500 and out

I did promise something spectacular for my 500th post, and here it is:

Not quite what you were expecting.

I’ve been quietly making some spectacular changes to my life. During my blog break in June/July I researched, wrote and submitted an application to study for a PhD in English, and have recently received confirmation that my application was successful.

This means that from September I’ll be a full-time student for the next three years. At my age that does sound faintly ridiculous, but there it is.  Clearly, a PhD is going to involve quite a lot of work – 100,000 words and a bibliography the length of a football pitch. I aim to give it my full and undivided attention, which means that I’m withdrawing from my online and blog-related activities.

Writing a blog takes a surprising amount of time and effort, as those of you who maintain blogs will know. Keeping up with the blog circuit also takes a lot of time and effort.  Art doesn’t pay enough; at least, not in my case.  Admittedly, gaining a further qualification also isn’t going to pay the bills, in the short term, but in the longer term at least it has some reliable earning potential. I hope that this period of study might lead eventually to further work in research, publishing or undergraduate teaching.

Obviously I will continue to stitch in whatever spare time I end up having, but only for my own amusement. I’ve already closed my flickr account and will be making a decision about my facebook page in the coming weeks.  I still have a few pieces of work for sale here on the blog (see the tab at the top of this page). I have course fees to pay, and, frankly, I need the money.

So, there it is – my 500th post is also my last, at least for a while.

It’s been a lot of fun: I’ve met some incredible people from all over the world, some of whom have become real, true friends and will (I hope!) remain such. Most of you have made me laugh at some point; all of you have made me think. It’s been good to show my work here, and to write about it, and to read your thoughts about it. It’s been very satisfying to know that my work lives with some of you in your homes; little stitches on cloth witnessing the passing of time, the living of different lives.

But mostly it’s been good to travel with you on this brief passage through my life – your life, our lives – and I thank you you for it.

This is it!

Thank you.


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96 Responses to 500 and out

  1. deb says:

    Best wishes on your remarkable new path. It’s given me much to think about . Thank you.

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, Deb. It seems I’ve done nothing BUT think for the past three months!

      • Lilli Sutherland says:

        Karen I would love to see you add to your list of possible careers “writer”. I think you have a wonderful way with words. I am so glad that I have bought many of your pieces, which I will cherish forever!

        • Karen Turner says:

          Thank you, Lilli; I hope I can do my chosen subject justice. And thank you indeed for your treasured support of and enthusiasm for my work; I truly appreciate that.

  2. Congratulations on your decision! I am sure you will do fine. You have the right attitude to be successful in whatever you aspire to do.

  3. Jenny says:

    incredible!..you are a lady I certainly admire 🙂 I hope you get the chance to pop in now and again and let us know how the studies are going. I truly hope you get everything (and more!) that you want to achieve out if this new adventure xx HUGE hugs

  4. Chloe says:

    All the best Karen! Enjoy your next adventure xx

  5. Julie says:

    Nothing ridiculous at all in lifelong learning. Have a great and enriching time and congratulations on being accepted for the course. Your stitchwork has been an inspiration and I have enjoyed reading your blog which I hope you are going to leave ‘out there’. Enjoy every minute of your study time.

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thank you, Julie. Yes, I’ll leave the blog ‘out there’ for a good while yet. I think it’s earned its keep! Though I see one follower has already deserted me 😉
      You never know, I might even be back one day.

  6. buntyw says:

    Good luck in all you do!
    I feel lucky to have followed you this far!

  7. Penny says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!! What a wonderful way to expand your life – to grow and learn. We’ll all miss visiting with you. I wish everything wonderful for you!

  8. HUGE congratulations. what a wonderful decision. may it be the challenge you need.

  9. arlee says:

    Karen, a great surprise, butt then again i’m not surprised—you’re obviously talented in so many ways and i congratulate you and wish you the very best on your new adventures. We will certainly miss you!!!!!!!!!

