Listening to: a time-shifted Late Junction on Radio 3. Always a good choice when the on-air programme isn’t to my liking.

Rereading: Chocolat, to remind myself what happened before the sequel. It’s still just as good as it was.

Watching: all sorts of good things on at the moment- drama, social history, art, food. If only there was some cycling it would be perfect.

Making: half way up the foot of the second tigerish sock.

The band sampler makes steady progress: I’ve nearly finished working through the first Anne Brandon Jones book. Book 2 introduces a wider range of stitches – the excitement may be too much for me.

Feeling: tired. We’ve committed to putting the house on the market at the end of next month, and before that we have to get rid of a lot of stuff. We’ve gone back to our 15 minutes a day decluttering, which was very effective when we did it some years ago. So there are several bags of clothes on their way to the clothes bank, lots of books have gone to a friend, some furniture and bric-à-brac are waiting to be collected by British Heart Foundation, and a cot and some bags of fabric are going or gone via Freecycle. And quite a lot of stuff in the bin. It feels good.

Anticipating: keeping up the good work next week!




Listening to: Grayson Perry on Private Passions on Radio 3. Every bit as good as you would expect.

Reading: back to Terry Pratchett – The Light Fantastic. ‘Our’ copy, I note from the book plate, was presented to Cheese Major as a school prize for Design and Realisation. He’s still designing and realising, and still a Pratchett fan. Wonder if he’d like his book back?

Watching: looking forward to Vera this evening. We lived in the North East when the boys were small, and have some very happy memories, so we enjoy the scenery as well as the drama.

Making: the first tigerish sock is up to the rib. They were meant to be for Wensleydale, but despite careful measurement, I suspect they’ll fit me better than him…

With a bit of judicious cheating, I completed A Stitch a Day for 2017 – it was more miss a few days then catch up madly. I’ve signed up for 2018, and so far I’ve managed to do a bit every day, I think because I find the band sampler very motivating. I’ve also signed up for Sharon Boggon’s Beyond TAST, which I’m combining with Stitch a Day. (So maybe I am still cheating?) This month it was Pattern Darning, so here is a section of pattern darning for the sampler. I’m also working my way through some colour experiments: this was meant to be in red-purple threads, but trying to make accurate colour judgements in winter light proved beyond me. I find the monotone scheme rather boring, so I’m going to add in more colours – and go back to Anne Brandon Jones.

When I began this I thought I wouldn’t have much to say, but I keep coming across great quotes – mostly from women although I did write down a good one from Mr Perry just now.

I’ve also done some sketchbook colour experiments – partly to explore combinations which are way outside my comfort zone, partly to work through my varied collection of paints, pencils etc. with a view to getting rid of some of it. 2018 is the year of downsizing.

Feeling: glad Christmas is over, hoping 2018 is an improvement on 2017.

Anticipating: getting back to something like a fixed routine.



Listening to: Words and Music on Radio 3. The topic is the moon, which has produced an eclectic mix of both words and music. I like eclectic.

Reading: Peaches for Monsieur le Curé by Joanne Harris. A sequel to Chocolat and almost as good!

Watching: big seas in Cornwall. We went down for a few days with family and it was a little bit windy…

Making: the third iteration of the tigerish socks. I tried two different stitch patterns for the legs, kept going astray with both, then tried stocking stitch and decided that the sock was too narrow.

Progress on the band sampler has been non-existent because I didn’t take it away with me, just the knitting.

Feeling: glad to be home. The wind meant I didn’t sleep well, and the grandchildren made sure we woke up early.

Anticipating: a taste of welsh whisky to celebrate being home, and a peaceful day tomorrow, before a couple of days of child care before they go back to school.



Listening to: Christmas music on CD. Yes, we’re old fashioned..

Reading:I’ve just finished Nation by Terry Pratchett. It’s not a Discworld novel, and I’d never heard of it till I found it in my library app. It’s well worth reading – perhaps not laugh out loud, but thought provoking about colonialisation, and r things.

Watching: we’ve enjoyed Alinka Echeverria’s The Art that Made Mexico on BBC4. I learned a lot, both about art and about Mexico. I’d love to go there if I could stand flying, but I can’t any more.

Making: it turned out that I didn’t have enough of the blue yarn to make a second pair of socks, so the one I had nearly finished has been unknitted and I’ve started another pair. I already know that I don’t have enough of this orangy-brown yarn to make a pair, so I’m eking the wool out with contrasting toes, heels and cuffs.

Progress on the band sampler has slowed, because it’s been a tiring week, but I’m still enjoying it.

Feeling: tired. For some reason I’ve been waking about 5.30. This was a sort of a good thing, as we needed to be up early most days, but not quite that early.

Anticipating: Christmas celebrations – Christmas Eve with the grown ups in the family, Christmas Day on our own, then Boxing Day with the (probably over excited) grands.



Listening to: Radio 3, as usual.

Reading: still Terry Pratchett. This time it’s Soul Music, which I don’t remember reading before. Lots of good jokes, although I wonder how many younger readers get some of them. (If you know who Blert Wheedown is, you’re old.)

