Sunday, 21 December 2008

Home at last

Huge sigh of relief as I am now at home for two weeks, mostly working from home but I am taking off the two days before Christmas. It was all happening the last week at work, as pressures and frustrations came to a head. A catalogue of mixed messages and miscommunications culminated in a sudden announcement that I was expected to go on a two-night business trip in early February, despite the fact that I have been booked to take a major holiday the following weeks since before joining my new job. My refusal to travel sparked a meeting with my supervisor and my team leader, where my pointing out that I could have told them that was a bad week for me anytime over the last eight months had they bothered to ask me, led into what was virtually a shouting match between me and my supervisor over all our problems, with the team leader trying ineffectually to mediate. Curiously enough, I felt immensely better after pouring it all out, so I was able to survive my end-year performance appraisal the next day with equanimity. My team leader is promising a fresh start in new year, with better communication, clearer roles and structures, so we shall see. I am feeling very stressed by it all, and particularly from the move into a sardine can call centre open plan environment which is constantly noisy and has no privacy at all. I am very introverted and just loathe the constant exposure to people, noise, phones ringing, cells going off, interruptions etc. which has not helped my ability to cope with my new role.

Anyway. So I have two weeks at home now and the future looks slightly brighter. It sure isn't a good time to go looking for a new job.

So what have I been doing? After reading about handmade circular knitting holders by Sarah Kincheloe in the latest issue of Knitty, I felt inspired to tackle my longstanding issues with my Denise organiser needles. Denise interchangeable needles come neatly packed into a non-latching plastic case which holds everything brilliantly until the first time you take something out. After that I found it hard to get the cables back into place, things
were falling out of the case, and there was nowhere to store the

spare accessories. I have looked at the new Denise plastic case, but it is very expensive here in the UK and needle sizes aren't labelled. So I made this combined holder for my Denise needles and for my circular needles, and I can label the pockets. I'm sure Sarah's are much nicer than mine, but this does the job. I have a few spare pockets but if I get many more circs, I may need to make another one. I modelled it on Sarah's, and it folds into four and latches with velcro.

I finally finished the last of the backs for my six tops, so yesterday I spent a long time setting up my table top quilting frame again. I haven't used it since setting it up for the first time last Christmas, so the first big job was just to locate all the pieces from where I had squirreled them away around the house and attic. I spent at least 45 minutes looking for the wooden supports that I thought I had put under the runners until I eventually realised that I hadn't actually had any last christmas, but had meant to buy some for next time. Isn't getting older wonderful? This time, as I assembled things, I wrote little labels on them (back roller, this faces front etc.) so hopefully it won't be such a learning curve next time. The huge improvement this time around is that I bought the Grace speed control that fits on the handlebars, so I don't have to put up with the improvised foot pedal arrangement I was using last time. It is much better and for the first time the set-up feels a bit like those I have tried out at shows. I loaded a test sandwich and practiced a bit and fiddled with the tension, and now I have loaded my first top.

I am starting with one that I know I am going to give away, the New Year's mystery quilt from last year, and just trying out meandering to begin with. I know a big problem I had last time was the limited throat space (2-6" as the quilt roll enlarges) and I struggled to find quilting designs to use. It still surprises me that with all these tabletop frames that Grace, Hinderburg and others are selling, that someone hasn't written a book on how to quilt horizontal design bands of 4" width that still look good. I bought a few long-arm quilting books but although I got a few tips out of them, it is mostly just frustrating because of all the stuff I can't do. Still, things are going well, tension isn't too bad, and I feel good that I am finally tackling my quilt top collection.

I hope that, if you are celebrating, that you are in a good place with all your preparations, and are looking forward to an enjoyable holiday. Merry Christmas to all my readers, hope Santa brings you all your crafty desires, plus lots of time to craft in. Oh, and the good news is that I got my sock pattern back, the girl sitting next to me at the xmas party had it, and gave it back to me Thursday night. So Swooze will get two matching socks after all.


Kathy Wagner said...

Merry CHristmas to you and your family! Enjoy your time away from the office and quilt away to your hearts content!!

Sarah Nopp said...

Your knit-stick holder is wonderful! I need to make something like that too. Thanks for the idea.

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