Sunday, 17 April 2011

Where is an engineer when you need one?

A lot of my free time this week (and, admittedly, some of the time when I was meant to be working) has been spent on solving the problems with my new-to-me Next Generation quilting frame.  I found several forum posts from Americans who strengthened their poles by sheathing them in EMT Conduit, a thin wall galvanised steel tube that isn't available in the right diameter in this country.  So I have gambled and ordered some mild steel tubing online, because I couldn't find a shop locally that sold it.

I ordered two 6m lengths because it was cheaper than ordering four 3m lengths (the frame has four poles), and I also ordered a thinner tubing to make a dead bar across the frame (makes it easier to quilt).  It belatedly occurred to me that because my tubes were 6m, I could cut them full length and replace two of the saggy poles altogether, if I could only work out a way of connecting them at each end to the frame. Then I wouldn't have to deal with the annoying ratchets at all on those two poles.

This is where the engineering came in.  You can buy tube inserts, and I concocted an elaborate plan using Google to purchase threaded tube inserts from one supplier, and screw in threaded rod from another supplier with star handles from yet another supplier.  That came to a grinding halt when I discovered you could only buy the tube inserts in packs of 100.  To make a long story short, I have come up with an alternate plan which involves no less than five online suppliers, and made my head hurt with extensive calculations, looking up ISO metric threading charts, British Standard tube widths etc.  Math is not my strong point. So this weekend I cleaned and degreased my metal tubes, and sprayed them with Metal Protekt, and am waiting for all my supplies to turn up to see if this is all going to turn into a workable quilt frame, and not just a colossal waste of time and money.

Meanwhile, I wore my new Holden Shawlette to work, where noone commented on it at all - but I felt very glamorous and cosy and spent a lot of time admiring myself in the bathroom mirror.

I also re-knit my Cookie A Sunshine Sock back to where I ripped out, and slightly past it.  Cast on is now fine and stretchy.

Now that my knitting machines are squeaky clean and all oiled to go, I have been knitting a Fiona Morris Felted Bag pattern on the standard machine, in tuck stitch using oiled Shetland wool.  It has a decorative top in e-wrapped boucle yarn.  I've done the body of the bag and one strap, just need to do the other strap and then I can sew it up for the washing machine and get to the fun part of felting it.

I finished the bottom of my Hawaiian Kaffe Fassett Potpourri Quilt and I was pulling fabric from my stash to decide on a border.  I had A) a batik that had all the right colours but looked too much like a frame, I had B) a Texas wildflower print which was well matched in terms of broken colour, but not quite the right green and of course pretty far away from the tropical theme, and C) a wild jungle print with parrots, frogs and lizards which matched the tropical theme and several of the colours, but the wildness was fighting with the quilt a bit.

I left them up on the wall for a few days, and decided to be bold and go with the parrot print.  So on Saturday when I had Quilting Club, I carefully cut out borders to centre the parrot both vertically and horizontally.  I also cut borders for my Stars Over England quilt and started sewing the blocks together.  Hopefully I will be quilting both these quilts on my new frame!  some day...

And in the evenings in front of the telly, I've been plugging away at my remaining Johnny Rotten mitten.  I'm on the decreases for the top now, so not long to go.  Soon I will have a snuggly warm pair of mittens, just in time for summer  :)


Marthaamay O_o said...

There is no pressure to make things out of season, so those mittens will probably be the best you have ever knitted now the weather is warmer!

Daisy said...

Well, I think your shawlette looks very glamorous!

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