Breaking Silences: Talking Across the Pond Again. . .

July 17, 2012

Morning Nora!

Power outages and fires in residential neighbourhoods sound dire. At least things here are just wet, its not like we’re not used to that, just not in the vast quantities we’re having a the mo.

It did stop raining briefly on Sunday, just long enough to get a few loads through the washing machine before breakfast at which point we abandoned all pretense of any interest in domestic drudgery and legged it to the country park.

It makes a bit of a change from walking through fields because there aren’t any sheep which means the hairball can run for miles without feeling the urge to round any up, although she still herds the children (both mine and other peoples). The other added bonus is that both parking and footpaths are solid which means no wheel spinning in mud wondering why the heck I chose that particular parking spot. It also reduces the amount of laundry I have to do on our return, or at least it would have done had the girls not run through every muddy puddle they could find.

We walked for miles and miles managing to spend half a day there, only leaving when the rumble of tummies outweighed the need for fresh air.

We finally managed to put the finishing touches to D’s shed which meant we could start moving his stash of things out of the house. It’s amazing what a difference moving a few boxes makes. It was also a heck of an incentive for a ruthless clear out of outgrown toys and the detritus of everyday life.

The rest of the week was pretty much spent dodging rainstorms or avoiding venturing outdoors unless essential. The road outside the house is a couple of inches deep in water, the lawn is waterlogged and very squelchy and the chickens are knee deep in mud.  Fortunately it will eventually dry out, in the meantime we’re making the most of indoor activities. In Fs case this means revising for her pony club theory exam, B is sitting the same exam but is rather more blasé about the whole thing.

I’ve had more time than ever to do crafty things which is always good. I dug out the drop spindle I bought last month but never seemed to find the time to try out and gave that a whirl. Several hours and one small blister later I had a teeny skein of yarn. Was most chuffed by this and rather relaxed at the end of it.

I did a little knitting, well ok rather a lot of knitting. Anouk was a dream to knit, the pattern was a doddle to follow, intuitively written and most surprisingly it felted to precisely the dimensions given in the instructions. Am itching to add the hardwear but she’s taking an eternity to dry. Wondering if that’s because the thing that makes sheepy wool water repellent also stops it drying easily or if that’s just because its so cold and damp here.

Also managed to block the shawl, neglecting to instantly tidy up after myself, went back to do that sometime later and found my blocking mats transformed into a den. The imagination of a small child never ceases to amaze me.

B ended her academic year with a deluge of awards which included the Head Teachers Award for effort and the School Governors’ Award for outstanding attitude. I can’t begin to put into words just how proud we are of her.

F and I have three more days to go before school shuts to pupils until September. Fortunately it’s three days of bouncy castles, parties and art classes rather than traditional lessons. It’s quite possibly my favourite week of the year.


July 31, 2012

Dear Amanda

Please forgive my long silence, both with you and with the blog. I have been swamped and overwhelmed and rather enjoying not talking into the dark which is the way the blog feels to me a lot of the time (not our letters!).  Plus spending a lot of time getting things ready to launch my two new bags—you’re going to LOVE them.

But without further ado, THANK YOU FOR THE PRESENT FOR SOMA!!!  O Wow!  How very cool!  He was so excited that he put on his official London 2012 Olympic T-shirt and cap to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies. When we sit down to watch the games in the evening, he puts on his cap. I’ll take a picture one of these nights to send.  So adorable.

The heat wave/lack of rain has broken here, and it looks from pictures on TV that the rain has finally stopped there, though I did see the archery competitions took place in the rain!  How are things going weather-wise now? Your on-the-ground reports are better than googling the weather . . . I like the pictures of the walk in the countryside. Beautiful and soothing. Here, it is almost impossible to find such a vast space with such great sky. We are always down in the trees, the landscape (at least where I am) hilly enough that the sky gets small. We are always enclosed.  I was recently out in Texas where the sky is very big and even in the Hill Country (I was near San Antonio teaching in a WONDERFUL SHOP called The Tinsmith’s Wife that is, truly, in an old tinsmith’s.  Across the street, rumor has it, was the forge itself. Next door was the tinsmith’s residence. More pictures posted on facebook later.

