A Year of William Morris

It is finally feeling like Autumn, and we all breathe a collective sigh of relief here at Ravensridge. The body language of this koala says it all. We had actually never seen one sleep like this before, and I could empathise after the summer we had.   
It’s a magical time of year, beautiful, cool, sunshiney mornings and plenty of wildlife. Lots of koala spotting, wallabies and goannas hanging around my train while I’m working, and some black cockatoos. 

   
    
    
   
    

  
Atticus enjoying the sun.

  
Dougal enjoying unconsciousness.

  
Even the cacti garden flowered this year.

  
And dragonfruit threatens to take over the entire garden.

  
The wasps are also going crazy artistic in this weather. Most of the ones round here are stingless, including the mud dauber that built this on the laundry wall. I can watch them for hours sculpting with their little blobs of mud. (We don’t normally remove them, this one was just in an unfortunate spot and had to go).

  

I have of course been knitting and crocheting madly, which I will document next time. I am currently obsessed with Tunisian crochet. Crochet that looks like knitting! It makes me very happy. πŸ™‚

  
I have also been enjoying more sewing and needlework. And in that line, my mum came up with an idea for herself that I am totally stealing. “A Year of William Morris”: a year of projects related to the art of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts period. Instead of always looking through the books saying ‘oh I’d love to do one of these one day…’, I decided I’m going to actually do some. 
When I gathered up my relevant books from all over the house and the train for inspiration, it became obvious this had been on the cards for a while.

  
Of course, this won’t be ALL I do for the next year, but it will be a consistent background theme. I have plans for cushions, a rug, a fire screen, a painting, cross stitch pieces and at least one quilt. After the summer hiatus, I’ve also resumed designing and am feeling very motivated! If anyone would like to join the journey, please do! πŸ™‚ There can surely never be enough William Morris projects in the world. 
For Ravensridge, this one is of course on the list, ‘Raven’, from Beth Russell’s William Morris Needlepoint. It makes me swoon. I’d like to design a quilt to match, too. And maybe a jacket. πŸ™‚

  
It had been a while since I did any proper needlepoint, so I practised with these projects. I finished my hazelnut cushion and a small rose tapestry, which I also made into a cushion to match the sofa. Both zippered, although I drew the line at piping. I think I was just procrastinating, really.

    

  
Finished a ‘cottage and manor’ cross stitch duo. These were from a vintage kit I got on ebay. They are suuuuper tiny, and were very hard on the poor old eyes. :/

  
And then, feeling warmed up, I started this, Project Number One: Peony Cushion. A needlepoint cushion, an interpretation of William Morris’ peony design from the book ‘Country House Needlepoint’ by Frances Kennett and Belinda Scarlett. My Year of William Morris is underway! πŸ™‚ 

  
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44 thoughts on “A Year of William Morris

  1. I love William Morris designs, I won’t join as I have far too much in the pipeline but is shall enjoy reading about your journey. I do have a mini obsession with strawberries at the moment so dearly hope the strawberry thief will make an appearance. Good luck, and love all the wildlife pictures.

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    • Thank you Nanacathy! πŸ™‚ funny, I have been looking at strawberry pics of late too, also cherries! πŸ™‚ yes absolutely, the strawberry thief will certainly be making an appearance, probably in the form of a cushion πŸ™‚

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  2. Good Lord you’ve been busy and you will be busy! I loved seeing the kangaroo eyeing up the dangler – or was it you he/she was after? Your koala is adorable – do you have any wombats? I adore wombats!! You Aussies have such wonderful wildlife – I always feel a little deprived after seeing your photos – I just have the odd bird come by. Even your wasps are interesting – ours are just awful little blighters. Good to see your kitties know how to get the best out of life – I just rescued my indignant kitty from beneath the puppy who was determined to have a cuddle with him and the thought the best approach was just to lie on top of the poor boy. A flattened indignant cat is quite a sight!! Isn’t Tunisian crochet fun! I made a top a year ago and nothing since – it grows fast which I really like! I’m going to have a go at Broomstick Lace next and make a throw [another throw!] No, not next, I have to make myself a long sleeveless cardi – I’ve been promising myself one for ages ….. No time to join your for William, but I’ll watch your creations spring to life with interest πŸ™‚ xo

