Wednesday, 27 February 2008

I got the job!

I found out late on Friday that I have been offered the job! So of course I said yes. I had a quick meeting with my new boss on Monday morning and we have tentatively agreed that I will move over in mid-April. So that means that I still get to go to Chicago at the beginning of April for the Tom Bishop miniatures show and the Chicago International quilt show - yay! I was afraid that I wouldn't get to go. It also allows time for my second surgery in mid March to settle down - the surgeon is going to cut away a further sliver around the front margin of my skin graft, because the lab thinks that perhaps he didn't get all the skin cancer. He thinks he probably did, but said it is best to be sure. He also wants to do a 'punch biopsy' on a funny patch on my chest. So I will likely be heading off to Chicago with a few band-aids in place, but hopefully it will all be healed up by the time I start the new job. So I am really really pleased (and of course, worrying about what the change is going to mean for me and my family) but I expect it will all work out.

I found out what I was doing wrong on my cabled cardigan - it starts on a wrong side (WS) row, so I should have been reading row 1 of the chart from left to right. I was automatically reading it from right to left because I was still in fair isle mode from my mittens, so no wonder the pattern wasn't coming out like it should. It is going fine now but a bit slow going. The mess at the bottom is my false start, then I did a row of waste yarn and started over again. I'm planning to knit a cable trim along the sleeve edge, so I will pick up the live stitches then.
I just found out that the Yarn Harlot is coming to London for the SnB/I Knit day in September, so I have booked a ticket to go and see her. I have my Saturday Sewing club the same day, so I will have to duck out after a few hours with them to travel up to London, hopefully they will understand.
Meanwhile I am stitching on vintage log cabin blocks from a stack of FQs that I bought at Sisters in July, they are about half-size so far, I am chain piecing 36 blocks log by log.

Friday, 22 February 2008

No news yet

No news yet on the job, I am expecting to hear something today (Friday) because they said they would be in touch 'later in the week'.

Meanwhile I have clothed my little bear in a nice warm jacket with bright red buttons, which hopefully will cheer him up as he looks a little doleful.

I've also made up the sample blocks, Log Cabin, for the next BOM step which I have to hand out tomorrow at my Saturday Sewing Club.

I've decided to take my two bulging scrap bags to club and throw them to the piranhas, I mean, sewing ladies. They are taking up too much room in my sewing closet and I don't feel like making a scrap quilt at the moment. I made that nice string star quilt last year, but at the moment I just want to get on with some of my UFOs and other projects. If I do get to go to the Chicago International show in April, I will have to try not to bring home too much to add to my already bulging stash.

However, one of the Lime and Violet podcasters (a knitting podcast) has 124 skeins of sock yarn when she counted up - so I feel much better about my modest stash of a dozen or so skeins.

I have made a start on knitting the Silver Belle cabled cardigan from Vogue Knitting (also published in a UK knitting magazine as the Romy cabled cardigan by Debbie Bliss). It took me an hour last night to knit just 6 rows of the sleeve, and it doesn't look right so I am going to have to rip it out. I could be knitting on this cardi when I am 90. It is very challenging and I am having trouble reading the charts correctly. I'm also not sure that my Almerino yarn is going to work, I am substituting for the Cashmerino that the pattern calls for, but the Almerino doesn't seem to be giving very good stitch definition. I wanted to step up from socks and gloves and try something more challenging, but perhaps I have bitten off more than I can knit.

Monday, 18 February 2008

My weekend away

I haven't posted for ages, it was a busy week and then we were away for the weekend. A few people have asked how my interview went on Wednesday. I have to say that it didn't go particularly well, I had an unexpected attack of nerves near the beginning, and did a lot of babbling. I guess it was partly because I haven't had an interview for years, and partly because the reality (enormity) of what I was doing suddenly hit me. However, to my surprise, they subsequently included me in the writing test which they gave to all three of the people they interviewed. I had to conduct a mock interview by telephone, then write a 300 word article based on the information I gained. I handed the article in today, and they have said that I will hear back from them later in the week. I am hopeful, and yet also nervous that I might actually get it and then my life will change a lot.

I finished my teddy bear. He doesn't have any clothes yet because when I knit up the jacket pattern from the book, it was too big for him. I am trying my own smaller version but haven't finished it yet. He is knit in 4-ply wool/acrylic blend on 2.75mm needles.

