Listening: to Holy Week Around Europe on Radio 3. I always enjoy these European co-productions, which usually combine the familiar and the less familiar.

Reading: still Difficult Daughters by Manju Kanpur. I also treated myself to a new to me embroidery book, Grete Petersen’s Borders for Embroidery. I’m trying not to buy too many new books, but as we’ve just donated 15 bagfuls to Oxfam, I think I’m allowed one or two more (I’ve got another Amazon order on the way).

I already have Peterson’s Handbook of Embroidery Stitches, co-written with Elsie Svennas, which is very good. The Borders book is not as good, in my opinion, being more a book of designs than of stitches, but there are some interesting ideas in it.

Watching: I quite enjoyed BBC4’s Make! Craft Britain, though I hate the title. Why that exclamation mark? The programme might have inspired me to have another go at rag rugging, if I hadn’t given away my hessian and most of my suitable fabric, but it reinforced my desire to try letterpress. However it isn’t really the sort of thing you can do at home. This week is cross stitch (about which I have made my opinion clear in the past), and silver clay, which I find vaguely interesting.

Making: the rainbow socks have been finished and handed over to their new owner. I forgot to take a photograph, but will try to grab one if I can. I have started a new pair, in a different shade of Superba Poem – these are for me. Yes, that toe was really knitted from that ball of wool. So far I prefer the rainbow, but we shall see how the stripes progress.

The sampler reflects the sort of week we’ve had, culminating in a boiler breakdown yesterday. I’m hoping to be able to add ‘Sunday – boiler repaired’, but the repair man is on a 25 mile drive to get a new circuit board so we won’t know if it will work till he gets back. *

Fortunately we have a gas fire and some electric heaters, but it’s amazing how much you want a bath when there’s no hot water!

Feeling: grubby. See above. A shower just isn’t the same.

Anticipating: a bath!

Visiting. We made it down to Walford Mill last week, after many postponements. The current exhibition is Threads of Narrative by Lisa Earley and Sarah Appleton. I liked the way they’d used clothes to explore ideas inspired by the Bankes Archive (the Bankes were a local family who once owned the Mill, along with Kingston Lacey and Corfe Castle). No gloves, though.

* We have a functioning boiler! We have heat! We have warmish water! Thank you, British Gas!




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. 

I’m running out…

I’m running out…

of witty phrases to use when I have been AWOL again. My excuse this time is that the last couple of weeks have been very busy – first because the VHC was ill and needed looking after, (all better now), and last week because we had places to go and exhibitions to see. 

The last time I posted, I was whinging about making papier-mâché. I’m feeling a little more positive about it now, so much so that I had another go today.

The cone in front is from last time, painted with coffee. The SKO (strange knitted object) behind is wire with cotton stripes, dipped in paper pulp today. It will probably get painted white at a later date.

I used the leftover paper pulp for this- there’s a shell underneath. I know what I think it looks like, but I’m not saying. You are welcome to form your own opinion.

And this beautiful little example of how to make papier-mâché properly is, of course, not my work but that of Magie Hollingsworth, a treat we bought ourselves from Walford Mill. 

And finally, this is the VHC’s portrait of me. I’m assured that it’s a very good likeness.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

When I moved my blogs over from Blogger to here, I intended to post more frequently – but it hasn’t happened. Even though Uni has finished and we had two weeks off from grandparenting. My excuse is that we were busy doing things which we hadn’t had time to do in the last, mad weeks before the Degree show, but that didn’t really take up much time. We only managed one visit to Walford Mill, and one to the Hillier Gardens. I spent more time just relaxing, pottering in my workroom doing nothing very much, and being sociable.

I have managed some more of the ‘365: Make Something Every Day’ prompts, though not every day. The top one involved air drying clay, a rolling pin (not one I use for pastry!) and ‘stamps’ – like bits of knitting and embroidery. As you can see, I discovered that the dried clay is more fragile than real clay…

I can’t remember what the prompt for this one was, but the book is not part of it, it just seemed a suitable place to put the drawing. The drawn feather was done with the real feather, which is there to remind me.

The knitting I showed you last time has been frogged, finished and in one case felted. Meet baby glove, before and after he met the washing machine.

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the scarf, and It is at home and I am not. However it is triangular and very red.

Regular readers may have noticed the absence of junk mail books in recent weeks. This is because, amazingly, there was a shortage of junk mail, although the postman rectified this on Monday, when 80% of our mail was junk, and 10% of the rest was a bill. I was going to gesso my junk, as you do, but when I opened the gesso pot, it had dried out and was unusable, so I have had to order some more. Watch this space.

Not much to show for two weeks off, but I did have a very interesting email at the beginning of the week, which may turn into an exciting opportunity. More when I know more!