Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to ‘The Early Music Show’ on Radio 3.

Reading: not a lot. This has been a rotten week, for a number of reasons, and my brain can’t cope with anything more than simple knitting, playing Patience, and brooding.

Watching: still Hinterland. It matches my mood, and the visuals are amazing.

Making: still socks. I finished the first pair, which are somewhat eccentric, due to errors in knitting, and running out of one colour: they are fraternal rather than identical twins. I’ve finished my Stitch Every Day, Dawn Thorne inspired sample, and I hate it, which is no fault of Ms Thorne’s. Edited highlights above. 


 I also came to hate the orange book for Make Something Every Day so I took out the bit I liked best and binned the rest. Then, also for MSED, I made a very quick thing with nuts, and what was going to be a quick, hawthorn inspired thing with coffee stained paper, which turned into the best work I did all week. 

Feeling: very down. There’s a member of the family who seems determined to make things as difficult as possible, plus I have a cold. The little guys should be arriving soon, so I hope they can cheer me up.

Anticipating: hoping for the best, planning for the worst

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. 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.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: Late Junction on Radio 3, thanks to iPlayer.

Reading: I’ve just finished one of Lindsey Davis’s Falco novels, Last Act in Palmyra. Light and entertaining, which is what I need at the moment. And I can tell myself it’s educational because it’s set in Ancient Rome. (That reminds me that I meant to Google Roman water organs.)

Watching: the usual Scandi noir. 

Making: still my 21st century sampler. Better progress this week, although it’s been pretty hectic. One of those weeks when what I need in the evening is not embroidery, where I have to make choices, but knitting I don’t have to think about. If it’s the right sort of knitting.


This is this week’s knitting – before felting in the individual images, post felting top right.  This is the last cream sample, because I’ve finished the cone. Lots of inspiration in this one – two edge treatments from Nicky Epstein, some lettering courtesy of Google, arising from my ideas about samplers, and some cable ties. For some reason, presumably associated with the physics of washing machines, the yarn where the cable ties are stretched rather than shrank. But that just makes them even more dangly. And that top border, which looked nothing pre-felting, now looks very interesting.


I needn’t have worried about finding a use for the brown iCords – when the grands arrived they were immediately identified as snakes, adopted, given eyes and names, and taken off to their new homes.

The blue iCord was used to measure the size of our living room (while I was still knitting it). After I finished it we measured it – 14 metres – washed it, and measured it again – 7 metres. I think we can conclude that tapestry wool is not shrink-resistant. There was a move to adopt that too, but granny resisted it.  

Of course I started another iCord – see above about the need for mindless knitting. It’s the orange one above, in purl rather than stocking stitch, which gave it an organic feel. This was helped by the numerous ends, due to using precut lengths of Twilleys embroidery wool knotted together. I added a strand of a boucle-ish yarn (nylon I think, because of its reluctance to break), just to see what happened. And as I had a few lengths of the wool left over, I added branch iCords. Felted, the whole thing looks like a very long carrot, with flashes of yellow boucle amid the orangey wool.

Feeling: better than last week – encouraged by two good school reports for the grands. One was as expected, the other better than expected. The subject of the latter had been all prepared to counter the report on the grounds that it was all the teacher’s fault and therefore anything she said would be of little value. The ensuing internal struggle was amusing to watch.

Anticipating: a quieter Saturday than last week.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to Saturday Classics, presented by Chris Jarvis who has brought his CBeebies presenting style over to Radio 3. Unfortunately.

Reading: still ‘The Lighthouse Stevensons’ by Bella Bathurst. It’s not taking a long time because it’s heavy going, far from it, but because it’s been a busy and stressful week. 

Watching: Scandi-noir, though we also ventured into watching The Brokenwood Mysteries on Drama. Think Midsomer Murders, with a sharper script, plus a detective with a dash of Colombo , a vintage car, and idiosyncratic taste in music. Not great telly, but good if you want something that doesn’t need to be taken seriously.

Making: still my 21st century sampler, although there’s not been much progress due to the aforementioned busy week. We’ve had extra grandparenting and it’s not over yet – we have a sleepover tonight .

The current knitted sample has got no further than it had last week, although this one has been felted at last. Interesting how the polypropylene loops look, although I’m not sure it’s a look I want to use.

