Saturday, 23 January 2016

Bleah, stupid head cold

I was actually better for most of the week and then suddenly last night my sinuses went into overdrive and I've been sneezing and blowing my nose all day. Bleah.

However I have discovered my hitherto unknown superpower which is manipulating the weather: Thursday I broke down and wrapped up our poor bay tree in fleece to belatedly protect it from the sub-zero frosts at night, and Friday afternoon the temperature promptly shot up 10 degrees.  It's suppose to be warm all week so I guess I am taking the fleece off again tomorrow.

I've been knitting on the Baa-ble Hat this week which I think will be quite a warm hat, in aran 100% wool.  It's very cute and DH has even hinted that he would like it - but it's mine.

Like many other knitters on Ravelry, I found it was coming up quite big even though I had dropped to a 4mm needle from the recommended 4.5mm.  I pulled it out and started again with a 3mm needle which is sizing up quite well and also giving a denser hopefully warmer fabric.

This week I took the bobbin lace dollshouse towel edging that I made a few months ago, and stitched it onto a towel I made from a piece of cotton hankie which had a printed design on it. I hand rolled a tiny hem on the edges, which went fairly well on the sides but was much harder going across the end which wasn't woven on grain. I was pleased with the end result though, and this went off to an online swap partner.

In return I received this generous assortment of neatly made bathroom goodies, which I can find good homes for in various of my dollshouses.

I also finished renovating my 1:24 scale thatched cottage which has four rooms - two downstairs and two upstairs. There is room for more accessories but everything is repaired and cleaned and I added a few new pieces of furniture. (I know the doll looks a little unrealistic but it's hard to get good dolls in this scale). I built this cottage from scratch to my own design about 20 years ago and also built most of the furniture either from kits or from scratch.

To add a homely touch, this week I put together a kit from the now defunct Model Village Miniatures for a tiny knitting bag, and added it to the living room.

Meanwhile, with great difficulty, I finished the little dollshouse mat in bobbin lace that I was making. I found this very difficult to do, not because the lace stitches are difficult because they aren't, but because it's so tiny. The pins are so close that they get in the way of seeing the pattern. The thread was so fine that I snapped three threads and had to work in replacements, and I had an extremely difficult time finishing it off at the end when you have to join the start to the beginning. So it's a bit of a mess but it's still usable.  I've ordered some different thread which I hope will be slightly sturdier and I'm going to try again: hopefully my second attempt will go a bit better now that I know more what I am doing.

I haven't done any quilting this week because I didn't have any fabric I was happy with to use as the background for the snowball blocks in the border of my Let it Snow quilt. Why is it that no matter how big your stash is, you still find you need a different colour?  So DH kindly drove me to Tudor Rose Patchwork near Bedford, and to Poppy Patch in Great Doddington, to look for fabric. Neither had quite what I wanted but I bought a solid blue at Poppy Patch and a batik at Tudor Rose and will try them out on the design wall.  There was only 1.2m left of the batik so I will have to do math (ick) to work out if that would be enough for all the blocks I need.

The other thing I've spent some time on this week is not a crafty thing as such. I've started to seriously look at booking a holiday to Japan later in the year. Originally I was planning to hit the Yokohama Quilt Show in November but then that was cancelled. So now it will just be a more typical tour around the main destinations that everyone goes to, but hopefully hitting lots of craft shops along the way. I've always wanted to go to Japan and we aren't getting any younger  :) DH is less convinced but willing to come along.  It does seem to be an extremely expensive place to visit, the two quotes I've had from travel agents so far for my desired itinerary are rather shocking - I may resort to booking it myself to save money.  If you've been to Japan, I'd love to hear your tips and recommendations!  Especially for crafty destinations in Tokyo and Kyoto.

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