My Socky Wocks


Been reading Russell Brand’s My Booky Wook today, hence the title of my post: rather worryingly, his unique narrative voice seems to have implanted itself in my head, so that my own thoughts are now taking on his intonation and turn of phrase. The last time that happened to me was with Hunter S. Thompson. Had I been immersed in Generation of Swine while posting about socks I would no doubt have been describing them in terms such as “ugly” and “depraved”.

So, anyway, they’re finished. My first pair of knitted socks, in Lana Grossa’s Meilenweit Cotton 100 Spirit, from a basic free pattern. I plan to wear these to the inaugural meeting of the Ely KTog next Thursday – I’ll be the demented woman removing her boots to wave her stripy feet at anyone who’ll look!



I obliged the husbandly request for a pair of fingerless mitts. And although we haven’t seen Tim Burton’s reputedly splendidly gorey version of Sweeney Todd yet, as I was crocheting these I came across a publicity shot for the film in which I’m pretty sure the ever-stylish Johnny Depp was sporting fingerless black gloves. For this reason (and because echoes of a gritty British 70s cop show don’t hurt the cool factor either, for those of us in our late 30s) I will forever think of these as “Sweeneys”; but their wearer, as resident guitarist, thinks I should start marketing them under the name of Buskerz®

EDIT: Turns out that “Johnny Depp’s Stitching Fans” on Ravelry have been holding an -along for fingerless mitts inspired by the movie … I will endeavour to be a little more aware of all things Ravelrous before I start my next project …

Round and round and round she goes


I am so close to finishing my first pair of knitted socks … SO very close. Just the toe decreases to go, then a bit of kitchener stitch, and with any luck (last-minute disasters not being entirely ruled out at this stage) I’ll have a pair of wearable trainer socks. Toes crossed …

My DPNs are 2.75mm, and though for a nice snug fit I should really have gone one size down (if only Lantern Moon made their lovely rosewood SoxStix in 2.5mm), counting my rows would have been even trickier: even now, I’m unsure exactly how many foot rounds I’ve done.

I am still only a beginning knitter, and though sock structure is no doubt very logical (and is, in fact, making vastly more sense to me since I started these), figuring out where the gusset shaping ended and the foot began is somehow still beyond me. I’m off for a recount.

Go ahead … Make my day


I was very flattered to be among those nominated for the “You Make My Day” award by a fellow artist and blogger. Here, then, in alphabetical order, is my own list of 5.

  • Andrea Joseph at Andrea Joseph’s Sketchblog
    I’m not sure that the intense observation and the wielding of a pen with such precision can really be termed sketching (just because the comparison makes my own blog look inadequate), but Andrea’s sepia ink drawings (illustrations, musings, puzzles) are a labour of love. She is cool, she’s a tea-drinker and she frequently quotes Joni Mitchell. What is not to love?
  • June Walker at June’s Studio
    June is a fellow oil pastellist who is more than proficient in other media. What really astounds me is the way she can produce a delightful piece of art from nothing – from a few random marks on her paper springs something of imaginative beauty. One of her enchanting artworks hangs on the wall above my daughter’s cot, and we say goodnight to the creatures within it every night before she goes to sleep.
  • R. E. Wolf at Bone & Shadow
    Immanuel Kant is quoted (in the issue of International Artist magazine that I picked up today) as saying, “Artistic beauty does not consist of the representation of a beautiful thing, but the beautiful representation of a thing”. R.E. uses simple materials to make beautiful drawings of skulls, and offers us a little of the history – troubling, affecting, thought provoking – behind them.
  • Ronell van Wyk at Africantapestry
    Ronell creates the most gorgeous watercolour sketches of her home-prepared food and of the French scenery that she is surrounded by – and I lap it up! While her fluid sketches are alive with colour and movement and have an effortless look to them, her writing (and often her choice of subjects) takes a delight in detail.
  • Roz Stendahl at Rozworks
    This isn’t so much a blog as a professional artist’s website which is generous enough to include a vast number of sketchbook pages. I very much enjoy dipping into the insights Roz has shared into her experimentations with gouache, pasted paper, and other media and materials in her visual journals. An inspiration.
  • Yusuke Katsurada at Artist At Heart: Oil Pastel Blog
    I love oil pastels, and sketch from life with them when I can. The simplicity and the humble nature of the subjects that Yusuke homes in on with his own oil pastels seem to me quintessentially Japanese: the resulting sketches are beautifully observed, and have a meditative quality that I love.

Hmm. Did I fire six bullets there, or only five? In any case, I feel lucky. Lucky to have the work of so many artists at my fingertips each day!

EDM #137 Something turn-off-and-onable


A couple of indoor sketches from January. The first is in Profipen & Aquatone, the second in Profipen & coloured pencil, both in my small hand*book journal. Not much to say about these, except that the mp3 player sitting in its customary spaghetti of wires is a Creative Zen Vision:M – because i(don’t)Pod. Oh, and that I’ll be a happy bunny the day our scanner is back in action, because some media just refuse to make friends with my digital camera.

EDM #137: Draw something you can turn on and off.

EDM #15: a tree (or two)


I wouldn’t call myself a tree hugger, but I am certainly a tree sketcher, photographer and fondler lately.

This is a London Plane tree, or platanus × hispanica (I assert with confidence, having practically devoured Collins Complete British Trees cover to cover on realising my shameful ignorance of things arboreal). It sits in Dean’s Meadow near the Cathedral, and I love walking past it every day on our strolls around Ely, because it is so twisty and full of character. Did this 30-min sketch in my small hand*book journal with a new Rapidograph pen while my daughter slept in her pushchair.

Next up is a weeping willow or salix × sepulcralis on the charmingly-named Quai d’Orsay down by the river. This was another pen sketch snatched during nap time, with black and white gouache added later. The grey Canford paper I’d pasted into my hand*book allowed me to have a bit of fun with a medium I wouldn’t usually include in there.

Blue seahorse … for Anita


Inspired a couple of Thursdays ago by Anita Davies’s Postcard Penpals project – and remembering that I owed her a second card from our exchanges last year – I dug out my coloured pencils and tubes of gouache, and this little fella was born.
Gouache & coloured pencil on 4×6″ watercolour postcard