Kaffe Fassett: 50 Years in Colour

Kaffe Fassett (amusingly, Wikipedia says it rhymes with ‘safe asset’) is a designer and artist well known for his work with textiles, and exuberant use of colour. I’ve come across his designs mostly for Rowan Yarns, but I didn’t realise what a diverse and prolific artist he is. This weekend I managed to catch the exhibition of his work at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The opening exhibits included some of his earliest pieces.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Very First Cardigan, late 1960s, knit.

There’s just so much detail in his tapestries and needlepoint, and I love this idea of the same design in different formats.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Pink Ginger Jar, tapestry.
Ginger Jar, painting.

A classic Kaffe Fassett design.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Tumbling Blocks Bedcover, 1993, knit.

And the typical Kaffe Fassett jumper shape. I love the vibrant stripes on the right – they almost glow!
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Bright Diagonal Box Stripe Sweater, 1989, knit.
Ombre Stripe Sweater, knit.

The pieces were all organised by design theme, such as plants, flowers, animals, and various shapes.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition

The Squares section talks about how a basic shape becomes far more exciting when used in a complex way.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Overlapping Squares Cushion (Brown), 2005, needlepoint.
Overlapping Squares Cushion (Pastel), needlepoint.

My favourite section was Fruit & Foliage.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition

What a chair!
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Duck Egg Needlepoint Armchair, 1998, needlepoint.

And I just love these cushions – perfect for a garden bench!
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Cushion selection: Lettuce, Pak Choi, Beetroot, Artichoke, Aubergine, Leek, all needlepoint.

Over in the Faces & Animals section I was highly amused by this pre-Lolcats cushion.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Cat in a Ruff Cushion, 1995, needlepoint.

In the middle there were some samples that could be handled. I always find it interesting to see the back of knitting and embroidery.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition

Most of the exhibition was full of colour and warmth, so the Blue & White room was noticeably cooler and calmer. I really liked this display with painted and real ceramic together.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Pot Painted Screen, 1999, paint on canvas.
Cabbages Stoneware Vase, ceramic.
Bowl Cushion, 1987, needlepoint.

And this was one of my favourite quilts.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Shirt Stripe Boxes Quilt, 2001, patchwork.

Here are a few more of my favourites:

2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Circle of Stars Patchwork Quilt, 2010, patchwork.

I imagine this coat to be Gandalf’s casual wear.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Long Leaf Coat (Autumn), 1992, knit.
Swiss Chard Cushion, needlepoint.
Night Tree Cushion, 1987, needlepoint.

2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Ricebowls Quilt, patchwork.

2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition
Rosita Zigzag Quilt, 2013, patchwork.

A simple but effective exhibition – I really enjoyed it.
2014-09-27 Kaffe Fassett exhibition

The Aberdeen exhibition is over now, but there is a similar, bigger one in Bath, at the American Museum in Britain, which runs until 2nd November. Do visit if you get the chance!

Jersey Lavender farm

In July we were on holiday in Jersey, and visited the Jersey Lavender farm.
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

It’s a lovely wee farm, where they grow their own lavender and several other plants, and produce their own lavender products – oils, soaps, biscuits and fudge, and other such delights.
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

As it was summer the lavender flowers were in bloom – some even almost on their way out, as it had been an early summer. Harvest was in full swing.
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

In the summer they also organise talks about the farm, the growing, harvesting, and distilling process, and how they make their products. It was very interesting – I never knew there were so many species and varieties of lavender, plus the hybrid Lavandins. The Jersey Lavender blog has a good post on the difference between lavandula and lavendin.
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

Here are some of the varieties grown and used in products.

Lavandula x intermedia “Grosso”
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

Lavandula angustifolia “Elizabeth” which was bred in this farm.
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

And some of the other varieties in their ‘exhibition’ collection.

