Tell Them of Us Première Weekend – Part 2 – Saturday and Sunday

Some of the knitters attending the première.  Photo copyright Stewart Ward

Saturday was the day of the première. It was at 11 am, and not a red carpet affair. It was, though, very definitely an Occasion! The theatre was full, and almost all the cast, crew, volunteers etc were there.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- resizeAlthough not quite finished, the film is fabulous. It is about 70 minutes long, and tells the story of the Crowder family and their household in the last two years of the war. Grace (the older sister) narrates the story, and you know from the start that Robert dies. The whole thing looks so good, with period scenery etc, and the clothes are just right. The knitting complimented the look of the film without dominating the costumes. When the list of knitters came up in the credits, though, there was a burst of applause.

After the film there was lunch. This was a chance for the knitters who had been able to get to Lincoln for the day to get together for an ‘official’ photo, thanks to Stewart Wall. Two knitters had come over from the States specifically for the weekend – Judith Brodnicki and Mary Lou Egan. I thoroughly enjoyed having a chance to speak with so many who had worked so hard over the months.

Some of the knitters attending the première.  Photo copyright Stewart Ward
Some of the knitters attending the première. Photo copyright Stewart Wall

We found out later that the food left over from the lunch had been collected and taken out to feed the homeless that evening – a lovely touch.

Photo thanks to Richard Speed and ECHO
Photo thanks to Richard Speed and ECHO

In the afternoon, Pauline Loven, the mastermind behind the costumes (and much else) took Mary Lou, Jane Lawrence and I on a tour of some of the locations used in the film. It was interesting to see how cleverly the camera had been positioned to give a 1910s landscape.

Baumer Park, used for exterior shots
Baumer Park, used for exterior shots
The 1910s 'road' is actually the track from the main road
The 1910s ‘road’ is actually the track from the main road
Thimbleby village.  Details of the architecture being explained to Mary Lou by Pauline
Thimbleby village. Details of the architecture being explained to Mary Lou by Pauline
Jane, Pauline and Mary Lou outside the village hall, which was once the school
Jane, Pauline and Mary Lou outside the village hall, which was once the school
The war memorial which started the project with the knitted poppy wreath given to the church
The war memorial which started the project with the knitted poppy wreath given to the church
Looking down Thimbleby main street from the church
Looking down Thimbleby main street from the church

Sunday saw many of the knitters and their friends at the Centenary Stitches exhibition in The Collection, Lincoln’s museum. Many of the costumes from the film are displayed here, and Pauline and her helpers have done a fabulous job of displaying so much knitwear.

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Tell Them of Us Premiere Weekend – Part 1 – Friday

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As soon as I got off the train in Lincoln I saw Judith Brodnicki. We had been working 24/7 to get Centenary Stitches printed in time for this weekend, but this was the first time I had set eyes on her. We both squealed!!

Judith, her husband Ed, and I were staying at the same place. They had arrived the day before, so they took me to settle in.

The next day Judith and Ed took me to Thimbleby to see some of the locations. As we got out of the car we met a woman and her dog, who turned out to have been extras in the film!

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeWe photographed the main street then went in to the church, which forms such a large part of the story.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeInside we saw the memorial plaque to those from the village who fell in WW1 as well as the memorial window to Robert Crowder.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resizeOutside there were many Crowder graves, including these of Robert’s mother and father.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeThen it was on to Crowder’s nursery, still very much a going concern!

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resizeThere were loads of different plants, even in November, and I bought an ivy for my garden.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeInside, there were many Christmas decorations and gifts. Both Judith and I kept saying ‘I’d love that but I can’t get it home…’!

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- resizeThere were some lovely touches round the building, including this one:

P1030707We then explored further and realised that the restaurant was partially built on to the old house. The only view of the house was from by the redwood tree which gives its name to the restaurant.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeWe had lunch inside, and it was nice to see a familiar name on the menu. The current manager of the business is also called Robert Crowder.

