SUNDAY MORNING WEATHER UPDATE: Well, the forecasters were right and DH was wrong because this is what we woke up to this morning and it's still snowing.
(back to the normal blog)
It's turned quite cold the last few days, so I've been walking to the station in zero degree Celsius temperatures. I've broken out the heavy knitwear including the windproof hat I knit a few years ago out of stranded chunky wool, both sets of knitted legwarmers, knitted fingerless gloves inside my fleece gloves etc. so I've been staying quite warm.
The fingerless sock wool gloves are the ones I was knitting on the train which are now finished - they're comfy. I need to come up with a new commuter project tomorrow because it feels a bit naked to be getting on a train with no knitting - what if we stopped in the middle of nowhere and I had no knitting????? It doesn't bear thinking about.
I also finished the second Rainy Day mitt but they're not warm enough for the current weather. The yarn was DK wool from the Doulton Flock of Border Leicester sheep, which apparently is an endangered breed in the UK. It's proper woolly wool, quite robust and while it's fine on gloves for me, it would be too scratchy to wear against my neck or face. I even found it a bit abrasive to knit with. The resulting gloves are warm and almost windproof and will last a long time I think as they're very sturdy.
I've finished off a few Christmas projects this week. While I was looking for something else in my sewing room, I came across the Christmas cross stitch parcel tags I was working on during our Isle of Wight holiday this summer. I had run out of the red thread that came with the kit but I was able to find a close match in my stash and finish off the second tag. Apart from m-i-l, I'm not giving gifts to anyone who would appreciate all the work in these so I decided to turn them into a tree ornament by gluing two tags back to back and I think it looks nice. These were a free kit that came with Cross Stitcher magazine a few years ago.
I also finished off the bobbin lace angel that I started on my Alison Winn day course. She is stiffened with hair spray and I dried her around a drinking glass to make her and her wings a bit 3-D. Even with the hairspray, she is still very delicate so I don't think she will go on the tree, I will have to find a special place to hang her.
The quilting continues. I've made a start on the Star Sampler which is loaded on the quilt frame. I'm trying continuous curve quilting around two-inch blocks, which requires a lot of precise steering. My first few rows look like a five-year-old stitched them, so I might unpick those and try again at the end. I've improved to the point where it looks like perhaps a ten-year-old is in charge, so that's something at least.
I'm quilting the Snowman quilt on the sit-down machine in my sewing room. As you can see in the photo, I've created a sort of dam by clamping on a thick bit of wood, which stops the quilt from falling off the side of my sewing table when I'm stitching. I've got a useful extension table on my left to support the quilt, made by my f-i-l to my direction many years ago. So far I'm just using the walking foot to stitch in the ditch around blocks to stabilise the quilt.
I finished sewing on the binding on my Japanese fabric wallhanging and both it and the Hawaiian wallhanging are on my design wall until such time as I can build a quilt hanging place upstairs. The texture on the Japanese quilt from the pantograph stitching really shows up from the overhead light and looks good.
For TV knitting I've made a fresh start on an old project which is a kit to make Latvian mittens which I bought a couple of years ago. I had completely stalled on this project because there isn't a pattern as such with the kit, just a recipe and a chart, and I was having trouble stranding up to four colours in a row. The result was lumpy and too tight, and I gave up and hid it in my knitting room for a time out. But at the Nottingham Yarn Fest I spotted a beautifully knit example on the stand of The Loveliest Yarn Company run by Michelle, who helpfully pointed me towards her blog post giving tips and pointers on how to knit this type of mitten. One of her tips is to use circular needles instead of dpns. So I pulled out the couple of inches I had knit, unsnarled the yarn and re-wound it into colour balls, and cast on again with a 2.25 circular needle. I've knit the cuff as per her blog and I'm heading into the cuff. So far the knitting looks a lot smoother and better, although I'm concerned that it seems a bit big. But then I tend to make mittens too snug to fit like gloves, when really they want to be a bit roomy to hold in warm air. We'll see how it goes, it would be good to get this project off my guilt list. Michelle also sells these kits for about half the price I paid on Etsy for mine.
I've ordered myself a Christmas knitting treat which is the Opal Sock Yarn Advent Calendar, full of 24 mini skeins of yarn. The last couple of years I've been envious of those who ordered this on time in August/September, because by the time I start seeing them on Ravelry in November/December, they are long sold out in the UK. The same thing happened this year, only I had a brainwave and started googling German sites as Opal is a German company (I think). Sure enough some of them still had calendars in stock, then I stumbled across a site selling the 2015 version for 30% off! Well there are still 24 days in December whether you are in 2015 or 2017 so I happily ordered the cheaper version and I'm just waiting for it to turn up. I will have to decide whether I open up all the doors at once up to the current date, or whether I stay with opening one a day which will take me into January. Merry Christmas to me!
Hope you've got some crafty Christmas treats and craft time planned over the holidays as well.