Saturday, 18 January 2014

I have a sewing room!

I have a sewing room!  Compared to what I've had in the past, it's not incredibly ergonomic, but I haven't had anything for about eight months so it feels like a palace.  I told DS what I'd done and he was rather indignant, so I've had to assure him that I will clear out again in eight weeks when he is back from uni after his second term.  But until then it's all MINE (rubs hands together cackling dementedly...)

This is the cutting and pressing station.  The mattress gives rather unfortunately when I try to rotary cut, even if I put the mat up onto the pressing board.  If I have to do any serious cutting then I will have to move to the kitchen table.

And this is the 1950s sewing table I found for £7.95 at a charity shop.  DH couldn't believe that when I randomly went looking for a table sturdy enough to put a sewing machine on, I actually found a real sewing table.  It's in pretty good shape apart from the finish is ruined on the top.  But it's got two nice drawers and a cubby, and the machine lift still works.  Since taking this picture (and annoyingly after an hour of channel quilting  and grumbling about the machine not being flush with the table) I've discovered the lift has a third position so that you can drop the machine down a few inches.  At some point the former owner must have bought a bigger machine, because the hole was cut out bigger and a bigger platform screwed on to the lift.  It's too big a hole for my little Featherweght but if I sit the FW on a couple of books it is much closer to being flush with the table surface when the lift is in the partly-down position.  It is nice to think that the sewing table is probably contemporaneous with my 1950s FW.

So after setting all this up on Monday, on Tuesday I actually did some sewing!  I made a little coupon wallet in the shape of an envelope secured by Velcro, with dividers made from recipe cards, using the 'Wash Day' FQs I had previously purchased.  Of course, partway through I realised that all my useful bits and bobs like Velcro, interfacing, snaps, ribbon etc. had all gone into storage.  I think I was only planning to work on my PIGS (projects in grocery sacks) while we are renting so I stupidly packed all the good stuff away.  So I had to make an emergency trip to the fabric store.  But the advantage of moving away from London is that a) there IS a local fabric store within walking distance and b) the staff are really friendly and one young girl immediately came out from the counter to basically act as my personal shopper as I read out items from my list.  A pretty nice change compared to the typically much-less-satisfying customer experience at the fabric shops where we used to live.

I had Wednesday off to use up a leftover 2013 day of leave, so I decided to have a go at something bigger.  I really enjoy watching the Youtube videos by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Quilt Company, she's such a nice presenter and demonstrates very efficiently.  She has a video for making a Big Bag from 12 jelly roll strips which looked pretty straight forward.  I had the jelly rolls I bought in the Christmas sale and I thought it would be a good basic project to get warmed up with.  I had bought some yardage on my trip to the fabric store to use for the handles and lining, and I had luckily packed some quilt wadding I could use.

So I spent Wednesday morning on the sofa knitting on 'Hannah' (see below) and in the afternoon I made the Big Bag.  I found sewing the bag surprisingly tiring, I really do feel like I've lost my 'quilting chops' after doing so little sewing for several months.  My quilting lines are wobbly, I was having trouble with my tension on the FW, my chair doesn't swivel like I'm used to so every time I wanted to press a seam I had to physically move the chair back - it just all felt wrong.  But I got there in the end and I'm pleased with the useful result which will be good for taking to craft shows where I think I might buy a lot of yarn or fabric.  I told DH that and he said that if he sees me heading out the door with that bag then he's not taking me in case I buy too much!  I added an outside pocket on one side.

I finished another doll this week - this is 'Hannah' from the Sandra Polley book of knitted toys. Unlike Eliza, Hannah's clothes are separate so she can be dressed.  Another satisfying knit - it's like candy, fairly instant gratification and you never knit more than about 15 rows straight before you have some shaping interest.  I've since started knitting a mouse from the same book.

But I might have to stop knitting toys in a few weeks as I've signed up for another Mystery Shawl KAL by the same designer who did The Unexpected Journey Hobbit shawl last year.  I really enjoyed that one so when I saw on Ravelry that AlterLace was doing another one for The Desolation of Smaug, I signed up immediately.  That starts in February and uses fingering weight.  I have a very limited choice with me in this house but I have some 4-ply which I am hoping will work for it.

We had a day out to explore Northampton, which is the nearest big town to us.  I was pleased to discover quite a nice Hobbycraft store to the west of town near Sixfields.  Unlike the one in Staines, this one is all on one level and felt more spacious and like it had more stock.  It was definitely tidier anyway and I had a good wander around and bought some black beads to be eyes for the mouse I am knitting.  The House of Fraser in the mall in Northampton is shutting down so they are having a sale and there was a fair bit of yarn on sale for 50% off which I had to inspect closely, but there wasn't anything I couldn't live without. And I spent a Christmas gift card at Waterstones on a quilting book:  'Jelly Roll Sampler Quilts' by Pam & Nicky Lintott which looked like a good reference book for cutting traditional quilt blocks from 2.5" strips. I've still got an entire jelly roll plus the leftovers from the roll that I used for the Big Bag.

Find of the week has been a Crayola Groovy Graphic Projector at a charity shop for £1.99.  It's a kid's toy which is supposed to be used for projecting simple designs printed on slides onto paper, where the child can trace the design then colour it.  But it's basically a light table with its own light source that slides under the raised plastic see-through table, so I snapped it up to use for tracing applique layouts onto fabric, or tracing templates off etc.


Daisy said...

Hobbycraft here keeps asking for feedback when I buy something, so I keep going online and filling in their questionnaire. Amusingly they've had a dramatic tidying up of the knitting books since I left a comment about that!

swooze said...

I love little Hannah!

DS will survive being put out. You don't want them too comfy after all. They need to be made to move out on their own one day!

Love your tote. I have enough bags at the moment but if I need a gift that is definitely a good go to project.

Hope all is well.

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