Listening: to Sunday Morning on Radio 3.

Reading: Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling. As usual with Bryson I’m amused and irritated in turns but it’s still a good read – the review in the link says it all.

Watching: The Bridge. Of course.

Making: still socks, but I’m sure you’re bored with photos of those.

Also the sampler, and Creative Sprinting.

And just for a change, some books. These are from instructions on Ali Mannings’ informative blog

and these from a book called How to Fold which is not, whatever the title suggests, about origami.

Feeling: almost cheerful. The boiler is fixed, the chair seats have gone to be recaned, and we’ve had an offer we can’t refuse on the house. With no chain! Those who have sold houses know what a blessing that is. I’m dreading actually moving, but we have to do it sooner or later, so probably better now than when we’re even older.

Visiting: we managed to fit in our trip to Walford Mill, as we hoped. They have rearranged the interior, which has resulted in less exhibition space and more shop space, presumably for financial reasons, but I regret it. There was some interesting weaving by Jacy Wall, and the usual tempting ceramics.

Anticipating: another trip to two interesting looking exhibitions in Southampton – George Shaw at the Art Gallery and Gerhard Richter at the new incarnation of the John Hansard Gallery. I expect we will also manage to fit in lunch at the Art House Cafe.



Listening: to Radio 3, as usual.

Reading: Death comes to Pemberly, by P.D. James. I avoid Austen follow-up novels because in my experience they are usually bad, so I ignored this when it first came out. But I was caught out by an unexpected wait with nothing to read and found it in a nearby charity shop. The reviews on the cover were good, so I bought it.

I think the reviewers must have been reading a different novel. I feel James’ writing lacks Austen’s humour and lightness of touch. There are far too many speeches in which one character explains to another, pedantically and at great length, what the other person would have known anyway – in fact far too much exposition of all sorts. Austen knew what she was doing, limiting the number of characters, and restricting descriptions to her characters’ thoughts rather than their hairstyles or means of transport.

Watching: Alice Robert’s programme on Winchester, which in contrast, was much better than I expected. So many documentaries these days jump from one topic to another, and then back again, in a desperate, and in my case, often unsuccessful, attempt to stop the viewer turning off. In this case we got a straightforward, accessible, chronological account, which told me things I didn’t know already, which is why I watch documentaries.

Making: as you can see, the fingerless gloves I started have morphed into a different pair of fingerless gloves. The other pattern turned out to be too big, but the thumb hole was too small, and I decided I didn’t have enough wool. I think these may be too small, but I can probably find some willing victim to give them to.

The sampler has had a rude word added, and a lot of whipped running stitch. The current instalment of Beyond TAST is layering stitches. I’m not sure if what I’ve done counts as layering, but I took the opportunity to try out ‘imitation tablet weaving’ from Jan Messent’s book ‘Celtic, Viking & Anglo-Saxon Embroidery’. I.e. closely packed rows of whipped running stitch.

Feeling: sniffly. I seem, after seven decades without it, to have hay fever. I’ve had a slight sensitivity to house dust for years, but that’s not like this continuous sneezing, and nose dribbling. And it’s not a cold, because the symptoms don’t change, and they get worse if I go outside. Wensleydale is the hay fever expert around here, and he confirms my self diagnosis. It’s a bit better today – I think the 3 thunderstorms we had last night may have helped – but I’d be happier without it.

Anticipating: we may, just possibly, provided nothing goes wrong, have a ‘normal’ week next week. Apart from taking the VHC to the dentist. I have grandchildren who regard going to the dentist as a big treat, which is, of course down to the dentist, who is very good with them.


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.