Tuesday, 21 April 2009

H is for...


mmm - i loves me some stained glass

Now, you and I both know that I'm not the most religious person on the planet, but when it come to singing concerts in churches, I'm there and a-clicking with holy abandon.  Well, between rehearsals and the concert, at any rate.  I haven't yet mastered the art of kinnearing folks mid-concert, but it's not, I have to admit, through lack of trying.  I may have to invest in a smaller camera...

The past few weeks have seen me wearing out my camera batteries in four churches - three local and one in Burgundy: Eglise Saint-Denis in Amboise; Eglise Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois; Eglise Saint-Aignan sur Cher and the final one was in the Eglise Saint-Martin in Chapaize.  Beautiful churches, all

eglise saint denis in the background                     eglise saint-martin

eglise saint-aignan sur cher

And I don't seem to have an exterior piccie of Sainte-Catherine... It was lovely, but you'll just have to take my word on the matter!

Then, of course, we have the interiors... so much GORGEOUS stained glass that I was in a frenzy to take photos in the breaks before the sun went down.  And incredible interiors with beautiful stone-work, too...



But it will come as no surprise that it was the stained glass that caught my lens the most:

I do loves me some stained glass!  I felt I had to stock up on the prettiness, as the next few concerts will be in halls, rather than churches...  Still, one lives in hope...  Maybe I should use my love of stained glass to design some socks!  Oh YES!  Well, designing that would certainly keep me busy between rehearsals!  Heh!

p.s. new (non-stained-glass) sock pattern coming soon!  Well, soonish, anyway...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

G is for...


...at the château de villandry

Continuing my château theme for the abc-along, I'm glad to have the opportunity to show off some photos of the magnificent gardens at Villandry.  Especially so, as I have Versailles for the actual 'V' post!  Heh!  I just have to remember that when we actually get there...

Here's a wee description, courtesy of that kind Mr Wikipedia again: "The lands where an ancient fortress once stood were known as Colombier until the 17th century. Acquired in the early 16th century by Jean Le Breton, France's Controller-General for War under King Francis I, a new château was constructed around the original 14th-century keep where King Phillip II of France once met Richard I of England to discuss peace.
The château remained in the Le Breton family for more than two centuries until it was acquired by the Marquis de Castellane. During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 19th century Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Joseph Bonaparte
In 1906, Joachim Carvallo purchased the property and poured an enormous amount of time, money and devotion into repairing it and creating what many consider to be the most beautiful gardens anywhere. Its famous Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The gardens are laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges. 
Still owned by the Carvallo family, the Château de Villandry is open to the public and is one of the most visited châteaux in France."

incredible designs

impeccably kept hedges

After following the tour through the castle, you are allowed up onto the battlements, the view from which are stupendous and showcase the gardens marvellously.  The château interior itself is delightful, and beautifully maintained in a turn-of-the-century (19th / 20th) style, but it is the Renaissance knot gardens that leave the biggest impression, from above...

view of the vegetable gardens from the ramparts

...and from below.  I have to admit that as breathtaking the gardens are from on high, it's not until you are down at ground level that you fully appreciate the scale of the project.  The gardens are immense!

view from one of the many waterways

Vineyards, lavender beds, rose arbours, vegetable patches, herb gardens, all beautifully laid-out in geometric patterns.  (The vegetable gardens were a surprising but brilliant display of edible loveliness...)

underneath the vines
aromatic delights
the vegetable gardens - lettuce, onions, basil, radish...

I'm hoping to return again this year, this time with sister mine - the gardens filled me with awe and delight and I know DS will love them, too...

Friday, 3 April 2009

F is for...


traffic island socks by yours truly
in yarning yenta sock yarn in
red fraggle
and a&e bfl sock yarn in

Okay, so I may be reaching the outer limits of my thesaurus, but I wanted to add  my first foray into pattern writing somewhere here and this looked as good a time as any.  Especially considering I think my 'F' post is a tad late and I'm hoping to earn some brownie points to perhaps minimize the period of procrastination to perhaps only a day or two...!

i really must find some sock blockers

Well, these babies came into being after I spent an afternoon with my nose in several volumes of stitch dictionaries.  I pore over them occasionally, usually for inspiration for afghan squares...  I'd been looking for a simple pattern that would morph well into being knit in the round, challenging enough to keep my fingers busy, but my head angst-free; something to keep my brain exploding with too-long hours spent on complicated and concentration-draining (albeit very satisfying) travelling-cably, gazillion-row-repeatly, tear-your-hair-out-in-bunches, tricksy sock patterns that I was currently working on...  Knitting sorbet, if you will...

The chevron pattern I found had tonnes of potential, and after knitting an initial few rounds I knew that it would be pretty to knit up, fast to finish and potentially brain-'splody free!  After some tweaking, frogging and a little more tweaking, I arrived with some Traffic Island Socks.  I also realised that the resulting yarn configuration looked a bit like the famous 'Jaywalker' pattern, but with the more lacy pattern and wider bars it meant that the fitting and sizing wouldn't be so tricky to manoeuvre around.  I also tweaked things further to include 3 sizes, plus ideas for different yarn weights.

ziggy-zaggy, holey goodness

Why the Traffic Island appellation?  Well, with the wider 'fixed bars' running up and down the socks, and with the added lace holes (and also after the street reference) I was reminded of a computer game that came out many moons ago, called 'Frogger'. A game where you had to guide a frog over highways and waterways to freedom, using the traffic islands in between as breathing spaces, avoiding cars, lorries, snakes, alligators and submerging turtles!

chevrons and lace

The name seemed apt!

If you'd like a copy of the pattern, you can now get it as a free Ravelry download.  

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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