Well, that was a considerably longer blogging pause than I’d expected…

Something to do with a very busy Easter holiday, followed by a brutal three-day migraine – arrrgh!

Anyway, with a bit of luck, the flashing lights and sledgehammer in the brain, have now gone away and something akin to normal service is being restored.

So, since I was last here, I’ve worked on this…


Sometime around Easter I put the final stitches into this piece. I took this photo in the garden, and it’s made it look considerably brighter than it does in real life. I started this piece in the middle of winter and so it feels wrong to see it in strong light. It was born during the shortest days of the year, as I sat wrapped in blankets to keep warm. As I was making it, I kept thinking that actually it’s home should be a dining room, with flickering candle-light, because it truly glimmers and changes as light catches the metallic threads.

I deliberately avoided straight edges for a change. My intention is to play around a little with fraying the canvas before I mount it. I’m not at all sure how that will turn out, but we’ll see.

Once the purply tree (I’ll come up with a better title for it one of these days) was finished, I thought I’d have another go with my Nemesis – greens…

Am I the only person who has problems with getting greens right?

Anyway, this is where I’m at on that one…

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Umm. Well, we’ll see.

In other news…

I have had a mad spree, picking up a wonderful selection of Shakespeare authorship books – I’ve found that Oxfam book-shops are excellent places to ferret around in for these more obscure titles. We had a trip to Oxford one day, which was very useful – I wonder if it’s where the dons donate their surplus-to-requirement texts…

Then there was the afternoon in Berkhamsted Oxfam – not only a delight to find more Shakespeare related books, but also something I’ve wanted for a long time – a collection of the works of Thomas Traherne.

And finally, a marvellous day out in Hay-on-Wye (my favourite town in the world, oh yes, I’m not exaggerating!) – where I found yet more Shakespeare stuff.

I’m working my way through, so expect another Shakespearean post before too long.

And at last, we made it out on a few of history trips; a very cold and wet afternoon at Packwood House (which included a lot of chocolate), a return to Goodrich Castle, a fabulous afternoon at Skenfrith Castle and church, and a visit to Grosmont Castle. I’ll put the pictures up on The Mists of Time as soon as I can.

Skenfrith church was an extra special experience for me, as I hadn’t known about their fabulous Skenfrith Cope – a simply breath-taking piece of medieval ecclesiastical embroidery. Walking into a small local church and discovering that treasure was something I’ll never forget.

Having said that, the amazing light in the church did test my photography skills way beyond their limits, so nil point there, but in case you’re interested this is what I took…

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I just wish it was possible to know whose fingers made those stitches, and what their daily life was like…

Right, good to be back, lots of catching up to do.

Happy stitching!

Ta Dah…

Well thanks to a productive weekend, it’s done! Thank you so much to everyone who commented with ideas on a name for the latest piece. Something nearly always suggests itself to me while I’m working on a canvas, but this time although I’ve really enjoyed stitching it, there was a deafening radio silence as far as names were concerned, so it was really helpful to hear your thoughts.

There was considerable consensus on a title that spoke about flow, movement and nature. Something about it evidently evokes a Jacobean feeling, and the colours are distinctly autumnal.

As I’ve been stitching during the last week or so, I’ve been mulling over all your comments, playing around with word associations and combinations, waiting for the name that felt right to emerge.

Now when I tell you what happened, you’ll have to remember I am a true child of the ’60s, certain experiences molded me at an early age. So when Alister at The Bargellist mentioned in his comment being able to see snails, it triggered a chain reaction in my head. First I had a little giggle, because although not designed as snails, I could see precisely what he meant, I’m forever drawing spirals, they crop up in lots of things I make, and yes, there is a distinct snailiness about this piece.

The obvious thing was to call it snails, but…

…the trouble is, I am of the The Magic Roundabout generation, for me all snails have but one name, and so, although I tried hard to think of it as something a trifle more elegant, in the end I give you…

IMAG4881… Brian

You might be interested to know that in Christian art, snails symbolise laziness or the deadly sin of sloth…

Thank you to Catherine at Knotted Cotton for introducing me to A Scientific Romance – I’ve just bought a copy and will add it to the reading for the  ‘A Year in Books’ project.

If you want to indulge in a little Magic Roundabout nostalgia, click here.

Time for bed

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This, that and the other…

Well, THIS is where I am with the current piece…

IMAG4548Would anyone care to suggest a title? Usually something pops up in my mind, but I think my creative impulse is taking a spring break…

Here it is a bit closer up…

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While THAT – below– is what happens when you finally get your old easel out and play with paint all afternoon.


Although I always felt most at home with oil paint,  the practical difficulties of using it in a house where there’s no space to leave your kit set up and where you have to snatch opportunities ‘as and when’, has prevented me from painting for years. But lately Number One Daughter and I have been dabbling in gouache and acrylics, which although not the same as oil, do give you the chance to use similar techniques, and can be tidied up fairly painlessly – (the kitchen gallantly doubles as a studio, but sooner or later it has to revert to primary function).

So as it was SO MUCH FUN, I shall probably do it again…


And THE OTHER news…

I’ve been going all soft and gooey over the delicious yarns from Eleanor at Solstice Yarns (be warned, a visit to her Etsy shop will have you dribbling and/or grasping for your credit card)

IMAG4556This little bundle of silky joy is my latest acquisition.

