Tuesday, 29 September 2015


I was out and about on foot today doing this and that and on the
long walk home discovered that I had walked much, much further
that I had originally intended.  What's more I was rather foolishly
wearing brand new shoes which hadn't yet been broken to the bit
let alone a saddle, so as I hobbled past the library I decided to nip
in for a quick sit down and a read of the newspapers to give my
barking dogs (Cockney speak for sore feet) a brief rest before I
lurched the rest of the way back to the Lock-Up.

That's better, those heels were a bit high.

Seemed like a plan but what I hadn't bargained for, or even knew
about, was the monthly meeting of the craft club in the main foyer.
"Come and join us" cried someone.  They're a friendly bunch and it
would have been churlish to decline,.  So it was a couple of hours,
umpteen cups of strong rosie and several new friends later that I
finally returned home footsore and knackered.

At the club I met one very well turned out lady (don't ask me what
I had thrown on, the style police are still on red alert) knitting socks
on four needles with some baffling new verigated German wool.
The finished work looked like she'd been following a complicated
Fair Isle pattern even though she hadn't.  Don't ask me how it worked
but it did and it's now high on my list of things to try when I'm next
at a loose end.

That sort of thing but bigger and jumbled up.

Another very experienced quilter was recycling a pair of old double
duvet covers - one Union Jack, the other Stars & Stripes - and the
Anglo-American result was quite amazing with an intricate border of
blocks - one stars, one stripes, all the way round the edge.

Every self-respecting crafter should wear one.

You can often tell a crafter by the way they dress and one young lass
certainly didn't disappoint.  Crochet handbag decorated with a heart
of buttons, pendant with a petit point ballerina insert, woven friendship
bracelets and a nifty hand-felted hat.  The perfect specimen.  She was also
a yarn bomber and was busily lagging an old supermarket basket in
brightly coloured wool as we spoke.

Not the actual bench but along the same lines.

But what really touched me was when she talked about her father in
whose memory the family had placed a bench on the village green
under the Folly Tree.  On his birthday she had "bombed" his bench as
an act of remembrance and not feeling inclined to stop there she had
also hung crochet motifs and streamers from the branches that shaded it
too.  How lovely is that?

Old crafters never die, they just have a few more pleats.

I leave the best till last.  The elderly lady of 83 sitting next to me hand 
stitching some templates looked like everyone's favourite granny but 
the way she had coped with the  problems life had recently heaped on
her was truly inspirational.  She had dutifully nursed her husband suffering
from Parkinson's right to the end with scant help, difficult and often
abusive behaviour from him and little regard for her own well being.

Here she is on a singles holiday to Margate.

After his death she said she felt enormous guilt that she should have done
more and because men of that generation often controlled the finances
she had that side of life to get to grips with as well as overcoming a
huge dent that had appeared in her self confidence too.  And then she said,
and I quote: "I thought sod it dear.  It may sound wicked but I'm
starting to like it on my own so I shall concentrate on all the things
I can still do and not worry about the ones I can't."

Just concentrate, never mind what you still can do.

And that's precisely what she's done.  She's joined lots of clubs and
societies, sold the car because there's people to talk to on the bus and
been on more holidays these past 18 months than in the whole of her
long married life.  All on her own too and that takes courage at any age.
"The world isn't going to come looking for me dear, so I must go looking
for the world."  She's my kind of a woman and no mistake.

I shall certainly be at next month's meeting clutching my craft bag full
of good intentions and raring to go.

Friday, 25 September 2015

I'm hitting the panic button

Christmas is coming, my order book is filling fast.
There's only room for a couple more
Then they will be the last (for this year).


What I'm trying to say is that if you've got your heart set on a
bespoke Long Dog Sampler for Christmas (and who wouldn't)
which has been designed for you and you alone, then I
wouldn't leave it too long before you contact me about it:


These wondrous delights take time in the making and
much as it peeves me to say it,
even I can't do the impossible
so don't say I didn't give you all fair warning.

This black beauty is the latest Long Dog special commission
and it's proud owner is a canny lass who knows
a thing or two when it comes to booking early for Christmas!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Autumn is upon us again!

Listen!  The wind is rising and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves.

Humbert Wolfe

Autumn on the Acle marshes.  Flat isn't it?

