Don’t get me wrong, I love our flat, but did I mention that it is berloody freezing? There is one source of heat in the living room, and we have the cooker in the kitchen, but everywhere else is baltic. In winter we wander around the place wrapped up like woolly mammoths. I have been tempted on a few recent occasions to get out our RAB mountaineering sleeping bags. These are guaranteed ‘safe’ to minus five, so will probably do the trick.

I have been buried under a pile of marking for several days and have been rewarding myself between scripts by making a patchwork blanket to warm us and the bedroom up.


A few months ago I visited Hinnigans in Selkirk and bought several offcuts of thick woollen fabric. As I understand it, these are waste lengths, produced when the makers are testing different patterns and colourways on the looms. I bought three lengths — bluish, pinkish, and brown — all about a foot wide. Out of these I’ve enough fabric to patch together a blanket six foot square. Here it is partly pinned and partly pieced together.


I am going to attach a back to the blanket (a burgundy coloured old cotton sheet), quilt the top (in a basic geometric fashion, following the diagonals) and edge it with bias binding. The wool is very thick and warm and already has a quilt-like squashiness which means no batting is required. Each of the long lengths of wool cost me 50p, so, with the recycled backing and the notions from stash, the materials cost £1.50 in total, which really isn’t bad. The fabric reminds me of the Welsh tapestry capes one so often sees in charity shops. Well, I often see them anyway — most usually in lurid 1970s shades of bright green and orange. The colours of the patchwork are a bit less lurid, but the dense quality of the wool is equally pleasing. While I love the fabric, there is little to say about the simple design, and the less said about the execution the better (!), but I shall post a finished picture when the whole hybrid patchwork-quilt-blanket is completed at the end of the week.

In other news, I am veritably basking in internetniceness, having been tagged with one of these by four lovely fellow bloggers.
I would have tagged Alice and Kirsty meself, had I got in first: they are both enviably talented crafters with two very distinctive creative styles, and they also write uberblogs chock full of wit and smartness. Leslie and Mick’s blogs are new to me, but their tag has given me the opportunity to discover them. Many of the blogs I read regularly are, on the surface, very different from each other but, thinking about it today, they do have one thing in common — and that is a particular, often idiosyncratic, aesthetic that colours everything they do. This aesthetic can be something I identify with on a personal level, as is the case with Estyn, who has an incredible eye for the chance lovelines of the everyday, or Helen, a talented knitter who also takes beautiful, evocative pictures of the landscape of the Borders and Assynt. But there are also bloggers that inspire me because their culture and creative practice is very different to my own. Flor and Lene come into this category. While I have never met Ashley I sort of feel I know her very well because of the warmth of her writing, as well as the lovely things she makes and an, um ‘real life’ intellectual connection. There is an artist’s intelligence apparent in all that Kristen, Felix and Jennifer do, and finally, Jude is endlessly inspiring on all counts. Indeed, hers is less a blog than a lived poetics of making.