We’ve had a few days in Cornwall, visiting friends who live near Polperro. We started by exploring the town itself, which was thronging with visitors at this time of year. But, thankfully, it is closed to traffic apart from residents’ cars, so it was a pleasant stroll to the harbour at the far end. En route there was an art gallery and a craft exhibition, plus some shops that offered more than the usual tourist fare of pasties and T-shirts.
The tide was unfortunately out, which made for a rather muddy-looking harbour scene. But it was certainly pretty with all the whitewashed houses.
I was delighted to find that the small museum at the harbour has a display of Cornish knit-frocks. Now, purists may be able to distinguish a knit-frock from a gansey, but as far as I’m concerned they are the same thing, knit-frock is just the Cornish term for a close-fitting, weather-turning, single-colour fisherman’s sweater with interesting stitch patterns. There were some kits for sale for smaller gansey projects like hats and scarves, including a cowl which one of my companions took a fancy to, but she isn’t a knitter. With Christmas coming up, I think I know what to do with the 250g of Frangipani yarn I have left over from my 2014 gansey.
On the way home from Cornwall, we stopped off at Bovey Tracey in Devon. I’d heard about the marble museum there, House of Marbles – that’s marbles as in the small glass balls, not the Carrara type we explored back in June. The marbles were excellent, with a huge range available to buy. I’ve always admired glass paperweights for the exquisite craftsmanship that can be demonstrated in such a small item, but marbles do it at an even smaller scale. The site used to be a pottery before it turned to glassmaking, and there were pottery displays as well as information on marbles and glass-blowing demonstrations. Well worth a visit.
Also in the town was a very impressive craft gallery displaying the works of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. Photography was permitted and I made the most of it.
Finally, before leaving town I popped into the local yarn shop, Spin a Yarn. This has won awards and it was plain to see why: a huge range from the ordinary/budget (King Cole, Sirdar) to the rarely seen (in the UK, anyway) like Lorna’s Laces, Malabrigo and even qiviut, the hair of the musk ox. The assistant, who I expect was the owner, was charming and couldn’t have been more helpful. What an asset the good people of this Devon market town have, I hope they appreciate it.