Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn pleasures

Over the last week or so I've noticed the days are growing shorter and every day I seem to draw the curtains earlier. Ben misses his evening walks - over the summer months we developed a habit of taking a second or even third walk up through the woods behind the village while Amy remained at home snoozing happily on her bed.

For all the drawing in of the days I love autumn, the way it smells, fruity, damp and smokey, the colours of the leaves drifting down from the trees, lying crisp and crunchy underfoot until it rains again. Autumn fills me with nostalgia for old school days, the start of a new term, clean exercise books and new beginnings even as the year draws to a close. I love the clear bright mornings after a night of rain when the air is crisp and chill and a mist rises over the tree tops by the stream.

In the garden a few last apples lie rotting on the ground, decaying gradually into the soil as the birds have taken all they want. There are chutneys in the larder, dried herbs in jars and blackberries nestling in the freezer ready for autumn feasting. The painting above reflects the final summer harvest and will soon be featuring on some tea towels and canvas totes for Stokeley Farm shop, just a mile or two down the road.

Autumn is also a great time to enjoy indoor pursuits - for me painting is a major pleasure, but I also love sewing and have just taken up knitting again as one of my very best friends is expecting a baby in the spring. I was helping her sort through some very old boxes and we came across some lovely vintage knitting patterns. I particularly liked one for a knitted tea cosy, taken from a 30 year old magazine ......

Back of teacosy.

It was designed by a lady with the wonderful name of Mrs Halcyon Green. The back of the cottage has a single window and three Welsh sheep. I think the front would look even nicer with maybe some embroidered roses around the door. If you'd like the pattern then please click here to download it as a pdf file. I think I'll practice my rather rusty knitting skills for a while before attempting this, but I'd love to know if anyone does try it out, it would make a great Christmas pressie!

And finally ... another couple of exerpts from Vita Sackville-West's epic poem "The Land" (one of my all-time favourites) - from the Autumn verses.....

"If you may snatch before the rain
Crisp days when clods will turn up rough;
Gentleman robin brown as snuff
With spindle legs and bright round eye
Shall be your autumn company....

...Then may you shoulder spade and hoe,
And heavy-booted homeward go,
For no new flowers shall be born
Save hellebore on Christmas morn,
And bare gold jasmine on the wall,
And violets, and soon the small
Blue netted iris, like a cry
Startling the sloth of February."


Elizabethd said...

Ellie, what a fun tea cosy! I used to know a Halcyon, and I think it is a name peculiar to Cornwall. Maybe it will come back into fashion!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Lurve that cosy - Now I could just do with having a go at that ....
knitted a big pink pig once - that was a laugh! I had to knit clothes for him because he looked - too naked - too pink!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Lovely post, Ellie. You have described autumn so eloquently. And that tea cosy is fab!

CJ xx

Frances said...

You are inspiring me to get back to my watercolors! I really enjoyed reading about how fall is speaking to your creativity!

The tea cosy design is very clever. Interesting to read that the designer's name is Halcyon. There is a lovely mail order yarn company over here called Halcyon Yarn, and the lady behind that company is indeed also Halcyon. You might like to see her website

I have ordered from her several times and been very happy with the results.


pinkfairygran said...

Oh what a lovely blog! The photos are lovely, and much better than mine.. I think I need to practise and exercise more patience. I really don't have the patience for setting things up, always have preferred to snap and go really. Which is why the photos on my blog are a bit blurry round the edges. But I loved reading this and have added it to my favourites, thank you for a lovely read.

lampworkbeader said...

Super little tea cosy.

Pipany said...

Lovely post Ellie. I think Autumn has to be my facourite season and this has been such a good one. Pretty tea cosy xx

Preseli Mags said...

What a lovely picture you paint of autumn - sums it all up really. I love the tea cosy pattern too, and the previous blog with the cartoon of our 'summer' - very funny.

Cait O'Connor said...

What a lovely post Ellie.
And I do covet that tea cosy.

CAMILLA said...

Hello Ellie,

A truly wonderful post, love your description of Autumn, it is one of my favourite seasons too.

Adore that fab tea-cosy.!


LittleBrownDog said...

Ooh, what a lovely find! Thank you for visiting my blog and leading me here. Love the tea cosy - I remember knitting a jumper once in that teardrop pattern at the top. Love that poem at the end, too.

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