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17.4.14

52 Willow (& wool)


Crack willow, Salix fragilis, cut from a riverbank tree this afternoon - its hairless leaves distinguish it from the white willow, which is also abundant here.

Easter at Knitso Towers is almost a non-event now that the children have mostly flown the nest, but bringing willow stems into the house is too long-standing an Easter tradition to forego. This year they're in full flower but often they are barely in bud.

In the dye pot willow bark yields a pale rose-tan on wool, similar to the shades you see here, and a beautiful slate grey with the addition of an iron modifier. There'll be bark to be had from fallen branches come the next storm, and yarn in these colours soon afterwards, but more on that when it happens.

The yarn I've photographed wasn't dyed by me, it's the Quince & Co Finch I was knitting into a Paravel hat, now frogged! My decision to modify the lace panels backfired and the perfectionist I endeavour not to be won the day. When I've steamed out those crinkles I'll try again!

Meanwhile, after a long weekend away with plenty of time to think my head is buzzing with new ideas for this space. All I need now is the time to implement them!

Are you struggling to find time for all that you want to do? Are you a perfectionist? A serial frogger?* How do you decorate your home for Easter? And will you be eating too much chocolate in the next few days? Me? Of course I will!

*For the non-knitters that means 'do you make a habit of unravelling knitting projects you're not happy with?'.

52 comments :

  1. In answer to your questions: Yes! Yes! Sometimes. Minimally. Undoubtedly! Blessings to you and yours, Annie :) xx

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  2. Oh, the chocolate gorging began a few weeks ago around here. I seem to have no willpower at the moment. And the hot cross buns...it's just terrible.
    Easter is still very exciting around Chez Bonjour - four children under 10 eagerly awaiting the iconic bunny and asking all sorts of difficult questions about Jesus (I know all the answers, it's just putting it in a way that a 4 yr old can understand that's the tricky bit).
    Am I a frogger...hmm, I used to love playing frogger when I was 12. That frog who had to jump over the logs and lilly pads and avoid the cars on the highway...that's what we're talking about, right?
    A blessed Easter for you and yours, Annie. x x x

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    Replies
    1. Frogging ... the art of unravelling almost every knitting project you begin ... I'm such a perfectionist I spend more time knitting backwards than forwards it sometimes seems, but not so much jumping lily pads ;)

      I remember the days of 4 under 10, frighteningly that was over a decade ago!

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  3. Beautiful willow! Yes, I have too many things to do or at least want to do ;) and am a definite perfectionist! Easter decorations are vintage and handmade ones for me around my house. Wishing you a beautiful Easter weekend! xo Heather

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  4. I need longer days everyday! Lately I,m very distracted, so not a perfectionist….grrrr!!!! Chocolate? I would love to indulge, but I have to refrain myself!
    Happy Easter !!!! Love your "salice" branches!!!
    xxxxx ale

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  5. I can be anal about some things. Serial frogger? No. I only frog if instinct tells me it's wrong. I'm lazy when it comes to Easter. My mum usually has an egg hunt for my girls.

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  6. our dogwood festival began this week (the 50th year for it)....and our lighted dogwood trees are about my only Easter decorations (this from the person who has been known to decorate for Millard Fillmore's birthday)---just too much pending at the moment. of course, there is always time to frog something!

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  7. I love your graceful willow images. Yes to Easter chocolate and I prefer dark! Yes to Easter decorations, flowering branches and crocheted branch hangings. I tend on being a perfectionist too... Life would be easier without this particularity! Don't you think?! Happy Easter!

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    Replies
    1. Apparently there are two types of perfectionist, the adaptive and the maladaptive ... if like me you're the former, and I feel sure you are, then it seems our ability to accept that we got something wrong without taking a hit to our self esteem and our determination to put it right means we're more likely to be successful in life, just always short of time!

