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…

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 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: 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. 

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.

Currently…

Listening to: Mahler 2 on Radio 3. 

Reading: Amy Tan’s ‘Valley of Amazement’. I’ve not got very far into it, but like other books of hers that I’ve read, it offers a view of a different world, which fascinates because it is so different to my own.

Watching: very little. It’s one of those times when there is little we want to watch in the schedules.

Making: the usual. Knitting sample circles, 


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

and Creative Sprint. In this ’down time’ (because the little guys have been away and because I am feeling down) it has been Creative Sprint which has kept me going. It ends soon, but I hope it will motivate me to go back to Make Something (almost) Every Day.  

Feeling: see above. I’ll be better when the kids are back in school, although our routine will change and we’ll have to work out a new one. 

Anticipating: living in interesting times.

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.