Roses and tea

I find that wool shops can be like stepping into an artists palette, the colours and hues really do excite me. There seems to be an endless variety of textures as well as colours and after years of seeing haberdasheries and wool shops disappearing, the new wave of knitters and hookers has seen an upsurge in new wool varieties, merino and alpaca as well as denim, but I have a liking for cotton type wool and this is called baby bamboo.

Choosing colour is difficult for some people they are daunted by the sheer magnitude but I find if you look at a range you will find that the shades and colours have a harmony. Such was the case with this, there were a beautiful palette of the baby colours, blues, yellows as well as greens. The pink has come out in this picture a lot brighter than it is naturally it is lovely. Very soft to work with and gentle on the hands.

I have a sweet little tea pot, from Whittards, its lovely blue and white but was being swamped under tea cosies made for stouter pots! I felt it was small enough to practise on!

I wanted to learn to crochet but I have a terrible problem understanding practical things from books,  I wish I had let my Nan show me when she wanted to, she made the most wonderful bed covers using the granny square!

Since she could not show me, I did the next best thing and I took myself off to a local WI where a lovely lady kindly showed me the basics. I was then able to decipher the books and learn new stitches, but I still struggle to follow patterns!

So this is my little journey into playing with various stitches, made from two straight easy pieces of plain crochet and some practice frills. The roses were great fun, as usual I went off the pattern to create my own rose  but I was pleased with the results.

Crochet is so much more free form than knitting, you can make holes, add frills or simply pull and it will all come undone and you can start again. It really is the most forgiving wonderful craft.

Tea Tales in Winchester

It is difficult to get the real size of this cup, but it was as high as my waist! 

I had to visit Winchester for business, it was not the happiest of visits, but when I came out my mood was lifted when I discovered that Winchester Library had an exhibition on Tea, celebrating the Great British Love for the amber nectar! (Ok I know that phase is Aussie, but it sounds good!)

I used to visit the library years ago and the building was impressive but it was the epitome of libraries in the 1980’s full of very dusty books and prim librarians. What a change!
The Winchester Discovery Centre is a fantastic library certainly the way ahead, full of interactive displays computers and books! they have a permanent display space that can host exhibitions for local groups as well as their own.

This is one of the earliest ‘teas made’ dating to the 1950’s. I had one when the children were small and they are excellent.

The tea cosy has a little china doll figure at the top, my Nan had one very similar. They were so pretty those days I remember I was not allowed to play with it. I have been thinking of doing a similar type of tea cosy, but have yet to find the right doll!

The pincer things are for breaking up the sugar into cubes! and I did love the pretty victorian china cup beside it.

Some of the signs really were beautifully done, I can just about remember liptons

And Lyons tea, but I have never heard of Nectar tea or County tea. 

This lovely picnic basket was complete with its flasks and tea cups, imagine lugging that around today? The little tin was a pretty sleigh design, I love the pretty design of the cake stand, reminiscent of the 1950’s as it formed part of the celebrations for the Queen’s Coronation. 

It was the Duchess of Devonshire who set the trend for Afternoon tea, to bridge the long gap between luncheon and Dinner, which in the 17th Century was often as late as 8pm. In those days the lady of the house would have a little water urn and make the tea for her guests, so there were lots of silver urns made in that period. Tea was a very expensive luxury, and tea caddies were often locked. 
The tradition about wether or not the milk goes first came about during this period, china manufacturing was in its infancy and therefore only the most expensive porcelain could withstand the heat of the tea without cracking, hence by putting in the milk after the tea shows the quality of the service and the wealth of the hostess. 
This tea urn is Russian, they are also a nation of  black tea drinkers  however, it is usually served very sweet and black.

It was a great exhibition and totally free! Which is always a great thing.