To my Husband, on his Mother’s Birthday

Today my lovely, sweet Mother-in-law would have been 80.  She was such a caring, gentle person and I admired her for so many things.

We drove over to visit her grave today – DH planted some snowdrops while Monkey supervised.  It is quiet there – which was very like her.  Quiet and calm, despite all the things.

The hills were beautiful – snow and mist but not too much of either.

We mourn her most, perhaps, in autumn – when she died.  Fallen leaves in a glass on the windowsill.

Time passes.  Not so much, yet.  Hopefully the snowdrops with thrive and spread.  A little understated cheer – like a hug from a small, slight lady.


January 20, 2018 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment

Looking in Both Directions

This is not going to be a post about road-safety, although you might well think that.  I mean more looking backwards & forwards.

Backwards (‘The Past’ – unless you are Dr Who) seems a sad place sometimes.  Particularly around this time of year for many people.

For me – today is 10 years since my dearly loved & loving Grandmother died.  But I can’t look at it like that – that isn’t how I work.  So it is also 10 years since she stopped being in pain.  Rattling with tablets & tables of when to take them all.

That seems all very black & white written down like that.  I suppose the reality is something in-between.  Perhaps sometimes we never get over the fact that a person we love won’t answer my ‘we’re here!‘ and maybe hope that she never noticed that it used to be ‘we’re home!‘.  Because in a way it was home.  She was home.  The first thing I see when I think about her is her sitting & knitting.  Sometimes for herself, but mostly for her family.  I think I knit because she did.  Unfortunately DH & Monkey prefer shop-bought jumpers, and whereas I’m probably quite a good knitter, I’m terrible at choosing what to make that I can/will wear (and also sewing the ends in).

But all the other crafty things that I do – they don’t come directly from her.  By the time I knew her, she didn’t really do dress-making.  I don’t think I ever saw her embroider.  But I think that just being around her – being aware of her patiently creating a thing that worked.  Figuring out a difficult stitch pattern to make a complicated jumper that I still wear sometimes, and always with pride.

That is something I strive for.  To make things I love to make.  To be proud of the things I make, even if they have to be passed on because they don’t fit me, or because I picked colours that looked good together rather than looking good on me.  To get better at what I do.  Not to win a prize but just to be proud of what I can finish.  Really should sew some ends in.

Which brings me to the ‘forwards’ part.  In a couple of weeks I start a textiles course.  There probably won’t be much knitting involved, but I’m hoping to learn a lot from it – how to make things that work will be a large component I think.  And I can then carry that forward again into the hodgepodge of ideas I always have floating around in my head.

So I’m sorry that she won’t be there to see the things that she partly helped happen.  But two of my closest friends – my Mother & my Sister, who still struggle more than I do with the loss of my Grandmother, will be cheering me on the whole time.  And as they are also a part of the biggest thing she made – her family – that seems quite appropriate.



December 26, 2017 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

ATC Swap – Not Going According To Plan

I recently signed up for another ATC swap – ‘Small’ (thank you VeryBerry).  I had a good idea & most of the supplies I would need & the other bits I got last week (I have quite a while before it needs to be sent).  I got started a couple of days ago – I got my lettering picked out & arranged on the computer, I had my lace ribbons out to check spacing & I found the right kind of needle for sewing on fine-ish linen.

I got the first of my two ideas sorted pretty easily – I just did the word in small cross-stitch.  I was then going to cut a rectangle around it & join it to the lace to make it the right size with insertion stitching.  I didn’t want to cut it straight away so I started on the other idea.

This one, the plan was to do the letters in Hardanger, which basically means you sew some bits then cut some of the threads of the fabric.  You pull the special threads out & it leaves a pattern of holes.  Then you do some more stitching.  I got as far as the second set of stitching & it just looks awful!  You can’t tell the letters, they just merge into a block & it looks really clunky, so I abandoned that & did another in cross-stitch.

