Saturday, 26 November 2011

We've entered a time slip...

It feels very weird lately because I basically seem to have lost Autumn.  Intellectually I know this is because I spent most of September and October getting ready for my big holiday in New England, then two weeks plus actually in New England.  And while we were in New England we passed the big autumn milestones like harvest celebrations, Halloween and my birthday (and also missed out on Bonfire Night here in England).  But emotionally it feels like I missed out on all of those things because I didn't celebrate them in my own home, with my own Halloween decorations and my own Autumn-themed quilts.  Suddenly we are back in a country which is hurtling recklessly towards Christmas, and I just don't feel ready.  The ridiculously warm temperatures are not helping this feeling of confusion (15 degrees Celsius in London last week), and I just feel like it should still be early October.

I can't help remembering how much I rolled my eyes when I was young, when my aged parents went on about how time flies by so fast and how could it be Christmas already...

Despite that, I had to put on the Christmas cheer for today, which was our last Saturday Sewing Club meeting of the year and therefore our Christmas celebration.  I wrapped up four christmas presents (two to thank the committee members, one for Secret Santa and one personal gift), got the Christmas cards out of the attic and wrote some for members, dug out the Christmas tablecloth, the Santa sack for the presents, and my knitted Christmas-themed waistcoat (complete with tinsel earrings).  Very bizarre.  And yet it was quite fun and we enjoyed our potluck lunch on the tablecloth.

My eight members had very kindly clubbed together and got me this gorgeous set of sewing-themed mug, coaster and storage tin.  Also included in the gift was a tiny glass punch bowl with ladle and tiny punch cups, which you may be able to make out on top of the tin, for my dollshouse.

My Secret Santa gift was 'Quilts for Chocolate Lovers' which I shall look forward to reading.

We have now moved onto the next stage of our UFO Challenge and today I started working on the Blue and White Mosaic quilt that I started on a Kaffe Fassett workshop in Hawaii back in 2009.  It's basically a snowball quilt, only on the workshop Kaffe forgot what measurement the corner squares should be, and told us a smaller measurement.  I therefore ran out of fabric for the cornerstones, as I had cut it all out to the wrong measurement, but I got some more in New England.  Not the same fabrics but similar colours.  It's a bit tedious as I have to work on each snowball individually to make sure it stays in the right place in the layout, and has the right colours on the corners, but I got through 1 3/4 rows today.

I also cut out a new quilt this week, using the Turning Twenty Around the Block book that I bought in New England.  The fabric is a wacky but gorgeous print of flamingoes that I bought in a Christmas sale from e-Quilter a few years ago, and I've paired it up with some random fabrics out of my stash.  I made the original Turning Twenty quilt some years ago, but didn't buy the second book.  This is the third book and while I like the pattern, I am disappointed with the directions in the book.  They are not at all clear, and omit rather obvious points like tips on fabric selection or even what fabrics you should use in each block.  The cutting directions are also very convoluted so I ended up re-writing them for easy rotary cutting.  I'm going to try to use all different fabrics in each block which I assume is correct from looking at the pictures.

Last weekend I went along to the Kempton Park Dollshouse Show.  This is our local show, not a huge one but fun to go around.  Judith of In Some Small Way was having a clearance sale as she is phasing out her attendance at shows.  All those pieces of plastic 1/48 furniture were .05p each, so I picked up a bunch of beds, night stands, tables and chairs for future projects.  I also got the three different impress moulds for brick and stone effects, and the bar bottle kit to make more bottles for my Old West Saloon in 1/48 scale.  On another stall, I got the two cute china mugs which went into my modern Canadian house, and the Christmas lights with battery pack will hopefully fit into my Mrs Santa Claus' bedroom scene when it comes out for Christmas (not yet!!!!). The two baskets of flowers were my Christmas gift from the friend that I went with, and are going in my dollshouse conservatory.

TV knitting this week has been largely replaced by work on my secret cross-stitch project.  I did start this new neckwarmer, the Cowl at the Moon free pattern on Ravelry.  It's a plain garter stitch tube shaped by short rowing.  I'm using two strands of DK like Cashmerino but not Debbie Bliss and am trying to knit quickly because my neck has been cold in my jacket from the wind.  I've forgotten to wrap my short rows a couple of times because in the Yoked Cardigan I am knitting, you don't wrap the garter stitch short rows - old dog... new tricks etc.

Commuter knitting (and knitting club last weekend) has been the Debbie Bliss Wrist Warmer.  I finally made it up to the thumb gusset where I had to do some more improvising (as I am knitting this in the round but the pattern is for flat knitting, so the charts aren't set up for round knitting and the original stitch count was too loose).  I had to add a few extra stripes to get the thumb gusset big enough before going into the chart for the hand.  I think I might add some extra rows at the top as well, so it comes up to my knuckles.  This is in Debbie Bliss cashmerino and doesn't feel particularly warm so far, I think because the microfibre content in this yarn feels cool to the skin.

I found out yesterday that there is going to be an International Quilt Festival in Galway, Ireland from 7-10 June 2012.  Perhaps because it is being organised by an American expat who also runs a travel company, they are thinking big and planning a very Paducah-like programme of workshops and tours around the quilt show.  I will think about whether this might make a nice summer holiday for me while I leave DH to look after DS and the house.

P.S. (updated a few hours later)  I've just slogged through balancing my credit card statement against my receipts and was delighted to find that the exchange rate on the card was a lot higher than what we got for travel cash.  Therefore all my fabric and yarn purchases were quite a bit cheaper than I thought they would be - result!!!

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