Tuesday, November 19, 2013

a few little things that I've been up to

I intended to write a lovely long blog post about 3 months ago, talking about my exciting news...that is now 3 months old. I've gone back to university!!

Sounds bonkers, I know. Sometime in August (it's all a bit of a blur to be honest) I decided that I might like to try my hand at textile design...just like that. So, I looked to the nearest art school that I could think of. Conveniently, it's in one of my favourite spots - Falmouth! Take a look at their webiste if  you like. Falmouth is an amazing town, and the university is excellent (I say).

So it's almost the end of November, and this is the first time I've paused to put up some pictures and give you a little update. The Textile Design program is SO MUCH FUN. I've just rushed home from a full day of printing to sort out some notebooks and admire my days' work. 

Enough chatter, here's what's been happening...

Weave samples. We're going through 3 rather fast paced rotations of each discipline (weave, print and mixed media). In the our 4 weeks of weave I managed 2 sets of samples. These are from my second warp, and certainly my favourites!

A funny twill with gold silk weft

Basketweave variation with charcoal alpaca as the main weft.

A very exciting double cloth...with copper embroidery thread thrown in there!

A crazy inlay experiment on the loom...I quite liked this one in the end...

A barely there psychedelic oyster cloud. I'm still printing like a maniac at the moment, so there should be more pictures. For now, just this one. 

Just that little snipped for now. I've started to get into back into taking photos again. I am going to try my best to post more frequently with projects and so on. Fingers crossed!

Friday, July 26, 2013


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Once again, I have been terribly negligent of my little blog. Here I am, better late than never I say, with lots to catch you up on!

Back in April (I know, I know) I went on a great adventure. A long train journey to Yorkshire, strapped into my camping gear and heavily laden with lots of warm layers, I was ready for a weekend of camping, foraging and cooking. The whole thing sounded like so much fun that I didn't mind the cold even a bit!

Almost a year before, I had signed up for a wild food foraging course when my mother back in Canada mentioned some cool folks teaching foraging courses just outside of Harrogate. The cool folks I'm talking about are Chris and Rose of Taste the Wild. They offer a great selection of foody courses throughout the year. A combination of years of foraging experience, loads of cooking skill and a great vision made Taste the Wild even better than I expected it to be.

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A little group of us camped in the tee pees that were set up just next to an amazing outdoor kitchen. Composting loos, a big bonfire every night and all the tea we could drink made me feel like I wasn't roughing it at all! My hair did form rather large dreads by the second day...suppose that's as close as I came to roughing it.

We spent our days wandering around the beautiful surrounding woodland, in search of the first edible growth of spring. Then, trug-fulls of fresh green things were hauled back to the kitchen and the cooking began! Turns out that Chris is was a professional chef in London for rather a long time, so the yummy food just kept on coming.

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Wood sorrel drop scones cooked over an open fire. Very fun, and very yum!

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Wood Pigeon on the grill

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Wood Avens Bread Sauce. We made a bouquet garnis with wood aven roots. They taste of clove,

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Wood Avens, freshly picked

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 Rose explaining preserving!

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Making a Pine distillation in this lovely brass alembic. I want one just because it's so pretty, swear I won't start making moonshine!

There was a lot more great food that I ate up before I thought to take a pic, but you get the idea. I still am a novice, but I can see foraging becoming an addiction. Fresh, organic, local food is growing all around us all the time and we just call it a weed! How satisfying to use something that is already there! Since coming home, I've foraged lots of wood sorrel, wild strawberries, wild pea shoots and wood avens from my lane. I can pick leaves on my walk home from work and eat them for tea. Pretty dreamy!

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I learned a few other useful bits and pieces on this foraging course, including how to skin a rabbit. Easy peasy, just ignore that grimace on my face!

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It's a wild pea shoot. They taste JUST like peas, so great!

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Chris, harvesting reedmace (i think that's what this was called). It looked like a giant leek, and we stuck it on pizzas. Huzzah! 

If you ever get the chance, take a Taste the Wild course. I won't overwhelm you with any more pictures, but I will say that I had a great time, learned so much, and am so inspired to keep on foraging!

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a handful on wild strawberries picked from my lane. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dunster Castle

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Just a couple of weeks ago, my family came to visit from Canada. It was an action packed few weeks; lots of cream teas, long walks and exploring North Devon. One of the spots I enjoyed the most was Dunster Castle, a National Trust property in the village of Dunster (very close to my Lynton home). 
I won't go on about the castle's history, it is all described far more succinctly than I could put it on the National Trust website. I will say that what I loved so much about the castle was the 1000 year occupation of the site. Since it's beginning as a Saxon hillfort, Dunster Castle was occupied into the 1920s. It was amazing to walk past a medieval wall and into an art deco sitting room, past William Morris wallpaper and into ghost-filled dungeons (allegedly). I found myself snapping pictures of some unusual details and funny little things I found in the corners of rooms...always lots of textiles and wallpaper too!

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utterly amazing quilt.

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Simple, beautiful ceiling and stag head.

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Fabulous, 1920s lounge. I may have found a new favourite wallcolour.

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The wallpaper of my dreams.

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Member of the Lutrell family who lived in Dunster Castle for 600 years. I don't remember this chap's name, but he is obviously very cool because he only has one eye.

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I squeeked when I saw this - puts me and my penmanship to shame.

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After  our visit to the castle, we wandered through the village of Dunster. By then, I think I had taken so many photos that I was a bit burnt out; I don't have a single photograph of the village!

Just because I'm having so much fun knitting this, here are a few snaps of my latest knitting project...