My weekend away was to attend the Minis4All Dollshouse Weekend up in Walsall (about a three hour drive north from us). My husband kindly agreed to chauffeur me up there, with the lure of a hotel swimming pool. Sadly for him, the pool was closed all weekend and the hotel turned out to be really sub-standard. I wasn't expecting much, as the weekend is quite affordable, but it took us four goes to get into a room (one of the keys they gave us did actually work, but someone else was already in the room lying on the bed!) and there were all sorts of other minor problems for many guests. It didn't bother me too much since I was busy all weekend, and dh cheered up on Saturday when he spent a lovely sunny day exploring the area.

I booked up several 3-hour workshops in advance, and had a pleasant time just making things and chatting to other miniaturists. The weekend is all organised by volunteers who did a great job. I met some really nice people (but also a few that I would just as soon not meet again...) and it was nice to have a break away from the normal routine. We stashed ds at his grandparents, and collected him on the way home on Sunday.

I assembled this Savonarola folding chair, based on a Tudor original, in a workshop with McQueenie Miniatures who make a range of precision cut wooden kits.

I assembled and finished these two traditional hall chairs, in yew wood, in a workshop with Paul Ki-Kydd.

I wove the 'wicker' to build this ottoman with Iris Boughton. She had a really neat method where we wove the wicker in one straight line, then folded it up afterwards into the box shape. The weaving took about an hour and a half and really strained my eyes after a while. I also bought a room box kit from her to make up some other day. I think this was my favorite workshop from the weekend.

Then I was back with McQueenie again to assemble this Cheval mirror, which I am going to use in my knitting shop once it is waxed and put together.

Sunday morning I made this marquetry table top with Les McBirnie, which isn't finished because he thought we were doing a four hour workshop but it was really only three hours, so it all turned into a mad rush at the end.

I also participated in two swaps, and received this lovely bread cutter from a German participant - apparently this is what they use to cut their bread - and this beautiful glass decanter.

Dh and I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Bantock House, a lovely Edwardian house in Wolverhampton, before we shot off back down the motorway. It was a nice break, although I am not sure I will go again - perhaps if they move it to a different hotel, or if there are workshops I really want to do. On the plus side, while we were driving I turned the heel of my Lorna's Lace sock and am making good progress decreasing down the gussets. And I haven't done any sewing at all, but I have to make a sample log cabin block soon for the BOM I am running, because my Saturday Sewing club is on this weekend. Another local club is running a trip to visit a long arm quilter's studio tomorrow, which I am hoping to get in on. Should be interesting, although I will never have the money or the room to own a long arm of my own.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Chewing my nails...

I tend to chew my nails when I am stressed, and currently they are disappearing fast. I've been practicing up for this interview (thanks Swooze for the practice interview questions) but I feel like a fool talking about myself. I am a do-er, not a talker. Unfortunately in my company it is the talkers who get ahead, whether or not they can actually 'do'.

I've finished my Norwegian mittens, just in time for spring here - it was a gorgeous sunny day today and my daffodils are opening in the garden. Having finished my first fair isle project, I fancied myself as hot stuff, and ordered a bunch of 2 ply jumper wool in the Jamieson & Smith February sale, planning to tackle a Kaffe Fassett vest called 'Little Circles' from his Glorious Knitting book. But when I sat down to knit a tension sample, it was a disaster. This pattern has three colours in each row, not two, and I made a complete mess of it, tangled yarns, crooked floats, misread the pattern, the lot. I think I'm going to wait until my Denise circulars show up from America and then try knitting a tension sample in the round, which might be easier since I won't have to purl the floats, but I'm still not sure how I am going to hold the three yarns. If I have to keep dropping one colour, it is going to take forever to knit. I knit continental, so for the mitten I was holding one colour in each hand.

My Rowan Denim yarn arrived and I spent an evening winding it into balls with my electric ball winder. However, when I went out to my knitting shed to get the ball winder, I discovered that there is a hole in the roof and the water has been pouring in and soaking a corner of the room. Luckily none of the machines are damaged but it is a mess. I've put a temporary patch on the roof and have been running a fan in there to try to dry it out. I also found that the ball winder wasn't working very well, I had to take it apart and found that the grease had gummed up since I haven't used it for a few years. Anyway, I managed to fix it and got there in the end, it just all took about 3 times as long as I thought it would. The felt roof is about 4.5 years old so I guess we need to replace it - will likely tackle that over the Easter weekend, the traditional weekend here in the UK for home improvements.

I finally put together the Jellystone quilt top, made from my American Jane FQs. I would have liked a wider outer border, but that was all I had of the blue colour. It looks good, really homey/folksy.

And I'm knitting a little teddy bear, called Oliver, from "The Knitted Teddy Bear" book I bought. At the moment he looks more like a squirrel, or maybe a rodent, so I am hoping he will look more bearlike as he acquires more limbs and features.

I Have Been Tagged.

I have been tagged by Swooze.


1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.

