Sunday, 8 February 2015

The sun is shining..

It's a gorgeous sunny day out as I write this, still cold though and hovering just above freezing.  We had some more of this a few days ago:

but it's all gone now.  And I've been very pleased to see the dawn almost breaking when I am at the station in the morning, so it's quite light out, plus it's staying light longer in the day as well. It's always so oppressive to be going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark.  We have several clumps of snowbells blooming in the garden, and quite a few inherited bulbs poking up so it will be exciting to see what we've got in the spring.  There are also some fat buds on some of the trees in the garden, I think one is a magnolia tree so that could be pretty.

We had a breakthrough on the noise-from-next-door front, when our doorbell rang one evening and someone who looked a bit  like a ZZ-Top band member announced that he owns the studio.  Despite a beard lush enough for families of birds to nest in, and a big piercing through his nose, he seems quite pleasant and anxious to adjust sound levels so that the Council doesn't email him again.  He said he didn't realise how loud it was outside until recently, so he's turned everything down and has been round a couple more times to check that it's not bothering us.  So that's a huge relief and we're very grateful.

Today I've been cleaning the house up because I've invited my lace class round tomorrow, we didn't have a venue for this week's class because the normal one was double booked.  I've cranked out our Victorian dining table and put both leaves in, so we can easily sit eight around it and could sit 10 at a pinch.  I've been getting on fairly well with my  bobbin lace circle piece and am almost to the point of meeting where I started. We've only got one more lesson the week after next and then the course is over.  I can't justify the money to sign up for another one, but I think I've had a good grounding that will now enable me to keep working on my own from my library of bobbin lace books. One day I would like to buy some decent hardwood bobbins, but the plastic ones are working fine in the meantime.

I topped my Christmas Table Topper, so it just needs quilting now.  The 'ribbons' are fusible applique finished with a small zig zag. There will be dark green binding to finish it. I'm definitely not getting a quarter-inch seam with my quarter-inch foot, not sure yet whether it is me or the foot so I need to experiment before I tackle anything more complex.

I also did a bit more sorting out in my sewing room, and spent a couple of hours sorting photos and pasting them into my project scrapbooks.  I used to be really good about pasting in a picture of everything I did in a year, and including notes or patterns etc.  Somehow with everything that's been going on I stopped filing about three years ago.  So it was quite challenging to work out what went in which year, I found scrolling back through my blog quite useful to pinpoint when I was working on things.  It's made more complicated by my habit of taking several years to actually get around to finishing things.  So a quilt that I started in, say, 2003 might not have been topped until 2009 and not quilted until 2012.  It was quite nice to look back over old projects though, I'd forgotten a lot of them. I sometimes feel like I am the only one that still prints out hard copies of photos (I save them up and send 150-200 at a time to an online place, it's much cheaper). I just like being able to have a physical copy that I can write on, write notes next to, move next to other related photos etc. and know that it is safely preserved and not at risk of loss due to hard drive failure or technical obsoleting.

I've got as far as cutting out the pattern pieces for my Mannequin Cover. It's been a long time (decades) since I handled a dressmaking pattern and I was confused that there were no seam allowances marked. I googled and it appears that they are included, just not marked on this McCall's pattern.  Then I had to try to alter the pattern for my thick waist.  I'm not sure I've done a very good job, but I guess the next thing to do is to pin the tissue together and try it on.

On the knitting front, I've completed the increases for the first sleeve of the Cabled Cardigan, and I'm on the short row heel for the Mixalot Sock.  I also did a bit of knitting on the neckline of the Aran Sampler Sweater.  I've gotten muddled up several times and had to pull back because of either forgetting to decrease or forgetting that my charts are now partially cut away due to the decreased stitches.

I've also started a new Mystery Knit Along, The Battle of Five Armies, which is the third shawl in the series by AlterLace on Ravelry to go with the three-part Hobbit films.  I really enjoyed the first two 'An Unexpected Journey' and 'The Desolation of Smaug' so it's fun to be knitting one again.  Apparently this will be another half-round shawl.  Of course, it doesn't look like much until it's blocked.  This is in Auracania Ranco Multi, and this is Clue One and Clue Two.

For machine knitting, I finished, blocked, and sewed together the little denim baby jumper, and it's all wrapped up now ready to take to work on Wednesday to travel to the baby shower with a colleague. I stitched the bands down with a contrast cotton and gave it wooden buttons, for a bit of a 'denim jacket' vibe. I hope she likes it.

Prettifying the house

Several years ago I cut up some charity-bargain vintage linens to make bunting, copying some expensive bunting I saw for sale in Lewes.  This used to be pinned up in my bedroom at the old house, but I decided to try it in our new kitchen.  I think I like it, it adds to the 50s country kitchen feeling and the yellow is a cheerful contrast with the blue cabinets.

I've also started sorting out my large collection of vintage and antique linens.  About 10 years ago I was really into collecting filet crochet, especially pictorial crochet, and was always on the look out for items at flea markets, antiques stalls etc.  Along the way I have picked up or been gifted various other linens other than crochet, such as knitted lace doilies, netting, tatting, needlelace, pulled thread work etc.  Again, initially, I was very good at cataloguing them and put a little tag on each one but that rather fell by the wayside over the years.  Partly because there were few places to display them in our previous little house and because they were inaccessible under a bed.  So now I've taken over DS's bedroom and have unpacked them all and am gradually ironing them and ticking off items on the catalogue, and tagging uncatalogued items.  Despite the incredible work and artistry that goes into them, vintage linens are still almost worthless.  I have about 25 gorgeous little table cloths that used to go on tea tables etc,, all heavily decorated with fine crochet borders, and these still seem to be selling on eBay for abou £4-5. It's ridiculous.  I don't need so many linens and doilies but I feel like I am keeping them safe for future generations.  But I've been having fun finding places around the house to display some of my collection. Much easier in this house plus they are more likely to stay clean for longer now that DS is grown up.


swooze said...

Bonnie Hunter also has tips for setting up your machine to get the correct width.

swooze said...

Here is the seam guide.

Love the denim jumper! Glad you are able to go through and display your linens. It's fun to see them. Your progress on all your knitting is wonderful. I love to see what you are working on.

Daisy said...

I'm SO glad the noise thing was sorted amicably!

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