Instagram Weekend…

I love my SLR and taking pictures with it. However sometimes the effort of uploading photos to my PC, saving them to a sensible size for the Internets, sorting out any weird colour imbalances etc. means that I don’t get round to processing them… and thus many tiny moments that I mean to share online end up going into a giant, never-ending black hole of “TO SORT” photos.

Perhaps this explains my current obsession with the Instagram app on my smartphone, which I love in spite of the recent controversy surrounding users’ content and copyright. What I like about Instagram is that I can create pleasing little vignettes and share them as I go along, and that I can see other folks’ photos of the same while I’m at it. Glancing at Instagram during a tea-break sometimes proves to be educational as well as providing little glimpses into the lives of friends and buddies who are far away.

One of my favourite people to follow is Tom whose mending work turns up in the feed with inspiring regularity.

Tom put several photos of his Christmas darning up on Instagram a wee while back, provoking a spree of exchange between us re: the nature of the mending technique he’d used, etc. Based on our little discussion I fudged some version of something I found in Mary Thomas’s book of Embroidery:


…to repair a worn-out shoulder on a cardigan:


I’d learnt in our exchange that the technique Tom had used in his darn had in fact come from Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches – a book I didn’t own, but then found yesterday in the Oxfam book shop for £2.49!


This lucky find marked the beginning of a lovely weekend, spent alternately out stomping around in the cool January air with Mark and curling up on the sofa in the evenings with a 100% WOOL sewing project, my new embroidery tome, and the lovely Joey – surely the finest feline companion with which any two humans could wish to share their lives (and their sofa):




I didn’t take any photos outside; it’s been so cold we have been walking too fast for photos! Yesterday we went to the market and loaded up with vegetables, then along the canal out of town to Morrisons to pick up the bits we couldn’t find at the butcher’s or at the market. Today we went to Dinton pastures and walked all the way around the lake talking about the adventures and work planned for 2013, then we came home and made a warming pan of minestrone.


I love this kind of weekend; we’ve watched movies, eaten feasts, walked in the brief hours of daylight and played with our daft cat.



Our favourite sound of the weekend was heard whilst watching David Attenborough’s incredible series about the Galapagos islands. We love Albatrosses and the way they dance, clicking beaks, and then calling to each other. How wonderful that the sound was recorded during the making of the show so that we can hear it now and sit in cold, January-grey England, learning about these fabulous birds! Another sound I really enjoyed was Patrick McGinley’s amazing recording of yeasts fermenting, in the introduction to this framework radio show.

But apart from these sounds on the telly and online, it’s been dead quiet – the sort of quietness that is another type of favourite domestic sound.

…in case anyone reading this is a big Instagram fan, I am felixbadanimal on there!

8 Responses to Instagram Weekend…

  1. Quinn says:

    Sounds like a perfectly lovely time! And that book is quite a find, especially for a creative mender such as yourself. Or “yourselves”, really.

    I recently sent a link for Tom’s shoe-mending post to my brother, following a surprising conversation about my brother’s “dress” shoes, which have been appearing only at formal functions (which, for my brother, means funerals) for decades and are now falling to bits. I hope he was inspired by Tom’s intrepid experience, but haven’t heard…

  2. Jo says:

    What beautiful images you are creating here! I can imagine the sounds in their settings – and dare I say add a few of my own? The purposeful sounds of your footfall in the walk; the rustle of your food purchases as you carry them home; the cooking sounds – chopping, peeling, grating, sizzling, simmering. Appreciative “slurps” – I could go on and on! Love it all xxx

  3. What a perfectly lovely weekend!

  4. colleen says:

    Delights! I have been thinking about how I can repair a much loved linen skirt which has embroidered circles on it and have concluded that the seams need to be embroidered with some sort of feather stitch. Perfect industry for cold evenings – now I need a sensible light for the job. However did people manage by candlelight?

  5. lynn says:

    Inspired by nieces and nephews and the creative stuff they are putting out on Instagram I decided to check it out myself and have had a blast with it. I love the intimacy you can capture- and the immediacy of sharing- and most pleasantly not much fussing. I’ll be following you- I’m fidlstix.

  6. Jen says:

    I LOVE YOUR BOOK ! A wonderful and intelligent glimpse into your creativity ! I am listening to the cd again as I write this. Love the way you go in and out of sounds, merging like busy traffic into the ear.

    So this mornings sounds :

    more *tinging* of the woodstove and crackling of wood as I try desperately to warm up the cabin-house. Not much will change when I write about sounds this early in the morning. Entertaining myself with *your* sounds today.

    Oh, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your darning & embroidery … and see this ‘visible mending’ thing to be wholly and of itself a great artistic statement of many layers, modern and old super-imposed. Way to go !

    I want to hear the sound of pins dropping, the sound of darning linen vs. the sound of darning wool… mmm… the different sounds of different mending ? 🙂

    • Hello Jen,

      I am so happy to hear that you like the book, and are enjoying the CD. I am really glad you appreciate the way the sounds are edited – I put a lot of time into that part!

      Mending sounds is certainly an idea; there are lots of reasons I got into field recording and working with the domestic soundscape, but one very memorable thing was reading ia great line in one of Toni Morrison’s books, where she details the tiny sound a woman who is concentrating, and trying to thread a needle, makes. I love Toni Morrison’s writing, but that sentence in particular struck me as being especially observant. There are loads of tiny sounds precisely as you describe – pins, needles, sewing, the very soft shuffle of wooden or bamboo knitting needles – that are part of the soundtrack of our daily lives.

      I may well do a specific “mending sounds” project in the near future.

      Thank you for stopping by, and for your encouragement and enthusiasm; your woodstove sounds lovely and the thought of it makes me want to build a fire.


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