Saturday, 13 August 2016

Upgrading from a tortoise to a hare

Virtually no pictures this week because most of my spare time has been spent on installing my new computer and trying to work out what was on my old PC that needs to be copied over, and how to do that.  My new PC makes my old PC look like a Model T Ford, it's lightning fast and whisper quiet. I timed the boot today, in 16 seconds it went from switching on power to displaying the log-on screen with virtually no noise. Whereas my old computer (six or seven years old?) wheezes like an asthmatic and you could go make a cup of tea while it was booting up. Downloads and installations are over in a matter of minutes (or seconds for small files) and I don't have to worry that the graphics card is going to crash after 20 minutes.

It's not all sunlight and roses. It's considerably bigger than my old PC, about the size of a carry-on suitcase, so it doesn't fit in the nice gap next to my desk any more. At the moment it is awkwardly underneath my desk with all my cables trailing across the work surface while I contemplate where I can cut holes to feed the wires through more neatly. And it came with Windows 10, which has made a determined effort to force me to have a Microsoft account by refusing to let me use things like Cortana or download any apps unless I agree that Microsoft can invade my privacy, monitor my every waking moment and take my first born child. No thank you. And it turns out that Electric Quilt 6 (which to be honest I rarely used) can't be installed on Windows 10. I corresponded with EQ customer support, apparently the installer just doesn't work with Windows 10 which a bit of googling of user feedback seems to support. I've still got my old PC so I suppose if I were desperate to use EQ then I could fire it up again (and go make a cup of tea while it was thinking about it). It's still annoying to have purchased this software (and it wasn't cheap) and not be able to install it. If you don't know what EQ is, it's software that lets you design quilts on screen, try them out with various colours/fabrics, then print out the resulting templates. There's a few other tried and trusted bits of software like Resize-o-matic (for resizing images) which don't seem to be available for Windows 10, and some other software that I don't have disks for and can't remember where I got it (Adobe Acrobat 8 Pro for example) which I am now missing. I suppose eventually it will all settle down and I will find replacements.

So I haven't done much of anything crafty this week apart from TV knitting and about five minutes of bobbin lace when I got up early one morning.

There were a few crafty things today. After having my hair done (and fingers crossed I don't wake up looking like a Klingon again in a few days, after the allergic reaction last time to the hair colour) we headed out to Burton Latimer which was having a community garage sale all over town.  You paid £1 to get a map of everyone who was participating, then just wandered from house to house to have a look at what was on offer.  I came away with half a dozen sewing and quilting magazines, a Debbie Bliss baby knits book. an old tutorial book for Torchon lace, a lavender plant in a nice blue ceramic pot, a micrometer (for measuring thickness very accurately, might be useful for dollshousing) and a little glass knickknack cabinet which I have filled with small dollshouse items for display.

After that we headed into Northampton to visit Daily Bread, a wholefood store where I buy bulk gluten-free oats for my homemade muesli. I've been meaning to re-visit Get Knitting, the knitting shop in Northampton, for a while, because I hadn't been there since they opened a few years ago and I keep seeing their advertisements in the knitting magazines. So we headed up there and I had a nose around. They have a lot more stock now, mainly acrylic but a decent salting of pure wool, wool blends, Debbie Bliss, Auracania, Ella Rae, and some nice cottons and even an Erika Knight cotton linen blend  I didn't actually buy anything as I am trying to use up stash but it was nice to fondle various things.  Then we headed over to A Most Marvelous Place to Shop (their name, not my description) in Abington Square because I had seen on Ravelry that an Indie dyer, RiverKnits who apparently lives and dyes yarn on a boat, had stock there.  It's a big building with quite a few dealers stands stocking vintage items and bric a brac but I found the yarn shelves fairly easily.  I was clutching my typical choice of skein in a variety of blues but I forced myself to put it back and pick something a bit different - because I would say 90% of my stash is blue or pink, and the other 10% is purple.  I came away with this skein of Superwash Blue Faced Leicester in colourway 'Paper Flowers' which isn't what I would normally choose but is still in my comfort zone of attractiveness.  The photo's a bit dark, sorry. I also found a vintage tray cloth, a cotton damask duvet cover which I am hoping to turn into a tablecloth, and some great gift tags made out of samples of embroidered vintage linens.

When I got home I finally got into my sewing room for the first time in a week and put in a few hours refining the pattern for the t-shirt I am trying to sew.  I cut out a second toile using the first one as a pattern, and basted it together then made further adjustments before transferring the final pattern back to the tissue paper pattern. Then I had to adjust the pattern pieces for facings so they would match the new measurements.  I think I've achieved a decent fit but proof will be in the pudding.  The really annoying thing is that when I went to cut out the final pattern from the blue cotton I had bought, there wasn't enough. Grrrr.  The pattern envelope says 1 3/8 yards for the size up from mine, and I bought 1.25 metres. So I have 48 inches when they want 49.5 inches, but the tissue paper pieces were hanging off by a good five inches so I think the pattern envelope is lying.  I probably could have gotten away with it if my fabric were not directional, but it was.  This sparked a protracted hunt through my quilt fabric stash to see if there was anything that would be wearable and in sufficient quantity.  I've come up with some leftover quilt backing in a feedsack pattern which I think will work although it might wrinkle a bit more than my original crisper choice.  I suppose I could always go back to John Lewis and see if they still have the bolt of blue fabric and buy another metre.

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