Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Help, Hats and Handicrafts

My needles have been going like the proverbial clappers - think I may need to have them surgically removed very soon - and the frenetic knitting has kept me from the bloggersphere of late .....

The charity, Shelter, has requested knitters to provide "Hats for the Homeless" and with the colder winter weather in sight when it will be no fun to be sleeping rough, my trusty Knit Girls and the Marple Knitting Group have knuckled down and are using charity-shop purchased wool and any leftover yarns to produce as many nice warm beanies for this cause.  As you can see from the photo below we already have quite a few ....

Well that's my hat bit of the above title and now I just want to have a little rave about the book I've just finished.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett is about racial segregation in the 1960's in Jackson, Mississippi - my daughter Sian, gave it to me whilst with her on Martha's Vineyard in October and as we so often enjoy the same reads I set about it the minute I finished Room by Amanda Donague (also excellent).    It is a real page turner, funny, poignant and relevant and I thoroughly recommend it.   Today I am taking Anna to the hospital for some physio and then we are treating ourselves to a bite of something or someone and then off to the Macclesfield Cinemac to see the film of the book.   I've heard good things and will let you know what we think.

When taking a break from clacking away at headgear I have been knitting a Christmas pressy sweater for the adorable Elias - my 5 year old grandson.  I'm really pleased with it as it's turned out to be such a little chunka-munka - here's a photo (don't look Kate or Elias) - hope the postage is not ridiculous as it's as heavy as a small suit of  chainmail!

The Film Society showed Walz with Bashir last night which was the Ari Folman superbly animated film of the 1982 Lebanese war and depicted in a sort of acid-trip way the massacre of  Palestinians at that time - this was no Disney and sort of closer to Apocalypse Now ....

My garden looks rather like a disaster area at present and hopefully the good autumn weather we've been having will continue into the weekend so I can take control in a woman-possessed sort of way and cut back all the herbaceous, remove fallen leaves and weeds and put pay to the wild strawberry plants which form across the whole area like congregating bad boys.

Next weekend, 26th November I will be participating in a village craft fair and hope to sell lots of my trendy knitwear and then on Sunday 27th off to the Vintage Fair in Wilmslow which last year was a blast and where I purchased my amazing 1950's foxfur cape - please forgive me - you'd want it if you saw it!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Death of Summer

No shyness here as death now glows
with autumn colour.
Much Keatsian mellow fruitfulness
as winter solstice nears
and Wordsworth’s backyard is at its loveliest.
Nature’s blanket
of acid-green mossiness
covers the path and the damp fallen branches.
The ancient dry stone walls all grey and tilting
And look ….
The lovely lake-face now breeze-stippled.

Amber bracken petrified to a crisp
and woody heather, dark-green and flowerless.
Icy falls spill over time-worn rocks
and froth with gathering speed.
Nests now dry and empty, birdless.
Underfoot the skittish blue-green slate
just a little treacherous.
And a zillion crushed and blunted pine needles
trodden flat.
Chill descends as afternoon’s
last sunlight colours the far-off vapour trail
with bright orange reflection.
The man in the moon now makes his entrance
as a full, round face beams down
and is seemingly pleased.

Autumn Compote

4 pears
A few plums
Stick of cinammon, allspice, nutmeg

Prepare the pears removing peel etc.
And cut into halves.
Stone the plums
Put everything in small saucepan with lid
And simmer very gently for about 20 mins.
By which time there will be lots of lovely juices

Serve with Greek yogurt

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

October 2011 - Trip to the States

Our October trip to New England was magical - the weather was far from typical fall as the temperature was high, the leaves were not turning and the sky was a perfect blue.  We swam in the ocean, were cossetted by our family, did yoga in Sian's class, saw Dana play at a gig, enjoyed a "girlie clothes swap" with Kate (must try this here at home), talked and laughed with the kids, met some great people, enjoyed fantastic Cuban dinner cooked by Rockin Rick and Keith, worked with Kate on her "new side garden" and replanting two baby ginkos, travelled as seniors on the bus from one end of the island to the other which was great fun and so it went on .....

