Stitch-craft and the Scottish Diaspora

Hello All

A couple of days before we were due to visit Carlisle for two more Women of Cumbria displays – yesterday’s post – I got an email from a friend in that fair city drawing my attention to another exhibition which she thought would be of interest. Thank you JO without you we would have missed something absolutely outstanding, the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry.

Here’s the story: in 2012 an invitation to share their history went out around the world to communities with Scottish roots. Millions of stitches and more than seventy thousand hours of embroidery later these communities have created a tapestry of over 300 panels. It is flippin’ amazing. With no permanent home as yet we were soooooo lucky to catch it at the Church of Scotland (where else!), Chapel Street Carlisle.

Thirty-four countries took part in the project and their work shows Scotland’s global legacy. If you get chance please go and see it, you will not be disappointed. My little old phone camera was not really up to the task (neither was I) nonetheless I think the best I can do is let the pictures give you a teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy flavour of the tapestry’s breadth.

The hall was heaving with visitors and many of the voices were Scottish (not surprising as we are right on the border … no one mention the Reivers…). The panels sparked discussions ranging from the historical through the social and political to those around the method and skill of the embroiders. All this wonderfulness was supported by a venue that obviously felt truly privileged to hold such an event. All combined to make this a very special place to be.

The Tapestry has now moved on but if you go to the link above there are details about where it can be viewed. A must see.

Before I forget we did manage to sneak in one last exhibition while at Tullie House Museum, Carlisle. Something very dear to Carlisle hearts. The story of the Cracker Packers told in their own words. ‘Cracker Packer’ is an affectionate term given to a factory worker at the Carr’s Biscuit factory in Carlisle. It is such a strong female workforce and a major employer in the city so it is a fabulous snippet of social history to read the stories of these workers. As one of the contributors, Elsie Martlew simply put it ” It’s a Carlisle Story, and it’s a women’s story”.

The tales of these workers inspired sculptor Hazel Reeves to create a statue which stands in front of the factory. The statute shows two workers one from the past the other from the present and manages to capture the humour, warmth and camaraderie of these hard-working women. A rare statue of workers and of women to boot and a jolly change from a general on an horse.

Supported by artist Karen McDougall local Girl Guides also paid tribute to their city’s women. Their textile banner would have been incomplete without the lovely Cracker Packers.

Strangely I really fancy a plate of cheese and ….

Until next we meet,

Moke xxx

Folks

Hi All

What a super busy sociable Saturday and all to do with folks at nearby Staveley village.

After the difficult times following Storm Desmond in 2015 it is great to see how this small rural community has bounced back. Always a hub for walkers and cyclists – Wheelbase a Mecca for our bicycling friends is the most enormous cycle shop and if you are wondering does rentals too – Staveley’s Mill Yard is also a home to the wonderfulness that is More? Bakery, Hawkshead Brewery and the well known Wilf’s Cafe along with other small artisan producers and services.

But that is not all. Does this village have more to give? Yes it does! Staveley hosts fun festivals and productions throughout the year and BEST OF ALL you don’t need a car to get there! You can travel by train, bus (the amazing 555 route) or walk.

This weekend it was Staveley Folk Festival and a few of us gathered to listen to the bands and enjoy hearty grub. We were there to see JC and the Moonshine Band. A friend’s husband (the tall chap with the guitar) plays with them. They are brilliant musicians and foot-stompingly good. It was great to meet up with friends to enjoy their music and sing, stamp and clap along. One of those rare happy glow moments.

Now let’s see if my upgrade is money well spent ….

It was quite tricky ensuring I didn’t inappropriately capture anyone’s image. That’s my excuse for the clumsy editing… Enjoy a brief snippet of the band in full flow.

Outside the sun had come out to play – truthfully us Cumbrians were not sure what that yellow shiney orb in the sky was – and the Morris dancers were in fine fettle. A spritely jingley happy end to a fabulous afternoon.

Thanks to KS and AB for asking me. It was a thoroughly fab time. Back again next year?

As to craft making think my mojo is slowly but surely reasserting itself. Those booties were finished,

And gifted to the beautiful baby they were made for. He’s gorgeous and mum and dad are quite rightly glowing with pride. And look!

I am on a roll. Whoopppeeee. There will be no stopping me now.

What are you up to? Any craft projects underway? Visiting any festivals?
It would be lovely to hear.