  10. Flaming Nora says:

    Phew! well I wasn’t expecting that! Congratulations, its always fun, exciting and somewhat daunting to start a new path in life, but wow! Good luck I’m sure you will be knock out. Though we will miss you. xxx

    • Karen Turner says:

      Phew indeed! Thanks, Nora; daunting is the word. I will always remember your post involving the plastic model diving from a high shelf into the hat of names, and will be making all my major decisions that way in the future. Thanks for the smiles you’ve given me 🙂

  11. maggi21 says:

    Congratulations on being accepted for the course. I wish you every success and look forward to hearing from you in three years time as Dr Turner! Enjoy the stitching when you find time to relax. It has been a pleasure following your work, and owning some.

  12. Karen Ruane says:

    you are amazing for following your dream….extremely brave and inspiring. I wish you so much that is good.

  13. Janice says:

    I’m really sad that you’re giving up on your blog but I understand why that’s the right decision for you. I wish you every success in your PhD. I know you’ll give it your all and I hope it will lead on to wonderful things.
    Lots of love, Janice. x

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks so much, Janice – and thank you for being responsible for turning one of the cogs that began this whole journey. Will keep in touch x

  14. Loralei says:

    Karen, what exciting news!! Congratulations to you!!! As you know, I’ve been quoted intermittent in the blog world lately as well- though it can be rewarding at times, it does take a lot away from your daily time and activities.

    This will be a wonderful journey for you; I wish you luck in all your endeavors. xo

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, Loralei; exciting indeed, as well as a little terrifying. Yes, I agree – blogging can be extremely rewarding, but is also quite a commitment. Thanks for your good wishes.

  15. annie! says:

    I wish you only the very best in your quest. It’s an exciting time in your life and I know you’ll make the most of it.

  16. spiritcloth says:

    Good Luck Karen, I am happy for you. Hey Ho!

  17. ginaferrari says:

    Such exciting news! Wishing you good luck with your PhD and whatever path you choose to take Karen.

  18. deedeemallon says:

    You are right, I am surprised. But the conflicts, pulls that led up to the decision are things I live and breathe and wrestle with, so I’m not surprised. Best of luck to you and I hope that the program is really satisfying and helps you chart a new course.

    • Karen Turner says:

      Ha! “Our chief weapon is surprise… surprise and fear… fear and surprise. Our two chief weapons are fear and surprise… fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency…Our three chief weapons are…” – I hope you recognised the Monty Python ‘Spanish Inquisition’ extract there 🙂
      Actually, I was quite surprised too. But it feels like the right decision. Thanks, Dee, for your good wishes. And my mum still loves the beautiful linen cloth you sent me.

  19. Cynthia says:

    What wonderful news and enjoy the new adventure in your life. You will be sadly missed and your lovely work.

  20. jilldian says:

    Well done Karen….my very best wishes to you.. You’ll enjoy every minute. A Phd …wonderful!!!

    I’ve been studying on a BA (Hons) Arts and Humanities course for the past four years (part time) and enjoy every second of it. I hope to gain my qualifrication when I am 72 years old….hee hee…. although others often wonder why I am doing it!

    Go for it. You’ll be a great success I know it!.

  21. Gladie says:

    I will miss your messages. Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us. Life is a series of beginnings and endings. Congratulations on your new beginning.

  22. Congratulations on your PHD acceptance. I hope that it is a wonderful new journey for you. I will miss your posts but know that you are doing the things that matter much to you. With best wishes always,

  23. Susan says:

    I have always admired your beautiful stitch work, and now I am also admiring the steps you are taking into a future of reinventing yourself. I salute you on the path you are taking of gaining a PhD. This will be an exciting time in your life, I am so happy for you!
    I cherish the items I bought from you a few months ago, and I thank you for opening up a new world of “stitch” that I never knew before!

    If you have a wee bit of time, write when you can to let us know how you are doing!!

    Blessings and Light shine upon the new path of discovery for you.

