Sunday, 22 March 2015

Dodged a bullet

I had a job interview this week so preparation rather dominated my free time over the past several days. It's been a year and eight months since I last had to job hunt so it took me quite a while to get back into the right head space, learn my 'elevator speech' again, remind myself of interview techniques etc.  I was rather dreading the interview which included a test, but both test and interview turned out to be rather easy.  That's not to say that I did brilliantly - I certainly could have answered several questions much more actively and succinctly.

But I wasn't that enamoured of the job which sounded repetitive and lower level than my current role, the office was small and old fashioned and overlooked a busy noisy road, and worst of all it was about 100 degrees in the room where I would be working.  Nonetheless, I was kind of talking myself into to being ready to accept should they offer me the job, as we need my income.  Luckily they didn't offer me the job so I feel like I dodged a bullet as they made the decision for me. Still, it was good practice to gear up for an interview and hopefully I will do better on the next one I get invited to.

Still no real news at work, although the mood is getting grimmer every week as people start to panic. They are still saying that they plan to issue notices in early April, yet there is no real news on how they will select people etc. There's a new twist which is that they've decided they have to place my job-share partner currently on maternity leave into an unspecified role, but they had no information on how that would affect me as her jobshare partner nor the contractor currently doing the maternity cover.

Gardening time

It's starting to feel much more like Spring, things are starting to bud in the garden, we've got daffodils and crocuses blooming.  We don't have any money to spend on it but there are things we can do that won't cost much.  Last weekend DH and I measured the garden and then I drew it on graph paper and started playing with designs.  I'm thinking of something like this, with a snowman-shaped lawn on the diagonal, and a patio on the right behind a trellis privacy screen as we are very overlooked.

So today we went out with a can of line-marking spray, some pegs and string, and measuring tapes, to draw out what it might look like for real.

We bought a sledgehammer and safety gear and DH is currently pounding away outside to break up the unwanted former concrete path down the middle of the lawn. It's going to be a long job, in one hour he only managed a little nibble but I expect there's a learning curve.  He seems to be finding it quite satisfying but I bet he will be stiff tomorrow. In a few more weeks when it is warmer, we will start digging the new beds and moving existing plants around. I'm still waiting for a quote from the builder on repairing our crumbling boundary walls, although he did say he might bring a mason around this coming week to have a look. We can't do anything about the patio until the walls are repaired.


This week I was working on an old project, a Lone Star quilt kit that I bought at the Chicago Quilt Festival in 2008 from Karen Witt of Reproduction Quilts. It's called 'Suzanna's Star' from c. 1870, and included all the fabrics and some quite minimal directions which didn't even specify all the cutting sizes. Luckily I have the excellent book by Jan Krentz 'Lone Star Quilts & Beyond' which has comprehensive directions for sewing accurate lone star points, blocking them, and calculating how big to cut the setting squares and triangles.

It's taken me a long time to sew the points, because each strip segment requires matching 7 seams accurately, so 56 seams to match every time I added one of the eight segments to each of the eight points.  But this week I finally finished the last of the eight points and was able to draw out a blocking diagram on some scrap fabric based on average measurements of each diamond.

Then I pinned out each point in turn, starched it, and pressed the seams open.

Which yields eight points which in theory are all exactly the same accurate size.

Then I had the fun of putting them up on my display wall to get the full effect for the first time. Wow!

Bobbin Lace

I'm meeting every Monday with some former classmates from the lace class for mutual encouragement. Last Monday I finished pricking number three from the Pamela Nottingham book. It's got several mistakes and I wasn't tensioning the 'fans' very well to begin with, but I was getting better by the end of the piece (where the loose threads are).

Then I moved on to pricking number four, which is a short piece with fans and spiders.  I was doing the edging wrong for a while but I worked out my mistake and was able to correct it from then onwards (about halfway through the square corner, heading towards the loose threads). Some of the other students repeat pieces again and again until they get them perfect, but I feel I am learning more by pressing onwards and learning new concepts. I don't see a lot of value in repeating something I already know how to do, just to get it absolutely right with no minor flaws. I will repeat if I genuinely didn't understand, or was using the wrong thread or something. My plan is to complete the half dozen samples in the Torchon chapter and then have a go at actually making something like a mat.


I'm quite pleased with my finish this week on the Capelet from Let's Knit Magazine, designed by Jan Henley (which let's face it is basically a poncho). It's come out the right size, feels light and springy and cosy, and unlike a shawl it stays put and keeps me warm.

TV knitting has been another square for the GAAA Afghan, which I'm enjoying as it seems fairly easy after slaving away on the Aran Sampler Sweater.

Commuter knitting has been the Mixalot Sock and I'm just about to knit the final toe. I'm still knitting the Battle of the Five Armies MKAL Shawl, this week is Clue Seven. And I dug out another ancient kit, a free gift from Rowan when I was a subscriber about 10 years ago, for a denim yarn shoulder bag.  I never knit it because it was basically a meter-long strip of stockinette, but I suddenly realised I could whip it up quickly on the knitting machine. So I knit the bag body and flap on my Brother 260 at Tension 2 quite easily. Now I have to hand-knit long strips of narrow cable to edge the flap and be the strap. Then as it is denim yarn, it all goes in the washing machine to be shrunk before it gets sewn up.  Due to back issues I don't really use shoulder bags, I always use a knapsack to distribute the weight. But it will be nice to finish it and perhaps it can be a knitting bag.


swooze said...

Lots of lovely projects. I'm working on making more big bags. I just gifted one to a friend and am doing the hand sewing on mine. I'll try to blog them.

Daisy said...

Love the snowman-shaped lawn! That looks like a lot of work to get all that sorted. Sounds like the interview outcome was meant to be, but at least you've had a chance to practice ready for whatever gets advertised next!

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