Yarn and colour pencils have taken over my world lately. In between designing and sewing paper piecing patterns, I am finding myself gravitating toward knitting needles and colour pencils. Not only are they great for keeping the hands busy, they also share a common thread for me – travel. As I knit a warm piece of clothing, I imagine myself wearing it in a far-away land, exploring. Later on, I revisit a favourite travelled place through painting, specially an old stone abbey or other ruins.
A few months ago I was travelling to England and I wanted to take a painting project with me to fill in the long 10 hours of travel time on the plane. Of the places we visited in Scotland, Dryburgh Abbey is one of my favourites. I found an old photo and it instantly became the subject of my painting.
The picture you see above is how much I finished on the plane. Sadly, after I came back, I moved on to other projects and it was left unfinished.
A little review of Stillman And Birn sketchbooks
At the time I didn’t have a travel-size sketchbook. I am very heavy-handed with water when it comes to watercolour, so the new sketchbook had to be able to handle that.
During my research, I came across Stillman and Birn watercolour paper. Their Alpha series sketchbook with 270 gsm weight paper seemed ideal to me. I also like the white paper of the Alpha series. So I got a 8.5″ x 5.5″ sketchbook.
The sketchbook did not disappoint. A lot of watercolour papers cannot handle too much water, they often get a lint-like effect. The Stillman And Birn paper stayed smooth, I didn’t see even the tiniest bit of lint effect. I couldn’t stretch the paper since it is in a sketchbook, but it warped very little. I was able to easily fix the little warp afterwards.
I recently started making slow progress on it using my Derwent watercolour pencils. The colours are less intense than Inktense pencils and are easier to lift off if needed. They also blend beautifully. As I was painting, I was reliving the moments of standing in front of the quiet Dryburgh Abbey Chapter House all on my own, soaking in the atmosphere of an old, wet stone ruin.
I always like to make a colour swatch of any paint set I acquire. Even looking at these colours makes me happy!
While going through my sketchbooks searching for more unfinished drawings, I found one of my old pen sketches from another place we visited in Scotland.
A doorway detail in Jedburgh Abbey
A while back, my husband got me a set of yarn from the local yarn store. I was browsing on Ravelry for a hat pattern and noticed one that has a striking resemblance to the design in the Jedburgh Abbey doorway. I fell in love with the pattern and the red yarn was perfect for it.
It is called Paragon Toque. Instead of cables, this design is done simply with knit and purl. I made the large size hat since I like my hats to be a bit on the loose side. I had made a simple hat for my husband before, but this is the first hat I made for myself. I think I will be wearing this one a LOT. I love it!!
I am enjoying this daydreaming escape through knitting and painting. Here’s to more daydreaming for all of us!
I am also linking up on Life Thru The Lens, Through My Lens, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around The World, Photo Friday, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.