Currently…

Currently…

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.

Making: 


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.

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!

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…