Listening to : (and sort of watching ) T.V. coverage of the Tour de France. 

Reading: ‘The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain’ by Ian Mortimer. I’ve read his two previous books , on medieval and Elizabethan England, and enjoyed them, so I’m looking forward to this. All 440 pages. 

Watching: see ‘listening’. This year ITV4 is showing every minute. However today’s 220km in the rain has not been terribly exciting so far, so I don’t think I’ll be watching the early stages of most day’s racing. Unless it’s in the mountains.

Making:  I’ve made a little resolved sample for Year of Stitches, and I’m getting ready to move on from vertical straight stitch. As horizontal straight stitch is effectively just vertical turned sideways, I might try diagonal. 

Still knitting the shawl, still making mistakes. It seems relatively wide for its depth, so if blocking doesn’t sort it, it may be more of a scarf.

I’ve been a little more inspired about ICAD, this week – half way through, so I shall keep on keeping on. 

Feeling: still stressed and down, although my friend N. gave me a very supportive pep talk on Friday, for which, many thanks. I’m sure we can get through this, but it’s going to be a long and unpleasant journey.

Anticipating: the rest of the Tour de France.



Listening: to silence masked by tinnitus.

Reading: ‘Belshazzar’s Daughter’ by Barbara Nader. I’m always attracted by books set abroad, – this one is set in Turkey. I’m enjoying it, despite some blood and gore at the beginning, and the unpleasantness of all the characters, although the protagonist is growing on me.

Watching: still BBC 4’s Japanese series. I’m learning a lot about what is clearly a fascinating country.

Making: I abandoned the socks when I realised I didn’t have enough wool, and started a modular shawl. It’s rather more complex than the sock pattern, and this has been such a stressful week, I’ve made lots of mistakes. But as it’s modular, I never have to pull back more than a maximum 50 stitches and 30 rows.

The Sue Stone inspired sampling has been enjoyable and inspiring: it’s surprising how many variations of simple straight stitch I can think up. I’ve been thinking about how I can use them in a resolved piece – the problem is that such graphic stitching seems unlikely to work well on organic shapes. I’ve got a couple of ideas, but I need to get them down on paper.

I’ve finished another week of ICAD, despite not feeling very inspired. 

Feeling: stressed and down. The unhelpful family member has been causing trouble again. But…

Anticipating: the Tour de France starts on July 1st. That might cheer me up – provided the right men ride and do well!



Listening: to the sound of Babybel’s iPad. I’ve just asked her what she’s watching. ‘Just stuff.’

Reading: a book that I’m going to be rude about, so I’m not going to name it. Like Gladys Michell’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ I picked it up in a charity shop, because it was set in Winchester. I found the plot of the Mitchell novel disappointing, but the picture it painted of post war Winchester was interesting, and accurate as far as I can tell. This anonymous novel, with a contemporary setting, has (so far) a better plot – but the factual errors make me think the author did her research, if any, via Google.  OK if you don’t know the place, irritating if you do.  So far I’ve kept reading, but may more errors and I’ll ditch it.

Watching: more of BBC 4’s Japanese series. I’ve rather gone off long distance travel, but I would like to go to Japan. 

Making: the Wally socks are finished, and I’ve started another pair. Thinking about a shawl next – although I’ve got too many shawls already.

The pulled thread year of stitches piece is also finished. Stitching on hessian is interesting but I don’t think I’d use it for pulled work again. To replace it I’ve started some Sue Stone inspired sampling, with the intention of actually using some of the sample ideas for a resolved piece in a week or two. I’m playing around with straight stitch in horizontal rows , and enjoying the graphicness, if there is such a word, of the results. 

ICAD continues. I’ve always finished, apart from the first year I did it, so I’m pretty confident I will do so this time.

Feeling: hot, full, tired and happy after an enjoyable Father’s Day barbecue, with three generations of The Cheese family in attendance. 

Anticipating: a good night’s sleep.


Listening: to silence – overlaid, as usual, by tinnitus.

Reading: I’ve just finished ‘The Japanese Lover’ by Isabel Allende. I’ve never read any of her books before, but I shall be reading more.

Watching: looking forward to James Fox on Japan. I was about to write that I have a thing for all the male art historians on TV but then I remembered one I can’t stand. (The women are good too, but not in the same way.)

Making: the ‘Where’s Wally’ socks are making good progress. I’m using a few balls of charity shop 3ply – Emu Scotch and Patons Beehive. No idea how old it is but the balls are labelled in ounces. Despite its age, it seems in good nick – no evidence of moths.

The Year of Stitches pulled thread piece is making progress. You will be looking at it for a long time before you think of hawthorn blossom, but that’s where the idea came from. Or maybe it’s that I just like circles?

