Listening to: evensong on Radio 3. There was a fascinating programme on the BBC last week about the origins of evensong – which I have never thought about. I rate documentaries on how much I learn (and how few speeded up clouds, or dodgy dramatisations there are) and this scored highly on all counts. Plus lovely music!
Rereading: back to Terry Pratchett – ‘Reaperman’ this time. 

Watching: the BBC’s Reformation season has been very good so far: I’m hoping that the remaining programmes are as good.

Making: I’ve started another scarf, which is not as bright as it appears in the photo. Judging by the amount of wool I’ve got left it’s not going to be a very big one.

Then there are more couching samples and my final tree. If the VHC finishes his, we’ll drop them off at the Discovery Centre this week. He enjoys embroidery, but he was so busy telling me that he is going to be a world famous embroiderer when he grows up, that not much actual embroidery got done.

Feeling: stressed. 

Anticipating: half term. We haven’t managed to pin the grands down as to what they actually want to do, but they’ll undoubtedly think of something.



Listening: to Radio 3 on ‘earworms’. I may come to regret this.

Reading: taking a break from Terry Pratchett (only another 55 books to go from the library e-book stock). I’ve switched to Lindsey Davis temporarily.

Watching: looking forward to the next episode of Lucy Worsley’s programmes on opera. I’m not a fan of opera, but this programme put it in a social context, which made it more interesting. Still not sure I could sit through one, though.

Making: I decided that I would cast off the shawl after the next repeat, but now I’ve got to that point, I’m procrastinating. The fact that there are nearly 300 stitches may have something to do with it.

I’ve finished the running stitch samples for now. The fringed one, on rug canvas, prompted some 3D experiments. No photos yet, I’m not sure they are ready for publication. 

The next lot of samples are couching, one of my favourite techniques, because you can experiment with all sorts of odd threads.

Feeling: so-so. We had an enjoyable outing last week, which cheered me up. We went to the ‘Radical Craft’ exhibition at Walford Mill, which was interesting and inspirational, had a pleasant lunch, then on to Kingston Lacy for an installation called ‘Exile’, and, of course, tea and cake.

Since then I’ve been sleeping badly and brooding about family problems. 

Anticipating: going to see the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at Mottisfont. We got as far as the cafe a couple of weeks ago before being called away for a family problem. Better luck next time, we hope.



Listening to: ‘Fleshmarket Close’, an adaptation of the Ian Rankin novel, on Radio 4. It’s much lower key than the TV versions have been, not that that’s a bad thing, but some of the performances are a bit iffy. 

Rereading: lots of Terry Pratchett, having discovered that I can borrow ebooks from my local library. I need cheering up, so who better than Pratchett?

Watching: not a lot.

Making: still on the shawl.  I decided this morning to read the end of the pattern, to find out how to finish it. (When all else fails, read the instructions.) It says to knit until there are 226 stitches, after a garter stitch stripe, then cast off. The problem with that is that, although when I started it I counted carefully after every pattern section, after a while I forgot. When I finally remembered, the count was out, but I couldn’t be bothered frogging back. So have I got too many stitches, or too few? 

I could knit on until the yarn runs out, but the ball doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller, so it might end up enormous. Perhaps the best idea is to knit on till I’m bored? 

I’ve made another tree for the ‘Stitch a Tree Project’, and finished more running stitch samples. Not much to show for a week’s work, really.

Feeling: better than yesterday, which started OK and went downhill rapidly. We had a pleasant visit from two family members, and cheered ourselves up by having a good laugh at unpleasant family member’s (UFM) latest emails. (I knew the silence was too good to last.)

Anticipating: a better week. Please!


Listening to: Choral Evensong on Radio 3. It’s from Manchester Cathedral where several of my 19thC ancestors were baptised or married. If that sounds like I come from a posh background, it’s actually the complete opposite – I’m told that it was the cheapest way, as the Cathedral offered mass weddings and baptisms. 

Reading: Ian Rankin’s ‘Rather Be The Devil’. It’s Rebus – what more is there to say?

Watching: an excellent programme last night on BBC2 about WH Auden. Somewhat unexpected for a Saturday night, but even more welcome because of that.

Making: another shawl, I think I bought this yarn about 20 years ago at an exhibition at Sandown. I wouldn’t buy it now, because it’s acrylic and I’ve turned into a yarn snob, but I like the colours.

It’s been a shitty week, so I’ve done more knitting than embroidery. (I find knitting more soothing.) I finished last week’s tree for the ‘Stitch a Tree Project’, and made 1.25 kantha stitch samples using some hand dyed silk from the scrap box, all running or straight stitch.

Feeling: don’t ask. More irrational outpourings, upset family members, and poor sleep. 

Anticipating: things can only get better. Can’t they?



Listening to: a time shifted ‘Late Junction’ on iPlayer – the usual combination of interesting, eclectic, and sometimes downright bizarre music. And if there’s something that isn’t to my taste, something better will be along soon.

