Monday, 28 September 2009


We all went for an autumnal walk in Priddy Mineries the other day. Here's the view from the top of the hill:


We usually stick to the paths, but you don't see much wildlife up close that way (the Mineries site is an SSSI and has so much stuff to see), so we went for a little diversion and waded through the knee-deep grass. Look what we found...

Fox moth

This is a fox-moth caterpillar (I think!). I've never seen a caterpillar so furry! We found that in the grass, along with some Devil's-bit scabious:


and then, as I was leaping (urgh, bit energetic, that!) from one tussock to the other, I looked round and saw this:

An Adder! I'm rather glad I spotted it before Dylan decided to sniff/lick/paw it. I've never, ever seen an adder before in my life. This one, I think, is a female, resting in the grass...not that clued up about snake habits, but I'm guessing the warm spell had brought it out to bask. I got fairly close so I could take this pic, but the moment she heard the shutter go, she turned round and hissed at me, unsurprisingly!

It was like all my birthdays had come at once, spotting that. (yikes, that phrase, when you think about it, would make you really old. I've just turned 'old enough' thanks)

After Priddy, I got around to experimenting with some reverse lens macro techniques with my camera. Basically, if you can't afford a macro lens, you can (literally) reverse the lens on your SLR (thanks, Mim for telling me this!!) and take close-ups that way. I'm not really an expert, but this wasn't bad for a first try. There are poppies out in the garden at the moment, and this is as close as a normal lens will get me:


But when I reversed the lens, I could get a little bit closer:

Poppy macro

Then I thought I'd have a go at the flowers on the mock strawberry:

Yellow flower

OMG, that's all I need, another hobby to get carried away with. Watch this space for some more fascinating yet ultimately pointless macro photographs :D

Finally in today's Autumnwatch, here's a squirrel visitor, who's been busy burying his/her stash of cobnuts from our tree. Believe it or not we don't get squirrels so often in our garden so I'm always way too over-excited (along with the dog) when we get one!


I have yet to find a way of turning my existing camera lens into a super-zoom lens. Damn!

Ooh, anyone been watching the Tweedy documentaries? [the link is to all three: watch them if you missed it, it's great] Very interesting...but I do wish they'd make a documentary on Welsh Tapestry. Tweed's nice enough and all that (and the programmes were fascinating)...but I'm desperate to find out more about Welsh Tapestry. Maybe I'll start a fan club and make my own programme :)


Thanks for all your nice messages and emails by the way. I'm getting better thank you! Hurrah, now I can stop discussing thyroids at great length and get back to craft blogging :D

Thursday, 17 September 2009

I'm back!

Twee cereal award

That's right, folks! I've won  my own invented sad an award because I've been a neglectful little blogger.  From Twee Cereals, the cereal that has a Lovely Personality! I don't know about you but I can't face That! Much! Lovely Personality! from a Sodding Cereal! In a Morning! Once your cereal starts talking to you, you know it's time to go back to Blandflakes...(Imagine a world where, eventually..."Hello! I'm your morning cup of coffee! I get the feeling you're a little angry this morning! Aw, Don't Be! life is so beautiful, don't you know! Look! I have no dust! Look! I'm so organic and fairtrade I even make myself feel a bit sick with my own self-righteousness! Drink Me!" ...continued on p.899, appendix II. Where's my sodding coffee?)

During this month or more of absence, what have I been up to? You might well ask. Well, I have been struggling, sysyphus-like, against the mighty Thyroid, mostly. If you've ever struggled beneath the weight of an elephant whilst trying to walk through treacle, wearing lead-lined boots, and waving ten copies of Flora Brittanica in each hand,  this gives you a good idea of what an underactive thyroid does to you. Ha, it makes you really, REALLY weird! Ahem. Anyway, I'm a bit better now. Earlier on in the month, due to elephants and stuff, I was confined to the sofa though so I did quite a lot of this when I could lift the needles :) :

Orange scarf

Pink scarf 

I frogged the orange one because it was just too curly. I can't make stocking stitch stay straight. I love it for making tubes (socks, jumpers, cardigans) and things that need to curl (um, curly things), but for scarves, well, I just can't make it work. The pink scarf also curls like mad (despite rigorous blocking) so I've just hooked a load of heavy crochet round the edges which at least makes it wide enough to shelter my neck from the prevailing winds. Before that you could've used it as a hose pipe.

No matter how crap you feel, the dog always needs walking, so we've been on some slow walks! However, it's forced me to get out and about and see a bit of nature, and I've been collecting umbellifers - hogweeds and wild carrots and all that - and drawing inspiration from them like countless embroiderers before me. When I had a few days of energy I even managed to do some actual embroidery...



The Two New Pence is just there as a scale guide. Unless you're into 2p pieces, in which case then, it's a part of the embroidery. I've dyed some silk for a few embroideries I have in mind. I haven't dyed any fabric since my (abandoned. Sob.) City & Guilds so this was fun!


Another inspiration has been trees and landscapes of course...

Fields trees 



And here's what I came up with.


Ha! nothing like the photos but that's not quite how I work :) Again they're about the size of your two New Pence. I was always reprimanded at school for working in miniature (I mean in Art lessons. I don't mean I tried doing rounders with a subbuteo ball, although tempting. Nor did I work with a teeny tiny dolly's chemistry set. Miniature essays in history were a surprising failure also), but it was how I worked best. All I've used is embroidery thread, hand-dyed silks and my old Jones machine. You can drop the feed dogs inside it instead of having to use a silly plate thingy so that makes life easier. I used felt as a stabiliser, and worked without a hoop - I can't work with a hoop but have to watch my fingers like a hawk! Anyway, I might cobble together a collection of stuff and sell it on Etsy or in the shop or something. I haven't really done any free-motion stuff for a long time, mainly due to having a crappy modern machine which had an inaccessible bobbin tension system (tech fans!) so it's a relief to be up and running with it again :) Watch this space for more miniscule embroidery. I think I'll leave the miniature out of the yarn side of my creative endeavours though!