are you domesticated?

Without doubt the best thing about this whole blogging thing is the dialogue it enables. Under its first name of “needled”, I started this blog ten years ago, and over the past decade I’ve met some of my best friends and colleagues through this online space. Many of you correspond with me, and though it… Read More

album

I have a downstairs neighbour (also a knitter) who, in the course of her work, often comes across interesting objects. She sometimes brings these up to show me, and together we will enthuse over a gorgeous set of art-deco buttons or an ancient pair of butter-pats. The other day she brought up a very special… Read More

Tandle Hill

We spent this weekend in Rochdale, where my parents live, and where I grew up. I wanted to walk to a special place – somewhere I’ve been meaning to introduce to Tom for a very long time. It is always lovely to have a walk with my Dad. The Roch valley, crisscrossed with canals and… Read More

correspondence

These are my pinboards at the Astley Ainsley Hospital, covered with the wonderful cards and messages you sent. Being in hospital is a difficult business. For me, the dissociating effect of being a patient in an institution was compounded by the fact that I was inhabiting a body which did not seem to be mine… Read More

sticks

If you stood the course through my radio burblings the other day, you might have heard me mention the thing that I’d like to contribute to the BBC / British Museum’s History of the World in 100 objects. I thought you might be interested to see it. While I was researching my piece for the… Read More

a local habitation and a name

(A familiar walk between St Annes and Lytham). I have written before about walking in familiar places. As I think about last year’s walking project, I realise just how important the familiar is to the particular pleasures I find in walking. Stomping the same ground is an important way of connecting with a landscape, allowing… Read More

walking in Philadelphia: 2

(William Birch, Views of Philadelphia, 1800). This is an account of a walk covering eight miles over one day in Philadelphia. Warning! This post is long, and chock-full of personal nostalgia and eighteenth-century references! I started by strolling up Broad Street, past City Hall, and turned East on Arch, where I stopped at the Fabric… Read More

mead magic

Last summer, when we were walking on Jura, we buried some home-brewed mead above the gulf of corryvreckan. Yesterday we retraced our steps, and returned to find it. I heart Jura. Seven miles and a very enjoyable walk later, we climbed up a cliffside on the remote and empty north-west of the island and wondered… Read More

unpicking

When thinking about process, there is nothing more instructive than unpicking someone else’s stitches. I found a beautiful hand-embroidered cloth on ebay. I have plans for it. The plans involve deconstructing and transforming it into something else. I began by undoing the slip stitches of its heavy, worn cord edging. Then I started to unpick… Read More

seeing the light in a station bar*

(Newcastle Central) Tom and I were talking about station bars the other day and discovered that as teenagers, living many miles apart in Stretford and Rochdale, we both liked to hang around the one at Manchester Victoria. This had, before it fell victim to nailed-down chairs and the homogenising effects of Travellers Fayre (shudder), a… Read More