Where to begin?

Where to begin?

This week, Babybel was involved in a dance summer school – which meant finding things to occupy the VHC, which  weren’t too long – to fit into the time between dropping her off and picking her up again – weren’t  too expensive, for obvious reasons – and provided opportunities for granny and grandad to sit down. We succeeded magnificently, although all of us (including Babybel) were completely exhausted by the end.

As the summer school didn’t start till Tuesday, we went to Manor Farm on Monday. Manor Farm now offers tractor rides. This was highly acceptable to all – Babybel enjoyed looking at, feeding and being told about the animals, the VHC enjoyed the animals and the tractor, and granny and grandad enjoyed all of the above, plus sitting down. 

On every other morning, we managed to find a craft activity. (The VHC loves making things.) 

On Tuesday we made buildings.

That’s a chandelier, in case you didn’t recognise it. There was also a light switch.

The VHC provided the designs (he made two), granny and grandad provided the workforce and catering. There was sitting down, but most of it was on the floor. Sitting on the floor is fine, getting up again is more of a problem, but we survived.

On Wednesday we made a stained glass butterfly. 

There was lots of sitting down for this one.

On Thursday we made a ruff. No photos, I’m afraid, but the photographer made up for her oversight in the afternoon, when we made some new friends, Pickford and Harold. 

This was the most expensive outing of the week (if you don’t count the cost of the season ticket for Manor Farm), but it was worth every penny. When the VHC goes silent and just looks, you know he’s having a really good time.

On Friday we made quill pens. All of us. This is grandad’s. Grandad was very restrained in his use of feathers. Why have one when you can have three?

After that we went to Chalkfest. (I think there are traces of ink from trying out the pens on there as well.)

We also managed to fit in lunch at our favourite farm shop, a walk, a duck feed and a play park. 

On Saturday we let mummy and daddy take over, though we did go to the summer school performance, which was very entertaining. 

There has been some knitting. And a lot of TV watching, as you might expect, during which the knitting got quicker and quicker as the tension rose. 

Next week should be much quieter. We have had requests for visits to the little trains, and a trip on a Park and Ride bus. I think we can manage that!

You wait for weeks…

and two posts come along together.

It’s been a better day than I anticipated. I knew it was going to be complicated:

1. Get up early, eat breakfast.

2. Put on washing.

2. Follow husband to garage (in rush hour traffic) when he drops off other car for service.

2. Drive in opposite direction to second favourite supermarket for shopping.

3. Go to favourite gallery and coffee shop for coffee and cheese scones.

4. Come home, put shopping away, deal with washing, make lunch, deal with dirty dishes.

5. Think of something to do while waiting for car to be ready.

6. Drive husband to garage (in rush hour traffic) to pick up car.

7. Come home (in rush hour traffic.) 

8. Let husband deal with evening meal.

The problem with no. 5 was that I didn’t know how long the car was going to take, so it had to be something I could drop at short notice. However the problem solved itself – I went into the workroom to think what to do, and realised I needed to tidy the place before I could think straight. (I’d accumulated a lot of packaging from recent deliveries – good quality brown paper! good quality cardboard! big bubble wrap for the grands to jump on! – but I hadn’t had time to put it away. So I did.)

 And then I used some of it up in a book.

 In the middle of all this, over a cup of tea, I ordered rather a lot of yarn from Airedale Yarns, who now sell the lovely Wool City Wool I used to get from the late lamented Texere. Well, they’re offering free delivery during August, and I haven’t got much feltable wool left, so I had to, didn’t I?

 After that I decided it was probably a good idea to see just how much feltable knitting wool I actually have. So I sorted my stash into feltable wool, unfeltable yarn I might use with the feltable stuff, yarn which may or may not be feltable, the rest, and junk.

 Turns out I have rather more feltable wool than I thought. Oh dear.

 In my own defence, a lot of it is purple, and I don’t see myself as making purple vessels or hands any time soon – although I’m not sure what else I will make with it. You can only have so many purple shawls or scarves…

 I did, however, find a solution for the droopy red hand. With an empty knitting wool cone pushed up her skirt, she is standing up for herself at last. 

 So it turned out to be quite a productive day.





It has been twenty one days…

It has been twenty one days…

I realise, since my last post on this blog. I knew it was a while – but three  weeks?  I know I was watching Le Tour, but that didn’t take up all my time. Put it down to bikes, laziness, a 45th wedding anniversary (ours), laziness, transporting the grands to a daily dance workshop  – and did I mention laziness?

Some knitting was completed. There is the somewhat eccentric thing above, which was my attempt to knit a stand-alone hand with no openings. It sort of works. Will I make another one? Probably, (though not in that colour),  even though I am significantly underwhelmed by it. At the moment I  seem to be alternating  between vessels and hands. When I’m knitting a vessel, I think I should be knitting a hand. (More arty.) When I’m knitting a hand, I think I should be knitting a vessel. (More saleable. I hope.)

