Friday, October 12, 2007

Silk jewels

The imaginatively named silk carrier rods have become a necklace. I bought these at the Festival of Quilts in August and finally got arou
nd to playing with them. They are so simple to transform, you split them into layers and each one is a slightly different colour thanks to the dye process. They were then rolled, perhaps two slightly contrasting colours together, whatever your fancy. Secure with a stitch here and there, perhaps a bead and thread a needle with ribbon, before you know it, a necklace! Of course these have a multitude of uses, decorating gifts, a brooch, embellishing a bag.... Obviously I will need to buy more immediately. They are sold in various places, a google is sure to find you someone and they come in a myriad of colours including natural and are the by product of silk cocoon processing.

I really love how this necklace looks against the palette of my autumn/winter clothes, it really stands out against these darker backdrops and in the perfect note of cheer and colour on a grey day.

Bringing more colour to my days is my copy of The Gentle Art of Domesticity. My book arrived last week and I have been dipping in and out ever since. This is a visual feast, colour and whimsy abound and it is a great addition to my library of inspiration books. What makes this book a little different to some of my other "picture" books is the wealth of written content. I was pleased to see that this is not one of those books full of beautiful images but very little content, there is plenty of reading here too. It is very much in the style of Jane's blog and many regular readers there will recognise some of the topics and discussions revisited and expanded upon here. I have read many criticisms of this book and the lifestyle it seems to support and some of those criticisms have just been unkind while others have been well considered and written intelligently. Whilst the book would seem to suggest that Jane has a lovely home and can afford to knit with luxury yarns and quilt with expensive fabrics it seems equally obvious to me that these very Gentle Arts which Jane is enjoying to do not require vast sums of money or as some critics have suggested, the financial support of a very wealthy husband. As far as I can tell from reading, Jane does not suggest that women should stay at home to practise these arts, that may be her choice but it is perfectly possible to practise the domestic arts of an evening, after work and many people do, Jane in no way that I can see, suggests that this is undesirable. Rather, her book is a celebration of those arts, a lovely positive, uplifting read, encouraging anyone, whatever your circumstances, to enjoy these crafts and giving them the recognition they deserve.

Some critics have objected to the lifestyle that the book seems to portray, I really do not object to this and do not for one moment suppose that Jane's life is all roses (or rather, all tulips in this case!) and indeed I do not want a book which depicts those dreary, grubby parts of life, why would I pay to look at those? Plenty of them for free around here! One particular critic lumped Jane in with Nigella's latest television show and I have been curious about the criticism for this this too. It is a cookery show, not a fly on the wall documentary! Accusations of "faking" made front page news on one of
our tabloid newspapers the other week, how terrible that something like that should be front page when people are dying in the world, have we all become so obsessed with reality television that we have lost our powers of imagination and fantasy? Am I crazy for thinking that it would be very bizarre if anyone thought that this show was for real, surely it is obvious that most houses, even very nice Eaton Square ones, are not suitable for the demands of a television production crew? And as for the bus thing, did anyone really expect it to be real? Do these same people think that The Queen Vic is a real pub?

I am sorry, I am ranting a little, but front page news?!! I will open my beautiful book again and be transported to a place of calm, carried away by beautiful colours and intelligent, amusing and sometimes ironic words.


Blogger annesmith said...

well done - good rant!!

Friday, October 19, 2007 9:17:00 am  
Blogger Ali said...

You're so right - I see the criticisms and catty comments leveled at Nigella and Jane in very much the same vein.

The difference is that Nigella laughs them off with an enormous sense of herself and her own worth. But poor Jane - my heart just bleeds for the torment she is putting herself through trying to defend what she does. I wish she would realize that the comments say more about the commentators than they do about her.

There - that's my tuppence.

Friday, October 19, 2007 9:56:00 am  
Blogger M said...

My book arrived yesterday and, despite being thoroughly underwhelming in the domestic department, I LOVE it. It is, as you say, a respite. I have been following poor Jane's saga and find it hard to believe we women still treat each other like this.

Great rant.

Friday, October 19, 2007 10:40:00 am  
Blogger M said...

I mean ME being underwhelming, not Jane!

Friday, October 19, 2007 10:41:00 am  
Blogger Queen of the froggers said...

The silk rods are amazing. Thank you for explaining all about them. you have made pretty things from them.

Friday, October 19, 2007 11:34:00 am  
Blogger yvette said...

Those silk rods are so cool, I need some to play with.
I totally agree with you, re the book, my only hope it that all the publicity sells more books.

Friday, October 19, 2007 12:08:00 pm  
Anonymous kim said...

Your necklace is so unusual and beautiful. It reminds me of a vintage piece.

