Sunday, 26 June 2016


Lurgy is a useful British word which means an unspecified infectious illness, quite often used in the workplace to refer to cold germs making the rounds.  I've had a colleague sitting to my left coughing and having sick days off for the last few weeks so it was inevitable that I would succumb to the lurgy myself. Having toughed it through Monday and Tuesday at work feeling progressively worse, I realised Wednesday morning that I was going to have to stay home.  After phoning my manager to report sick, I sat down in my new chair in the living room 'just for a few minutes' to gather my strength while I watched a bit of TV.  Well, I barely moved all day and ended up watching about 13 hours of television. In fact I found out our TV has a function where it offers to auto-shutdown after so many hours, I didn't even know it did that.   Luckily DS was home and kept me well supplied with drinks and snacks, and I kept my hands busy even though the rest of me didn't want to move.

I seamed together all the pieces for my Practice machine knitted T-shirt so I could hang it on the machine and knit the neckband.  It is now finished but has turned out too big as I have lost weight since I created the t-shirt pattern 15 years ago, but it was still a useful exercise to practice the pattern and also now I can tweak it to make it smaller before I knit the actual t-shirts in good yarn. I think I will also make the neckline a bit shallower as it seems quite deep.

I also did quite a bit of stitching on my Hawaiian applique quilt which is showing a fair bit of progress since I also took it on the Yorkshire holiday.  I knit some more on the sleeve of my Que Sera Cardigan, and finished the latest block in my 25-block applique quilt.  I think this is Block 17 with fussy-cut flower centres.

I ended up still feeling sick on my day off, Thursday, and stayed home again Friday although by then I was feeling like I had turned the corner and was getting better.  I had a bit more energy so on Thursday I stuck a lot more shingles onto my dollshouse roof - I've started the gazebo roof which is the trickiest bit with lots of angles to cut.

I went out with DS to vote in the referendum.  The result is quite a shock, I never thought we would actually be leaving the EU.  On Saturday at quilting we were half-jokingly discussing what it might mean for hobbyists: increased prices due to the falling pound, customs duty levied from more destinations, higher costs for craft holidays abroad.

Friday I was feeling more energetic and tottered out to the garden to put netting on the strawberries which are starting to turn red and get eaten by things.  I also put some net over our small edible cherry tree which looks like it will give us a bigger crop this year compared to last year's single pie.

And I applied a coat of buffing wax to the marble-topped table we bought at Newark that I had already cleaned up.  It looks a lot better, still pretty battered but much cleaner and with a nice sheen to it now. The marble cleaned up fairly well also although it is pretty scratched up. I wonder if it is possible to polish marble at home or if it has to be done by a professional? This has gone into our living room for the moment where it looks very nice with a Wedgewood bowl on the bottom tier.

I did a fair bit of sewing on Friday. I finally put the red sashing border onto the Let it Snow quilt which had been pinned on my design wall for the last few months, so I could take it down and add it to the large collection of tops waiting to be quilted hanging in the corner of my sewing room.  I think there are 6 or 8 now since I haven't quilted anything since the winter of 2012 before we packed up the house to put it on the market.  I've been slowly working my way through my list of ancient UFOs and I'm down to three:  the 25 block applique quilt, the Hawaiian Applique Quilt, and a four-panel picture of Venice.  The Venice picture was a group project I ran back in 2007 in my quilting group after I saw at a quilt show the then innovative idea of splitting up a photograph into parts and giving each part to a participant to create a quilted scene.  Four of us took part, and the other participants ended up with quite nice pictures of an African portrait, a Belgian street scene, and a Monet painting of a barn.

I was never that happy with what I got back for my Venice picture and in retrospect I think I should have chosen a simpler subject without so much fussy detail.  I did get as far as stitching the four pieces together, which involved some fairly wobbly seams to try to get detail to match across the seams.

