Friday, 27 June 2008

What a haul!

Wednesday night when I logged onto Ravelry I found out that Liberty's of London's (a department store with a big yarn section) summer sale was on, . So I shot up there on my lunch hour the next day, anxious to see if there was still anything left after five days since the sale started. Luckily there was still loads of Rowan yarn on half price, and I came away with quite a haul. 20 skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed, 10 balls of Rowan Damask, 10 balls of Rowan 4-ply in pink, and 22 balls of Rowan 4-ply in assorted colours to knit the multi coloured tshirt from the Rowan 40 magazine. All at half price! Thank you fellow Ravelry members for leaving some for me.

Here are some before and after pictures of my Rik Pierce house from this past weekend's work. In the first picture it still has the shipping damage, collapsed dock, stairs etc. and still lots of exterior painting to do. In the second picture, I have repaired the damage and painted a lot of the exterior.

Our lavender hedge is in glorious bloom in the garden right now, so beautiful and the bees love it too.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Lost in space

This is a bit weird. I posted yesterday and it seems to have vanished into the ether! So I guess I have to do it over (racking my brain here to remember what I wrote about...).

I know I posted a pic of my new sock, knitted tubularly on the Brother 881 knitting machine from a pattern in an old copy of Machine Knitter's Source. Using normal sock yarn, I cast on 1x1 ribbing, then once it was completed, transferred half the stitches to the main bed and half to the rib bed. Then I knit circular to the toe - so the only seams are to join the ribbing and to close the toe. I googled a few more circular sock patterns on the web, one of them is toe-up so I might try that one next. I found some advice to move needles to D position to help the stitches knit off cleanly when knitting circular, and that helped a lot. It fits pretty well, perhaps slightly big in the ankle so I will reduce a few stitches when I knit the secone one.
Ds was down at his grandparents this weekend so I could stop pretending to be a good mother who serves meals on the dining table, and take over the table to do some serious dollshousing on the Rik Pierce house I built in Chicago. I completed the basic construction in Chicago, but there is a lot of finishing work to do, plus some shipping damage to repair.
Last night we were very pampered - I won a competition and we had tickets to the last night of the Hampton Court music festival, which is staged in the courtyard of the Tudor palace. We were VIPs for the night, and started the evening with champagne served in the Little Banqueting House on the river, then at the interval in the music (Tchaikovsky) we were served a cold repast of salmon and asparagus back in the painted room of the Banqueting House, followed by strawberries and a cheese course, all with wine. The second half of the concert was made even more comfortable by our own VIP fleece blankets which were ours to keep. This is not at all my usual lifestyle, so I soaked it up for all it was worth. The evening finished with fireworks over the Long Water in the gardens of the palace, truly spectacular.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Warp speed

Wow, this weekend I got my new pc set up and it is so much faster than my old eight-year-old machine that I can hardly believe it. I've been downloading software drivers in a few minutes, of 35 meg, that would have taken half an hour or more on the old machine. I can turn on the machine in about one minute, instead of the 5-10 minutes my old machine took to boot up and find the internet. Of course, it took about 8 hours of my weekend to disentangle the old pc and cables and remove from computer desk, set up new pc and connect new cables and snake them through the desk, and then try to transfer the Files and Settings from the old XP machine to the new Vista machine. At times it was so frustrating that you wonder why this is an 'upgrade'. But we got there in the end and it is a huge improvement. Apart from the keyboard which feels a bit rickety and flat. But perhaps i will get used to it.

As well as installing the new pc, we also did a big spring clean involving shampooing the 'traffic roads' on the carpet and touching up paint work etc. The house looks a lot better. Of course, I realise that I am using all this 'fixing' in my real life to distract me from how miserable I am in my new job. But at least it stops me brooding. Another distraction was to go out to my knitting shed and work on a multi coloured cotton sweater that I started several months ago. I am doing random stripes on my Brother 881 machine, using about 7 or 8 colours. Four of them are threaded through the colour change mast, and the rest are hanging from the intarsia brake in front of the machine and I hand-feed them for knitting. A bit tedious to keep weaving in all the ends, but of course still much faster than hand knitting. I like machine knitting when it is going well, although it can be incredibly frustrating when the machine won't co-operate - although 9 times out of 10 that is due to operator error.

I washed my Katia linen Sonora cardigan-in-progress, to see if it was going to shrink much. This pattern starts with a lacy 'skirt' that falls from below the bust point, down to the hips, which is knit all in one piece on circulars. I want the lacy part to be about 10" so when I got to 9 1/2 ", I washed it to see if it would shrink. It shrunk slightly, back to about 9 1/8". So now I know I need to knit a bit extra. At the moment it doesn't look like much, but I am hoping that blocking will work miracles.

Friday night I was up in London following a work event, so I seized the opportunity to go to the Regency evening at the Victoria & Albert museum. I am a big Georgette Heyer fan, so I enjoyed seeing the many costumed actors in their Regency clothes offering various activities. There was fencing in the courtyard, Regency parlour games in a recreated saloon, and even Regency dance instruction in the Raphael gallery. I didn't actually take part myself, but it was fun to watch others trying.

One more fun thing this weekend - we had our VHS wedding video transferred to DVD and picked it up on Friday. Yesterday I watched it through, it is like a window in time to see how we all looked 18 years ago. There are several people in the video who have since passed, which was sad, and several more that are no longer part of our lives. Dh had lots of hair! and as he kindly pointed out in retaliation, I had a waist! Anyway, a lot of fun to revisit our youth. And finally, here are some pics of our gorgeous standard rose which is blooming its heart out with huge blossoms about six inches across.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Another week flown by

I've sewn another sample block for the BOM I am running for my saturday sewing group. This one is 16" finished - which meant that I had to make the sashing into slight rectangles to avoid all the squares being a really odd measurement.

The week has flown by as usual - and finally today the Big Day has arrived. I am working from home!! It hasn't been unalloyed joy as I just found out that the tedious hour I spent analysing a spreadsheet sent to me by a colleague was a complete waste of time as it turns out she sent me the wrong one. When I discovered this, I didn't even get an apology, which was annoying enough that I actually confronted her in a mild way over the telephone about it. That earned me a half-hearted apology.

But in between wasting my time on work, I've done three loads of laundry, simmered bolognese sauce for four meals and put it into the freezer, and tidied up a bit. I love being at home!! Sadly, still more actual paid work to do this afternoon, but still feels good. And tommorrow I get to sew.

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