Lavandula angustifolia “Miss Katherine”
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

Lavandula angustifolia “Fring Favourite”
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

Lavandula x intermedia “Edelweiss”
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

Lavandula viridis
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

Lavandula canariensis (from the Canary Islands)
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

It never occurred to me, until I saw this big hedge of rosemary at the farm, that lavender and rosemary are related, but it seems so obvious now. They’re both part of the big Lamiaceae herb family, which also includes mint, basil, sage, thyme, oregano, bugle plant (which does well in my garden), and also teak!
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

Meanwhile, back in Aberdeen, we’d attempted to grow Munstead lavender and Hidcote lavender, and it was the Hidcote that managed to do fairly well. I do like it’s little rounded buds and deep purple colour.
2014-09-13 Hidcote lavender

Lovely, lovely lavender
2014-07-16 Jersey lavender farm

Alpaca farm

I’d heard that there were alpaca farms around Aberdeenshire, but then I found out that someone I know has family who manage a farm right in Balmedie. So of course my knitting group arranged a visit, and just in time, as the alpacas were due their annual shear the following weekend.

2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

They’re so cute, like giant Ewoks. There are about 40 alpacas on this farm.
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

Alpacas and llamas are related, but they’re quite different. Alpacas are smaller, friendlier, and have softer fur. They’re bred for their fibre, whereas llamas are bigger and stronger, and are bred as pack animals. The alpacas we met were a little shy at first, but very friendly. We gave the mummies and babies some space, but the rest were perfectly happy to be stroked, and they were all very affectionate with their owner.
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

SO FLUFFY!
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

Here are the boys, coming to see what all the fuss is.
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

Three amigos.
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

This dude was a right charmer.
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

There were some sheep as well,
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

and some piggies – we gave them lots of attention too so they wouldn’t feel left out.
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

And here is the newest little cria (the proper term for baby alpaca), already an inquisitive one.
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

Mabel, the alpacas’ ‘mummy’, very kindly showed us round, and told us all about her lovely pets – she enjoyed having knitters round, who were so enthralled by her alpacas and their beautiful fur. She also very very generously gave me a big bag of fibre!
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

I’m very touched and thrilled to have it, but I’m also a little apprehensive – it’s so pretty and precious, but I’ve never spun anything other than combed top with my little drop spindle. At some point I will attempt to spin some of this, at least just to show Mabel, but I shall also try and get in touch with some local spinners as I’m happy to pass some of this on to someone who knows what they’re doing!

Aside from fibre, Mabel also had some yarn that she got spun up. She’s not really been selling these, but we managed to twist her arm and we all bought several balls!
I came away with a ball of aran, which was from a mixed lot of fibre, and 2 balls of DK, which named the alpacas they were from, whom we’d met today – how lovely!
2014-06-22 Alpaca farm

I’ve done something with my yarn at least – I’ve been using the aran to make some of these little wedding crochet hearts.
2014-04-07 Alpaca hearts

100 Happy days: Final week

2014-07-07
This pretty orchid was a gift in 2012. It flowered again last year, and it’s back in beautiful bloom this year.

2014-07-08
When we visited an alpaca farm a few weeks ago we also bought some yarn which came from the fibre of some of the animals we met. Lex has gotten started on some lovely alpaca socks.

2014-07-09
The petit pois are almost ready!

2014-07-10
I’ve been crocheting wee hearts, and here’s a look at the ones I’ve made so far. I’m not sure what exactly I’m doing with them yet, but they’ll feature somewhere in our wedding. And what a nice ending to this series: happy hearts.

So that’s it, 100 days of pointing out things that make me happy. It wasn’t easy, but it was still good fun. The most difficult part was remembering to take a photo of something while enjoying the moment, although some days it was difficult deciding which photo to use! So it’s something I think I’ll try and keep up – just thinking about little things that make me happy and appreciating them, and tweeting happy photos every so often, just because :)

100 Happy days: Week 14

2014-06-30
It was Jema and James’ wedding today – the day was just brilliant, and we’re so very happy for them!

2014-07-01
It’s great being on holiday, but there’s always something special about going home.

2014-07-02
Our little fish babies are getting bigger and bigger. Previously you could hardly see the little guppies, but now you can see them and their developing colours pretty clearly, especially this yellow one.

2014-07-03
The rose bush in our back garden is in full bloom now, showing off its beautiful pink flowers.

2014-07-04
A wee nod to the 4th of July, with good old pizzas, and a stuffed crust one, no less.

2014-07-05
Gareth made up a lovely dessert – strawberry jelly and strawberry mascarpone cream on shortbread.

2014-07-06
A tiring but successful afternoon in the garden, with a fine harvest of Chard Bright Lights for dinner.