Sunday’s Numbers

At the moment, I am all about greys and silvers. Grey is all I want to knit with, (Icelandic Lopi, unspun) all I want to read about, (The Sea Road by Margaret Elphinstone; lots of descriptions of icy, cold, grey landscapes) all I want to sew with, (slate grey and silver-white Donegal tweed that I’ve had for years and years) and all I want on my nails. Painting your nails is one of the top tips from weight watchers for something to do that stops you boredom eating, and I have subscribed to this theory whole-heartedly by selecting shades of nailpolish that best match my knitwear.

I wonder if the grey obsession is to do with spending more time outdoors, (where there are many beautiful shades of grey to be found in the light, in the tree-bark, in the stones, and sometimes even in the sea) or with all the silvery white shades that are to be found in natural shades of sheeps’ wool?

This is the Bitterroot shawl that I cast on ages ago. It is much bigger than this now, and I am in love with the colour. Like the Swaledale that I described in the last post, it has many shades of the same colour in it and is naturally heathery. Also like the Swaledale it has a certain, desirable roughness; however this is a very different yarn from the Swaledale, being unspun and from a sheep whose fleece has been sorted in a different way. But I will tell you all about this when I finish the shawl.

This brings us to the first number of today’s post:


This is the number of the row, on chart F, that I am going to commence with this evening re: Bitterroot.


These are the numbers featured on the beautiful tag-book paper stationery that was made by Present & Correct, and which I am using with enjoyment to make shopping lists. I diverged mildly from today’s list in order to find a couple of small treats to welcome Mark home tonight, but I picked up the key list-items, which were mostly notions needed to complete my skirt project.


This is the number of the pattern I am trying to use for my skirt project.

My intention is to make the pockets and interfacing in Martha Negley print fabric and the main part of the skirt in a beautiful piece of Donegal Tweed that I found in a charity shop in Ireland over 7 years ago. I had the idea for this combination of colours ages and ages ago, and got the Martha Negley fabric in 2008.

It is a bit Autumnal for Spring, but I nonetheless like the idea of having it in my pockets.

The tweed has been carted from place to place through too many house moves for the specific purpose (I believe) of becoming this skirt. And there is enough left over for, perhaps, a good, fitted shirt/blouse/top to match…

This tweed is amazing and deserves its own post at some future point. I wish I still had my copy of Judith Hoad’s excellent book, This is Donegal Tweed, but I shall try and remember what I can on the subject. I love the tweed with its bobbly surface and I wish I had not lost the little bit of fabric that was pinned to it, (rather like the Harris Orb is sometimes pinned to Harris Tweed) stating it is the genuine article. But I know that it is and I love how very soft it is for a 100% woollen cloth.


Is the number of inches my waist will need to shrink to in order to fit in said skirt. A size 14 is not, in Vogue pattern terms, what I would term a size 14 in the high-street shop sense of sizes.


See above.


This is the number of WW points in my hacked version of Petit-Filoux’s amazing recipe. I substituted 50g of the flour with dried breadcrumbs, and another 100g with ready brek porridge oats. This is because I am learning that a 100% plain white wheatflour does not produce a very filling dough, and that oats go a lot further. The breadcrumbs – like the tweed – go back to my time of living in Ireland. Although there are no breadcrumbs in the normal soda bread recipe, in my memory soda bread is moist and has little tasty nuggets of joy in it, derived from the lovely, coarsely-ground wheatflour that is used. However since I had none of this flour, I had to recreate the texture using breadcrumbs and the ends of a bag of plain white flour. The result was quite successful, but in future I will use fully wholegrain flour and a whole pot of buttermilk rather than the dregs that were left in the fridge mixed with some water. (Good thrifting though!)


…is the number of the fine English pounds that I was obliged to hand over in John Lewis in exchange for some necessary sewing notions in, yes, grey.

10 & 13

Are two numbers worth referencing in relation to an amazing sound art zine that I picked up before Christmas in The Artists Book Shop in London. This is the 13th issue of NOISEGATE and it celebrates the 10th anniversary of what appears to be a really exceptional sound publication. I have savoured reading this, taking time to absorb the lovely words and images and ideas contained on its photocopied black and white pages and falling slowly in love with many of the ideas it contains. One of the highlights is Johannes Bergmark’s exhaustive inventory of sound-making objects in his collection. Ranging from a corn-grinder to a rubber skeleton, his eclectic mix of objects reminds me of the BBC’s History of the world in 100 objects project, with its focus on materiality, memory and narrative. I loved reading especially about how the author of this piece ‘mourns the loss’ of a ‘metal moustache comb with brush, lost at Telakka theatre, Tampere, Finland,’ and how he has collected many broken plastic combs for their individual sonic properties. I was also delighted to read an intelligent review of John Levack Drever’s ‘Cattlegrids of Dartmoor‘ release, and to discover an excellent essay by Jo Burzynska entitled ‘The Sound of Steam.’ This is a thorough and very well-written essay and it gave me loads of new references/avenues for my own explorations of this subject.

I haven’t done as marvellously well with budgeting as I had thought; it turns out that anything that isn’t essential to my survival is an extravagance too far – especially in light of random Estate Agents’ charges – but this has only strengthened my resolve to spend less this week.


These are the websites that I have especially been enjoying lately;

1. The London Sound Survey – it will take me some time to thoroughly explore this website, but I am extremely excited to have found it via the ever-informative phonography group on yahoo.
2. National Express Recordings a little bit depressingly, there are only links to information about tracks and no actual sounds to experience here, but the grey artwork is gorgeous and I love reading the liner notes anyway and imagining what the releases they describe actually sound like.
3. Brandon Labelle’s post on Yarnbombing made my day. Labelle has written some of the leading works on sound art, everyday sounds, sounds and spaces, site-specific uses of sound etc. (i.e. he is a really important figure in my research field) and it was great to see him offering some commentary on knitting and the world of textiles. I often feel a bit alone in terms of being ‘into’ knitting and textiles in a big way, and also being ‘into’ sound art and the world of everyday sounds. It made me super happy to find another sound artist writing thoughtfully about knitted interventions in urban landscapes!
4. The Collection a day blog is featuring a collection of numbers today! I have been enjoying this blog ever since Susie flagged it up during on of her ‘Probably Something you would Like‘ flurries of linkage. If you just want to find some eye candy and learn about some brilliant projects, creations, products etc. then going to will take you right to all of the PSYWL posts. I love ’em.
5. The History of the world in 100 Objects radio programme archive is my favourite online place at the moment. I listened again today to the one about the flint-knapping and I loved hearing how the whole world was once filled with the sound of flint-knapping.

Sunday’s Numbers:

WW points consumed – 18.5
£££ spent – £5.00 on sewing notions, £9.70 on groceries, £8.56 on treats

Menu: Irish soda farl and layered raspberry fromage-frais for breakfast, spicy tomato and sweet potato soup with a pitta for tea, mushroom and spinach pie topped with a yeast-pastry* crust for dinner. Finished off the day with a tasty slice of fat-free tea/fruit brack. Sultanas soaked in yorkshire tea overnight are surely the basis for the finest dessert known to man??

*yeast-pastry is pastry where yeast is used to bind the flour in place of margarine. It’s basically like making a fat-free bread crust and works well, although you need to allow it room to expand!

2 Responses to Sunday’s Numbers

  1. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » First phone post…

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