Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to the sound of Babybel’s iPad. I’ve just asked her what she’s watching. ‘Just stuff.’

Reading: a book that I’m going to be rude about, so I’m not going to name it. Like Gladys Michell’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ I picked it up in a charity shop, because it was set in Winchester. I found the plot of the Mitchell novel disappointing, but the picture it painted of post war Winchester was interesting, and accurate as far as I can tell. This anonymous novel, with a contemporary setting, has (so far) a better plot – but the factual errors make me think the author did her research, if any, via Google.  OK if you don’t know the place, irritating if you do.  So far I’ve kept reading, but may more errors and I’ll ditch it.

Watching: more of BBC 4’s Japanese series. I’ve rather gone off long distance travel, but I would like to go to Japan. 

Making: the Wally socks are finished, and I’ve started another pair. Thinking about a shawl next – although I’ve got too many shawls already.

The pulled thread year of stitches piece is also finished. Stitching on hessian is interesting but I don’t think I’d use it for pulled work again. To replace it I’ve started some Sue Stone inspired sampling, with the intention of actually using some of the sample ideas for a resolved piece in a week or two. I’m playing around with straight stitch in horizontal rows , and enjoying the graphicness, if there is such a word, of the results. 

ICAD continues. I’ve always finished, apart from the first year I did it, so I’m pretty confident I will do so this time.

Feeling: hot, full, tired and happy after an enjoyable Father’s Day barbecue, with three generations of The Cheese family in attendance. 

Anticipating: a good night’s sleep.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening to: granddaughter’s iPad – too quiet for me to be able to make out the words, just a tinny murmur in the distance.

Reading: A.S Byatt’s ‘The Virgin in the Garden’. I’m surprised that I haven’t read it before. 

Watching: the return of ‘Hinterland’. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted, immensely atmospheric. Aberystwyth never looked so good. Or so empty.

Making: more of the usual. The current Year of Stitches sampler is finished, another one is ready to go.

The SKO, which I thought was too big to felt well, came out better than I expected, but the knitting was biased so the shape is a little odd. 

Creative Sprint is over, so I have resumed 365: Make Something (nearly) Every Day. 

And I have assisted in the creation of an elephant and a pinch pot, and the planting of some potatoes. As you do.

His and hers potato bags. 

Feeling: quite down this morning but then the sun came out so I cheered up.

Anticipating: a busy week. It’s the first complete week of the new routine so we will be finding out whether it works. 

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to Radio 3. Again. And the rain. Again.
Reading: I’ve just finished ‘Death and the Maiden’ by Gladys Mitchell. I bought it because it’s set in Winchester in the post war period: it has quite detailed descriptions of the city, which I found interesting. However the story is quite odd and, in the end, unsatisfying. 

Watching: Lucy Worsley’s ‘History’s Biggest Fibs’. We judge documentaries on whether we learn something new, and Ms Worsley seldom fails. Whether we remember what we’ve learned is a different matter, but that’s not her fault.


Making: I’m feeling more inspired by ‘1 year of stitches’ than by my knitting at the moment, so I’m cracking on with the former. The more I add, the more I like them. I’m still knitting, but it’s a pair of using-up-leftovers slipper socks, rather than an SKO. Well, they are SKO’s, but not in the artistic sense.


Feeling: tired, after this week’s couple of sleepovers. The kids were great, but I don’t have the energy I used to have. Still, we had a very enjoyable morning at the ‘little trains’, despite the rain.

Anticipating: a more relaxed week next week.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to the service of nine lessons and carols on – for a change – Radio 4. Beautiful. 

Reading: another Tana French – ‘Cold Harbour’. 

Watching: looking forward to Alan Bennett tonight.


Making: still knitting, still embroidering. The embroidery makes haste slowly, but I have finished three SKO’s (strange knitted objects) – the bobbled one, which was intentional, and the oversized woolly hat, which was an experiment in knitting something flat with a rim rather than something upright without. The small rag-like thing is another experiment/way of using up the remains of the wool – what happens if I knit wool/cotton stripes and shrink it? We shall see when they come out of the washing machine. 

