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Thursday, March 23, 2006

'Style a Knit ' Workshop and Coldrum Stones

I've got so much to blog about since my last post that I think I'll have to do it by instalments! Before I start though, here's the latest of the Hikone Screen postcards which I've received from my Secret Pal. As you've probably guessed, I'm very fond of these postcards and this one's been added to the rest which adorn the mantelpiece here. Thanks, Secret Pal!

On Saturday I attended the 'Style a Knit to Suit You" workshop with Jane Crowfoot at The Knit Tin. As before, DH and I stayed at the Swan Revived Hotel and this time it was brilliant. The staff couldn't have been more attentive and we were even served a cafietere of fresh coffee with biscuits (no charge) after we'd checked out and were trying to kill time in the hotel lounge before the workshop started. DH then dropped me off at the Knit Tin and went to find a pub where he could watch the rugby.

The workshop itself was quite taxing in that there were a lot of calculations to do but it was extremely useful. In a nutshell, we covered how to calculate the number of stitches needed for a garment of a particular size in a yarn at a given tension, how to stagger increases and decreases for shaping and how to represent this information in the form of a block drawing on graph paper. We also practiced block drawing in designing a neckline after taking the appropriate measurements. Adding motifs and cables and calculating yarn requirements were also touched on as were the different plys of yarn and some extremely useful rules of thumb. For instance, did you know that the distance between the start of the armhole shaping of a garment and the shoulder shaping is normally either 20/21/22cm for small/medium/larger sizes.

Refreshments and lunch at the Knit Tin were, as ever, excellent and the usual vast array of quality yarns were on display as well as, seemingly, all of the latest ones. The new yarns I saw included Colinette's Lasso and the Noro "tree bark" one, Ganpi Abaka, as well as the other new Noro yarns, namely Hana Silk and Daria in which a beautiful collar had been knitted which was on display. They even had Debbie Bliss's Pure Silk so at last I got to see and feel it instead of experiencing it in a "virtual" sense on the internet. Other yarns they have added to their stock since I last visited are the Louisa Harding range, Laines du Nord Kiddy Print, FFF Polar, Khrista and Oslo and Gedifra Fiocco, Colorito, Sheela, Capriola and Inizio as well as the new Opal sock colours! Despite all this, I surprised myself, not to mention DH, by managing to be very restrained with my purchases. Here's what I bought apart from one item which is secret at the moment as it's a birthday pressie for someone.

There's a Knit Tin Crocheted Loopy Scarf Kit in a Tin containing a skein of Fruit Coulis Giotto, two skeins of DB Pure Silk (which I couldn't resist buying just a little of), the Pure Silk pattern book and enough Rowan Lurex Shimmer for Lily Chin's Patagonian Night Sky Scarf. My regular readers will remember that I was going to knit this scarf with Jaeger Cashmina but, after some consideration, I decided that the midnight blue of the Lurex Shimmer would look much more convincing (with the beads which are meant to represent stars) as a Patagonian Night Sky than the charcoal grey of the Cashmina. The Rowan Handknit Cotton was a freebie from the workshop.

On Sunday, we went to Trottiscliffe to collect some tapestry and cross stitch kits which were excess to the requirements of one of our local Freecycle members and came home with all of these! Most of them are brand new with one or two that have been started but with all of the threads, etc, still present. I need to sort through these and decide which to keep and which to perhaps offer for the Charity Craft Fair that I'm helping with.

Just down the lane from where we picked up the cross stitch/tapestry kit haul, we noticed a sign for a Stone Age Burial Ground and decided to investigate. At the end of the lane, there was a gate barring all unauthorised traffic so we resolved to take a walk even though it was bitterly cold and we weren't at all prepared for a hike in the countryside. We'd only got a little way along the lane when I decided to have a disagreement with what seemed like half a hawthorn bush which had snapped off from its source and attached itself to my skirt, thenceforth doggedly refusing to release its vicelike grip. In cases like this, there are usually two choices: patient disentanglement of every thorn being careful not to rip whatever it's attaching itself to, or; for those less patient, pulling with all one's might and continuing one's way with shredded clothing. I opted for the first choice and was helped by a couple who happened upon us in our dilemma and kindly assisted. Much hilarity was had by all and when I was finally freed, skirt still intact, they assured us that it was icily cold further on. We decided not to be wimps and continued anyway and it was well worth it because this is what we eventually found.

