Monday, 30 August 2010

Cadair Idris - from Dol Einion

Well nearly!

We arrived at the campsite on Friday evening for an early start on Saturday. The weather forecast was not good, but sounded better Saturday than Sunday.

Saturday was dull with frequent showers, and cloud - enveloping the mountain. We decided to try it anyway and packed three rucksacks. We were well equipped ( except that I had forgotten to pack hats and left my gloves at the campsite - a sad mistake! Yes - I do know that this is August).

I used to walk very regularly, and enjoy hill walking - if rewarded with fine views. I have never been very keen on mountains as such, and knowing that I am not really fit enough, thought that I might turn back half way and leave my son to carry on with his dad. I should have looked more closely at the map. I had a rough idea of directions in mind, and linear distance, but had paid little attention to the contours! From Dol Einion the initial ascent is very steep. Disparagingly referred to by my 16 year old as a 'motorway for walkers' the path is well maintained and stepped (very steeply). I prefer a slope to steps since they never seem to match my stride and force a peculiar stop and start pace, but I understand the problems of erosion and the need to maintain such a well-trodden path. I pitied the poor souls who had constructed the path way.

After this climb through a wooded valley, the path reaches open hillside and the the gradient is much more gradual. We gently progressed to the head of the valley. Initially, Cwm Cau, a very typical glacial lake, is hidden by its nearest 'rim' (looking almost like a man-made dam). Very impressive when it can be seen, backed by the final ridge up to Cadair Idris itself.

(Please forgive any typing errors - I fear I have too many plates spinning again. I am trying to cook a meal between loading photos and I need to pop down the garden to retrieve washing).

We had lunch beside the lake. Not as idyllic as it sounds. There was a strong wind and heavy rain, and that cloud came ever lower. We found a mossy patch in a slight dip - but it didn't provide much shelter. Husband abandoned us for what he thought was a more sheltered spot. We sat on large survival bag, put on waterproof trousers, added extra layer of fleece under caghules, and wrapped our backs in the excess of survival bag. IT WAS VERY COLD!!!.

The next part of the path follows slate steps up onto a ridge to the left of the cwm. I had thought I would turn back at this point, but finding the weather so bad and the path down steeper than I'd thought, it seemed wiser to stay together. So upwards I had to go. 16 year olds have their uses and he carried my extra water bottle which helped. 

By the time we got to the top of this section we were in cloud with intermittent views. Not too disorienting, since we had a good sense of the position of the lake - just as well bearing in mind the sheer drop of a few hundred metres to its surface!

Over 'the other side of the ridge', Dol Einion to the left - we are looking roughly towards Machynlleth. (No my legs are not that size - the wind was inflating my waterproofs through the 'pocket slits'. This next is behind us, back down to the cwm.

The path progresses along the ridge, onwards and upwards. There are patches which are more of a scramble than others. One section was almost level - very welcome! The following are of the valleys, occasionally visible through the cloud, roughly between Machynlleth and the coast ( only visible once and couldn't get camera out quickly enough) towards Tywyn.

The cloud was lower, the wind was stronger - it actually blew me over ( OK I was tired but that's just the point!) and the final stretch is a descent of about 50m followed by a climb of about 150m, along a ridge with the walls of Cwm Cau on one side. Now the ridge is quite wide but the cloud was quite thick and the wind was unpredictable. My walking poles were brilliant but I had forgotten my gloves and couldn't retract my hands into my sleeves due to my poles! My hands were swollen, uncomfortable and clumsy. Other people were still pressing on. Including someone in trainers, jeans and a fashion jacket!! We had had enough. We ate a snack with our backs pressed against a boulder to shelter and then set off back. We had some lovely views on the way down, but the steps which I had found irritating on the way up, became a source of some pain on the way down. Many were quite steep. My walking poles helped but I need new shock absorbers in the regions of knees and ankles and even my  left hip. (Probably because I was trying to protect a wonky right ankle).

Sunday was even wetter and we felt justified in having walked on Saturday. 16 year  old had quite a soggy tent - strange how wet tents become my area (a bit like wet laundry!)

We had intended to spend Sunday near Dolgellau but gave up and came home (it takes about 90 mins) to find brilliant sunshine - at least I could dry the rucksacks, waterproofs and tent! 

Must get some more practice before October trip to Cumbria. 

