Monday 25 November 2013

Views, messes, and a finished waistcoat

The thing is I get behind with blogging  because I can't keep up with all the blogging things I want to blog about. Then I end up with a mishmash of bits and pieces. The mishmash keeps growing and I feel defeated by it.  So I shall make a start and post some of the mishmash but there is no connection or link between any of it. Just a few old bits of this and that
I'll start with the view - as always!  Glen Affric is beautiful. You must come and walk here. I have found the perfect place to have Christmas with family and friends. The distance and expense may well be the two reasons why it won't happen - but I can dream on
The walking on this estate is good. Friends who don't want to clamber up slippery steep mountain sides can walk here instead
and just soak up the loveliness of it all
I like drawing from photographs. It's neat and it's tidy, though it does feel like cheating sometimes even if the photos are my own and I put my own interpretation into the drawing
But a while ago I went to see a 'proper' artist's studio and recognise that I'm not nearly messy enough to be a real artist
this artist even paints his washing machine. I'd have to feel very liberated ( messy even) to do that
I went on a 'Dare to Draw' drawing course a month ago here at Bridge House Art in Ullapool I loved it. Eleanor encouraged us to be as messy as possible.  I drew this mug using coloured pastels and chalk and finished it off with a good splashing of strong black ink using bits of stick out of the garden. I  felt very liberated and artistic and even quite a bit messy as I drew off the edge of the paper and onto the wall - fortunately not my wall and - covered in lining paper. I still haven't painted the washing machine, but I like to think I'm getting just a bit messier.
I finished knitting my waistcoat. I'm rather partial to it, complete with leather buttons that I'll have to remove I expect should I ever decide to wash it. I often have the great idea and the practical application follows later - in this case a bit too late.
And lastly Ullapool Hill at the weekend. Winter is here the nights are pulling in. We've had our first snow and the leaves are off the trees.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Drawing in

It's that wonderful time of year again. The hills turn  shades of yellow and ginger and light up in intense bright colours in the late afternoon sun. It isn't hard to see where the designers of Harris Tweed get their inspiration from. The landscape appears positively draped in the finest softest luxury wool cloth.
Mushrooms take up residence in the garden and craft fairs (not unlike mushrooms) spring up elsewhere inviting us to shop early for Christmas. This pretty little bowl comes from Lochbroom Pottery, and is made by just one of the talented clever creative people living along the lochside. If you are on facebook you can find it here
The nights are drawing in, walks become shorter and  the smell of wood smoke is in the air. I'm knitting a waistcoat for myself. What a nice young man in the pattern! He's a bit small though, I think my waistcoat may be on the tight side!  I got in a bit of a muddle when trying to knit a mitred edge on the front strapping. Mary along the lane came and sorted me out. Thank you Mary I shall carry on knitting straight neat mitred edges this evening!

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Wood, Wool and Walking by the sea

The Assynt Festival held Wood and Wool demonstrations in Lochinver Village Hall this week. It was excellent. Spinning and combing and carding at one end of the hall  chopping and carving and drilling at the other. I may never make that green wood three legged stool or process fleece into yarn and knit something amazing  but it was impossible not to be caught up in the enthusiasm and joy that the wood worker and spinners alike had for their craft. The wooden buttons, so beautifully made were the first attempt by a lady who had only recently begun to spin wool. Her knitted bag in basket stitch was a delight. They gave their time so freely and somehow we came home at the end of the day feeling better for it.

Friday 4 October 2013

Just Rubbish

Loch an Obain lies in the heart of a National Nature Reserve. Scottish National Heritage promotes its care and improvement. It's stunning and beautiful. Loch an Obain couldn't be described as a beach exactly. It has difficult access involving scrambling down a steep slope often waist high in bracken and rushes and rough and boggy underfoot. I didn't go to take photos of rubbish but the more we followed the strandline along the shore the more abandoned boxes, floats, fishing nets, rope and plastic containers we found. All of it classed as fishing litter from trawlers and boats. I don't hold Scottish Natural Heritage responsible for cleaning up this mess. The wriggly coast line of north west Scotland with its hidden coves and lochens often miles off the beaten track with little or no easy access by foot is almost impossible to keep tidy and debris free. But I can hold Kellybegs Seafoods Ltd in Co. Donegal in Ireland responsible for dropping their fish box overboard, even if by accident.  It took determination and effort to drag it from the shore back to the car. No Unauthorised Use it says on the side of the box. Quite right, it shouldn't have been there, washed up on this beautiful bit of coast line. I authorised myself to take it home and use it for putting things in. The following day I went with a friend to Ullapool to help with a beach survey and clean. I learnt about and The Marine Conservation Society - working towards clean seas and beaches. If people care they will get involved.
We want to go back to Loch an Obain. but we think to clean up round the loch we will need a boat. A challenge certainly!

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