D’s shed looks amazing and makes me want my own! I know what you mean about how a bit of moving things around, ruthless decisions about what to donate, pitch, or save feels as though a weight lifts from your shoulders with each decision. How much of the time do we walk around feeling the weight of decisions not yet made? I’ve recently taken on a bit more space at the studio. I have hopes that this will help with efficiency if I set things up right at the outset. I’ll have three rooms now, each connected to the other by doorways (without doors, just walk throughs, really). The largest room will be devoted to display, retail (such as it is . . . Very little foot traffic here, which sometimes seems quite nice as I am always very busy and involved in a project of some sort of another–but don’t let that stop you if you are in the area! It’s always nice to stop and show everything), and teaching. I’ve got a great big table that comfortably seats 8 so very nice for an intimate class.  The light is fabulous as there are two great windows at one end.

The second room is my office. Painted a lovely red as I’ve always wanted a red room. It’s a long skinny room with a single great window at one end.

The new room is long and skinny as well but with a bit of an L shape toward the windows. So, I’ll have 2 great windows in that room. This new room will be devoted to all my shipping business and bins of inventory (all that right now is in the big room so makes for a bit of a mess and confusion in the place that is supposed to be tidy and welcoming).

The fellow who is moving out is a photographer who is moving into a space with other photographers upstairs. As soon as he moves his things, the door will be cut and the make-it-and-fix-it guys will start creating a doorway and put up unattractive but functional lights—the photographer is taking his fancy lights with him . . .

Perhaps I’ll post before and after pictures and blog about the move on the Monday blog. . . What do you think? I won’t feel so much as though I’m talking into a dark closet if I know you and my friend Mary E. are reading. [If you are reading this and want to see the big studio transformation captured in the Monday blog, say something in the comments . . .]

The summer is winding down here. I can feel the change in the air, the quality and temperature. I’ve watched the lilies come and go, the gladiolas. The Ligularia flower stalks get longer by the day. Every day Soma and I check for tomatoes—there are green ones and flowers, but no fruits to eat yet–we were a bit late with the planting as you might have guessed from our late harvest. We did make our first eggplant harvest and I cooked a dish I have not made for a long time: sauteed eggplant with sweet onions and ground turkey. A little garlic. A savory brown sauce. Over rice. Delicious.  Soma loved it.

So happy to hear about the accolades of your daughter!  Three cheers!

And so happy to see lovely Anouk! I’ve just read through your notes and love them love them love them. Delightful and thank you for saying such lovely and kind things about me! If you love Anouk, you’ll love the new bags I’m coming out with this week. Take a peak at them:

Introducing W in small and large size (large is the dark grey with longer body and slightly bigger).

And 6-8-10. The perfect beginner bag: 3 sizes. The hardware is spectacular! Kits are beautiful. Pester your local shop to bring them in and all your friends to knit them!  They will make the best gift ever.

And here is 6 in red:

Let me know what you think of these new beauties!.


9 thoughts on “Breaking Silences: Talking Across the Pond Again. . .

  1. Loved reading about your studio expansion! I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a professional space to work in, instead of the dining room, the kitchen,…the basement…

    Very excited about your new handbags. Especially 6-8-10. I’ve recently started experimenting with bead embroidery and I think these will provide the perfect canvas.

    Thanks for another great design!

    • It’s funny how, for me, the studio is wonderful but I wish it was outside my backdoor. How many times it has happened that the needles or yarn color I need are at the studio, 20 minutes away by car. I will post the before pictures on Monday along with commentary on the organization plan and my current life making up the kits for 6-8-10 and W. Both bags are fabulous–I’m completely in love with both of them, though I must confess that 6 has stolen my heart. It was a little pink 6 that I took with me on a date with my husband. Perfect size for phone, lipstick, cash, credit card, key, and pen.

  2. Would love to see before and after shop pictures! 🙂 We have tomatoes and peppers, but raccoons or other night visitors are making dents in our harvest. I had to laugh at the poor creature who took one bite of a poblano pepper and decided it was too hot; left it right on the vine! I had it in my salad later that day (sans bite mark).

    • Hi Janice, You are so right: I’ll start working on a Rav KAL post haste. . . if you are going to be anywhere near Stitches Midwest next weekend, go to Stitching Memories booth. She has a goodly number of kits speeding their way to her right now and will have them at the show. I will be shipping to other shops tomorrow and early next week–we’ll get a list of shops that are carrying the kits up on the Noni website shortly. If folks would like kits sooner than that, I’m happy to help. Write to me at for a store near you or to order from me.

  3. This is just gorgeous !!! Beautiful frames, simple design.
    Having troubles to get simple frames in my country/town.. grrrr.
    Wishing you lots of inspiration

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