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  8. Oh yes, never nearly enough time for everything. I read those blogs where people say things like "I spent most of the weekend curled up by the fire reading and crocheting" and I think, what am I doing wrong??? I always do a little Easter treasure hunt for the children, but not much in the way of decorating. I am a bit of a frogger at the start of a project. It's not unknown for me to do the beginning bit three or four times until I have the right needles and the right number of stitches. Once I'm off, that's it, I don't stop until the end if I can help it. I'll look forward to seeing your new ideas here, and to the willow dye. I hope you have a lovely Easter Annie. CJ xx

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  9. Yes to the first two questions... and the last! I'm always trying to 'simplify' but seem destined to take on too many projects, many of which end up falling by the wayside (I'm then left feeling disappointed and frustrated and - let's face it - tired).
    But... it's Easter! A long weekend, lots of lovely food and new traditions to start now we have Joe. This will begin with, like you, willow stems in the house and perhaps a little egg hunt too.
    I love your photos and quote - so stylishly put together as always.
    Have a wonderful Easter. Hope the weather's kind and you can get plenty of walking in.
    S x

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  10. Yes! Yes! Sometimes! Something simple but yes! and YES!
    Julie xxxxxxxxxxx

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  11. Hello Annie,

    Pussy Willow is so lovely to have around the house at Eastertide. Somehow those buds just bursting with life fill one with hope and joy for the year which lies ahead. The market stalls here in Budapest are festooned with bunches of the Pussy Willow in every length imaginable. It is such a wonderful sight.

    And how marvellous that you are filled with new ideas for your blog. It is, we feel, a great place to air one's creativity of which you have masses. So, we anticipate with great pleasure what the coming months may bring.

    Happy Easter!

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  12. What a wonderful post, as always I love to come here and marvel at your creativity.

    In answer to your questions I have worked hard to make this no by only desiring to do a little so that when I can achieve a lot it feels great! I am not a perfectionist but I do like things to be right and will frog things or undo them to make them right, if I make a mistake and you can't really tell then I will leave it in as my makers mark :)

    And as to Chocolate.........no, doesn't really do it for me I like a little bit but a lot just makes me sick. It has to be the very dark bitter type, one small chunk.......

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  13. Dear Annie
    In answer to your questions, even working only three days a week, I never seem to have enough time to do all the things I would like to do. On my list over the weekend is make decorations, do some work on my skirt project and sow flower seeds, all of which I am woefully behind with. Yes, I am a perfectionist - a case in point when I attempted making some egg decorations. I wasn't happy with how they looked so took them all to pieces! It's nice to know that I'm not the only one...
    Have a lovely Easter
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  14. I'm sorry to hear the hat bit the dust, hopefully next time will be a success. My family think I'm a perfectionist apparently but I can't say I agree, I'm far too lazy! So no serial frogging here, but it's more likely these days now I know some times it really is worth it in the long run. I wonder what exciting plan you have up your sleeve for the place now? I shall wait and see with interest!

    S x

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  15. Yes, no no, yes and yes! House full of family now, blissful........

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  16. Time is relative I find. Some days I have too much of it and don't use it in a satisfying way and I feel like a moping teenager. Other days I run out of time before I get to the bottom of my list of things I want to do and I am buzzing with excitement. I am definitely a perfectionist, of the adaptive variety I would like to think. I am well known for knitting backwards and for frogging entire sections just because the stitches are not neat enough for my liking. I also have a number of finished garments lingering in a drawer because something is "not quite right". As for Easter, it is a non event mostly. We usually hide some chocolate eggs for the children but I rarely decorate the house. Having said that, if there was a handy source of willow, I would bring in some branches and enjoy their beauty. I prefer Easter baking over Easter chocolates but of course if the chocolates are here, I will eat them all the same. Happy Easter weekend to you, Annie. I look forward to seeing some of your ideas for your blogs. x

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  17. Annie, I'm so thrilled you've had a surge of new ideas for your blog. I shall be watching your space with interest!

