I headed off to Fibre East in Ampthill today (conveniently reachable by my normal season train ticket) with the firm intention to only shop for three things: 1) to match the Aran yarn for my Sampler Jumper where I've run short for the sleeves; 2) to jump on the gradient yarn bandwagon; and 3) to find a replacement white DK yarn to knit daisies with for my knitted handbag. My willpower was firm.
I made it through the first room with willpower intact, only noticing peripherally the rather smart yarn lazy susans on one stand.
Working my way through the next room, I came across some excellent blocking wire sets, eight stainless steel robust wires in their own carrying case for only £9.75 on the Simply Sheepish stand. Now I've been making do with a small set of long and short flimsy wires for the last 15 years and I never have enough to block all parts of a sweater at once. Brain wave: I could buy some more! I could have enough to block a whole project at the same time! Plus I figured carrying around a metre-long package of wires for the rest of the morning would slow me down enough to prevent further extravagance. [postscript: It didn't, plus I managed to poke myself in the eye with these on the way back to Flitwick train station, sigh...]
After a few more rooms I think the yarn fumes were starting to affect me, and I found myself buying two secondhand bobbin lace books and a small book on collecting vintage linens from Felicity Warnes at The Old Bookshop. She said she has 20,000 needlecraft books on her website including lots more bobbin lace books so I probably really, really shouldn't go and look at her website.
While going around the stalls in the marquee outside, and attracting repeated sympathy from vendors as I fruitlessly tried to match my Aran jumper wool, I decided again buying Drops yarn for my daisies. Then I saw this:
Baby, come to momma.... Gorgeous, gorgeous single fingering in Duck Egg blue, 70% superwash merino and 30% silk from The Wool Barn. I don't generally like really tiny shawlettes and the skeins are 400m, so I got two to make a shawl with.
It all went downhill after that. I bought this gradient blank from www.whimzy.co.uk, which is 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon, 425m. Again I worried it might not be enough for a shawl but they had a reasonable size shawl sample knit on 5mm needles on the stand. Afterwards I saw some even nicer gradients at Rosies Moments, but decided I should start with the one I already had.
In the 'have a go' tent, I was surprised to find The Lace Guild. I had been thinking of joining them anyway for a year, to see what the benefit was, so I signed up and acquired a 2015 membership bobbin.
After a sandwich in the refreshments tent, I decided I should head for home and not take the dangerous step of going around for the second time. Unfortunately, to get out I passed the rather smart yarn lazy susan again and found myself picking one up. No more yanking at my yarn ball during sofa knitting.
So laden down by all my books and purchases (and nursing a sore eye after poking myself in the face with the wires), I tottered back to Flitwick station feeling very guilty.
This week I finished my first bunny from the Little Cotton Rabbits pattern. I'm quite pleased with it, although I can see that my proportions have come out a bit different than hers. The Lion Brand worsted I am using for the body is chunkier than the Malabrigo the designer has used, so that my little dress of Rowan 4-ply cotton looks a bit small on my bunny. But she is still very cute. I've started knitting a second one which I will dress as a boy bunny. That's pretty much been all my TV knitting time this week, with all the sewing up and stuffing etc.
I finally finished knitting 22 strings of daisy petals for my knitted handbag and have started knitting the yellow centres during commuter knitting. I sewed together a couple of daisies to see how they will look, and was quite disappointed. Partly due to my straggly tension, and partly due to using cheap acrylic yarn, my daisies look quite sorry compared to the plump white puffy daisies in the pattern picture.
I don't like them and I'm tempted to knit them over again in a better yarn. I didn't see anything I liked at Fibre East but I popped out this afternoon to my LYS and picked up some Stylecraft Lullaby DK, which feels like a better quality and much puffier yarn. I'll knit a daisy in that to see if it looks better. I've been using Robin Bonny Babe DK for the yellow centres, it's only acrylic as well but surprisingly plump and soft - I got it at QD but they don't stock it in white.
On the sewing front, I've finished stippling the pieces of my quilted knitting bag, succeeding in NOT sewing through my fingers so result. I've added the strap and handle to one side but not the other yet.
And I finished another block for my 25 block applique quilt. I can't remember how many I've done now - I think this is around block 17 or 18. The blocks finish at 17" square and they are all pinks, reds and greens.
I did some of the applique stitching while watching a bit more of a Craftsy class "Cut to it: Strategies for smarter quilting" by Debbie Caffrey which I think I got for free as my birthday gift from Craftsy. It's a bit dull so I hadn't got very far but full of very useful information about rotary cutting various shapes. The reading material you get with it also includes some handy charts for how to cut shapes from strips using HST and QST rulers, but I need to watch that part again because I get easily muddled when it comes to numbers.
The cat is settling in well. She seems to have a sensitive tummy so we are having to feed expensive Royal Canin Gastrointestinal food to prevent smelly outputs, hopefully she will grow out of that or she may have to have a trip to the vets. In another week we will be able to let her outside. She is keeping us all amused with her playful antics, although I am getting a bit tired of having to protect my knitting when she is in a playful mood. She thinks the waving needles and the moving yarn must be specially for her, whereas bits of knitted bunny with trailing cords must be cat toys. Not. I felt sorry for my DS's girlfriend who is currently visiting with us and was really looking forward to meeting the cat. Within an hour of arriving she succumbed to an allergic attack and had to go out and buy antihistamines which knocked her out, so she was asleep when I got home from work. She does pet the cat but washes her hands afterwards and we're having to keep the cat out of her room.
DH and DS put together all the kitchen cupboard carcasses for the dollshouse room, and I've ordered three lengths of worktop. I've made contact with the kitchen fitter we used for our actual kitchen, who says he will drop by and have a look (no show so far). I can't really do anything more on the room until he fits the cupboards and worktop but I did put up new blinds (budget blinds from Dunelm) which tone well with the walls.