Listening to: wind and rain. But fortunately we have no snow: commiserations if you have been less lucky. (The VHC would welcome snow, which he has never seen, but I’m a tad older, and the novelty has worn off.)

Reading: back to Terry Pratchett.

Watching: about an hour ago a fine dog fox crossed our back garden He was too quick for a photograph, unfortunately.

Making: I’ve completed one and a half socks. I’ve been doing a lot of embroidery this week, so the sock has had little attention. I picked it up again while watching ‘Witnesses: a Frozen Death’, but turning a heel then knitting a diagonal rib while reading subtitles tends to lead to errors. Fortunately there were a lot of silences.

The knitted hat is probably going to be frogged. I found this on Ravelry, and I know someone who would probably like a hat with horses on it, but I need at least one more colour. I am not going anywhere near the town centre till Christmas is over, (my dear, the noise, the people) so it will not be a Christmas present.

I gave up on the thermogauze French knots sample, which went very peculiar when I zapped it. So it and the rest of the thermogauze has gone in the bin. In its stead, and inspired by Anne Brandon Jones and Sharon Boggon, I have started a band sampler. Sharon’s was, the last time I checked, nearly 30 metres long. Mine is about 30cm, but it’s growing. I started by working Stitches from Brandon Jones ‘Simple Stitch Patterns for Embroidery’, but of course I have added my own ideas.

None of this is very original, but my creative mojo is hiding, and I doubt it will reappear until all the family trouble is resolved. But as I have to do something with my hands, simple embroidery is not too demanding, and the short rows of a sampler mean that I don’t get bored.

Feeling: The troublesome family member has gone quiet recently, and I think we are nearing the end of the legal process. However we had some rather depressing news on another front this week. Nothing life threatening, but it has meant we have had to do some rethinking. We are on to plan B now, which, as always at Cheese Acres, is preparing for Plan C.

Anticipating: another busy week, but it culminates in a visit to the panto with the grands. Should be fun!



Listening to: the Early Music show on Radio 3. It’s the Tallis Scholars. No more to say, really.
Rereading: still Terry Pratchett, though for some reason I’m finding The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents hard going.
Watching: not a lot, as usual.
Making: our Stitch a Tree trees are up on the wall of the Discovery Centre: the VHC’S work is the header image.

I finished my scarf, but forgot to photograph it. In search of something else to do,  I found 5 well-aged hanks of Colinette Tagliatelle in my stash, but then realised that the waistcoat pattern I had lined up for it was for a thinner knitting ribbon. There was nothing suitable on Ravelry, even for ready money, but my friendly local knitting designer sketched me a modular plan in her notebook, and I’m winging it. So far, so good, although I keep making a mess of the modules. It’s not really my usual colours, but I love the combination. Colinette is sadly missed.

After a fallow period with the stitch samples, I’ve been on a bit of a roll with couching. My new favourite stitch dictionary, Anne Butler’s Encyclopaedia of Embroidery Stitches, has at least 30 different versions, and I’ve thought of around 20 different things to couch down, so I have quite a lot of ideas.
Feeling: unsettled. Half term was good but disruptive of our routine, then Babybel was quite ill last week, which means we haven’t got back into the usual term-time pattern yet. But we seem to be moving forward in the matter of the disruptive family member: the first area of dispute has been settled out of court, albeit at the last minute. Now on to round two.
Anticipating: light at the end of the tunnel.



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: ‘Floodplain’ by the Chronos Quartet.

Re-reading: ‘Extra Virgin’ by Annie Hawes. Good escapist stuff, almost literally. I’ve been meaning to reread it for ages, so grabbed it on my way out to a trip with the kids where I knew I could sit, read and drink coffee while they created havoc played. 

Watching: The Vuelta, and Inspector Montalbano. Odd how fiction about murder can also be escapist – and how I tolerate it even though it’s so sexist.

Making: the modular scarf is finished. Thank goodness. I started the last motif 5 times before I got it right. And then there were the 90+ ends to darn in: 2 per motif, 45 motifs… Now it just needs blocking. Unfortunately Amazon decided that my new blocking mats were ‘undeliverable’ so it’ll be a while before it gets done.