I'd made up my mind on this trip to attempt to teach some of the grandchildren how to knit and I could not believe how well they took to it .... Elias age 5 was the first and with some little help I left the States with him wearing his midnight blue wristband - very cool.    Ivy and Pandora were next when we arrived at Martha's Vineyard and like little ducks to water they produced cuffs, headband and were working on scarves as we left.   India age 10yrs produced a lovely aqua headband as seen here -
and Ginger the dog was also keen to get in on the act as I worked on my knitted patchwork throw.
  It was great to go and see India at her soccer match and altho on this occasion they didn't win, she nevertheless put up a great defence - such times with your grandchildren can't be overestimated.  Precious.
Steve and I went to the picture perfect town of Edgartown on the Vineyard as we'd heard there was a good charity (or goodwill/thrift as they call it) shop there - I really got lucky and bought three fab felt hats, one a grey fedora type, a cloche in purple with wonderful wide green velvet ribbon and a funky black one with raspberry-coloured corsage - 15 dollars the lot.  Steve said I looked rather "Miss Marple" in the fedora but of course I ignored that and went ahead and bought it and since then I've had quite a few compliments from the womenfolk!!

I was delighted that the sweaters I had knitted for the girls were immediately worn and they really seemed to like them - they certainly looked gorgeous, I thought, as shown here and worn with their pj bottoms.

We had a particularly good evening around the dinner table with Sian and her girls and Natasha (originally from Macclesfield) and her twins, Claudia and Paige  ..... we talked about the differences between Americans and the Brits - there were no fights and it was all great fun .... Claudia then recited some of her beautiful poetry, Sian read one of mine and in no time at all Ivy (aged 11) was over on the sofa and writing some of her own.   Pandora (aged 9) a few days later also got the poetry bug.

After two weeks on the island Sian took us to the ferry and we said our quick (less painful) goodbyes and spent our last days in the U.S. in Somerville which is just outside of Boston with Kate, Dana, India, Elias and Ginger.   One of our lasting memories was seeing Elias head off for school the day we left.
It's tough being so far away from our family but we're not alone in this these days with our global community and all you could ever want is to know that they are healthy and happy wherever they are ... and for us, well home's not bad either.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My recently knitted rag-rug type rug for the loo ....

I've used a white flannelette sheet and a blue cotton sheet from charity shops cut into strips and knitted to get this effect .....

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

My bling-chic cardi

Just thought I'd like to show you my bolero-cardi which I've just finished knitting and am rather pleased with ..... it is sparkly and quite bling but I think it's also sorta chic too .....

Last Saturday evening we had a fantastic charity event  to raise money to help Stop the Traffik of young people .... most of the models were gorgeous young things (just the occasional senior!) and were wearing charity shop clothes principally but there were two or three ranges from other sources - one of which was my creative knitwear range which featured on the catwalk in the Winter section.   There were also stalls selling jewellery, photography, artwork, cakes, cards, knitwear and all the clothes that had been modelled on the catwalk.  

Autumn roses

Almost Over

The last of the roses from the garden .....
New Dawn, Peace, Golden Showers and a deep pink
climber whose name I’ve forgotten or never known

I cut them on a bright, morning last week
and delighted, in that small way one has,
in arranging them in my green glass vase
along with a few bronzing hydrangea heads

Umpteen times, up and down my hall,
up and down the stairs,

They’ve caught my eye and pleased me  …..
Looking so lovely on the table by the front door

Today I smelled a pungency as I
watered the roses drooping heads
Yes, almost ready for composting
Almost over ….

But not quite ….
There was still a beauty about them
But now it is of the sad sort
The sort that causes a little pain in your heart

Friday, 9 September 2011

Ten years on ....

