Thursday, 10 January 2008

Catching Up...

Well, it's been a busy week and at last life is back to normal, we are all back to work/school and back to our normal routine (big sigh of relief). You may be amused to hear that dh read my blog when he was working from home on Monday (he can't read it at work because their network restricts social sites) and he was not amused that I am blogging our dirty laundry in public. Although he did say that it was insightful to read my perspective and how I was presenting my story to other people (you guys) whom I perceive to have similar priorities. I invited him to leave a rebuttal in my comments :)

On the work front, I had a meeting with my boss on Monday to further discuss my performance review. It was infuriating to discover (although pretty much what I expected) that she hadn't given two thoughts to the impact of what she had dumped on me before Christmas, and was astonished to hear that I had been really upset by it and had worried about it all holiday. I pretty much lost my temper and gave her an assertive piece of my mind for 30 minutes, laying out exactly what losing 25% of my income is going to mean, the impact of the uncertainty of job hunting on my childcare commitments etc. and ended up frightening her by asking if redundancy was an option. I felt tremendously better afterwards (although slightly embarrassed for not acting more professionally), and like I now have closure. I am looking for a new job in the company but there are very few for senior admin staff such as myself (I am a committee secretary) so I am likely stuck for a while. I don't think that ranting at her is going to change anything, but maybe it will teach her to be a better manager and think more about the impact of what she is saying to people.

Getting back to the much more important topic of crafts, I have my Saturday Sewing Club this weekend when I am launching our new Block of the Month, to make a simple sampler quilt that I designed in EQ6 (that sounds really impressive, but EQ6 does a lot of the work for you). I handed out a picture of the quilt before Christmas, and this week I worked out what blocks will be done in what months, and wrote the instructions for the first two blocks. Then I had to make samples to test the instructions - they are the Rail Fence and the Indian Hatchets Album block. I've decided to make this quilt from stash and use a palette that I am mentally labelling as contemporary American country colours. These are 8-inch finished blocks.

While I was looking for fabric, I was irritated anew by my FQ storage (stored vertically inside two converted CD towers stacked on top of each other) which was so overflowing that I couldn't close my closet door any more. I decided to have a New Year's clearout, and went through all of them and pulled out all the ones that I am never going to use, that are hideous, that are unusable novelties, that are ancient etc. This is the pile I amassed:

As you can see, I have divided them up into colour families. At first I thought I might chop them up into charity quilts but then I decided life is too short to spend ages pressing and cutting and sewing fabric I don't like. So Plan B (now started) is to sew them into backings for quilts. I am seaming them into panels at least 60" long all in one colour family. That's wide enough for a single quilt, then I can assemble coordinating panels to make a backing for single sized quilts. So that's what I will take to club on Saturday to work on.

On the knitting front, I finished my cherry gloves (thanks for your comment Greenmare!). This pic is taken before I steam blocked them - the blocking improved the appearance and evened out the knitting. I'm quite proud of them and have worn them a few times already. The second one, where I reduced the number of stitches, fits much better than the first. However, because all four fingers are knit from one horizontal plane, they don't fit my hand as snugly as I would like, since my little finger starts about half an inch below my ring finger. I have now bought a download of a glove book by Nanette Blanchard, which has lots of great tips on custom fitting gloves so that they, well, fit like a glove :) I will definitely knit another pair to try out her patterns.

For my next project (yes, I know I am ignoring my lace sock but I'm not really enjoying that project) I have started a fair-isle knitting pattern from my christmas present book of Norwegian knitting patterns. This is my first attempt at a fair-isle project since taking the course at Loop in the autumn. I am using Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (again, but I love this yarn). I doing ok with holding the two yarns (I am holding the red in my left hand and the white in my right) but the tension is very difficult. My first go was way too tight and puckered, but as it turned out I made a major mistake in the chart just above the ribbing so had to rip it all out anyway. This time around I am going too much the other way, and some of the stitches are far too loose. I expect it is just something you have to practice, and in time you achieve a more consistent tension. I think I might do better on circulars as crossing the jump between dpns is tricky with the two colours and trying to manage the float simultaneously. Nanette also has a book on stranded knitting (which is actually how I found the glove book, when I googled on stranded knitting tips) which I also purchased as a download, and that has some helpful advice in it.

Last, but not least, it was Dollshouse Club last night. We all had to bring in our bookend which we were meant to have decorated as a sewing scene. These will all be displayed together at the Kempton Park dollshouse show in February to raise funds for charity. Mine is actually a kitchen scene with a little girl sitting on the floor with her cat and dolly, playing with mom's sewing machine and sewing basket. The kitchen dresser is the one I made in the online workshop back in March (or May, can't remember).

And finally, I been given a date for my nose op - 19th January - and I have to be there at 0730 a.m.! groan. I will come out the same day and then I get two weeks off work, yay! Hopefully I will be feeling ok and will get lots of craft time in, even if I look too hideous to go outside.


Kathy Wagner said...

My goodness but you are busy!
Accomplishing a lot too!
Glad to hear you cleared the air at work and hope that you find something better soon!

Levi said...

HI, I just came across your blog thru the quilt ring. I too have way too many hobbies to keep up with. Nice to see I'm not the only one!

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