Saturday, 4 April 2015

The wrong kind of plants

We've done a lot of digging in the garden this weekend so far, and boy do I feel it.  My back was so sore this morning that I could barely straighten up after pulling my jeans on. My total lack of upper body strength means that I have to take breaks from digging about every 8-10 minutes but even so my arms are stiff from elbow to shoulder today. A couch potato existence knitting on the sofa does not prepare you for sudden intense exercise.

We're attempting to transplant a lot of the plants we've inherited but we seem to have the wrong kind of plants - instead of ending up with a nice round, easy to move, root ball like in the Youtube videos, we always  end up with a huge mess that falls completely apart and all our plants have a tap root heading down to Australia which inevitably breaks off no matter how deep we dig.  I expect we've killed everything.

But for the moment the front garden looks a lot better - we consolidated all the bergenias into one narrow side border where their messy 'elephant ear' leaves look a lot better, and moved several shrubs from the border next to the wall that needs rebuilding over to fill up empty spots in the borders by the house.  In the back garden, most of the path is now removed and I've started to move some of the smaller plants, and I dismantled the crumbling brick wall around the old patio. I also dug a big hole (not in picture) for a big shrubby tree thing that we will try to move (not optimistic).

It's the Easter long weekend here, with Friday and Monday both being holidays - yay!  I've pulled out my small collection of Easter decorations and added a few other spring-themed ornaments. And tomorrow is chocolate-for-breakfast day, one of our favourites. The yellow daffodil doiley is one of my vintage doilies from my collection.

Craft stuff

Have you heard of Sugru? It bills itself as 'super glue meets blue tack' or something like that. We noticed it in B&Q and then I realised it might be just the thing to repair my cracked thread mast on my Janome 6500 sewing machine.  The little plastic cap that held the horizontal thread guide onto the metal mast had cracked before we moved, and cracked off completely during the move so it didn't stay on any more. Kind of annoying.  This Sugru stuff sticks to almost anything and dries as sort of a very firm rubber. I probably could have moulded it more smoothly, but appearance aside, it has done the job and fixed the problem. Now I can fold my mast down when I put the cover on the machine, without the thread bar falling off.

This week I finished the Hanna Burns square from the GAAA Afghan. This was my 16th square so I just have four more to finish and then I can start blocking and sewing them together.

I sewed together the Clanger and added eyes, and felt feet, fingers etc.  If you don't know what a Clanger is, it was a very strange children's programme here in the UK in the 60s or 70s, about aardvark-type creatures living on the moon who communicate by whistling. DH watched it as a child and has fond memories, so this is for him.  However, they wore crude armour so the paper templates in the picture are experimental pattern development before I cut felt for armour. DH is pleased.

I knit a long piece of strap for my denim shoulder bag from Rowan denim yarn. I used the circular knitting feature on my Brother 260 machine, using tension 1-dot. It worked really well. Then I threw all the pieces in the washing machine and tumble drier. This denim yarn fades in the wash and shrinks up quite a lot.  I tried to take a picture to show how the knitting had faded compared to the ball yarn but my camera couldn't capture the difference. Too much blue I guess.

I forgot to include in last week's post that I've finished the Mixalot Socks,  just need to block them.

I said I would include the names of the two projects I started last weekend at Skipnorth.  The socks are 'Basketweave Socks' from the March issue of Simply Knitting magazine by Rhian Drinkwater, and I am knitting them in Mirasol Tupa which is 50% merino and 50% silk. Sorry the pic is a bit fuzzy, and the astute will notice that my third needle fell out of the stitches when I picked the sock up so I need to fix that.

The reversible cowl in Fyberspates Vivacious is the Zig-Zag Cowl by Zoe Clements in Let's Knit magazine. You knit it flat and then join, and I'm planning to join it as a Moebius loop.

Other than that, I've sewn a bit on my applique block and done a bit more on my latest bobbin lace sample.

Other stuff

We continue to get driblets of news at work. We were told on Thursday that my boss and his boss have been appointed into their positions, and that we will have our first personal meeting about our own circumstances starting from the second week after Easter. They expect that everyone will know what's happening to them by 1 May. So it's dragging out longer than they expected, but it means we get paid a little longer.

Yesterday we went sofa hunting, which might as well have been snark hunting for all the success we had. We went to Milton Keynes which is our nearest big shopping hub, and we must have looked at over 200 sofas in several stores. I would say 35% were hideous, and the next 60% were bland and completely unsuitable for our Victorian/Edwardian interiors.  I lowered my standards considerably and started sitting on anything vaguely passable but almost all of them were really uncomfortable or felt competely flimsy.  Considering how much sofas cost, it is astonishing how rubbish most of the fabrics and construction are, and how short-lived the softly squishable cushioning is likely to be. Of course the only ones that felt both comfortable and well made were Parker Knoll which were the most expensive sofas we saw.  You could buy a whole living room suite in most of the stores for the cost of one Parker Knoll sofa.  Sigh.  Looks like our 11-year-old IKEA sofa and its lumpy cushions is going to have to last a while longer.

Happy Easter everyone!!


Daisy said...

We have two Parker Knoll armchairs, which once belonged to my great uncle and must be well over 50 years old. They were reupholstered about 15(?) years ago and are still going strong. They are very comfortable, and seem more supportive for backs too? But they cost SO much! I'd love a sofa to go with them, but we'd have to save up for it (it would then no doubt outlast me!).

Mairead Hardy said...

I love how the Clanger has turned out - its lovely and no wonder your DH is happy!

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