Listening: to Sunday Morning. It’s one of Radio 3’s more eclectic programmes, which I know drive some Radio 3 listeners wild, but which I like. Arvo Part to Sarah Vaughan, just my cup of tea.

Reading: Ellie Griffiths’ Outcast Dead. I somehow missed this one when it first came out, so as I’ve read the subsequent books in the series, I know what happens to some of the characters. A bit of a spoiler, but I don’t know who dunnit, so not too much of a problem.

Watching: BBC4’s Make! Craft Britain again. I enjoyed the cross stitch more than I expected, mostly because of the characters involved, but I still won’t be taking it up any time soon. The silver clay was inspiring but I do not need any more hobbies. I do not need any more hobbies. I do not need any more hobbies. That’s why I’m going on a weaving class on Tuesday.

Making: still socks and samplers. More of the second than the first – I was very inspired by these flower motifs in Anne Brandon Jones’ Stitch Patterns and Design for Embroidery.

Feeling: sad that our favourite craft shop/cafe, Rums Eg in Romsey, has closed down. It wasn’t unexpected, but we’ll miss it. Where else can we go for unusual presents and great scones?

Anticipating: a couple of weeks off grandparenting, though we’ll miss the little darlings. (Not so little now, Babybel is only half a head shorter than me and desperate to outgrow me!)

Visiting. No interesting visits this week, just the hairdressers and the dump.




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 Words and Music on Radio 3, always one of my favourite hours in the week.

Reading: Difficult Daughters by Manju Kanpur, who is a new author to me. I love novels about India, and this one, which focuses on women, is especially good.

Watching: not a lot, but the new BBC4 series on crafts looks like it may be interesting.

Making: I recently came across India Flint’s Bagstories. I was interested because it is an exploration of a simple Japanese bag shape, the tsunobukuro, which looks as if it would lend itself to embroidery. So yesterday, I decided to make one, as a quick sample.

It’s a simple shape and a simple process, really, but I won’t list the mistakes I made. The first was to ignore the little voice in my head that told me to make a paper mock-up first. The last was to box the corners the wrong way.

However, it is finished, and it used up a big dramatic piece of hand dye I’ve been keeping until it told me what it wanted to be. I hadn’t realised quite how big it would end up, but it’s big enough to hold my collection of small looms rescued from charity shops, replacing a tatty plastic bag.

The sampler has made steady progress too. I finished the couching/laid work sampling, and went back to the Anne Brandon Jones inspired patterns. This week’s colour scheme is analogous colours based round red-orange and I really like it.

The socks have also made progress, even though we’ve felt too tired to watch Scandinavia drama.

Feeling: much better physically, I think the flu is nearly over. The family situation isn’t, there’s still a lot of shouting going one, but it smacks of desperation.

Anticipating: it seems likely to be a snow day tomorrow. There may be some snowballing and snowman building in my future. Unfortunately. I hope there is also some toast and hot chocolate



Listening: to a 46 year old recording of evensong from Chichester Cathedral on Radio 3. As you do.

Reading: Ellie Griffith’s Dark Angel. I love her Ruth Galloway novels, and her new one is well up to standard.

Watching: looking forward to Andrew Graham Dixon on the Art of Spain on Monday. OK, we’ve seen it twice already, but his knowledge and enthusiasm mean it hasn’t got boring yet.

Making: onto the second sock, which despite my best intentions is going to be a fraternal, not identical twin of the first.

The latest instalment of Beyond TAST is couching and laid work. I did a lot of couching when I was making my Sue Stone-inspired samples, but not much laid work. And I remembered that, just as I got to the stage with those samples when I had had enough couching, I found my copy of this 1967 book, which has lots of laid work in it. So I’ve been trying a few of those, at the bottom.

Feeling: tired, but more positive. I have a big birthday coming up this week – one of those numbers you can never envisage reaching until you get there and then you can’t quite believe it. Our younger son laid on a lunch party for us, his brother, and their partners. The children were with their mother unfortunately, but it was nice to have a quiet get together with the grown up members of the family. I will see the children on my actual birthday, so that will be nice.

Anticipating: the VHC is coming for a sleepover on Monday, while his big sister sings in a concert. I foresee quite a lot of reading of Thomas books in grandads’s future.



