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. 




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



Listening to: the clock ticking.

Reading: still A.S Byatt’s ‘The Virgin in the Garden’ – if I could remember where I’ve put it.

Watching: second Hinterland tonight. Prepare for gloom, physical and metaphorical.

Making: it’s been a very stressful week, so I’ve reverted to my favourite comfort knitting – a pair of socks. Contrast toes and heels as I haven’t got enough of either yarn to make a full pair.

The latest Year of Stitches sampler, in the header, was inspired by ideas from Dawn Thorne’s book, ‘Transparency in Textiles’. Very simple stitching, just what I need. 

‘365: Make Something Every Day’ has become more intermittent, partly because the next prompt was to work with orange. That led to the manufacture of an orange book with collaged and embroidered pages, which is likely to take some time. 

Feeling: more down than up. The family situation which has disrupted our routines is definitely getting worse before it gets better.

Anticipating: we’re hoping to get to the Shell Poster exhibition at Mottisfont. I love those things, and I need cheering up. 



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. 



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.

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.

Just to prove…

Just to prove…

that Manor Farm is not the only farm we go to, this handsome gentleman does not live there, but at our favourite farm shop. (We didn’t tell him that we go there to buy beef.)

The grands were rather taken with him, despite calling him a cow. The VHC was particularly impressed with his cow pat capacity, while Babybel was curious about the bits he had that cows don’t. Which led to some interesting questions…

He wasn’t the only handsome creature we met this week.

This is Pickford, and we all got to hold her. I love the patterns of her feathers.

In other parts of the forest, there has been knitting of green cabled objects. This is actually the second one, the previous one had bobbles and eyelets as well. I’m trying to decide whether it needs any embroidery – I think probably not, but I’m not sure. 

I have now moved on to a grey fluffy object, with (deliberate) ladders.

And I have been playing with my food, on the instructions of ‘Make Something Every So Often’.

To be truthful, the prompt was ‘to make something with my dinner’ – so, having had a father who actively  discouraged food playing –  I photographed my lunch. It probably wouldn’t have been as carefully arranged otherwise, but I thought the lovely yellow tomato didn’t need dressing up. Not homegrown, I’m afraid, it came from the Isle of Wight via the farm shop, and tasted as good as it looks.

And as if I didn’t have enough to do, I’ve signed up for the 100 days project, aiming to make 100 vaguely circular arty things  over the next 100 days. I don’t think this one allows for slippage, but it does allow for simpler responses than MSED, so hopefully I can keep it up.

I am good at biting off more than I can chew, aren’t I?