Sunday 20 November 2011

Which One's Your Favourite?

Let me begin by wishing my friends across The Pond a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving this week!

 I was overjoyed to read all your responses to my question "What colour is winter?" in my previous post.  I am now busy creating something which will incorporate ALL the answers you gave me and I cannot wait to show you during the next  Making Winter Week over at Silverpebble's starting December 5th.
Quality Street Chocolates.  
Which is your favourite?  If you are not familiar with them which colour appeals to you particularly?  It can be tricky to choose.
At this time of year I find myself becoming quite dizzy with the vast choice of knitting patterns and gift ideas I would like to make.  My imagination goes wild during the run-up to Christmas. There is however little time in the day and I have been told that nights are for sleeping. Choices have to be made.  Do you feel the same?  If so how do you juggle between desire and reality?
In these moments of giddiness I find SIMPLICITY is best for me.
Hannah Fettig's Sock Yarn Sweater is the perfect solution to calm my feverish thoughts.
This one is for Angélique but can be made for any age. 
Decisions are easy and pleasant now.  Long or short sleeves?  Which delicious yarn?  So many work here: sock yarn and DK are good.  This time I opted for Rowan's Felted Tweed DK.  I cannot get enough of this yarn. The colour in reality is much richer and plummier than seen here.
Details to be found on Ravelry
 November 22nd is the Feast Day of Saint Cecilia the patroness of music.
It also happens to be my birthday...
Carlo Saraceni Saint Cecilia and the Angel
c. 1610
... and so I would like to share two divine treats with you.
I make no secret about my passion for Baroque Music.  Every year around my birthday I reach out for Purcell's "Odes for Saint Cecilia's Day".  Dear readers this work is sublime. It holds joy, melancholy and overall profound beauty.  Few things arouse patriotism in me - I am half French and half English - but this is so quintessentially British in both harmony and text (by NIcholas Brady) it is guaranteed to bring me out in goose bumps.

"Hark! hark! each Tree its silence breaks,
The Box and Fir to talk begin!
This is the sprightly Violin
That in the Flute distinctly speaks!"

Isn't this beautiful?  The trees are finally able to sing once they have been lovingly crafted into violins or wooden flutes.

If anyone is interested this interpretation is breathtaking although there are others.

My second treat takes us swiftly to nineteenth-century Paris. I am currently totally absorbed by Emile Zola's The Ladies' Paradise - Au Bonheur des Dames  Here is the nineteenth-century version of "shop 'til you drop" and it is an absolute joy to read.  Written in 1883 it traces the beginnings of the department store and contains fascinating insight into the role of women in Parisian society and mouth-watering details about fashion and textiles.  The theory behind the department store was that it suppled a desire you didn't know you had until you set foot in the door and Zola's imagery createes a sub-text of desire to beat them all in this book. 

It is a page-turner with a happy ending.

I wish you much joy this week.
 See you soon!

Sunday 13 November 2011

What Colour is Winter?

A warm hello to you all!
 We have had the great fortune of a three-day weekend as Armistice Day is a public holiday in France.  The weather has been glorious.
It is already mid-November and we are hurtling towards the winter solstice.  I have been thinking a great deal about why I love winter so.  When I was a child I would peer through the window every morning in the hope of finding snow or sparkling frost on the ground.  I fed my fascination with winter by reading  Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen and The Little Match Girl and would while away the dark afternoons by listening to Tchaikovsky's Winter Daydreams Symphony No° 1.
And now I find myself wondering what colour is winter? 
 This week as I sat nursing my bronchitis (I am feeling much better, thank you) and knitting this shawl the soft shades of celadon and gossamer grey reflected my idea of winter perfectly.  Old Man's Beard,the bright yellow pigments of lichen with a splash of berry red provide the perfect colour backdrop.
I will be working on the association between winter and colour over the next few weeks for no doubt - fickle creature that I am - my perception will change.
Katherine Swift writes:

"My garden was conceived in winter: a garden of ruler-straight lines and precise measurements, of black ink and white paper, moonlight and shadows."

 She continues by giving her thoughts on the colours of winter in the second paragraph on the following page:

She finishes by writing:

"I dress in monochrome, too: working with old books in out-of-the-way corners of dusty libraries I long ago adopted black as a simple everyday expedient.  Is there a connection? The subfusc of academic uniform, the black velvet of winter parties, the black and white of text on page, this liking for winter?"

Black and white for the garden lover and writer Katherine Swift.  Greys and pale jade green and blue for me.

And now I ask what colour is winter to YOU?

Before I leave you I urge you to pop over to visit Annie's amazing blog.  She is having a most marvellous giveaway so hurry, hurry over!

Have a beautiful week,


 Yarn: Madelintosh DK in Celadon and Gossamer delivered, you may recall, by the Madelintosh Fairy in the cabbage patch.

A blissful knit.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Short and Sweet

David Wheeler and Simon Dorrell founded Hortus Magazine twenty five years ago shortly after opening their garden to the public.

One gardens with words the other with pencils and paintbrushes.

Hortus Magazine is...

 thick, creamy paper and stark drawings.

 Each beautifully printed and bound issue contains articles on gardens, plants, people, history, design and ornaments.

subscription to Hortus would make the perfect Christmas present for desolate gardeners with nothing to do during the winter months.  It is wonderful to read by the fire with a glass of something warming.

I am honoured to be included in the twenty-fifth anniversairy edition.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this article.

Thank you David Wheeler. 


Finally if you are searching for the perfect Christmas card pop over to see Vanessa's designs on her blogI received mine yesterday and as you can see the packaging alone is a work of art.


I am off to nurse my bronchitis and Angélique's first ear infection.

Have a beautiful week. 

Mine will involve a lot of knitting.
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