Sunday, 16 November 2008
I've had an orgy of crafting today, because both Ds and Dh were out of the house all day. I spent a lot of the day dollshousing, but also did some quilting on my xmas tree skirt, plus knitting in front of the tv when I felt like a break. I felt a curious sense of deja vu, and realised that this is how I used to spend my time before I had a child, when weekends were completely at my disposal to spend as I pleased. Before I turned into a catering machine, homework nag, laundry worker and events planner. When the only deadline was "when will the glue dry so I can move to the next step", rather than "I've got 35 minutes until I have to put the vegetables on..." It was rather nice to re-visit the good old days, but on the other hand the house did seem pretty quiet and by late afternoon I was feeling lonely :( .
Today was the big day, that I have been building up to for several months: I poured the resin for the 'river' in front of my Rik Pierce house. I've been dreading it, as I've never worked with resin before, and I had visions of it either draining away through some unspotted hole, to spread all over the table. Or, of it never setting, and all my hard work being mired in a lake of permanently sticky goo. I used Envirotek Lite, which is the product recommended by Rik. I don't know if you can get it in the UK, I made sure to buy some at a hobby shop in America when I was there. The directions stress how important it is that you a) mix it properly, b) have proper ventilation, and c) it has to be at least 70 degrees for it to set (which kind of contradicts point 'b'). So I got everything ready, decided to sacrifice two old drinking glasses as mixing containers, spent some time hunting for a sturdy stir stick and ended up using one of my quilting rulers (gasps of horror from all the quilters reading this, but don't worry, I wiped it clean and then wiped it again with alcohol to remove the goo). I also cranked the central heating up to 21 degrees, then opened some windows and set the kitchen timer for the 2 minutes of mixing time, then for the 20 minutes that I had to pour it.
I was so worried about getting the 'water' to flow under the dock and around the boat, that I ended up flooding the resin right out the other side when I tilted the house up to encourage the resin to flow. Lots of mopping up with paper towels, before I poured the rest of the resin onto the exposed 'river'. Luckily I had mixed lots, the whole 8 fluid oz package. The smell was pretty overpowering, and even with the windows open I was feeling a bit lightheaded by the time I was satisfied. Then came the anxious wait all day to see if it would set. I left the kitchen closed up and the heat on, so it was good and warm in there. It is now almost 9 hours later, and it does seem to be setting, it is firm now but still a bit sticky. It looks great, like real water, but I wish I had done a better job painting the floor of the river. The resin seems to magnify every little scratch or defect in the paint when you look closely.
Here are the baby booties that I knit from an Erika Knight pattern published in 'Simply Knitting' magazine, using the newly launched Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK (75 extra fine merino, 20 silk, 5 cashmere). I have to be honest and admit that I did not enjoy either this pattern or this yarn. The pattern, which looks so simple, is like knitting origami, lots of stops and starts so you end up with several ends to sew in. You have to knit two mirror images, and it would have benefited hugely from a diagram to figure out what was going on. The yarn is extremely slippery, so much so that metal needles just fell right out of it, and made the knitting hard to hang on to when grasping the needles. The ball also fell apart. I switched to bamboo needles which was a big improvement but the yarn still felt almost slimy in the hands. The hat is from a pattern called "Grace's Lacy Star Hat" by Candace Bryant Janis, and was in my pattern a day knitting calendar for 2008. It is a great little knit, and apart from the slimy yarn, I really enjoyed it. I'm just finishing a pink hat, so I will have two sets for whatever gender presents itself, although I'm not convinced the hat will ever stay on a baby's head in this slippery yarn.
I was embarrassed to find, when I started quilting my xmas tree skirt, that I have gotten really 'pants' at it (to use a British expression). It has probably been months since I seriously quilted anything, and I have really lost the knack. I have done large stippling in the sky area, and squiggles-and-stars in the borders, but a lot of my stars look like they were drawn by a drunk.
I called this post 'teambuilding hell' because Tuesday I am obligated to attend a three day / two night teambuilding event at a hotel. I am dreading it, because there are several people on my new team that I don't like at all, and in fact one of them is incredibly annoying. Some of the others are alright, but there is absolutely nothing that we will possibly be doing that is going to make it worthwhile spending three whole days in their company. I will be lucky if I'm not leaving the hotel in the back of a squad car on Thursday. What a complete waste of time and money, not to mention imposing on my family and interrupting my crafting. I am taking lots of knitting, and hope to at least get some of that done, if I can get away with it. My husband has promised to come and visit me if I get absolutely desperate. So think of me, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and wish me to have willpower and self control. And plenty of tolerance. I am going to be so booooooooooooooooooooooooooored.
One last review: I bought a new knitting magazine that I haven't seen before called "Verena knitting" from Burda, which claims to be Europe's top knit magazine. I've not seen it on the shelves before, and the subscription card invites people to become charter subscribers, so I assume it is fairly new. Despite the claim re Europe, it appears to be published and edited in the United States. I am disappointed with it. At first glance the high-fashion photographs make it look like a really cutting edge magazine. But when you actually look at the garments, most of them are either unflattering, unwearable in real life, or both, and there are no supplementary photographs with the patterns, despite the high fashion photographs covering up much of the essential construction detail with accessories or weird camera angles. There are a few patterns which aren't too bad, but there is something seriously strange going on with a lot of the sleeves, which appear to be far too tight even on the models' stick arms, with armpit hugging armholes. So that one is going in the recycling bin, not to my taste.
One of the podcasts I listen to has said that they have switched to Wordpress for their blog, because they got so fed up with Blogger's formatting problems. I always have problems when I add images, so I am tempted to go try out Wordpress. Any thoughts?
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