Saturday, 21 November 2009

On the road

I didn't blog yesterday because we had a 200 mile road trip to take one of our cats to a specialist animal hospital, where he is going to have radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthryoidism. It is eyewateringly expensive but we are crossing our fingers the pet insurance is going to pay for it all. If successful (and the treatment works for 95% of cases), then it is a permanent cure. We had to hang around town for four hours while they tested his blood and urine yet again, and gave him a second heart scan (he had the first at our home vets, and they shaved a patch the size of my hand to do it. It was just starting to grow back and now is shaved again. He looks like he is a half-finished cat.) But he passed all the tests and will now be in for three weeks, before we do another 200 miles to collect him.

Unfortunately this was a town with no knitting or quilting shop, but luckily I had brought knitting with me. I am progressing on my elephant-sized Christmas Stocking in Debbie Bliss Fez (pictured, showing how I have just turned the heel), and halfway up the final sleeve on my Noro Matsuri cardigan.

I have also knit three more little Christmas stockings (the one on the right needs sewing up). I am thinking I may crochet a lanyard and hang all the little stockings from it, it will be really cute and then they won't get lost on the christmas tree.

What else this week? I've been experimenting with felting, but will blog about that separately once I've finished my project. I've been quilting on my Piece o' Cake 'Flowering Vines' quilt top: I've done all the straight line quilting with my walking foot and am now starting to go around the applique in free motion. I may have to put that to one side however, as I need to finish up my Hawaiian Batik quilt top and then get my frame put up and quilt it, all in time for Christmas.

I have to prepare two more samples for the Garden Block of the Month for our quilt club meeting next weekend. I have contributed an applique pattern from EQ6 for a garden arch and fence. I decided to avoid the obvious white choice of fabric and went with a wooden fabric. I then had the problem that it was very low contrast against all the fabrics I had been thinking of using for background. Then I found this panel tucked in my stash, and felt it worked well. Since taking the big picture, I have gone around the fused applique with two tone thread to create a 3-d effect of light coming from one side, and it stands out better now against the garden.

Today I was also on the road, heading up to London (going around the collapsed bridge on a separate train line). First of all to a Christmas craft fair at the Royal Horticultural Halls, to which a friend had given me a complimentary ticket. It wasn't really what we would call 'crafts', more jewellery and designer clothing accessories etc. But I did get a cute Advent Calendar and a bit of xmas shopping done. Then I was off to the Christmas London Kensington Dollshouse Show at Kensington Town Hall. This is a good show that attracts all the top makers, so lots of good eye candy even if some of it costs more than the real thing would. My only complaint about this show is that the majority of traders are the same year on year, and not only are in the same booth locations but even have pretty much the same stock. It was incredibly crowded this year, so I did a lot of looking over shoulders and thinking "it's the shoe lady" or "the glassware man". For some reason there were some truly enormous women customers in the crowd, I don't just mean 'heavy', I mean gigantic, like they could be extras in Lord of the Rings if more cave trolls were needed. I was behind one woman who must have been almost six feet tall and at least 2.5 feet wide. Maybe there was a coach trip for gigantic women from one of the European countries...? :)

Anyway, you want to know what I got. Well, I bought a set of golf clubs and a shooting set (consisting of a gun in a long leather holster and a game bag) from 'the Luggage Lady' for my Edwardian gentleman in my Rik Pierce house, a tea pot from Valerie Ann Casson (which it turns out I already have, so I am going to have to swap it), and a kit from "Petite Properties" for the 1:48th Washtub Cottage. The latter includes mdf wooden parts to build the cottage, and a booklet teaching you all her techniques for creating weathered stonework from air drying clay, tiled floors, beams etc. She is basically giving away all her secrets, which makes me wonder if we are soon going to see a rash of clone buildings for sale on Ebay and elsewhere. The kit is a christmas present for me, for someone to give me. I have also ordered myself a mitten kit (the union jack 'Johnny Rotten' mittens), and a model ship kit, and have handed them over to my husband for someone else to give back to me. Only way to get quality christmas presents in my opinion. Who needs another basket of scented soap?

I will finish with my newest wheeze: a rotary cutting mat. I spotted this solid wooden turntable when I was on the IKEA trip last weekend (and no, we didn't leave anyone behind, and yes, people enjoyed themselves) for £5.99. It just so happens that I had a spare large cutting mat that was completely knackered (I used it to build my Willowcrest dollshouse on) so I cut a circle out of that and stuck it on upside down (to use the smoother surface) with doublesided tape. Hey presto, a rotary cutting mat!


Daisy said...

Cool way of organising Christmas presents! Hope all goes well with the cat, I had no idea treatment like that was possible!

Quilter Kathy said...

Great idea making that rotating mat!

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