Saturday, 19 December 2015

Happy one month anniversary to me

This week I celebrated my one month anniversary in my new job. I'm starting to feel like I actually work there, and I've had good feedback on my performance so far which is reassuring. We're still not actually doing any real work, we are practicing but everything we do has to be checked by experienced staff before it is signed off, so it still feels like college rather than a proper job.  There is a huge amount to learn, and they keep giving us more challenging things to try. Some people are feeling rather overwhelmed and the general mood was sinking towards desperation last week - to the point where they called the entire cohort into a room to talk us off the ledge and assure us that we wouldn't have any more lectures over the christmas period so we will have time to practice and consolidate what we've been learning.  I wasn't feeling too bad, but I appreciate the opportunity to do some practice over the next few weeks.

I decided it was time for a treat as a reward - so on my day off I used my season ticket to return to Leicester then walked over to the legendary Fabric Guild, a warehouse-style quilting and craft shop which is probably the closest thing I've seen in the UK to the big American quilt shops like Hancocks or Joanne's. They buy in a lot of end of lines and discounted fabrics, and prices start from as low as £2/m. As well as fabric, they stock a lot of random things they get when haberdasheries close down or a factory unloads unwanted stock: all sorts of haberdashery, buttons, zips, trims, ribbons, some yarn, some books, lots of wadding, rulers etc.  My visit was made even better when I presented 15 vouchers from their loyalty scheme, dating back as far as 15 years ago when I used to visit. I asked if they were still valid and they were worth £1.25 each! So I had a happy splurge on qualifying haberdashery before starting my slow cruise around the store to see what else there was on offer.  Here's a pic of my eventual choice of loot:

- several colours of Kunin wool blend felt
- four scenic fat quarters
- a fat quarter of blue plaid and some blue snowflake fabric for my snowman quilt
- 9m of good quality gingham for quilt backing at £2/m
- six half-meters in poison green and pinky-red for my Grandmother's Last Quilt applique project
- zips
- several packets of pretty decorated wooden buttons
- a blue wash out marker
- a needle threader
- a Clover thimble
- three weights of fusible interfacing
- a string of wooden beads which will make great 'bun feet' for dollshouse furniture
- a necklace of beads on a chain, to wear
- a sheet of heavyweight template plastic

It was really fun and a bit like the old days when we had more money and I used to do a lot more stash accumulation.  I rounded the day off with lunch in a sushi restaurant and ice cream from a gelato store, both being establishments which I have walked past on my way to/from work and wanted to try.  Then in the evening we took DS and his girlfriend to see the new Star Wars film which they both liked.  DH and I thought it seemed like a thin-blooded remake of A New Hope but judging from the interweb reaction we are in the minority. Still, I'm glad I saw it so I know what all the hype is about.


This week I've been working on my snowman quilt, stitching around the fusible applique and adding detail like beads for their mouths and three-dimensional scarves (those are going to be trimmed shorter than they are at the moment). I've also started the mitten blocks. It's quite fun choosing fabrics to use - I had some great 'knitted' fabric which I've used for one pair of mittens, and I've fussy cut snowman fabric for two more pairs. All very seasonal.

I finished the Arne and Carlos vanilla socks and blocked them.  They look good but I think the next pair I will do a heel flap heel to fit my foot better.

I needed something else for commuter knitting after finishing the socks, so I started an Arne and Carlos knitted bauble which was a free kit that came with Let's Knit magazine. They are fairly straightforward to knit, but I didn't like how they look a bit wonky or lopsided when they are stuffed according to the instructions. So I had the idea of putting a real Christmas bauble inside to give it a better shape.  I worked the chart until just before the decreases, then added the bauble. It was a bit awkward knitting the next few rows with the bauble inside, but as I got closer to the tip, it got easier.  I think it was worth it because now the bauble has a really nice shape. You could also use a styrofoam ball instead of raiding your Christmas tree.

The new Lett Lopi yarn arrived from Deramores for my next two pairs of felted slippers.  I've cast on for the red and white pair from the Arne and Carlos book and am working a fair isle cuff before working the solid red foot. Hopefully these are going to fit and be as snuggly as the first pair which I am still wearing all the time.

Three more work days and it's Christmas - yay!!

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