Listening: to silence – and tinnitus.

Reading: I’ve just read GM Malliet’s Pagan Spring. I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of the series. I began to get irritated by it when I realised that, despite being set in some sort of West Country Midsomer, it was written in US English. And I prefer my modern detective fiction gritty rather than silly.

Watching: in lieu of Modus, we’ve been watching Rebecca Martinsson: Arctic Murders on More 4. Almost as far fetched as Modus, but the scenery is stunning.

Making: the cowl is making rapid progress, even though I have made it wider so I can pull it over my head if need be. Having worked with fine yarns for so long I’d forgotten how quickly Aran grows. I don’t think I’ll get it finished before this cold snap finishes though.

The sock wool I ordered has arrived. It’s every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped. Unfortunately, although I got the blue and grey for Wensleydale, he fancies the brighter colours as much as I do. A certain amount of negotiation may be necessary.

On the other hand, the sampler has more or less ground to a halt. As it says, flu has struck, and my ability to concentrate on embroidery when feverish is much worse than my ability to concentrate on knitting.

Feeling: like the curate’s egg. On the one hand, I’ve got flu, which means a lot of coughing and aching, but not much sleeping. On the other hand it looks as if, after nearly 12 months of bitter wrangling, the family legal problems may be all over bar the shouting (and there will still be a lot of shouting from the unhelpful family member, who is not one to give in gracefully). Final agreements have been signed and it should all be finalised next week.

Anticipating: tonight’s sleepover. The grands are usually pretty good when they’re here, but the VHC loves to be read to at bed time, and as grandad enjoys reading to him, it can get a bit protracted. Babybel will happily read to herself, but we have to check that when her light goes out, it stays out!




Listening: to silence.

Reading: I’ve just finished Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies, borrowed on line from the library. Every time I read one of his books I’m struck by the breadth of his knowledge – and I’m sure I miss a lot of the references. He’s sadly missed.

Watching: I gave up on Modus, although Wensleydale is persisting with it. We watched Britain at Low Tide, which was interesting, although I dislike the way documentaries these days set up 3 or 4 story lines, and then jump between them, in an attempt to keep you watching. It’s irritating and if it’s combined with speeded up clouds, or other clichés, I turn off.

Making: the socks are finished, all bar darning in the ends. In their place I’ve started a cowl – simple pattern stitches I can knit without looking, and no heels to turn. I have ordered some more sock wool, though.


The sample has made steady progress. For Beyond TAST I had to chooses a simple stitch and experiment with it, which is something I like doing. I chose fly stitch, just because I like it.

Feeling: tired. Partly because of the cough, which is getting better but very slowly, partly because half term was busy – enjoyable, but busy.

Anticipating: a quieter week next week. (How often have I said that?) But we have a sleepover on Saturday, and before that we have to move lots of stuff, which is on its way to be recycled, out of the kids’ bedrooms.



Listening: to Philip Glass’s Low Symphony.

Reading: The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. It’s interesting and different, but I’m not sure if I like it. But I shall persist.

Watching: Modus on BBC4. Not the best of the Scandinavian series we’ve watched, and confusing,£5 because a lot of it is in English! I find I have to tell my rather deaf ears that the language has switched, and tune them in to the English. Unfortunately there isn’t enough of it to turn a heel.

Making: slow progress on the blue socks. I managed to turn the heel before having to read subtitles. It will be the last sock for a while, as I’ve run out of sock wool. It’s a scarf next. Probably.

There’s been more progress on the sampler. I moved on in the colour exploration to red, probably my favourite colour. I used it for some ABJ (Anne Brandon Jones) experiments, and the moved on to Beyond TAST. Sharon’s instructions for this were to play around with a single stitch. I chose fly stitch, because it’s a nice simple stitch which I thought had possibilities. I certainly haven’t exhausted all of them, but I came across this Frank Zappa quote and had to add it. (The rest of it is ‘ work unless it’s open’.)

Feeling: still coughing. And tense, because the family problems are, with any luck, due to end this month. But, as someone said, the light at the end of the tunnel is probably a train.

Anticipating: it’s half term next week. It’s going to be busy. So far we have science, trains, a museum and the library on the list, all approved by the grands.



Listening to: Radio 3, the Early Music Show. Lovely Couperin.

Reading: I’ve just finished An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris. An excellent book which I strongly recommend, even if you, like me, have little interest in the Dreyfus affair. It reads like a thriller, and is hard to put down.

Watching: still A Stitch in Time on BBC 4. It’s the last one this week, on Marie Antoinette.

Making: still progressing on socks and samplers. After my pride last week at turning a heel successfully while watching Spiral, I looked at it carefully and realised it was perfectly done, just not in the centre of the sock. So I had to pull it back again. I managed to time the second sock so that I was casting on during last night’s episode, but despite that I only needed to do it twice, which is par for the course even when I’m not reading subtitles. I’m just hoping that there’s enough of the yarn left for a second sock.

