We interrupt our normal  programming…

for a rant.

I want to buy some boy’s ankle socks for school.
1. Primark don’t have plain grey ones.

2. Sainsbury’s only have long ones. In May! Yes, I know boys wear long socks with shorts. I also know that they always fall down.

3. Debenhams and John Lewis have them, but they have a minimum spend for free click and collect and their delivery charges almost double the cost of the socks. The alternative is to drive to their store, which would be even more expensive, with no guarantee that the store actually has any.

4. M&S have them, but I didn’t even get as far as finding out how much delivery would cost. The website didn’t recognise any of the passwords I tried, failed to send me an email to change the password (it’s not in my spam folder), insisted that my alternative email address isn’t a real email address (it is), and refused to let me re-register. So they’ve lost a customer.

5. Amazon appears to have lots, but not in the right colour/size combination. The grey size 9-12’s it does have are mostly add-on’s to a minimum £20 spend. 

I ended up buying some suspiciously cheap ones from Amazon. The postage was the same cost as the socks but they were still cheaper than anyone else’s. I figure if they last this term, the shops will be awash with grey ankle socks in August, and he might have grown out of them anyway…


Listening to: husband and son doing DIY upstairs. 

Reading: still Anita Shreve’s, ‘The Lives of Stella Bain’. An interesting book, a bit different to most of Shreve’s others. Watching: as predicted, the World Track Cycling Championship. Interesting to see new, young riders in action
Making: I still haven’t mounted the 4 small Year of Stitches pieces, though I’ve cut out a piece of buckram as an experimental mounting. Not sure it will work, but I have lots of buckram to use up. The new Year of Stitches piece is making slow progress, as we’ve had the grands here for sleepovers over the Easter holidays. 

The current knitting is a spiral with bobbles on it. I’m not a great fan of knitting bobbles, but there aren’t very many of them, and I’m interested in how they react to felting.

Today’s Creative Sprint prompt was to create something which either used a map or looked like a map. I made a map page accordion book with cut outs: I’m underwhelmed by it, but lacking in inspiration for anything else – or rather, anything else doable in the time frame, as I’d love to embroider one. Perhaps I can add that to the ever lengthening Year of Stitches list.

Feeling: very up and down, dealing with the fall out to the disruption we are experiencing in our lives. Curiously, immediately after it happened I slept much better than usual, but now I seem to be waking early and worrying, which is unusual for me. 

Anticipating: continued change for the foreseeable future.

How to spend a Bank Holiday evening. Not.

My favourite knitting needles are my Knitpro Symphony interchangeables, but the 4mm ends have gone walkabout. So, as I was knitting flat, I fished out an old pair of (Aero?) single points, which happened to be handy. And realised that my arthritis has got to the stage where long cold metal single points are uncomfortable to knit with. So I needed to find a 4mm circular needle.
I keep all the ‘other’ needles in my mother’s old work box which is wedged between the sofa, the wall, the desk and a ‘pillar’ – i.e. bit of wall – which holds the upstairs up. (With the assistance of another bit of wall and a joist, obviously.) Lest you think we live in some sort of mansion, about 60 years ago the previous owners built an extension which necessitated knocking down part of a load bearing wall, hence the need to provide an alternative means of bearing the load.

But I digress.

The work box has a sliding top, which is good because its sides are unreachable. It’s not so good because if I want to get into it, I have to kneel on the sofa, take everything off the top of the work box, slide open the two parts of the top, lift out the internal tray which I never use, and grovel inside. Sounds simple but what’s on top of it is the sound dock and its zapper. They have to be moved carefully, so the sound dock doesn’t get damaged, the phone doesn’t fall out, and the zapper doesn’t get lost. 

Fortunately the circulars were on top, so I found the 4-4.5mm bag, found my needle gauge (a miracle in itself) and found a suitable needle. I put it on the coffee table, retrieved the needle I’d dropped, and forced them all back into the bag. Then I had a quick fossick in the depths of the work box because I thought I had some more Knitpros. (If I do, they’re not in there. Possibly.) 

In the process I knocked the internal tray onto the floor behind the sofa, which meant leaning over the back of the sofa to reach the floor. This is not as easy as it used to be, and in the middle of the process, I got cramp.

In due course, I picked up the tray, only to knock one of the top pieces onto the floor. I picked it up, replaced it, and put the sound dock back on top, while pulling the power lead out. Twice.

Finally I got the dock in position, moved to sit down again and realised I hadn’t put the tray back.

Removed the sound dock, slid open the top, replaced the tray, closed the lid, replaced the sound dock, sat down.

Realised I’d left the bag of needles out.

Removed the sound dock, slid open the top, removed the tray, replaced the needles, replaced the tray, closed the lid, replaced the sound dock, sat down.

At this point Wensleydale, without knowing about my trauma,  appeared with a glass of wine.

I knew there was a good reason I married that man. And he’s just got me a refill.



