Saturday, 23 June 2012

Summer has failed to download

I saw an amusing tweet this week that mimicked a 404 error ' website not found' and announced that Summer had failed to install correctly.  That pretty much sums it up.  The longest day of the year was a couple of days ago, and I'm still wearing my autumn coat AND a woolly hat and fingerless mitts as I battle my way to work against the strong wind and driving rain.  There have been some sunny intervals but the wind has been fairly relentless, making it feel a lot colder than it is, even if it isn't actually raining.  Needless to say I haven't had any more chances to wear the summer skirts I sewed a few weeks ago during the brief heat wave.

On the plus side, the lighter evenings have pepped up my craft mojo, and I've been feeling like I am achieving more.

I finally got some borders on my teacup quilt.  I found this incredibly difficult, nothing in my stash seemed to work as it was such a busy quilt with so many colours, and the two fabrics I ordered from weren't right either.  I was getting to the point where I didn't even like the quilt any more, when at the very back of one of my boxes of stash, I discovered a pink-based tea motif fabric that I must have bought some time ago.  Trouble was, it was just as busy as the quilt so didn't look that great as a border.  Then I  had a brainwave to introduce an inner border to provide some visual peace between the two busy areas.  That turned into a major stash excavation exercise as well, as I tried to decide what fabric to use for the inner border.  I thought red would work best, but which red and did I have enough of it?  I ended up with a raspberry print with green leaves which I had to cut to avoid some lighter spots printed at regular intervals.  Adding the raspberry border made it a 'pink' quilt so now the pink border fabric works better.  I acknowledge that it is still a very busy quilt, but I like it now.  I'm tempted to turn it into a table cloth or a picnic rug.  It's sort of an 'I-Spy-quilt for grown-up china lovers.

I've been thinking that it will be time to get my quilting frame out again soon.  If we are going to empty out the house to get it onto the market next Spring, then I won't want to have a 12 foot quilting frame in the living room in the Autumn.  I think I've got at least half a dozen tops and there's probably time to make a few more.  I have quilts coming out my ears, and I've only sold one on my Folksy shop.  I did approach a handcraft shop in posh Bermondsey about taking some quilts, but they haven't contacted me so perhaps not interested. I know I could just give them away to charity, but it seems a bit of a waste after all the time, effort and money that has gone into them.

I did spend most of last Sunday quilting, and got all the pieces cut out for the Red and White Quilt, and all of the flying geese units and pinwheel centres sewn.  I was having trouble with my machine stuffing the fabric down the needleplate which it doesn't normally do.  It took me a couple of hours to remember that I still had a size 100 (big) needle in the machine from when I was making the wallet last week.  Duh.  It sewed a lot better once I changed out the needle for a 75.  This is such a vivid and cheerful quilt, nice and bright to contrast with the grey days outside.  I was a bit worried about the fabric being directional but I've decided to ignore that and I think it looks fine.

I knit a dishcloth out of pink and white Peaches & Creme that I bought in New England.  This is my first dishcloth and I will be using it as a facecloth since DS has a bad habit of destroying washing up sponges in about two days by abusing them on greasy things when he does the washing up.  I found this yarn hard on my hands to knit, but it is lovely and soft once knitted up. This is a pattern from the Lily Sugar and Creme website called the Diagonal Stitch Dishcloth and I added a crocheted hanging loop. (free registration required to view the patterns)

I had a bit of startitis this week, so as well as the dishcloth, I have made a start on the Union Jack Bag from  Simply Knitting July 2012. I had a dig around in my handknitting stash and couldn't find enough 'nice wool' in appropriate colours, so I turned to my extensive but no longer loved collection of machine knitting 4 ply acrylics on cones.  I looked it up to find that four strands of 4-ply would equal the desired Aran weight, and used a ball winder to wind three balls off of each cone.  It has the potential to turn into a huge mess, so I organised it in a plastic crate.

The knitting is intarsia, so there are so many strands hanging down from the needle that it is a bit mind-boggling, but surprisingly I am finding the four-stranded yarn is knitting rather easily on 5mm needles, and producing a good firm fabric. Perhaps this technique is going to be a way to use up some of the acrylic cone stash?

This week commuter knitting (and pub knitting) has been the Piper's Journey shawl, which is growing slowly.  And I knit the two sleeves for my machine knit set-sleeve jumper and will block those today.  I've seamed together the front and back using my Hague Linker, but I will wait until the sleeves are attached before starting the collar.

I'm still jobhunting in a not-very-dedicated fashion.  My telephone interview for the scary job went fine but they haven't followed up so I guess I didn't make it through to the next round.  I've applied to a few others that have caught my eye.  Still no news at work about when I will be moved to the other department.  Meanwhile, the re-organisation rumbles on and lots of people are unhappy or leaving.  It seems that we are signing leaving cards or going to leaving drinks at the pub every week now.  It's all a bit of a shambles and I think as an organisation we are still mired in the swamp at the bottom of the Change Curve.

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