knitting

Beads, trains and sea sparkle!

March and April are turning out to be crazy months where the social diary has exploded and we have something on every weekend now until the first weekend in May! Whilst that means we have lots of fun things to look forward to it does mean that I am going to need to squeeze in extra knitting time during the week to keep on track with my C&G course. I have made great progress on module 5 so far and next up is beading samples.

Beads

Last weekend was spent by the seaside visiting my friend, it was the first weekend this year when it really felt like Spring was on it’s way. Just look at that blue sky!

Worthing

Worthing Pier

Work is also seeing me travel to London a bit more frequently so in order to stay on track I have started making samples on the commute.

Train Knitting

This coming weekend is one that I have been particularly looking forward to as I am getting together with my friend I met at knitting group to take my first steps in yarn dyeing! I have lots of lovely undyed yarn and a sample kit of dyes from Wingham Wool Work in the Mountain Colour range.

Undyed Yarn

I can’t wait to see what colours these skeins become. To get inspired I have been looking through my postcard box and Pinterest to see what combinations catch my eye. Here are a few of my favourites.

Watercolour Painting - Sunset Storm Seascape

This watercolor painting “Tormenta” is an original watercolour painting by professional Artist Brazen Edwards. Photo taken from Pinterest

Succulent Gradient

Photo from Pinterest

Beach sun

Sea sparkle! Photo from Pinterest

I had better stop there otherwise I will be here for hours!! I’ll let you know how it all goes next week…

knitting

To Infinity and Beyond!

You may remember at the back end of last year I was busy trying to master the infinity / mobius cast on. You may also remember that I failed spectacularly by casting on about 20 times too many stitches and lost the slightest hint of any kind of twist.

Mobius Fail

Yep. Big fat fail. Oops! So I frogged and I persevered and eventually this happened – it flippin worked!

Mobius Cowl Jem Arrowsmith

The yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious DK (it’s actually more of a teal colour than the blue in the photo’s) and the stitch pattern is the Roman Stripe. It’s interesting to see what a difference a lighter weight yarn / larger needles makes to this pattern – it’s really opened it out beautifully.

This was the original sample:

Roman Stripe Stitch

vs

Roman Stripe Stitch

I’m really pleased with the end result. It’s the perfect antidote for this grey and miserable weather!

If you want to try the mobius cast on there is an excellent video tutorial by Fiona Morris here – complete with suggested stitch count 😉

C&G Hand Knit Textiles, knitting

C&G Knitting Weekend

This weekend was spent in the beautiful setting of the Ammerdown Centre in Somerset with Fiona Morris and 4 other students on the City & Guilds Hand Knit Textiles course. And what a brilliant weekend it was!

We started on Thursday evening and got to know each other over dinner before heading to our work room. Fiona then spent a couple of hours talking about how to put together design submissions for magazines and shared lots of examples of her designs and swatches. Inspiring stuff!

On Friday morning we gathered after breakfast and the exercise set for the morning was all about colour matching. This was perfect for me as my current module is all about colour and yarn wrapping. Fiona introduced us to a couple of websites Design Seeds and Colour Lovers, which offer inspiration and ideas for colour palettes. We were each asked to select an image and recreate the colour palette by mixing up gouache paints. Here are my finished stripes, I was quite pleased with the results although the dark brown / purple colour was the trickiest to achieve.

Colour matching

In the afternoon we all got on with our C&G coursework. For me this involved painting more stripes based on yarn wrappings. Module 4 is more design based than knitting so I was quite envious of those who were able to whip out their needles and work on samples. The good thing was though that one of the other ladies is a module ahead of me so I was able to look at what she had done and also see what was in store for module 5. It definitely gave me the kick I needed to crack on! All in all it was a productive day and it was nice to end it with a knit and a natter over a glass of wine in the evening.

On Saturday we looked at Fair Isle knitting and Fiona showed us lot’s of examples of fair isle swatches and explained how to choose contrasting colours that would work together. We also looked at examples of  Fair Isle ‘purl when you can’ which adds texture to the pattern. The technique is to purl instead of knit a stitch if the colour of the stitch about to be knit is the same as the one below.

Fair isle talk then turned to steeking. A couple of us had never steeked before and I have to admit the thought of taking a pair of scissors to my knitting filled me with horror! However, Fiona had the perfect little mug hug project for us to practice the technique. I neglected to pack my dpn’s but did have a long circular needle so was also able to learn the magic loop method of knitting in the round.

