Sunday, December 06, 2009

Oh, h*ll

I'm supposed to be spending the entire day today doing housework, tidying, etc and many other domestic tasks that I have been postponing for (blush) many weeks. But I only have about 4 more days off work between now and Christmas when, all being well, my parents will be coming to stay. Mr CK does more than his fair share around the house, so I really do have to get on but, really, housework is my idea of:

click the pic to enlarge, then look at the lower third, and you'll see what I mean.
This rather fabulous depiction of housework is from the ceiling of the Baptistry in Florence. which reminds me, I've still not posted any pics of that excursion, have I?

So here goes (and hang the housework for just a wee while longer...)

First, a view into the cloisters at Sante Croce. As you can see, there was a lot of restoration work going on. We loved it here and the museum, in particular, is worth a visit to see the 14th century painting of the madonna sewing (at least, I think it was 14th century. After a day or so we realised that to the Italians a date of, say, 1481 is 14th century, whereas to to Brits it would be 15th century

Look at the incredibly blue sky! we only got one fine day, but what a day. I think the towers here are (on the right) the Palazza Vecchia and (left) the Badia. (You'll have to excuse the spelling, stepdaughter is off to Florence next week, so she's got all our guidebooks etc). The Badia is a monastery, of which we saw very little as much is being restored. Nevertheless, it was one of my top 5 places as it felt so peaceful and unspoilt.

Look! A knitting group (in Melbookstore). I failed to pack any knitting (RSI was bothering me somewhat) but after seeing these knitters at work I soon put things to rights. We only found two things to be inexpensive compared to Britain. The first was academic textbooks (Graham now owns various TS Eliot texts with English on one page and Italian on the facing page)and the other was yarn. The first store I found was a factory shop, so I assumed that was why the prices were so low 2p/g in some cases). But a bit more exploring, and 3 more yarn shops later, I realised that Italian spinners do some really yummy wool blends at knockdown prices. One day I'll get organised (well, the last full moon was a blue one) and post details of the yarns and the shops...

The final picture is in our room. the hotel we stayed in was decidedly shabby genteel. I'm not sure that it is a good idea to have a live socket in the bathroom right next to the washbasin... But the room was clean and comfy and the staff were incredibly helpful. And finally, my personal top 5 places in Florence:

1. Museuo di San Marco. (Peaceful cloisters, amazing works of art and monks cells thqat each have their own fresco, some by Fra Angelica. The Annunciation has long been one of my favorutie paitings but seeing it in situ, at the top of a flight of stairs, took my breath away. Some parts were closed due to restoration).

2. The Baptistry. That ceiling (see above) is a glittering mosaic. Heaven, hell, angels, archangels, Christ in Majesty... Can you imagine working, at height, round a domed ceiling, with those tiny tesserae? the only place we visited that didn't have any restoration work going on. (But someone was testing microphones and there was some excruciating feedback!)

3. The Badia. So peaceful. Despite the noisy building and restoration work going on. I love the way that some places manage to feel tranquil even in the midst of turmoil. I wish I could master that feeling myself.

4. Museo di Firenze comm'era (Musuem of Florence as it used to be). Yet another museum set in cloisters. This one is for map and plan fanatics (eg me), though fortunately there are some rather wonderful demi lunette paintings of Medici palaces to keep husbands amused.

5. Santa Croce and its Museo. Much of the interior of the church was closed off (restorations) but the museum made a virtue out of the restoration work by showing conservators in action.

You'll notice that the Uffizi didn't make the cut! We'd both been so excited about finally getting to see some Ucello paintings, only to find that one had been loaned to another museum and the other was being restored.

And now, off to do the housework. (I can feel those imps prodding me....)

Thursday, December 03, 2009


We've been treated to our very own personal power cut. (Well, we also shared it with next door). We came home on Tuesday evening to discover that the power had been off for about 2 hours. A kindly neighbour took us in and gave us tea, then Mr CK and I enjoyed a suprisingly relaxing evening watching the fire and listening to the clock ticking. At about 11pm our peace was rudely shattered by workmen with pneumatic drills removing half of our neighbour's drive. We got our power back sometime in the small hours of the night, but the giant hole is still there, so we suspect more work (and further power cuts) to follow. The neighbour tells us that last time something similar happened there were problems for months afterwards. We're getting a supply of candles in!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

swept away!