One thing I will not be making again is this.

I don’t think I need to say why. I may cut it up and see if I can make anything with the felt, but it’s such a liverish colour.

On the other hand, this is definitely repeatable. I’m a bit unsure about the rim, but the rest of it is just as I wanted it to be.

It’s just a pity I didn’t notice that the window frame needed cleaning before I took the photo. I could go and clean it and retake the photo but – laziness.

The laziness will be continued next week, because we have a week off from grandparenting. I hope to catch up with Este MacLeod’s class and Making Something Every Day, because the week after that one grand has another dance workshop and we have little brother all week. I see a lot of trains and tractors in my future – and, of course, since it’s nearly Olympic time, more cycling.

It has been a brilliant week…

for fans of British cycling. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not altogether surprised, given the acres of newsprint expended on sports in which we lose, as compared with those in which we win. Five stage wins in eight days,and three of the four jerseys held by Brits. (Assuming Cav hasn’t been eliminated for turning up late at the finish.)

This of course has meant that if I can’t do something while sitting in front of the telly, it’s probably not going to get done. And as I pointed out in the last post, I have set myself up with a lot of activities which I now have much less time for. We woke up early this morning, so I had time to get up to date with Creative Leap and ICAD, which I’ve managed. Sort of.

 Creative Leap faces and fish.

Looking at these, the scanner needs a wipe over. Housework? No time for housework!

I had a bit of time to fill before my afternoon adrenalin rush. Perhaps I could fit in a MSED prompt? Mmm – the next one was to make something with yarn or thread. But what? When you’ve tried almost all thready/yarny activities, what to do when you want to try something different? 

I remembered that somewhere I had some instructions for making a yarn bracelet, and some tiny samples of rather nice alpaca yarn. Found the latter but not the former. But Google is my friend, and I found a picture of an interesting looking necklace – a multicoloured yarn tube on a cord. OK, it was felted but not knitted, but I could knit a tube and run a cord through it. And, I could work on it while watching todays’s stage.

This is how much i-cord you can knit in three hours of increasingly entertaining cycling.* Rather more than I’d expected. 

The current plan, when I’ve used up the remaining 1.5 samples, is to darn in the yarn ends, tie the tube ends together, and see how many times it will go round my neck. It’s made a nice change from the boring oversized pixie hat I am officially working on. **

It was inspired by wooden sculptures by someone whose name I have forgotten. Imagine person- sized pencils with shiny, mottled surfaces.  (That’s the sculpture, not the sculptor. I don’t know what he looks like.) Wensleydale liked them more than I did, but I did think it would be interesting to knit one. (The result may be interesting, the knitting is not.)

* This will not be felted. Probably.

* * This will definitely be felted. But it will not be person-sized. It will be exactly as big as that remaining ball of wool will let it be. Just like the i-cord necklace.

Making something every day – or three things over a month or so.

Making something every day – or three things over a month or so.

(Warning. Contains a photograph which may upset those of a sensitive disposition.) (It’s the third one below, in case you want to scroll down now  avoid it.)

The  photo above is of my response to the ‘MSED’ prompt to make something under water. I didn’t quite manage that, but it was quite wet. I was going to add bases, but the stitching needed to attach them looked clumsy, so they are baseless. Trouble is, I think there should be three of them…

Another prompt was to make something old new again – which felt a bit beyond my capabilities, I’m not into furniture restoration, although I do have some that needs it. In the end I carried out a long postponed repair on a (moth?) damaged shawl I live in at home in the winter – er  – when it’s cold – er – all the year round. However ‘making it look new again’ would have involved reknitting about half of it, so I settled for darning the holes and crocheting up the damaged edge. And because I didn’t have any of the original wool left, it had to be different – but as I may have said before, I like the concept of visible repairs which become part of the story of the object. 

So it doesn’t really look new again, but its life has been extended.

The third prompt was to make something with junk mail. Well that was a no-brainer.

My resolution to try not to do the obvious went out of the window, especially in view of the card I’ve used for the cover.and I made a junk mail book. In my own defence, this junk mail was painted with emulsion and Brusho, not gesso and watercolour, and it has a more elaborate binding. So it’s not identical to what I’ve made before. Just pretty similar. 

Long time readers of this blog will know that this is the (only) time of year when I spend 3 weeks glued to afternoon television. No, not tennis. And, no, definitely not football. (Is there an emoji for a shudder?) I was going to write that this sport doesn’t involve balls but…

Yes, that’s the photo. OK, these gentlemen are track cyclists, but you get the picture.

