Here in the south of England May is the most magical month. Throughout April there are always days that feel like they've been reclaimed by winter, with sharp frosts, cold winds and even late snow flurries. But when May arrives it brings a dramatic change and suddenly the countryside, which seemed so bare, brown and twiggy just a week ago, is clothed in a bright green growth.
If you visited these woods during winter you would think them rather dull, but they are at their breath-takingly beautiful best right now and to come and sit here with a coffee and a rather delicious slab of salted caramel brownie is such a privilege and delight. Sitting quietly on this log, surrounded by such beauty, smelling the delicate scent drifting up from the bluebells and listening to the bird song filtering down through the new leaves in the canopy is a joy and I'll be back out in the woods again next week, making the very most of this fleeting natural wonder.
"I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older."
Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room
PS: Thanks for all of the kind comments on the horses pattern, it's almost done, will post again when all the final checks are finished, J x
Hello Hello, hope you are well. I didn’t mean to be away for so long, but as you can see I have been keeping busy! I have wanted to do a horse pattern for such a long time, but every time that I have made a prototype there was something that I felt didn’t work, and so back to the drawing board I went. Then at the end of last year I had an equine epiphany and things clicked into place for me, resulting in a flurry of knitting activity and the beginnings of a new pattern. I have been working on it solidly now for 5 months and at last I’m almost finished with the final pattern.
So far I’ve knitted 33 different heads, including different facial markings for the horses, along with unicorns and donkeys too. I have to tell you that those manes do take a bit of patience, adding a strand at a time, but overall I’ve had a lot of fun putting this pattern together and am pleased with how it’s all looking in the layout. Just a few final pictures to take for the front covers and then I’ll be ready to share it.
It’s so exciting to almost have it ready. I have adored horses since I was quite little, always clamouring to stop and stroke their velvety noses when out on walks and delighting in donkey rides on beaches and at farms. From about the age of 8 until my mid teens I read about horses, drew horses and dreamt about horses almost constantly. I even tried to convince mum and dad that our very small suburban back garden would be perfectly fine for keeping a horse in, with pledges that I would ride it every day and tidy up after it. Needless to say my pleas did not result in a pet horse at home but they did get me riding lessons. I then started ‘working’ at the stable, I say ‘working’ because none of us were actually paid but we turned up on Saturdays or Sundays at 8.30 am ready for a day of mucking out, cleaning tack, lead-reining small children learning to ride and grooming our adored charges. My appointed horse was Sweep, a big gentle grey who was a little bit dim and kept my toenails constantly bruised by frequently standing on my feet when I was grooming him. I was also so lucky to have two week long pony trekking trips away in Wales, we rode every day in amazing countryside and I loved every minute, even the day three saddle sores!
It’s been fun looking out my old books, though I’m missing a few – the silver brumby series, by Elyne Mitchell – those were my absolute favourites. And digging out these photos has made me all nostalgic, though I don’t think I’m ready to dust off my jodhpurs any time soon!
Anyway, I’ll be back with news as soon as the patterns are in finished form, though next time I’m here will be all about the bluebells which are glorifying the woods right now, see you soon, J x
Thank you so much for all of the kind comments and messages from the previous post. As a couple of you rightly said, the rough patch will pass and Toby will be a little more calm and settled once again – hopefully soon. Anyway, I do really appreciate all of the kindness that you sent my way, thank you again for that.
This little bunny was made as a thank you gift for someone who has been very kind and helpful to me, but she has had quite a long and drawn-out journey from the northern hemisphere to the southern (what on earth is going on with the postal services at the moment?). At last however she has arrived safely and happily just in time for this special time of year.
Whatever your plans, whether you’re celebrating a festival as part of your faith, delighting in the beauties of nature as the seasons change or simply enjoying a few extra days of free time to call your own, I hope you have a lovely weekend with plenty of peace and small pleasures. My plans include setting my alarm for 6am tomorrow and heading out with my breakfast in my rucksack for a quiet dawn walk on my own with my camera, hopefully to get some pictures of the blackthorn blossom which is decorating the hedgerows so beautifully at the moment, J x
Just in case anyone wants to know:
The bunny is knitted in Camarose Snefnug yarn (one of my current fluffy favourites) with clothes in Krea Deluxe organic cotton. The lace dress is from my ‘textured dresses pattern‘, the colour-work dress is the one that comes with the lamb pattern, and the basket is from my toy bags pattern.
Words have been eluding me a little lately. Toby has been going through a bad patch behaviourally and I'm feeling a little tired and depleted. Happily Spring is now in full swing and the progression of colour throughout the countryside is providing many small delights. Being out with my camera always lifts my spirits and I hope these photos are a pleasure for you to see too. And Kit visiting again is such a joy. She's been here once or twice a week and is no longer pregnant so hopefully there are some healthy growing cubs hidden somewhere safe nearby. You can see in the second picture of her that part of her belly fur has gone, I've been trying to read up on whether it's related to her recently giving birth – maybe kind of a 'brood patch' as the cubs can't temperature regulate for the first 3 weeks of life. If anyone knows the answer please do let me know.
Progress is being made with the horse pattern but it's slow going at the moment as we're now in the Easter break from college so I'm not getting much time to work on it. Hopefully I'll have something ready to show you in a few weeks time.
Hope that you're finding some small delights in your days too, J x
I had fun making the scarf for the mouse in a sweater and thought I’d share how I did so in case you’d like to make one too:
I used two 4mm DPNs (double pointed needles) and bulky yarn to knit a 4 stitch i-cord (i-cord tutorials are easily found on your tube) to a length of around 35cms / 14 inches (enough to fit around the neck of your animal with sufficient dangle left over). Then I made 2 small pom-poms using a fork – it’s handy as you can thread a strong cord through the tines to tightly tie the middle of the pom-pom before cutting the edges and freeing it from the fork. After cutting I trimmed them to make neat balls, then lightly steamed them over a pan of water to encourage them to full poufiness.
Although the trees are currently still skeletal and bare-branched, there are a few more signs that spring is just around the corner. Last summer the old plum tree in our garden had to have a heavy pruning because some of the branches were creaking badly and cracking under the weight of the plum harvest, but even so it is currently delighting both me and the bumble bees that are emerging from hibernation with it's blossom. It is such a beautiful herald of the change in seasons. There are catkins everywhere and daffodils too and I'm looking forward to going out with my camera next week in search of those, and hopefully the first of the blackthorn blossom.
Thanks for all of the comments on my winter mice giveaway post. I've notified the winners and the mice are both packaged up and currently travelling to their new homes, one in the North of England and the other a little further away in Tasmania! I will be having more giveaways later in the year so I better get on with making some more animals and also finishing off my horse pattern, can't wait to share that with you in the spring 🙂
Hope you have a good weekend coming up. See you soon, J x