So why?

So many images to share..

the meditation piece I worked on from a scaffold at Walcot Chapel in September

the mandalas in chalk on the Chapel floor

So why the silence especially when I wish to share? I shall during November, but first this…

Knitting – that’s why… 3 intense bereavements in one year, and I have returned to regular, rhythmic, repetitive knitting alongside my other work. The colours of yarn, the texture of wool, an emerging structure or form. It has woven into the pattern of my days – special time which balances me, holds me together.

I find the constant counting patterns very supportive – I need to focus, to concentrate exclusively and this then, is for me like a counted meditation. No other thoughts can be held in my mind at the same time – my thoughts cannot wander for those precious moments. And look what flows from my hands! This for me is healing and the focus then continues into the day… The mistakes remind me when I lose concentration, and the fixing of these brings some measured self belief ..

So…

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A lace pattern shawl – this is the cast off picot edge – and for lace knitting SUCH concentration was needed! I made this for my beloved niece. I have one too and the lace part has some mistakes – I kept these in – they reflect my mind at the time!

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Yoga socks next – and a first attempt at my own pattern. I wanted these to be snug and fit another dearly loved one in my family who gives healing aromatherapy massages and teaches yoga in a yurt.. they winged their way this weekend.

And these….

imageThe shawl pattern is Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander and the socks are Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preserving the fragile petals

A few years back I experimented with this idea, was inspired, and loved it … and the thought returned this week with a call out for artists to support the local hospice that worked so beautifully, carefully – oh, how caring and considerate and expert when my mother was dying, and we managed ‘hospice at home’… 40 years of Dorothy House  and a show at 44AD next week in aid of this special place…

Tulips, dried naturally so the petals curl, the musky scent remains and the colours mature.. The still skeleton shape is fragile and beautiful, the scent pungent from the Spring and from my Bees Knees kantha work at Walcot Chapel

susi bancroft tulip 1

 

Tissue paper, dyed and stitched and embellished onto the natural tulip – but the subtle quality for me is to add a breath, a petal or two, a thought

susi bancroft tulip 2I can place these in glass preserving jars as before, when to lift the lid releases that scent and allows a closer view. They are ephemeral and fragile – I found that in time the scent will remain though gently recede a little, but it evokes so much. The colour fades, however much we try to hold it, but my dyed petals stay clear and bright..

susi bancroft tulip stitch

 

 

the joy of making…

this one – for the joy of making….

susi-tea cosyI spied a beautiful tea cosy on display in a favourite shop – Marmalade Yarns in Frome  and thought of how my mother in law would love one! The pattern is from them, and for the crochet daffodils I went to Attic 24 – my grateful thanks to both!

susi_tea cosy 3This was such a relaxing pleasure to make and has given joy too – a small springtime offering

 

the sanity of making…

Susi Bancroft image image imageThese tiny hexagons fill a tin – they measure 1cm face – 2cm diameter

A gift from a special person in my extended family – offered generously and lightly but with astute consideration

They created a miniature scene at Bees Knees

Susi Bancroft

Last week a visiting artist friend exclaimed the making at such a scale would drive her insane… However interestingly they were offered to me with a narrative explanation that the making of these tiny precious pieces – the repetition, the need for precision and concentration, the careful piecing and selection of strings of pattern – all this and more about the nature of handwork were made in order to keep sanity, to stay sane at a particular time in her life…

 

 

 

 

Making and reading….

Crochet and reading

Finishing some making – Calm gentle stitch rhythm and the pleasure of posting the finished    wrist warmers tomorrow to a little girl who waits. And a book I have awaited for years since hearing it read on the radio – Tove Jansson Sculptor’s Daughter… a book I will constantly return to, as I have kept phrases and images in my mind for so long. My reading of it has also re-awakened strong memories of childhood sensibilites and thinking.

Some hearts will appear this week, then on to some new work

Caring with crochet

It started with winter present making and a desire to keep loved ones warmly held

Neck warmerAnd, yes, loving the chunky texture and ‘big-stitch’ look of big wool after delicate thread stitching!

Crochet is wonderfully rhythmic and I don’t feel stressed about any un-picking like in knitting, as one tug on the strand and it easily unravels so I can remake stitches.The repetitive action relaxes my mind – back to the meditative again and those interesting connections!

There was a continuation too – the finishing of a small random blanket from bits and pieces of leftover wool that someone had watched ‘in the making’..

Crochet blanketSome research into making mittens brought me quickly back to Attic 24 and I so enjoy the colourful joy here! Christmas night had me finishing a pair of these till 2am – hey ho – I had made a mistake and didnt see it until I laughed at the resulting muddle – quietly though, as everyone was sleeping! I am fascinated and intrigued that the children in my family then got so involved and enjoyed the designing and decisions they could make in requesting neck warmers and mittens for me to make for them during the rest of our stay. They shared the mistakes, the problem solving, their thoughts about colour, and watching the process and this was as much a part of giving as the ready finished gift… why do we worry so about these matters of presents, when actually I realised this ‘making’ time was what was a memorable delight ..

Mittens with bobble edgeBobble edge courtesy of Attic 24 – SO easy and flowing to follow for someone like me who often finds patterns really hard and frustrating to understand

MittensAnd so to sew – next time the trials and tribulations of keeping warm and of some very ad hoc curtain making! Oh, and in the background new exhibition work brewing in my mind…

 

Herringbone…

When I was little, this was a stitch I learned from my mother  – as a functional stitch for hemming – the ‘web’ it creates allows for a bit of movement and ease.

This Autumn we needed some temporary warm curtains to keep out the chill and these charity shop finds are a treat – in burnt orange, they make the most of enhancing the sunshine. They were amazingly long, overlocked at the ends – so, not wanting to cut them incase they need re-using somewhere else next year or handing on, I decided to herringbone a deep hem. More warmth, and beautiful shadows – actually a 30 inch hem!

herringbone1photoWhen I teach hand embroidery, I often suggest there is no right or wrong way to position your hand or to direct a stitch – creating a comfortable smooth rhythm is more important. This proved only too true for me, as I had already hung the 4 curtains – so was half wrapped up in them by the end! You can just see threads of the herringbone on top of the overlock stitch…

Some herringbone stitches – worked at varied sizes, textures and layers…

IMG_3197IMG_3206aI never wore anything with quite such a deep hem as a child even though clothing with ‘plenty of room to grow into it’ was the usual and valued way of life – but I do remember catching my toes in the herringbone stitching rushing to get dressed!