Thursday, 18 June 2009

Off to France so I'm blogging a day early

I'm off to France tomorrow to spend a long weekend with a friend who moved from the UK to run a gite in Normandy. On Sunday we are going to travel up to Paris by train to visit the SIMP dollshouse and miniatures show. My friend says it is a small but good show so I am looking forward to it.

I am experimenting with a schedule for my leisure time, and so far it seems to be working. I applied my work skills by making a list of the activities that I don't feel I am tackling satisfactorily, then specified how much time a week I wanted to spend on them, then broke it down by days. For example, I would like to spend on average at least 30 minutes a day on quilting and 30 minutes on knitting. That is a minimum (I spend a lot more time knitting than that) but added up over a week it would be 3.5 hours more than I am managing some weeks. I'm going to try to stick to the list for a few weeks and see how it feels (although already I am screwing it up by disappearing for the weekend - but I will take my knitting).

So what have I been up to?

I finished the socks for my husband. These are in Red Heart 'Heart and Sole' with Aloe Vera that I bought in America. The pattern is the standard Regia leaflet which I quite like.

I've started a new pair of socks. These are the "Scandinavian Pattern Socks" from my "Little Box of Sock Patterns" that my friend Swooze sent me from America. Don't look too closely at the tension: I couldn't find my 3mm dpns and I didn't have 3mm circs at that point, so I was fumbling along on glove needles for the first half. Plus the coloured yarn is slightly thinner than the purple yarn which is the yarn I bought at the Ravelry day. The coloured yarn is a self-striping yarn Admiral R Druck from Schoppel Wolle. But tonight I visited the wonderful 'Socktopus' store in Fulham and picked up some 3mm circs there, much easier.

I FINALLY finished the sleeves for 'Hey Teach'. I have ripped these back so many times I could have knit six sleeves. My problem was decreasing while trying to stay in the lace pattern, compounded by my inability to count and, let's face it, some plain dumbness. I'm not that experienced at lace yet. The first time I managed to get to the end, I had left the partial repeats in plain stockinet, but that looked really obvious and not how they did it in the picture. So I pulled it back and tried to knit it up in pattern, but managed to really confuse myself when it came to decreasing at the same time as trying to deal with additional stitches caused by yarn overs etc. I got there in the end thanks to an article on decreasing lace in Interweave Knits, after several false tries (at least half of them due to picking up my knitting and assuming I was on a different row than I was really...) Now I need to block the pieces and knit the bands.

The Liberty's department store yarn sale sneakily started earlier than their main sale, but thanks to a chance visit to Ravelry I was on the case, and buzzed up there on my lunch hour from work. It wasn't a huge sale, as they have reduced their yarn department so greatly, but lots of good Rowan yarn brands on half price. I picked up some hand knit cotton in blue, and some kidsilk haze in pink. I was carrying around some cotton glace in pink as well, until I remembered that at least half my stash is pink of one kind or another. I instinctively pick it up, it's one of my favourite colours for clothing.

While looking for new places to hide my yarn stash in the living room, I found this quilt which I was handquilting last year - you can read about how I rescued this deformed top here. When I found it I realised that all the quilting was done apart from the border, so I just stitched in the ditch around the border on the machine then finally got to give it a good bath in the bathtub. I didn't dare wash it when it was just a top, some of the blue material is very thin and the stars are pieced onto a coarse sacking. But I was itching to do it, because the whole top was so dirty that the blue had a funny brown tinge. After many rinsings in the bathtub, I am thrilled that the blue is now a lovely 40s/50s blue. The cotton wadding has shrunk up and the quilt is lying much flatter now - even though the blocks are basically gathered to the backing, it doesn't look obviously distorted like it used to.

I hope you are not getting sick of pictures of gardens. We have one specimen rose bush which has the most gorgeous blooms - only about 5 or 6 of them, but they are so beautiful. The flowers are just starting to open up now - here is one of them. They don't seem to have any scent, but I don't mind because they are just lovely.


Miri said...

Have a great week-end...the dollhouse/miniature show sounds like a treat!

I think your blog is terrific and have given you a fun award. Just go to my blog to get it! :)

novri said...

hi..honestly i really like your articles,especially this the way where did u get those great pictures..:) nice job..!

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