Friday, 26 September 2008

Row, row, row your boat

I had a fairly idyllic British summer afternoon last weekend, when Dh and I went along to the school's boathouse on the Thames. It was a lovely sunny day, and they were offering a 'have a go row' for parents. Ds took up rowing as a school sport this year, and so far seems to be enjoying it even though the fitness regime outside of rowing is fairly intensive. Dh thought it would be fun to try rowing for himself. Actually, I could have gone rowing as well, but I thought I would be much happier relaxing on the boat house sun deck, sipping a Pimms and knitting while I looked over the river activity. Beats being a soccer mom!!

This was the first time I had seen the boats up close, I couldn't believe how long the eights are! Apparently they cost up to $30,000 each, yet I saw them being swung around with apparent abandon by school kids portaging them in and out of the boathouse. Teachers must have nerves of steel - or really cast-iron insurance policies...

This is Dh's boat setting off at last (after about an hour of safety lectures and how-to's, another reason why I'm glad I didn't do it) - he is the third from the right in the baseball cap and dark t shirt. They were out for about an hour and a half and he said it was surprisingly hard. Apparently it requires serious coordination to get all 8 pairs of oars to synchronise, plus he found he kept clawing his own hand with his own fingernails as he crossed the two oars in front of him. I nodded very sympathetically as I sipped some more Pimms and knit another row on my alpaca shawl...

The Big Knit is running again this year, and I have contributed three little hats (pictured on top left of blog page). They pop the hats onto Innocent smoothie drinks that are sold in supermarkets, and 50p from each one sold goes to help the elderly stay warm during the winter.

Taking Swooze as my role model, I have been excavating my sewing closet and bagging up all my projects and UFOs in clear plastic carrier bags, writing on the outside what the project was and, more scarily, the year I purchased/started it. In our old house I had a whole large bedroom as my sewing room, but when we moved here I ended up with a double closet. Over the five years we have lived here, the closet had deteriorated to a useless and impenetrable mound of fabric and haberdashery. I've taken everything out, put the stash into plastic boxes that I will at least be able to lift out of the closet to paw through when I am looking for something, bagged up all the projects/UFOs and taken all the quilting books out to be moved downstairs. It still isn't as good as having a sewing room, but hopefully will improve matters. I am depressed at how ancient a lot of the stash is, there is plenty of fabric in there 10 years old or more that I've never used. Lately I have turned into what Mark Lipinski calls a 'McQuilter', just buying kits or pre-packs of coordinated fabric, just because it is easier. Even though I know that the quilts I love the most are the ones where I have added my own creativity to the design.

I found two Christmas quilt projects in the closet, the 'Let it Snow' snowman quilt and a tree skirt kit. I should make one for christmas, probably the tree skirt. When I looked at the pattern, it is only 42" square, which is way too small for the giant xmas trees we like to buy (some years we have to trim the top because it is hitting the ceiling) so I think I am going to have to break away from the kit and make up my own adaptation of the design.


swooze said...

Oh thanks for the pics! I am so curious about rowing. I will have to watch for an opportunity it try it out one day myself.

Me? Your role model? Is the closet any better now? Now you know what is in there and inspiration may strike and lead you straight to some of that older fabric so you can use it up!

Kathy Wagner said...

You are very brave to head into the UFO closet!! I'm afraid to go into mine!!

Teresa said...

You could always sell your kits on ebay and get a fresh start! My daughter is a kinda new quilter, and I have gotten into the habit of giving her some of my UFO's that I have lost interest in and it is so wonderful to get them out of my UFO drawers and off my mind. The rowing looks like fun, but I am with you, I would rather sit and enjoy the view and sew.

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