Online shopping in times of sheltering

The Object of Art. The Theory of Illusion in Eighteenth-Century France. Marian Hobson, 1982

Spending longer time at home is a mild enabler for online purchases…

I ordered some organic seeds to attempt window-sill “gardening”. Mixed salad, Italian basil and rocket salad will be planted in whatever minimal space a London flat with no balcony allows. The greens will have to compete with the few resident flowers.

I also looked at books.

As a child and teen I “devoured” books. Nowadays I hardly manage to finish reading one, which is a sad thing indeed. I suspect the rise of technology at one’s fingertips has affected my concentration levels. There are studies on how tech, allowing a constant state of alert and stimuli, might affect the capacity of the brain to concentrate and perform. Gone are the days of sweet lazy relaxing time.

So it’s not really sensible buying books… In principle, I’m a curious person with various interests, so maybe that’s the reason why I do it?

As a minor justification, I recently sold, unwillingly, a beautiful set of antique books (Old and New London, 1881). A number of books, CDs and DVDs were also rehoused through MusicMagpie (normally I would donate them, but now charity points are shut, so they were sold).

What are these new (second-hand) books?

The Object of Art. The Theory of Illusion in Eighteenth-Century France. Marian Hobson, 1982

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment. Philipp Blom

Enlightening the world : Encyclopédie, the book that changed the course of history. Philipp Blom

I’ve become enamoured of 18th century artefacts and am collecting what I can from that era – books, minor silver and clothing. It was a period of seminal changes in Western history and I’m keen to better understand that time and way of life.

Is there an era that fascinates you?

 

 

Christmas Special by Jean Greenhowe (give-away)

In this part of the world the days are becoming shorter and cooler – so I had the first thoughts about the next season.

I know that some knitters have already been working on their Christmas presents and decorations, which made me think of this cute booklet by Jean Greenhowe: Christmas Special.

I am giving away an unused copy – it’s very simple to participate: just leave a comment on this post by Saturday 30th August! The winner will be randomly selected. 

Christmas Special contains many knitted patterns for the Christmas season (but not only). Below is a gallery of images covering some of the patterns.

Christmas Special - cover

Christmas Special – cover

Mrs Claus

Mrs Claus

Christmas Stockings

Christmas Stockings

Tea Cosies

Tea Cosies

Christmas Decorations

Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Robin on a log

Robin on a log

Robin Christmas decoration

Robin Christmas decoration

Cinderella - inside-out

Cinderella – inside-out

Snowpeople

Snowpeople

Best Friends

Best Friends

Which one is your favourite? Mine are Mrs Claus, the robin and the tea cosies.

Thank you for taking part and good luck!

 

19th century knitting manuals, free online library

The digital Richard Rutt Collection offers free online access to a range of old knitting books, courtesy of the Winchester School of Art and the University of Southampton (UoS).

Thanks to their great digitalisation work, such rare items are now easily accessible:  simply visit their webpage and click on the book images that you see listed there. For each book, you will thus access a PDF document (which can be browsed and saved to your computer, if wished). No need to log in or register. Isn’t that cool?

A little example:

Myra’s knitting lessons. No.1. Containing the rudiments of knitting and various useful patterns for this work”, circa 1800.

Image

I thought to share the info… hopefully it may be interesting to some of you or your friends. I just think they made such an amazing work to give free and easy access to everyone! Enjoy!

long time no speak

There are times in life, when a certain state is reached and the need for change occurs: the state we may be finding ourselves at that point in, it is one that differs from the state of affairs we wish. In the course of the past year, I have recognised myself as being in a necessity of change – it was needed for my well-being. I am undertaking a path for change, which is not sure where it will lead me to. Change is usually not easily attainable – if it is at all, it may involve a lengthy process, which may drain one’s energies.

Reserves of energy are limited, and I find myself having to not attend to things, activities or situations that I would have otherwise done. At times, it happens that there is a need to withdraw from “noisy” contexts, maybe go “offline”, disconnect. So this is part of the reasons why I have not being posting for a while. On the other hand, I have taken up activities that, for some reasons, I had left behind in the past: reading, meeting up with friends, going for a walk.

As a kid and a young adult, I would read very often, but in the last years, I could seldom get myself to complete a book. Maybe out of curiosity or a need for distraction, I’ve recently been reading quite a lot. I’ll briefly introduce some of the books, so bear with me if you’re still interested…

In a way, these were related to history (some treated about real history, others about an imaginary one), in particular that of areas now part of the United Kingdom.