And on a more mundane front, I have just bought these little chaps…


I’ve had so much trouble with very sore fingers over the last year or so, sometimes I wondered if I was allergic to the yarn or scrim, but then I read something recently about nickel allergy and a penny dropped. Of course it might not be anything to do with it, but I’m going gold-plated for now to see if things improve.

Happy stitching!


Over in the sidebar, are my Instagram pics of the Daily Tree Project, with the occasional stitchy update and other random snaps from daily life around here.

Do feel free to explore, or follow on Instagram or Twitter.

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

Sending a huge thank you to Tanya and Elizabeth for giving me the confidence to go all the way – and wet the tree.

I’ve pussy-footed about steaming odd bits before, but never had the guts to get everything really wet, now, thanks to the encouragement from you all, I’ve done it.

treeAnd it worked! 

I am absolutely delighted and will now be giving the same treatment to the rest of the pile of wonky pieces sitting on the self – I just need to invest in another couple of packets of drawing pins.

Now that it’s square, the finishing options are much more straightforward – so I’ll start nagging the Other Half for the promised frame (who knows, at this rate I’ll probably end up making it myself).


And in other news…

Anyone who’s been having the occasional peep at the snaps in the sidebar, might have seen the new piece I’ve started. Here it is…

IMAG4260Take no notice of the colours I’ve drawn in, I’m working in a more red/green palette – err, well it looks like this…

IMAG4257I needed to go couching again after months of tent stitch, – it’s a weird kind of release, and I like to watch and see where the yarns decide to go.

IMAG4264So that’s me on the stitching front. Hope your projects are all coming along the way you want them.

Happy stitching!



Over in the sidebar, are my Instagram pics of the Daily Tree Project, with the occasional stitchy update and other random snaps from daily life around here.

Do feel free to explore, or follow on Instagram or Twitter. 




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Journey to the centre of the splodge…

Wish me luck chaps, I’m going in…

Yes, after considerably longer than I originally thought it would take, I’m now getting nearer to the centre of the splodge.

Remember when it started…

IMAG0766A few weeks in…

IMAG1337And now in the best Jules Verne tradition, I’m going into the middle.


It won’t stay in the frame now, so I’ve taken to lying on the sofa with it propped over my knees – I hesitate to think what the nosey neighbours think I’m doing.

Hope I’ll have something complete to show before too much longer. If I’m not back before July, send a search party.

Happy stitching.

Indulging in hedonism…

Now, I’d be telling a porky-pie, if I said it had been a brilliant January – sick child, sick dog (when will they learn to use a bucket), leaden skies, snow, ice, more snow and more ice, frozen shower, sick car (amusingly timed trouble with the clutch – great fun on icy roads) – you know – very January.

But – while all that stuff was going on, I was also having a whale of a time with the piece of experimental couching/needlepoint I started at the beginning of December.

This piece has seen me through all the pre-Christmas stressiness, the relaxing time between Christmas and New Year and the grot of the last couple of weeks. I’ve loved every moment! (click on the picture if you want a closer look)


Something about the curviness drew me in completely. As it progressed, it demanded jewel colours and lots of twinkly threads. The day the first red went in, I held my breath, but it was right. So here it is, gaudy, swirly, shamelessly glittery – and I love it.

The only thing it never acquired while I was stitching, was a name.

But then as I thought about it, just one word popped up – hedonism,

Sensual indulgence – the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires), is the highest good and proper aim of human life. (Dictionary)

I think that’s what it wanted…

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Happy stitching.




Playing with windows…

So here I am, happily couching for England, having a thoroughly good time with the treasures I bought last week, fascinated by watching where this experiment is going.

IMAG0344 IMAG0343 IMAG0347 IMAG0348 IMAG0345And yet I am living a double life, because while I’m stitching, my mind is actually seeing something completely different. I’m becoming obsessed again with stained glass windows.

I blame the visit to Prague last year. Seeing the windows in St Vitus’ Cathedral was a bit like being immersed in sensory overload. Looking at all that coloured glass was how I imagine it would feel like to live inside a kaleidoscope. I’m not sure my brain went back together with all the pieces in the same place.

And at last, thanks to seeing what can be achieved with couching, and being able to use a greater variety of threads, I can feel in my bones that what I see in my mind, might make it onto the canvas.

I’ve had a little play this afternoon to see how it might start out.


Of course it won’t look anything like this once I really get started, but sometimes it helps to get a few ideas down on paper.


Happy stitching.

Naughty girl…

Hello, Happy New Year!

OK, so it’s confession time – I’ve been up to no good.

The sun came out this morning and I was filled up with the need for colour. And so I tried to be good, I really did. I pulled out my yarn stocks and had a good rummage around. I have loads of course, but you know how it is, in my mind, I wanted rich jewel purples and reds and deep fathomless blues

And there just weren’t any that were quite right.

You know where this is heading don’t you…

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Well, it had to be done.

The yarn with the curly texture, is recycled sari silk. I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to give it a go until I started couching, but now I’m feeling happy that I can use it even if it turns out to be a pain in the proverbial.

The mixtures are from Oliver Twists – I don’t so much want to stitch with these, as to drape them all over me and hiss ‘my precious’.

Thank you to Rainbow Silks in Great Missenden for this little hoard. (And I don’t feel too guilty, it didn’t break the bank).

I can feel something stained glass-ish coming on again. Better go and start playing.

Happy stitching!