Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Another signal failure

Set off to work as usual this morning only to end up back home two hours later as the signals have once again failed on the train line to Leicester.  We waited half an hour for a diversionary route but they said it was going to take 55 minutes to get to Loughborough then buses back to Leicester. I decided I didn't want to go to work that badly so waited another 45 minutes for a train to get through the blockage and take me home.  This is the second time in two months, I hope this isn't going to be a regular occurrence or my manager isn't going to be too happy. She didn't sound very happy when I called in to say I wouldn't make it.

But the sun is shining and I've been happily pottering at my desk, cleaning out email, printing off knitting patterns, getting suckered into ordering sale yarn from the Black Sheep Wools clearance sale, and making some arrangements for our Yorkshire holiday in June.

This past weekend I murdered the Virburnum shrub standing in the way of our new corner arbour. It had finished flowering and there was nowhere to put it, so out it came. We also dug up and temporarily potted about another dozen clumps of plants, some of them in flower which isn't ideal but hopefully they will survive. We also had to dig a big hole and move the Photinia tree, the one we planted last year, about a foot to the right. It's in flower as well but we moved quite a big root ball so hopefully it won't realise what has happened as long as we keep watering it. Then on Sunday we made a trip to the DIY store to purchase the cheapest concrete things we could find to pile up to be piers to support the base of the arbour, which turned out to be economy patio slabs and concrete blocks. We already had some bricks, so that gave us three heights of block to combine to arrive at eight edifices that would be level and support the wooden bearers for the hexagonal base.  We were building out over a sloping concrete path that ran alongside and up to 18 inches lower than our lawn, so each edifice was a different height. Miraculously we managed to get it all fairly level.  We weren't using mortar as that isn't in our skillset, so to stabilise the piers we piled lots of leftover building rubble around them then dumped in eight wheelbarrows of topsoil (dug up from the location of our future patio) to level the area surrounding the base to a similar height with the lawn.  The result is surprisingly stable although I don't think you could dance on it. Our future plans include sedately drinking tea so it should be fine.  We hope to build the walls next weekend if it isn't raining. As well as giving us a private place to sit, this will be a feature looking down on the garden from the house.

Crafty stuff

I actually did some machine knitting this week as I want to make some summer t-shirts.  I'm starting with a practice shirt using two strands of some pale blue crepe I already had. I've done the back but had some trouble shaping the back neck which is much more fiddly than hand knitting. I succeeded in dropping a stitch which in this slippery yarn promptly ran down about 8 rows, and while I was trying to fix this, one of its neighbours also made a break for freedom. Good thing this is a practice.  But I've ordered two cones of Panama 50/50 cotton acrylic from Yeoman for the real things. This is a nice summer yarn which I have used before in the distant past when I used to be a machine knitter. The one on the left is a denim blue, the right one is a duck egg colour.

On the bobbin lace front, I have almost finished the Idrija lace motif I started on the workshop weekend before last. I've also been investigating the German book I bought in Peterborough with the of online translation aids and online lacemaking friends.  Apparently it is related to Belgian bloom lace so I've ordered a book for .01p plus postage on Amazon which is a recommended resource on bloom lace techniques. There's nothing quite like Amazon for instant gratification and sourcing obscure books.

In handknitting, I've started the right front of the Que Sera cardigan  now and have gotten into a right pickle with the Now in a Minute Shawl. The shawl is a free pattern from Brenda Dayne so I don't like to grumble too much. But I find the instructions extremely confusing and non-intuitive, and looking at the comments on Ravelry I am certainly not alone in feeling that way.  I've made it to wedge five but I don't seem to have the right number of stitches any more, and since the pattern doesn't say how many repeats to a wedge or give any in-progress stitch counts, I'm not even sure where I went wrong.  I've pulled back to the start of Wedge 5 and am trying again with the short rowing.  I've also blocked all 20 squares now for the GAA Afghan without any trouble so I don't need to knit any extra borders.  Next step will be to sew them all together but I need to research what is the best way to do that. I may need to crochet all around each square first.

I've made a push to get through the cutting up of quilting scraps because I want to make a jelly roll bag to put my lace pillows in.  Now that I've moved from cutting strips to cutting squares, it is incredibly time consuming. I hope I actually make something some day with all of these squares and strips and I'm not just wasting my time. Although it satisfying to turn crumpled scraps into neatly cut squares.

Hope you are enjoying the sun where you are!


Daisy said...

Doesn't sound quite as bad as South West Trains, but not good! Your garden is looking amaing.

meredith said...

Having the same issues with that shawl. I made a few mistakes earlier in the pattern which resulted in me having MORE stitches than I should have, but still not having enough for the stated necessary repeats on wedge 5. I've decided to totally ignore how many repeats of the charts I'm supposed to do, and maybe cut out some of the WS SSKs in chart 7 and 8.

I really want to lecture someone about not having the chart numbers match the wedge numbers. Would it have been so hard to go "Chart 1a" for the initial increase triangle?!

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