These are the Coldrum Stones which are the remains of a Long Barrow dating from the Neolithic period.

Further up the steep slope, at the foot of which the Coldrum Stones lie, it was extremely cold with an easterly wind that took your breath away and seemed to cut right through to the bone. I was very intrigued by the sight of lots of ribbons tied in a tree which I thought was a little bit Blair Witchy!

I've no idea what it means but, when I googled, I found that it's referred to as the decorated tree. I need to do more research to find out why. The Coldrum stones are also mentioned on the Druid Network website which states that Coldrum’s name was believed to have been derived from the Cornish word 'Galdrum', meaning a 'place of enchantment'. We agreed that we'd have to return when the weather's a bit kinder because there's no doubt that this is a fascinating place. I also took a photo of the plaque below which gives a bit of information on the stones.

Afterwards, we were really glad to get back to the relative warmth of the car and when we got home we both had some of this.

Piping hot Green & Black's and a good old Belgian Chocolate Eclair. Yum!

Finally, here's a photo of Ellie Paige reclining on her newly acquired Olympic Pink Baby Shawl knitted with love in every stitch by her great aunt.

I thought I'd have some fun with this captioner, the link to which I found on Woolly Warbler's blog. Thank you, Woolly Warbler!


  • At 3:16 pm, Anonymous Mary said…

    I've seen similarly decorated trees on ancient sites in Cornwall - have never looked into it more deeply but it seems interesting, although I found the effect a little eerie in person.

  • At 3:41 pm, Blogger AmyP said…

    It looks like you had a great time at the workshop - and good yarn haul!

  • At 4:10 pm, Blogger sal the spider said…

    It's a kind of offering thing often found at sacred sites, I've found little hand made wreaths, or piles of stones laid on the sites too. Often the things left blow away or rot, like a few flowers . I love finding them coz it's a reminder that I'm not really the only Pagan - just feels like it sometimes :-)
    Sal x
    Fabulous blanket! :-))

  • At 7:32 pm, Blogger Tracy said…

    I can smell the chocolate. my mouth is watering...wonder if my 40 cal Options will taste the same (watch out- flying pig overhead!)

  • At 8:27 pm, Blogger nanatoo said…

    I think the druids were asking for good luck when they decorated the tree, so if you'd have left your whole skirt on the hawthorn just think how lucky you would have been! :)

    Ellie Paige looks gorgeous on her blanket. I love the name Ellie.

    Knit Tin gave me great service online, I'm glad you had a good time at the workshop. Do I mean good? Too many numbers involved in it for me ;)

  • At 10:06 pm, Blogger Marie said…

    Oh, cute baby! And how well her outfit and the blanket match! Your trip sounds great, and it sounds like a really interesting and useful class.

  • At 10:42 am, Blogger Seahorse said…

    Aw, Ellie Paige looks gorgeous on her blanket!

    That class sounds invaluable - just the sort of thing I'd like to learn! I love the stones, very atmospheric.

  • At 12:03 pm, Blogger Rain said…

    It sounds like you had a fabulous weekend.

    The workshop sounds really interesting and I hope to see many of your own designs now!

    Ellie Paige is gorgeous and the blanket is fantastic. It's huge and I'm sure it will be really useful. It's so pretty too.

  • At 8:27 pm, Blogger Cherry Rolfe said…

    Wow! What a fascinating blog. You are definitely on my Blog roll! Thank you for a fscinating read and an intro to the Knit Tin!

  • At 1:43 am, Blogger Sharon J said…

    She's gorgeous.


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