Friday, 30 December 2011

Timelessness vs hypertime

My office is closed between Christmas and New Year's, so we have been drifting along this week in a kind of timeless indolence, punctuated with meals of leftover turkey and bolstered by far too many sweets and chocolates, and staying up late and sleeping in the next morning.  We have arrived at that happy state where we can't actually remember what day it is, until I realised that it is once again Friday.  That means that it is one calendar week since I last blogged, even though in my mind it feels like it was only a few days ago that I blogged.  That makes it feel like hypertime, like the days have just flown by and in all too short a while I will be back at work.  Boooo.   Although I suppose I should be / am grateful to have a job to go back to.

I hope you all had a good Christmas without too many annoying relatives and with a sufficient amount of 'me time' to relax in.  We had a very relaxing Christmas Day with just the three of us, very quiet and even productive as DH and I went out for a walk in the afternoon to scout out possible locations for photographing quilts around the neighbourhood.  We carried along one of the TV quilts and tried it out in various positions over fences, gates, playground railings etc., while DH tried to pretend that we were behaving perfectly normally.  I was behaving perfectly normally for me so I wasn't that bothered what people thought  :)

The reason I was looking for photo locations is that I have finally accepted that I do not have room to store all the quilts and other things that I am making, so I am going to try to sell some of them online.  I don't know whether to hook up my store to my blog or not.  I have tended to be fairly honest on my blog about construction issues, problems, shortcuts, design decisions etc. which is probably not the best way to sell things to potential buyers.  Also a buyer who is unaware of the quilting process may be put off by the fact that I started something about eight years ago and it has taken me all that time to actually finish it.  Pricing is another issue for debate, here in the UK it is just not realistic to expect to sell a quilt for even the cost of materials, unless you are either a) incredibly famous, or b) somehow got all your materials ridiculously cheaply.  Because most of our quilting materials are imported, the quilting hobby is a lot more expensive here than in the States. Which is why I tend to load up when I visit the States. So everything is underpriced compared to what it cost me to make it, but I suppose I've had the enjoyment and at least it will get things out of the house and buy me some more stash.

So that has taken up several hours this week, doing some preliminary photography, measuring quilts, writing descriptions etc.  I don't know if I will actually sell anything, the UK-based site I am using has a lot of other quilters on it and most of them don't seem to be selling much.  Etsy isn't really an option as a quilt would be so expensive to post to an overseas buyer that there would be no reason for an American to buy a quilt from a UK maker (unless they absolutely loved it so much that they were desperate to have it).

What else have I been up to this week?  It's hard to remember.  I did spend most of a day working on my Willowcrest dollshouse, because I need to finish that before I can start my McKinley dollshouse kit - which arrived in the post on 23 December, my Christmas present from me to me.

I finished my Tilly Thomas knitted bag kit that I bought in Cape Cod on our holiday.  It has a pure silk drawstring top, and you knit right into the grommets to knit the bag sides, choose your own designs for the sides, then gather the bottom to close off the bag.  I'm pleased with how it's come out but one design flaw is that the knitted outside wants to be a round cylinder, whereas the inner silk liner is just a flat square.  Therefore when you put knitting in the bag, it looks a bit squashed flat.  I think it would look better if the interior was a cylinder as well.  It looks vaguely like a Regency reticule. I'm not sure what I will use it for, the silk looks delicate so not good for squashing into my rucksack on my commute.  Perhaps I will keep it for showing off at knitting group.

I also finished re-knitting my Thorpe Hat.  By ripping back to the increases and using smaller needles to knit the sides, it fits a lot better now.  As well as short-rowing the front to make it longer, I also reduced the depth of the back part, and made the flaps a different shape.  This time I did the crochet edge in self-yarn rather than a contrast colour.  It's fairly warm to wear, still not the most flattering hat in the world but it's good for keeping my ears warm.  The KnitPicks Sierra yarn, which is discontinued, is soft but robust at the same time. I've still got several skeins left, so it might be good for something like a cowl. 

Christmas means lots of television specials and films to watch.  I was going great guns on my Cabled Yoke Cardigan the other night as I watched 'Little Women', reaching what I hoped was my last chart repeat.  Then I realised that in some alcohol-induced carelessness, I had mis-crossed a couple of cables three inches earlier.  "No problem", thought I (remember the alcohol) and I ripped back all the affected stitches so that I could just knit those ones back up while leaving all the 'good' stitches alone.  Uh huh.  Now I have a nice three-inch section of tangled mess in the middle of my yoke.  Luckily I had the sense to Put Down The Needles until another more sober moment when I can work out how to fix it.

I've done a lot of sewing this week as I listened to various podcasts on my Ipad.  I've machined binding onto all the finished quilts from the frame quilting session this summer, so now I have a whole pile of handsewing to do, to stitch all that binding down.  Two quilts needed further off-frame work.  I managed to complete the quilting on the Garden Block of the Month quilt day before yesterday, and gave it a wash.  I'm really pleased at how it all looks homogenous now, and all the various blocks have come together.  Today I have been working on a real oldie, my Piece o' Cake Applique Vines quilt, which has been kicking around for about five years now in various stages of quilting.  I did a lot of the vertical quilting on the frame this summer, but now I am doing the blocks on the edges which weren't possible to do in my short-arm throat space.  It's going well and I'm about halfway through.  Hard to believe this quilt might actually be finished soon.

My Fan Stitch Half-Circle shawl knitting project enabled me to sail gracefully and productively through the Boxing Day visit to the in-laws, apart from at dinner when I didn't think I could get away with knitting under the table.  I also took it as commuter knitting when DH and I went up to London to see a play on Wednesday.  We went to a production of The Canterbury Tales at a small playhouse in Southwark, which had the conceit that you were sitting in a medieval tavern watching some troubadours recount the tales.  They were even selling ale and mulled wine in tankards.  There was a lot of raucous singing, some bawdyness and a fair bit of running around and shouting.  I enjoyed the atmosphere even though I couldn't understand some of the dialogue (it was in modern English but too much shouting) but DH felt it was all a bit too much.  Something different for the holidays.

And that's about it - not a lot for a whole week.  There was a bit of a dabble in the Boxing Day sales, which seemed disappointing this year although I did pick up some little cross-stitch christmas kits quite cheaply.

And that reminds me, I can show you the cross-stitch ornament I made before Christmas, because the recipient has got it now (Hi Anita!).  Like me, she is into dollshouses so I thought she would appreciate this little house ornament.

Just before Christmas, I made this cross-stitch gift tag from a kit in a magazine.

I also made a pillowcase for DH's gift, from London Tube map fabric that I saw on the Creative Quilting website. He really liked it and started using it right away, although he did point out that the map is not geographically correct because the fabric repeat makes it look like the western lines run directly into the eastern lines.

So that's my week - hope yours has been good, and best wishes for a very happy new year.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Cool pillowcase! And good luck with the quilt sales.

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