Sunday, 2 March 2014

I forgot to mention...

I forgot to mention in last week's post that we had been to see DS at Oxford on the previous weekend.  He very kindly arranged for us to dine in Hall with him, so we got to eat in the historic panelled college dining hall amidst all the students wearing their Hogwarts black robes which was pretty cool.  Excellent food as well: roast guinea fowl, and homemade tomato soup for starter.  I don't remember having roast guinea fowl on the menu when I was at university in Canada.  I remember thinking it was the heights of exoticism to see students eating cottage cheese which I'd never seen before.

We couldn't spend all our time with him (we would like it but he wouldn't) so we did some self-guided walks around Oxford using some walking books we had bought.  It's such a lovely and historic city.  We kept running across bookstores and in one charity bookshop I picked up a cheap copy of The Miniature Costumier, Removable clothing for dolls' house people by Catriona Hall, which is full of sensible advice and patterns for making garments that really look in scale (unlike many dolls house clothing).  I also found a cheap copy of an Angie Scarr book for making miniature FIMO food for market stalls which has made me want to have a go.  We also stopped into the Fibreworks yarn store on Cowley Street which is a very pleasant store.  They had some Jamieson & Smith 2 ply jumper weight and I bought some blue hoping it was the match for the fair isle glove that I lost, but sadly when I got it home it wasn't.  I'm sure I can use it for something else though.  It was a fun weekend and we will do it again next term.

I blogged last week about visiting Unravel.  The very next day I had another treat because we had to drive down to Kent to visit friends.  On the way back it occurred to me that we would be passing close by to Maple Street in Wendy, near Royston, which I think is one of the better dollshouse shops I've been to in the UK.  So many other shops are just Dollshouse Emporium outlets, but Maple Street runs the whole spectrum from DHE through Bespaq right up to high level artisan furniture (which I couldn't afford) plus they've got a lot of DIY materials and accessories.  And almost everything in the shop is reduced by 15% from full price plus there are loads of other special buys.  All of their Phoenix white metal kits in 1/24th scale were on sale for 99p each so I bought about 14 of those including a Regency dining table and six chairs, another table and four chairs, a pair of gilt tables, a welsh dresser and some accessories.

When I went up to the counter to pay for those, I spotted a kit for a 1/12 wraparound porch on sale for just £25 (It's in the Hobby's catalogue for £93).  I've always wanted a wraparound porch in real life, which obviously isn't going to happen, so I snapped the kit up in the hopes that it will fit retrospectively onto my Canadian house (currently in storage so I can't try it yet).  I think it will fit, the Canadian house is just an open-backed box the same as the Simplicity house the porch kit is designed to fit onto.

I had a very enjoyable evening this week putting my knitting needles into the display stand that I bought at Unravel.  This side has my straights in two lengths up to 7mm plus my crochet hooks:
and this side has my straights 8mm to 10mm, my large needles, and all my double points.
I have no idea how I have ended up with so many needles.  I do remember buying a few pairs for specific projects, and I know in the early days I bought some at charity shops and boot sales.  But I think the rest have just come to me as free gifts, de-stashes, from knitting classes, in goodie bags etc.  I probably did buy a lot of the dpns as I was heavily into sock knitting for a while.  I don't even use straight needles very often as I prefer circulars.  But it's great to have everything out on view and easily accessible.  It makes me feel a bit like I've got my own knitting shop to play with  :)

I finished the back of my Sirdar Folklore gilet and blocked it.  I've also knit the two fronts but haven't blocked them yet.

And I finished knitting the centre panel of my Haapsalu Shawl.  I actually cut it a bit short, they suggest 66" in length but I reduced the number of repeats because I am running out of yarn.  I've followed the instructions in the book to calculate the number of stitches for the separately knitted lace edging: I need two sections of 631 stitches each.  I've cast on for the first section (took ages and lots of counting) but I'm really not sure I have enough yarn to do two sections.  We'll see.

And I finished Clue 4 of the Desolation of Smaug Mystery Shawl at long last.  I found this clue rather tedious, the number of stitches (c.240) is enough now that each row is taking longer.

After I had been reading the Miniature Fimo food book for a while, I decided this might be a good dollshousing thing I could do while we are in the rented house.  So I ordered some clay and tools online, and picked up a few other things in town.  Here is my workstation before I started:

And about two hours later, here is the not-very-impressive results of my first go.  It's a lot harder than it looks in the book!  These are supposed to be jam tarts.

Even mixing the clay colours together was harder than I expected.  I did buy a pasta machine at a boot sale a long time ago, to use with Fimo, but of course it's in storage.  I will keep practicing.  I'm hoping to work my way through the book to progressively harder projects.  The next section is on bread.

And there are finally some signs of spring in our rented garden.  I was suprised to look out and see a clump of snowdrops has suddenly appeared, and there is some flowering heather as well.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

I had no idea how many knitting needles I had (in the same size!) until I filled in the needle chart thing on Ravelry and made an inventory of them. I think it stems from the days of half my stuff being in storage too!

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