the end of writing this post, the snow has started to fall even harder than before and I must go and measure a wall I can see out of the window which looks to have about six inches of snow! I'll let you know. If you are in a snow zone, I hope you are keeping warm and safe- bring out the hot chocolate!!

***** Edit to add**** Been out with my ruler and we are up to 16cm!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Northern Lights

I love this #inthehoop stitchscape. It's so colourful- and actually nothing like the Northern Lights that I saw in Iceland, but inspired by them instead. I have a kind of mottled spacey fabric which I used, covering each colour splodge with similar coloured thread.  I have also jazzed this little one up with glittery metallic thread! These lights should glow after all.

The rest of the 'scape is quite simple really, fly stitches following the exact pattern in grey, white seed stitch over a plan white cotton, and back stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch and pistil stitch in the bottom abstract flower layer. I have even made my own cord using the white and peach embroidery threads to hide the rough edges of this fabric. I could have put bullion knots on the top of my metallic threads but decided that I liked the simplicity of the stems. They reminded me of grasses reflecting the snow.

The dark blue layers are a combination of running stitch, back stitch and a kind of double whip stitch. I love experimenting with whip stitches. In this case the stitch encompasses two rows of back stitch. What do you think?

I would like to do another Northern Lights themed 'scape, perhaps with more truthful colours. Well- more truthful as the eyes of the camera see it. In real life they are more of a white glow than luminescent green! Perhaps I could go totally abstract and just have a stripe of colour fabric across a background of dark blue. Nothing else at all.

I have also now finished my mini Snowy Alps 'scape. I decided when I put all of the #inthehoop 'scapes together that the Winter season was decidedly lacking. The mountain was a complete accident really as it was an off cut that fell out of the fat quarter when I picked it up and I didn't bother cutting it down, just plonked it on and hoped for the best. Happily it is now a focus of the background framed by my gorgeous trees, and looks spectacular (even if I do say so myself) with the vertical whip stitch creating furrows in the snow. Perhaps they are Yeti trails down the mountain?

The mid-ground is perhaps a little busy but I liked the opportunity to use my cotton pod fabric which I've had for a while and never used. Not a lot really happened in this layer stitchwise other than a few straight stitches and tiny french knots. The foreground fabric is one of my newbies and I have followed the line of the pattern with fly stitch fronds. I'm not entirely sure about the purple french knots but I don't hate them enough to remove them. It needed some colour but I didn't think that a bright colour would be right, and kept running through the options in my head. Perhaps blue? Yellow would be too much. Green is not a flower colour. Orange is too bright, pink too garish... argh! The purple stays.

I don't know if you can really tell from these images, but the trees have a combination of back stitch, whip stitch and pekinese stitch with snowy french knots caught on the tree bark and branches. I do love these trees, and this bark print fabric. I can foresee it being used for many trees in the future. A whole forest of them.

Some more beauties to add to my '#inthehoop stitchscape range!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Brighton Beach

I had the nicest weekend. Full of sunshine and sea breezes. On Saturday I had some phone related business to take care of in Brighton which mean that I also had the opportunity to go to Fabric Land and browse the rolls of beautiful fabrics. Happily I managed to restrain myself to only the necessities (something that doesn't happen often) and purchased calico and fat quarters to add to my 'embroidery kit stash'.
Lunch was bought on the way toward the beach and I plonked myself down on the pebbles in the sunshine. It was actually warm with very little breeze and I could happily take my coat off and bask in the glow. Most of Brighton was singing as there was a football match on later that afternoon and the fans were psyching themselves up with a few beers in the seaside cafes. It was surprisingly harmonious.

I stitched a couple of stitches and finished off my snowy #inthehoop 'scape, started and finished a jig-word puzzle (I carry a book of them around with me in case of commute delays), and just sat enjoying the freshness of the air, listening to the waves crashing and hissing, and the gulls crying overhead.

Everything was so clear and bright, the sea and sky so blue. Looking at the photos you could be fooled into thinking that it was mid summer not February!
On the Sunday I travelled up to London with some friends to the Olympia Wedding Show. I have been asked to be a bridesmaid for one of my best friends (where I will have to wear a dress! Eeek. Perhaps I can wear my trademark jeans and trainers underneath?) and we all hopped on the train up to London Bridge and various tubes, squishing in amongst the sweaty Londoners and overexcited tourists. The fair itself wasn't overly brilliant (not like the Knitting & Stitching show), but the time was well spent with my lovely friends and a delicious brunch! A fab weekend all round!