Sorry I've been so silent of late: I've been here, there and everywhere over the last few weeks. Exhibitions: Edward Bawden at the Cecil Higgins Gallery, Bedford (very highly recommended. I'm planning to go back again); two visits to Making and Mending at the Bury St Edmunds Gallery (the first to meet Celia Pym, the second to take part in Kai-Oi Jay Yung's Sock Exchange, which was huge fun); the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace; a week's self-catering in Thaxted, Essex (where we did lots of gentle walking and even more gallery visiting: Henry Moore's Sheep at Saffron Walden Musuem, and yet more Edward Bawden at both Saffron Walden Musuem and at the Fry Gallery); next, we had 36 hours at home (mainly spent catching up with laundry) followed by 4 nights in Florence (museums, churches and galleries galore, not to mention a knitting group in a bookshop). Since then I've done 4 days back at work, and now I've got more holiday: we've had the sweep in today and I'm busy preparing a handout for the class I'm teaching at a fibre Retreat in Devon this weekend!

Once I'm back from that, I'll try to blog some selected highlights from my travels.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Walls Have Knitting Patterns

Just over a week ago I got up early, threw a few sandwiches into a box and, three buses later (citi 6, citi 7 and Village Link 5), I was in paradise (well, apart from the aircraft noise, but I'm still thrilled to be able to hear again properly).

Where was I? Deep in the heart of the Essex countryside, in the Chelmer Valley (and on the Stansted flightpath) is Thaxted, a town that grew rich on three trades: thatching, cutlery and wool. And when I say rich, just look at the sumptuosuness of the buildings in this tiny market town:

the Guidhall, for instance

and Dick Turpin's house (yes, the Dick Turpin, as in "stand and deliver!"):

But best of all was the pargetting on many walls, instant knitting pattern inspiration...
giant cables:
basket weave:
and welted modular shells:
You'll probably have seen that shape in old knitted bedspreads and some of you will have seen a tiny cushion that I've made with this motif.

Where was I?

As you've probably realised, I've been making up for lost time over the last few weeks! The ear infection really did knock me for six (months) and as for the killer headaches I'd been getting: I want to forget those. They've almost gone now I've got my glasses, who'd have thought that eyestrain could be so evil?

Anyway, back to my whirlwind tour of East Anglia and, in particular, Cromer. I first went to Cromer when I was about 5 years old. We caught a coach from King's Lynn and it wound through rural lanes, taking us through such memorable places as Great Snoring (prompting much teasing of my poor Pa) whilst (even more memorably) my darling little sister suffered from travel sickness. Once we got to Cromer we went to a hotel that had a television. I'd never seen a television before. (It was 1966 and, as you'll have realised, we had neither a car nor a television in those days!) Another great surprise was that my Nanny (my Mum's mum) was staying in a guesthouse just round the corner. (This was a great surprise to me, but not to Nan or my parents; they'd planned it, of course). And I seem to remember that Nanny and Ma spent rather a lot of time in a marvellous shop called the Peddlar's Pack. I remember wall hangings and yarn: it is the first wool shop I can remember, though it made less of an impression on me at the time than the television did... The shop's long gone but look what I found in Cromer Museum:

The Peddlar's Pack sign and even a brochure for "the handicraft Gift Shop that is So Different."

Ma still has a Danish wallhanging of twelve different pictures (printed on canvas) of the same two little girls playing out in all weathers (one picture for each month of the year). At the time she bought it, sis and I were much the age of the little girls in the picture. Now even the nieces are bigger than those girls, but the hanging has only slightly faded and is still as delightful as it was then.

Cromer Museum is wonderful: converted from fisherman's cottages, complete with a wash house:

And there's a fabulous geology room with lots of fossils to play with (er, study) and cases full of North Sea amber. All through that first coach trip to Cromer Dad was telling me great tales of the place we were going to visit (to distract me, doubtless, from vomiting sister and peellywally Ma). If I looked really, really hard, I might find amber on the beach. It would feel warm to the touch, not cold like other stones. And it was made from resin from trees that were around at the time of the dinosaurs! Oh, and if I listened hard enough, I might hear church bells coming from under the sea: from the drowned church that was part of the drowned town just off the coast, just under the North Sea. I didn't hear the bells and I didn't find any amber, but still had a great time. But 40-odd years later, in Cromer museum, here was the amber and -more exciting still- lots of information about the town that drowned.
But the best was yet to come: ganseys! But they're going to be in another post as ganseys seemed to be the theme running though my visit to the I Knit weekender (on Friday) and before that, I've another outing to regale you with...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Coastal Knitting

