Thursday, 28 January 2010

Lady of leisure

I took advantage of my new status as a lady of leisure to accept the invitation of a friend to vist the Sandown Stitch & Creative Craft show on Friday last week.  I hadn't been for several years, and last time I visited there was a distressingly high percentage of non-craft vendors selling massage chairs, hair scrunchies, magic mops, portable vacuum cleaners etc. and just way too much cross stitch.  It was much better this year.  The non-craft element was greatly reduced, only one vacuum cleaner man, a few clothing vendors and I think I saw a hair stall.  Papercrafting seems to have replaced cross-stitch in popularity, and probably took up about 50% of the stalls, jewellery making/beading had quite a few, some cross stitch, a small amount of patchwork, and several stalls selling knitting yarn - mostly acrylic but Uppingham was there and an alpaca stall.  I enjoyed myself going around for 90 minutes, bought some cheap Regia sock yarn in Kaffe Fassett colours, some knitting gauges for my tool bags, a great pattern from Fiona Morris for a cabled tunic, and I had a nice chat with the ladies running the Machine Knitters' Guild stall.  I realised that I am now available to attend the MK group that meets in the daytime, something I could never do before.  So I may try it out in February.  I also picked up 10 plastic storage boxes with snap-on lids for £2 each, as I am planning to try to organise my large dollshouse stash up in the attic.  It has to stay in the attic because there is no room for it down here, but I want to divide up all the furnishings and accessories by category:  all the china and glassware in one box, all the textiles in another, etc.  So it will be much easier, hopefully, to put my hand on things when I need them.  It's darn cold in that attic this time of year, so I don't want to be up there any longer than I need to when I am looking for things.

Again, as a lady of leisure, I'm planning to try out the Thursday knitting group at the newly-opened Mrs Moon knitting shop in St. Margarets, London.  I haven't been to this new shop - hopefully it is going to be a good replacement for the sadly-closed Stash of Putney.

So, what have I been up to this week?  I snapped a photo of the waterlily and butterfly blocks that I mentioned in my last post.  The larger waterlily is the actual BOM block, and I added a couple of smaller waterlilies that I drew in EQ6 for foundation piecing, and some green water.

I had so much fun putting together the Goldilocks panel last week that I sewed another one panel up on Sunday.  This one was of birdhouses, fairly large.  They have a cardboard base inserted inside before stuffing, plus I added some pennies to give them some weight. The panel had some matching birds but I haven't made them up, I rather like the houses on their own.

I have machined the binding strips onto all three quilt tops, but haven't started handstitching them down yet. 

That's because I've been spending all my tv time working on my lighthouse socks.  I am surprised by how much I have enjoyed doing these.  I was late to bed several nights because I wanted to do just one more row and see how the colours were changing in the picture.  It's a bit like doing cross-stitch only quicker and with knitting.  My reference book recommends leaving starting and finishing ends on the right side until you are ready to darn them in, so this is a picture of the shag rug I eventually produced.

I then spent an enormous amount of time, probably as much time as it took to knit it in the first place, darning in the ends.  My reference book does not recommend weaving the ends as you knit, because it can distort the stitches and reduce the elasticity of the finished item.  This is a picture when all the ends were darned in, but before blocking.  My learning from this is that I should be more careful that my stitches are even as I am working the piece, because it is hard to tighten them up later when you have so many colours interlocked.  I found it hard to  maintain an even tension on some rows, when a colour yarn is perhaps only worked for a few stitches before being dropped.

And this is what it looked like after I swiss-darned the windows and light into the picture.  It seems a shame to hide these as socks after all this work.  I am finding the Lion Brand Wool-Ease surprisingly wool-like to knit with.  It almost wants to felt, which makes it good for intarsia as it clings (although annoying if it is clinging to something unwanted like other colour strands).  It is slightly splitty but not too bad.  The pattern is "Lighthouse Socks" by Borealis Sweaterscapes.


Denise said...

your lighthouse socks are to die for! So much work. They are pieces of art. You're not going to actually wear them are you? I think framing them would be a good idea. Just kidding.

Daisy said...

Looking forward to hearing what the new shop is like!

Quilter Kathy said...

OH my goodness...these socks are amazing, but they look so hard to make! I am not a knitter but that photo of all the yarn ends looks scarey to me:(

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