Saturday, 5 March 2011

March comes in like a Lion

It has been very cold going to work this past week, especially in the mornings when there has been an icy wind dropping the c. 9 degree Celsius London temperatures down to something that feels much colder.  I've been wearing almost as many woollens as when we had the snow, including my gauntlets.  And yet the days are much lighter now and the daffodils are out, so it feels like Spring.

Not much has happened at work this week, my new boss has been too busy to pay much attention to us, and I've been quite busy as well.  The consultant is floundering, and his increasing signs of instability (talking to himself, huffing and puffing in exasperation at his PC, muttering unhappily coming out of meetings etc.) have been noticed and remarked on by several people.  Perhaps he will crack under the strain and depart, but I don't know where that would leave us then.

Last Sunday I paid a visit to Studley Grange Craft Village, outside Swindon, as we had a day to kill while DS was doing a school thing in Swindon.  I went because they advertise having a dollshouse shop, but that turned out to be almost entirely 1/12th scale Dolls House Emporium-type stuff.  The complex is aimed squarely at the family market, with a children's play area and a Butterfly World/mini zoo, and various crafty stores doing children's workshops.  But surprisingly they have quite a decent little knitting shop, called Crafty Yarn.  It was relatively well stocked with Malabrigo, Artesano, Rico, Katia, and I think Debbie Bliss (not very good at remembering these things) and she said she was just about to move across the complex to a bigger unit.  Telephone 01793 855535,  I bought a skein of gorgeously soft lace yarn called Filigran Lace No 1 from Germany, 100/% merino superwash in a light robin's egg blue.

I quilted my crockery wallhanging.  I straight stitched around all the elements and the border, and then did free-motion quilting along the diagonals of the border trellis, and meandering in the background.  When I first started the quilting, it felt so strange, like I'd almost forgotten how to do it.  I can't remember the last time I quilted something off the frame, and I haven't even done frame quilting for well over a year.  The flip side of 'practice makes perfect' is 'use it or lose it'.  Anyhow, although the trellis quilting is a bit shaky, it doesn't show against the print, and I felt more confident by the time I got to the meandering.  I am thinking the border is a bit wide (3") so I may trim it down to 2 1/2".

What I need is to find a BFF who hates piecing, but loves doing a fabulous quilting job.  Although then I suppose we would fall out over who got to keep the quilt.

I've been feeling fairly tired in the evenings and not up to tackling anything complicated, so I dug out my oldest knitting UFO.  This is the 'Learn to Knit' Afghan by Barbara Walker, and is the project on which I re-learned to knit back in 2006.  There are some 65 squares in different patterns in the book, and this week I completed the blue cabled square which is my 21st square.  I bought 4 lots of Debbie Bliss Merino Aran for this project, a yarn which is now discontinued, and I'm running out. I may just aim to complete 24 or 25 squares and call it a day, rather than try to match the yarn.  I can remember how difficult some of the squares seemed when I was learning, and I feel a sense of achievement that at my current skill level it was fairly easy to knock off the cabled square (having said that, I twisted the central column of stitches the wrong way and had to drop back several rows and crochet the stitch up again...).  I will need to block all these squares to a uniform size before I can join them with crochet.

I finally got around to starting my Cookie A 'Sunshine' socks, in Colinette Jitterbug.  These are my first Cookie A socks and I was a little bit nervous, but so far they seem straightforward enough.  I am getting good stitch definition with this yarn and the lacy cable seems quite elastic so perhaps they will even stay up, unlike every other pair of handknit socks I have ever produced.

I saw in a knitting magazine that there is going to be a new fibre festival, and for once not in the depths of Wales or somewhere else far away, but in Thurleigh, Bedfordshire.  Fibre-East will take place 23-24 July 2011. There's not a whole lot on the website yet, but presumably more will be added.

I'm wearing my Jaeger Natural Fleece Yoked Cardigan today and it is so cosy and warm, just the thing for March.  It's not as scratchy as the Rowan Scottish Tweed cardigan I made a year ago, which is also warm but I don't like it on my bare skin as it irritates, so I have to wear it over a long sleeved collared shirt.  I'm wearing the Jaeger over a short sleeve t-shirt, and no scratchiness or irritation, lovely.

Our passive-aggressive 12 year old cat seems to be developing a death wish.  He regards my place on the sofa as 'his' and many evenings has decided that he wants to go to bed and that I should therefore vacate the spot.  When I don't cooperate, he seemingly inadvertently starts getting in the way, by sitting on my knitting pattern, sitting on my yarn, or his favourite which is climbing into my lap and turning around in a circle as if settling down, but in reality tangling up his limbs and head into my knitting yarn as much as possible.  I tolerate this to a certain degree, but a few nights ago he went too far.  It was fairly late, almost 11pm, and he had been sitting next to me on the sofa glaring steadily, as he tried to persuade me to move by just using the powers of his mind.  Suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, he turned his head and bit down on the tip of one of my bamboo knitting needles sticking out of my knitting basket, splitting it in half.  Before I could even react, he turned his head back and resumed glaring at me.  Now this wasn't playfulness, or attention-getting.  It came across as pure unadulterated spite: "you ain't moving so look what I'm going to do."  I still haven't forgiven him, and now I feel like I need to keep my knitting up out of the way when I'm not actually using it.  I'm going to try sanding down the split tip, because it is one of my set of Clover bamboo needles.  Stupid cat.  And his insurance bills have gone up sky high since he had an expensive thyroid problem last year.  He should get a job.


swooze said...

Dumb cat!!

I am trying to crochet socks these days. At the swatching stage so I will post pics when I have something worthshowing!

Denise said...

If he does get a job, let me know where it is so my cats can go there too! ;)

Daisy said...

Oooh dear, sounds like the cat has got it in for your knitting! Can't believe you only re-learnt knitting in 2006 - I'd assumed you'd been doing it expertly for years! ;-) And I watch with interest for updates on whether the consultant has fallen apart yet.

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