First: an exceptionally delightful purchase that I made in Sheringham's yarn shop yesterday... I certainly don't need any more DK, but Mirasol's Hacho has a most seductively bouncy quality and the colours sang out to me. Note how the yarn is posing artfully on a table of a train en route from Sheringham to Cromer.

During this journey I was also working on a modular scarf that's combining Sirdar Escape DK with Katia Pailettes but it was, alas, one of those days when there was more unknitting than knitting. Even more gallingly, I'd made the mistake the previous evening but had knitted on the train for two hours thinking "this doesn't look quite right..." before I realised that I'd missed out 8 rows. Sigh. I would show you a picture, but Blogger is refusing to let me upload any at the moment so I'll terminate this post here and write about the Sheringham/Cromer gansey knitting tradition tomorrow. All I'll say now is size 18 needles and 15 stitches per inch.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Norfolk railway stations

Here's where last week's walk started:

And here's where it ended:

This was today's first stop:

And the next:

(I'm glad to say that Cromer is far more interesting than this shot of the station might suggest). But I wonder whether the same might be said of North Walsham?
I didn't get off there, I wonder why not?

I'm happy to report that I scored some excellent yarn in Sheringham and found plenty of ganseys in Cromer museum. But more of that in another post.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Vast skies and wild blusteriness

There are times when I get a desperate yearning for peace, quiet and the great outdoors. Last week was one of them. And, since Mr CK and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary, we remembered a remote little halt that we'd visited on our honeymoon. And off we went... Two buses and two trains later, here we were:

Berney Arms is a request stop, the penultimate station on the line to Great Yarmouth. But it feels a world away from its seaside neighbour. The first thing that strikes you (once the train has pulled away) is the absence of engine noise. Berney Arms can only be reached by train, by boat, or on foot. When we arrived last week we were the only people to alight from the train and we couldn't even hear any boats. But it was far from silent: the wind was whipping through the long marsh grass and sighing through metal posts. Berney Arms itself is so small that even the word "hamlet" is too large for it: a farmhouse, a windmill,

a pub, a noticeboard, a bench:

The bench is accurate. Just look at the vastness:

We fortified ourselves in the pub (I particularly enjoyed the half of local cider)then set off to walk along the banks of the Yare, heading for Reedham (the next stop on the line to Norwich). Last time we'd done this walk the sun was beating down, and atmosphere was incredibly still. We saw vast numbers of birds, including egrets. This time the wild headwind (with occasional gusts of crosswind)kept the bird numbers down. But we still saw a couple of egrets and the only humans nearby were on boats. The wind didn't do much for my hairstyle...

but the walking was invigorating.

After a couple of hours we were in Reedham and the sun was shining. We spent a very pleasant interlude sipping more local cider, this time from the Lord Nelson Inn.

The whole day was blissful.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Knitting content!

Yes, Caught Knitting has finally got round to doing some knitting again.... The impetus was that I was part of the teaching team for a workshop on Horst Schulz's knitting techniques (if you follow the link, you'll need to scroll down a couple of entries: it's worth it!) and I'd volunteered to cover Horst's rather wonderful way of combining short row wedges with slip stitch stripes.

I had huge fun raiding the stash (and also treating myself to a couple of wonderful indlugences from Rowan's autumn colours: kid classic in a burgundy melange and a tweedy DK in teal) and decided to make a cover to fit the smallest cushion pad that I could find: 35cmx35cm from John Lewis. Much happy knitting later:

