A long weekend away provided a welcome opportunity to recharge my batteries and get plenty of visual inspiration. Although London hasn’t been cloaked in a Narnian snow blanket (like many other parts of the Northern hemisphere), it’s still pretty dark and cold, and I’m definitely at the point where I feel that the days have been short for too long.
So it was a real tonic to have a few days by the sea, staying in a cottage in Southwold, a little town on the Suffolk coast. I don’t think cold weather is a problem if you have the right clothes and don’t have to travel too far. Obviously, I was well-equipped with handknits, so I wrapped up snugly and went out for lots of walks to make the most of the winter daylight.
Southwold is a beautiful place, with an excellent beach and pier (with handmade automata as amusements)
and colourful beach huts (each with its own name).
There are so many interesting buildings and features in the town, with gorgeous details, both old and new:
I also took the chance to warm up a little on a tour of the Adnams distillery. There was lots of beautiful copper distilling apparatus, a little museum, which featured a handstitched bottle cover, and a wonderfully-fragrant gin laboratory (where they experiment with different botanicals). I wish you could smell it now…
I’ve been to Southwold many times, and one of my favourite nearby places is the huge RSPB reserve at Minsmere. I’d never been there in winter before though, and although it was quieter than at other times of year, there were still deer to be spotted in the woods and a bittern preening in the sunshine in the reedbeds.
A wintery walk round Minsmere also provided a wealth of inspiration in terms of different textures and colours in the landscape. I enjoyed having time to observe and to take photos of some of them. Here are some of my favourite details:
Lots of them make me think of textured knits or embroidery stitches, and there were some surprising flashes of colour.
Of course, I made time for some knitting while I was away. I did some swatching for a possible Coronis sweater (which I will make longer than the original) and also worked on the Beetlebum lace shawl I’d just cast on in Madelinetosh Prairie yarn (in the Tern colourway). It’s been a while since I’ve knitted any lace, and I’m really enjoying this lovely new pattern from EastLondonKnit. Mine won’t look like anything much until it’s finished and blocked, but if you want to admire the stunning original shawl, here’s where Renee from EastLondonKnit blogged about it.
The combination of daylight, fresh air, lots of walking and so many interesting sights, smells and tastes was really invigorating. I hope I can hang onto that feeling of inspiration and energy. What are you doing at this time of year to beat the winter blues? Or if you’re in warmer climes, how are you making the most of summer?