Monday, 1 September 2008

Summer - don't blink or you'll miss it

Well, that was it. One moment DS had two months off school, and the next, he is going back on Wednesday. We've just come back from a week of camping up in Yorkshire - DS has decided he hates camping so he went to the grandparents. That's our last camping trip of more than one day, and I am struggling to find any weekends to camp before it gets too cold for us (no heater in our trailer tent). The weather continued to be variable, setting off in the morning was like being a Sherpa for Mount Everest because we had to load 3 or 4 changes of clothes and shoes for each of us into the car: socks/shoes/sweaters for when it was cold, sandals/t-shirts for when the sun suddenly came out from behind a cloud to roast us for a few hours, and rainy gear for when it started spitting. In one day you could go from one extreme to the other. By the time you got the sun cream on, the sun had disappeared behind a black cloud and you had to look for your umbrella.

But we had a relaxing week (apart from a few screaming rows over navigation). We had a day in York, an old favourite of mine as I once went to college there for a term. I visited Sheepish yarn store in The Shambles and bought a few patterns, and the dollshouse store in Fossgate which has a huge selection. I got a couple of lights for my Rik Pierce house and a few other bits and bobs for various houses. We also went in loads of book stores and one had a big discount section upstairs with a huge craft section including a whole bookcase of quilting books, very unusual for the UK. I got two great books by Mary Mashuta: "Confetti Quilts" which is all about colour theory for scrap quilts, and "Cotton Candy Quilts" which is about 30's quilts. Most of the quilts in Confetti Quilts aren't to my taste, but the discussions on colour theory are very interesting. I found that all the quilts I liked were either polychromatic (all colours) or Triad, so I should try to use this to plan my quilts better. We also ventured into a strange cellar called 'Aladdin's Cave' off Walmgate which I don't think I would have gone into on my own as it was not only in the cellar but down a dark alley. It was a junk antiques shop, and I got two empty clock cases which I plan to use as roomboxes for dollshouse vignettes. In late afternoon we had a relaxing boat ride on the river Ouse.

We had a lovely afternoon in Whitby, where we visited the atmospheric ruined abbey up on the cliff (no sign of Dracula, but then the sun had come out), mooched around the harbour, and I found a fantastic yarn shop called 'Bobbins' in an old chapel in the old town. They had indigo dyed cotton aran yarn quite cheaply and patterns for traditional guernseys, so I bought a kit to knit a patterned cardigan-jacket.

Another day we went to Scarborough, which I found rather run down, but there was a great sewing centre on Aberdeen Way in the town centre which had likely the most bolts of patchwork fabric that I've seen in an English shop. It was all cheaper lines and all priced at £4.30 a yard which is cheap for the UK. I stocked up on several yards of fabric that caught my eye. And I found another dollshouse shop (run by a very grumpy woman) in St. Helen's square, where I bought a few pieces of chunky cheap pieces of furniture which I think I can re-decorate to go in my Rik Pierce dollshouse.
The drive home was pretty awful, with heavy fog, driving rain, traffic jams and roadworks. But we stopped for lunch at Brodworth Hall (pictured) and the sun peeped out for a little while so it was very pretty.

In between all of the shopping we had several nice meals, and saw some lovely countryside in the Yorkshire moors. It was a good break. I did lots of knitting (DH was calling it 'performance art' as I was knitting in pubs and cafes and while I was waiting for him in museums etc.) and I finished the matching hat to go with the baby booties I made last week. I also made a good start on a sweater with some of the Rowan Summer Tweed that I bought in the Liberty's sale a while back. It was a good conversation starter particularly with other knitters.

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