Now I have two the same, I did some mini-stitch samples to work out how to join the lace differently and it just isn’t working.  I need to go back to the drawing board & try some more things.  But I’m really pleased I tried the Hardanger, I have been meaning to use this technique for the last couple of swaps but just couldn’t make it work.  I’ve done a kit before & like the effect – hopefully I can find a way of using it next time.

As for this swap, I shall put the lace away & go look at some books for inspiration.  Hopefully without losing my nice needle down the sofa in the process!

November 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

Towards the end of a weekend…

This is all probably going to be a bit back-to-front. It is kind of getting close to being time to cook dinner, but not quite, so I thought I’d unpack, as I got back from a fabric stencilling weekend a couple of hours ago. Getting started with some Alabama Chanin-style garments.  My aunt started a jacket and my Mum and I started a skirt each.

Anyway, normally what happens is the suitcase gets abandoned somewhere in the house. The laundry gets taken to the laundry pile and much of what is left gets, er, left.

This time I was determined to do something about it before DH and Monkey get back from their trip to the Great Western Brick Show in Swindon in a few hours. However, as usual I was distracted. The fabric I used for my skirt, well there is quite a lot left so I’ll need to find space for it on a fabric shelf. Then I remembered that. All my jersey fabric is in a pile on the floor from when I was deciding which to take for the weekend. So I’ll need to sort it out properly at some point. But then I don’t really have room to store it all, so I may as well use it. I get into a circular argument about what to spend the time doing – finishing the skirt I started, or a different project which is ongoing (like one of the quilts) or tidy up.

So I wrote a blog post instead. It was going to be about an idea I had for tidying up, but I just decided it wasn’t a very good idea. The new plan is to finish this post, sort dinner out, then go do a little tidying up before I eat. I can then watch a video or something and do some sewing before the boys get back.

Wow, decisiveness! Of course we’ll just have to see how far I actually get with it…

October 8, 2017 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

Creative Identity for Journals

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front – I seem to do that a lot these days. I’ve been making quilts mostly. Ordinarily I’d have then moved back to knitting, and I did (mostly) finish a project but I can’t seem to get back into it. I’ve tried to tackle a few things but I’m just not clicking with it at the moment.

In an effort to organise ourselves a little more, we’ve start journaling.  DH and I do something like bullet journaling and Monkey’s is just a way of keeping track of how much computer games he gets.

We didn’t get the ‘proper’ bullet journal – DH is using an A5 lined notebook, I found a nice plain A5 notebook for Monkey (although the outside is decorated) and I’m using a couple of A6 notebooks in a special folder thing. I think it is Travel Journal style, although I’ve looked at so many folksy/easy items and pinterest ideas that I’ve almost lost track.  Anyway, its a little binder thing that fits in my shoulder bag with a notebook in it for the day’s to-do list, and one for ideas, shopping lists etc.

Sometimes I go looking for ideas of things to do to make it a bit more interesting – I’ve been trying to ‘work on my sketchbook more for maybe 15 years. Almost always without success. Occasionally I get fired up and do stuff like take a notebook on holiday and make notes/draw stuff. Then I get home and the impetus is gone. Also I can’t find the notebook.

As we are planning a couple of trips over the next few weeks I’m trying to get my brain in gear to do something arty/notebook-ish so I was browsing pinterest for ideas. I’m trying to discover what kind of journaller I am.

I looked at some ‘smash’ journals and they just looked chaotic to me. I have looked at Becky Higgins/Erin Condren and they feel really prescriptive. So I’m probably somewhere in between really organised and really disorganised. Or maybe vaguely organised, with room to go off on a tangent. As in journaling, so in life, right?

I want to keep up with the notebooks while we’re away, but don’t have much space in either the notebook or the luggage to try loads of new stuff.

