Sunday, 30 October 2016

Coming soon

I'm involved in a new project which I can't mention here yet for various reasons, but I hope to reveal all soon.

Lots of knitting this week but not much else!

Best wishes and Happy Halloween if you celebrate for it.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Quick update

My weekend is a bit busy so just a quick update.

I'm still waiting for my new overlocker foot pedal (apparently they are awaiting stock) but by damaging the rocker switch a bit more, I was able to get the overlocker to turn on for long enough to sew the second arm/body seam on my One Hour Top.  Now I just need to finish the hems with the twin needle on the sewing machine.

I also layered up my Whirligig tablecloth with its backing, sewed around it and turned it through pillowcase style, and stitched around the outside close to the edge.  Then I stretched it out and pinned it up ready for some stabilising stitching through the middle.  As it is going to be a tablecloth, I didn't use any wadding.

I fused on the little houses for the other side of my quilted tea cosy that I showed a pic of last week.  The next step will be do add the feature stitching in black thread which adds all the details on the houses, roof shingles, door panels etc. using some thin wadding or felt behind the face fabric.

On the knitting front, I got quite a lot done on my purple lace shawl during a waffly lecture at my garden club on Thursday night. It was old school with no slides, which was good for knitting because the lights remained on.  I've run another lifeline through the stitches as I had added another three inches or so since the previous lifeline.  I've also started a cottage tea cosy from Let's Knitting magazine. The original is quite cute, mine will look a bit different because I am using yarn from stash. Also my teapot seems to be larger so I've had to rip back the two sides and re-knit the shaped top to add more length.

I've done a bit more on my Idrija lace doiley but not very much.

The cat has stayed out of the derelict basement, hurrah, and the scaffolding is now coming down which should permanently remove her means of access.

And that's about it!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Woolly weather

We're into proper chilly autumn weather now, and I've been wearing some medium-weight handknitted hats and gloves.  DH has commented in the past as to whether I really need so many hats, gloves and mittens, but I do because they all do different jobs. The English weather is so variable that I think my handknitted accessories have to be as well.  Plus I just like knitting and wearing them. At this time of year, my long fingerless gloves are perfect, and my cabled hat made with the wool I bought in the Orkneys which is the colour of the North Sea.  I think autumn is my favourite season.

My Summer Leaves cardigan is coming on, I finished the first repeat of the leaf pattern in the yoke.  This is a top down jumper which I am knitting in Drops Karisma.

I decided I wasn't going to hand-knit the Alcott Fair Isle Vest because I couldn't get gauge on 2.75 needles and I don't really want to go any smaller than that for a garment-sized object.  Also the fair isle repeat is 24 stitches which means I can knit it on the machine like my last two fair isle vests.  So I've punched a card (twice, because I missed a row out the first time) and run off a test sample today.  I will also print out a large version of the chart and write in the colour references so I know which yarn to thread in which feeder for each row.

Last weekend I pulled out a few little kits from my stockpile to make up for an online dollshouse swap.  I put together a Model Villages kit for a leather satchel, and assembled a pair of leather moccasin slippers from a long ago club project.  I put in a few faux books as well. Hopefully the recipient will like them. I definitely feel rusty about putting little dollshouse things together, I used to be much better at it when I was younger (and had better eyesight as well).

I successfully moved my Idrija Lace doily project  onto my new lace pillow, although I did bend quite a few pins in the process. It's now off to a good start and I am slowly working my way around the outer circle, sewing it into the inner circle as I go.

Today I made myself do some quilting. I've gotten completely out of the habit of taking a few hours to relax in my craft rooms because I've been so busy the last several weeks.  I got out the appliqued house tea cosy pattern that I bought earlier this year and pulled some fat quarters out of my stash to start fusing on house components to a cream background fabric. It's a bit fiddly as the pieces aren't very big (the houses are about 3-4 inches high) but it's fun to see them take shape.  This is one side of the cosy with all the pieces fused on but the next step is to 'draw' on all the features using free motion stitching and black thread.  The other side of the cosy has several smaller houses.

