Friday, 11 December 2009

Things are looking up

I've got two interviews next week! A source of hope, but also of panic. One is for a major high street bank, and one is for a manufacturing company, both in the internal communications area. I've also been in to register with two communications recruitment agencies, which is a bit like going for an interview as well. I also had to do a bit of a telephone interview with the bank before they invited me in. At least I am getting better about talking about myself, although I still have to fight the urge to guffaw loudly about the absurd things coming out of my mouth.
Meanwhile, this has been my last week in the office before Christmas, so I spent most of it saying goodbye to people and being taken out to lunch. It started off small with a colleague taking me for a salad at EAT on Tuesday, then Wednesday I used my company allowance to treat seven of my friends to lunch in London, then yesterday really tipped the scales with two more colleagues taking me out for middle eastern food at lunch (delicious!) and then my boss taking me out for afternoon tea at The Criterion restaurant in London (gorgeous decor, middling tea offering). I've been given a company pen, a lovely christmas table centre, a pretty bracelet, a nice shawl, an Amazon voucher and a huge bouquet of lovely flowers. All in all, it's been a bit like having my birthday all week. And yet it is for a sad reason, and some of my friends are really sad to see me go, and my (nice) colleagues have been saying nice things about me. It leaves me with very mixed feelings, like I don't know whether to be happy or sad.

I finally figured out why I never seem to hear my new mobile phone ring, and keep missing all my calls. Turns out the default is for it to divert to voicemail after five seconds. Neither my reflexes nor my hearing are that fast. I've now managed to change it to a 30-second delay, plus found a much more ear-piercing ringtone, so hopefully I will now start to get my calls.

Anyway, I'm sure you are much more interested in what I've been up to craft-wise. I am starting to panic about christmas presents. I want to finish the Hawaiian batik quilt for my m-i-l for christmas so I managed to squeeze in an afternoon of sewing last weekend and got it to the 'top' stage. I've also pieced some yardage into a backing for it. I was going to machine knit a scarf for my f-i-l until I realised I didn't have any suitable coned yarn. I can't use my chunky machine at the moment because the sponge bar has died. So while on a trip to Guildford, I stopped into the yarn shop on the High Street and picked up two balls of Rowan Cocoon in a gorgeous Emerald shade. This is 80 merino and 20 kid mohair, and feels lush and soft, hopefully soft enough for him. I am knitting a ribbed pattern I found on Ravelry called Farrow Rib, quite simple although a bit monotonous. I knit up one ball and realised I wasn't going to have enough, so in between visiting the recruitment agency and being taken to lunch on Wednesday, I nipped into Liberty's and grabbed a third ball.

I also did some dollshousing, as part of my slow furnishing of the Willowcrest quilt/knit shop. I painted up a bare wood chest to look like Americana, using acrylic paints. I used a tip I picked up in a Jane Harrop workshop, and gave it a final polish with tan shoe polish. It gives it a lovely soft sheen and a bit of an antique look. This now holds all the tea and coffee things at the back of the workshop area.

I converted this cheap cupboard. First of all I removed the 'tin' panels, then I painted the inside with yellow acrylic paint (sorry all the pics are not quite in focus). Then I filled the inside with items you might find in a workshop area, like books and fabric, and put clear plastic into the doors. This goes in the other back corner of the workshop area.


Meanwhile I was knitting a Christmas Pudding Tea Cosy from the December issue of Simply Knitting magazine, using Stylecraft Life DK which is acrylic but feels surprisingly nice, perhaps because of its 25% wool content. I had to re-knit the 'icing' because my teapot is a different shape from theirs and it didn't come out right the first time. I'm quite pleased with it though, it's very cute.

And I finally finished the Kauni pullover. I had to re-knit the bottom band yet again, as the first time I tried 2x2 rib, it still came out too tight. I will post the technical information about how I did it on Ravelry. It fits fairly well, and my husband said it felt good. It is his christmas present (one of them) so he didn't look in the mirror while he was being photographed. The main pieces were knit on a Brother 260 chunky knitting machine (as the sponge bar was dying, so some dropped stitches) and the ribs are all by hand. The v-neck was cut and sew.

I managed to finish my little 'pie plate' pincushions in time to give them away at our sewing club christmas party. We had a lot of fun, and they gave me a thank you gift of a gift voucher for our LQS, and a book of knitting humour ("It Itches"). I made two more pies when I got home, one for m-i-l for christmas, and one for me to keep! [update: pattern for pie plate is in the Quilter's Catalog book]

And something nice happened - I received a suprise package in the post! I am the winner of a knitting magazine competition. The prize is 20 balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran in a dark burgundy colour. I reckon that to be in the region of £80-worth of yarn. Nice to feel like a winner for a change, rather than a job-seeking supplicant.
I hope all your christmas preparations are in hand, and that your christmas gift-crafting is going well. We went and picked up our tree this evening and will decorate the house over the weekend. I still haven't sent my cards yet, but I get my first turkey dinner next week when I go out with the local quilting club for a pub lunch.


swooze said...

Lot's of wonderful news and wonderful projects. I really love dh's sweater (jumper). What did you do to win the yarn? Was it a drawing or a contest of some sort where you had to do something.

Denise said...

Things are looking up! Just wait until next year ;) I love, love, love the pie pincushion. Where did you get the pattern?

Daisy said...

Good grief! You've been busy. Good luck with the interviews. And that's a fantastic yarn haul from the competition. Love the tea cosy too...

Sandie said...

You have certainly been busy and productive. I really love the colours of the quilt, and the pie pincushion. The jumper looks great on your DH. Off to your other blog to comment on the cupboards.

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