Feeling: to be honest, a bit bored. After whinging about how we needed a break, I’m ashamed of myself!

Anticipating: seeing the little guys (and their mum and dad) again on Boxing Day.

And a Happy Christmas to all my readers.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to Radio 3’s ‘Christmas around Europe’ – at the moment it’s the Estonian National Men’s Chorus. I always enjoy these international days on radio 3. Earlier we had a vintage edition of Choral Evensong from Cape Town. Fascinating music, and  an address by Desmond Tutu. The recording is 11 years old, but what he had to say (basically, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’) was still all too apposite.

Re-reading: ‘Cod’ by Mark Kurlansky. Who would think that a 300+page book about a fish could be so interesting?
Watching: not a lot. The Christmas schedules seem to consist of programmes I’m not interested in, repeats of programmes I’m not interested in, and repeats of repeats of programmes I was once interested in, but not the third (or more) time around.

Making: I’ve finished the bobbles, but the result (Thing One below), has been sitting limply in my work basket for days waiting for me to find the energy to finish off all those ends. I reckon there are 332 of them. (This is not an exaggeration.)

Feeling: glad the bulk of the grandparenting is over. We have two non-school days next week, but after that mummy and daddy take over for a while.

Anticipating: 10 child free days. I love them to bits, but I need a break!


I’m still in touch with the muse, I’m glad to say. The bobbles have been replaced by another vessel – Thing Two above. I’ve finished the base, and I’m trying to decide what to do with the sides, given that there isn’t much wool left. It has vestigial sides at the moment, but they may be frogged so it can become a plate. And the undaily ‘drawing’ and embroidery have continued, plus having got into the habit during the 100 days project, I’ve been posting an undaily photo on Instagram. There is another sort of 100 days project starting up, but I don’t really understand the instructions, plus I prefer the lack of pressure of my own ‘undaily’ projects, so I may return to an intermittent ‘Make Something Every Day’ in the New Year.

I’m ambivalent…

about the end of the school holidays. (A feeling I never had when I was teaching. I’ll let you guess how I felt then.) It’s nice to get back into our usual routine but we had such a great summer with the grands, the usual routine may seem a bit boring. 

It does mean that I’ve been able to spend more time with textiles, though.

I’ve been knitting…


a more or less finished glove, which just needs to be hung up. (I’m getting experimental.)


and two less finished gloves which will also be hung up. I think. (They are the same colour, honest.)

But I have been a little distracted from gloves.

One of the prompts from ‘Make Something Every Once in a While’ was to make a mask. I was underwhelmed by the idea, but pulled out a bit of paper, Googled for an adult sized pattern, altered the pattern to make it more original, and made my mask.


Then, of course, I decided it was a bit boring. So I added some bling.

And then I decided to make some more masks. Which meant getting experimental. I fossicked about in the stash, and found several things I’d bought in the past for some purpose long forgotten. (Am I the only one who does this?)


All of these are works in progress. The one on the right is buckram. (I have an awful lot of buckram. I think I was once going to make lampshades.) Moulding it over a plastic mask was tricky and sticky, and I’m not quite sure what to do with it next.

Bottom left is forming felt, which was easier to mould, though that may have been because it’s not a full face mask. However, as I’ve worked on it, it has lost some shaping, so I may have to remould it when I’ve finished.

Top left is washable paper. It’s pretty boring, but as it’s hard to hand stitch into, I may have to machine embroider it ( not my favourite activity) or punch holes in it for some join-the-dots embroidery, as on this other sample.


Lots more experiments needed.

 You may have noticed that there hasn’t been any mention of junk mail books for a while. This is partly due to a shortage of junk mail (hurray!) and partly because after I’d painted the last lot, I left them in a hot conservatory and they stuck together. Normal service will be resumed as soon as I’ve accumulated another collection.

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!