Listening: to the clock ticking.

Reading: still Tana French’s ‘The Secret Place’. My pace of reading has slowed because I’ve been knitting and embroidering more. 

Watching: this morning – the VHC’s ‘watching day’ at ballet class. This evening, Babybel’s ‘cabaret’ at the same stage school. With a fish and chip supper as well. 

Making: still knitting bobbles. Fifteen per row, every fifth row, until I decide it’s long enough/run out of yarn/run out of patience. The latter is most likely. As the bobbles are in a different yarn, there are two ends per bobble. I’m tempted not to darn them in.

Feeling: still tired, but a bit more positive than I have for a while, despite six grandparenting visits this week and five next. (The grandparenting is great, the driving less so.) 

Anticipating: the return of the muse. Strangely, despite how busy we’ve been, I have felt more creative. I think this is because I’ve put all the things I feel I ‘must’ do to one side, and I’m focusing on doing what I feel like doing. Which is knitting, reading, an undaily ‘drawing’ ( in a very loose sense – today it was collage) and a little bit of undaily embroidery – a scrap of hand dye, some toning threads, and a random selection of stitches, the last two inspired by what people are doing on the blogs I read. When there is so much pressure from external factors, I think reducing the pressures I put on myself, has been good for me.

It has been twenty one days…

It has been twenty one days…

I realise, since my last post on this blog. I knew it was a while – but three  weeks?  I know I was watching Le Tour, but that didn’t take up all my time. Put it down to bikes, laziness, a 45th wedding anniversary (ours), laziness, transporting the grands to a daily dance workshop  – and did I mention laziness?

Some knitting was completed. There is the somewhat eccentric thing above, which was my attempt to knit a stand-alone hand with no openings. It sort of works. Will I make another one? Probably, (though not in that colour),  even though I am significantly underwhelmed by it. At the moment I  seem to be alternating  between vessels and hands. When I’m knitting a vessel, I think I should be knitting a hand. (More arty.) When I’m knitting a hand, I think I should be knitting a vessel. (More saleable. I hope.)

One thing I will not be making again is this.

I don’t think I need to say why. I may cut it up and see if I can make anything with the felt, but it’s such a liverish colour.

On the other hand, this is definitely repeatable. I’m a bit unsure about the rim, but the rest of it is just as I wanted it to be.

It’s just a pity I didn’t notice that the window frame needed cleaning before I took the photo. I could go and clean it and retake the photo but – laziness.

The laziness will be continued next week, because we have a week off from grandparenting. I hope to catch up with Este MacLeod’s class and Making Something Every Day, because the week after that one grand has another dance workshop and we have little brother all week. I see a lot of trains and tractors in my future – and, of course, since it’s nearly Olympic time, more cycling.

Bits and Bobs

Some finished bits:


a  scarf, which just needs washing and blocking to be ready for next winter;










imageby special request, two purses;








and, not by special request, two junk mail books, using techniques from an on-line course of Carla Sonheim’s: the bookbinding method I used is slightly different to hers but the basic technique is the same. the result is interesting to draw in.



And some unfinished bobs:



six gravel bags – like sandbags, but with gravel. (So far, minus gravel.) No, we are not expecting floods – we live on top of a hill. They are a more professional (I hope) way to weigh down the larger gloves, which may be going on a trip to the seaside next month.





the second glove in my new mini glove series. It is scarlet, not orange: for some reason anything I photograph on the carpet comes out the wrong colour – as does the carpet, which is blue, not grey:







imageand a work in very slow progress, because I can only face it in good light. It’s an exercise in breaking the rules of canvas work: four ‘circles’ on a red background. Yes, there are four. Not sure its going anywhere but the psychologist in me likes the idea of making things which explore just-noticeable differences.

Plus I have another sample to prepare for felting, and lots of ideas for other samples. All good things to do while watching cycling on the TV.


Here we have two pieces of knitting.

The cream is an experimental slip stitch tube, destined to meet the washing machine at a very high temperature in the hopes that it will get considerably smaller. (Wish it worked for people in a hot bath.)

Despite being a very simple stitch pattern (knit 4 slip 4 on every other row) I keep making mistakes, so I have some simple knitting for when the mistakes are happening too often and I need a break. I have just realised that I made a mistake 7 rows ago, so it needs pulling back.

The red is the aforementioned simple knitting. It has been frogged once because I decided the pattern I was using wasn’t working. I picked it up when I couldn’t face frogging 7 rows just now.

But – trying to pretend it wasn’t a problem for ages, I decided I couldn’t live with the glitch, which you may be able to see top left, just next to the cable of the needle.

Yes, there is a glitch there, and I don’t like it. But this yarn is slippery and splitty, and pulling it back will be even harder. 

Time for a drink. Which will not help with the frogging…

I am happy with this, though. Which is fortunate, because frogging heavily felted wool is unlikely to be successful.