Currently…

Currently…

Listening to: silence, before it is shattered by the return of the grands.

Reading: still Amy Tan’s ‘Valley of Amazement’. It’s been neglected in favour of other things which need less concentration.

Watching: le Tour de Yorkshire. Now there’s a surprise.

Making: 


more circle sampling, 


adding bits of stitch to the latest Year of Stitches sampler, 


Creative Sprinting.


I have also made a real SKO, which may be too big. We shall see when I shrink it. Before that it needs some embroidery. 

Feeling: up and down. Still not settled in our new routine.

Anticipating: going on the (vintage) buses on Bank Holiday Monday. The VHC is very excited about it. When I was his age, going in a car was the exciting thing: now that’s routine and it’s buses that are exciting. His dad will be with us so I’ll be let off going upstairs on the double deckers, thank goodness. My balance was never good, now my hips are arthritic it’s even harder getting up and down those stairs.

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Currently…

Currently…

Listening to: not a lot. 

Reading: Anita Shreve’s, ‘The Lives of Stella Bain’. Another charity shop purchase, because I always enjoy Shreve’s work, and this is no exception.

Watching: the World Track Cycling Championship, coming on Wednesday to a T.V. near you. Provided you are in the U.K.

Making: progress has slowed a little for various reasons, but I’m still knitting and embroidering. 

I’ve finished the 4 small Year of Stitches pieces above, just need to mount them now. I’ve started another piece, but so far it consists of a square of couching on a base of tapestry canvas, although I have coloured, Bondawebbed and stamped the canvas before starting the stitch. 

I’ve got on to the more complex patterns in ‘Knitting Circles’ now, which require more thought. It may seem odd to want to add a patterned base to an SKO when it will be hidden, but I like the idea of something which is hidden in plain sight. 

I’m still Creatively Sprinting, although I’m finding that I want to make more elaborate pieces than I really have time for. Yesterday’s prompt was ‘something sticky’: I decided to try a technique I’ve read about but never done. I layered cling film (well, it’s sort of sticky) with grated crayons, sequins, scraps of tissue paper and snippets of threads and ironed it. With too hot an iron initially. Then, when I’d rectified that, it told me it needed a focal point, so I added a free motion embroidered tree. Then it told me it wanted to be on a book cover, so I had to cover some heavy Lutradur with fabric and make a little sketchbook. After all that the house smells of melted crayons, I have a headache, and I’m a day behind with Creative Sprint. And the grands are on their way.


Now I’ve listed what I’ve done, I think perhaps progress hasn’t slowed much – it just feels as if it has.

Feeling: it’s been a bad week – something has happened which was anticipated but still sad, and which will mean major changes to our routine. So I’m feeling hopeful that it will all turn out all right in the end, but anxious about the short term. 

Anticipating: as a result, there will be no more ‘normal weeks’ for the foreseeable future. Just waiting to see what else fate has in store for us.

Currently…

Currently…

Listening: to a time-shifted session of ‘Late Junction’ from Radio 3. Normally it’s on long past my bedtime – although as last night I didn’t get to sleep till after 4 a.m, I could have listened to it live, had it been on. If you like eclectic music and you haven’t discovered Late Junction, give it a try. Radio 3 doesn’t just do the classics.
Reading: ‘Night’s Cloak’ by E.R. Punshon, on the Kindle app. I’m not really a great fan of ebooks – I much prefer the real thing – but I like to have a few downloaded for ‘no new real books to read’ emergencies. It’s a detective story set during WW2, so you can probably imagine what it’s like. Not quite up to Ian Rankin, Henning Manuel or Graham Hurley.

Watching: a quick glance through Radio Times suggests two programmes we might actually watch next week – both on BBC4, both on art. (Yes, we are very picky.) Thank goodness for Radio 3 and a large collection of CDs. 


Making: the black intermittent Year is Stitches piece is finished and blocked. (The little white blobs are Shoshone.)

What am I going to do with it? Who knows? I wondered about making it into a bag but: 1) I have enough never-used handmade bags to stock a shop, and 2) I don’t have the motivation. I used to love making bags, needle books, pincushions etc, but now I have no interest in them at all. 

The beige one, which gets worked on every day is making slow progress. I don’t like it and I was thinking about calling it finished too, but I’ve decided to soldier on as it’s a good learning experience. 


Another SKS (Strange Knitted Sample) is in progress. Yes, that is lamé fabric knitted in. It shreds if you look at it – the floor is covered with little glittery threads, and I think the strips may disintegrate completely in the washer, which could be interesting. Last week’s SKS’s haven’t yet made it into the washing machine, they should get there tomorrow.