There's no seaming at all on the front of the cushion. After working one patch, I picked up stitches from its side tow ork the next. For the final patch I also worked a purlwise join at the lefthand side (onto the base of the first patch)
By the time I came to work the back of the cover, I was running short of time, so decided that the simplest way forward would be a giant mitered square, picking up stitches from two sides of the cushion and keying into a third side with a purlwise join (thus leaving me with just one seam to sew: result). Horst works his mitered squares by alternating two rows (ie one ridge) of garter stitch, with 2 rows of stocking stitch and always decreases on wrong side rows. Since each of the four patches was 45 stitches wide, I picked up 180 stitches (on the assumpton that each sdie was 90 stitches wide). I worked a few inches without any qualm but then began to feel that it was all looking rather too saggy. And few things are more disappointing than a saggy cushion cover. It was too late for me to rip everything out and start again (my preferred option)but then I realised that I had a few tricks up my sleeve. I used slip stitch bands (another Horst favourite) and garter stitch to change the tension and I reduced the stitch count very slightly by working an occasional decrease on a right side row. And it worked:

I completed the knitting at 1am on Friday, sewed the seam between 6.40 and 6.50am, took the bus to work at 8am, worked to 4pm, then went to Marlow by train. In Marlow, I stayed with Jill, who organises the Patchwork Knitters workshops. The workshop ran from 9.30-4.30 yesterday and I was back in Cambridge by 8.30pm. I slept 10.5 hours last night!

The course was huge fun, not least due to Jill's marvellous and meticiulous planning and organising and fellow-tutor Heather's knowledge and enthusiasm.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

another month whizzes past....

OOps, have just realised that I've not blogged for about a month.

I've been very happy and very busy. There have been outings (Norwich for medieval and tudor buildings, King's Lynn for a concert and to see my parents and two visits each to both the Botanic Gardens and Kettle's yard), there's been crochet and there's been a grand knitting project (involving many, many tension swatches and about 15 different yarns). Oh, and there's been an eye test and I am now horribly broke and awaiting some varifocals.

I'll supply pictures and more info on the crochet and the grand knitting project as soon as I've done some housekeeping on the computer (I daren't put any new pictures on the hard drive for the time being) and taught on a patchwork knitting workshop next Saturday (the grand knitting project is closely linked to the workshop). There will not be any pictures of me in my specs.

So: more from me in a couple of weeks' time.

ps: this is what I'd be up to if I were braver....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

printmakers and popular art

Here's a link to a brief video of Angie Lewin, one of my favourite contemporary artists, making a print.

Not been doing much of late as the ear is still not right. But I did manage to pay a flying visit to the Fry Gallery in Saffron Walden last Friday: I'm utterly smitten with the work of Edward Bawden and the gallery changes their selection each year. I'm also eagerly anticipating the autumn, when Bedford Gallery (which is, unsurprisingly, in Bedford) will have a major exhibition of Bawden's work. Better still, they're doing some gallery talks and archive afternoons.

Whilst I was in the Fry Gallery this caught my eye:

There, under glass, was a copy of one of my favourite King Penguins. At first, I couldn't work out the connection between this book and the Fry Gallery's collection, which features works from the artists who used to live in Great Bardfield in the mid-twentieth century. Then I looked more closely. Next to "my" book, was another book by the same author and this one, on English Life, had illustrations by Bawden. Hmmm, can see I'm going to have to start haunting book fairs again...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Crafting at the Fitz

First, thanks for all the good wishes; I'm happy to report that my ear is on the mend! Not only that, but I'm feeling up to socialising again and I've just spent a wonderful day at the Fitzwilliam Museum, crocheting coral. The workshop was part of a Crafts Council Project and also ties in with the fascinating Darwin exhibition which is on at the Fitz at the moment. The project is supplying kits (materials, ideas and worksheets) to community groups, schools and galleries who would like to create their own reefs which should, eventually, be merged with the reef that started at the South Bank last summer before touring (and growing ever-bigger) at the Knitting & Stitching Shows. Its eventual destination looks set to be the Eden Project. The Fitz already had a couple of mini reefs on display. One that had been started at the Sedgwick and fabulous selection of work from a community group and a primary school in the Kings hedges area of Cambridge.

I'd forgotten just how much fun you can have armed with yarn and crochet hook, surrounded by fellow fibre fiends. But I'd also (yet again) forgotten my camera. So you'll just have to take my word for it that some fabulous forms were created and quite a few newcomers have become"hooked" on crochet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

a total pain in the ears...