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The pattern is Funchal Moebius by the lovely Kate Davies.  The instant I saw this pop up on Ravelry, I knew that I had to knit it. I don't usually get into colourwork, so I was surprised at my determination to knit something that was ENTIRELY stranded, but I'm loving it! This may even be a knitting turning point for me...don't want to speak too soon though. I'm knitting my Funchal in Viola Falkland Fingering, 2 colours that I squirreled away for myself ages ago, Walrus and Ghost. The pattern says to knit to 14 repeats, and I've only just started into the 4th. Let's see how long this project will actually take, and how I feel about the colourwork once I've reached the end, Stay tuned!

Friday, May 31, 2013

a new pattern!

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The internet has been down at my lovely Emoor home for the past month or so, which has meant a lack of blogging, but increase in knitting time. Honestly, life without internet access is so strange! I spent my computer free time knitting up these sweet mittens in a new John Arbon yarn called Hayward. It is a DK weight 100% merino marl created by the lovely Sara. When Sara is not dreaming up lovely marl combinations she is busy at the mill as our master of coning and folding, multi talented lady that she is!
As soon as I knit up my first swatch in Hayward, I knew I wanted a simple and traditional pattern that would showcase Sara's lovely marls. Of course, I couldn't help but add in a few surprise contrasting colours (I am terribly predictable). The Marl Mittens are knit in the round, from the cuff up. They feature, my favourite, rounted fingertips as well as two different cuff options. Knit one pair, or knit a bunch, but do have fun mixing in fun contrasts - that's the best part! You can buy the pattern now on Ravelry and very soon from the John Arbon website. Hope you enjoy!

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

life on the moor

It's been more than a month now since my last move (it's the 4th home I've lived in since coming to England). I've meant to post about it sooner, but time, and a long to-do list have not allowed it. 

It's a dreamy place to live - a rambling old farmhouse plunked in the middle of the moor. The other day there were wild ponies in the long gravel drive leading to the house.  I have been itching to get out on the moor for a nice long walk. Sadly, the past few weekends have brought dismal weather, and I have been more or less house bound. I did sneak out last weekend in gale force winds to get just a few pictures...

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It's been so cold that there isn't much flowering except the gorse, but there is plenty of that! 

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The house itself is full of life, I share it with four other ladies, as well as their various dogs, cats and horses.

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Perhaps the most exciting and life-changing thing that has happened since moving into Exmoor Way is using the aga. I cooked polenta in the "top oven" last night and it came out creamy and delicious (had it with duck and plum sausages from the farmer's market!) Tonight, I'll be baking an oatmeal and stout cake in there...I'll find out which corner of the oven suits my favourite cake best!

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My little bedroom is bright and cozy, and has the most lovely view of the moor. I find myself staring at the moon and stars every night before bed.

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I think I can safely say it is the most beautiful place I've ever lived in. I feel so lucky to be here, surrounded by wilderness and all things wonderful. I'm so looking forward to a summer of exploring the moor!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013


A few weeks back I had the pleasure of accompanying the John Arbon Textiles gang to the Selvedge Spring Fair. The show was held in London, at the Chelsea Town Hall - a beautiful building! Fibre-y shows I've been to in the past have all been held in big (and rather unattractive) venues, so this was a very welcome change. Warm wooden walls and lovely architectural details were the perfect backdrop for the array of beautiful textures and colours that were on display at the show. 
For those who don't know, Selvedge is a magazine that focuses on textiles arts and artisans. Each page is beautiful and inspirational - can you tell I like it? The show featured venders selling everything from vintage Hungarian textiles, hand embroidered woolen dressing gowns (I might have bought one...), intricately hand stitched dolls, French antiques and so much more. I could have left with a very big hole in my bank account, and came very close to it!
In my usual Emily fashion, I was so swept away with the display that I neglected to gather the names of a lot of the talented people I spoke to, but I'll do my best to reference the photos I've taken.

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Of course, my day began with a visit to John and Juliet. Their stand looked lovely, and the cold weather outside seemed to be inspiring shoppers to keep their toes warm in a squishy pair of wool socks.

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I have hunted high and low for the list of venders at the Spring Fair, and come up empty handed. Sadly, I'll just have to share my pictures, hope you are inspired at the least!

I just love how delicate the stitching is on these dolls. Even though their faces are out of focus, you can see their tiny little mouths and rosy cheeks have so much detail.

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I flipped out for these stunning hand woven blankets, pillows and throws from Catarina Riccabona. For once I had the sense to take a photo with her name in it. The way she combined colours with naturals and textures within stripes and...everything. I want one of her blankets in my life...someday...

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This was my favourite piece from the collection of vintage Hungarian textiles. It's a small tablecloth, and the most special thing about it is that there is a section in the center that has faded with time and use, so it's colours range from bright red into dusty pink.

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I bought myself a beautiful ribbon from this basket, to use in my hair. Of course, I chose one that was too short...so now it's hanging from a peg board. Curse my thick hair!

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This was, without a doubt, the most exciting thing that I saw at the show. It is an antique hand embroidered fox!!!!! Look at the rabbits running across it's back, and the squirrel in the top left. I cannot imagine hand-stitching this. Obviously it was made my the most patient and determined person who ever lived! I foolishly didn't get the name of the lovely girl who was selling it, and can't find her anywhere - apologies if you are out there!

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Another lovely stand, and another forgotten name. Throughout the day, I began to refer to this stand as "the gray folks" I'm sure that they have a much more lovely and eloquent name than that! I had to get a photo of them for my mom - just check out those linen aprons. They also had hand dipped candles and felted slippers...all gray of course!

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Cute silly things

More fun and pretty things... 

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There was so much to see and do, and I've made a couple of amazing purchases...too many I'm sure. When the weather is warmer up here on the moor, I will get out my new silk frock and take some photos, but that's all for the time being.

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