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A Very Special Harvest

A little early to be talking about 'harvest' yet, but I have two reasons for the title of this post. Firstly I wanted to share with you these photos from our garden

Not many pears this year and the tomatoes have been disappointing, but I think we need to reduce the load on the apple and plum trees.

And now the second reason for the title of this blog. Today is GCSE results day. I can still remember mine ( well 'O' Levels in my day) very clearly. I am very proud to say that my son now has 4 A*s, 6 As, 6Bs and 1 C ( 4 of them taken last year).  

Monday, 23 August 2010

'Seeing Double'

At last we've finished! Amy and I thought that we had chosen a quiet spell for this collaborative project but then various things (children, other work etc) distracted us. Its a little difficult on a blog to have an unveiling ceremony as such, so the best I can do is to invite you to see the results of our work ( once listed on Folksy these will link to the items in our shops)

Star Point Light House

Star Point Light House


Sunset over Clwydians

Lynwood sunset

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The Beginning of Autumn?

Another week end spent at Delamere Forest - principally for 16 year old to 'cycle' (jump ridiculous heights/lengths in association with bike - more or less!) Unfortunately he is now injured - yet again. Apparently came off bike front-wards. Face was saved by chin guard - slight tap of jaw on chin guard but no actual head injury as such. Skinned left elbow fairly comprehensively (10cm square dressing was only just adequate!), and, although his shoulder didn't hit the floor, the impact of his lower arm landing with such force has caused some damage. Collar bone seems OK but he wonders about at least a partial dislocation - noises made seemed to suggest this. Although stiff and sore he seems to have all normal movement so we're hoping rest will fix it!

All cycling was then abandoned. A gentle walk this morning, in beautiful sunshine, enabled me to collect some photos as inspiration for autumn needlework.

The elder berries, ivy and beech nuts are, as yet, very immature; but I was surprised at the depth of colour in the other berries and rose hips and we are still in August. Lots to work from!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Light house - nearly complete!

I have now added embroidery - all that remains is to form my needlework into a brooch:

I can't wait to see Amy's work!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Another busy weekend...

.... largely spent cleaning, tidying and gardening. Unfortunately our house has not benefited from any of this. The Scout group which both my two attend is having its annual 'hug the hut' week-end - general maintenance, cleaning and tidying ready for the new year of activities. We spent a few hours there yesterday - not sure that I achieved much but 16 year old and his father were a bit more use. Today OH has cleaned and polished the van and it now looks as good as new. Sadly, he's now had to go into work and our garden is still looking very neglected.

I have now stitched the main applique pieces onto my version of Amy's lighthouse:

The remaining steps are embroidery and finishing. I have enjoyed the process and it has inspired me to have one last think about summer images before turning my thoughts to the rich colours of autumn. These two brooches have been the result:

Friday, 13 August 2010

Collaboration and Folksy Friday No. 21

Some of you may know, from the Folksy Forum, that Amy (of Amyorangejuice) and I are undertaking a collaborative project. The idea began months ago when I wrote a blog post about finding inspiration for patchwork and applique amongst stained glass and mosaic designs. I featured some of Amy's work, which I have long admired and commented that there are many similarities in designs which are suitable for both textiles and mixed media. Amy agreed with me and suggested this project.

If you would like to follow progress during this week this is the thread:

Amy has chosen to interpret this design of mine in stained glass:

and I am really looking forward to producing a brooch in applique and embroidery based on this wonderful piece of Amy's

I have made a start - OK there's a long way to go but school holidays are busy times! I have assembled this collection of materials for my light house.

- Blue brushed/fleece type fabric for the background - don't worry this won't show.
- Selection of scraps of my felt and various yarns for the sea and sky.
- Green small-print fabrics for the cliff top.
- Brown small-print fabric for the path (a 'shaded' print - I'm hoping to cut carefully to suggest perspective)
- At the moment the lighthouse is white commercial felt/red&yellow embroidery cotton - this might change)

Hopefully will stitch the sea and sky later today and post a pic 


Folksy Friday No 21 - Shades of Autumn

I have listed a couple of items in Autumn shades recently and this inspired me to make these choices which I hope you like. Click on any image to view the item in its Folksy shop.