Thank you Humbert, I couldn't have put it better myself.
Today is the vernal equinox, the first day of autumn when the
plants, trees and creatures of the wild begin to wind down in
preparation for the long winter ahead.

How about Quatre Saisons?  Seems appropriate.

So why not treat yourself to a new project to while away
those long dark evenings?  And there's really nothing more
appropriate and appealing than a large Long Dog Sampler.

Send me an email and we'll soon get you started:


Monday, 21 September 2015

With love from me to me!

Every so often I like to buy myself a little pressie as a
manifestation of my appreciation of me, of course.

My latest gift arrived this morning in record quick time
having only been ordered on line yesterday around elevensies.
I hastily tore off the packing and duly expressed genuine delight
to myself (if not actual surprise) at receiving such a
desirable little object.

It came from the Pilgrim Shop in Little Walsingham, Norfolk.
Have a look at their site, particularly the Pilgrim Badges,
and treat yourself why don't you?


I love buying for myself and always seem to be able to
come up with exactly what I was wishing for every time.
It's quite uncanny.

Forgive me for breaking into "sampler speak" here because these
words fit the bill precisely.  No Alice dear, it's not the one that
goes: "May I govern my passion with absolute sway and grow wiser
and better as life wears away."  Sod all that stuff, my passion can
rage all it likes and I intend to get naughtier as my wrinkles continue
to develop wrinkles of their own.  I'm up to third generation already
and it's still only September.  The short little phrase I was thinking 
of goes thus:  "The gift  is small but love is all."

Apologies for the crumbs on the carpet.  Tut, tut.

Perfik, something greyhoundie and for those who know a thing
or two about running dogs, ever so slightly jokey too.
Greys hunt by sight and not smell which means so long as the
hare keeps tucked in uder the dog he'll be safe.
I make that one up to the hare, don't you?

Modelled by Cirrus.

Good job I've only recently bought myself a new waterproof
country hat to go with my waxed jacket because it's the
perfect place to pin my token.

The Token

Talking of which, Long Dog's "The Token" is still as beautiful
as ever and a nice quick late summer stitch which could so easily
be yours just by clicking on the link below and saying pretty please.
But make sure you stand where I can see you as I too
hunt by sight!


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Zen dog

The American author John Steinbeck (1902-1968) was born in
Salinas, California.  His Pulitzer Prize winning work
The Grapes of Wrath is widely attributed to be part of the
American literary canon and in 1962 he was awarded the
Nobel Prize for Literature.

John Steinbeck was also A DOG LOVER!
In his book Travels with Charley: In Search of America he
details a cross-country trip that he and Charley took together.

A poodle but certainly nothing Zen about him.

Charley, Steinbeck's French poodle, was born in Bercy on the
outskirts of Paris and trained in France.  He was a bi-lingual
mut but only responded to commands when given in French.
This is what JS had to say about him:

"Sir, this is a unique dog.
He does not live by tooth or fang.
He respects the right of cats to be cats
although he doesn't admire them.
He turns his steps rather than disturb an
earnest caterpillar.
His greatest fear is that someone will point out
a rabbit and suggest that he chases it.

My darling Geordie, he turned "chilling" into an art form.

This is a dog of peace and tranquility!"

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The china shop's next door

Dorcas Casey certainly knows how to let sleeping bulls lie.

Shssssssush - don't wake him

In her own words she creates sculptures that appear to be both
uncanny and ambiguous.  For her the pieces she creates
embody a myriad of emotions and sensations,

Sitting down on the job

Dorcas is an obsessive collector hanging on to things which
might well come in handy one day when she will restore
them to life in another incarnation.  Using craft based processes
such as hand stitching and malleable materials like gloves,
socks and clothing fabrics she transforms them into her
figurative masterpieces.

Saddled up and ready to go

Dorcas has the ability to make marginal, discarded and
outmoded items return to centre stage as powerful presences.
She has a First Class BA Hons Fine Art: Sculpture from the
Winchester School of Art and also studied at the
University of Seville in Andulasia.

I wonder what these were in a former life?

If you'd like to see more of Ms Casey's work simply
follow the link to her website:


Friday, 11 September 2015

Finally losing the thread ......

Today I spent some time trying to thread my trusty needle
and all to no avail.  I bit the tip of the thread a couple of times
to try and facilitate easy threading.  In a desperate bid to
get stitching I even trimmed the thread in case it was a bit
frayed and that this was the problem but all to no avail.