One of the first I read was Vinland by George Mackay Brown. Some time has passed since, so I don’t recall everything about it. Though, it was an interesting reading, although at times I remember feeling somewhat unsatisfied with it (it felt a bit too religion-prone). It is the story of Ranald, an imaginary Orkney-born character, and follows his story and adventures, from his youth trip across the ocean to Vinland, to later times at the court of Norway, the fighting at the side of the Earl of Orkney in Ireland, and life back to the family farm in Orkney until his final days. It reads very much like a saga. A much better description and thorough commentaries can be found on this GoodRead page.

Image Vinland by George Mackay Brown

More recently, I read The Story of England – a Village and its People Through the Whole of English History by Michael Wood. The book accompanied a major BBC TV series, focusing on the village of Kibworth in Leicestershire and its community throughout the centuries, from Roman Britain to the modern days. I thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciated Michael Wood skills in telling stories from the past in a fascinating manner. While there will accidentally (unavoidable) be mention of kings, the focus is more on the overall life and perspective of the people. I would wholeheartedly recommend it!

Image The Story of England by Michael Wood

While I was at the local community library, my attention was captured by a strange book. I hardly had any knowledge or familiarity with the subject – ghosts in an English rectory (I even didn’t know what a rectory exactly was!), but curiosity got hold of me. I borrowed out the two books on the subject: The Enigma of Borley Rectory by Ivan Banks and The Borley Rectory Companion: the Complete Guide to the Most Haunted House in England by Paul Adams, Peter Underwood and Eddie Brazil. The first book is a comprehensive, even if biased, presentation of the topic: very briefly, the Borley Rectory was built on the ground previously occupied by older buildings and was seemingly haunted by various apparitions and characters (a 17th century nun, an old fashioned horse coach, a headless man, a little girl, among others). It offers a thorough investigation on the historical matter that could have originated the facts presented. I would say that I’m not inclined in believing in supernatural, but after reading it I thought whether there was some truth in the stories, chiefly because of the many witnesses across different times (collective hysteria, or for our current knowledge inexplicable facts?). I found the reading compelling but also scary at times… especially during the night sessions before bedtime! The other book, offers a more coarse overview, followed by a dictionary-like treatment of the corpus, but has extra and more recent information, due to the later date of publication. Overall, I would recommend both of them to those who have an interest or curiosity about the subject.

IMG_2491 Borley Rectory

Currently, I am reading The First Europe – A Study of the Establishment of Medieval Christendom, A.D. 400-800 by C. Delisle Burns (1947): the work is concerned with the establishment of the early Christian Europe and investigates in particular the coming in being of moral authority and new social relations. Although some of the material may be somewhat dated, the subject is still source of interest and fairly well presented.

The First Europe by C Delisle Burns The First Europe by C Delisle Burns

The post has well overran an ideal length.. so that’s it for today! You all take good care ♥

Give-away and thank-you’s

Give away: get your chance for a present :)

First things first – my long due thank you going to two really nice ladies who have made for interesting post reads since I joined the blog world: Heather of HKnits and Kate of fashion label Maison Bentley for their kind nominations, respectively for the Liebster Award and the Sunshine Award. I want to apologise for my ‘crappiness’ in not following up – I’m really bad at questions and answering them! I truly appreciated your nominations, it’s just me that I’m no good with those things… ♥

Next, it’s about the announced give away. How this works: post in the comments something about your favourite indie yarn. Alternatively, you can tell about your favourite item (book, vintage, etc). You can participate from any part of the world. Why that: it would be enriching to read stories from other people – by exchanging stories, we celebrate the beauty, variety and uniqueness of each product. And what are the prizes? There is a choice among the items you can find listed below. I tried to include different things, so hopefully the winner can choose the most suitable to her/his taste. Unfortunately, I had to exclude heavy/large ones because those could cause an issue with the shipment. Some of the items are new, others are used or vintage. Prize announcement: A random number generator will proclaim the winner, which will be announced on Saturday 25th May. Please post your comment by Saturday 25th 11am BST (here is a time converter to calculate your local time).

You can pick any one entry among all the bulletpoints listed below (for ease of choice, items have been grouped in categories: yarn, fabric, book, cute thing). Any question, please let me know.

YARN
there is a bit of variety to choose from, starting with local wools and then continuing with some summery colours and sock yarn.