Until next we meet,
Moke xxx

Twinkle Twinkle

Hello All

When I was a library lady one of my favourite tasks was to lead Toddler Tales every Monday morning. It was a great way to start the week. The chaos of little people, parents, grandparents and carers all momentarily calmed by coming together to sing rhymes and listen to stories.

Most beautiful of all was the sharing of nursery rhymes which all the generations could share. Simple couplets so ingrained in our memories that we instantly recall them as soon as the first magic words are said. One such has to be “Twinkle, twinkle little star”. It brings a little tingle to the back of my neck recalling how sweet it was to hear old and young voices combined to sing this lovely poem.

And what brought about this happy memory? Good friend B sent me a link to a crochet pattern! Thanks to a free Moogly pattern you can use up your yarn scraps to make your own little stars.

With a couple of minutes to spare, a few basic tools,

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and even the scrappiest of scrap,
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you can make up a simple decorative star in a trice. Have fun trying different yarns and hook sizes

and perhaps add another point

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to create your own perfect twinkling star.

Ah well time to hook up a few more stars – it’s kind of addictive – and start thinking about presents and cards and all things Christmassy….eeeeekkkk …… maybe I’ll just enjoy making stars and keep Christmas thoughts at bay until December.

 

Until next we meet, Moke x

PS Sorry I vanished last week but my internet went off!!! Zut alors! Mx

 

 

Yarndale here we come ….. a promise kept.

Hello All

And yes… I made it … correction …Lorry and me made it to (drumroll please) YARNDALE whoo-hoo.

All good things start with a journey and Lorry knows the most civilized way to travel, Earl Grey and ginger biscuits, what else?

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Then settle down on the train from Lancaster to Skipton with a good read.

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In order to arrive refreshed in the lovely market town of Skipton.

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Of course I couldn’t take the short yarnbombed route. Oh no it was the Sedbergh walk back from Farfield all over again i.e. round the houses. But these detours are always worth it. With little reminders of happy days past,

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pretty lanes,

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and small space living.

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Mmmm now there’s an idea. Delightful though my perambulations were I was pleased when I saw…

and I joined the queue (mental note: next year remember to buy ticket online in advance). With happy ladies around to chat to the queue moved quickly and in no time I was stamped

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Good grief I must moisturize!  and clutching in my hot sweaty crinkly hand a Yarndale programme.

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With Lorry safely tucked in the back pack we were IN.

I had said to myself that I wouldn’t take photos of things that you could see better on the Yarndale blog or on Attic 24  but I couldn’t resist an iconic bunting shot

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all that hard work to create a cheery welcome could not be ignored. Fabulous. Again this year’s mandala project meant I couldn’t resist a snap

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or two

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Aren’t they gorgeous? There was inspiration all around.

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Another small living idea perhaps? But Lorry was getting restless.

This time last year good friend Linda Frickel was in hospital and on my last visit I promised her that we would be coming to Yarndale in 2014. Sadly Linda could not be with me nonetheless I felt I must visit Yarndale to hold to that promise. Having won the marvelous Lorry in the Frickel Pig raffle he was destined to come too. Lorry reminded me of the fun, colour and enthusiasm Linda embodied. All I needed was a photo that encapsulated all that Linda loved about woolly stuff…..I can’t believe what I did next (Linda I hope you are having a celestial chuckle!). There was only one place that I could take Lorry’s picture,

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in the arms of the lovely Lucy of Attic 24 fame!

Lucy was as super in person as she is on her blog and I want to thank her very much for taking time to listen to Linda’s story and have her picture taken with Lorry. Linda absolutely loved Lucy’s blog at Attic 24 it appealed to her love of craft and more especially colour. She worked on the blog’s projects and introduced all at Wool’n’Stuff to it. I am now an addict. I hope this happy little moment for me and Lorry reaches Linda in the heavens …. and she also notices I got in the famously yarn bombed lamp stand in the background!

Yarndale was a wonderful event. Well done to all the organisers but special thanks to Lucy for making my day and helping me feel in some small way I had kept my promise to Linda.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Sheepfest …. spot Lorry.

Please note there may be one or two sheep in this blog.

Hello All

With 103 sheep dotted through the small Dales town of Sedbergh for its first ever Sheepfest taking photos of sheep became addictive. Somewhere among them there may be a small Frickel pig called Lorry. Can you spot him?

There were magnificent sheep in shop windows.

Sheep lest we forget.

Cheeky sheep.

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Shop sheep.

Literary sheep.

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The Baaaaaa-rd of Sedbergh (AW’s own work….isn’t he great?).

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Jolly sheep.