Watching: we went to the panto last night. I’m not a huge fan of traditional panto, but this one was pretty good. A cast of hard working professionals rather than Z-list ‘celebrities ‘, and a version of The Twelve Days of Christmas which was the funniest thing I’ve seen for years. The grands adored it all, and that, of course, was the whole point. There is nothing like panto to enthuse children about live theatre: no other form of entertainment provides the spontaneity, the audience participation and the experience of being part of a large group of people having the time of their lives.

Making: I finished the last pair of socks and should have enough left to make another pair.

The band sampler makes steady progress, though it seems to be morphing into a journal as well. It’s still mostly patterns from Simple Stitch Patterns for Embroidery, with additions as I think of them.

Feeling: thankful. Today is Wensleydale’s 72nd birthday, and we have spent 45 years of that together, with relatively few cross words. I’m very grateful for that, and that the strength of our relationship has allowed us to face all the problems there have been this year with strength and, I think , courage. Thank you, W.

Anticipating: a quieter week next week, I hope.



Listening to: wind and rain. But fortunately we have no snow: commiserations if you have been less lucky. (The VHC would welcome snow, which he has never seen, but I’m a tad older, and the novelty has worn off.)

Reading: back to Terry Pratchett.

Watching: about an hour ago a fine dog fox crossed our back garden He was too quick for a photograph, unfortunately.

Making: I’ve completed one and a half socks. I’ve been doing a lot of embroidery this week, so the sock has had little attention. I picked it up again while watching ‘Witnesses: a Frozen Death’, but turning a heel then knitting a diagonal rib while reading subtitles tends to lead to errors. Fortunately there were a lot of silences.

The knitted hat is probably going to be frogged. I found this on Ravelry, and I know someone who would probably like a hat with horses on it, but I need at least one more colour. I am not going anywhere near the town centre till Christmas is over, (my dear, the noise, the people) so it will not be a Christmas present.

I gave up on the thermogauze French knots sample, which went very peculiar when I zapped it. So it and the rest of the thermogauze has gone in the bin. In its stead, and inspired by Anne Brandon Jones and Sharon Boggon, I have started a band sampler. Sharon’s was, the last time I checked, nearly 30 metres long. Mine is about 30cm, but it’s growing. I started by working Stitches from Brandon Jones ‘Simple Stitch Patterns for Embroidery’, but of course I have added my own ideas.

None of this is very original, but my creative mojo is hiding, and I doubt it will reappear until all the family trouble is resolved. But as I have to do something with my hands, simple embroidery is not too demanding, and the short rows of a sampler mean that I don’t get bored.

Feeling: The troublesome family member has gone quiet recently, and I think we are nearing the end of the legal process. However we had some rather depressing news on another front this week. Nothing life threatening, but it has meant we have had to do some rethinking. We are on to plan B now, which, as always at Cheese Acres, is preparing for Plan C.

Anticipating: another busy week, but it culminates in a visit to the panto with the grands. Should be fun!



Listening to: silence

Reading: some new old needlework books I’ve bought. (One of the drawbacks of online used book shops and insomniac nights.) Published in the 20’s, they are by Anne Brandon Johnson, who had some interesting suggestions about design.

Watching: about a dozen blackbirds hopping round the garden and squabbling over who gets to eat the windfalls.

Making: I’ve completed one sock. Having spent too much money on Cecelia Compochiaro’s Sequence Knitting, I decided it was time to experiment with some of her suggestions, which is where the pattern on the leg came from. The generic sock pattern is from the app Biscotte Knitting Patterns: despite me thinking that the length it suggested for the foot was too long, the first one fits perfectly. Unfortunately the patterns are only for hats or socks.

Speaking of hats, mine is on time out on the knitting basket. It’s worked in short rows, and after 4 attempts on one short row section, I gave up until I’ve got the brain space. It’s not the pattern, it’s my counting!

For Year of Stitches, I have made one sample of French knots, and anticipate one more before I run out of ideas. For the first one I used an idea from Anne Brandon Jones ‘ books – more information here. The second is not because I have more ideas, it’s because when I fished out the thermogauze to experiment with, I found a piece I’d made earlier which seemed to lend itself to French knots. (I still haven’t solved the problems of thermogauze destruction, but this piece hasn’t been soaked in tea so if it melts more easily, I’ll have identified the reason.)

I revisited a long lost interest by going on a macrame workshop with a friend. It was good fun, although I don’t think I’ll be doing much of it – standing up while wrestling long cords was hard on the back. We made hanging plant pot holders – all I need now is somewhere to hang it and a plant to put in it.

Feeling: a bit miffed that Letterspace, the app I used to use for writing these posts, has ceased to function on my iPad and is now only available, at a price, in the US. I’m experimenting with Simplenote, and so far it seems OK. Most notes apps offer too many options for what I want to do, but this one really is simple.

Anticipating: another busy week, with extra grand parenting, again.