The Whimsical Wren An Eye for Nature Emlett Arts & Crafts
Made by Loulabelle Susan Green Boooks

The Whimsical Wren
An Eye for Nature
Emlett Arts & Crafts
Made by Loulabelle
Susan Green Boooks

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Mountain Goats

On foot, with the possible exception of our 16 year old, we could not be compared to goats - really need to improve my fitness before a planned trip to Cumbria. In the van, we have very serious limitations on our mobility. In Pembrokeshire, we travelled along roads which we would hesitate to re-visit in the car. We survived - with a few scratches.

Our worst experience was my fault. Determined to visit, and if possible support, local crafts people, we were on the search for an angora goat herd/flock? with accompanying workshop. Signposts and directions were great. Roads were a metre or two narrower than we had imagined, and gradients much steeper. The drive way to the farm was steep, but newly laid and with a non-slip surface - absolutely no problem for a car but the van struggled. At the top - plenty of space to park a few cars, but, not surprisingly, not designed for us. There was insufficient space on the flat area. We pulled up at the top of the drive and got out. The hand brake creaked and groaned, the van started to move, husband jumped back in and we found ourselves abandoned.

This was not a hardship. Shelves full of packs of hand-spun, hand-dyed mohair of the lovely soft fluffy variety - quite different to the over-fluffiness of some commercial brands. Looms, spinning equipment, finished hand-knitted items, woven rugs - Bliss!. I bought enough yarn for a short jacket - I hope, in a lovely mottled, peacock shade. Now all I need is some spare time - too many plates again! And when I need more yarn - an on-line mail order service is available!

I thought I had shown you all my photos of Pembroke. Then I found this one. A beautiful village called Abermoyle, with a large enough car park for the van, just down the road from the goats:

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Spinning Plates

.... my preferred  analogy!

I used to have a boss who was very good at passing everything across his desk and straight onto mine with very little filtering. There was little point in him having an 'in-tray' and all the 'pending' was in mine. In desperation I used to ask what priority he wanted the team to give to the latest task, he would invariably ask 'Why?' as if it could be of no possible consequence and when I pointed out that we were still some way from tidying up yesterday's emergencies, he would just reply 'Balls in the air, Sue, balls in the air'. I have always chosen to interpret this as a reference to a jugglers efforts to make sure that nothing hits the ground, rather than a crude, and somewhat confusing, anatomical comment. I prefer the analogy of spinning plates on poles - constantly increasing in number - or so it feels.

When I arrived back from holiday last week, I was managing to blog daily, list new items on Folksy (more or less daily), altered my website, did the backlog of holiday laundry and felt tired but positive about coping. Last week-end was OH's and my mother's birthdays and we were invited to spend a very pleasant afternoon with my mother's cousin. Two or three plates too many I fear. I have not blogged for days, activity on Folksy has been sporadic and I am brushing up metaphorical splinters of china plates as I type.

I think I have a few final photos to show you from Pembroke. We visited a fascinating beach near Newport, north of Fishguard. At first sight it was not attractive. Vehicles were encouraged to park on the beach, the sand was a murky blackish colour and the estuary was flat and lacked interest.

However, the beach had two redeeming qualities. The first was the exposed, and somewhat tilted, slate, which formed the cliffs. Easily broken into a very, very attractive form of shale, by the sea, it was responsible for the coarse, dark sand. I kept a few small pieces for inspiration - beautiful colour combinations!

The second aspect of the beach which I was thrilled to discover was very many wonderful rock pools - easily formed in the slate - they varied greatly in depth and size. Almost all had brilliant growths of sea weed. I have always loved rock pools and delight in searching for the creatures that live there, and these pools had many. I have never found much attraction in the seaweed. Usually finding only one or two sorts on a stretch of beach I was amazed to find more than a dozen here, and then stopped counting. I don't have sufficient knowledge to identify them but the range of shapes and colours were beautiful. OH kindly offered to photograph some. I was very disappointed with the results. Not interested in 'composition', I just wanted some clear images to add to my 'inspiration' file. I'll show you the results anyway:


Friday, 6 August 2010

Sunsets - Folksy Friday No 20

Sunsets have been a theme in my work this week. I have found these to share with you. Click on any image to view the item in its Folksy shop.

Quilt Routes ella louis designs
Blue Forest Jewellery Beaky
Handmade by Lynzi dick and franny

Quilt Routes

ella louis designs

Blue Forest Jewellery


Handmade by Lynzi

dick and franny