Realistic sheep.

Local historian sheep.

Estate Agent sheep.

(N)ew(e) – born sheep (the lady in this shop is expecting a baby any day, this was a lovely touch).

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Shopping sheep.

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Poorly sheep (in chemist’s window…where else?!)

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Farming sheep.

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Stone-wall sheep.

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Twin-town Slovenian sheep.

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Crafty sheep.

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Farfield Mill sheep.

Bell ringing sheep.

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Musical sheep.

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…the vicar even looked a bit woolly …

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I know this is impossible but incase you are a little sheep-ed out. Pride of place at the top of the aisle was this beautiful coat of many colours.

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Made of small woven strips

created by local school children with the help of community artist Donna Campbell the coat is a work of art. It was lovely eavesdropping on children proudly showing-off their strips to parents and grand-parents.

I am sorry that I couldn’t capture a picture of every sheep – some were let down by my inadequacies as a photographer – but I think even this little selection will give some idea of how hard the people of Sedbergh had worked to make Sheepfest such great fun. It was a real tribute to their town and them.

A super day out!

Until next we meet, Moke x

PS Did you spot him?

Sometimes you do win things!

Hello All

Are you like me, enter raffles and prize draws run for good causes in the CERTAIN knowledge that you’ve really made a donation as you never win anything? Well my mantra is going to have to change from”I never win…” to “I sometimes do!”. English reticence prevents me from running around shouting “I WON! I WON!” ……. “I WON!”.

What did I win? Oh boy. I came home on Monday evening after a L-O-N-G day at work. I thought I’d better check my emails and there was a Facebook message from the lovely Adrienne owner of Williams Wools saying:

“Your Big Pink Pig is ready for collection when you are! Congratulations! xxx”

Of course my response was suitably subdued:

OMG!!!! I can’t believe it, wow…. best cheer up after long day at work ever. Thank you the pig is AMAZING. I’ll be in on Saturday!!!! Mxxx”

I have kept you in suspense long enough…this is what or should I say who I won

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beautifully knitted in gorgeous soft wool by talented knitter JCo to raise money for Linda’s charities during Mintfest say hello to the latest addition to my household: a lovely big Frickel pig of my very own.

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I hadn’t gone very much further – just reached the market – when I saw another woolly friend LSt and Big Pink had a more suitable name. I’ve decided to take him with me on my travels – an adventure yet to be revealed – as a reminder of Linda, my home town of Kendal and my friends woolly and otherwise. LSt thought as he is to be a traveling pig his name should be Lawrence (Laurie to his friends) after Lawrence of Arabia. Laurie (or Lorry!) it is.

Lorry has been checking out his new home and seems particularly happy in the garden

keeping an eye on my sock making.

 

Lorry welcome.

This week happily destroyed two of my personal myths, Mondays are ‘orrible and “I never win anything”. Love it when that happens.

Hope you too had a good week. Roll on Monday morning….

Until next we meet, Moke x

 

 

 

Sunny Day Celebrations

Hello All

Beautiful weather this weekend and how smashing that is ‘cos it’s Mintfest! and what’s more a Mintfest dedicated to our lovely friend Linda with whom we shared a passion for all things woolly. Even the programme bore testament to her love of knitting.

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Inside the cover a thoughtful dedication reminded us of how devoted she was to this wacky street art festival.

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I spent Saturday scouting out the hiding places of the little Frickels

and being distracted by street performances – don’t even ask about the Poo Monster … terrifying! – and clever ideas. These jolly decorated cones protected a small army of children who were colouring in the chalk outlines of a pretty spreading garland to create a colourful pavement.

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But the best was yet to come. On Sunday I was totally wowed by the full display of Fricklettes (thanks to SGi for that name!) at the top of Finkle Street in the ‘Birdcage’.

there were sooooo many of these cute little pigs

I can’t imagine how long this took LSi and her little team of Homespun volunteers. I hope they are proud of themselves it looked wonderful. Even the posts and benches had been yarn bombed.

There was a comfy sofa, chairs and a table weighed down with wool for people to drop in and take up some knitting or other wool crafts. All this, brilliant sunshine and a lively band “The Vicars of Skiffle” – who we were reliably informed knitted their own jumpers – made for an amazing and memorable tribute. BIG thanks LSi and the woolly community of Kendal!!!!!

Mintfest is now taking a year off. Luckily Mintfest 2014 was so sunnily successful that it has left us with many happy images to keep us going until 2016.

 

Until next we meet. Moke x