Magic loop

Below shows the crocheted edge that protects the stitches of the line to be cut. Then it was time to take a deep breath….

Crochet edge for steek

….snip, snip and voila – it’s flat!

Fair Isle tension

As someone who has always pulled the fair isle floats too tightly, the handy tip of pulling the stitches in between the floats down the needle before working the contrasting colour stitch worked wonders! It’s not perfect but I am happy 🙂

Sunday came around far too quickly, and whilst a couple of ladies carried on with their C&G work there were a few of us keen to learn the Mobius Strip cast on which used for making a figure of 8 scarf or cowl that knits out from the centre outwards. I really couldn’t get the hang of how to wrap the yarn at first, but finally got there!

Mobius cast on

Over the weekend I had worked a Ribbon lace swatch from one of Barbara Walkers books so before we went for lunch on Sunday we blocked it using a hand steamer. I so need to invest in one of those, it opened up the lace beautifully!

Lace blocking

Before hitting the road on Sunday Fiona was kind enough to help me with a pattern chart for a shawl that I have been stalling on for ages. I wasn’t sure how to split out the different sections to make it clear and she gave me some suggestions so I am hoping to get it finally written up this week.

All in all it was a really inspiring and motivating weekend at Ammerdown. Our group was lovely and it was so nice to spend some time with like minded people who are as mad about knitting as I am! I really do hope we can do it again next year.

knitting

New Pattern! Whispering Pines Beret

I am pleased to announce the Whispering Pines Beret pattern is now available on Ravelry!

Whispering Pines Beret

Whispering Pines

 

The beret is worked in the round from the bottom up in a 2 ply laceweight yarn and is made up of a lacy bead stitch and embossed leaf stitch pattern.

Originally inspired by a trip to Paris back in February, the pattern evolved after much swatching and getting to grips with the maths! I used Envisioknit to help with the written instructions and charting. I really do rate Envisioknit, I have been using it for a while now and it is easy to use and has always done everything that I want it to do.

Another great outcome of this design was finding such a great tech editor, thank you Amanda for your help with making the pattern so clear and easy to follow!

And thank you also to Meg, Malena, Sabine and Lisa for test knitting the pattern. This was my first experience of using a test knitting group on Ravelry and your feedback has been really useful.

The pattern is available to purchase here

Travel

My Favourite Place in the whole wide World

Why is it times always goes so fast when you are on holiday?! The last 2 weeks have just flown by! We returned yesterday from Alonnisos, Greece. My favourite place in the whole wide world.

Most of our days were spent at the beach at Chrisi Milia, soaking up the sun and swimming in the sea.

Chrisi Milia Alonnisos

One day was spent at Chora, the Old Village on top of the hill. Chora used to be the capital of the island until a big earthquake in the 1960’s destroyed most of the houses so the people moved down to the port of Patitiri. For years the Old Village stood desolate and in ruins at the top of the hill but slowly it has been rebuilt over the years. Many ruins still remain which gives the village a rustic charm that makes it very popular with artists, and it is lovely place to spend the evening and with its many restaurants and bars.

Old Town Alonnisos Street in the Old Town Alonnisos

One night down in the port we witnessed the most amazing electrical storm. It began with a power cut that surged the whole island into darkness and for the next couple of hours the sky was a constant disco of lights. I was kicking myself though as it was the one night I had forgotten to take out the proper camera and I struggled to capture anything on my phone – this was the best shot I could get over the harbour.

Electric storm Alonnisos

Last Saturday was the annual Agia Paraskevi Island festival which celebrates the patron saint of the main church. It starts on the Friday with a big procession from the church into town, followed by traditional Greek music and dancing on the Saturday night, with the music continuing well into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Agia Paraskevi festival

The evenings were perfect for a spot of knitting on the veranda as the sun was going down. Notice the little cat on the wall in the background of this picture – we had a return visitor from last year, little Pitou (he got his name as he looks just like our cat Pea, so we called him Pea 2). He was instantly recognisable due to his unique way of sitting with his leg dangling over the wall!

Jem Arrowsmith Knitting

All in all, it was another fantastic holiday and even though it went too quick at least our little furry friends, Pea and Mike, were pleased to have us home again.

Cat in a suitcase Cat in a bag

C&G Hand Knit Textiles, knitting

C&G Hand Knit Textiles – Module 3

Module 3 of the course has been marked and returned and aside from my dippy mistake of joining my slip stitch seaming sample the wrong way up the rest was ok. Here is a summary of the work I presented.

