Listening to: the Early Music show on Radio 3. It’s the Tallis Scholars. No more to say, really.
Rereading: still Terry Pratchett, though for some reason I’m finding The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents hard going.
Watching: not a lot, as usual.
Making: our Stitch a Tree trees are up on the wall of the Discovery Centre: the VHC’S work is the header image.

I finished my scarf, but forgot to photograph it. In search of something else to do,  I found 5 well-aged hanks of Colinette Tagliatelle in my stash, but then realised that the waistcoat pattern I had lined up for it was for a thinner knitting ribbon. There was nothing suitable on Ravelry, even for ready money, but my friendly local knitting designer sketched me a modular plan in her notebook, and I’m winging it. So far, so good, although I keep making a mess of the modules. It’s not really my usual colours, but I love the combination. Colinette is sadly missed.

After a fallow period with the stitch samples, I’ve been on a bit of a roll with couching. My new favourite stitch dictionary, Anne Butler’s Encyclopaedia of Embroidery Stitches, has at least 30 different versions, and I’ve thought of around 20 different things to couch down, so I have quite a lot of ideas.
Feeling: unsettled. Half term was good but disruptive of our routine, then Babybel was quite ill last week, which means we haven’t got back into the usual term-time pattern yet. But we seem to be moving forward in the matter of the disruptive family member: the first area of dispute has been settled out of court, albeit at the last minute. Now on to round two.
Anticipating: light at the end of the tunnel.



Listening: to Radio 3 on ‘earworms’. I may come to regret this.

Reading: taking a break from Terry Pratchett (only another 55 books to go from the library e-book stock). I’ve switched to Lindsey Davis temporarily.

Watching: looking forward to the next episode of Lucy Worsley’s programmes on opera. I’m not a fan of opera, but this programme put it in a social context, which made it more interesting. Still not sure I could sit through one, though.

Making: I decided that I would cast off the shawl after the next repeat, but now I’ve got to that point, I’m procrastinating. The fact that there are nearly 300 stitches may have something to do with it.

I’ve finished the running stitch samples for now. The fringed one, on rug canvas, prompted some 3D experiments. No photos yet, I’m not sure they are ready for publication. 

The next lot of samples are couching, one of my favourite techniques, because you can experiment with all sorts of odd threads.

Feeling: so-so. We had an enjoyable outing last week, which cheered me up. We went to the ‘Radical Craft’ exhibition at Walford Mill, which was interesting and inspirational, had a pleasant lunch, then on to Kingston Lacy for an installation called ‘Exile’, and, of course, tea and cake.

Since then I’ve been sleeping badly and brooding about family problems. 

Anticipating: going to see the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at Mottisfont. We got as far as the cafe a couple of weeks ago before being called away for a family problem. Better luck next time, we hope.


Listening to: Choral Evensong on Radio 3. It’s from Manchester Cathedral where several of my 19thC ancestors were baptised or married. If that sounds like I come from a posh background, it’s actually the complete opposite – I’m told that it was the cheapest way, as the Cathedral offered mass weddings and baptisms. 

Reading: Ian Rankin’s ‘Rather Be The Devil’. It’s Rebus – what more is there to say?

Watching: an excellent programme last night on BBC2 about WH Auden. Somewhat unexpected for a Saturday night, but even more welcome because of that.

Making: another shawl, I think I bought this yarn about 20 years ago at an exhibition at Sandown. I wouldn’t buy it now, because it’s acrylic and I’ve turned into a yarn snob, but I like the colours.

It’s been a shitty week, so I’ve done more knitting than embroidery. (I find knitting more soothing.) I finished last week’s tree for the ‘Stitch a Tree Project’, and made 1.25 kantha stitch samples using some hand dyed silk from the scrap box, all running or straight stitch.

Feeling: don’t ask. More irrational outpourings, upset family members, and poor sleep. 

Anticipating: things can only get better. Can’t they?

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.