Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mini-break and ideal town?

We've just come back from a lovely one-night mini-break to the Wiltshire/Somerset area.  We drove down from London and stopped in Frome, which as well as being an attractive ancient market town seemed to contain the ideal street.  On one block of St Catherine's Hill, there is a fabric shop, a bead shop, a sewing machine / knitting machine shop, a fantastic model shop that even DH thought was really good, and a knitting shop called Marmalade Yarns.  Also several cool cafes and we had a lovely lunch in one of them after our shopping.

Marmalade Yarns isn't very big but had some great yarns and some that I hadn't seen before.  I bought four balls of Carezza by Adriafil, a very affordable (£4.50)  yarn which is 70 angora 10 wool 20  nylon.  They had a sample fingerless glove knitted in Carezza which just felt gossamer light and soft.  I may do fingerless mitts as well, or perhaps a cowl, using two colours.  I also treated myself to two balls of Debbie Bliss Angel Print just because I liked the colours so much.  It feels fairly soft so perhaps a shawl.  I was treating myself as I have a difficult meeting at work tomorrow with someone I don't like very much, so this was like an advance bribe to myself to get me through it without saying anything I have to regret.  Bribery works  (hopefully).

Frome Model Shop at the top of the hill is a full fat model shop which had everything from toys to dollhouse bits to ship models to a very healthy assortment of good quality military models that DH likes to construct.  They also had a fabulous assortment of paints, glues, tools, and scenic materials including lots of things I've seen in dollshouse magazines like concoctions that look like 'rust' or 'verdigris'.  Why don't we have a decent model shop like this near London?

Our reason for going was to visit the massive antiques fair at Shepton Mallet, where we spent three hours in the afternoon.  I didn't buy anything except some furnishing fabric to make bags with, but I had a wonderful time investigating all the stalls and discovering all sorts of oddities and treasures.  I also saw several bits of furniture which would work well in my fantasy quilting studio, assuming we ever get to move to somewhere that has one.  So we will have to go back if we ever do get a new house.  On Sunday we walked around the historic and lovely town of Bradford on Avon, and ended up attending their Remembrance ceremony at the cenotaph at 11am, in a park next to the Avon.  We also spent some time trying to think up how we could move to the area despite it being completely inaccessible to either of our jobs  :)

On the craft front, I have finished meandering on my friend's lap quilt.  It looks quite good from the front, but the back has caused me a lot of bother.  She used batik fabric on the top, and a heavyish cotton on the back which might be quilting fabric (she uses a lot of sheeting etc. for her backs) and I found the needle thread kept wanting to poke out the back in an occasional loop no matter how much I tinkered with the tension.  It would be fine for several inches (with me checking constantly) and then suddenly throw a loop.  I tried changing the needle to a 75 (from a 90) which helped a bit but not completely.  I was able to fix some of the loops by hand afterwards but others got caught in subsequent stitches so I couldn't do anything about them.  Also, when I told her it took me six hours (it actually took longer but I rounded down) there was a sort of gasp on the phone so apparently she thought I could just whip it off in a few hours.  It took me an hour just to get it all mounted on the frame and the tension set up and the bobbins wound.  Anyway, I'm charging her less than minimum wage including having to use my own bobbin thread.  I didn't really enjoy the experience as it is so stressful doing someone else's quilt and worrying all the time if it isn't perfect, so I don't think I will agree to do one again for anyone.  Now I am going to load on a cot quilt which I am giving to a colleague at work for his little girl.

I'm mostly through the second sock for DH, and have returned to knitting Day 11 on the Advent Calendar 2010 lace scarf.  Everyone else on the Ravelry KAL has finished ages ago, I am very behind.  I can't imagine knitting this entire scarf in 24 days - each step is taking me at least a few evenings.  I finished the second sleeve for my Eyelet Lace Jumper so I just need to block it all now and then seam it, very exciting. On the car drive on the weekend, I knitted two snowman heads and two snowman bodies with my sparkly white yarn from Hobbycraft.

The craft show at work took place last week.  There were about a dozen knitted items including an Aran cardigan and two other lace shawls (one beaded), around 20 items in the miscellaneous category which included my teacup quilt shop, and likely about 100 or more entries overall (lots of photographs etc.).  They awarded prizes for first, second and third, and some Best of Show awards. My Bird in the Hand fair isle mitts and my Fan Stitch shawl both received a Highly Commended (like fourth place) in the knitting category, as did my teacup in the Miscellaneous category.  My teacup quilt shop also received a Highly Commended overall in the Best of Show awards.  Which is quite nice, although green rosettes aren't as useful as third place gift vouchers :)  This is Lucy our cat come to inspect the rosettes.

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