Activity 1: Shaping in Knitting

This activity called for a number of samples to demonstrate different methods of increasing and decreasing.

Increase samples (left to right)

  • Yarn Over Increase (eyelet)
  • Make 1 Increase (M1)
  • Bar Increase
  • Row below increase

Increase Samples

Decrease samples (left to right)

  • Knit decrease (ssk & k2tog)
  • Slip decrease
  • Knit 2 together through back loop (K2tog-tbl)
  • Bias decrease

Decrease samples

Double Decrease samples (left to right)

  • K3tog
  • SS1-K2tog-psso (Slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over)
  • S2tog-k1-psso (Slip 2 together, knit 1, pass slipped stitches over)

Double decreases

Activity 2 – Joining Seams

Sample 1 – 3 needle cast off (front and back)

3 needle bind off

Sample 2 – Mattress Stitch (selvedge to selvedge)

Mattress Stitch

Sample 3 – Mattress Stitch (top edge to top edge)#

Mattress St top edge

Sample 4 – Backstitch

Backstitch f&b

Sample 5 – Grafting

Grafting f&b

I struggled to get to grips with this one and need to practice it a bit more. You can see on the back on the sample where I went a bit wrong, although it didn’t show on the front.

Sample 6 – 3 needle i-cord bind off

Icord Bind Off

(Not sure why the photos make it look like 2 completely different colours!)

Activity 3 – Knit & Purl Patterns

Knit and Purl samples (left to right)

  • Broken Rib pattern
  • Ridged rib pattern
  • Checkerboard
  • Inverness Diamonds
  • Oblique Rib
  • 1 x 1 Rib
  • 2 x 2 rib
  • Coloured stripes
  • Moss diamonds
  • Mistake rib
  • Garter / reverse stockinette stitch
  • Moss st / stockinette stitch

Knit & Purls 1Knit & Purls 2

Activity 4 – Crossed / Travelling Stitch Patterns

The first sample I worked was taken from the ‘Tree of Life  Afghan’ by Nicky Epstein

Travelling x st patterns

The second was a traditional lattice pattern.

Activity 5 – Cables

I do love a good cable!

Samples (clockwise)

  • Honeycomb
  • Triple twist cable
  • Ornamental cable

Cables

Activity 6 – Raised & Embossed Patterns

Raised Pattern Samples (clockwise)

  • Popcorn
  • Diagonal bobble
  • Nosegay

Raised Patterns

Embossed Patterns (top to bottom)

  • Puff stitch
  • Leaf pattern

Embossed Patterns

Activity 7 – Yarn File Continued

Following from module 1 this activity explored some of the more unusual yarns available. Samples and information on how the fibre is produced, properties, care etc were required.

Sample 1 – Alpaca

Alpaca

Sample 2 – Angora (responsibly sourced of course)

Angora

Sample 3 – Cashmere

Cashmere

Sample 4 – Camel

Camel

Sample 5 – Yak

Yak

Sample 6 – Possum

I found it impossible to get 100% possum fibre. The yarn I used was 60% merino, 40% possum.

Possum

Activity 8 – Designer Makers

Again, continuing on the underpinning knowledge started in module 1, this activity was to research another designer maker and write a report including samples of their work. I chose to write my report on Kate Davies, one of my favourite designers.

Activity 9 – Storage, Care and Use of Knitting Resources

The final activity was to imagine setting up a knitwear design studio and image what kind of requirements and equipment you would need.

So that was module 3! Now to get cracking on with module 4…

 

knitting

A Post About Knitting!

I realised that whilst I created this blog to talk about knitting, I haven’t actually talked about it for a good few months! So here is an update on what has been occupying my time and my needles of late.

The 3rd module of my C&G course has been marked and returned, all ok apart from one sample in the joining seams activity. I had seamed 2 pieces of garter stitch but I had joined one side upside down – DOH! So I need to re-do that and send it back off with the next module.

In a recent post I mentioned some yarn that I had bought in America, well the skein on the left (Ella Rae Lace Merino) just wouldn’t leave me in peace until I had made something beautiful from it.

Lovely Yarn

I did a Ravelry search for a pattern that would do it justice and came across Holden by Mindy Wilkes. This is a beautiful shawl pattern with the right balance of stockinette to show off the yarn and a lovely lace edging for some fanciness. Here is the result:

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So pleased with it 🙂

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Just look at the pretty stitches…the picot bind off just makes it!