It was a bit dumpsey outside so I put on a light
and the pin dropped (to use a stitching metaphor)  .......

..... I had the bloody thing upside down and was trying to
thread the point!

Should have gone to SpecSavers.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Go on, ask me.

What do you want for Christmas this year Julia?
I thought you'd never ask.
I should like a litter of Lorraine Corrigan
dogs please.

I must just make one thing clear.
A Lorraine Corrigan is not a new breed of
living, breathing hound yet to be trotted round the
show ring at Crufts, but a hound none the less.

LC's, as I shall now refer to them, not Elsie's Alice dear,
are quite simply this year's must have stocking filler.
And you should see the size of my stockings -
they're honorary grain sacks.

Sweet little Lorraine (sorry, I went a bit Country
& Western on you there) creates sighthound figuerines
from nothing more than wire and old book pages
which somehow come alive under her magic touch.

I want one, I want one, I want three
or I shall scream until I am sick!

LC trades under the name of Hounds of Bath and
her love of running dogs shines through in her beautiful
creations.  I can't believe that they only take about
twelve hours apiece to complete.

Sod this, I can't wait until the festive season.
Christmas may come early for this impatient
Long Dog woman.  Let's click on the link and do
something about it:


A Lorraine Corrigan is for life not just for Christmas!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Quilted Bees

There's a definate buzz in the air
and things are starting to hum here at the Lock-Up.
And I don't mean "hum" in the smell sense of 
the word although I will just go and check the
bin under the sink once I've finished writing
this post - just in case.

No, what I'm talking about here is patchwork bees.
I like patchwork in small doses, just for a change, but my true
alleigance has, and always will, lie with cross stitch.

I have one of those minds that "wonders" about things.
I wonder what my life would have been like had I been
born a man; I wonder whether I could get a whole
choc-ice in my mouth (the answer is no); I wonder
where I left my knickers, but that's another story.

You know the sort of thing, so one day I started wondering
whether patchwork could be replicated in cross stitch.
I leave you to decide.

So, coming ready or not, is The Quilted Bees.
It's size is 211 x 220 stitches (not excessive by Long Dog
Standards) and it is now on sale at the very reasonable
price of £8.50 (or 2,467,996 Martian mallows
at the current rate of exchange).

So roll up, roll up, roll up - stop me and buy one.
Or alternatively touch me and stop one.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Norwich from several angles

Before we start the tour - I've just been looking at my blog
stats and would appear to be one follower short of a hundred.
Whilst marginally better than being one sandwich short of a
picnic would some kind soul please put me out of my misery
and sign up as my hundredth follower.  After all I am the
original pied cross stitcher so follow me.
Would I steer you wrong? 

Have a butcher's through here.  It's just before Fye Bridge.

Today I want to show you something of the Norwich
that I love but which the tourist probably never
has the pleasure of seeing.  

Looks interesting doesn't it?

All this involves bending my knees to see things
from odd angles, standing on tiptoes to look over things
and generally poking my nose occasionally where it's
not welcomed.  Well I have to get my exercise somehow
and I prefer it to a trip to the gym.

I don't know what Mickey Mouse is doing in there.
Chuck him out at once before they start interbreeding.

How many teddy bears can you get into a tiny space.
The answer is hundreds if you happen to visit the
Teddy Bear Shop on Elm Hill.  Whatever you do don't
look into their eyes or you'll end up buying one.

There's so many hidden treasures and this loveluy old
Georgian house in Life's Green which is behind the
Cathedral is just one example.

But I certainly wasn't prepared to find this delightful
cottage tucked away up an alley behind the main high street.
It's a new one on me although maybe it's just more
noticeable since the rethatching work has been done.

The latest treasure that I've just unearthed is a newly opened
shop on Elm Hill where I worked for six years man and boy
in the 1990's.  It exalts in the name Stoned & Hammered so
I entered with some caution fully expecting to find a den of
druggies and drunks only to be met by a charming young woman
called Lisa who makes beautiful hand crafted, and very
desirable, jewellry of all shapes, sizes and descriptions.

Give her a look if your passing that way but be sure to
wear stout boots as the famous cobble stones of the hill
have been known to take their toll on even the most
experienced of mountaineers and fell walkers alike.
You have been warned - the sights of Norwich turn heads
but the cobbles of Elm Hill turn ankles!