I’m just coming back up for air, following the usual mayhem of December. Delighted, I am, to begin 2013 – and with many loved friends and family members along for the ride.

Much of November was taken up with preparing this gift for my mom:


The design is William Morris – and like the Strawberry Thief it was a patterned canvas. It was finished only just in time to make the last posting date for Christmas parcels to the US. (Phew!)

At the start of the month I met Emily Wilkinson of Mindful Maps. She shared this beautiful piece of embroidery that she was then working on, and she left me with a gift of hoop, threads, and encouragement to pick up the needle myself.

It wasn’t my first acquaintance with stitching: my dearest friend D is a keen embroiderer, and sent me some decorated linen


as well as patterns for my birthday a couple years back. At the time it seemed too intricate a craft for my feeble experience, and I was stumped especially by the lack of an iron (necessary for transferring the pattern designs.)

Yes, that’s right: I have existed all this time, rumpled and wrinkled, without an iron in my life.

The highlight of December was my post-Christmas journey to London where I met up with above-mentioned D, arrived from Madison for a greatly anticipated girlfriend visit. Much as we love our daughters, it was impossible not to enjoy a trip with only ourselves, just the big girls together this time. Bookshops and market stalls, bibimbap and dead bikes…


… and finally home to Edinburgh for Hogmanay…


… followed by the purchase of an iron, and an embroidery lesson. D helped me jump that initial hurdle and got me started with “hello”. Watch this space for more to come.

Meanwhile I have just received an exquisite gift from my sister, who is a dedicated knitter, occasional felter, and a connoisseur of wools who regularly attends the Michigan Fiber Festival. She has sent me a hand-knitted shawl of gorgeous soft dark brown wool:


Utterly beautiful – and inspiring.

So my new year’s resolution? Needlepoint, embroider, and knit – my hand turned to a suite of stitching by the end of 2013.

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