Sunday, 4 September 2016

A tale of two summers

I had my lace making friends over today, who are all retired apart from one who works three days a week.  They were chatting away and exclaiming over what a lovely summer it's been and so hot and dry.  I was just sitting there with my mouth open wondering if I had strayed into a parallel universe. Until I realised that they have been out and about on sunny weekdays when I am trapped in my too-hot office, whereas almost without fail it has been overcast and rainy on my days off and every weekend. It's also quite chilly in the mornings now on my walk to the station, and it's dark by around half past seven so I don't get much time when I get home.  Grrrr. Roll on retirement I say.

While we were chatting, I was working on my Idrija Lace doiley, I'm now working the inner circle and am about halfway around since taking this photo.

Last week I mentioned we were going to build a raised bed for our strawberries on Bank Holiday Monday.  It took a few hours and a lot of digging but went fairly smoothly. We made it out of gravel boards which are treated and relatively cheap. I dug up dozens of strawberry plants as they had thrown out runners like crazy. But when I googled on planting strawberries, most sites agreed 14 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart so we only ended up replanting 14 plants after taking this picture. But I'm sure they will increase (if they survive) and it will be so much easier picking them now that they are 35cm above ground level. It also will stop them sending runners out into the flower beds.  We took the soil from the ever-growing hole on the site of our future patio, which is almost big enough to park a skinny car in now and about two feet deep. The neighbours must be wondering what we are planning to bury.

I did a little sewing this week and got my second summer sleeveless top cut out and started sewing it together.  I've put in the neck facing in this picture but haven't done the armhole facings or hem yet. This is a 100% cotton fabric from John Lewis.

While watching TV this week, I have seamed together my Que Sera cardigan and much to my amazement, it is actually quite a good fit.  I need to sew on buttons then I will pose for some pictures.

The yarn is Shilasdair cotton which they were selling very cheaply on their stand at Ally Pally a few years back, and I think I may know why.  Despite several rinses, the water remained a vivid turquoise when I was getting ready to wet block it. It also left turquoise stains on the old white sheet that it was pinned onto for blocking.  So if I get wet when I am wearing it, I will probably turn turquoise as well, lol.  Hmmm, perhaps on the first wash I will need to add something like Synthrapol if I can find some here in the UK.

I had another finish this week which was the Rainwater Mint Shawl by Sally Oakley and I blocked it today.  This was quite an enjoyable knit, mindless enough for the train but at the same time sufficiently textural not to get boring, and relief provided by switching between the garter stripe and the lace pattern.  I think I might knit another one as holiday knitting, possibly using the lovely skein of yarn I bought at Fibre East. Mine has turned out deeper than the given measurements, probably due to my loose tension.

Every few days I have been sticking more shingles onto my little Victorian Shed dollshouse project and I'm almost finished now. I'm just doing the tricky penultimate row on the tower and having to cut little triangles to fill in tiny gaps on each corner seam. I will be painting the shingles so it doesn't matter that the fishscales along the roof top are a different tone of wood.

I have permission from the project organiser to use a larger base than the one that's been handed out by the dollshouse club, so I might do that so I can have more of a garden. Because I've added so much on to my shed, it only barely fits on the club-provided base.  I'm in two minds, a garden would look really nice but be quite time consuming to construct then will be a dust trap once it's finished. 

The three of us had our picture taken at a professional photo shoot on Saturday. I booked it because we have never had a proper professional photo taken of us as a family, and DS is starting his final year at uni so won't be living at home for too much longer (possibly).  I knew what to expect as I used to supervise photo shoots when I edited the staff magazine in previous jobs, but DS and DH were a bit taken aback by someone whizzing around taking a billion photos of them in different poses.  DS went completely off the whole thing after about 15 minutes of being posed and having to listen to ludicrous pep talks designed to get us smiling. So in all the subsequent pictures his main expression is one of barely-controlled fury. I got an earful as soon as we had left about how he was never ever doing that again and how patronising the photographer was and how stupid the whole thing was etc. etc.  I do think the photographer was actually taking the mickey out of him (mocking him a little) by the end and he did offer DS a lolly like he was a small child, but it must be difficult trying to make a living from creating great photos of people you only met five minutes ago, and having to deal with barely-cooperative scowling youths.  Oh well, out of the hundreds of photos he took, hopefully some of them are decent.  We get to see them this coming week and I am bracing myself for it to cost an arm and a leg.

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