      • Jamieson & Smith Natural Shetland, 100% wool, 3 x 50 gram balls, handwash only. Apparently it’s perfect for colourwork as it blooms nicely while blocking to help with any irregularities in tension; the yarn looks scrumptious and is dye free (colours are made by hand, sorting fleece according to shade).
        Jamieson and Smith, Natural Shetland
      • Shetland 2-ply 100% wool in shades purple, grey, midnight or flintstone blue, a fine 1/9nm yarn that gives ca. 900 metres per 100 grams. You can choose all in one colour or some of each shade. The yarn comes from cone and is oiled but blooms once hand-washed. The total weight will be circa 300 grams (approx. 6 yarn cakes) and will be winded up in yarn cakes, either single or multi-stranded to your choice. You can read more about this yarn in my previous post Shetland
        Shetland 2-ply
      • Wensleydale/Angora (75%/25%), DK weight, naturally processed by a small English producer; suitable for knitting and felting; 4 x 50 grams balls (approx. 120 yards/ball) in a natural creamy colour, handwash only
        Wensleydale-Angora indie English wool
      • Bluefaced Leicester wool, dyed by The Natural Dye Studio, 4-ply sock weight, 100 gram skein (360m/394yds), 2-3.5 mm needles, handwash
        Bluefaced Leicester wool, The Natural Dye Studio
      • Bluefaced Leicester wool mix (85% BFL/15% Donegal nep), dyed by Skein Queen, shade River Pebbles, 4-ply sock weight, 100 gram skein (400m/435yds), handwash
        Bluefaced Leicester wool, Skein Queen
      • Blue Face Leicester, DK worsted spun in Yorkshire, England from 100% British wool, 3 x 50 gram balls
        Blue Face Leicester, locally produced
      • Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, 55% wool/33% acrylic/12% cashmere, 50 grams/110 metres, 4mm / US 6 needles, 2 x 50 gram balls, happy shades of apple green and strawberry pink for a summer vibe
        Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
      • Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed, 2 x 50 grams skeins, 50% silk 50% wool, 109 yds/100m in each, 4 mm needles, with its silk component is a nice option for spring knitting
        Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed
      • Regia sock yarn, 75% wool/25%polyamide, machine washable, made in Italy, 3 x 100 gram balls, each balls is enough for a pair of socks.
        Regia sock yarn

FABRIC

      • set of two fabric cuts: spring flowers motif, approx. 110 cm width x 70 cm length, drapery light material, it would seem suitable for a summery sleeveless top + ethno style motif, approx. 110 cm width x 90 cm length, lightweight, suitable for example for a sleeveless shirt or a light informal skirt. You can also see them in the first picture of this post.
        set of 2 lightweight fabric cuts

BOOK

      • Waking Up in Iceland by Paul Sullivan, an interesting account by an Englishman who visited Iceland for some months, easy to read, it offers a glimpse of the local culture, music and traditions (choice between new print copy or Kindle edition)
        Waking Up in Iceland
      • A World without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Gödel and Einstein by Palle Yourgrau, the book is rooted in a mathematical/logical background, I found it to be an interesting, although not exactly lightweight, account on two 20th-century key figures, who had sharp minds, peculiar characters and shared a singular friendship (new copy)
        A World Without Time - the forgotten legacy of Goedel and Einstein
      • Arthur: Roman Britain’s Last Champion by Beram Saklatvala, 1967 (vintage copy with some ageing)
        Arthur: Roman Britain's Last Champion
      • Cross Stitch Cards and Keepsakes by Jo Verso, containing personalised designs for birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Christmas and various occasions (copy from my reference collection, that is used but in good condition)
        Cross Stitch Cards and Keepsakes
      • 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton (copy from my reference collection in very good condition) + 250 Patterns of Crocheting (a quirky vintage pocket paperback book with b/w illustrations, language is Chinese!)
        200 Crochet Blocks & 250 Patterns of Crocheting

CUTE THING

      • sheep stamp Leaping Sheep Border, size ca. 13 x 3 cm, for those who love all things woolly this is a cute new rubber stamp, locally produced by Inca Stamp
        + two little silk pouches (13 x 11 cm)
        Leaping Sheep Border stamplittle silk poaches
      • set of two prints with a natural subject, size 18 x 24 cm each, made on fine paper near Florence, Italy
        Prints on fine paper, made in Italy

This is my first give-away… hopefully I did things ok. I look forward to reading your stories!