I would love to read Jane's book. I can't believe the fuss that is being made about all of this!

Friday, October 19, 2007 12:32:00 pm  
Blogger Karen said...

Well said, Rebecca!

Friday, October 19, 2007 12:47:00 pm  
Blogger Bethany Hissong said...

I always think that people who are unhappy in their own lives tend to criticize others who are! If only they'd pick up the needles and see what we enjoy! I love Nigella too...she is real, who cares about the set?!! Why aren't they taking swats at Martha Stewart? Ugh. Too bad all those people can't just spontaneously combust when they spew their negativity...poof!
I love your necklace... gorgeous and so're such an artist!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2007 1:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Kathleen said...

Rebecca, I can't believe the uproar over there, we have missed some of that over here in the US, my goodness what is going on? Jane's blog is just lovely and so relaxing. I don't understand what the problem is? I love yr rosettes they are lovely!

Friday, October 19, 2007 4:41:00 pm  
Blogger Cyb√®le said...

I started reading Jane's blog after her interview on Woman's Hour and found yours through a link in one of her posts.
I just don't understand why people have to look down on others who enjoy knitting, sewing or cooking as a hobby, but what's the difference between that and enjoying playing computer games or reading a book?

Jane's book is on my Christmas wish list.
I love your hourglass sweater by the way - the colour is perfect for it.

Friday, October 19, 2007 6:55:00 pm  
Blogger A Homely Heroine said...

The buttons on that page are gorgeous. I totally agree, how can this creative, productive and fun escapism be worse than vegetating in front of the tv? And what business is it of anyone else's anyway, show me a woman who suffers from this, stupid stupid critics.
I think those silk flowery things look great, they are just the kind of thing you'd buy at jigsaw, only so much better for being unique.

Friday, October 19, 2007 7:28:00 pm  
Blogger Flavaknits said...

Its good to rant now and again! The "reviews" of things like Janes' book and Nigellas' cooking programme seem to come from that bad old British habit of taking one down a peg or two (or just wanting to be plain old nasty) Both are a result of a lack of intelligence and talent!
Enjoy the book - can't wait to get mine!

Friday, October 19, 2007 8:48:00 pm  
Anonymous michele said...

i had wondered what these were going to become. lovely necklace and beautifully photographed.

enjoyed your intelligent review of jane's book.

Friday, October 19, 2007 11:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Alison said...

I *love* the carrier rod necklaces!! I almost bought some at Ally Pally - it is supposed to be possible to use them for spinning - but I thought too much prep would be involved right now! But now I wish I'd bought them to play with in other ways...

I hadn't met Jane's blog before, or heard about her book - not even the nasty reviews! - but I will definitely be back for more of them now. I don't think you can stop people being nasty - it's just the nature of the world, sadly. I do hope she doesn't take it too much to heart. :(

Saturday, October 20, 2007 8:05:00 am  
Blogger Cherry Rolfe said...

Rant away! A very intelligent and well written response!
What inspirational book is not an idealisation. As you say, who wants to see the underbelly?! As one who sews, quilts, knits, embroiders, beads, makes gifts and cards, jams, jellies, pies and cakes, and who works outside the home too, all by choice and with joy, I cannot understand the knockers, especially those who purport to be speaking for feminism, which I thought was all about choice and recognition!!! (mini rant)

Saturday, October 20, 2007 12:06:00 pm  
Blogger Cherry Rolfe said...

And I forgot to say what I meant to - having no idea what silk carrier rods are - I am so impressed by what you have created, truly original!

Saturday, October 20, 2007 12:07:00 pm  
Blogger Miss Twiss said...

There none such thing as bad press. Getting people talking about a book is the best thing for the author. You're the second blogger I've read who commented about this critique. Now, I'm curious.

Saturday, October 20, 2007 1:34:00 pm  
Anonymous victoria said...

I am so with you! I can't believe all the fall out over Jane's book! and to throw Nigella in too, well, I think there are people out there with inferiority complexes. It harkens back to the day when stay at home moms were looked down upon because they chose to stay home as opposed to having a outside career...

Monday, October 22, 2007 7:56:00 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Love the silk carrier rods, I've never come accross them before but I'm going to keep my eyes open now.

I agree totally about the book and I wish the detractors could just find something in their own lives to be contented with, rather than sniping at the lives of others.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 4:30:00 pm  
Blogger said...

Thank you for informing us of the ridiculous criticisms in the UK directed towards Jane's book. I ordered the book from AmazonUk since it is not available in the US as of yet. I just wrote a bit about "Domesticity" on my blog today. I agree with Ali - Jane does not need to defend what she does. The world would be a better place if women embraced their home life and took pride in what they did.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 4:39:00 pm  
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