Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to silence masked by tinnitus.

Reading: ‘Belshazzar’s Daughter’ by Barbara Nader. I’m always attracted by books set abroad, – this one is set in Turkey. I’m enjoying it, despite some blood and gore at the beginning, and the unpleasantness of all the characters, although the protagonist is growing on me.

Watching: still BBC 4’s Japanese series. I’m learning a lot about what is clearly a fascinating country.

Making: I abandoned the socks when I realised I didn’t have enough wool, and started a modular shawl. It’s rather more complex than the sock pattern, and this has been such a stressful week, I’ve made lots of mistakes. But as it’s modular, I never have to pull back more than a maximum 50 stitches and 30 rows.

The Sue Stone inspired sampling has been enjoyable and inspiring: it’s surprising how many variations of simple straight stitch I can think up. I’ve been thinking about how I can use them in a resolved piece – the problem is that such graphic stitching seems unlikely to work well on organic shapes. I’ve got a couple of ideas, but I need to get them down on paper.

I’ve finished another week of ICAD, despite not feeling very inspired. 

Feeling: stressed and down. The unhelpful family member has been causing trouble again. But…

Anticipating: the Tour de France starts on July 1st. That might cheer me up – provided the right men ride and do well!

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…

Listening: to silence – overlaid, as usual, by tinnitus.

Reading: I’ve just finished ‘The Japanese Lover’ by Isabel Allende. I’ve never read any of her books before, but I shall be reading more.

Watching: looking forward to James Fox on Japan. I was about to write that I have a thing for all the male art historians on TV but then I remembered one I can’t stand. (The women are good too, but not in the same way.)

Making: the ‘Where’s Wally’ socks are making good progress. I’m using a few balls of charity shop 3ply – Emu Scotch and Patons Beehive. No idea how old it is but the balls are labelled in ounces. Despite its age, it seems in good nick – no evidence of moths.


The Year of Stitches pulled thread piece is making progress. You will be looking at it for a long time before you think of hawthorn blossom, but that’s where the idea came from. Or maybe it’s that I just like circles?

These are the latest ICAD pieces. I realise some of them need more work, but I’m resisting the temptation to add it, as I think it’s more of a learning experience if I don’t. When I look back at them I’ll be reminded that I stopped too soon.

Feeling: tired. This is partly the effect of staying up later than I had intended on Thursday night/Friday morning – I find the day after the day after a bad night is always worse than the day after, if that makes any sense. It’s also because I spent the afternoon packing up the glassware we never use, to go to the charity shop next week, and now I’m knackered, as there was rather a lot of it. All part of preparation for down sizing.

Anticipating: getting the non-downsized stuff into one cupboard so we can get rid of two empty ones. Yes, we’ve got that much junk.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to the sound of the vacuum cleaner, operated by W. Yes, he’s wonderful.

Reading: the novella, ‘Where Three Roads Meet’ by Salley Vickers. One of the Canongate Myths series, it’s the story of Oedipus, told to Freud, in the last months of his life, by a mysterious stranger. Full of ideas about philosophy and religion, as Salley Vickers’ books always are. 

Watching: late night cycling – I suppose I should be grateful to ITV 4 for showing the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Women’s Tour, but do they have to be on so late?

Making: comfort knitting socks. I think of these as ‘Where’s Wally?’ socks, also intended for Wensleydale.

I’ve finished my Liz Payne/hawthorn inspired piece. I really like the effect of embroidery over paint, and intend to return to it. In the meantime it’s back to Dawn Thorne, sort of. This is as far as I’ve got.  

Make Something Every Day is definitely on the back burner, ICAD has taken over. These are the first four. I’m trying to be more adventurous this year, and to actually do some drawing, but I haven’t yet plucked up courage to do it. 

Feeling: there are signs of progress, but I’m still up and down. Remarkably, I’m sleeping better than I have for ages – as long as I don’t wake up in the small hours, as I did this morning. I can stop myself brooding at bed time, but at 3 a.m.? No chance. 

Anticipating: after the business of half term, getting back into our new routine.

Currently…

Listening: to ‘Choral Evensong’ on Radio 3.
Reading: just finished ‘Thin Air’ by Anne Cleeves. It’s odd how murder mysteries can be escapist fiction. See below!

