Monday, 3 September 2007

Back from camping

We're back from our last camping trip of the school holidays and for once it didn't rain on us. We had several pleasant days down near Axminster on the Dorset / Devon borders, and unusually for us we really chilled out - usually we are tearing all over the place sightseeing. This time we spent a few days fossil hunting on the beach at Lyme Regis (I found a tiny ammonite about the size of a rice grain to put in my dollshouse). Another day we went to see an ancient valley garden at Mapperton House, and took the picnic rug out of the car to just lie in the sun and read and knit and chill out. The house is Elizabethan and gorgeous, but not open on the day that we went, so we explored the spectacular gardens which had a slightly mysterious 'seen better days' air about them that was quite enchanting. Here is a picture, a la Knitting Harlot, of my new sock that I started while on holiday and you can see part of Mapperton Gardens in the background. It is a cabled sock pattern from and I am knitting it in the Water colourway of sock wool from Cherry Tree Hill. So far it is going pretty well. Before I started it, I did finish the pair of socks in Regia Bamboo yarn. I am a bit disappointed in them as they feel really floppy, it makes me realise that I prefer a snug fit to my socks. The trouble with socks is that you don't really know how they are going to fit until they are finished and you can try them on properly. After a few hours of chilling out, and a long walk around the gardens, we felt a bit hungry so went back out to the Tea Rooms situated in one of the old Tudor barns. We had a lovely Dorset cream tea, and I happened to go back into the barn, when I chanced to look up at the ceiling. WOW!!! The whole ceiling of this immense barn is covered in a four piece massive applique tent, in spectacular colours and designs. Apparently it is an Indian wedding tent, commissioned from artisans in Rajasthan, India, and they had a photo book of pictures showing the hanging being created by 40 sari-clad ladies. Absolutely not the kind of thing you expect to come across in a Tudor tea room in the middle of nowhere.

What other crafty things did I do on holiday? I took my handquilting along, the vintage crossed canoes top that I am 'rescuing' by quilting down all the fullness added by the inexpert creator. I am on the last row of blocks now so I should keep at it and not let it rest for several months like I have been. I visited Axminster Tools in Axminster and bought some locking clamps for when I pin up my quilt sandwich, and some more sponge paintbrushes (very useful for dollshousing). I went to a needlework shop in Exeter in the Central Station on Queen Street which was a standard cross-stitch sort of shop but with a surprisingly good selection of yarn - and I bought some more sock wool. This time it is Regia Jacquard which knits up into self-patterning designs which should be fun. We went antiquing and I picked up a few craft books in secondhand book stores. I had a lovely visit to the museum in Honiton, which has two whole rooms devoted to the craft of Honiton lace, and two lovely volunteers from the local Lace society were doing demonstrations and were happy to chat to me about lace and crafts. And on the way home we stopped at Fibre Fest in Ulfculme which was a large marquee within a country fair. The marquee was full of lots of small wool producers (sheep, angora, and more exotic fibres), spinners, weavers, artisans etc. Quite fun to go around, and I emerged with a cone of multicoloured wool to machine knit with. Then we had a big hog roast sandwich with apple sauce and stuffing, from a pig which had grown up just 20 miles away. And in case you are wondering, I gained three pounds while on holiday - but it was worth it!
Ds is back to school on Wednesday so I hope to get back more into a sewing routine in September, I have really done very little the last several weeks.


swooze said...

Sounds like you had a great trip. Can't wait to see more of your quilty projects!

Nana's Quilts said...

That ceiling 'covering' is just magnificent and as you said, not expected! I have made some socks with the Regia Jacquard yarn and quite liked it. Unfortunately I didn't choose the right size, to begin with, so only persevered so long and then returned to quilting - my favorite.
Great photos.

Kathy Wagner said...

Sounds like a wonderful vacation!
(P.S. I tried a while ago to respond to an email from you, but your blogger settings are set to "no reply" so I couldn't figure out to email you back. Now my email program is broken, so I can't even access it! Gotta love computers!)

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