    Absolutely yes, I am a perfectionist too and drive myself to distraction at times. It's jolly hard work!

    I'm not the biggest chocolate eater. I can eke out an egg for a month or two, unlike the rest of my family who trough their way through their own eggs and then start eyeing mine up! It's not a pretty sight.

    Have a super Easter.

    Heather x

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  18. Hmmmm - am I a perfectionist? I don't think so - in fact just no I'm definitely not! I'm always too much ahead of myself and wanting to get on with the next thing. I think a small vial of perfectionism would do me good though so if you wouldn't mind popping one in the post ;) Love the willow - we still have branches going strong that we brought in as pussy willow several weeks ago - I think they've rooted in the jug! Have a lovely chocolatey Easter x Jane

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  19. Yes I struggle to find time to do all I want, yes I'm afraid I am a bit of a perfectionist, sometimes I wish I could be happy with winging it and oh yes I frog ! I do decorate for Easter, I have willow waiting outside but I have to finish cleaning first before I can play!
    Looking forward to your new ideas...have a lovely Easter.
    V x
    P.S. Chocolate?? ABSOLUTELY!!!

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  20. There are days when I cannot sleep for the ideas in my head. In part this thrills me...in part it drives me nuts. As does the amount of frogging I always need to do! Damn you Perfectionism and your crazy-making ways.
    Having seen your lovely willow I'm thinking I should decorate for Easter...or maybe just stick to munching happily, and perfectly, on chocolate!

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  21. It's so liberating unravelling everything that you know was/is a disaster in the first place, rather than having it lying around leering at you because you thought it was a good idea at the time! It also gives you more wool to play with. I have a Kilmarnock Willow in my garden. I love it. I promised myself I wouldn't be buying chocolate eggs for the big 'uns this year but I caved in at the thought of them having nothing chocolatey to eat on Sunday so now everyone, big and small, has been accommodated! Happy Easter to you Annie. x

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  22. oh yes, i am always struggling to find time to do all i want
    i am not a very decorating type, but when Easter comes closer
    i hang the two very old eggs (real eggs, handpainted and from Germany)
    my friend (who will be 92 this year) once gave me
    in a cherryblossom-branche

    wish you happy days!

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  23. Oh, those beautiful photos of yours. {Sigh}

    Struggle with time? Ha! There will never be enough time for all the things I want to do. I heard someone ask in an interview the other day "If you could have one superpower, what would it be?" Mine would be to not need sleep. Sleeping and going to the bathroom, while very necessary, seem like such a waste of time to me! And like you, Easter is pretty much a non-event with the kids gone. We'll have an Easter dinner and probably spring our BigDaddy from the hospital for the day. I haven't even had time to corner some chocolate -- I must work on that before Sunday!

    Happy Easter Annie!

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  24. Time is what I am missing most in my life right now. I am lucky if I get a row or two in of my knitting each evening, last night non at all as I was simply too tired. Things will get back to normal and I will knit once again.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  25. I never have enough time for all that I want to do... and the hard things are the things like cleaning up and revamping my blog because it is not an absolutely essential task so it keeps getting pushed back while I tackle more urgent projects. Have a happy Easter weekend Annie.

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  26. I hardly ever frog. I have just discovered my gauge is off by 2 sts so I'm tinking back one stitch at a time!!

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  27. Lovely willow, I don't think we have any in our area, now I'll have to look for it. I've got a home with three young ones so I'm always trying to find time for my hobbies. Perfectionist? Only in my head what I create can use some improving, but I'm not really a frogger, I did frog an item because I couldn't get the pattern and just gave up. I have Easter decorations that look like Christmas decorations but we do the Easter dress, basket and hunt every year! My mom continued that well into my early twenties until I left home. Love ya MOM!

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  28. Annie, before I try to answer your questions, I wanted to say how much I am enjoying learning about natural dyes from your posts. The subtle natural colors are so very pretty.