The piece at the top did get washed – it’s in Airedale’s felting wool, which reminds me a bit of a rather restrained Noro, albeit a tad cheaper. I’m tempted to get some more to try some different shapes. It’s great for an easy SKO as the yarn does all the work.

Feeling: a little more cheerful. I’ve been quite productive all day, which often happens after a bad night. Based on past experience, however, tomorrow will be a different story – hence…

Anticipating: an inert day on Sunday before we gear up on Monday for the little guys’ return to school.

.

Currently…

Listening: to ‘The Choir’ on Radio 3.

Reading: just finished ’Dead Line’ by Stella Rimington. Not my usual choice of fiction, but slickly written and interesting. I assume it gives a realistic picture of the work of the security services. After all, she ought to know.

Watching: Andrew Graham Dixon on French art, plus the rerun of Alastair Sooke on Egyptian art. The latter makes me want to go back to Egypt.


Making: still sampling SKOs. This one is just out of the washing machine – it will probably get some more stitch before I consider it finished. Some of the ideas worked well, so there may be one or two finished pieces in the pipe line. 

Still embroidering too – I am perfecting improving my shisha sewing skills on the black one. It might be nearly finished.

 

I have also been making some book(let)s. I bought this in a charity shop a few weeks ago: the title might suggest it’s about origami, but  it’s actually instructions for lots and lots of variations on folded cards, folders and booklets. So of course I had to make some.

These are all really variations on the same theme – an oversized cover, incorporating flaps which fold round the pages in various ways. In two of them, I sewed down the edges of one of the flaps, to make a pocket.

Feeling: still pessimistic. Last week was notable for the number of hiccups, hassles and glitches which occurred, which didn’t help. Next week is half term, but their mum and dad will have the little guys for most of the week, which is good for them but a bit disappointing for us. But as a consequence…

Anticipating: a restful week.

.

Currently 

Currently 

Listening: to Radio 3 again, though this week without the accompaniment of rain. Well, not at the moment.
Reading: just finished ’The Pyramid’ by Henning Mankell, definitely more to my taste than last week’s Gladys Mitchell. Perhaps because I identify with Wallander’s self doubt more than Mrs Bradley’s self confidence, perhaps because I prefer police procedurals to the fantasy of the so called ‘Golden Age’ of crime fiction.

Watching: still Lucy Worsley, plus Andrew Graham Dixon on French art. Both enjoyable.


Making: one finished SKO, another one waiting to meet the washing machine, plus a SKS (strange knitted sample) in progress. The finished black one is the last of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Hebridean wool, which is the most interesting for my purposes, although this little vessel is a bit boring. The second one is some left-over-from-giant-gloves, Berber rug wool from the late, lamented Texere (although Airedale Yarns seem to have something similar). The SKS is an exploration of ladders and oversized stitches, in order to find out what happens when they’re shrunk.

The year of stitches continues, enjoyably – it makes a nice break from knitting.

Feeling: pessimistic – which is not something I often feel. Something to do with politics? Something to do with the weather?  (See photo of the aftermath of Storm Doris above. Fortunately she was a storm in a teacup here.) Something to do with a visit to the dentist next week? Or all three?

Anticipating: more of the same next week – although hopefully with added optimism.

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 Radio 3. Tanita Tikaram on ‘Private Passions’. Having lost interest in pop music in the 70s, I’d never heard of her, but I like her choice of music. 
Reading: ‘Nightingale Wood’ by Stella Gibbons. I’d only ever read ‘Cold Comfort Farm’, but someone on a book blog I read recommended her other work, and this is excellent. It’s a retelling of Cinderella, but with some interesting twists. It’s very feminist, although the reader does have to tolerate the casual racism which occurs in so many books of the period.

Watching: looking forward to the new Andrew Graham-Dixon series starting next week.

Making: still knitting, still embroidering. I’ve used up 3.5 of the 4 balls I bought from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The wool is great and shrinks well, but it’s reinforced my feeling that I primarily want to work in natural cream wool, and not  colours, natural or not.

Feeling: physically better, psychologically down. Trump and May (Theresa, not James) are an even more scary duo than Reagan and Thatcher. But a visit to Walford Mill to see the brilliant exhibition of glass by Ruth Dresman did cheer me up for a while – it’s well worth a visit. Her work is exquisite, and if anyone has a few £££££ to spare, I have a birthday coming up and there’s a small dish with gooseberries on it  I really loved. Or the bowl with leaves that was like looking into a pool. Or any of the fish. Or …

Anticipating: a couple of sleepovers next week – the children are spending time with us while their parents gallivant work. Very envious of their daddy going to Scandinavia, even if it is for work, and travelling over ‘The Bridge’. Just hope he comes back in one piece.