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Whilst making the shawl I signed up for a Craftsy class ‘Lace Shawl Design‘ with Miriam Felton. I found this course really useful in understanding the different ways of constructing shawls, how to chart the patterns and getting to grips with the maths. I have another skein of yarn in my stash – Jilly Bean’s Knot Another Granny Yarn in the Misty Moor colourway which I really want to use to try a fast increasing point up triangular shawl. I don’t think I will have enough for a regular shawl as I only bought 1 skein..anyway, this will be my next project in between the C&G course.

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And in other news, I have finished a pattern design! Ages ago I posted about a design I was working on inspired by a trip to Paris. Well it took many hours of knitting, frogging, re-working, changing design ideas completely and battling with maths to eventually knitting the sample and being happy with it. I have just sent the pattern off for tech editing and then will put a call out on Ravelry for it to be test knit. Here is a sneaky peak!

WP

It will be available as a Ravelry download once tested so do check back for links to the pattern or follow me on Ravelry – jemarrowsmith

C&G Hand Knit Textiles, knitting

C&G Hand Knit Textiles – Module 2 – The Knitting Bit

Following my previous post on Module 2 of the Hand Knit Textiles course, here are the samples I produced for activity 5. The brief was to produce 3 or 4 samples based on visual sources of line, but I got a bit carried away and did a few more 🙂

Activity 5 – Interpreting Line in Knitting

Sample 1 – Green Vase

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This vase is in the V&A Museum in London and I like the thin white lines painted on the ridges and the way they reflect the light.

The sample is knit in plain green stockinette  and then in first purl row I used a fair isle patterned yarn which sat on the stitches below and above each ridge to give the highlight effect.

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Sample 2 – Grille

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Knit in striped stockinette but the diagonal lines were picked up using purl stitches so at the end I could draw a line of yarn through these and finish with a button for the centre.

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Sample 3 – Egg Dish

Another V&A find – the sample couldn’t be anything else but entrelac!

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Sample 4 – Hexagonal Box

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Sample 5 – V&A Floor

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It was the interlocking squares that I liked about this pattern – originally tried working this one in colour but it got beyond complicated trying to keep track of the intarsia bobbins! So it became knit and purl instead and duplicate stitch over the black squares – but I wasn’t keen on the result,  it works better in one plain colour.

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(By the way, see if you can spot the mistake in the floor mosaic photo!)

Sample’s 6 and 7 – 3D Blocks

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After failing to recreate the V&A floor sample in colour I wanted to try again with a different pattern, this design was on the back of a greetings card.

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I then tried the same design in a linear pattern and used contrasting yarn to pick out other patterns within it. The shapes aren’t very clear from the photo below but they are in yellow, pink and green.

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Sample 8 – Ironworks

I wanted to have a go at creating something using raised stitches and cables and was inspired by this picture of an iron railing.

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This is my least favourite sample and probably would have been a lot more effective in just knit and purl stitches. It just looks a bit messy and not really the result I was after. But hey ho – it was a good lesson in what doesn’t work!

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Sample 9 – Llama

I found this little fellow in the Birmingham museum – isn’t he sweet!

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The sample was a combination of knit, purl, stripes and eyelets for the markings.

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So that was all of the knitted samples based on line – I absolutely loved this activity and could have quite easily carried on making more!

The final part of the module was to produce a ‘resolved piece’. Using the techniques previously explored the aim was to experiment with line patterns and work through a range of ideas to create a decorative design that could be applied to a craft item. The end design could be used as a print on a scarf, indentations around a ceramic pot, an embroidered or stitch pattern on a wall hanging or quilt etc.

Resolved Piece

My resolved piece started life as ripped up pieces of cardboard and thick paper which were then glued onto an A4 piece of card. I overlaid a piece of tracing paper and took a rubbing using a white wax crayon. This rubbing was turned upside down and put back on top of the original with glued on bits of string to mark out some of the lines.

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I took a rubbing and scanned it into the computer.

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Then was the fun bit of matching up the lines and picking out repeat patterns.

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Here are a couple of ideas that were developed further

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But in the end I went with this shape as it made me think of butterflies!

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Once the main pattern was decided on I experimented with colours using watercolours and tissue paper.

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This is the final design in colour.

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Which was scanned and repeated to produce the pattern below.

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The course then requires you to demonstrate how you saw the design being used. I saw this pattern as being a pretty print on a dress, forgive the rubbish drawing, but you get the idea!

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And that was Module 2!

If anyone is interested in doing this course it is run by Fiona Morris at ‘Distance Knitting’ and you can find more details here.