    I actually still have a tall vase of red berried branches in my little living room...a Christmas leftover with true staying power. I think I might just bring home some willow branches today to bring some Easter joy. Oh, since Lent is almost gone, I will also be decorating with some chocolates...probably some will be wrapped in colorful foils.

    Frogging. I can usually tell early on in a project that all is not going as planned or hoped, and will unravel and have a rethink. However, years ago I stopped work on several complicated Susan Duckworth intarsia sweater patterns after almost finishing the backs. I could not bear to frog them, and rather, with some invisible seaming, and top treatments involving tassels and pompoms, turned the two pieces into to very one-off hats. One of these days I might take some photographs of these funny hats.

    One of these days brings me to my always wishing for more time. Over a week ago, I did go to the stacks in my library (as I'd told you I would) looking for either writing or images from WW I. I found several books that were "almost" on point, but not quite. However, I did check out two vintage books that I do wish you could see.

    England's Effort, Six Letters to an American Friend by Mrs. Humphry Ward, with a preface by the Earl of Rosebery, K.G. (Dewey decimal 940.342W, published by Smith, Elder & Co, 15 Waterloo Place, in 1916.) The back pages of the book feature charming very old-fashioned adverts for similar era books from the same publisher. There are no illustrations.

    The other book I brought home is How We Lived Then 1914-1918, A Sketch of Social and Domestic Life in England During the War, by Mrs. C.S. Peel, O.B.E. (D.D. 940.342 P, published in 1929 in London by John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd., and in New York by Dodd, Mead and Company.) This book has got lots of photographs of folks at work, at parades, at train stations, etc. in Britain.

    I have yet to find time to actually read these books, but my initial scanning of the pages did not reveal any specific knitting references. I hope to be have a close look soon-ish.

    I do wish you could see these books! I think you would love them, and I am still amazed that I was allowed to check them out and bring them home.

    That's it for now Annie! xo

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  29. Easter has become a non-event here as well. It's wonderful seeing your children grow up, but there are some sad moments that go along with that process. The changing nature of holidays is one of them.

    I am not an extreme perfectionist when I knit. If something has a minor error, one I look at and think to myself "a non-knitter would never know anything was amiss," I leave it be. Only glaring errors get frogged. Frogging tends to make me lose all momentum with a project.

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  30. I'm having an unusually relaxing week because the children are on their spring break. It's a little stressful because they get bored and start bickering, but I'm mostly leaving them to make their own entertainment. I've been able to read, crochet and bake, which has been wonderful. But I do have a lot to do in the next couple of days for the holiday. I do sometimes frog a project, especially when it's for someone else, because I want it to be just right.

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  31. I never used to frog my unhappy projects but now I'm a frogging fiend. I just don't want my beautiful yarns to go to waste and I think about the fact that I get to knit with those lovelies twice! As for eating chocolate ... it's a year-round pleasure! Happy Easter.

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  32. Thank goodness for adaptive perfectionism. I can hold my head up once again.

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  33. I have been busy and I don't like it, I want it to slow down. I am a perfectionist but I try to only let it seep into my knitting ;)

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  34. Strange how family traditions begin - I have never brought willow into the house or been on an easter egg hunt - but frogging (which I have never heard of before) seems to come naturally as I am a pretty useless knitter and crocheter - but I get there in the end. Happy Easter Annie.

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  35. have fun turning that lovely q wool into something special! happy easter annie!

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  36. A single Easter egg for the kids now & a Sunday roast with my mum visiting. I used to love hiding little foil wrapped eggs for the children x

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  37. Are you struggling to find time for all that you want to do? Are you a perfectionist? ........as i'm getting older i'm learning "to be" more and "to do" that which fits the "to be." And I'm learning to find the beauty in the imperfect.....A serial frogger?*.....i've learned a new word....i was a serial frogger for living....ripping out the old page...start afresh kind of thing....How do you decorate your home for Easter? Branches, candles, crosses, art work that depicts Life....pretty much as it is decorated throughout the year....And will you be eating too much chocolate in the next few days? .....that reminds me to buy some chocolate for dh...

