Listening to: ‘Songs of the Baltic Sea’, sung by the National Youth Choir of GB. One of those CDs we can’t remember buying or why, probably because we heard an excerpt on the radio. Very calm and melodious. 

(I spoke too soon. The children have just arrived so it’s got a lot noisier.)
Reading: ‘The Chapel on the Edge of the World’ by Kirsten McKenzie. I haven’t really got into it yet, so the jury is still out.

Watching: The Vuelta, and Inspector Montalbano. Just like last week.

Making: the modular scarf is finished, finished, washed and blocked. And provided you don’t look at it too closely it looks good. It ended up over 2 metres in wingspan, so I could have stopped a row of modules earlier and saved myself a lot of aggro.

The second scarf is making good progress, as the knit one, slip one purlwise is now implanted in my brain. (The pattern suggests working all rows from the same side, which means there’s only a knit row to automatise.) Both scarves are darker than they appear in the photos: Wensleydale says this one is mediaeval in colour. 

Still sampling running stitch – I’ve been on a roll this week and completed a whole page. Still plenty of ideas. 

Feeling: better. Progress is definitely being made on the unhelpful relative front. They don’t like it, but it’s happening.

Anticipating: live coverage of the Tour of Britain starts tomorrow. 



Listening to: ‘Floodplain’ by the Chronos Quartet.

Re-reading: ‘Extra Virgin’ by Annie Hawes. Good escapist stuff, almost literally. I’ve been meaning to reread it for ages, so grabbed it on my way out to a trip with the kids where I knew I could sit, read and drink coffee while they created havoc played. 

Watching: The Vuelta, and Inspector Montalbano. Odd how fiction about murder can also be escapist – and how I tolerate it even though it’s so sexist.

Making: the modular scarf is finished. Thank goodness. I started the last motif 5 times before I got it right. And then there were the 90+ ends to darn in: 2 per motif, 45 motifs… Now it just needs blocking. Unfortunately Amazon decided that my new blocking mats were ‘undeliverable’ so it’ll be a while before it gets done.

Long live the scarf: a big, linen stitch scarf to use up a mixed bunch of hand painted wool which doesn’t really go together, but might if it’s mixed up enough. I needed something mindless to knit while watching TV: linen stitch turns out to be not quite mindless enough for reading subtitles, at least until my fingers learn the pattern. I have made a couple of mistakes, but I am not pulling back 5 rows and casting on 400 stitches again, just because of minor errors in the second row.

Still sampling – here’s more running stitch. Yes, those are tile spacers. Yes, I’m strange, though not original. 

I came across a great quote about sampling from Nigel Hurlestone in ‘Machine Stitch Perspectives’: ‘if the first one is a bit boring, by sample 10 you are getting a bit confident. And by sample 25 you have actually broken some type of new ground. Then you worry less about limitations, you get caught up in possibilities’. He also comments on the way that books about machine embroidery focus on ‘the way to the perfect outcome‘ and on product rather than ‘opportunities for surface making’. I suspect if I’d been taught machine embroidery by Hurlestone I might feel more positive about it than I do. Perhaps when (if?) I finished the hand embroidery samples, there might be time for some machine experiments.

Feeling: better. The sun is shining, we have a week off from the kids (I love them to bits but they’re hard work!) and there have been no nastygrams for a couple of days. What could be better? Well, quite a lot, but always look on the bright side of life.

Anticipating: the rest of a quiet week.



Listening to: Robin Huw Bowen

Reading: still The Painted Kiss, by Elizabeth Hickey. I remembered after I’d posted last week that the dress in Klimt’s portrait of her is what inspired the best things I made when I was doing City and Guilds, the two cushions above.

Watching: the only thing we watched all week was CBeebies – or rather, we watched the VHC watching it, sitting on the floor, straight backed, with his legs crossed as if he was in school. He loves the factual programmes. 

Making: still plugging on with the modular scarf. Still making mistakes.

Still sampling – here’s some running stitch. Sorry about the slightly blurry photo.

Feeling: much as usual, just more tired, as we had the little guys all week. (I’m going to have to find something else to call them as Babybel is now only half a head shorter than me.)

Anticipating: the Vuelta which starts tonight. Well, it started this afternoon, but it’s on TV tonight.



Listening to: silence.

Reading: I’ve decided that The Time Traveller’s Guide is really a book to dip into, and given up on it until school starts again. I’ve replaced it with The Painted Kiss, by Elizabeth Hickey, which is a novel about Emilie Flöge, Klimt’s muse. It’s excellent, a real page turner rather than a dip-in book.