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    • Thank you Pauline! πŸ™‚ haha my beautiful light catcher attracts all manner of things! ❀️ that wallaby was chasing another one, smaller and prettier and whom I took to be a female…she had just gone past and hid before I grabbed the camera! πŸ™‚ oh I love wombats too, sooo gorgeous, no we don’t get them here, I think they are mainly in Victoria, that is the only place I have seen them in the wild anyway…I love that your babies ‘get along’ so well, we have lately contemplated a small dog, but I fear chaos would ensue in our teeny tiny house πŸ™‚ ooh I can’t wait to see some broomstick lace…and your cardy too when it’s done! I am totally addicted to Tunisian now, such a weird thing, I suppose it’s the novelty value but like you I enjoy things growing fast…there’s a bit of a shortage of patterns though so I’m working on my own, I’m determined to make a Tunisian hoodie! πŸ™‚ xox

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  3. Such beautiful wildlife just outside your window – I’d probably just watch their goings-on and procrastinate more with my projects. That’s really beautiful completed needlepoint – and more to be done in William Morris designs – fantastic! What a wonderful idea to have a theme …. I really look forward to seeing all the different objects!😊

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    • Thank you very much! πŸ™‚ yes it can be distracting that’s for sure, when I hear that creepy slithering through the dry leaves it certainly gets my attention, and occasionally it sounds as though someone is walking around outside and it turns out to be a bush turkey or something…:) I like themes too, I obviously can’t focus on one craft (and believe me I’ve tried!) but at least something can tie them all together! πŸ™‚

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  4. Your posts are always so darned interesting. I love your wildlife photos, we’re so blessed in Australia, aren’t we?

    Can you please point me to a good website for the Tunisian crochet? I had a look, but they didn’t satisfy my need for a K.I.S.S. approach.

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    • Thanks Yvonne! πŸ™‚ Hope you’re enjoying being back, yes Australia has its fair share of critters that’s for sure, they are monitoring the koalas around here and talking about making the area where I live into an official wildlife corridor which would be great πŸ™‚ I learnt Tunisian from an e-patternscentral.com class by Kim Guzman, she was very clear and had a nice calm way of talking which I liked, it was a paid course but she also does free instructional videos on her website I believe
      http://kimguzman.com/blog/tunisian-crochet/
      I tried first to learn from books, but it is a bit of a tricky one to learn that way I found. πŸ™‚

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  5. Perhaps you can create your own Morris inspired design; you have enough native inspiration around you. Why raven when you have black cockatoo? Why not eucalyptus and goanna? I love Morris designs too but he’s been done.

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    • Haha well not by me…yet πŸ™‚ love the idea though, an Australian twist on William Morris, that could be really interesting…
      I guess M and I tip slightly more toward the gothic/Brit side, and we do get as many ravens here as cockatoos! πŸ™‚

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  6. As I lay here on the couch sipping tea and reading blogs, THINKING about maybe knitting, I’m feeling monstrously indolent. (I think I’m like your kitty in the sun.)You are remarkably productive!

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    • Haha thanks Susanne, well that’s exactly what I am doing right now too! Feet up, tea and all, lying under the fan! :)) the thinking part of projects is very important too, planning everything out in your head, so I would say you’re actually working pretty hard! πŸ˜€

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    • Thanks Derrick πŸ™‚ you inspire me to try to slow down and take better photos, my impatience results far too often in just pointing and clicking with the iPad. πŸ™‚
      Yes that light catcher seems to make it into many photos, whether obviously or just a sneaky rainbow splash of light! I do love it. πŸ™‚

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  7. As usual, all your wildlife (bird, Koala and lizard in particular) is stunning. Your sunning cat is endearing and your needlepoint, well, that’s just fabulous. And with all those books on Morris, you need to do something to translate the designs. Can you make your own needlepoint patterns?

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    • Thank you Lisa! yes I think one of the joys of needlepoint is that it’s just a graph basically, and can be so easily tweaked and translated to other dimensions and crafts :)) what fun there is to be had!! I have a picture in my head of the whole house filled with his beautiful designs in all different mediums..a year may not be quite enough πŸ™‚

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  8. I got a set of Tunisian crochet hooks last year as part of my birthday gifts and haven’t even tried using them yet. I might have a go with my next project. Tasmania appears to have sister citied with Queensland this year as we have had a terrible, horrible, no-good, summer as well. Hot, dry, flies, fleas, no water, pretty soon no power etc. ad infinitum and the cool mornings that we have recently been having are more than welcome. Love your native animal visitors and your crafts are sublime. Autumn brings a degree of happiness that summer never could. We are wading up to our eyeballs in the garden at the moment as we have decided to tackle the blackberries overtaking the front acre. We are really happy with how it’s all turning out. I thought it would look horrible. Glad to see your dragonfruit. I was sent a few cuttings recently from a good friend in Queensland and they are sprouting already in the glasshouse even though it’s not all that hot here at the moment. I bet your cactus garden looked pretty when it flowered. I especially loved your zen cat image. Pure kitty bliss πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks narfie, you know I thought of you the other day on a particularly cool morning and knew you would be feeling the same happiness as me!! :)) i remember fighting the ol’ blackberries back in SA…here it’s lantana, but it hasn’t got delicious berries to soften the scratched arms, boohoo! Oh I am very interested to see how your dragonfruit goes…it is a little bit psycho here, even pulling down a lattice panel…but love the fruit, we have the white one but I’d love to get the pink one too…M is one of those odd people that likes going out in the middle of the night with a paintbrush to pollinate it, crazy bugger…:)

