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In recent years I have become increasingly disenchanted with high street clothing. Although I’m no longer constrained by my 3-year wartime rationing experiment, I have struggled to buy replacements for clothes I’ve worn to threads as I simply can't find garments in a style I like or of an acceptable quality or provenance. By spring this year [...]

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Single acts can inspire action. More importantly they can start ripples and create change. A month or so ago I read that Woollenflower (an independent fibre artist) and Rachel Atkinson (the tour de force behind Daughter of a Shepherd yarn) were collaborating to create a small range of gorgeous tweed project bags. These weren’t just your average [...]

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Three months ago many of my compatriots voted to leave the European Union. What followed has not been pretty. Flare-ups of racially motivated abuse and violence; a Whitehall farce with in-fighting in parties, bully boy shenanigans and general disarray about what to do next; pressures on small businesses with costs rising as the pound tumbled; [...]

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Yesterday I went to the Passport Office to renew my passport. It was a bit of an undertaking as dealings with civil service institutions often are. Frustrating, time consuming, at times Kafkaesque but ultimately a success. It feels good to have a valid passport again. Due to circumstances, laziness and a dash of vanity, I [...]


This Thing of Paper

As a philologist* and knitter, I was honoured when Karie Westermann invited me to participate in a blog tour to introduce This Thing of Paper. Karie is a knitting designer whose work I’ve admired for numerous years, not just because of the beauty in her patterns but because her designs inspire me to revisit the familiar with new eyes, like [...]

Lace design elements inspired by 14th-16th century primary sources 0 comments

Mend It May

We’re well into May. While many knitters and sewers in the UK and beyond are celebrating handmade clothes as part of Me Made May, another complimentary grassroots movement has emerged thanks to Jen Gale’s Mend It May project. This movement not only encourages us to fix things, from damaged clothes and torn watches to broken appliances and cracked crockery, [...]

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My mum always reckoned accidents and bad luck came in threes. That’s certainly what it feels like of late. In the last six weeks I have fallen from a ladder injuring my hip; my arthritis has flared up; and now I have suspected tendonitis in my Achilles heel. These niggles and pains mean I have [...]

2016-04-25 10.39.24 0 comments

Apparently it’s National Stationery Week. I’ve never been very good at keeping track of such things. Truth be told, I’m probably not the target audience as I’m a bit too set in my stationery ways: my trusty fountain pens, J. Herbin ink (bottled, of course), 5B pencils (yes, super soft) and a Staedtler eraser. Despite [...]

2016-04-27 23.40.40 0 comments

On making a garden

If gardening magazines and shows are to be believed, gardens come in two forms: vast acres consisting of different rooms designed around various themes or beautifully clipped designs that go from blank canvas to splendour in the space of five months. The truth is somewhat different as any gardener knows. Gardens evolve with the years, the elements, [...]

2016-04-19 08.21.08 0 comments

I am back from a few whirlwind days in Edinburgh squishing wool and talking knitting with other “woollenistas”. The knitter in me loves a good yarn festival as I can check out beautiful wools from indie producers and dyers that are often only available online. The sustainable consumption researcher in me is a little conflicted [...]

2016-03-19 16.16.13 4 comments