Long live the scarf: a big, linen stitch scarf to use up a mixed bunch of hand painted wool which doesn’t really go together, but might if it’s mixed up enough. I needed something mindless to knit while watching TV: linen stitch turns out to be not quite mindless enough for reading subtitles, at least until my fingers learn the pattern. I have made a couple of mistakes, but I am not pulling back 5 rows and casting on 400 stitches again, just because of minor errors in the second row.

Still sampling – here’s more running stitch. Yes, those are tile spacers. Yes, I’m strange, though not original. 

I came across a great quote about sampling from Nigel Hurlestone in ‘Machine Stitch Perspectives’: ‘if the first one is a bit boring, by sample 10 you are getting a bit confident. And by sample 25 you have actually broken some type of new ground. Then you worry less about limitations, you get caught up in possibilities’. He also comments on the way that books about machine embroidery focus on ‘the way to the perfect outcome‘ and on product rather than ‘opportunities for surface making’. I suspect if I’d been taught machine embroidery by Hurlestone I might feel more positive about it than I do. Perhaps when (if?) I finished the hand embroidery samples, there might be time for some machine experiments.

Feeling: better. The sun is shining, we have a week off from the kids (I love them to bits but they’re hard work!) and there have been no nastygrams for a couple of days. What could be better? Well, quite a lot, but always look on the bright side of life.

Anticipating: the rest of a quiet week.



Listening to: Robin Huw Bowen

Reading: still The Painted Kiss, by Elizabeth Hickey. I remembered after I’d posted last week that the dress in Klimt’s portrait of her is what inspired the best things I made when I was doing City and Guilds, the two cushions above.

Watching: the only thing we watched all week was CBeebies – or rather, we watched the VHC watching it, sitting on the floor, straight backed, with his legs crossed as if he was in school. He loves the factual programmes. 

Making: still plugging on with the modular scarf. Still making mistakes.

Still sampling – here’s some running stitch. Sorry about the slightly blurry photo.

Feeling: much as usual, just more tired, as we had the little guys all week. (I’m going to have to find something else to call them as Babybel is now only half a head shorter than me.)

Anticipating: the Vuelta which starts tonight. Well, it started this afternoon, but it’s on TV tonight.


Listening to: Thomas Bloch playing the Ondes Martenot, described as the eeriest instrument ever invented. Yes, we’re weird. More information here.

Reading: still the The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain’, but I’ve finished ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ by Ann Tyler. An excellent novel, as Tyler’s usually are. It had an unusual structure, going backwards and forwards in time, which worked better than you might have thought.

Watching: the Ride London women’s race this evening, the men’s tomorrow. Then there’s a lull until the Vuelta.

Making: ICAD officially finishes on Monday, though I’ve jumped the gun and completed all my cards.

 Still pottering on with Year of Stitches and socks.

Feeling: a bit miffed because we completely forgot about our 46th wedding anniversary during the week – but we were grandparenting and that tends to take all our concentration and energy. We’ll try to find time for a belated celebration next week.

Anticipating: some better weather, please.


Listening to: ‘Sunday Morning’ on Radio 3. The presenter, Jonathan Swain, has one of the best voices on radio, warm and relaxing. He often presents the insomniacs’ Radio 3 programmes, which I listen to, too often.

Reading: still plugging on with the The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain’, interspersed with ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ by Ann Tyler, for (sort of) light relief.

Watching: still the Tour, but today is the last day 😞😞😞😞😞

Making: I’ve decided that the current pair of socks are for me. Sorry, Wensleydale! 

Year of Stitches and ICAD both continue. I’ve also decided that when ICAD finishes at the end of the month, I must use the time I’ve managed to find to do it for drawing/designing – for example small designs for Year of Stitches. I often think things like this when I’m reading drawing or design books. It’s actually doing it that’s difficult…

Feeling: much the same. Overall, things are better with the difficult family member, just as long as no one mentions money. 

Anticipating: the last day of the Tour de France. We’ll have to find something else to do with our time – part from holiday grandparenting, that is. (Autocorrect just changed that to ‘grandpa renting’, which it is, in a way, except that we do it for love, not money.)