Sunday, 21 October 2012

Multi-crafting productivity

Despite being out three nights this week (Pilates, a work thing, and a V&A visit) it has been a pretty productive week craftwise.

I finished meandering on the McCall's Mystery quilt.

I got my second quilt loaded onto the frame, which is the Flamingo Turning Twenty Around the Block lap quilt.  I'm quilting this one with little freehand curliques.  I wasn't very happy with my clumsy meandering on the first quilt so thought I would try something different while I am still getting my hand in.  It's not going too badly except for my tension going funny for no apparent reason for an entire pass along the quilt, so will have to sort that out afterwards.  I did manage to mail order a bunch of HLx5 size 90 needles so should have plenty for this run of quilting.  I change my needle after every quilt.

TV knitting has actually been TV cross stitching for the last few weeks, as I am making a bookmark for MIL's birthday.  I changed the colours of floss to look more like one of her favourite fuschias.  This is an in-progress shot, I still need to do the back stitch detailing and stems.

But after cross stitch every night, I did darn in a few more ends on my Selbuvotter gloves until eventually they were done, and I was able to give them a wash which really made the Jamieson 2ply jumperweight yarn bloom, and evened out the tension somewhat.  I'm so pleased these are finally done, I started them almost two years ago and they were hibernating a long time due to the errors in the pattern.  They feel nice and are very warm.  My only issue with the fit is that the thumb is very much on the front of the hand, which is fine if you are holding your hand like you are about to pinch something, but pulls uncomfortably if you want to hold your hand out flat.

I've been on a make do and mend spree today.  I spent four hours tackling a build up of mending jobs: turning up a pair of trousers, fixing DS's school bag, replacing all the buttons on a blouse, replacing the cuffs on a coat, and working on the buttonhole band for my London yoke cardigan.  Despite having carefully worked out where the buttonholes should go, and stitching them on the machine, I am now having trouble lining them up with the stretchy knitting.  Not sure whether this is going to work or not.

My new thread storage turned up as a flat pack from Storage 4 Crafts (called a 'desk tidy' with 8 drawers) and I put it together this morning.  For the first time in many years I can have almost all my threads in one place (apart from the cones of thread) and I've even got drawers for marking pencils etc.  It was well packaged, and easy to put together.  The 'pencil' drawer openings aren't quite long enough for a full length pencil but are fine for felt tip pens, shorter pencils, chalk pencils etc.  I'm really pleased with it and enjoyed retrieving my threads from their various hidey holes and loading them into the drawers by colour.

Yesterday we went down to Swindon to visit the National Self Build & Renovation Centre, where they have a Potton show home you can go around, and lots of displays about renovations and home extensions.  Afterwards we went to the Studley Grange craft village off the M4 for lunch in the garden centre (very long wait for fairly mediocre food).  The craft village has a small yarn shop, Crafty Yarns, which I didn't spend much time in as the owner who was putting out stock, had her husband doing DIY up a ladder and her two kids playing video games, plus another couple shopping, which pretty much filled up the entire shop.  There's a quilting shop which I think was called Quilter's Fayre, where I had a nice chat with the owner who has bought a Grace Pinnacle frame for her Janome 1600P.  Her frame is shorter than mine but she had invested in a Grace Sure Stitch for £300 from America which is an add on stitch regulator.  She showed it too me and it looked complicated and plasticy in the box.  She hasn't installed it yet. I think I would rather my next upgrade be to a 16" machine like a Handiquilter.  I don't think it would be worth it to me to try to do anything further with my 9" domestic machine because the real limitation is the restricted quilting space.

Also at the craft village is a dollshouse shop, mostly selling Dollshouse Emporium stuff and a bit of Reutters porcelain.  I bought a seated vicar with a coffee cup, who I will repaint to be a waiting husband for my quilting shop, a woven silk doormat which is probably for the same shop, and a Christmas 'quilt'.  I also bought a decorated porcelain bathroom set.  Normally I don't like these because they aren't realistic and can be gaudy, but this one wasn't too bad and the price was good (c. £14). I thought it might look nice in my McKinley house whenever I get around to building that.

Today was my knitting group (Hi Needlemum and Daisydaisydaisy!) which was quite enjoyable.  I took along my first skein from the Mean Girls 4 yarn club, which is a highly squishable hand dyed DK yarn that I am going to use to knit socks for DH as he really likes this neon green colour.  I made a start on a Paton's DK vanilla sock pattern and was amazed at how much quicker it is going than when you use a sockweight yarn.

I'll finish off by talking about my V&A visit (the Victoria & Albert museum in London) which was to the members' preview of the Hollywood Costume exhibit.  This was really good, much better than I expected and a lot bigger than I expected as well.  They have dozens of costumes actually worn by iconic stars in classic films from the silent era (Charlie Chaplin) right up to the recently released.  Tons of my favourite films were represented, including the green dress that Scarlett O'Hara made from curtains, Indy's outfit and fedora from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and many more.  But part of the fun was the presentation, which makes extensive use of video screen 'portraits' above the mannequin bodies, which blink and move; as well as video screen tables scattered with virtual objects or scripts from the films; and audio messages spoken by the actors or directors.  The exhibit isn't just about getting close to costumes worn by the stars (although Vivien Leigh's dress was really tall, and Marilyn's waist was incredibly tiny) but trying to educate the viewer about the important role the costume plays in the film in terms of augmenting the character and the context.  Part of the exhibit is about the working relationship between a costume designer and a director; and another part looks at how the costume helps the actor (Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro's costumes from several different films) get into character or even helps them to construct the character.  Definitely recommended if you were thinking of visiting.  I will say that it is very dark in the exhibit, I wish I had taken my glasses.  It's to protect the costumes but it does make it hard to see them clearly.  I might go back again and take my glasses this time as I have fairly poor night vision.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

I like the vicar sat on the loo!!

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