Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Honeymoon purchases

And to round off the series of wedding/honeymoon posts, only getting-on-for-two-months-since-we-got-married, here are my honeymoon purchases!
First of all from the Yarn Gathering in Coventry. 7 balls of Grignasco Merino Gold in burgundy (and one in grey which isn't pictured). This is  really good value, machine washable 100% merino wool. Hopefully to make the Essential Cardigan, from Interweave Knits Summer 2010.

Then from Warwick Wools 8 balls of Sirdar Supersoft Aran to make jumpers for the nephews for Christmas. Although it's 100% acrylic it doesn't feel like it. And a ball of Regia Hand-Dye Effect sock yarn, 'cos it looked fun.

And this pattern for the Supersoft Aran jumpers for the nephews.

Warwick was also good for bookshops, I bought one of these from the secondhand bookshop, and the other one in Warwick Books!

The final purchase, from Web of Wool in Leamington Spa has already found its way across the Atlantic as part of Tabitha's thank you present for the wedding shawl she made me!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ambridge knitting circle

You may remember, back in the dim and distant days before our wedding, the absolutely fantabulous evening when we went to the pub for knitting group, only to be presented with a knitted cake (from Staines knitting group) and a blanket, made by the Ambridge knitting circle. Yes, I know this was a million years ago now, we have after all now been married for a  whole nearly 7 weeks.

And I promised that I would post pictures of the blanket in all its glory up on here, only it's taken me a while to do it.

This is it on Monkey's bed. I should probably provide some background. The Archers is a totally wonderful radio soap that has been running for at least 1000 years on BBC radio 4 (to which I am also addicted). It's meant to be an everyday story of countryfolk, or rather that's what it used to be. Now it's apparently a contemporary drama in a rural setting. (?!?!) Anyway. At some point in my life that I now can't remember I started listening to it. And quickly became addicted. Then I joined Ravelry and discovered that there wasn't an Archers group on there, so way back in August 2007 I set up the Archers Listeners group. The group has grown to 378 members and is friendly and nice (we haven't got any rules or anything similar and everyone trundles along very happily even though people have some very different views about life).

Following a discussion about a hypothetical Ambridge Knitting Circle on the group some of the others got together in secret online and set up AKC1 knitters on Ravelry, to organise knitting a blanket for our wedding. And this is the result:

These squares are: Interwoven (plots), Lakey Hill with sheep, wedding heart and Jimmy Prentice's ploughed field.

Then: Openwork Daisy, Grange farm turkeys (from Gobble dishcloth by Elaine Fitzpatrick), "Softie" square and Cupid's bow and arrow (although I think someone posted on the list that it was the Archers too?)

Then below is: Waters of the Am, Bee stitch in local mohair/wool (Jill's bees), Ambridge cricket and the single wicket and Solid square (often lacking in Ambridge).

Then we have: "Puss-cat" (Lilian), Wheatsheaf pattern, the Flower and Produce and Tricolour square (Blossom Hill Cottage).

And: Two colour star stitch in local mohair/wool, in memory of Phil, twining vines (Lower Loxley), tractor, Double hearts

A pint of Shires, Peony - spring in Ambridge, field of daisies (for Daisy) and ploughed field.

honeycomb stitch, in local mohair/wool (Jill's bees), the diverted footpath (theme idea by Dollydolittle), Granny in the middle (take your pick!) and Adam's strawberries.

St Stephen's church (Alan & Usha), Traditional Granny (Jill), textural tractor and "Tiger" (Matt).

And Tying the knot, Tom's sausages, St Stephen's church (and Phil: organ pipes pattern), centred square (if we only had more of these in the Archers!).

And the final row! Hayfield, the twists and turns of village life.

Twisted granny (Vicky), The Bull at Ambridge - pub sign.

Opposites attract cable (Kathy and Kenton). And Daisy motif for Daisy.

