Sunday, 16 January 2011

Getting back to normal

It feels like it is getting back to normal.  We are all more or less healthy, bar a few sniffy noses.  The weather here near London is back to the usual mild and wet winter weather (10 degrees C).  The holiday decorations are all put away (although the tree is still thriving on the patio in the wet weather.  It seems a shame to dispose of it when it is still so green and healthy, so we've left it out there on its stand, like a new garden feature).  Work is back to the normal treadmill.  The cut on my finger is healing well and hasn't been interfering with knitting (although it's made it difficult to do anything fiddly like dollshousing).

To beat the January blues, I've been planning our holiday later this year to New England.  I've always wanted to go, and as I have a significant birthday coming up, I decided to go for it.  We will be flying into Boston and doing the usual loop around Maine, Vermont etc. on a self-drive tour.  Of course, I plan to hit the quilt museum in Lowell, visit Keepsake Quilting, and the quilts at the Shelburne Museum.  Please let me know if you have a favourite dollhouse shop or knitting shop in New England that I really shouldn't miss either.

This week I kept on sewing and got the Chevron Daisies quilt to top stage.  Once all the fiddly cutting out was done, this was an easy quilt to put together, and quite effective due to the fabric.  This is a twin size, which will fit onto my quilting frame although I will only be able to quilt the middle section on the frame.  I will have to quilt the borders off the frame.

While I was working on this quilt, I was getting frustrated about not having a place to pin it up as a work in progress.  I do have a design wall but it is a folding one that isn't quick to put up.  I had been pinning the top onto the top of the wardrobe door frames, but they were of hard wood and my pins kept bending and the top kept falling down and it was all getting very frustrating.  Then I had a brainwave and ran down and fetched the staple gun.  I folded over a strip of fabric about three inches wide, in half, then in half again but leaving the folded lip sticking out slightly.  Then I just stapled the fabric along the top of both wardrobe door frames, leaving the lip protruding slightly (about 1/8").  The resulting pinning strip is fairly unobtrusive, yet easy to shove pins through when I want to pin up a quilt to look at vertically - magic!  I have two doors next to each other, so will be able to accommodate up to king size just by pinning across the gap between the two doors as in this picture.

Isn't it nice when you solve a little problem that's been frustrating you?

I went to visit a friend last weekend, and we exchanged belated Christmas gifts.  She gave me a little dollshouse cat, designed to hang off the edge of something like a bed or shelf.  I found a perfect home for him on the dock of my Rik Pierce Cottage, striving towards the (dusty) duck in the (dusty) river.

Thanks to several bursts of commuter knitting, I am almost finished my Sanquhar Gloves as I am on the last digit:  the lefthand thumb. I'm going to my knitting group at the pub this afternoon, so I can probably finish it there.

And in the evenings I've been working away on my Jaeger Natural Fleece Yoked Cardigan.  Having completed the second sleeve, I joined up both sleeves and the body on a long circular needle and started knitting the yoke.  Last night I got almost to the end, about twice the yoke depth of this picture, and tried it on.  I realised then that I don't actually like the purl pattern, it is falling too low on my shoulders and looks untidy.  So it looks like it's back to the drawing board, I will rip the yoke out and try again in stockinette.  Perhaps introduce some purl rows higher up the yoke, where they won't look so much like football shoulder pads.

Yesterday was my Saturday quilting group meeting, and I spent the entire day, well, about four hours, cutting out a Kaffe Fassett quilt pattern called 'Stars of England'.  It's a simple star pattern but of course with his magic touch in combining crazy fabric patterns and colours.  The pattern was in Quilters' Newsletter Magazine in June 2007 and I took up the offer of ordering a kit of fabrics from Glorious Colour, which had been sitting in my stash closet ever since.  I generally don't really like making cookie-cutter copies of published quilts but in this case there isn't a lot of choice.  Most of these fabrics are not ones I would choose off the bolt, yet somehow they all go together if you do it his way.  The kit was fairly generous on fabric but still portioned so that you needed to cut the right components from the right fabrics to avoid running short.  It was fairly complicated to stare at the magazine photo to identify all the fabrics from the kit and work out which ones needed stars, corner triangles, side triangles etc. cut out of them.  Got there in the end, so now I have a complete quilt cut out and ready to sew.


Sue said...

I recommend a stop at Webs yarn in Northampton, MA. Nice little town to poke around in too. Webs is the shop behind Love your blog and especially the title as that describes me too!

Marthaamay O_o said...

The reaching cat is such a lovely touch to that outdoor scene! What a thoughtful present!

Teresa said...

Your daisy quilt is wonderful. Also a good idea on how to hand up the quilt.

Daisy said...

Love the tiny cat!

Denise said...

I'm going to have to try your staple up thingy as well. It is a great idea. You can take the staples out and noone is any wiser.

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