Last weekend I put two coats of Dulux Wood & Metal paint on a decrepit four-drawer filing cabinet bought at a charity shop several months ago. It looks a lot better although obviously painted. Then I started unpacking four boxes of files and sorting through them to determine which would go in the cabinet, which needed to be broken down into smaller files, which were rubbish etc. After those boxes, I moved on to the 18-inch stack of magazine tear-outs in my quilting room, and the similarly-sized pile in my dollshouse room. It actually took several hours over yesterday and today and was quite sobering because there is no way in heck that I am ever going to have time to make even 1% of what I've optimistically pulled out of magazines. Also sad to find projects that I was really keen to make, say, twenty years ago but never did. But also nice to come across projects that I did make and enjoyed.
I have made a stab at sub-dividing by topic: for example, 1/12th scale furniture, polymer clay ideas, quilt patterns, machine quilting tips etc. But there are six fat files of quilt patterns alone. I think at some point in the future I am going to have to go through it all again and winnow it down to things I might actually need or make. But for now at least it is all in one cabinet and reasonably under control. And there is a system set up so future tear-outs will have a home to go to. And the good thing about sorting through a curated pile is that I liked almost everything I came across, so lots of pretty eye-candy.
Earlier in the week, before I succumbed to the sniffly cold I've had since Wednesday, I sewed some vintage lace onto one of our new blinds, in my bedroom, and I'm really pleased with the Edwardian vibe it has now. This is made from two pieces of vintage crochet intended as towel ends - I've seamed them together as unobtrusively as possible (by hand) and then machine stitched the lace onto the blind.
I've got plans to make a valance for my bed out of some more lace when I'm feeling better.
I also spent several hours earlier in the week laundering the vintage linens that had stains on them. Some of the stains didn't come out sadly, but boiling some of the most affected items produced some startling successes. The two collars/cuffs drying below were a disgusting peanut-brown, but turned snowy white in the boil wash, as did the similarly dingy two netted doilies. The pink tatted dresser set previously looked grey and grubby and brightened up wonderfully, and one of the bigger tablecloths that was badly stained with large brown marks came out almost completely white.
The clothes horse above is suspended in one of our cellar rooms which were the former servants quarters (possibly the former kitchen) so I thought it was quite fitting to be hanging up vintage linens to dry just like those previous occupants probably did over one hundred years ago. Too bad they weren't around to do the subsequent ironing - I'm sure they would have done a better job!
On Tuesday I wound off my remaining Aran Sampler Sweater yarn ready to machine knit the back and sleeves. It quickly became apparent that I hadn't bought enough yarn 20 years ago. I had enough to knit the back, but nowhere near enough to knit two sleeves.
So I sent off for some budget yarn from Black Sheep, some Wendy Traditional Aran 100% wool in cream, which is a similar colour but definitely a bit darker. I've machine knit the sleeves out of that, but I've knit the cuffs and the back welt with the original yarn because it's softer. As I'd also finished the Cabled Cardigan final sleeve, I now have all the pieces for two sweaters waiting to be wet blocked to measure.
I might do the blocking on Tuesday as I have the bobbin lace ladies coming over tomorrow and they might wonder why my lounge is carpeted in wet knitting - (DH is just used to it so won't bat an eyelid).
Now that my bobbin lace course is over, I've set up a workstation upstairs in my knitting room as it didn't seem fair to continue to litter the dining room with all my lace equipment. I'm near the window so the light isn't bad but I've also got a daylight lamp for extra light.
I'm working my way through Pricking No 1 from the Pamela Nottingham Torchon chapter, it's going fairly well although I've made a few mistakes. I'll probably finish this one tomorrow and move onto the next pricking in the chapter - I've printed off all the Torchon prickings from the chapter and have got them ready to go with coloured film and card, I just need to prick the holes first before use.
Bad news on the job front
My team suffered a sudden crushing blow on Thursday, delivered via a hastily arranged Webex conference call. There are some 50 or so people doing similar roles around the UK - they've announced this group will be cut to 22 (first shock!) and that we will be given our notices by the end of March (second shock!). People are a bit stunned by the scale of the cuts and the speed with which they will be enacted, particularly since the dust has barely settled on the previous round of redundancies before Christmas. First we have to go through the charade of consultation which they are abridging to the bare minimum of 30 days. I think it highly unlikely that I will survive, although we have no information yet on how they are going to select who goes and who stays. Being part-time I am already at a disadvantage. We'll see what happens but it seems likely that I will be out of a job come June. I've started looking at what's available in London and around where I live, but as usual there is very little part-time work in my specialism. Roll on the lottery win is what I say.