    Peace be with you always,

    Art of Mine

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks so much for your words, Susan. I’ll be keeping the facebook page for a while at least so will keep you updated there, periodically. I’m very happy that you’re part of the world of stitch!

  24. We’ll miss you, but you are about to start on a great adventure, and at least as an embroiderer you know you are good at perseverance, which seems to me to be one of the most important attributes of a PhD candidate!

  25. Pingback: my work is calm, why aren’t i? « Albedo~~~chronicles of concupiscientia oculorum

  26. Sweetpea says:

    I’ll miss you…bigtime. And I send you every best wish for your learned future…may you thrive, thrive, THRIVE, dear K! If you ever have a spare moment, stop by for an imaginary cuppa & a chin wag ~ you know where to find me ;>]]

    ONWARD my word-loving friend!!

  27. jeannie says:

    Karen, I will miss reading your words and seeing your beautiful artwork, but I am so excited for you! I made a similar decision 25 years ago, and I have never regretted going back for my degree. I wish you much joy and happiness on your new path. I hope you continue on facebook, just to check in and let us know how you are doing. Every batch of books I bring home from the library will have fond thought of you and wondering how you are doing in your studies. Go forward and excel!!!

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thank you, Jeannie; I really appreciate your kind words. I’ll check in to facebook occasionally; look forward to seeing you again there 🙂

  28. Jill says:

    Karen, this is such wonderful news – many, many congratulations. I shall miss you and your stitching, not to mention your lovely fabrics – mind I have a fair stash now ;). Wishing you all the very best for your chosen future – you deserve to follow your dreams.

  29. MoF says:

    WoW! Quelle surprise as we say here. I too will miss your blog and the lovely stitched projects. I wish you joy in your new venture and I know that you will succeed.

    • Karen Turner says:

      Zut alors! Nice to know I can still surprise myself sometimes too. I will continue to use your lovely fabrics and will think of you as I do so. Thanks, Mo x

  30. Rebecca says:

    All the very best – so exciting to be doing a PhD and immersing yourself in the experience.

  31. Barbara says:

    Oh, I’m so going to miss you and your lovely art!
    Good luck with your new adventure, I hope it brings you great satisfaction and the future you deserve.
    God bless, Barbara x

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks so much, Barbara. I’ll miss you too. It will be strange not to be here after having kept the blog for so long. But onward and – I hope – upwards!

  32. lyn lewis says:

    Great news for you and Im frankly envious!
    I couldnt afford to fund myself for an MA at hull uni, even tho they deferred me for 3 years running………I ended up giving up on the idea.
    I wish you every success although it will be sad not seeing your posts and what youve been up to lol
    Enjoy the challenge and I hope you find it totally stimulating.
    You know we are if you want to ‘brain down’ from time to time! Lyn

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, Lyn. I think the MA is much more expensive than the PhD. I do understand how disappointed you must have been. I’m very lucky to be able to just about scrape the fees and living costs together for the first year, and I’m only able to do that due to the generous additional help of my mum and my husband, so I do know how fortunate I am. After the first year I have no further funding yet, so am a little worried about that – but one thing at a time, and I’ll just have to trust and hope that I can get something sorted. Looking forward to some intellectual challenges.

  33. So happy for you, but will miss seeing your inspiring stitching, wishing you the very best with your phd, exciting stuff! x

  34. kathy says:

    Congratulations on such an exciting development – as you say, a lot of work, but enjoyable, fascinating and there’s always stitching at the end of it all. Hope it all goes really well for you.
    Good luck, I’ll miss your lovely textiles

  35. lyn says:

    good luck, we will miss you!

  36. deanna7trees says:

    wishing you the best.

  37. helen salo says:

    I tried to post earlier but it didn’t show up.
    Wow! I am selfishly sad, as I truly enjoyed your blog, but am happy for you. One is never too old to start a new path, as long as their passion is in it, all will be well.