Isn't it incredible?! The makers of the squares are: adminannie, brigidhj, dollydolittle, doodles, dwynwen, foggyknitter, greensideknits, hotterthan, Kristoemily, lilyofthevalley, thefrog and Wibbo, all of whom can be found on Ravelry. They also each included a postcard from where they live. Thank you to all of them!

And the whole thing was co-ordinated by greensideknits, who also put it all together, dyed the yarn for the borders and knitted them!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


And finally, I blog about the honeymoon! Life has been totally mad since we got back home (nearly a month ago now!). Work has been really busy and I've been working late a bit, and clearing up after the wedding, and sorting out stuff like wedding photos and writing letters and things like that! And trying to get caught up on some gardening whenever the weather cools enough to let me spend any time outside. Last night I was attempting to weed at 21.45 as it got dark as that was the first time it was cool enough!

We stayed in the most fabulous Victoria Apartment in Stratford, which even came equipped with knitting books! No, I did not know about this in advance, despite the OH's suspicions!

The apartment was in a great location, and even had its own car parking space, which made getting the luggage in considerably easier than if we'd had to park several streets away. It was only five minutes walk from Shakespeare's Birthplace in the centre of Stratford:

We did "do" the Shakespeare properties (well, four of the five) although the Birthplace itself is overwhelmingly, awfully, touristy. It looks pretty though. Apart from the slip hazard sign outside it. Pretty gardens though (look at that grass. It's green. Can anyone remember seeing green grass? Ours is yellow at home thanks to the lack of rain).

As well as doing the terrifically touristy Shakespeare places (if you're going, Hall's Croft, where Shakespeare's daughter lived, is nice, quieter and with a beautiful garden), we had some days out in the car. One day we went to Coventry, stopping en route in the suburb of Earlsdon to visit the Yarn Gathering:

I'd never been in a yarn shop with it all arranged by colour before. It looked amazing! I also met Kate, whose blog I've been reading for about five years now.

Honeymoon yarn and book purchases will feature in another post. Otherwise this one will win some kind of world record for length of post!

We explored Coventry, which the OH used to know very well. It was years since I've been in Coventry cathedral, old and new versions:

I think I like the old medieval cathedral best. It was destroyed by bombing in the Second World War, so is now an empty, but evocative, space.

On a different day we went over to Warwick, where we found Warwick Wools, and also Warwick Books. We loved Warwick, as it still felt friendly and townish with not many of the big chain shops, just lots of independents. Both the wool and book shops were very friendly, with a good range of stock in relatively small amounts of space (the wool was piled up to the ceiling!).

In Warwick we visited the Lord Leycester Hospital, not a medical hospital but one of those institutions that housed the needy and aged hundreds of years ago.

It had some fascinating buildings, and yet another beautiful garden!

We avoided Warwick Castle, as it looked like a theme park and cost a fortune to get into so ventured on to Leamington Spa for some lunch, and where I managed to accidentally find Web of Wool (which I'd forgotten was there!). How much sock yarn?! Another lovely shop.

After some lunch we journeyed onwards to Kenilworth Castle, which we had virtually to ourselves. This was lovely as there was plenty to explore and see, and it wasn't at all touristy (plus, there weren't any audio guides. We hate audio guides! They turn going to an exhibition into a miserable experience). There was a new Elizabethan Garden set out last year, pictured below, with the castle behind.

Parts of the castle date from the 12th century, although there are plenty of later additions. There is also a tea room with very tasty scones...

A lot of the honeymoon was spent mooching around Stratford, and walking along the banks of the Avon and the Stratford canal, not just visiting places! It was a shame we'd managed to choose the week when there weren't any plays on at the Royal Shakespeare Company, although the main theatre is still being refurbished.

On the drive home we stopped off for some lunch at Stowe Landscape Gardens:

We had an hour's walk in the gardens and didn't cover a third of it! It is one of the stranger places I've visited, surely only a Brit would be mad enough to fill a landscape with enormous temples and monuments?

But still, a beautiful place to visit and a good finishing touch for the honeymoon!

Hopefully it won't be so long this time before my next post as there won't be so many pictures to sort out...