Sorry, still no photos and no crafty items to report either. All due, alas, to a boring ear infection that has now been complicated by a boil in one of my ear canals. Ouch. Hoping the latest course of anitbiotics will do their trick...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

outings 2, photos nil

Is anyone else old enough to remember when the football results used to come in via the noisy old teleprinter?
Anyway, here's my life summed up in a few results...

week commencing Sat 1 June 2009: outings 2, photos nil
week commencing Sat 8 June 2009: social events cancelled 4, germs too many to count
(I'm currently deaf in one ear, and can neither taste nor smell things but at least I've not had to take Tamiflu, unlike Daisy!)

Last weeks outings were huge fun and I'm so cross with myself for forgetting the camera not once, but twice. I went to Ely (again) and Mr CK and I were taken on a grand tour of Hackney Downs and Bethnal Green (his daughter lives there) which included Prick Your Finger, the Museum of Childhood and Victoria Park.

The display of crocheted lizards (and a frog) at PYF is amazing (sadly I missed the hunk erecting the sign... but the blog makes intersting viewing) and we all had huge fun at the museum. I particularly like the Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl exhibition they have on the moment. Birthday girl (aged 29) took full advantage of the boxes of dressing up clothes!

I shall draw a veil over this week...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

if you do just one thing tomorrow....


(Sorry for shouting, this is something that has mattered to me enormously ever since I was 14, or so, when my Guide Leader told us about the Suffragettes).

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mayday awayday

The 1st of May was going to be the day that I tidied my desk, tidied my computer files and did heaps of other overdue tasks. But the sun was shining, the birds were singing and, well, it was the first of May. Not only that, I needed yet more plastic boxes to store yet more stash. And when it comes to plastic boxes, only Thing Me Bobs shops have the type I like at a price I like. And is there a thing Me Bobs in Cambridge? Why, no. Instead, I have to make the difficult choice between going to Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds or Ely.

I'm glad that I chose Ely: look what I saw!

Foal dozing near the cathderal...

Flowers sprouting out from the top of a wall (I'm taking quite a few wall photos at the moment, and am thinking of doing some wallflower pots)...

And a wonderfully gnarled tree.

I came home with 2 boxes and also (mysteriously) rather a lot of books and magazines (some were gifts, but most were of the knitting and crochet variety).

an evening stroll in the millennium garden

What's this: Mr Caught Knitting out and about sans hat and backpack?

Why, yes. This stroll was taken a couple of evenings ago, just before dusk and in a light sprinkle of drizzle (hence the umbrella that you'll see peeping out above the cow parsley)...

Editor's note: we wish to reassure readers that normal service (ie pictures of Mr CK with hat and backpack) will be resumed as soon as possible.
But not just yet....

Friday, May 08, 2009

Harry Potter in dramatic ageing sensation!

(This is, in fact, Mr Caught Knitting off to a Supervisors' Dinner at a Cambridge College. The dress code said "gown and lounge suite" but the final "e" had been scored out in biro, so I managed to talk Mr CK out of his plan to take an occassional table with him by way of accessory... I'd better point out that, in the unlikely event of your recognising Mr CK's college tie, this is not, repeat not, the college that made the spelling mistake!)

long time, no blog

Ye gods, is it really more than a month since I last blogged?

I could pretend that I've been immersed in producing a masterpiece (or two); that I'd been trekking through inhospitable desert (for the good of my soul); or many other crazy or unlikely fibs.

The truth is rather more exciting (for me, if not for anyone reading this). I've been having a lazy, wonderful time. (Punctuated by some health wibbles, but most of these are now dismissed).

First, I've been on a winning streak: I'm now the proud (and colourful) owner of these decidedly dashing "smalls", dazzlingly dyed by the lovely Ambermoggie. And, within hours of hearing that I'd won them, I discovered that I'd also won The Morville Hours Karen's non-fiction book giveaway. What an engrossing book it is, definately the work of a polymath. I've scarcely been able to put it down since I received it and, having finished it last week, am poised to embark on an almost immediate reread. It has shot straight into second place in my all-time-favourtie books chart. (Number one is still The Leaping Hare.)

During the time I've been able to tear myself away from the book I've been on several adventures, including a trip to Hay on Wye which just happened to coincide with a certain Wonderwool Wales and a workshop in Hay with one Prudence Mapstone. Good job that there were innumerable bookshops (and an ice cream parlour) to absorb Mr Caught Knitting the while... I've also been on a May Day away day; got a permanent contract at work (yay!) and signed up for a City and Guilds diploma in handknitting (guess who should be doing her homework now this instant?)