Listening: to Rachel Podger’s choice on Radio 3. Gentle and beautiful.

Reading: Kirsty Wark’s The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, from the library. It is excellent – moving and life affirming. Just what I need at the moment.

Watching: World Track Championship cycling.

Making: the oversize cowl was finished, washed and blocked in time for the snow – (here in the Deep South it arrived later than elsewhere).

So now it’s on/back to socks. I let Wensleydale have his pick of the sock wool, but after days of overcast skies, it’s only today that we’ve realised just how bright it is. Doesn’t worry him though, and as he always wears Docs I’m probably the only one who’ll ever see them.

I’ve felt well enough to resume samplering, so some steady progress has been made. I’ve finished the fly stitch variations I tried for Beyond TAST, so I’ll be back to Anne Brandon Jones when I’ve completed these not quite accurate daffodils for St David’s Day.

Feeling: still up and down. The uncooperative family member is no longer a family member, but that hasn’t made them any more cooperative. They seem to think that the court orders which accompany the divorce don’t apply to them, despite the part at the bottom which states that failure to comply is contempt of court. We may be about to find out.

On the other hand, the flu is definitely improving, we didn’t have to go out in the snow and don’t until Monday, and it’s thawing.

Anticipating: two more sessions of cycling, today and tomorrow..



Listening: to silence – and tinnitus.

Reading: I’ve just read GM Malliet’s Pagan Spring. I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of the series. I began to get irritated by it when I realised that, despite being set in some sort of West Country Midsomer, it was written in US English. And I prefer my modern detective fiction gritty rather than silly.

Watching: in lieu of Modus, we’ve been watching Rebecca Martinsson: Arctic Murders on More 4. Almost as far fetched as Modus, but the scenery is stunning.

Making: the cowl is making rapid progress, even though I have made it wider so I can pull it over my head if need be. Having worked with fine yarns for so long I’d forgotten how quickly Aran grows. I don’t think I’ll get it finished before this cold snap finishes though.

The sock wool I ordered has arrived. It’s every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped. Unfortunately, although I got the blue and grey for Wensleydale, he fancies the brighter colours as much as I do. A certain amount of negotiation may be necessary.

On the other hand, the sampler has more or less ground to a halt. As it says, flu has struck, and my ability to concentrate on embroidery when feverish is much worse than my ability to concentrate on knitting.

Feeling: like the curate’s egg. On the one hand, I’ve got flu, which means a lot of coughing and aching, but not much sleeping. On the other hand it looks as if, after nearly 12 months of bitter wrangling, the family legal problems may be all over bar the shouting (and there will still be a lot of shouting from the unhelpful family member, who is not one to give in gracefully). Final agreements have been signed and it should all be finalised next week.

Anticipating: tonight’s sleepover. The grands are usually pretty good when they’re here, but the VHC loves to be read to at bed time, and as grandad enjoys reading to him, it can get a bit protracted. Babybel will happily read to herself, but we have to check that when her light goes out, it stays out!



Listening: to silence.

Reading: I’ve just finished Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies, borrowed on line from the library. Every time I read one of his books I’m struck by the breadth of his knowledge – and I’m sure I miss a lot of the references. He’s sadly missed.

Watching: I gave up on Modus, although Wensleydale is persisting with it. We watched Britain at Low Tide, which was interesting, although I dislike the way documentaries these days set up 3 or 4 story lines, and then jump between them, in an attempt to keep you watching. It’s irritating and if it’s combined with speeded up clouds, or other clichés, I turn off.

Making: the socks are finished, all bar darning in the ends. In their place I’ve started a cowl – simple pattern stitches I can knit without looking, and no heels to turn. I have ordered some more sock wool, though.


The sample has made steady progress. For Beyond TAST I had to chooses a simple stitch and experiment with it, which is something I like doing. I chose fly stitch, just because I like it.

Feeling: tired. Partly because of the cough, which is getting better but very slowly, partly because half term was busy – enjoyable, but busy.

Anticipating: a quieter week next week. (How often have I said that?) But we have a sleepover on Saturday, and before that we have to move lots of stuff, which is on its way to be recycled, out of the kids’ bedrooms.