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  38. He he ..... your post made me giggle ..... just think how many more things we would get finished if we could just let things go a little ?!!
    It's very un~Eastery here this year with works on~going but i will be sure to eat WAY too much chocolate, I hope you enjoy yours!
    Happy Easter
    love Jooles x x x

    P.S thanks for the great tip x

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  39. Happy Easter!
    At work I have to be a perfectionist, but I am struggling with that too, sometimes good enough is just that; good enough.
    So at home I am definitely not a perfectionist. I probably ought to frog more than I do, I ought to relax and let things take their time. But time is short! So I quess I'll just keep on in the same way.
    Easter here in southern Sweden is not a big thing (for us anyway). Some good food (lamb and salmon are traditional), some good wine and lots of chocolate, that, and the company of good friends. It will be a good Easter, I'm sure of that.

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  40. Throughout this last week I have been a serial frogger but at last I have won the battle of the knitter versus the knitting!
    Sometimes I don't have enough hours in my day but partly that's my fault. I get distracted, then dither and before I know it, an hour or so has past and I then feel guilty I've wasted the time.
    Not keen on boxes of chocolates, but love a chocolate bar, milk or plain. Hoping someone buys me an easter egg!!

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  41. Rafters for hovels made me laugh out loud. I hope to have lots of chocolate, otherwise, I'll be at the barn and bringing dessert to a friend's house. (Choc/orange cake, I think.) I understand that in Norway Easter is the time for new mystery books to be published and that's what folks do. Great idea, mystery, chocolate and knitting.

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  42. I too have had days when my family consisted of 4 under 10, in fact 4 under 7 to begin with. All 4 plus two partners and two little ones will be eating two legs of lamb on Easter Sunday with Christmas pudding ( a family tradition inherited from my parents) and trifle to follow. No big easter eggs, chocolate bunnies for the little ones and the table decorated with mini eggs and haribo jelly rabbits. Happy Easter!

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  43. Oh, and, I don't frog enough. Just keep knitting hoping it will turn out OK in the end, only to have to frog at the last minute when the object turns out entirely the wrong shape!

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  44. I try not to unpick if I can help it, Annie, though my frogging is of the textile variety rather than knitting. No Easter decs this year, too tied up with visiting mum in hospital, and that has kind of overtaken everything else.But there HAS been some surreptitious chocolate consumption, I must confess! Lxx

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  45. I definitely struggle to find time to do everything I want, I don't know how I ever managed when I worked. Easter's a bit of a non event in our house now that my little people are big people, in fact, Easter Sunday will be spent moving Daniel back to uni.

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  46. Hi Annie,

    Lovely to come and visit you and have never heard of the word frogging -
    All busy here with family for Easter and we have friends coming for dinner tonight but just wanted to come by and wish you a happy Easter
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  47. Beautiful collage of the willow and wool - it's very calming and of course I love willow of any kind. I never have enough time in the day to do all I want to do, and I feel extremely blessed for that, even tho some days I wonder :)

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  48. Wonderful collage - you wove those quotes into the images with your usual deft grace.

    I'm sorry to hear you frogged your hat!! You know I am in love with the yarn and pattern, and I want to see how it will come out. Yes, time, there is never enough, but when I'm busy I always blame myself for managing my time poorly, rather than trying to do less...that's a recipe for disaster right there. x

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  49. Oh, your collage is beautiful! I want it framed, hanging on my wall. Your eye for color and your way with words...simply lovely!

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  50. I hadn't heard of crack or white willow before! The willow tree I was following 2 years ago must be a crack willow. We always had willow branches brought in at Easter too. I couldn't find any branches without leaves this year due to Easter being so late. Sarah x

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