Posts with pictures will follow but the sun is shining, Mr CK is at home and I think we should take advantage of the weather to go for a stroll!

Friday, April 10, 2009

my new heroine: Maria from l'Aquila

It was the Yarn Harlot who drew our attention to a report from Cambridge University which concluded that, whilst knitting had a marked effect on coping with the aftermath of trauma, few people were likely to carry "emergency knitting".

Fortunately 98-year old Maria D'Antuono of L'Aquila has proved to the researchers that, sometimes, people do have emergency crochet to hand. According to the guardian and Ansa news agency, she spent 30 hours waiting for rescuers to dig her out after last week's earthquake and, asked how she had passed her time, she reportedly said that "she had been busy with her hook and wool".

Rescuers gave her a packet of biscuits, but she asked for a comb, so that she would look decent on arrival at hospital.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

working in the garden...

Yesterday morning, as I wiped the sleepy fairies from my eyes, Mr Caught Knitting announced that it looked like a good day for working in the garden. I had to agree...

So whilst he rounded up the lawnmower and secateurs, I played hunt-the-pasting table. (In the shed, somewhat mildewed after being moved there in the aftermath of the garage floods last year). Mr CK looked bewlidered. He became even more puzzled when, after giving the table a good scrub, I demanded to know where the masking tape was and wanted to know what had happened to the many bath gel bottles that I'd been stockpiling. When I grabbed my cauldron and dye powders, it finally dawned on him.

Yes, my idea of "working in the garden" means setting up the pasting table on the patio and indulging in some textiles pursuit or another. As it was such a windy day I decided that my usual method of yarn painting--dipping foam brushes into plastic pint "glasses" of dye--would result in my dyeing the patio. Hence the use of the bath gel bottles, so that I could squirt dye on the yarn and also so that if a container did blow over it wouldn't splash its contents round and about.

Here are a couple of glimpses of the finished yarns:

I rather suspect that the colours were inspired by the plants I saw in my parents' garden when I visited them last Friday:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I think it was back in January that I hatched the idea of crocheting some tiny, untidy nests in which to nestle easter eggs. They had to be untidy, as for years I have treasured a description of one species of bird's nest (one of the crovids, but can't remember if it is a magpie or raven/rook/crow). Anyway, the description read "like an untidy washerwoman's basket". Is it the washerwoman that is untidy, or her basket? Are the nests strewn with windblown knickers/sheets etc, or are there twigs slipping out and large holes in the side of the nest?

Cut to March and I've finally found time to execute my plan. Not only that, my lovely friend Wye Sue presented me with raffia and "washed and combed Blue Faced Leicester locks" (from a wonderfully-named firm: Moral Fibre) whilst we were at SkipNorth last weekend. But the final inspiration for the project came as I made my annual, ritual SkipNorth 'phone call: I always ring Dad as we pass through Huddersfield, not least because the coach sometimes drives (literally) over where my grandparents used to live. (The house was demolished for road widening in the late 60s). As I spoke to Dad I had a sudden memory of my grandad showing me a blackbrid's nest in the garden, then taking all the eggs out and teaching me how to blow an egg. Not the sort of thing I'd ever consider doing nowadays, but it was legal back in 1966.

Suddenly I knew that I just had to have some felted eggs in the nest. So, carding combs in hand, I blended together wool tops in three different shades and then asked Roger Prime (the tutor of the wonderful experimental textiles classes that I go on Thursday evenings) if he could think of a way of using the felt-ball making technique he'd shown us to make felt eggs. And he did!

For the nests themselves, I decided to eschew my usual technique of crocheting, then felting in the washing machine, not least because I wanted to incorporate materials (raffia, sheep's locks) that were unlikely to survive the washing machine. Instead, I decided to pinch a technique from Irish crochet: crocheting around a cord. I dived deep into the stash and emerged with some ancient extra-thick green yarn to use as the cord, and some chunky brown yarn to work over it

I then cut snippets of raffia and some of my sludge-coloured handspun and worked these and the locks into the nest as I crocheted. I also created "moss" using some of the bargain, 99p, Wendy Cosmic yarn that I found at Coldspring Mill last Saturday.

And here's the end result (with one nest shown empty, though I have 5 eggs for each):