11 September 2001 8.45am
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA

The aircraft like some child’s video game, some computer graphic, slams into the building. I watch the TV screen as in a disaster movie another aircraft ploughs into the second of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.  Numb and feeling like a voyeur, I stare,  as they collapse before my eyes. Plumes of leaden smoke, sirens, traumatised people running every which way, America is under siege.  With the first aircraft we think it’s some horrible, freakish accident.  With the second we hear the words “hijack” and “terrorist attacks”.    And then a third plane crashes into The Pentagon in Washington.   Flashing up on the screen the words “A United Airlines jet crashes near Pittsburg”, the fourth.  I’m thinking of films like King Kong and Towering Inferno and expecting some Hollywood hero to appear.  I’m having a major struggle with the reality of what is happening.  Is it really going on?    Where do emergency services begin?  Tears well up repeatedly but I feel ashamed at my inability to feel anything specific.  It’s like a messy void.

The twin peaks and their 110 storeys have been a symbol of America’s wealth and prosperity.   And now all there is is debris and wreckage and reporters tell us 250 brave firefighters on the site including New York’s Fire Chief are dead.  There will, of course, be thousands more.

We are on holiday at my daughter’s home and we make our way quietly with my grandchildren, to Menemsha Beach – children need to play.   There is an eerie silence across the beach as ships’ flags fly half-mast and the usual rock-warning bell tolls with bizarre significance.  It no longer feels like the land of the free, the American Dream has become a nightmare.

On our return from the ocean the car radio reports that the Wall Street Stock Exchange is closed for business. 200,000 lines are down and there are staffing problems – a euphemism in some cases for fatalities.   President Bush has been spirited away to some secure, secret place – it is thought that the White House was an intended target also.

It is impossible to perceive of the many repercussions quite apart from the dreadfulness of human loss.

Blood donors are requested.  There are many walking wounded but it is suspected many, many more are dead and as thumbnail sketches of some of those victims are revealed to us, bit by bit it becomes a reality.  There is wall to wall radio and TV coverage everywhere and the shadowy enemy seeps out into our homes.

As the day closes it dawns on some the awful significance of the date -  September 11  - or as they put it here 911 – the USA’s emergency dial-up code. There is a terrible anger which will need to be assuaged.  Sadly, there is unfinished business. 

Meg Marsden/11th September 2001

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Ice Pink Lipstick and Cuban Heels

This is the cover of my second book of poetry published 2005 and still available at only £5 each - would make a great little Valentine pressy - please contact me direct .....

Sample poem from the above book ...

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Woodstore

How satisfying is a well-stocked little woodstore - Steve loves collecting wood, getting the old chainsaw out, stacking it and waiting for it to season .... I love burning the logs on the woodstove with a glass of red wine in my hand and becoming mesmerised by the flames ...   my addition to the woodstore was the theatre posters on the wall - style is everything don't you agree?

Friday, 26 August 2011

Inspiring clouds

Amazing clouds seen whilst travelling on the motorway to Anglesey
Purple dragon
Breathe your fire
As the golden orb
Melts low
Majestic mountains
Profiled black
Grey the ocean
Chill and threatening

Purple dragon
Turns to charcoal
Breaks into Kandinsky shapes
Fixed against a
Big-sky backdrop
Angel art
On constant view

Startling harvest moon
With a zillion stars
Draws us closer to
The Island
Snowdon silhouetted

All is drama
All is changing
Frost is promised
With the dawn

Revelling in Ravelry

How could it be that I have been blithely unaware of the wonderful world of Ravelry?   Only at my Marple knitting group on Tuesday did I hear of this site which is a nirvana to all of us wot knit!  I go by the user name of guerillagardener and as yet I have only touched the hem of this site but I did notice when drooling over the patterns, the yarns and the advice that there were another three thousand other clackers all over the globe on line at the same time!!!!!!

Whilst telling you about Ravelry I'll just leave you with a shot of my seaside-themed wallhanging knitted up from ribbon, charity shop wool and an old much-loved denim shirt with one of my tiny seaside poems attached - it has little pockets in also to hold the razor-fish shells collected in Anglesey and hangs on the wall from a quirky piece of driftwood. 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Sometimes you just gotta chuck it!