Whatever I end up doing will need to fit with how we travel – public transport, lots of stuff crammed into a day, and the high likelihood that I’ll spend a good chunk of the holiday sitting to one side while Monkey explores the Science Museum or wherever we end up going. Not conducive to super creativity. And there won’t be time or space to do stuff in the evenings – we’re staying in a Youth Hostel and they don’t usually have desks in the rooms. Could collect stuff and save it till we get home? See losing notebooks, earlier in this post.

Right, I’m back off to browse pinterest, otherwise it’s two notebooks and a biro, and where’s the fun in that?












September 11, 2017 at 6:06 am Leave a comment

Identity Tag – Part 1

I tend to think of us as having not much routine at home but we probably do.  Just not the usual out to work/school stuff. One routine we have is Monkey’s bedtime. Once he’s ready for bed he has a story unless he’s been messing around and runs out of time.   Then there is sometimes time for a chat. About all kinds of things.  Sometimes things we’ve done during the day, or maybe things about when I was his age.

Recently we were talking about toys, I think, then we ended up at the ‘pink for girls, blue for boys’ statement. From him, not me, I hasten to add. Inside I thought ‘yay, here’s a chance to discuss gender stereotyping and some of the stuff I’ve learned over the last few years about pronouns and non-binary attraction’.

The first problem with all this is that I have a limited amount of ‘not-train stuff’ before he gets bored and starts telling me things about London Underground.

So after pointing out that the pink/blue thing doesn’t always work I reminded him about one of DH’s friends from uni who prefers to have sex with men, and one of my friends (who has a son a bit younger than Monkey) who prefers to have sex with women. That is where it got a bit complicated.

Monkey stumped me momentarily with a sex question. That doesn’t happen very often hence my unpreparedness. He asked me how does that work (as in ‘straightforward’ homosexuality).  I can’t remember most of what I said but probably something along the lines of ‘Oh, er, well using different parts of the body’, whilst thinking ‘argh I’m making a mess of this, what do I say next…’. I can’t remember what the next question was but I think I said I don’t know.  Then probably changed the subject, whilst cringing that I didn’t make a better job of it.

I’m hoping that at some point it will crop up again and I can improve on my less-than-ideal performance. Maybe there’s a book for it – we have ‘Where did I come From’ for basic sex-ed (when he doesn’t want to talk about it). I need something that talks about LGBTQ+. I want him to know that there’s different ways for people to love each other. And a whole spectrum of differences between people (actually that might be how I finished off the conversation, now that I think about it – that all these differences were so interesting and amazing). The problem is I don’t know enough about it!

So if anyone has any recommendations of non-CIS explanation books which are appropriate for an 8-year old to read with a parent and/or alone I’d really appreciate it!

June 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

So Many Ideas

Not only is my head so full of ideas I can’t decide what to do first, but I can’t decide how to write about it – this being the second attempt.

I got the twin quilts finished so I have a pile of fabric scraps to turn into hexagons.  Alternatively I have the fabric (but no definite plan) for another two quilts. I’m finding the Linus Project useful as it means I have a home for all the quilts I am doing while I learn techniques and find out which work for me.  Otherwise we would be up to our eyeballs in quilts.

Another option is that I start the tunic I’m planning.  I got the fabric for it while I was in London and although it is quite happy perched on the shelf, it would be more useful perched on me.

The other projects whizzing round my head at the moment all seem to need other input.  There is a quilt top which is finished so I could work on the back but I can’t finish it as I need more wadding. I can pick that up when I drop the twin quilts off but I can’t do that until Monday.

I’ve been looking at lovely quilt patterns on Pinterest which need lots of hexagons. Which I have. All hemmed and ready to sew together. If I want to spend hours arranging hexies I’ll need the living room floor which I can’t have until the boys go out to Sheldon tomorrow.

I’m probably just going to have to have a look at stuff. I’m sure something will stand out as a fabulous next-project. Or I could just go back to browsing Pinterest 🙂

March 18, 2017 at 5:46 pm 1 comment

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