Saturday, 25 January 2014

A promise of Spring

Not much happening this week, apart from the Victoria line (Underground in London) being closed on Thursday night because unbelievably a construction crew managed to flood a signalling room with fast-setting concrete.  When I saw that on Twitter (as I made my tedious roundabout alternate trip to my train station) I thought it must be a wind up, but there were actual pictures in the papers the next day.  Apparently they rushed out to buy sugar to spread onto the concrete as that slows down the setting time.  Who knew?  I have this vision of burly men in high-res vests bursting into nearby newsagents shouting "Where's the sugar?!"

I'm experimenting with shrinking my photos before I upload them - does it make it easier/quicker to read my blog?  Can you still see sufficient detail in the images?

I did some sewing this week.  I'm making a sewing machine cover for my Featherweight which is currently protected by a tea towel.  I'm using a charm pack of Moda 'Pompom de Paris' which I got in the Christmas sales.  I followed a method I saw Jenny Doan of the Missouri Quilt Company use to make quick pinwheels.  You place two charm squares RST, sew around all four sides with a 1/4" seam allowance, then cut it twice across the diagonals to make four HSTs.  I first arranged them in pinwheels but that looked too out of scale compared to my machine, so then I laid them out in random rows of single HSTs.  Once I'd done that, I could see that about a third of my fabrics were berry red, and some of those were forming diagonal lines. So I rearranged the squares again to form diagonal lines of red.

I've sewn two panels so far to be the end pieces, but still need to sew the big panel for the main piece of the cover.  I will bind it in a toning red fabric.

I knit another toy, this is 'Alice' from the Sandra Polley Knitted Toys book.  She was a fairly quick knit.  I added a bib to her skirt, in the book she only has a skirt.

I also knit myself a pair of slippers this week, 'Serene' from the Essential Winter Knits insert that came with Let's Knit magazine in December 2013.  The pattern uses two strands of Aran yarn held together and I had enough Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran left over from my Harvest Moon cardigan to make these up.  They feel quite snuggly and cosy, but fairly flimsy - more like bed socks than slippers.  I don't think the moss stitch sole would stand up to a lot of walking around. I worked on these at the knit night at a local yarn shop, it's only for 90 minutes but the members are friendly and there are great biscuits so I'll probably keep going.

At long last I am doing the Afterthought Heel on my vanilla socks in flying saucer yarn.  I am quite fussy about how my socks fit so I decided not to risk finishing the toe off before I'd done the heel.  So I knitted the toe unshaped until it was longer than my foot then cast off, to ensure the stripe sequence will remain correct when I do the toes.  Now I'm going back and knitting the afterthought heel before I do the toes.  You can see how the flying saucer effect of this yarn really kicked in on the sole part of the sock before devolving into a continuous spiral stripe.

Remember the teapots I discovered a few weeks ago?  I won the auction for the Lilliput Lane market stall, and it arrived promptly in the post.  I really like it and am now stalking other models online.  There is a Royal Doulton figurine stall I would like to have, and even a stall selling miniature teapots.
The weather is absolutely foul recently: the wind is whipping the rain against the window as I write this and we had freezing fog earlier in the week for several hours. Gosh, there was even a big roll of thunder just now, sounds like we are in for a storm.  And yet we have a few daffodils poking their green tips up in the flower bed of our rented house so there is a promise of spring.

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