Next weekend there is a small dollshouse fair and also a small quilting exhibition, both within driving distance. At first I thought I would ask DH to drive me but now I am thinking that perhaps if I spent less time shopping for the stash and admiring other people's creations, and more time working on my own projects, then I would get more done.  Food for thought.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Stash enhancement weekend

No blog post last weekend because we had Anita visiting from France, which was a good excuse on Sunday to indulge in some stash enhancement (not that I need much of an excuse!).

Anita went off on Saturday to Miniatura (a big dollshouse and miniatures show) but I decided not to go  this time because I already have so many dollshouse projects and kits waiting to be tackled.  Instead I went to the Makit Fenland Fair in St Ives in Cambridgeshire, a rather nice little Lace and Needlework Fair that I went to last year.  I had quite an enjoyable morning going around the stalls, and I bumped into my lace instructor from the Lace Guild Peterborough Fair who was pleased to hear that I am still persevering with Idrija Lace.  This is my haul:

Yes, that is a new lace pillow lurking behind the patterns.  It's a 24-inch flat pillow which I have moved my Idrija Lace Doiley project onto because it's too big for my cheap domed starter pillow.  The Kloppeln book is a secondhand bargain book from the Lace Guild Stall, the threads are possible candidates for making the lace from the German book I bought in Peterborough, the fabric basket pattern is something I had seen on Pinterest and quite liked, and the knitted lace cowl pattern is from Watercolours and Lace.  I didn't buy any bobbins because I've recently acquired some secondhand Bruges style bobbins on eBay for doing the Idrija lace.

Sunday we took Anita over to the Maple Street  dollhouse shop near Royston, which has been tantalising me for a few months with big 'Sale' ads in the magazines because they are moving into a different unit in their farm complex.  DH philosophically took his seat outside in the sunshine with a book, while Anita and I took our time investigating every nook and cranny of the crowded shop.  They have a very odd mixture of stock ranging from various mainstream suppliers, and brands that they have taken over, through to odd bits they must have bought or acquired from old private collections.  I did extremely well amongst all the 50% off 1/24th scale items, coming away with bargains like £1 Bespaq footstools and .25p champagne flutes, and also snapped up some sale 1/12th scale items like a Warwick Miniatures cake stand and some £2.50 Phoenix metal Dresden figurines (which need to be painted, I'm trying to persuade DH that he would enjoy painting them). My find of the day was a little Davenport desk, quite well made but a little shopworn, which was already reduced to £24.50 and then was 50% off that price.  I'm going to try a little wax on it to see if I can brighten up the finish.

On the way home we stopped into the Colemans craft warehouse in Rushden, which has had a makeover with a shiny new mezzanine for workshops and a new cafe area.  It's mainly aimed at scrapbookers but still has lots of useful stuff for my hobbies and they have really beefed up their quilting area which had lots of gadgets and rulers.  I bought then handed over to DH a Dresden Plate 30 degree ruler which will come back to me as a birthday present in the future.  I've got a Dresden Plate ruler already but mine requires 20 or 24 tiny fans which is just too much work, lol.  This new ruler will only need 12 fans to complete a plate. I also got a pack of cheap mini-clamps for dollshousing, some scrapbooking xmas decorations which are in scale for 1/12th, a big protractor for measuring angles of quilting blocks (or dollshouse things) and I split a pack of stick-on clock faces with Anita which are also in 1/12th scale.  All in all a good haul, then we came home in time to have Pimms in the garden before the sun faded.