Yes, Wensleydale and I are glued to the TV watching the Tour de France. (Go Cav!) which can take up hours every day and cut down creative time. Even knitting gets put on hold when an exciting bit of racing coincides with a complex bit of pattern.

Now, in addition to ‘Making Something Every Day’ (or week) I also committed myself to doing ICAD again this year. So that’s two daily commitments for at least the next three weeks.

So of course I had to sign up for something else as well – Este MacLeod’s  ‘Creative Leap’, which I’d read a good review of on someone’s blog. We’re up to C (it’s alphabetical), I’m already behind, and I’ve just realised I’ve got the wrong sort of carbon paper for today’s activity. But I’m enjoying it, even if I’m destined to get even further behind.

So here are some Creative Leaping bugs.

Wonder if dressmaker’s Carbon will work? – I’ve got plenty of that I’ll never use for dress making.
P.S. It did. So if you are, like me, an ex-dressmaker, left over carbon paper works very well for monoprinting. Even when it’s very, very, very old. Check out the price…

A Bad Week

The entire country has been infected with a mystery disease. Half the population think it is worth while giving ourselves this disease, as it will cure another one they think we have, despite having no idea what the effects of the mystery disease will be. The rest of us think the mystery disease is likely to have life changing effects, even if it isn’t terminal, and dread the consequences.

The person responsible for exposing us all has washed his hands of it all, and we’re left in the hands of a group of lying buffoons who, despite having encouraged us to expose ourselves to the illness, seem to have made no plans on how to deal with it.

And meantime, those who chose to get us all infected, and who, in practice, are more likely to suffer from the consequences, are telling the rest us to suck it up and stop moaning. Which I, for one, find very irritating.

I think we may have been cursed by the Chinese (‘may you live in interesting times’) – who are, of course, most likely to profit from all this. Wait till we are economically at death’s door, and then buy up the country.

So, to more positive things.


A completed embroidery of 4 red circles.There are 4 there – see the back for proof – but they are well camouflaged. The background is basketweave tent stitch, the circles are in conventional tent stitch, half cross, basketweave worked in the opposite direction to the background, and a thicker thread, which in real life is more visible than it seems in the photo.

I have ideas for following this up, but no time…




I have four finished felted samples – but only one photo, because two of them are boring, and the third photo came out blurry. I’ll try to remember to have another go before I post again.



This one is blue cotton tucks of various sizes on a white wool background, and white wool tucks on a blue cotton background. The cotton came from a charity shop, and as it is packed in ounce balls, must be (please wait while I Google) at least 40 years old.

(Interesting Google article on metrication – did you know that the only countries which don’t use the metric system are the US, Liberia and Burma? And that before metrication we had over 40 sizes of ‘threaded fastenings ‘ [nuts and bolts to you and me] which were replaced by just 7 metric sizes?)

But I digress.


So here are two ‘Make Something Every Day’ (MSED – I’m getting bored typing all that) prompts: make something under water, and make something with staples – somewhat freely interpreted.

The bottles have been wrapped in something called forming felt,  which I bought ages ago for no reason that I can remember. You can shape it by damping it and forming it over a mould, but I soaked it in a bucket for the underwater bit. Then I wrapped it round a couple of bottles, and dipped them in Brusho, so the bottoms were underwater – well, underBrusho. When the colour had soaked in, I turned them upside down for the trickle down effect. When it’s all dried (24 hours and counting) I shall make bases from the flat bits and add some stitch.

The unexciting index card serves 4 purposes in one – two prompts and two of my current obsessions. There’s the MSED prompt to use staples, and one of this weeks ICAD prompts, ‘magenta’. The obsessions are tone on tone, and circles – the shapes are (very) vaguely circular. I’m practicing economy for the future, as I think I may need it.

Bits and Bobs

Some finished bits:


a  scarf, which just needs washing and blocking to be ready for next winter;










imageby special request, two purses;








and, not by special request, two junk mail books, using techniques from an on-line course of Carla Sonheim’s: the bookbinding method I used is slightly different to hers but the basic technique is the same. the result is interesting to draw in.



And some unfinished bobs:



six gravel bags – like sandbags, but with gravel. (So far, minus gravel.) No, we are not expecting floods – we live on top of a hill. They are a more professional (I hope) way to weigh down the larger gloves, which may be going on a trip to the seaside next month.





the second glove in my new mini glove series. It is scarlet, not orange: for some reason anything I photograph on the carpet comes out the wrong colour – as does the carpet, which is blue, not grey:







imageand a work in very slow progress, because I can only face it in good light. It’s an exercise in breaking the rules of canvas work: four ‘circles’ on a red background. Yes, there are four. Not sure its going anywhere but the psychologist in me likes the idea of making things which explore just-noticeable differences.

Plus I have another sample to prepare for felting, and lots of ideas for other samples. All good things to do while watching cycling on the TV.