P1030709In the evening, Jane Lawrence had organised a concert in the Chapter House of Lincoln Cathedral. It was of WW1 songs, sung by children of two Lincoln schools. They wore the ganseys the project had made, along with hats and scarves. The singing was lovely, and a good time was had by all.

787smP1030793PhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizePhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizePhotoELF Edits: 2014:11:10 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resizeOutside the moon was out and the cathedral was floodlit, giving some lovely shades on the stone.

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October Days

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I love the light at this time of year. It has a quality all of its own, and it changes every minute. The days are getting much shorter, and dawn is now at a sociable hour. My door looks due East. 001. dawnThe weather has been remarkably good recently. The dogs think that they should be out all the time, and give me not-so-subtle hints! 002.  pre walkOne of our favourite walks it up on West Hill. It is covered with heather, which Isla loves to bounce over… PhotoELF Edits: 2014:10:15 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resize.. and in! PhotoELF Edits: 2014:10:15 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; resize; gammaThe views towards Hoy, a neighbouring island, is ever-changing. 005.  viewAnd at water level, the seals are sunbathing! 006. seal sunbathingRecent storms have thrown up a lot of seaweed on the shore, and Isla and Meg have both got a taste for it! Their favourite is the laminaria, the same one as the North Ronaldsay sheep eat. It has fronds about 3 or 4″ wide and a crunchy texture. Meg eats it where she finds it… 008. seaweed eating dogPhotoELF Edits: 2014:10:15 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resize… while Isla finds it… PhotoELF Edits: 2014:10:15 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resize… moves it to better ground… PhotoELF Edits: 2014:10:15 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resize… and eats the lot! PhotoELF Edits: 2014:10:15 --- Save - Overwrite --- crop; gamma; resizeWe are getting pretty sunsets at present…. 013. sunset… and the full moons for September and October have been superb: 014. big moon015. big moon with cloudsNo filters have been used!!

Centenary Stitches is Printing!

Rose leaf lace wrap.

Centenary Stitches is now with the printer, and we now have to wait. Once I get the proofs signed off , the presses will roll, and hopefully the book will be ready for the première of the film on 8th November.

A last minute hitch meant that many of the photos had to be retaken, so here are a few of them. Most were taken by Pauline Loven, but a few of the beach ones were taken by Tom Hinckley, who also models in the beach shoot. He is only 17 but clearly has talent!

There are more pictures over on the Northern Lace Press website. (You can also pre-order the book there.)

A version of Grace's jacket and the fitted sweater.
A version of Grace’s jacket and the fitted sweater.
Shoulder cape in ctochet.
Shoulder cape in crochet.
Striped tam and wrap.
Striped tam and wrap.
Driving coat.
Driving coat.
William's waistcoat.
William’s waistcoat.
Crossover shawl.
Crossover shawl.
Rose leaf lace wrap.
Rose leaf lace wrap.
Aran gansey and the blue version of grace's jacket.
Aran gansey and the blue version of grace’s jacket.

And there are other pictures on the Centenary Stitches site here.

Pre-Order Centenary Stitches Now!

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The web page for Centenary Stitches is now on line, and you can pre-order it here. It costs £20, or $30. All the details of P&P are on the web page.

The book has about 70 patterns for all the family, all of them wearable today. Garments come in a wide size range (typically 30 to 60″ bust/chest for adult garments). Most of the accessories are sized for toddlers to plus sizes, and many of the shawls can be adapted to different sizes and yarn weights.

Centenary Stitches Patterns 1

Centenary Stitches Patterns 2

Centenary Stitches Patterns 3

Centenary Stitches Patterns 4

The book will be launched in Lincoln on 9th November 2014, Remembrance Sunday, and will be shipped in the second half of the month.

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Granville Swanney

Granville at his home on Flotta, Orkney

It is with heavy heart I have to tell you that Granville passed away at home on Thursday, after a short illness. Not only is his passing a personal loss for many of us on the island and beyond, Granville was the last person making Orkney wheels in the County.