Watching: the last of Hinterland. The continuing theme of all three series has been resolved: I hope this doesn’t mean this was the last one. I need a regular dose of Richard Harrington looking pensively into the distance, in a dramatic landscape.

Making: still comfort knitting socks. These are intended for Wensleydale, as I think he will appreciate plain blue more than the previous, more idiosyncratically coloured pair. 

I’ve been distracted from my Stitch Every Day intention to carry on with ideas from Dawn Thorne’s ‘Transparency in Textiles’, by an article in Embroidery magazine about Liz Payne. 

So I painted 6 white circles on a piece of hand dye – and stalled about what to do next. Not so much stitch every day, more procrastinate for days and then try to make up for lost time. However I’m enjoying adding marks, and texture to the circles. 

 Make Something Every Day has been pretty much the same, but I did manage a couple of prompts, though neither was worth photographing. ICAD starts next week, so MSED will probably be on the back burner again till that’s over. I’ve ordered one of the cheap photo albums I keep completed index cards in, and made a ‘title page’, so I’m all set. I’m hoping the sudden desire to use really bright colours for this is a sign that my mood is improving. 


Feeling: still up and down, but generally more hopeful – the sunshine helped, as did, surprisingly, the dramatic lightning display early on Saturday morning. And the Muntjac which appeared in our garden twice the same day. 

I think the problem is not so much feeling depressed, more that I’m finding minor events, which I would normally brush off,  dent my normal optimism.

Anticipating: looking forward to half term with the little guys. 

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…


A Bad Week

The entire country has been infected with a mystery disease. Half the population think it is worth while giving ourselves this disease, as it will cure another one they think we have, despite having no idea what the effects of the mystery disease will be. The rest of us think the mystery disease is likely to have life changing effects, even if it isn’t terminal, and dread the consequences.

The person responsible for exposing us all has washed his hands of it all, and we’re left in the hands of a group of lying buffoons who, despite having encouraged us to expose ourselves to the illness, seem to have made no plans on how to deal with it.

And meantime, those who chose to get us all infected, and who, in practice, are more likely to suffer from the consequences, are telling the rest us to suck it up and stop moaning. Which I, for one, find very irritating.

I think we may have been cursed by the Chinese (‘may you live in interesting times’) – who are, of course, most likely to profit from all this. Wait till we are economically at death’s door, and then buy up the country.

So, to more positive things.

image

A completed embroidery of 4 red circles.There are 4 there – see the back for proof – but they are well camouflaged. The background is basketweave tent stitch, the circles are in conventional tent stitch, half cross, basketweave worked in the opposite direction to the background, and a thicker thread, which in real life is more visible than it seems in the photo.

I have ideas for following this up, but no time…

 

 

 

I have four finished felted samples – but only one photo, because two of them are boring, and the third photo came out blurry. I’ll try to remember to have another go before I post again.

 

image

This one is blue cotton tucks of various sizes on a white wool background, and white wool tucks on a blue cotton background. The cotton came from a charity shop, and as it is packed in ounce balls, must be (please wait while I Google) at least 40 years old.

(Interesting Google article on metrication – did you know that the only countries which don’t use the metric system are the US, Liberia and Burma? And that before metrication we had over 40 sizes of ‘threaded fastenings ‘ [nuts and bolts to you and me] which were replaced by just 7 metric sizes?)

But I digress.

image

So here are two ‘Make Something Every Day’ (MSED – I’m getting bored typing all that) prompts: make something under water, and make something with staples – somewhat freely interpreted.

The bottles have been wrapped in something called forming felt,  which I bought ages ago for no reason that I can remember. You can shape it by damping it and forming it over a mould, but I soaked it in a bucket for the underwater bit. Then I wrapped it round a couple of bottles, and dipped them in Brusho, so the bottoms were underwater – well, underBrusho. When the colour had soaked in, I turned them upside down for the trickle down effect. When it’s all dried (24 hours and counting) I shall make bases from the flat bits and add some stitch.

The unexciting index card serves 4 purposes in one – two prompts and two of my current obsessions. There’s the MSED prompt to use staples, and one of this weeks ICAD prompts, ‘magenta’. The obsessions are tone on tone, and circles – the shapes are (very) vaguely circular. I’m practicing economy for the future, as I think I may need it.