Friday, 10 July 2009

School's out for summer

Ds is now off school for a two month break - why don't adults get this? Before he starts his holiday camp (at vast expense) in a few weeks, he is down at his grandparents this week so it has been very peaceful here. I've taken advantage by being out almost every night for something: Monday to the chiropractor (oh yes, we live the high life here...), Tuesday to an after-work event, Wednesday to a seminar for job-hunters, and last night I was knitting at I-Knit (my LYS). But I've still managed to squeeze in some hobbies.

I have sewn the vertical rows of the Hawaiian batik blocks that I made at last month's sewing club meeting. I used the Crazy Curves templates to cut these, and this layout is modelled on one in the accompanying book, only I have added a strip of small 3.5" blocks inbetween the 7" blocks. Working with these fabrics reminds me of the lush Hawaiian greenery amidst blue water and sky. However, they are relatively low-contrast, so the design is partially hidden. This will be a single, so once I get the rows joined I will have to think about a border.

I have made a start on knitting the Kauni cardigan by machine, the one I was winding the wool for back in March. I struggled to match the tension of 24st/30 rows for this, going all the way up to Tension 10 on my Brother 881 knitting machine without success, then moving on to my Brother 260 Chunky, so I ended up knitting about 5 tension swatches which I will probably have to unravel to avoid running out of wool. The 260 matched the tension on 1 and one dot, but when I sat down to knit I realised that the 114 needle bed was not sufficient for the required 122 needles for the pattern. After a few minutes of hair-clutching, I have decided to knit the back on 114 needles at tension 1 and two dots, which should work out at about the right width. This is pure wool so I should have some bodge room at the blocking stage. I'm a bit worried about the fronts as I won't have many spare needles to do the steek, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I still haven't picked up for the bands on Hey Teach as there hasn't been an evening where I felt alert enough for this make-or-break task. I have progressed on the Scandinavian pattern sock, and finished the gusset last night at I-knit. Making an effort to strand loosely has worked and the socks now fit comfortably. I fell in love with some sock yarn that another knitter was using last night, for some Cookie A socks. It was handpaint from 'Old Maiden Aunt Yarns' in Scotland, and the rich moss green was so gorgeous, it just made you think of lush moss banks under a cool waterfall. Cue bad case of yarn lust...

I've started a new project, as I didn't have any mindless knitting for in front of the television when you don't want to have to think too hard. I am using my Noro Matsuri yarn that I bought in San Francisco at Imagiknit in February. Originally I was going to knit something from the accompanying pattern book 'Joy' but got very frustrated as I couldn't even come close to matching the tension - which is very unusual for me. So now I am knitting a plain cardigan with a moss stitch border on 3.5mm circs. The bottom band is 4.5" of moss stitch, and I am knitting it all in one piece. I got about an inch and a half done last night before I got bored with it. This yarn is gorgeous, I love watching the colour changes.

And I have done some dollshousing. I had a slow day at work so visited several 'printables' or 'printies' sites on the internet, and printed off various items to fill the shelves under the sink in my office. I had two fridge magnets that looked like a photocopier and a filing cabinet, so I have doctored them up (removed the magnet, covered up or painted out unwanted detail, added accessories). And I made a little curtain to go under the sink. I will take a picture once it's finished, before I install it into the dollshouse quilt shop.

The heatwave broke with a spectacular day of thunderstorms and torrential rain which caused localised flooding everywhere, and now it is actually quite pleasant. I've got my Saturday sewing club tomorrow and we are starting our new Block of the Month. I think I've mentioned that we have steered away from any type of group project which relies on swapping blocks or other work, as somebody always ends up feeling unhappy with the quality of what they've received. So for the last few years I have been designing block of the month projects of various kinds and handing them out. This year we have gone for something different: I asked everyone to provide two blocks of their choice on a garden theme. I am then handing back two patterns (with added instructions if needed) to the group each month and people will make their own quilt on a garden theme. It can be any size (so they can size the blocks up or down), any design, any technique, any colour. The only rule is that they have to use each one of the 18 blocks at least once in a recognisable form. It should be really interesting to see what people will come up with.

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