Sunday, 16 March 2014

Literary Giants

I was born in Thomas Hardy country and grew up in Wareham, his town of Anglebury.  I work in Dorchester, which to Hardy was Casterbridge.  Thomas Hardy is all around me and I love his works.

Today, being a glorious spring Sunday, we went for a work around Hardy's birthplace of Lower Bockhampton.

This famous building is known as Hardy's Cottage.  It's where he was born. Out of shot they are constructing a visitor's centre near the cottage now.

We trekked across fields and skirted the edge of Stinsford.  Thomas Hardy's heart lies buried in the churchyard there (the rest of him is in Westminster Abbey) next to his first wife, Emma. We didn't visit the church today but skirted the village and the very imposing Kingston Maurward House, which is now Dorset's agricultural college.  Round the back of Kingston Maurward we found some interesting bits and pieces:

A 16th century manor house, all shuttered up:

I got very excited when I saw this plaque on the manor house wall until I realised there was no mention of sewing machines!

It was a most glorious day.  The sky was really this blue and the spring flowers and blossoms are just starting to come out.

And then we passed the schoolhouse that the young Master Hardy attended when he was seven.  I wonder if this was the bell that called him into his lessons?

All in all, we walked about four miles.  It was good to get out in the sunshine after so much rain and enjoy some of the stunning countryside where we live.

But Thomas Hardy isn't the only literary figure on my mind this weekend.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle features too  I've joined Sherlock's Great Afghan Adventure Mystery KAL on Ravelry.  Twelve months, twelve squares and twelve of the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories to get through.  I can remember reading The Hound of the Baskervilles as a teenager, but that is all of the Sherlock Holmes canon I ever got through, so this should be fun.  Would anyone care to join in too?  It just officially launched with the first square and the first reading assignment yesterday.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Traveling Woman

Another finish this week.  This one has been 2 years in gestation:

This is the Traveling Woman shawl/scarf by Liz Abinante, size medium, made from one skein of Luna plus 4 ply by Fivemoons. The colour is "Firebug", very bright and dramatic.  All through the knitting I thought I'd made a mistake with such a variegated yarn, but when it was blocked it looked fine.  It's on its way to Nottinghamshire now; it was never intended for me.   I bought the yarn on my birthday two years ago at Wonderwool Wales.  That was a good trip.  Martyn and I had a lovely weekend away in Wales.  We met some friends in Cardiff, found an excellent Italian restaurant called Giovanni's, drank far too much Bardolino and got to drive through the Brecon Beacons to a yarn festival to boot - the next day and sober I should add!  Sadly the scarf didn't make it to my friend for her birthday in 2012, but she can enjoy it now she won't mind my tardiness.

We're all on our own personal journey, with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns.  I can't imagine anyone for whom Traveling Woman wouldn't be appropriate.  It's a great and versatile knit and I'm already thinking about another which might take less than 2 years!

I've moved on to another WIP now, but I doubt I'll have another finish next week. In any case I really must put some work into a round robin quilting project and I won't be able to post photos of that for quite some time yet.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Hello, it's been a long time.

Remember me?  Motorbike riding, housebunny loving, happily married person who blogged about crafts on a blog called TartyCrafty?

Quite a lot has happened in five years.

Well the husband traded me in for a younger, thinner model in 2010.  I don't need to mention that again.  I sold the motorbike when I realised it had become the world's most expensive garage ornament. I still live in the same house, only now due to building work it's unrecognisable.  What was a very small lounge and a garage is now a bigger lounge diner, complete with an alcove with proper lighting and natural daylight in which I can craft to my heart's content.  I still work in the same profession, social housing, and can't imagine doing anything else.

Once I became happily single and comfortable with  my state, I hooked up with a very old friend and it was a marvellous thing to do.  We got engaged last year and are looking forward to getting married once we get around to organising a) a date and b) the sort of wedding we want.  We took up narrowboating last year and have some plans for the future in that direction.

After the events of 2010 I didn't do anything crafty for about a year.  As my happiness returned, so did the urge to make things.  First I started knitting, then quilting again.  Then a very good friend talked me into coming to some cardmaking classes.  Now I'm back in the groove.  Actually I've just finished knitting a shawl, Ysolda Teague's Follow Your Arrow mystery knitalong on Ravelry, gifted to me by my friend KT who definitely restored my knitting mojo.  Thanks KT!

Here's a photo:

And here's another one:

As much as I love the colour in the first photo the second is more as it appears in real life.  Sadly not a good colour on me, but I have a friend it will be perfect for.  The yarn is Madeleine Tosh Merino Light, in the colour "Candlewick".

Honestly, if Ysolda ever does this again, I will be the first in the queue.  Every week for five weeks you got a clue.  I found myself stalking the email inbox every Monday morning.  But it wasn't just one clue.  Oh no, that would have been way too simple.  Every Clue had two options, so the finished article had 32 different possibilities.  How clever is that?

So yesterday I found myself re-reading the old blog (after all, it was sensible to keep a copy).  It was such a record of my life and my crafty endeavours and it put me in touch with so many lovely people it gave me a real pang.  And I suddenly missed it.  It is, in all honesty, rather nice to have an online voice again.