I decided I still wanted to finish it but I needed to stop procrastinating about coming up with some clever design concept, and just get it done.  After squaring it up, I added some trim to the boat cover which spanned three panels, to bring that together, and I used one of the embroidery stitches on my machine to add some 'carved' detail to the plain brown door second from the left.  Then I stitched over the balcony struts of the second-from-left panel to make it more realistic and to blend it in better with the balcony in the leftmost panel.  I trawled through my stash for greenery to cut out and fuse to the various windows boxes, and also came across a couple of lanterns I could add.  I'm not entirely happy with my greenery which looks too heavy at the top of the windows, so I may add some more over top of that in a lighter green.  I'm planning to stretch this picture over artist's canvas rather than quilting it (because of all the layers and lumps), so I stitched a neutral grey cotton border around it.  I'm calling it done now apart from adding a bit more greenery and getting a canvas for it.  Another one bites the dust.

Saturday was my monthly quilting day at the LQS, and although still not entirely well I was looking forward to an easy day of assembling my Bear's Paw Quilt.  I had given my 20 blocks a good press on Friday, and also pressed the setting squares and triangles that I cut out 15 years ago.  So I got all set up and sat down at the machine to sew my first seam feeling very relaxed.  Until I held a setting triangle up to a Bear's Paw quilt and realised the triangle was too small.  I put a setting square on top of a Bear's Paw block and it was too small.  Eeeek!  Turns out all my Bear's Paw blocks are 11 inches square unfinished, and all my setting squares and triangles were 10.5" square.  Which to be fair is what my 15-year-old photocopied instructions specified: 10.5" squares and triangles.  So either there was an error in the book or, what is more likely, is that I decided for some reason to make the block slightly bigger (perhaps to match my Thangles papers?) and did not make the corresponding correction to the setting squares.  Which is the kind of thing I would do, being numerically challenged.  Luckily I did have some 15-year-old yardage of the white on white background which was set aside for outer borders. So I spent my first 45 minutes of the day looking up Pythagorean theorum on my phone and trying to work out if I had enough fabric to cut out new squares and triangles. Turns out I did, barely. So I recut all the setting squares and triangles, and went into the shop to see if they had anything that would match the old background that I could use for borders.  Amazingly they did still have the 15-year-old print only in a beige colourway.  They are going to ask the supplier if it is still made in white, and order some for me if it is.  Meanwhile I got on with assembling the quilt centre and trying not to chop my points off.  I do love a blue and white quilt, so crisp and fresh.  All 20 blocks are a different indigo African print, I really like it.  The next step is to cut up a kazillion half-square triangles (already stitched luckily) and pull the papers off so I can assemble the sawtooth inner border.

After I got home, DH and I put together a metal half-arch that had arrived in the post. I ordered it after seeing a similar one at a garden I visited with my garden club. One end attaches on the wall while the other end rests on the ground. I realised it would be the perfect thing for this neglected corner of our garden. DH did a huge amount of digging to truck dirt across from a hole dug in our patio-to-be to fill in the upper end of this old path, to create a new garden beside our new gazebo.  Then this morning we built a jerry-rigged retaining wall out of old bricks and backfilled with dirt.  I've planted out a bunch of salvia and penstemon I've been growing from seed although I don't know if they are going to get enough sun there.  The remaining bit of path looked a bit lost but when we mounted the arch onto the neighbour's wall suddenly it's like a little room.  There is a clematis growing up the post on the right of the arch so I've trained it onto the arch where hopefully it will keep growing upwards. This afternoon we had a cup of tea sitting on the bench and enjoying the new perspective on our garden.

I'm feeling a lot better now so back to work tomorrow, sigh.  Roll on retirement I say.


swooze said...

Busy lady. Thanks for the pic of the shirt. Was very curious. The garden is looking great. Glad you're feeling better.

Glad the bear paw is working out. I'm learning the frustrations of stopping then going back later to pick up and not have everything and have to hunt for it hoping I can find and do have. Flimsy at minimum from now on.

swooze said...

A love your Venice scene by the way. Just step back and look at it. It's lovely. You're scrutinizing too closely.

Daisy said...

Hope you're fully recovered now! I like the arch for the garden.

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