I’ve finished the turquoise section of the sampler, so it’s back to red today. The spacing is off in some places on the turquoise section, but I haven’t corrected it, because it’s a sampler, part of its purpose is making mistakes, and I need to see them to avoid them in future. I do have some ideas about how to take some of this further, but at the moment I’m just content to potter with it and use up stash.

Feeling: the cold has been followed by a cough, kindly donated by Babybel. It sounds worse than it feels, but it does keep me awake at night.

Anticipating: a quiet week. We didn’t achieve it last week as number 2 son was ill and we had to take the children to school. Let’s hope we manage it this week.



Listening to: silence, and the clock.

Reading: I’ve just started An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris. So far it’s up to his usual high standard. It’s about the Dreyfus case, about which I know very little, so I’m hoping to learn more.

Watching: still A Stitch in Time on BBC 4. Every one I have seen so far would have benefitted from more time spent on both the history and the costuming. How about some slow TV of one of these amazing garments being made, BBC?

Making: steady progress on both socks and sampler. I finished the last pair last week after two hours of Spiral, and started another pair. Of course my timing was bad and I got to the heel of the first of these half way through last night’s episodes. Despite this, I don’t think I’ll need to unpick.

I’ve diverted from my red-purple sampling as I felt like a change – and the only colour that seemed to go with the rather dull canvas was turquoise. One thing I’m learning doing this colour study is how subtly the variations in what I think of as the ‘same’ colour are. I’ve got lots of turquoise thread, but in this greyed shade – not very many.

We had a visit from the VHC yesterday, preferring us to going shopping. He decided he wanted to do some embroidery. Naturally it was of a train. He drew round his model engine with a Frixion pen, (the smoke is freehand) and spent about half an hour sitting with me while we both sewed. He had to have a stitch dictionary like granny’s, and his hoop and threads had to go into my sewing basket ready for his next visit.

The fabric is really green, not yellow.

Feeling: I’ve recovered from the cold, but as usual I have a lingering cough. Family stuff, depressingly, goes on as usual. I came across another quote to go on the sampler which seems all too true: ‘the light at the end of the tunnel is a train’.

Anticipating: a busy week, in which the main excitement will be a trip to the recycling centre and the arrival of a skip. Downsizing is in full swing.



Listening to: the clock ticking. It’s actually battery driven, but has a pendulum and a tick. I know it’s ridiculous, but I do like the sound.

Reading: Embroidery and Design in the New Stitchery by Elizabeth Glasier Foster. Another of my bargains from the Oxfam online sale. I wonder how many early 20thC embroidery books there are that I haven’t found yet? I did a bit of Googling for Glasier Foster, and she seems to have an interesting background. I think she may have been the daughter of John Bruce Glasier, who was a friend of William Morris. That might explain the emphasis in the introduction (by Margaret McMillan) on the ‘love of beauty in colour and design’ and the denigration of ‘stereotyped, mass produced designs’. Looks like there are another 3 books in the series to find.

Watching: the very excellent A Stitch in Time on BBC 4. For those who haven’t seen them, they are about reconstructions of historical costume. Sewing and social history – what more could you ask for? But why are they only 30 minutes long? More, more, more!

Making: I’ve been preoccupied with embroidery, so the tigerish socks have stalled. I made the mistake of trying to turn the heel while reading subtitles, so I had to unpick it and do it again when I could concentrate. After that it languished in my basket till I had more French detectives to watch. Two hours, and most of the leg is done. I know the dark brown doesn’t match the tigerish bit, but I didn’t have enough tiger for a full pair. Wensleydale doesn’t mind and inside his Docs no-one will notice.

On the other hand, progress has been good on the band sampler. I’ve worked my way through all of Anne Brandon Jones’ first book, and moved on to Stitch Pattern Design for Embroidery. This uses a wider range of stitches, which is not a problem, but I’m struggling a bit with some of the instructions. So I make up my own version.

Feeling: I have a cold. Need I say more? At least it’s not flu. Yet.

Anticipating: TV watching, for once. More Stitches in Time and Andrew Graham Dixon. Twice!



Listening to: a time-shifted Late Junction on Radio 3. Always a good choice when the on-air programme isn’t to my liking.

Rereading: Chocolat, to remind myself what happened before the sequel. It’s still just as good as it was.

Watching: all sorts of good things on at the moment- drama, social history, art, food. If only there was some cycling it would be perfect.

Making: half way up the foot of the second tigerish sock.

The band sampler makes steady progress: I’ve nearly finished working through the first Anne Brandon Jones book. Book 2 introduces a wider range of stitches – the excitement may be too much for me.

Feeling: tired. We’ve committed to putting the house on the market at the end of next month, and before that we have to get rid of a lot of stuff. We’ve gone back to our 15 minutes a day decluttering, which was very effective when we did it some years ago. So there are several bags of clothes on their way to the clothes bank, lots of books have gone to a friend, some furniture and bric-à-brac are waiting to be collected by British Heart Foundation, and a cot and some bags of fabric are going or gone via Freecycle. And quite a lot of stuff in the bin. It feels good.

Anticipating: keeping up the good work next week!