Saturday, 7 February 2009

Endlessly cleaning

We are going on holiday soon, and my in-laws are coming to live in our house while we are gone. This has necessitated a major overhaul in order to beat the clutter into submission and clean up the worst dirt havens. The best thing has been having an Oven Cleaning firm in. In 90 minutes on Friday they restored my oven and its racks to like-new pristine sparkle, which I vaguely remember from when the realtor showed us around the house five years ago. You can actually see in through the glass pane now, something I don't think we've been able to do for a very long time. It was two nice Polish gentlemen (there are a lot of Poles working in the UK) and I only wish they also did housecleaning. I did try to get something similar arranged for our bathrooms, but then the snow arrived last Monday grinding the country to a halt and the firm I contacted never called me back.

My son had two snow days as his school was closed, and I had to work from home on Monday as there was no public transport. I think we only had about 6-8 inches of snow, but that is the most in this area for 18 years and the infrastructure just can't cope. Very few people have snow chains down here, or even know how to drive in snow, public transport was suspended so nobody could get to work, leading to mass closures of retail stores etc. and even threatening hospitals and other essential services. Meanwhile we went out and made a snowman while my son enjoyed the most snow he has seen in his lifetime apart from the one time he went on a school ski trip. Luckily we had just bought the snow boots for his next school ski trip, so he was well equipped.

Long term readers of this blog will remember that I changed jobs last year and haven't been too thrilled with the new one. Ironically, there is now the possibility that my job may be in jeopardy, as a reorganisation is cutting four jobs out of 17. Some jobs may be changed significantly and those in them will have to re-apply for them. We are supposed to find out in March if our job is affected, although I will be amazed if my generally slow-moving company manages to act that fast. I have mixed feelings about all of this, the possibility of change opens up some light at the end of the tunnel that something good may come of it, but on the other hand I don't want to lose my job given what's going on with the economy these days. I'll keep you posted.

So what have I been doing, in between cleaning bathrooms and building snowmen? I enjoyed the Ardingly quilt show but it isn't really very big, we were scheduled to have five hours there and I felt quite done after two which was a bit tedious. There was a nice exhibit of quilts made from jelly rolls which I quite liked, I always think 'I could cut strips from my stash and not have to buy a jelly roll', not that I ever get around to doing that. I was quite tempted by several cute jelly rolls but they were generally priced at £25 (about $34) which is too much for me. Although it's a lot better now that the exchange rate has dropped, before, the equivalent was about $50 which was really annoying when I get American fabric shop newsletters touting them for $25. In fact I wondered on the way to the show if prices would have really gone up, since most stock is imported from the States and the exchange rate has dropped so much, but surprisingly prices seemed about the same. Fat quarters were still £2.50, sale yardage was generally £5/metre, although I saw some at £4 and £3. I know you just want to know what I bought, so here we go: a pack of FQs as a gift for a friend, a Micro Stitch tool and some packs of tags, an acrylic template of nested circles (so I will never have to paw through my cupboard looking for round things to trace around again), some of the £3 yardage in 30s colourways, some Wondertape (doublesided tape that washes away, great for sticking things in place until you can sew them down, like zippers), some spare needles, and, and, I'm sure there is something else but I can't remember.

The MicroStitch tool is for my latest great wheeze of an idea. Remember I have a couple of single tops that I decided weren't going to work on my frame, because they don't suit 4-inch-wide band quilting? Well, now I am going to put them on the frame anyway, and tack them into a sandwich with the Microstitch tool! No more clamping to a table, and no more sore fingers from 100s of safety pins. I will just tack the layers then take the sandwich off the frame to be quilted on the machine at my leisure (once the machine is off the frame). I finished quilting the landscape picture and took it off the frame, but haven't had time to load another top, and now the frame is buried anyway in all the clutter that we are hiding in the bedroom to make it look like we live like normal people in the rest of the house.

I took DH's tie along to knit on the coach on the way to Ardingly, but discovered that about 8 inches ago I had miscounted a decrease so that the central 'spine' of the tie was now off centre. So I had to rip back to there and re-knit. I am now past that point and on the long straight bit. Who knew how long guys' ties are?? I feel like I am knitting a rope or something. I held it up to DH and it goes up his front and partway around his neck, so I have ages to go yet. I haven't done much on Hey Teach, I am now doing the 1x1 ribbing at the waistline.

At the knitting evening at the I-knit shop on Thursday, I made a start on a new pair of socks that I will be taking with me on the holiday as holiday knitting (this is what I am like: my house is not yet ready for the in-laws, I have not yet packed - but I have planned and started my holiday knitting project...). They are the Potpourri socks from 'Knitting Socks from Handpainted yarns'. The cuff has a knitted-in hem, the first time I have done that with hand knitting although it is a fairly common technique with machine knitting. I have some gorgeous sock yarn but I'm not sure I have enough, the yardage is a lot less than called for in the pattern. Let's just hope the pattern yardage is excessive or I may end up with one and a half socks.


scraphappy said...

I was laughing out loud when I read the part about the bedroom full of clutter where you put everything so it seems as if are living like normal people in the rest of the house. I have one of those rooms too! Honestly, it is two rooms. One for me and one for the kids. I guess my husband claims the garage so we all have our own haven of disorganization.
I hope all works out for the best with the job situation. I am having similar thoughts about mine and am just waiting for things out of my control to play themselves out.

swooze said...

So I assume there is a guest bedroom. WHen do you go on your trip? If you give me the details I could send your sock pressie to the hotel! Let me know.

Teresa said...

These are indeed stressful times with our economy and I will be keeping you in my prayers that your job will be secure.

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