Sunday, 14 October 2012

Ally Pally and lots of quilting

I spent the day at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, and am so exhausted now.  The human body is just not meant to shuffle at the pace of a zombie for hours and hours in an overheated, overcrowded building with concrete floors and poor quality air.

However, apart from that, it was a fun day as this is always a great show. Although it is on for four days, I had to go on Sunday due to work and my sewing club yesterday.  By Sunday it all looks a bit picked over with half-empty bins of goods, and many of the vendors look shell shocked.  But in a way, that's good because picked over means less temptation and less weight to carry around.  I saw so many wonderful yarns and fabrics and gadgets, but in fact bought very little.

I tried very hard to buy some System HLx5 needles for my Pfaff Hobby GrandQuilter, but drew a blank everywhere.  Even the Pfaff dealer looked baffled, and a know-it-all on another stand tried to tell me that they don't exist.  I said that was odd as I've been mail ordering them from Cotton Patch in Birmingham. I had to settle for some Schmetz needles which will work but aren't as good for maintaining an even tension on the frame.  I got some more pins because a lot of my pins are currently holding the quilt on the frame.  And some new Machingers gloves because my ancient ones have worn off the coating on the fingertips from off-frame quilting.  I bought five blown glass beads from Kenya just because I thought they were pretty.  And I ordered a thread storage cabinet from Storage 4 Crafts which will be delivered later.  It will have 8 plastic trays to hold my thread and markers etc.  I bought three laser wood buttons which I will use in my dollshouse quilting shop as signs.  And I bought a laser wood 3D village scene which is a light - up Christmas scene - for sale for no apparent reason on a quilting stall.

There are lots of guild stalls and designers exhibits.  One of the most intriguing was a double-peaked colourful tent in the Palm Court, with the walls made up of exotic collages of unfinished needlework items.  Inside the tent, beside greyed out images of the collages, you could read the stories of the contributors and why they had never finished the item.  There was everything from vintage crochet lace part-borders, a part finished Sanqhuar glove,  unfinished tapestry and cross-stitch projects, part-made dresses, all cleverly assembled into attractive framed panels.  It was both poignant and irresistable, it made you want to claim all of the UFOs and love them and finish them.  All that wasted potential.  I took another good class from Celia Banks, who taught the excellent zipper tutorial at last year's show.  This year she was running through a variety of tips to improve sewing and dressmaking.

This week I have mostly been quilting my first quilt on the New Generation frame.  It's the first McCall's Mystery Quilt that I did, which I am probably giving to charity so it seemed a good choice to practice my meandering on while I get used to the machine again.  I'm please to report that the frame and machine are behaving well.  The machine operator is rusty and prone to rookie mistakes like running into the takeup roll and thus suddenly having a planned curve turn into a flat line, but I'm getting better.  I'm almost finished this quilt, just need to do a couple more passes.  The family have accepted the massive machine in the living room almost without comment, they are well trained.

At sewing club yesterday, I spent the entire day cutting out a Stack and Whack quilt from Bethany Reynold's second book 'Stack and Whackier', called Sara's Roses.  I'm using a gorgeous red Japanese print that I bought in Hawaii.  It was fairly complicated to cut out, as it is made of interlocking hexagons pieced from 60 degree triangles and 60 degree diamonds like a vast puzzle.  So I didn't actually get to any sewing but it's ready to start piecing now.  Hopefully it will go alright, I don't have the best luck with diamonds and triangles due to inaccuracies on my part.

Not that much commuter knitting, just one partial motif for the Gingko Shawl but the Wedgewood Selbuvotter glove is coming along well.  I've knit all four fingers and am just finishing the thumb.  Then I will just need to darn ends and block and this longstanding UFO will be done!

It's almost become too cold for my light autumn jacket, while not cold enough for my winter coat.  So a couple of mornings I have worn my shawl under my jacket.  This half hexagon shape fits the shoulders so well, and just doesn't slip.

I ordered a Niddy Noddy from Wingham Woolworks, and it turned up this week.  It's a Kromski medium size and should wind a 48" skein.  I've had a few disasters trying to frog things by winding around books so I thought it was time to get a proper tool.

I was looking on Knitmap and discovered that there was a yarn shop I'd never heard of, within walking distance of my new workplace.  It is called 'Patricia Roberts', which sells very expensive handknit designer jumpers to the ladies of Knightsbridge (it's not far from Harrods) and also luxury yarns.  Apparently she was a famous designer in the 80s. I bought two balls of their Angora in a rich plum colour, darker than it looks in this photo.  I'm slightly allergic to Alpaca so I'm hoping that I won't be allergic to Angora.  I was thinking of re-knitting the 'Pretty Thing' Cowl by Stephanie Pearl McPhee.  I knit it the first time in cashmere and it is far too floppy to be useful.  You have to ring to be let into the shop, and the woman running it (not Patricia) knows little about knitting.  The label on the ball has no information (and there are no prices) so I had to ask for help, but she could only look up the yardage on a chart and had no idea what tension it knit to.  It's not on Ravelry either, but their own website says up to a 3.75mm needles and that it's 70 angora and 30 wool.  It feels lovely.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

I'd wondered what that Patricia Roberts shop was like!

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