Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Possibly employed again

The good news is that the three month contract people have said they definitely want me - for six months!  I am still waiting for the paperwork to go through and my references to be checked, but they have talked about me starting on Monday.  So I've spent time cancelling most of my e-mail job alerts and tomorrow I am going to practice riding the bus to my new job, trying out different routes to see which is the best.  The job is in internal comms for a large company - they are restructuring so need some interim support until they recruit new people.  So I suppose they may let me go earlier than six months if they get someone - but perhaps they will like me and keep me on.  I've never contracted before, but I did temp as a secretary a few decades ago.  So now I have a whole new thing to stress out about:  learning a new job, making a good impression, and surviving a 40 hour week when I have become accustomed to being at home.  I have warned my family they are going to be getting lots of takeaway meals the first few weeks.

I forgot to blog last week about Unravel - a festival of knitting, a two day show held at the Farnham Maltings in Farnham on 27-28 February.  We went on Saturday, arriving just as the heavens opened in an absolute deluge followed by hail pinging off the windscreen.  Luckily it died down before we got out of the car. This is the second year the show has run, and it was so successful last year that they expanded to two days this year.  It was certainly buzzing when we went in, surprising considering the weather. I count over 40 traders in the programme, who were spread out over several rooms in the complex.  I particularly liked that there were many independent and small traders that I hadn't seen before, including one lady making ceramic buttons from clay right there at her stand, and another lady handknitting gorgeous fair-isle items for sale while she sat amidst her colourful display.  Natural fibres were well represented, dyers and spinners had stands to choose from, handdyers were there such as Fyberspates and Skein Queen.  There was a hands-on room in the basement with the Guild of Machine Knitters giving demos, spinners and weavers giving demos and letting people try it out for themselves, a knitting clinic with Fiona Morris and other interesting stands.  The admission included entrance to free lectures, and we attended a fascinating talk by Susan Crawford (of Knit on the Net) about rationing during the war and how the clothing restriction affected knitting design and home knitters.  I of course bought a few things:  a skein of gorgeous lace yarn in a heathery purple to try out a pattern from my Estonian lace book and a cheap skein of sock yarn.  It was a really enjoyable day out, and I highly recommend it for next year.  There is parking available by the venue but get there early.

I also attended my local dollshouse fair at Kempton Park on Sunday.  I generally go to this fair, held twice a year in December and in February (March this year).  It's a friendly fair, not a bad size, and a good place to buy reasonably priced goods, cheap tat, and some do it yourself materials.  However, this year it seemed to have gone somewhat upmarket.  There were more of what I would term 'quality' stands - for example Sally Meekins the ceramicist was there, and I don't remember seeing her there before.  Unfortunately it wasn't very busy when I arrived after lunch, and a friend who was trading there said people were looking but not buying.  I picked up several accessories for various houses in various scales, and had a good chat with the various friends that I bumped into.

So, what have I been up to?  Not much this week as I have spent a lot of time studying for interviews.  I went to a two hour interview yesterday morning before going up to my volunteer job.  It didn't need to be two hours, the interviewers were terribly disorganised and kept running out of steam until I would prompt them to ask me another question (which isn't really how it is supposed to work...)  I felt I did well but came away feeling that I wasn't that interested in the job they were describing, it sounded dull.  I've got one more interview on Friday with a national charity, so am studying for that now, but really I need to study up on the company I may be working for from Monday.

Do you remember I went to the machine knitting club a month ago, and the challenge was to knit a cardigan?  Well, I've been doing that, slowly.  I had a whole bunch of half-price Rowan Scottish Tweed DK from the John Lewis sale.  So I knit up some tension samples, measured a favourite cardigan, and sat down with a calculator to work out my own pattern for a simple drop shoulder cardigan.  I am hand knitting the bands and collar in moss stitch.  This is a gorgous heavenly blue, a bit lighter than in the photo. I knit the stockinette portions on a Brother 260 chunky machine on tension 1, and had to seam the back from two pieces due to insufficient needles across the bed.  I found this yarn hard to join on my linker, as it is so fuzzy that the stitches are obscured, so I mattress stitched the seams.  So far it is fitting pretty well, I'm pleased with it, and it was nice to knit again.  This was using the rejuvenated sponge bar as well, which seemed to perform absolutely fine.

I finished the Lighthouse socks.  They are quite comfortable despite their bulkiness but don't stay up very well.  I think they are going to be bed socks. I had a lot of fun knitting them but now have about a dozen balls of Lion Wool-Ease left over as I only needed a little bit of most colours.  I feel pleased that I accomplished this challenge during my unemployed time - I've had this pattern a long time and never found time to get to it before.

Another thing I wanted to do while unemployed was bake bread.  I really enjoy making homemade bread but rarely do it, and even then it's usually in the bread machine.  This is a basic white loaf using Shipton Mill stoneground flour in the following proportions:  1 lb 3 oz white flour, 5 oz wholemeal flour, 1.75 tsp salt, 1 packet of Easyblend yeast, and 15 fluid ounces water.  Mix it, knead it, let it double in size (1-3 hours depending on temperature), punch it down, shape it, put it in the tin, rise it again for an hour until doubled, cut a slash with a sharp knife, bake 15 minutes at 230 degrees C then reduce temperature to 200 degrees C for another 20 minutes.  Check if it's done - should sound hollow when you knock it on the bottom. If you've made bread before, you know the drill.  It's delicious - my bread book stresses that good flour makes good bread, and this is really good flour.  I've got another loaf rising in the airing cupboard as we speak.


loulee said...

Good luck with that new contract.

Love the socks.

Quilter Kathy said...

You have accomplished a lot during your time off!
Love those socks!

Daisy said...

GOod luck for Monday!

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