Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Big Trip - Part One

So we left a cold wet London on Saturday and flew to Delhi to begin our long anticipated 'Big Trip'. We have been in India for almost a week and have seen so much and done so much I don't know where to begin, so I think the best bet is to show you a load of my images rather than waffle on!

Delhi was cold and foggy when we arrived and as you can see from the first picture it was a little on the chilly side - it almost looks like it's snowing!

When we woke on Day One it was still misty, but it cleared by the time we arrived at Qutub Minar - an amazing sandstone palace and fort complex built in 1193.

Delhi is a really really busy place and I couldn't get over the amount of people in the markets, driving and riding the tuc tucs and the rickshaws and going about their daily routine. It's a really poor city and seeing the poverty on the street is shocking, but the people are so friendly and non stop busy.

Because President Obama was due to arrive on Monday we crammed our sightseeing into one day and shopped the next, but we did manage to make it to the cremation site of Mahatma Ghandi a few hours after Obama had left - the light is not great for the photo, but you can see the flowers and candles to the right hand side of our group.

On Tuesday we travelled to Agra on the coach, it was a long drive, but we arrived in time for an afternoon visit to the Taj Mahal. No words or images can do it justice, but here are a few of my photos:

On Wednesday we visited Fatehpur Sikri which is a historical 'ghost city' dating from the 16th Century.

Yesterday afternoon we drove to Jaipur and arrived here last night. Jaipur is a beautiful city - the old town is painted pink and the ornate architecture is breathtaking. The city is much richer than Delhi and it is the centre for hand cut precious and semi precious gems.

We visited the Amber Fort which we got up to on the back of an Elephant!

Inside the Amber fort is a mirrored palace - it is really stunning - again, my photos don't do it justice. The patterns in the ceilings and walls are made from mosaic pieces of mirrored glass.

After lunch we visited the market streets, made up of small shops and people selling from carts. The fact that we are travelling with an Indian group made this an amazing experience - going from shop to shop looking at saris and bags and lovely jewellery. I think Mum and I would not have done this part of the tour on our own!

We are travelling to Ahmedabad tomorrow, then on to Rajkot by the middle of next week - I will do my best to blog again!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Frosty Morning

Since my daughter started work in September we have a new routine in our household which involves 4 early morning wake up calls every week and Mr C and myself alternating which one of us accompanies Summer up to the tube station at 6.30am. I am a big fan of 'lay ins' and could quite easily sit in bed with tea, Facebook, Twitter and the BBC News Service for at least an hour before getting up, but on a Monday and Friday it is my turn to walk the 30 minute round trip to Cockfosters Tube Station with Summer and the dog. Today I could have quite happily slipped myself back into bed for an extra hour or so - its really cold and frosty outside and not yet light, but I have a ton of things to do and so need to be strong willed and resist the lure of the duvet!

As I said in my last post I am currently working on the design for a new CAL project which will be released free of charge via a UK based yarn spinner in the spring. We are currently working towards a mid March/early April release, so I have to complete the design in good time for pattern writing and pattern checking to be done. My deadline is the end of February for the completed design to be ready to send to the yarn company, that is almost 6 weeks away so it appears I have plenty of time, however, I am off on a 'Big Trip' from Saturday so want to get the majority of the design completed this week before I go away. Below is an image of my mood board which has acted as my initial design inspiration - the 'Botanical' trend is going to be all the rage in 2015!

The 'Big Trip' is something that has been on the cards for a few months and is something that I am incredibly excited and a little apprehensive about, because the 'Big Trip' is a three and a half week tour of INDIA, starting in Delhi and ending in Mumbai, via Goa, with a few days in Dubai on the way home. The 'Big Trip' is a big deal and I have been incredibly lucky yet again to have been offered the chance to take such an amazing trip and can't wait to find out what India has in store. I will be blogging about my tour and hope that I will be able to share my experiences with you, so do keep an eye on the blog.

My 'Big Trip' starts on Saturday when I fly out to Delhi and by coincidence this is the same date that knit designer Debbie Bliss will be tutoring a workshop in Mysore, which is in South India, for the organisation Knit For Peace, which is an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust.

'The organisation grew out of projects developed in Rwanda & India, which brought together women of traditionally hostile communities (Hutu and Tutsi war widows in Rwanda and Muslim & Hindu women in the slums of Delhi) to knit clothes for street children and orphans'.

The location for Debbie's workshop looks really beautiful and I am sure the workshop will be fantastic. You can find more information by following this link and I have taken one of the images below from the Knit For Peace web site. You might also want to take a look at their 'Good Gifts' catalogue.

Yesterday we exhibited at the Waltham Abbey Wool Show. Once again it was a great event and we had a lovely time. This morning's task is unloading the boxes of stock from the van and making sure that the studio is tidy. Our next show will be Fibre East in July , but if you are looking to visit a good show before then you should definitely check out Unravel in Farnham, which takes place over 3 days between the 20th and 22nd February. I have taken a few of my favourite exhibitor's images from the Unravel web site and posted them below:

The Natural Dye Company


Skein Queen

Elisabeth Beverley 

Today sees the publication of another one of my designs for the new Yarn Stories brand. I have designed 3 projects for them so far. I am particularly pleased with my crochet shawl design 'Boston' which is made using just double crochet stitches and chain. Its a really easy design to crochet - it has a trick cable which is simply made by picking up a chain made a few rows lower. 

Another new design is the 'Barcelona' cowl. This is another really easy project aimed at intermediate crocheters.

The third pattern was released just before Christmas and is my 'Rothko' blanket. This blanket is knitted using lovely bright shades of DK yarn from the Yarn Stories range - there are some beads in there too to give the edge squares a bit of detail. This is a lovely project to knit on cold winter evenings like those in January and February as the project will keep your knees warm as you sew it together!

So that is it for today! I hope to blog again before the 'Big Trip'. If you are interested in the CAL project which is due to launch in the spring, make sure you join our newsletter or follow us on Facebook and twitter for more information.