P
Some knitting has been done, although it is probably of even less use than the samples. While I was sorting through the printouts I’d accumulated, I came across instructions for a crocheted cord using left over floss. No idea why I kept it as I’m not a keen crocheter, but when I saw it I thought ‘Icord! Tapestry wool!’ Of which I have had rather a lot, mostly inherited, which was not going to be used for embroidery any time soon. So now I have a lot of I cord.


I have felted, baby’s nappy-coloured Icord – I started with the colours I liked least. The thicker one is Anchor, DMC and even some Penelope, the finer one Appletons. 


I have unfelted red Icord, which is now a scarf.

And I have about 12 metres (and growing) of blue-green Icord, which will be felted in due course.
Am I nuts? Undoubtedly. But it is such relaxing, mindless knitting, and it has used up a lot of tapestry wool. Of course, now I have a lot of Icord to use up. I’ve been re-reading Ruth Lee’s ‘Three Dimensional Textiles‘, which has given me some ideas. And, fortuitously, Wensleydale was throwing away some redundant cable, so I may wire it. I’m also thinking about coiling the longer one. Watch this space.
Feeling: very down. It’s been a stressful week, as well as busy. 

Anticipating: an evening of printing off colouring pictures, eating fish fingers and chips, reading stories, and wrestling children into bed. Followed by wine (white) and Scandi (noir) (ish).

 

Currently..

Currently..

Listening: to my Amazon playlist on random – currently George Dyson’s 3rd violin concerto. Dyson is a find from our Radio 3 listening: we liked it so much we bought the CD.

Reading: Still ‘The Lighthouse Stevensons’ by Bella Bathurst. It’s an interesting read, especially in its examination of how the combination of hard work, skill, and luck contributed to the rise of the Stevensons.

Watching: Scandi-noir returns tonight! 

Making: a new Year of Stitches piece. Still fairly open ended, but I’m playing around with a few ideas. The fabric is a bit of home dyeing which has been hanging around for years waiting for its purpose in life to become evident. I’ve chosen toning threads, because I’m interested in the ways stitch can appear and disappear on a similarly coloured background. And, after I had the idea of adding words, I’ve been thinking about samplers. Not the moralising Victorian samplers designed to bore little girls into compliance with endless cross stitch, more the 17thC ones used record stitch and pattern ideas. 

Typical of me to start something that’s just play and then overthink it… 

I’m sampling knitting too, you’ll be amazed to hear, although this one hasn’t got very far yet. 

Feeling: knackered. The ‘little spring tidying’ I mentioned last week has turned into a major clear out. I’m a hoarder of magazine tear sheets, course notes, stuff from the internet etc., but I’ve decided things have got out of hand, and most of it has to go. It’s been surprisingly easy to decide what I no longer have any interest in, and I reckon I’ve cut it down by half. But heaving ring binders around and throwing papers in the bin is surprisingly hard on the back.

Then I looked in my bead stash to find some for the embroidered sampler – and a lot of that has got to go too…

Anticipating: more destashing tomorrow.
.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to ‘Sound of Cinema’ on Radio 3. Not my favourite Radio 3 programme, since I have little interest in the cinema, but it’s OK.
Reading: I’ve just started ‘The Lighthouse Stevensons’ by Bella Bathurst. I find many biographies impenetrable – I get lost in the detail of who, where, what and when – but so far I’m managing to keep up with this one.Watching: not a lot. 

Making: I’ve decided that I will soldier on with the Year of Stitches piece to the end of the month, then start another one, which will be smaller and more preplanned. Picking colours at random, and plonking shapes down with no idea why, doesn’t work for me. 

In knitting I’m still sampling, though I have started some babysitting knitting – a shawl from Ravelry. It’s easier to grab and go on the way out – a ball of yarn, a circular needle and a 4 row pattern which is on the internet if I manage to forget it. Then knit till the yarn runs out and it’s bound to fit someone.


These are the completed samples – there are several ideas there for when I feel like making a resolved piece. I was surprised by how little the holes closed up in the holey one on the left. I’ve also been experimenting with decorative edge treatments from Nicky Epstein’s edging books. 

Feeling: more cheerful. My beloved cherry tree is in flower, which is the signal that spring is on its way. I’ve even been motivated to do a little spring tidying.

Anticipating: a quiet day tomorrow before our usual busy Monday.
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