Sunday, 27 February 2011

Tapestry Update - 1

Some time ago, when we were getting used to the idea of not having a television in the house, I mentioned that I was getting a bit bored. Valerie suggested that I finish something that she had spent a good bit of money and but wasn't able to get to grips with. This turned out to be a tapestry for a cushion - with Shaker patterns. As I have taken an interest in Shaker furniture in the past, this seemed like a good project, once I had got my head around 'doing sewing' - is that a man activity? It turns out that it is very popular with men.

I completed the Shaker cushion last December. Here is the finished article and a close up of some of the detail.

As this was a reasonable success, I deceided to have a go at something a little more complex so we bought another kit for a Winter Village Scene. I started this in December and finished it last night. Here is the finished article and a detail shot.

My next project is much more complex and larger. Firstly, it will not fit onto the table top frame I have - it will need a floor standing frame. Secondly, it is a much more complex image and requires that the final shape of the image is correct. I must explain. As no-one knows what the village scene should look like, I had some freedom in the final details. In the one to come, the image is well known and any variance will spoil the finished article.

The project is of the Evening Star Loco  leaving a main line terminus and is 15" x 30" in size.

Now you see why I must get it right. Anything out of shape and it won't even look like a steam engine!

I will post progress photos.

Jigsaw Update - 1

Jigsaws aren't specifically my hobby. Valerie is a much more ardent puzzler than me so this part of the Blog will cover her activities as well.

I can't go back in time as we have done a large number of puzzles over the last two years. This is the stash we currently have - Valerie will not dispose of any puzzle!

So what is the latest one? Valerie finished this one last night - titled 'The Last Post' and is 1,000 pieces.

Valerie always used to stick to 500 piece puzzles when doing them on her own but she has got better and quicker so she has moved up in size. She also spends every Tuesday evening doing a puzzle with her father (who is 90years old!). You will see those as they finish.

I also generally have a puzzle on the go. Some time ago I completed a pair of 1,000 piecers showing a single farmyard in two seasons - called 'Always On The Go'. I have recently started the other pair of puzzles for the series - titled 'Never A Dull Moment'. However, this has probably two or so weeks to go.

Tin Whistle Update - 1

Now this is not fun! I was cruising through You Tube looking at as much Concertina music as I could and constantly came across someone playing the tin (or penny) whistle. As these cost around £5 and have recorder/flute fingering, I assumed that as I can play both of these instruments, it would be easy.

I went out and bought what they had at the local music shop - a C whistle - not realising that the fingering may be the same but that the note that comes out depends on the tuning of the whistle. Hence, when I thought I was playing the low D, I was actually playing Middle C! This meant that I had to transpose the music in my mind to get the right notes. Good Old EBay - I picked up a Meg D whistle for £4.50 including postage. A D whistle plays the same as a recorder but also has the same fingering for the notes - hence playing what I think is a D, actually is a D.

The issue with a tin whistle is to get the tone right. The video that prompted me was this one on You Tube by The High Kings. The tone that he gets on what is obviously a cheap whistle is superb. If you listen to my recordings you will see that I have some way to go.

This is where I am at the moment
The Leaving Of Liverpool
I'll Tell Me Ma!
and one of my very favourite tunes - The Man On The Flying Trapeze

I shall progress.  A Jesuit priest - Ryan Duns has some good instructional videos so I will keep on with them and I will post the videos into the Chiff and Fipple forums - Chiff and Fipple is a web site dedicated to the tin whistle.

More on this as I go.

Concertina Update - 1


I bought a Concertina on EBay for £75 about 2 years ago. I tried to play it but didn't get very far. This Christmas, in trying to emulate a scene from Victoria Wood's Dinner Ladies I decided to learn Jingle Bells and play it on Christmas Day to the family. Well, I did and it was rotten! Hence, I decided that I had to learn how to play it properly. I am now putting up to one hour every day into practicing and am saving up for a better instrument which I hope to buy at the end of this month.

I have put some videos of my Concertina playing - such as it is - on You Tube.

These are here
New York Girls - Can You Dance The Polka
Dorset Four Hand Reel
How not to practice

I am going to an event run by the East Anglian Tradional Music Trust called Melodions And More at the end of March where I hope to get lots of tips and some advice on a new instrument. Mind you, everyone is saying that my budget of £300 - £400 will not get me much in the way of an instrument as you can pay upwards of £1,700 - however, the cash I have is what I have so that's what I can spend.

More later

Introduction - why another Blog?

As I already have two blogs about my hobbies, having a third would seem to be overkill except for the fact that I have more active hobbies than are covered by the two existing blogs.

What hobbies do I have then
  • I am learning to play the Concertina
  • I am learning to play the Tin/Penny Whistle
  • I do Tapestry
  • Valerie and I do Jigsaws
This blog will cover the activities in these four, leaving the existing blogs to cover my modelling hobbies.

If you don't know those blogs then they are here: - for my plastic scale modelling blog - for my Model Railroad blog