These are the latest ICAD pieces. I realise some of them need more work, but I’m resisting the temptation to add it, as I think it’s more of a learning experience if I don’t. When I look back at them I’ll be reminded that I stopped too soon.

Feeling: tired. This is partly the effect of staying up later than I had intended on Thursday night/Friday morning – I find the day after the day after a bad night is always worse than the day after, if that makes any sense. It’s also because I spent the afternoon packing up the glassware we never use, to go to the charity shop next week, and now I’m knackered, as there was rather a lot of it. All part of preparation for down sizing.

Anticipating: getting the non-downsized stuff into one cupboard so we can get rid of two empty ones. Yes, we’ve got that much junk.



Listening: to the sound of the vacuum cleaner, operated by W. Yes, he’s wonderful.

Reading: the novella, ‘Where Three Roads Meet’ by Salley Vickers. One of the Canongate Myths series, it’s the story of Oedipus, told to Freud, in the last months of his life, by a mysterious stranger. Full of ideas about philosophy and religion, as Salley Vickers’ books always are. 

Watching: late night cycling – I suppose I should be grateful to ITV 4 for showing the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Women’s Tour, but do they have to be on so late?

Making: comfort knitting socks. I think of these as ‘Where’s Wally?’ socks, also intended for Wensleydale.

I’ve finished my Liz Payne/hawthorn inspired piece. I really like the effect of embroidery over paint, and intend to return to it. In the meantime it’s back to Dawn Thorne, sort of. This is as far as I’ve got.  

Make Something Every Day is definitely on the back burner, ICAD has taken over. These are the first four. I’m trying to be more adventurous this year, and to actually do some drawing, but I haven’t yet plucked up courage to do it. 

Feeling: there are signs of progress, but I’m still up and down. Remarkably, I’m sleeping better than I have for ages – as long as I don’t wake up in the small hours, as I did this morning. I can stop myself brooding at bed time, but at 3 a.m.? No chance. 

Anticipating: after the business of half term, getting back into our new routine.


Listening: to ‘Choral Evensong’ on Radio 3.
Reading: just finished ‘Thin Air’ by Anne Cleeves. It’s odd how murder mysteries can be escapist fiction. See below!

Watching: the last of Hinterland. The continuing theme of all three series has been resolved: I hope this doesn’t mean this was the last one. I need a regular dose of Richard Harrington looking pensively into the distance, in a dramatic landscape.

Making: still comfort knitting socks. These are intended for Wensleydale, as I think he will appreciate plain blue more than the previous, more idiosyncratically coloured pair. 

I’ve been distracted from my Stitch Every Day intention to carry on with ideas from Dawn Thorne’s ‘Transparency in Textiles’, by an article in Embroidery magazine about Liz Payne. 

So I painted 6 white circles on a piece of hand dye – and stalled about what to do next. Not so much stitch every day, more procrastinate for days and then try to make up for lost time. However I’m enjoying adding marks, and texture to the circles. 

 Make Something Every Day has been pretty much the same, but I did manage a couple of prompts, though neither was worth photographing. ICAD starts next week, so MSED will probably be on the back burner again till that’s over. I’ve ordered one of the cheap photo albums I keep completed index cards in, and made a ‘title page’, so I’m all set. I’m hoping the sudden desire to use really bright colours for this is a sign that my mood is improving. 

Feeling: still up and down, but generally more hopeful – the sunshine helped, as did, surprisingly, the dramatic lightning display early on Saturday morning. And the Muntjac which appeared in our garden twice the same day. 

I think the problem is not so much feeling depressed, more that I’m finding minor events, which I would normally brush off,  dent my normal optimism.

Anticipating: looking forward to half term with the little guys. 



Listening: to ‘The Early Music Show’ on Radio 3.

Reading: not a lot. This has been a rotten week, for a number of reasons, and my brain can’t cope with anything more than simple knitting, playing Patience, and brooding.

Watching: still Hinterland. It matches my mood, and the visuals are amazing.

Making: still socks. I finished the first pair, which are somewhat eccentric, due to errors in knitting, and running out of one colour: they are fraternal rather than identical twins. I’ve finished my Stitch Every Day, Dawn Thorne inspired sample, and I hate it, which is no fault of Ms Thorne’s. Edited highlights above. 

 I also came to hate the orange book for Make Something Every Day so I took out the bit I liked best and binned the rest. Then, also for MSED, I made a very quick thing with nuts, and what was going to be a quick, hawthorn inspired thing with coffee stained paper, which turned into the best work I did all week. 

Feeling: very down. There’s a member of the family who seems determined to make things as difficult as possible, plus I have a cold. The little guys should be arriving soon, so I hope they can cheer me up.

Anticipating: hoping for the best, planning for the worst