Karen has enquired about the contents and now I can reveal (almost) all.*
At the bottom of the picture, two King Penguins from the 1940s. The Microcosm of London is a Mothering Sunday gift (no prizes for guessing where my Ma comes from!). Popular English Art , a book about folk art, is a celebration of almost all the things that I love best: roundabout gallopers, elaborate tombstones, finely decorated carts, lacemaking, Staffordshire china, 17th century trade cards... But, taking pride of place at the top of the picture, is the Penguin Modern Painters volume (also from the 1940s) on Stanley Spencer. And it contains that most wonderful of paintings, The Wool Shop (1940), where Spencer celebrates what I love most of all**
Apparently Spencer was inspired to paint the picture after visiting a shop in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire. And he clearly understands the true allure of such a shop, the fabulous skeins of yarn and bolts of material and, above all, the customers' yarn lust. Their selection of yarn that matches their own hair has, I feel, a decided touch of autoeroticism.
Ah, yarnlust, there's nothing quite like it. Which reminds me that I promised to reveal my purchases from Textiles In Focus***:
From left to right: a skein of handpainted laceweight yarn from Liz, and a skein of her DK. There are more temptations in her Etsy shop. Next, a nostepinne, two skeins of Claudia Handpaint and some Quill casein needles from Gill's Woolly Workshop. The nostepinne is such a delight. I was faced with the difficult, yet delightful, task of selecting from four different woods and it didn't really take me very long to settle for the Yew. And then I realised that I needed something to carry my purchases in. Well, in Popular English Art (see above)Noel Carrington states "I believe one of the few objects of daily use which has resisted the ingenuity of the machine is the wicker basket, and that retains its traditional patterns in full vigour". Hmm, presumably there weren't so many plastic carrier bags in 1945. But, whilst at Textiles in Focus, I found (and fell in love with) this basket, which comes from Northern Ghana and was on the African Fabrics Stand.
That basket has been on several outings since I bought it. Today it accompanied me to the Fitzwilliam Museum for an entertaining lecture on rabbits and hares and also to various charity shops, as I tracked down eggcups to model my latest project: egg cosies made from some of the yarns I've handpainted in the last few months. Easter is on its way...
* I actually came home with two of these delightful yellow bags, but the other one is TOP SECRET as it contains something for someone taking part in this swap
** with the obvious exception of my spouse, that is.
*** once again, I am supressing something that is TOP SECRET. (See * above).