Remember I posted about the cat getting stuck in the basement and how we hoped she had learned her lesson?  Well apparently the lesson she has learned is that she can enjoy going in the basement to (presumably) hunt mice then we will come and rescue her when she is ready to come out. Because she wasn't around when we got home from our outing, but then I heard meowing coming from the coal hatch when we were out in the garden and sure enough she was down in the basement again. DH has now moved the scaffolding board  that we think she was using to get in, so she hasn't managed to stuck there since. Yet.  Anita took a good picture of her later that day in mid-yawn.

I needed something to knit during all these car drives so grabbed another free kit from Let's Knit magazine.  This one was for a rather strange looking Santa skittle, which I finished Monday night. He might make a present for someone this Christmas.

On Friday when I was waiting for Anita to arrive, I started re-upholstering my sewing chair with the fabric I bought in Birmingham.  I discovered I could pry the back apart with a screwdriver.  The backplate was hiding the staples holding on the original upholstery, so I stapled my new fabric right over that then snapped the back on again.  The seat was originally upholstered with a gathered casing, so I made a similar gathered top out of my new fabric and pulled it snug.  I'm quite pleased with the end result as it looks fairly neat, and I really like the sewing themed linen-weight fabric.

The night before I stuck together the printed sheets to sew this free downloadable one hour top. I've gotten as far as cutting out the two pieces from some of the knit fabric I bought in Birmingham and serging one seam.  Dolman sleeves aren't my favourite but the fabric was only £2/m so I don't mind taking a punt on this pattern.

This Friday night I went down to serge/overlock the rest of the seams, only to have my foot pedal die on my overlocker partway through the first seam.  I took it apart and it appears to be a dodgy switch that gets pressed down when you press the pedal.  I couldn't see any way of fixing it so I had to give up and I've ordered a replacement online. Very annoying when I don't get much time to sew anyway.

I've sewn the buttons I bought in Birmingham onto the Baby Dress and it's finished now - isn't it cute?  My knitting friend Daisydaisydaisy is going to have it for her little daughter as an early birthday gift, so I sent it off in the post yesterday.

I needed a new TV knitting project after finishing the baby dress, so I dug out some red Drops Karisma DK 100% wool which I originally purchased in Yorkshire thinking I would knit the Lush cardigan by TinCan Knits. Having since decided that the Lush cardigan wouldn't really suit me, I had a look around my pattern library and on Ravelry for another project and settled on a Drops pattern called Summer Leaves which is free on Ravelry.

It has a leave motif in the yoke and buttons at the back, only I am going to swap the buttons to the front. I may also make the yoke a bit shorter so it doesn't go too deep as one knitter on Ravelry was complaining that her bra was showing through the eyelets.

Another thing I've done this weekend was to work on a situation I discovered in my new basement dollshouse room.  While tidying up last week, I was a bit horrified to find black mould growing inside the back of some of the cabinets.  I think it is because they back onto a wall which joins onto an unfinished colder part of the basement, and the warm air from the DH room during the summer was condensing onto the cooler back panel of the cabinets.  I could wipe moisture from the panel with my fingers.  So today I emptied out the cabinets, cleaned off the mould with mould cleaner, and drilled a bunch of ventilation holes in the panels and in the cabinet plinths.  I'm hoping that will let enough air circulation in to prevent the problem.  If it still isn't enough, I could also drill holes in the front cabinet doors but that will be more unsightly. Luckily the problem doesn't seem to be occurring in the cabinets on the other two walls. I'll let everything dry off some before I put stuff back in.

I was complaining to Anita about not getting enough time to dollshouse and she suggested I should have a regularly scheduled time, such as 'Monday night is dollshouse night'.  It always seems like there is boring stuff I need to do instead, like paperwork, but I was reading an online article the other day that said the human brain by nature is lazy as it wants to conserve energy. Therefore a lot of procrastination is actually the brain taking the easiest path but you convince yourself that the distraction is a necessary activity that needs to be done in place of the activity you would like to be doing. And I suppose doing mindless billpaying etc. is a more routine activity (therefore easier) than trying to problem solve, make decisions and be creative which is what dollshousing and some other hobbies require.

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