Its definitely autumn but here in the UK we have been having some very gorgeous weather that takes an Indian summer to new heights. As of November 2nd, no frosts yet in Yorkshire. The days are shorter, evenings are dark and we have changed our clocks so it is gloomy after 4pm and more or less dark an hour or so later. But many days recently have been sunny and so warm for this time of year. Friday was Halloween and some places had temperatures in the low 20s Celsius. The warmest Halloween on record…
Today, November 2nd, I sat outside and had a coffee and magazine break at around noon as if it was late summer. Birds were singing, sun was hazy but peeping through, the air was warm so it would have been rude not to. Garden looks a bit wintry though…
It was lovely here yesterday too – even better actually. Sunny, bright blue sky and not the usual crisp day you expect for November. Warm enough to go for a walk in just a long sleeved tee-shirt and jeans – and I was still hot! I live near to the countryside where it is very very flat but the walks around the village are still lovely. We are surrounded my farm land mainly with a few trees and small woods dotted about. The skies, like those in Northumberland, are big, huge, stretching out for ages. That probably seems like a daft thing to say but 15 years ago, when I live in a large town in the south of England, the buildings all seemed to crowd in and shut the sky out. I feel the same when I go down to London for work. I love the city and there is so much to do, the architecture is fab and its a vibrant, exciting place to be but I never seem to notice the sky is still there.
Getting out for a walk would seem an easy thing to do but, working from home can be quite tying and its all too common to start work and then have such a big to-do list that going for a walk gets put off and put off. Then its dark.
After a week away in Northumberland recently when I went on long beach walks each day, I really felt the benefit of being out in the open and the fresh air and getting some exercise so now I’m back I am trying to keep it up. Inspired by other blog writers to notice more about the world around, I’m combining my walking with taking some interesting photos and looking at the changing colours for future craft projects.
The crafting bug still has its hold on me and I am enjoying my silversmithing and my crochet particularly. I would do other things – some more rag rug wreath making, some sewing, even knitting appeals – but there are just not enough hours in the day. I feel particularly guilty that I have not been doing much papercrafting recently as I want to make some scrapbook albums for hundreds of photos.
When I went on a workshop run by Lucy at Attic24 in the summer, I really enjoyed the day and the bower bird project but the main thing I took away in my mind was her explanation of how she chooses colours. I love Lucy’s colours and her projects are so appealing to the eye but she said that everyone has their own inner colour palette and developing your crochet should be about discovering more about that as well as getting better technically.
I find it very difficult to choose colours that go well together. Looking at some blankets and afghans on Pinterest, I can say which I like and which I don’t but putting one together that is in the first category always proves tricky.
My eyes tend to roll when I read or hear about artists, jewellery makers or other crafters talk about ‘being inspired by nature’. It always seems such a cliche that people just say because that’s what they think is right and what other people want to hear. But after the workshop in the summer I have given a lot more thought to colour and how to put colours together and I have to now conceded that this nature inspiration idea might have more merit than I’ve given it credit for. I am sure a lot of people already in the know will be rolling their eyes now and saying “Yes, well bit late to the party, but better late than never…”.
As an extra incentive on my recent walks, I have therefore gone about picking up things to create a colour palette from nature for inspiration. On my beach walks I’ve picked up sea glass, shells and pebbles. I’ve sorted those out but I’m still thinking about how to use them and what to do with them. Jewellery making has been the priority so far, but the colours of sea glass are getting a few cogs whirring in my brain.
On my most recent walk this weekend, the cogs have been in overdrive and I’m developing the idea of doing an autumn crochet blanket using the colours I’ve noticed about just now. This is what I picked up to try to represent my favourites.
Dark red from the rosehips and other berries, creamy white and silver grey from the flowers, rich mustardy gold from the fern leaf, rich browns from the dried grasses, rich oranges from the Japanese lanterns (Physalis alkekengi) and a gorgeous shot of deep purple from the lavender (one single flower left in one of my garden pots) and the statice that I bought the other week and that dries beautifully.
The dark reds and oranges really appeal to me. I like the way that the shades of each colour are subtly different in the two photos – the top one was taking in bright sunlight with me blocking out the sun when I took it, the one below was taken later under artificial light.
With my huge and growing stash of yarn, I started to pick out some that would match what I had put together for inspiration. I’ve decided to go chunky for this project – and have some Stylecraft Chunky already in various colours. Other colours I had from the DK yarn I’ve been using for other projects.
So far, the theory seems good and when I put the balls of wool together they look fab. Rich, autumny and comforting. From left to right I have claret, silver, emperor, spice, gold, copper, dark brown, meadow, lipstick and cream. Thinking about it later, I think parchment and camel might go in there pretty well too. Twelve colours seems like a good balance. The proof of the concept will be tested later. I will need to do some more planning of exactly what I am going to do for each section of the blanket and then – surprise surprise – probably order some more yarn.
Funny that isn’t it – you think of a project to use up yarn you already have but then you always find an excuse to buy more to be able to do it.