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      • He has the horticultural bug. Once it bites you there is NO turning back ;). I remember lantana in W.A. It’s a bugger but a thicket of blackberries that have spent the summer unhindered and who have suckered and invaded Poland with impunity are most loathe to give up the fort I can tell you!

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      • Lantana berries are edible but you must wait till it is completely black. Someone gave me cuttings of a yellow dragonfruit (I think) so if you’re interested I can send some to you. πŸ™‚

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      • Ooh I didn’t know that about lantana! Haha not sure if I’d be game! πŸ™‚ I also didn’t know there were yellow dragon fruit, thank u love a cutting if you had one to spare! πŸ™‚ few edible things grow in the ground here but we seem to have the perfect environment for dragonfruit and pineapples on our rocky ridge πŸ˜€

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      • OK please send your address to me by email. I know I should have it but that’ll save me looking for it πŸ™‚ I’ve eaten lots of lantana berries when I was a bush regenerator years ago and am still here πŸ™‚

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  9. I love having a theme for a year – although I sometimes get to the end of it and find the real theme turned out to be something different. I find it interesting you’re taking your start of year as the beginning of Autumn. I very much find this a good start of the year too – although my autumn starts in September. Of course I also acknowledge January to in my thinking, I do feel September is a more natural start. I sometimes attribute this to it being the start of the year when the kids started the school year, but now you’re saying you do too, I’m wondering.

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    • You know, I never really thought about it before, but you are completely right! I do see Autumn as the start of the year, I think for me it is the start of the ‘knitting year’ maybe? January in Queensland frankly sucks, I still knit with linen and cotton but the excitement, concentration and motivation just isn’t there, I am allergic to the sun and miserable in the heat. Sometimes I take the Chinese New Year as the beginning, but as our seasons seem to be changing, getting later each year, it is still hot then too now. Kids here go back to school end of January, which I just like because the shops get quieter πŸ™‚ yes themes are great aren’t they, especially when you do many different crafts as I know you do too, they help focus my poor scattered brain πŸ™‚ I find the blog helps with that too.

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      • Of course I forget knitting isn’t an all year round thing for you guys will real seasons πŸ™‚ I think the scattered mind is an inevitable side effect of being creative, but yes, the blog definitely helps with my focus.

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  10. Awesome! Indeed, Fall is slowly starting to show up in the Southern Hemisphere. I can tell from the morning shadows in the garden. And loving it. Summer was way to hot this year. Looking forward to a great Fall and Winter.
    You have been amazingly busy, great crafting projects all round. You do stitch and embroider gorgeously. I love the cushions and little houses. So very pretty.
    Kitties also look much happier now with the cooler weather. Each time I see Atticus I am thinking about getting a Rex baby as well, however I don’t think my dog would be to happy. She is spoilt and knows she is the only furry child now. πŸ™‚
    Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Fall weather. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks so much! πŸ™‚ and I’m glad things are cooling down for you too, yay, doesn’t it get you motivated on that first cool morning! :)) haha that is so funny, your gorgeous pooch making us look at puppies, and you wanting a Rex πŸ™‚ It looks like we might have the exact same problem, the current resident/s may not be happy with a new addition, it might upset the delicate balance and am a bit scared to try! πŸ™‚

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      • πŸ™‚ Very true. They don’t like new additions much. Miekie is pretty old now, and I don’t think she will approve. Although we have had 2 cats and her, and they all shared pretty nicely, she was still the smallest (smaller than both cats) and in charge. She also loved eating all their dry food. πŸ™‚ Now she is a bit thinner.
        You don’t know how I love those early cool mornings, when you go outside with the doggie for a walk and the air is crisp and fresh and you can tell from the shadows in the garden its Fall as they are long and stretched out across the lawns. You can tell I love Fall and Winter, can’t you. Also a very good time to get even more crafty. Yay!
        New week and back to normal, have fun.

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