So I had my Yard Sale this morning in an effort to reduce the mountains of stuff one accumulates (or more correctly that two accumulate).   I was brutal, well brutal for me that is and the weather was reasonable as I sat out on the front of my house surrounded by paintings, bric-a-brac, chest of drawers, spice racks and rattan screen etc.etc. and did my knitting and hoped that now and again one of the speeding drivers would consider stopping and looking at my treasures ....  not too many takers but enough to say goodbye to the main body of things and Steve packed the others into his car and took them to the charity shop.   Oh well it's a start and I've got lots more to go at and I still have my sentimental suitcase when feeling blue ...  

The Sentimental Suitcase

Memories moulder away
Within your comfortable decrepitude
Rather as the garden compost
Where all good waste
Morphs its journey towards ripe
Earth-enriching goodness.
So the shabby suitcase,
Battered repository with broken lock, no key
Holds piquant memories.
A toddlers abstract artwork,
Attributed to “Kate aged 3, 1971”
And “Mummy” with purple hair
And wild yellow eyes,
By “Sian 4.1/2, 1972”
Both heavy with dry, cracked paint.

Aunts and uncles at christenings
Proud grandmas and granddads
New mums in mini-skirts
And dads with kipper-ties, smile out
With hippy hair and gaucho moustaches
From tiny Kodak-ed photos
Falling from their torn and gaudy
Boots the Chemists envelopes.
Hundreds of slippy-dark negatives
So much a thing of the past.
School reports and the still-silken locks
Of a child’s hair.

Yellowing newspaper cuttings
Relating births and deaths,
Crumbling wedding telegrams
Old love letters and a child’s
Precious poetry
All encapsulated within
The fragile grip.
And year on year it languishes,
Life’s luggage
Like some happy but deserted lover

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Rugs galore!

Just wanted to show you a small selection of my latest range of hand-cut rag-wool type hand-knitted rugs .... these are made from recycled materials, they are colour-fast & washable and look fab on
either stripped floorboards, white painted boards or laminate floors .....

Perfect for the nursery, playroom, study or bathroom.

If you are interested please contact me either on Facebook or e-mail

Thursday, 11 August 2011

August roses

As you know I like to knit wherever I am and that includes the car, whether stationery or moving, when I'm reading, watching TV, waiting rooms anywhere .... I especially love to knit in the garden and whilst doing so this week inbetween the rainshowers I marvelled at my old English pink climbing rose as it exceeded itself this year by rising way above the cotoneaster .... isn't it lovely?

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Small but perfectly-formed Craft Fair

Saturday 6th August 2011 and my craft fair commences at 9am ... the other local artists I've brought together have now assembled at Poynton's Civic Hall and we are buzzin' .... we set up all our wares yesterday so now we just need to string up the purple and silver balloons and the banner (made by Liz), put out the A-board and smile and wait for the hordes of punters. 

I have wanted an excuse to show off the cherry-patterned pinny my daughter Sian sent to me in May and so I themed it with some jolly red lipstick, a scarf from the charity shop tied as a turban and painted some old earrings with red nail-varnish in an attempt to look like a 1950's housewife having to Make do and Mend.

There's a big shiny Waitrose store just a few yards away so we're hoping that their shoppers will feel drawn to us as well as all the others who use this large car-park but what happens next is not great ... the weather has been unbelievably good for weeks with very little rain but just as we've settled ourselves behind our respective stalls the heavens go black and decide to open bigtime; it is hammering down on the roof above us, it is precipitating, it is throwing it down, it is perpetrating and all those other words beginning with p.   I venture out into the foyer to check the number of cars, the passers-by, the shoppers - there is not a single body around and it looks like a ghost-town outside.

Some silk/cotton mix headbands, fingerless gloves and cuffs, some Kaffe Fasset fingerless gloves
 and a wonderful collection of Baby Ugg Boots knitted by Anne-Marie

Have faith, have faith ... we chat among ourselves somewhat hysterically and have a cuppa .... and lo and behold by 10 o'clock the lovely people start coming in .... our chosen room is small but really friendly ... there is Liz with her hand-crafted jewellery, Gillian with her very original greetings cards, Philip with his stunning photography and me with my knitwear, wallhangings, doorstops and the like.

