Currently…

Listening to: Mahler 2 on Radio 3. 

Reading: Amy Tan’s ‘Valley of Amazement’. I’ve not got very far into it, but like other books of hers that I’ve read, it offers a view of a different world, which fascinates because it is so different to my own.

Watching: very little. It’s one of those times when there is little we want to watch in the schedules.

Making: the usual. Knitting sample circles, 


adding bits of stitch to the latest Year of Stitches sampler, 

and Creative Sprint. In this ’down time’ (because the little guys have been away and because I am feeling down) it has been Creative Sprint which has kept me going. It ends soon, but I hope it will motivate me to go back to Make Something (almost) Every Day.  

Feeling: see above. I’ll be better when the kids are back in school, although our routine will change and we’ll have to work out a new one. 

Anticipating: living in interesting times.

Currently…

Listening to: husband and son doing DIY upstairs. 

Reading: still Anita Shreve’s, ‘The Lives of Stella Bain’. An interesting book, a bit different to most of Shreve’s others. Watching: as predicted, the World Track Cycling Championship. Interesting to see new, young riders in action
Making: I still haven’t mounted the 4 small Year of Stitches pieces, though I’ve cut out a piece of buckram as an experimental mounting. Not sure it will work, but I have lots of buckram to use up. The new Year of Stitches piece is making slow progress, as we’ve had the grands here for sleepovers over the Easter holidays. 

The current knitting is a spiral with bobbles on it. I’m not a great fan of knitting bobbles, but there aren’t very many of them, and I’m interested in how they react to felting.

Today’s Creative Sprint prompt was to create something which either used a map or looked like a map. I made a map page accordion book with cut outs: I’m underwhelmed by it, but lacking in inspiration for anything else – or rather, anything else doable in the time frame, as I’d love to embroider one. Perhaps I can add that to the ever lengthening Year of Stitches list.

Feeling: very up and down, dealing with the fall out to the disruption we are experiencing in our lives. Curiously, immediately after it happened I slept much better than usual, but now I seem to be waking early and worrying, which is unusual for me. 

Anticipating: continued change for the foreseeable future.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening to: not a lot. 

Reading: Anita Shreve’s, ‘The Lives of Stella Bain’. Another charity shop purchase, because I always enjoy Shreve’s work, and this is no exception.

Watching: the World Track Cycling Championship, coming on Wednesday to a T.V. near you. Provided you are in the U.K.

Making: progress has slowed a little for various reasons, but I’m still knitting and embroidering. 

I’ve finished the 4 small Year of Stitches pieces above, just need to mount them now. I’ve started another piece, but so far it consists of a square of couching on a base of tapestry canvas, although I have coloured, Bondawebbed and stamped the canvas before starting the stitch. 

I’ve got on to the more complex patterns in ‘Knitting Circles’ now, which require more thought. It may seem odd to want to add a patterned base to an SKO when it will be hidden, but I like the idea of something which is hidden in plain sight. 

I’m still Creatively Sprinting, although I’m finding that I want to make more elaborate pieces than I really have time for. Yesterday’s prompt was ‘something sticky’: I decided to try a technique I’ve read about but never done. I layered cling film (well, it’s sort of sticky) with grated crayons, sequins, scraps of tissue paper and snippets of threads and ironed it. With too hot an iron initially. Then, when I’d rectified that, it told me it needed a focal point, so I added a free motion embroidered tree. Then it told me it wanted to be on a book cover, so I had to cover some heavy Lutradur with fabric and make a little sketchbook. After all that the house smells of melted crayons, I have a headache, and I’m a day behind with Creative Sprint. And the grands are on their way.


Now I’ve listed what I’ve done, I think perhaps progress hasn’t slowed much – it just feels as if it has.

Feeling: it’s been a bad week – something has happened which was anticipated but still sad, and which will mean major changes to our routine. So I’m feeling hopeful that it will all turn out all right in the end, but anxious about the short term. 

Anticipating: as a result, there will be no more ‘normal weeks’ for the foreseeable future. Just waiting to see what else fate has in store for us.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to Radio 3. Now there’s a surprise.

Reading: ‘Knitting’ by Anne Bartlett. It’s not a book about knitting, it’s a novel, perhaps best described as chick lit for those of us who are no longer chicks. I would probably not have bought it had I not found it in a charity shop, but I’m enjoying it.

Watching: looking forward to Philippa Perry’s documentary about the Surrealists. Oh, and Vera. Brenda Blethyn is 2 years older than me. Life is sometimes unfair.

Making: lots of stuff, despite many interruptions. I’ve finished my Year of Stitches sampler, and started – or restarted – a quartet I started earlier. More lettering, less decorative. You may detect a political theme.

I’m still knitting Nicky Epstein’s circles – unexciting, but helpful, as I’m learning what works and what doesn’t. 

I’m participating in ‘Creative Sprint’, which is like Make Something Every Day for people like me with no staying power – although I’m hoping it will get me back into that. Only two days so far, but today pushed me out of my comfort zone – a bit. I think that amulet needs a bit of gold wax, but I couldn’t find it.