Reading: still ‘A Handful of Honey’ by Annie Hawes. Although it is not ostensibly a political book, I’m learning a lot about the politics of North Africa – as they were 8 years ago. I am shamefully ignorant, and need to research to find out more.

Watching: I’ve just watched the women’s World Championship road race, which was exciting, and had a worthy winner in Chantal Blaak.  The relentless march  of Dutch victories continues.

Making: the bouclé cowl is finished. Please overlook the mistakes. Bouclé is a bugger to knit at the best of times, and difficult to unknit. Black bouclé is even worse. Add aging eyes and stress and mistakes are to be expected, which I couldn’t face unpicking. Hopefully the worst will be hidden when it’s scrunched up round my neck.

I have varied the Year of Stitches a bit: same stitches but different fabrics, different sizes, and a new purpose. 

I’d finished off a brayer-load of paint on this bit of the boring evenweave, so I added some organza ribbon and some running stitch to that. 

The image at the top of this post is of  an experimental sample from (I think) the Foundation Degree: hot glue on hand dye, with a rub of Treasure Wax. It looked like it needed some appliqué and running stitch as well, so that’s what it got. 

And then I came across the ‘Stitch a Tree Project‘, and given the purpose (supporting refugees), and the local connections, I had to participate. So I’ve started a tree. I’ve used running and straight stitches, so it fits in with my sampling. I was thinking about the strength and resilience refugees must need, and tried to show the strength and resilience of a wind blown tree, but I’ve failed dismally, so I think I’ll have to make another one, when I’ve finished this.

Feeling: generally better. Things are making slow but steady progress, and all we can do is hope for the best. 

Anticipating: the men’s road race tomorrow. After that – who knows?


Listening to: ‘Private Passions’ on Radio 3. Not a programme I usually enjoy, but Chris Hadfield is more entertaining than many contributors.

Reading: ‘A Handful of Honey’ by Annie Hawes. Having reread and enjoyed ‘Extra Virgin’ I lashed out on two more of her books. (We already had ‘Ripe for the Picking’ but I’ve put it in a in a safe place and now I can’t find it.) This one starts, rather surprisingly, with Annie imprisoned by the Salazar regime in Portugal, but is moving on to North Africa via Spain.

Watching: not a lot. We tried ‘Black Lake’ last night: I was underwhelmed, but Wensleydale found it suitable to fall asleep in front of.

Making: the linen stitch scarf is finished. My cast off is a bit wavy, but I can’t be bothered to pull it back, so I’m hoping blocking will help. The fringe also needs trimming.

I’ve started a cowl with some bouclé from my stash. It’s a bugger to knit, and to count rows, but I will soldier on.

(If you think I am making rather a lot of neckwear at the moment, it is because I am working my way through the smaller quantities of yarn in my stash, and at Christmas the products can probably be passed on to some more or less willing recipients.) (Sorry to mention the C word, but there’s stuff in the shops already.)

My Year of Stitches embroidery is still running. It’s not really this yellow, it’s not a good light for photography today.

I’ve got a bit bored with the evenweave fabric I’ve been using – it’s difficult to work on if you want irregular stitches – so I’m going to put it on one side for a while and try something different for a base fabric. 

Feeling: still up and down. The unhelpful relative has gone awfully quiet, which is worrying, but may be due to their solicitor pointing out that sending 100s of nastygrams (literally!) s probably not a good idea. We have a date for the first court hearing, at the end of October, which is scary, but unfortunately the only solution we can see to extreme  and completely irrational unhelpfulness.

Anticipating: just the cycling World Championships next week. And no improvement in the cold, wet and windy weather.


Listening to: ‘The Early Music Show’ on Radio 3.

Reading: ‘Farthing’ by Jo Walton. It’s a detective story, set in an alternative reality, where the UK made peace with Germany after Dunkirk. Different, and unsettling, especially in an era where the extreme right appears to be resurgent. 

Watching: The Vuelta, and Inspector Montalbano on iPlayer. Just like last week, and the week before. It’s the last day of the Vuelta, which has been very exciting this year.

Making: the Year of Stitches stitch is still running. The sample on the left above is a leaf print with some almost invisible kantha-ish stitching, that on the right is of various appliquéd materials, including bubble wrap. There seems to be a trend for stitching on bubble wrap at the moment. I don’t know if you are meant to do it without bursting the bubbles, if you are I failed.

 The linen stitch scarf is progressing slowly, as linen stitch doesn’t grow quickly. The pattern, I realise, doesn’t tell you how many rows to knit, so it may be finished soon, or it may not.

Feeling: up and down. The unhelpful relative isn’t giving up without a fight. 

Anticipating: not much. No proms any more, no cycling for a while, it’s cold, wet and windy, and the weather seems set in for a while. I never did like September.