By 1pm we have packed up our things and head off to the nearby Costa for a de-brief and much-needed coffee.   We all agree that the Fair was a great success as we have sold a good amount of stock, made contacts, met a lot of lovely old friends and made some new ones and most importantly we have enjoyed a brilliant atmosphere together.   We'll be holding our 3rd Small but perfectly-formed Craft Fair in the autumn.... watch this space.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The exceptionally nice Hand-made Rug

Red and white hand-knitted washable rug

This is my hand-cut from recycled materials, hand-knitted rag rug
Size 70cms wide x 110cms long
Wonderful for nursery, playroom, bathroom or study.
Contact me on or on Facebook

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Knit Girls

Monday night is knitting night and the night that The Knit Girls meet together in the local pub The Vernon Arms at 8pm for a coupla hours .... I set up the group about 18 months ago and it's proved to be a great success in that we have all-age knitters from all walks of life with varying abilities;  we have the retired, the busy grandmas, the professional women -a community policewoman, an accountant, a civil servant, a secretary, a maths teacher and a systems analyst, we have carers, personal assistants and nursery teachers and those who are disabled.

It's a night of drinkypoos, natter, laughter and loadsa knitting and apart from our personal projects that we may be working on there are those who are unable to concentrate on the night (too much fun) and therefore knit up squares which others then sew together for blankets for African orphanages.
For some reason I am known as the Mother Superior of the group - don't know why but it might be due to the fact that I take an attendance register, demand very good reasons for absence and expect needles to be clacking throughout!!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Girls

And when I saw those petals lying there                       
I thought of you with all your
Tumbling hair
A golden child
With wide blue eyes
And skin, your skin, so fair.

And when I saw those petals lying there
I thought of you with shiny, rain-like,
Silken hair
A Latin look
A Celtic child
With almond eyes
And olive skin, so rare.                                                   

And when I saw those petals lying there
What tugged within
Releasing fragrance, laughter,
Playgrounds, open-air?
Today it was rose petals lying there.
Another day it could be
Seagulls in a seaside square,

A snap at Anglesey
Young riders on their ponies
A kite caught in a tree
Or shrieks from children
At a summer fair
But on this day
I saw those petals lying there.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Born again!

Once upon a time many years ago, my grandma taught me how to knit.   I took to it rather like the proverbial duck to water and knitted from a young age .... I continued knitting for my family and extended families for many years .... and then one day I thought "I've had enough" and I stopped clack-clacking those needles.

But then about 2/3 years ago I was inspired by a book I read to start knitting again but this time I became a rule-breaker, a non-follower of patterns and took to creating things from my own design, with my own choice of yarns and materials and hey presto I became a BORN AGAIN COMPULSIVE KNITTER.

I love to knit now anywhere and everywhere - in the car (not when driving), in the dentist/doctor's waiting room, in the pub, watching TV, reading a book, sitting in the garden  .....

I also love to encourage others to learn how to knit and to be creative themselves ..... PLUS it's so darned therapeutic ....


One of my favourite things, as the song goes,  is creating wallhangings  - I use mostly recycled materials - polythene bags, men's old shirts or old-men's shirts, bedding, string and the like and then I knit hangings that have a theme such as maybe, the seaside, gardens, nature, industry or anything that is desired ....                                                       

New kid on the block!

Well here I am bleary-eyed and bushy tailed having, 11 years into the 21st century, joined the world of Bloggerdom ..... with the help of my young friend James Chapman - photographer and surfer (do check him out).

I have a terrific and on-trend range of knitwear - everything from yummy shrugs, silky fingerless gloves, hats for wintertime, fab headbands and turbans through to nursery rugs and doorstops!

All of these are hand-knitted and designed by me with much loving consideration.

Hope you enjoy hearing from me and checking out my range. Thank you.