2. Post THE RULES on your blog.

3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.

4. Tag 7 people and link to them.

5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Seven random or weird facts about me:

1) I was born in Canada, but emigrated in my late 20s to the UK.
2) I have eaten water buffalo, pigeon and turtle in my world travels (yuk to all 3).
3) I once applied to work for the Canadian government but was turned down because my French is minimal.
4) I have tested as high as 120 words per minute typing speed, if the testers are not deducting for backspace corrections (I used to temp).
5) I have never owned a car, but I have passed three different driving tests (Canadian, militia, UK) first time each time.
6) When I was young, I loved to climb trees, and fell out of one once (but luckily didn't break anything).
7) I used to be able to drive a horse and carriage when I was a teenager and even entered a few driving classes at horse shows.

I don't know 7 people to tag - I don't have time to follow many blogs, and most of the ones I do follow are 'official' ones from knitting shops or podcasters. I will tag Kathy, because I love her work and she seems such a nice person.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

I got an interview!

I found out today that I have an interview for the new job I applied for , next Wednesday. There are six applicants for the job, so I didn't know if I would get an interview or not. So I'm pleased but also nervous. I went back to work on Monday, after two weeks off. It felt very strange to be putting on work clothes/shoes again (and make-up) and I found the day strangely exhausting - I went to bed at 9 pm because I couldn't keep my eyes open. I'm not used to doing stuff all day after two weeks at home.

I had my stitches out last Wednesday night. The surgeon is pleased because the graft has taken and is healing well, but he's not sure he got all the cancer. He needs to review the pathology results and may cut a little bit more away under a local (one stitch) in four weeks. I was pretty horrified when he let me look in a mirror - we're talking Night of the Living Dead here - a big patch of dead white skin graft oozing blood all around, with big red stitch marks radiating in all directions, it was pretty gross. A week later and it has improved, the perimeter is mostly healed and the non-oozing stitch marks have faded away. But I am covering it up with skin-coloured tape when I go to work. He said in 2 to 3 months it will be much better, although still white, but I will be able to apply make-up to make it less obvious. The graft is a bit bigger than a quarter, so pretty much on show. But it doesn't hurt at all any more and I feel fine.

So what have I been up to? On Saturday I travelled up to London to meet up with some gals off Ravelry (a knitting community site) to do some knitting in the cafe of the Wellcome Institute for a few hours. It was good to talk knitting with other people who are really into it - I took my lace sock and worked a few more rows on it. On the "way home", I managed to fit in two knitting shops: All the Fun of the Fayre off Carnaby Street where I got some Regia sock wool on sale, and Liberty's department store.

Thursday and Friday I mostly spent making 25 sets of little straw handbags and change purses, for a swap that I am doing in May (but I have to post them off before the end of the month). These are in 1/12th scale, and the handbag idea was from a dollshouse magazine. They are pictured on a side plate to give some idea of size.

I've nearly finished my second Norwegian mitten, I'm just coming up to the tip of the thumb. The new Rowan issue 43 arrived, and had several things in it that I want to make. I managed to score 15 balls of Rowan Denim in shade Memphis from Ebay, so I am going to make 'Mustang' which is a denim jumper with a lacy yoke. The main part is stockinette, so I might break out the chunky knitting machine if I can be bothered to get it all set up. I really liked 'Dauphine' but didn't have any luck finding Rowan Cottan Glace cheaply anywhere, the best price I could come up with was £80 ($160) to knit it, and there is no way I'm paying that. The new Vogue Knitting Winter issue also turned up yesterday. I was reading it just before bedtime, and ended up having weird yarn dreams all night (don't ask). I went to Borders last week and bought a book called "The Knitted Teddy Bear" which has some absolutely adorable bears in it, with clothes, so I think that will be my next small project after the mitten.

My Orenburg Lace yarn turned up from Discontinued Yarns in America, but I won't be ordering from them again because (despite my email request to the contrary) they sent it plastered in commercial logos so of course it got stopped by Customs and the charges amounted to 50% of the order. I emailed them to tell them this and didn't even get the courtesy of a reply. It was still cheaper overall than buying it in the UK, but it's annoying.

And I have done a little sewing - I assembled the blocks for the Jellystone top and have started adding the first borders.

Now I have to stop blogging because dh is home, and I am making pancakes for supper because it is Pancake Day! I have managed to train my family in the strange North American custom of mixing bacon and eggs with pancakes and syrup - very foreign to the British who often just put lemon and sugar on their pancakes/crepes.

Miniature Collections

Miniature Net Ring

This site is owned by

Want to join a
Miniature Network Ring?

[Next] [Previous] [Random] [List Sites]