Monthly Archives: January 2011

Walk in the woods

Wendover Woods was my destination on the latest in a series of days out walking in the Chilterns. I find Wendover a very pleasant village, within easy reach of the two highest points of the Chilterns and a high street lined with independent and specialists shops. One of the village’s highlights is the wonderfully helpful and friendly tourist information office; well worth visiting for maps and local knowledge before embarking on a walk in the area.

The Ridgeway through Wendover Woods

My walk is the latest of several forays into the Chilterns to explore the nature and landscape on our doorstep. My last big walk followed the ancient Ridgeway track from Wendover over the hills to Princes Risborough. It was an excellent route for views, taking in Coombe, Pulpit and Whiteleaf Hills, all commanding fine panoramas over the Chilterns, Vale of Aylesbury and beyond. Continue reading

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Felt Gadget Cases

Front of a felt gadget case I've just finished
Back of the same showing the belt clip and user's initials

We’ve just received a batch of new wireless controllers for the whiteboards at work. Desperate not to lose the bits, I made myself a case to keep it hooked on a belt loop. Above is the second attempt, made for a colleage. Quite pleased with it – it’s a bit more sophisticated looking and all the flaps and the belt clip are more secure.

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An ode to making things

Cake is all very well and pleasant and tasty, but making a cake every week is dangerous to the waistline! When I was 14 – and don’t ask me how I came to this foolish decision and why anyone went along with it – I decided as managing director of our Young Enterprise company that we would focus on knotted friendship bracelets as our main product. Naturally, as I was the only one who bothered to learn how to make them properly and each took about three hours, we made no money at all. Nonetheless, I enjoyed making them and the skill came back quickly and easily. Far more easily than re-learning how to ride a bike, actually.

My original idea was to make Dan a bookmark for Christmas, which I did, but I’ve also ended up with a pile of nine bracelets in different patterns and colours and two embroidered, hand-stitched cases for different electronic devices. There’s something deeply satisfying about tying knots and making a line of neat stitches, much like building a wall or completing a jigsaw puzzle.

The bracelets so far...

Creating a pattern of knots compared to free-form sewing is like writing a poem with a formal structure compared to being allowed to

write words wherever on the page. There are rules – a certain number of knots fits and forms the pattern. If you get the number of knots wrong or you take the threads in the wrong direction, then it doesn’t look right. It’s more demanding and less forgiving, thus, more satisfying. You know when you’ve finished and you know you haven’t cheated.

Colour choice is also fun. I discovered that red, orange, yellow, brown and purple look amazing together. Shades of one colour are subtle and sophisticated. Orange is really hard to match up most of the time. Gold is glitzy and goes nicely with light and dark blue, but the metallic thread is harder to knot tightly and thus you need more of it. For some reason, brown thread always seems slightly stiffer and more tightly spun.

Making bracelets has become a habit and I miss it when I don’t do it. My hands feel wrong. Thought about selling them on Etsy (or what seems to be the local equivalent, Folksy), but I’ve only managed to make nine in a month! Maybe need to build up stock first.

If you want to have a go, I suggest you visit this wonderful site: http://hbernb4.atspace.com/

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