Image from Wikipedia.

Watching: not a lot. It’s Prom’s season, of course, which means that the radio wins out over the TV most evenings. We don’t even watch the proms, as the sound is better on our old fashioned tuner +amplifier.

Making: I have decided that the modular shawl is going to be a modular scarf, as it is coming out long and thin. I know it will get deeper when I block it, but I am also getting bored with it, so I have decided to do one more row of modules, one row of half modules to level off the edge, and call it a scarf, which I am more likely to wear anyway.

Still sampling – I thought I was finished with straight stitch, which I’m also getting bored with, but I came up with a few more ideas. The image on the left above is the resolved sample, the others are the new ideas: some are sillier than others.

This does not mean I have finished with sampling, I’m still enjoying it. The little squares are very rewarding to do, because they work up quickly (unlike the shawl scarf) and are easy to unpick if I make a mistake (unlike the shawl scarf). So it’s on to running stitch next. No, not much different to straight stitch…

Feeling: still up and down. But I’m sure you’re all bored to tears with it, so I’ll leave it at that.

Anticipating: the Vuelta which starts on Saturday.


Listening to: Evelyn Glennie’s selection of music for unusual instruments, like alpenhorns, Didgeridoos and birds. It’s different, mostly enjoyable, and sometimes fun.

Reading: still the The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain’. It’s particularly slow going because I’ve been keeping it in the car to read while waiting for the children to come out of school – and they haven’t been in school. And I keep forgetting to bring it in from the car.

Watching: I don’t think we’ve watched TV since last weekend’s cycling. And probably won’t until the Vuelta starts.

Making: the socks are finished. You may have noticed that these socks are fraternal, not identical twins. I was worried about the yarn running out if I gave them both the same colour toes, heels and ribs, and judging by the amount I have left, I was right. 

I’ve restarted the modular shawl, and so far, after knitting half a motif, no mistakes. 😄 But unfortunately I thought I’d made one and unpicked 2.5 rows before I realised I hadn’t. 🤣

Overall I’ve spent most time on the embroidery – after realising that pulled work is just straight Stitches, I played around with some more -not all of which were successful. Some pulled better than others! (I did press the base cloth before adding the embroideries, honest!)

Feeling: a little more positive. Things are moving in the difficult family member case, although they don’t know it yet, and it will be ‘tin helmets on!’ when they find out what’s happening. 

This person told us last week that ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar’, which is cheek given that their preferred method of fly catching appears to be vitriol. If there was ever any honey, we blinked and missed it.

Anticipating: another helping of vitriol when the solicitor’s letter hits their doormat.


Listening to: Thomas Bloch playing the Ondes Martenot, described as the eeriest instrument ever invented. Yes, we’re weird. More information here.

Reading: still the The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain’, but I’ve finished ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ by Ann Tyler. An excellent novel, as Tyler’s usually are. It had an unusual structure, going backwards and forwards in time, which worked better than you might have thought.

Watching: the Ride London women’s race this evening, the men’s tomorrow. Then there’s a lull until the Vuelta.

Making: ICAD officially finishes on Monday, though I’ve jumped the gun and completed all my cards.

 Still pottering on with Year of Stitches and socks.

Feeling: a bit miffed because we completely forgot about our 46th wedding anniversary during the week – but we were grandparenting and that tends to take all our concentration and energy. We’ll try to find time for a belated celebration next week.

Anticipating: some better weather, please.


Listening to: ‘Sunday Morning’ on Radio 3. The presenter, Jonathan Swain, has one of the best voices on radio, warm and relaxing. He often presents the insomniacs’ Radio 3 programmes, which I listen to, too often.

Reading: still plugging on with the The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain’, interspersed with ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ by Ann Tyler, for (sort of) light relief.

Watching: still the Tour, but today is the last day 😞😞😞😞😞

Making: I’ve decided that the current pair of socks are for me. Sorry, Wensleydale! 

Year of Stitches and ICAD both continue. I’ve also decided that when ICAD finishes at the end of the month, I must use the time I’ve managed to find to do it for drawing/designing – for example small designs for Year of Stitches. I often think things like this when I’m reading drawing or design books. It’s actually doing it that’s difficult…

Feeling: much the same. Overall, things are better with the difficult family member, just as long as no one mentions money. 

Anticipating: the last day of the Tour de France. We’ll have to find something else to do with our time – part from holiday grandparenting, that is. (Autocorrect just changed that to ‘grandpa renting’, which it is, in a way, except that we do it for love, not money.)