    I am glad I have several pieces of yours on my wall for inspiration. You are a very talented stitcher and the pieces are a reminder of what to aspire after.
    As you travel this new journey through life remember to always think positive and try to find the good in everything, and it will always work out. My philosophy: Good karma begets good karma.
    You have certainly given me food for thought of my own road through life, lots to ponder.
    peace and be well. In creative kinship,

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, Helen. Yours has often been the voice of sanity in a sometimes mad world, and I thank you for that. I’m so glad that some of my work remains with you. Would love to stay in touch, if you’re willing.

      • helen salo says:

        Absolutely! And even if it’s just to vent a frustrating period you’re going through, sometimes (most times) it helps to get it out, that’s why I journal. I’m also always interested in any and all projects you’re working on, even if you think they’re insignificant, I know I won’t. 🙂

  38. mamaraby says:

    I have at more than one time or another wished that I had a different degree (or more courage to take risks), and here you are…going for it! That’s amazing and exciting. Best wishes on your PhD journey!

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thank you – it has taken a degree of courage to take the plunge, I admit. I’m actually really surprised that my application was considered to be ‘good enough’ – which just proves that it’s always worth having a go. I know it will take a lot of hard work but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

  39. Amanda says:

    How exciting!! You will need the odd bit of time off though, so don’t completely forget us. We won’t forget you and it would be nice to know how you’re doing. Just a post once in that blue moon would be nice xx

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, Amanda; I think I’ll probably use the facebook page for the occasional post, so will look forward to catching up over there at some point.

  40. Phyl Jones says:

    Oh, I am going to miss you and your postings! You have been so inspirational! But I certainly understand changes do happen. Congratulations on going forth with your dreams.

    Any chance your paper piecing tutorial could be posted for just a bit…say 30 days?

    Thanks again for sharing!

    Phyl Jones

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thank you, Phyl. The whole blog will stay here for a good while longer, probably until the end of the year at least. Feel free to rummage around for the tutorial and practise that paper piecing 🙂

  41. serenapotter says:

    I’m so PROUD of you!!!

    Cheerleading from the USA!!

  42. deb says:

    Will miss your lovely posts and your beautiful stitching. Best wishes for the future. Have fun!

  43. Sue says:

    Congratulations, although I shall certainly miss your posts, you know your doing the right thing for you 🙂 So pleased I bought some of your work when I did!
    Sue Xxx

  44. Janet says:

    So sorry to see you leaving the blog world. I love the piece that my mom gave to me from you for my birthday! She also gave me an owl from you, and an owl to each of my boys. They hang on a piece by jude with 3 little trees – they are at home together. You always had the most amazing works! Sorry to see you go – maybe you’ll come back to share thoughts every now and then.

    • Karen Turner says:

      What a lovely story, Janet – thank you for those words. It really is good to know that my stitches are happily living out their lives in various parts of the world. Now I guess I’ll be stitching with words 🙂

      • Janet says:

        After stitching so many wonderful pieces, I just can’t imagine giving that up. Seems like you had come into your own. Like my mom said, your things were really unique. You had found your voice. I’m sure you’ll be just as wonderful at writing/reading/critiquing, so maybe you’ll want to “practice” that here. Seems like you should be an expert in “English” already seeing as you live in the original home of the language – lol. What will be your focus? Reading or writing? Tx.

        • Karen Turner says:

          I’ll still be stitching with thread and cloth too – but with the luxury of not having to talk about it before it’s finished. I’m not giving anything up except the blog and work for sale. My PhD thesis will centre on nineteenth century fiction, so in order to write 100,000 words I will need to read an awful lot!

  45. blandina says:

    A courageous decision, I have a few friends who went back to college in their fifties and you all have my respect and admiration.

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, blandina. I’m not quite that old, but not far off. I know it’s a bold move, and as yet I really don’t know if I’m up to it or not. I guess the only way to find out is to try it.

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