Sunday, 6 May 2012

Lampshades, cardi-bags and patios

Knitting has remained largely off the menu this week, so I've had to occupy myself with other pursuits.

I finished the second version of the McCall's Mystery Quilt, to be a completed top.

I continued to work on my Patchwork Lampshade and it's basically finished. I just need a bit more grosgrain ribbon to glue on the inside bottom rim to hide my ugly glue job.  I followed the instructions in the book for a basic lampshade, but the author just says to use 'white glue' to glue everything to the metal frame, without specifying what this magic elixir would be.  I used Aileen's Quick Dry Tacky Glue, which stuck but not very enthusiastically.  So there are a few gaps here and there which the trim hides.  Anyway, I'm quite pleased with it for a first effort and it looks good with the Royal Doulton lady.  She used to be my grandmother's in Canada, and came to me in the 80s after my grandmother passed.  She arrived in the UK with me over 20 years ago and spent the last few decades languishing in the attic waiting to be re-wired for British electricity.  I finally took her into a place earlier this year where the lamp was re-fitted for the higher voltage and different lightbulbs, so the new shade means that she can finally take pride of place after over 20 years.

This week I wore my charity shop find Monsoon lambswool cardigan to work for the last time.  I realised in the harsh light of the office toilets that it was really time to say goodbye to it.  It was a bit felted when I first found it about 15 years ago, but I always liked the embroidery and the fancy fastenings.  I was going to throw it, but decided to experiment to see if it would felt even more. 

I cut the front edges off and overlapped them for a flat seam, and cut off the sleeves to make a square.

The bottom hem of the cardigan became the top of the bag, so I squared off the neckline end to make a bag shape.  Then I seamed across the neck end, seamed up the sleeve openings, and sewed across the corners to give the bag a shaped bottom.

I used the sleeves to make bag handles.  Annoyingly, I managed to twist these when I sewed them on, and had to unpick and re-apply after felting.

This is the shapeless bag before felting.

And this is the bag after a 90 degree wash, but before I fixed the handles or put some stiffening in the bottom.

So it shrunk somewhat in length, but didn't felt as much as I had expected - presumably because it was already a bit felted to begin with.  I should have been a bit tidier with my seams, I just flung it together expecting the seams to vanish into the felt, which they haven't so much.  But as an experiment, it was rather fun, and the nice felted texture is very tactile.

About halfway through the week, I decided to start knitting a bit.  I realised that all the knitting I've been doing lately has been in fingering or lace weight on small needles.  So I dug out the Lamb's Pride Bulky that I bought in New England and cast on for one of the Nesting Boxes from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book.  This is knit in two strands so is quite big knitting, and I found I could do it for 30 minutes or so at a time without my hand hurting too much.  It was very tightly knit on a 6mm needle, so tightly that I actually checked the book twice to make sure I hadn't mis-read the needle size.  It wasn't until I had finished it and was seaming it up, that I thought to check on Ravelry to see if anyone else had had the same problem.  THEN I discovered that the needle size was errata, and it should have specified a 10mm needle.  Grrrr.  Also annoying was that one box took most of a skein of dark blue, plus about a third of a skein of light blue.  The book doesn't specify yarn quantity but I thought I would get at least two boxes for my money.  Each skein was about £5 so this was a pretty expensive box!  I felted it at 90 degrees and it shrunk up a fair bit even though it was so tightly knitted, and the result is fairly stiff. It's the right size to hold DVD cases standing upright.

The wet and windy weather continues.  This weekend is a long weekend as Monday is a Bank Holiday.  It wasn't raining yesterday so we did the traditional home improvement thing and dug up part of the lawn to expand our small patio.  We didn't want to spend a lot of money, so used a mixture of cheap slabs, stuff we had hanging about, and the three mosaic stepping stones I made a few years ago.  Since taking this picture, I've filled in the edges with a few more small tiles and some stone chippings. We had to dig out loads of dirt and grass first and made two trips to the dump to dispose of it. I am so stiff today!  I'm not used to heavy labour as I am a big office softie.

Tomorrow I am hoping to do some sewing.  I had a very boring two hour meeting on Friday, in which my only required contribution was to turn my head towards each speaker to make it look like I was listening.  Meanwhile I was doing a mental inventory of projects around the house that I wanted to tackle over the weekend (like plumbing in the new dishwasher and making the patio bigger) and crafty things that I wanted to sew, so hopefully tomorrow I will get to do some more of them.

I will finish with a shot of bluebells which I took on our rainy bluebell walk last weekend. These are probably the wrong kind of bluebells (Spanish invaders rather than native) but they were very pretty.


Daisy said...

Hmm, having spent most of the afternoon digging up Spanish bluebells yours definitely look more like English ones (of which I have a few as well!).
Had to laugh at the description of your meeting - I do that too sometimes!

Marthaamay O_o said...


I always wonder with lampshades about safety? Can you put anything on one? What about it burning? I have seen some crochet patterns but don't think that I would trust wool over the bulb. Unless it's for a light which won't get used very often?

Yours really suits the lady at the bottom, I bet she is pleased to have such a display now!

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