Granville at his home on Flotta, Orkney
Granville at his home on Flotta, Orkney

I first became aware of Granville’s spinning wheels back in 2003 when I was living on Flotta the first time. I saw a wheel in a friend’s house and asked who made it. I was told Granville, and I knew straight away I wanted one of his wheels! When I have saved up the money, I went to get it, only to find that he had two different styles of wheel. I spent ages deciding before choosing the sloping bed one. A few years later I bought one of his upright wheels.

My upright Orkney wheel made by Granville
My upright Orkney wheel made by Granville

Granville was born in Stromness and from a child, he loved to watch his grannie spin. He was fascinated both by the wheel, and by the way his grannie’s hands worked with the wheel to make a shock of fleece into a smooth thread. Unlike many boys of his era, he never minded having to stay in and card the fleece as he watched the wheel turn.

An upright in progress
An upright in progress

It wasn’t until many years later that he made his first wheel. He had been working with wood since he was a boy, but it was when his wife, Jean, became the teacher on the island of North Ronaldsay that he saw a working wheel again. He borrowed one, and made a half size copy “to get the process right”. From then on, he made many wheels, some of which have travelled the world.

A rare sight!  Two sloping bed wheels together - mine and Jane Cooper's
A rare sight! Two sloping bed wheels together – mine and Jane Cooper’s

Granville had two main designs. The upright wheel was based on that wheel from North Ronaldsay, and the sloping bed one was based on his grannie’s. He changed the design of that one “making the bed shorter and altering the angle to make the lines better”.

My first Granville wheel - chosen for its elegant lines.
My first Granville wheel – chosen for its elegant lines.

Despite making wheels, and liking to watch people spin on his wheels, Granville never learnt to spin himself. He didn’t realise that Orkney wheels were different from most wheels, as he had only come across Orkney wheels.

Jane trying her wheel in Granville's house.  Jean's wheel is in the background
Jane trying her wheel in Granville’s house. Jean’s wheel is in the background

Granville was a modest, unassuming man, who like to produce a perfect finished product. Recently he had completed beautiful display cabinets for Flotta’s new Heritage Centre, and had refurbished an old Orkney wheel for the same centre which will be used for demonstrations. In time my two wheels will go to the same centre, so that others will be able to see how he made them.

Old Orkney wheel, originally from Birsay, which was refurbished by Granville
Old Orkney wheel, originally from Birsay, which was refurbished by Granville

Granville’s funeral is at 12.30 on Tuesday, 26th August, here on Flotta. If anyone wants to come I can meet them off the 11.20 boat from Houton.

Granville in his workshop
Granville in his workshop

Dog Blog

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I think it is time for some dog photos! I almost always have a camera in my pocket, but sometimes wielding a camera and two leads can be tricky.

The dogs are both good at communicating their wish for a walk. Isla favours the ‘door’ approach….

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…. while Meg sits in front of me and stares.

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This one also needs to go in, as it looks as if she was giving me a hint!

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There is only one place I can let the dogs off the leads – the emergency airstrip. This is completely enclosed, with areas of moorland each side of the tarmac, so they can play as they like and come back when they are ready.

Meg is usually the first back. She is 11, and is definitely a senior dog.

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Isla runs more and explores more. The typical view of her is this:

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But if you wait you get this:

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The heather is out at present, giving a purple tint to the grasslands.

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The daily walk is to the shore, where at present the thistles are out.

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Even when they are not expecting a walk, the dogs love to sit at the gate, looking through the struts to see what might be happening in the outside world.

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Once we get down to the shore, Meg is fond of paddling:

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The nights are drawing in, and so the evening walk is getting darker. We tend to go about 9.30, and I felt it was time the hi-viz coats came out. The first time they went on the dogs were not keen…

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… but the soon forgot them and were dashing about as usual, looking for rabbits. These blurs are Isla.

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When we got to the shore, I took a pic with the flash, which shows what those coats look like in car headlights. (The leads also have reflective bits in them.)

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Then home to bed for some….

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