 

 

 

C&G Hand Knit Textiles, knitting

C&G Hand Knit Textiles – Module 2 – The Design Bit

I have received module 2 back now so thought I would share an overview of what activities it included and some of the samples I produced for it. This module focused on design and creating patterns from lines and I am going to do this post in 2 parts as there is quite a lot of work in this module. Here is the design bit.

Activity 1 – A collection of images to reflect the theme ‘line’.

I had great fun collecting images and taking photo’s for my file, here are a few of my favourites.

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These panels are part of a public installation by Dale Devereux Barker at Cloister’s Walk, St. Katherine’s Dock, London. You can check out more of his work here. His use of line and colour are really inspiring!

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This one was taken in Greece and is a reflection of ferry lights in the water.

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This pretty skylight is at the Birmingham museum.

Activity 2 – Mark Making

It was back to school with this activity – out came the felt tip’s, poster paints, crayons and anything else I could lay my hands on! The aim was to experiment with different mediums and papers to create lines and markings.

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Activity 3 – Doodle Sheets and Repeat Patterns

You are provided with a blank grid of boxes, each one to be filled with a doodle or pattern.  You then take 4 photocopies of the sheet and cut them up so you have 4 repeats of each pattern which you can then play around with to make repeat patterns.

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Activity 4 – Layered Landscapes and Repeat Patterns

In this activity to have to select a landscape image that has a number of horizontal divisions.

I chose this one.

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Using tracing paper, a scalpel and some card you make a tracing of each horizontal line. For each line you cut out the shape from a new piece of card and stick them on top of each other to build a layered picture from which you can take a rubbing. From the cut outs you can create 2 images – a positive and a negative image.

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As with the doodle sheet before you then take copies of the image or scan into the computer so you can play around with repeat patterns.

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I like this image as it has clearly defined horizontal lines but the pencil markings also make a chevron pattern.

I interpreted this in a knitted sample using red and orange yarn to create the stripes on a chevron background.

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Activity 5 continues this theme and looks at interpreting line through knitting and you can use images that were collected in activity 1. I will share my knitted samples in the next post.

 

 

Gardening, knitting

Hello Sunshine!

I’ve been a bit rubbish at blogging lately, but now I am back I would like to share some of the fun stuff I have been up to 🙂

Firstly, I finally finished module 3 of the C&G knitting course – hooray! Big lesson learnt there is to start writing things up as I go along and not leave it to the very end and having to decipher my notes. It took me twice as long to write the module up then it did to knit the samples! Anyway, that is all done and posted off and I am now on to module 4. I am quite excited about this one as it is all about Colour. Having a look through the activity contents this one is more heavily weighted towards design than knitting and the first activity is to gather a selection of inspirational images to reflect the theme of colour.

Whilst I am doing that I am also in the middle of knitting up a hat design inspired by a recent trip to Paris. Here’s a progress shot.

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I hadn’t intended to design another hat at first, the pattern I was working on kind of decided it for me. I was inspired to try a travelling stitch pattern as I had knit a couple of samples for module 3 and one of them was the ‘Tree of Life‘ from the afghan by Nicky Epstein.

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I like the way you can ‘draw’ with a travelling stitch, like Nicky has done with the tree branches so that is what I am exploring in my next design.

And what about Spring Haze? Well, I have resigned myself that my Spring Haze wrap is going to be a very long WIP, I have changed the design for the main part and it needs a lot of attention which I haven’t been able to give it lately. But I am still working on it, even if it is very slowly…

I am super excited about about is the return of summer – which starts officially next weekend when the clocks go forward! This weekend has been typical of the weather in England, woke up yesterday to glorious sunshine so my husband and I hot footed it to the garden centre for supplies for our yearly garden overhaul.

We got some lovely plants including this:

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It’s called a ‘Fritillaria Meleagris’ or ‘Snakes Head Fritillary’. I love the snakeskin pattern on the petals – so pretty!

We also got some of these:

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A ‘Senetti’ plant. The actual colour is more purple than this but my phone camera made it bright blue! This one is definitely going in my colour file 🙂

On the way back we stopped at the shop for BBQ supplies, our reward for a hard days work in the garden. But as you have probably guessed, on our way home the skys clouded over the heavens opened. Typical!

In other news I have been getting out and about over the past month, I had an amazing trip to Paris, visited the new Birmingham Library and caught the Hannah Hoch exhibition at Whitechapel last week, all of which I will write about soon.

I also have a trip planned for New York and Boston coming up too which I am sooo excited about. If anyone has any suggestions as to interesting places to visit please do let me know!