Listening: to Choral Evensong on Radio 3.

Reading: I finished Iain M Banks’ The Player of Games last night – couldn’t go to bed till I had done so. I was surprised to realise that it was 30 years old. It hasn’t dated much, unlike Asimov’s Foundation series. The second time I read those, I found the sexism intensely irritating. Now I’ve moved on to Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling, which is as entertaining as all the other Bryson books I’ve read.

Watching: The Bridge. Of course.

Making: no cycling, and only one hour of subtitle reading, leads to less knitting, especially with a heel to turn.

Bet you’re bored with pictures of socks.

The same is true for samplers.

However, not sitting in front of the TV for several hours does encourage Creative Sprinting, and working in sketch books, although I’m not going to show you the outcome of that!

Feeling: hassled. The gas boiler saga continues. It started to make a strange noise, so the gas man came again. He fixed the strange noise – it was, as Wensleydale thought, the fan. But then he found a problem with the whatsit which regulates the gas supply. So he’s coming back on Thursday to fix that. Fortunately it is working, and the weather is warmer anyway. Plus, although we’ve put the house sale on the back burner for a while – house prices are apparently falling, so we’ve missed the peak anyway – we’ve decided to carry on with the Swedish death cleaning. And we’ve got some chairs we need to take for repairs. But I do want to get out for a trip, so it’s going to be a busy week.

Anticipating: that trip, down to Walford Mill, before the current exhibition closes. We’ve been intending to go for a while, but life kept getting in the way.




Listening: to the clock ticking

Reading: Iain M Banks’ The Player of Games. I thought I’d read all of Iain M and most of Iain Banks’ novels, plus the very excellent Raw Spirit, but apparently not.

Watching: Le Tour de Yorkshire. Of course.

Making: watching hours of cycling leads to lots of sock knitting. You can see how much progress has been made in the before and after sock photos above.

There’s been a fair amount of progress on the sampler too, although it gets put down when the coverage changes from something you can just listen to, to something you must watch.

I’m doing Creative Sprint again this month – hence this eclectic mixture of images. It always takes me out of my comfort zone.

Feeling: up and down. We are trying to decide what to do about selling the house – not so much second thoughts as maybe wait a while.

Anticipating: the last day of Le Tour. This afternoon it passes through the area we know best, so it will be more watching than listening. I anticipate finishing that sock.

Visiting: we went to Mottisfont to see the Womens’ Hour Craft Exhibition, which is excellent, although it did make me question the use of the word ‘craft’, (not for the first time). I gather from a conversation with one of the volunteers that it is not quite what some people had been expecting – not many of what a friend of mine calls ‘nice little pots’, though there were plenty of less conventional ceramics.



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: silence, before it is shattered by the return of the grands.

Reading: still Amy Tan’s ‘Valley of Amazement’. It’s been neglected in favour of other things which need less concentration.

Watching: le Tour de Yorkshire. Now there’s a surprise.


more circle sampling, 

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

Creative Sprinting.

I have also made a real SKO, which may be too big. We shall see when I shrink it. Before that it needs some embroidery. 

Feeling: up and down. Still not settled in our new routine.

Anticipating: going on the (vintage) buses on Bank Holiday Monday. The VHC is very excited about it. When I was his age, going in a car was the exciting thing: now that’s routine and it’s buses that are exciting. His dad will be with us so I’ll be let off going upstairs on the double deckers, thank goodness. My balance was never good, now my hips are arthritic it’s even harder getting up and down those stairs.


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.



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.



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.