Wednesday, 29 March 2017

At Home

... for a change! :)  2017 has been quite a busy time for us so far, but I have still found time to watch the seasons change around our village and garden.
Sunshine and snowdrops promised that spring wasn't too far away at the beginning of February,

but a slight dusting of snow mid-February reminded us that winter hadn't quite relinquished its grasp on us.
When March arrived the spring flowers in our garden started to bloom and everywhere was suddenly much greener.

The purple-leaved plum tree in our garden started to blossom,
as did the black thorn in the hedgerows.

The frogs have been busy in both of the village ponds.

The days have been much warmer recently and the bees have been enjoying the blossom.

I have tried to stop the snails from feasting on my hyacinths by applying a mat of wool pellets around the plants ... with limited success!

Chiffchaff on our patio.
We have also been working on our allotments and in the greenhouse.

Don't worry, I have still found time for a spot of crafting! :)  I have started needle-felting.  My plan is to make a woodland animal each month and by December I should have enough creatures to have a woodland themed Christmas tree.  January's animal was a fox
and I made a badger in February.  This month I plan to make a hare.
I also made a unicorn for a friend who loves unicorns.
I had my sewing machine out to stitch a few project bags as gifts for friends.
I also included a sachet of homegrown lavender with each bag.

Of course I still did some knitting! :)  The first project I finished was the Snowmelt Shawl by Curious Handmade.
This was my retreat project that I knit along with friends.
I also started Paula Emons-Fuessle's Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl.  I am turning this into a sampler shawl by alternating textured and lace sections, which I am choosing from my stitch dictionaries.
I have completed a shawl for my Mum, which I gifted to her on Mother's Day.
This was an adaptation of the Winter Wander Shawl by Helen Stewart.  I had previously made this shawl for myself in these yarns and the leftovers were too beautiful to leave languishing in my stash.
My final finished item is the Warm Springs Mitt by Elizabeth Doherty.  This was a project that we received at the Curious Handmade Country Retreat early March.  Elizabeth taught a workshop on using linen, which was very enjoyable and this knit was addictive!
I have almost finished my Aurorea Shawl and I have knitted some more hexipuffs for my Beekeeper's Quilt.  I am trying to make a few each month and hope to complete a couple more before the end of this month, so I will save a photo of them for then.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

St. John's College, Cambridge

On the second day of our trip to Cambridge, J had an interview to attend so I was left to my own devices for the day.  I decided to take tour of St. John's College, one of the university of Cambridge "houses".  St. John's was originally the Hospital of St. John, which had fallen into ruin.  A chancellor of the university persuaded Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII to found a college here.  
This is the main entrance, the Great Gate from the street and it was completed in 1516.  On the front is a carving of Lady Margaret Beaufort's coat of arms and a statue of St. John.
This leads you into the first court or quadrangle, built in 1511.
Looking back to the Great Gate.

To one side is the chapel, built in 1868.

Tomb of Hugh Ashton.

Another gateway, passing under a statue of Lady Margaret, leads to another court.

The second court, built 1599-1602.

Passing through the Shrewsbury Tower to a third court.
 Statue of the Countess of Shrewsbury and her coat of arms.  The Countess helped fund the building of this court.

The third court was built in two stages.  The old college library was built in 1624 and the remainder was built 1699-72,  after the Civil War.

The tour route lead through a building towards the Cam

and over the"kitchen bridge" for a view of the Bridge of Sighs.

Over the river is the New Court Building, completed in 1831.

From there, I retraced my steps to the other side of the Bridge of Sighs,

then headed back out the Great Gate to the city centre.
These buildings are so beautiful with such a lot of detail!  By now it was lunchtime and I headed to the famous Fitzbillies.
Their speciality is a very syrupy Chelsea bun!

That really only left one place for me to visit! ;) A yarn shop of course! :)
The Sheep Shop was recommended to me, so it would have been rude not to visit
 and buy some yarn! ;)