Friday, 21 October 2011


Last weekend we went on our first trip out into the beautiful landscape of Sächsische Schweiz, Germany. 

We went to a lovely town called Stolpen - not exactly where we planned to go, but very much worth seeing nonetheless.
Main square in Stolpen

Aside from being a really pretty town with very lovely roofs (I like a good roof), it turns out to be important in geological terms as well. Specifically, basalt. According to the sign on this memorial to basalt, Stolpen is where basalt was given its name, by Agricola in 1546. And, moreover, the basalt of Stolpen provides the bar against which all basalt worldwide is measured.

And having pondered long and hard on the significance of basalt, I kept on seeing its distinctive polygonal patterns everywhere; paving slabs, fences, tiles... and of course in buildings, since in Stolpen basalt is one of the most important building materials.
Burg Stolpen: built in, and on, basalt

A Rapunzel-style tower (albeit with doors and windows) in Burg Stolpen
Another very interesting, and very beautiful, thing about Stolpen is the church. I didn't feel very comfortable taking lots of photos in a place of worship, but I sneaked a picture of the font, which gives a feel for the baroque nature of the decor. It is gorgeous - lovely paintings on the walls, and all in pastel pink and grey- pigeon colours. Pigeons are doves, after all.

The font, featuring a dove on the lid.
A limed (?) tower - Burg Stolpen

View from Burg Stolpen

eyelid-windows in Burg Stolpen

Another interesting roof

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New beret - handspun, handknitted, handfelted

I though I'd write a little bit more about this new hat, as I'm quite pleased with it.

It is made from lovely Shetland wool combed tops which I bought here
They have wonderful wool in all different shades inspired by the Shetland landscape. This colour is called Lupin.

First I handspun it using my drop spindle.

This spindle is a whole story in itself. It was bought for me as a gift from a craftsman on the Isle of Wight
and is made from 3,300 year old oak from a bog in East Anglia, which really appeals to my imagination.

After spinning I plied the yarn to make a lovely 2ply yarn, which I knitted with 5mm needles into a beret. The inconsistencies in the spun wool make a much more interesting texture than the machine spun Shetland wool (lovely though that is).

Then I fulled it in hot soapy water, which evens out the texture and makes the hat draught-proof.

I think the colour of the flower and the hat really compliment each other, which is why I chose the dark purple wool (Fuscia) to make the flower. I've been planning for ages to needle-felt different sorts of British flowers. This is the first one, and it isn't really part of the planned set because it's not made to scale. It is modelled on heather because I like the little tiny bell-shaped flowers. But it is giant: heather from the age of the dinosaurs!

I have more handspun, handknitted, handfelted berets coming, all made in various lovely shades of Shetland combed tops.

Half a hat in haar: bit bluer than sea-mist usually is though 
Fuscia on the spindle

Thursday, 13 October 2011

My Creative Space - sewing and blackberries

To make my berets even more comfrtable and lovely I have been sewing ribbon around the inside of the brims. I will never win prizes for my hand sewing - but I think it looks good!

This hat is a favourite of mine, made from Shetland wool handsoun by me, with a needle felted flower decoration

Another task I have completed is my blackberry handwarmers. I have been working on these for a pattern, and have made them in child and adult sizes. Now I've just got to get the pattern finished!

For more creative spaces go to Kirsty's blog

Thursday, 6 October 2011

My Creative Space

As we've just moved house we've been very busy being creative in a home-building sort of way.

And as it's such an amzingly wonderful autumn, part of that has been using leaves to decorate our white walls (as yet no pictures up - they do look nice just white though).

While we were on a roll we couldn't resist putting some dinosaurs up too....

For more creative spaces go to Kirsty's blog.