And yesterday we had an unplanned visit from the grands, and I got creative scientific with them. I dug this out (bought for just such an emergency in the cheap book shop in Romsey, and very good) and we did some science. 


We found out what happened when we mixed baking powder, food colouring and vinegar. (No good photos, it was too exciting to let granny get near it.) 

 


We also explored surface tension,

and our experiment to investigate the growth of salt crystals is underway on a sunny windowsill. I love the way it looks.

Initially Babybel wasn’t interested, then she was just going to watch, and then she took charge, being the one who can read. 

Feeling: up and down. I’ve had what is best described as in intermittent cold all week – it came, went and came back again. It seems to have gone again, but has left me, as colds usually do these days, with an irritating niggly cough. 

Anticipating: just like last week, something approaching a ‘normal week’ – i.e. just child care, shopping, household stuff and playing with bits of string. It didn’t happen then, and it won’t happen this week either. There is no such animal as a normal week.

Currently..

Currently..

Listening: to Saturday Classics on – you guessed it – Radio 3. Lots of recordings by Toscanini, for a pleasantly old style afternoon.

Reading: ‘Practical Basketry Techniques’ by Stella Harding and Shane Waltener – because I’m converting the 7 metre iCord into a coiled pot – but slowly, because it’s hard on my arthritic hands.

Watching: not Scandi noir tonight, we’re a bit underwhelmed by this one. We’ve decided that 90 minutes of Paula Rego on BBC2 is more to our taste.

Making: still sampling and samplering. I’m working my way though Nicky Epstein’s ‘Knitting in Circles’, trying out different methods of making bases. Not very exciting to photograph, as they all look similar, apart from differences in the pattern of increases/decreases. And the green wool I’ve used for the borders shrinks more than the blue, so they curl up a bit.


The Year of Stitches sampler has made good progress – I think the end is in sight. I’m much happier with this one than the first. 


Less happy about this morning’s experiments with alcohol inks – one of those things I bought because they were fashionable and then didn’t quite know what to do with. I’d read somewhere that you can marble with them if you float them in water, so I tried it. And you can’t. (Well, I can’t. More skilful hands that mine may be able to.) I ended up with some yucky splodges on various bits of plastic, which began to flake off as they dried.  

I have used the inks successfully by smooshing them on plastic with bits of felt, but I wasn’t excited by the results, so I’ve added them to the long list of things which aren’t my cup of tea and put what’s left in the bin. 

Feeling: quite cheerful – which may be because the sun is shining.

Anticipating: something approaching a ‘normal week’ – i.e. just child care, shopping, household stuff and playing with bits of string. Bet it doesn’t happen

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: Late Junction on Radio 3, thanks to iPlayer.

Reading: I’ve just finished one of Lindsey Davis’s Falco novels, Last Act in Palmyra. Light and entertaining, which is what I need at the moment. And I can tell myself it’s educational because it’s set in Ancient Rome. (That reminds me that I meant to Google Roman water organs.)

Watching: the usual Scandi noir. 

Making: still my 21st century sampler. Better progress this week, although it’s been pretty hectic. One of those weeks when what I need in the evening is not embroidery, where I have to make choices, but knitting I don’t have to think about. If it’s the right sort of knitting.


This is this week’s knitting – before felting in the individual images, post felting top right.  This is the last cream sample, because I’ve finished the cone. Lots of inspiration in this one – two edge treatments from Nicky Epstein, some lettering courtesy of Google, arising from my ideas about samplers, and some cable ties. For some reason, presumably associated with the physics of washing machines, the yarn where the cable ties are stretched rather than shrank. But that just makes them even more dangly. And that top border, which looked nothing pre-felting, now looks very interesting.


I needn’t have worried about finding a use for the brown iCords – when the grands arrived they were immediately identified as snakes, adopted, given eyes and names, and taken off to their new homes.

The blue iCord was used to measure the size of our living room (while I was still knitting it). After I finished it we measured it – 14 metres – washed it, and measured it again – 7 metres. I think we can conclude that tapestry wool is not shrink-resistant. There was a move to adopt that too, but granny resisted it.  

Of course I started another iCord – see above about the need for mindless knitting. It’s the orange one above, in purl rather than stocking stitch, which gave it an organic feel. This was helped by the numerous ends, due to using precut lengths of Twilleys embroidery wool knotted together. I added a strand of a boucle-ish yarn (nylon I think, because of its reluctance to break), just to see what happened. And as I had a few lengths of the wool left over, I added branch iCords. Felted, the whole thing looks like a very long carrot, with flashes of yellow boucle amid the orangey wool.

Feeling: better than last week – encouraged by two good school reports for the grands. One was as expected, the other better than expected. The subject of the latter had been all prepared to counter the report on the grounds that it was all the teacher’s fault and therefore anything she said would be of little value. The ensuing internal struggle was amusing to watch.

Anticipating: a quieter Saturday than last week.