She moved rapidly on down the train carriage as I knit a few more stitches, until I realised that my knitting pattern (which had been propped up on top of the seat tray) was now missing. Followed quickly by the realisation that the pattern had been the litter she picked up off the floor. As the pattern had my only record of my carefully recalculated stitch counts for each finger, I had no choice but to grab up my knapsack and knitting and run down the carriage after her. I caught her up and tried to explain that my knitting pattern was in her rubbish bag, but she didn't speak much English. So under her baffled gaze I used my free hand to fish around in the rubbish bag until I found my pattern. Luckily there wasn't anything sticky dropped on top of it. When I turned around to go back to my seat, several people were staring at me. The icing on the cake was to find that I'd dropped several stitches in my mad dash. At least I didn't lose any of my needles. I have now taken a picture of the mods as a record in case I lose the pattern again.
A completed toadstool
I've now finished the toadstool pincushion that I was debating in my last post. It's come out quite well, firmly stuffed and with some 2p coins inside the stem to give it a bit of weight. I do think it's cute, but then I am generally a sucker for miniature houses in any form. I was looking at the companion storage box and I just don't think I would use it, but I'm wondering if I can use the kit materials to make something like a zipped sewing tote. So I've been doodling a few ideas for that.
My Frisee Shawl is finished and had its first outing today when I wore it to the Fenland Lace Makers Lace Day in St Ives, Cambs. It looked quite striking over a navy cardigan and several ladies came up to me to comment upon it during the day. Although it isn't bobbin lace, it's still lacy and was appreciated.
I was working on sample 6 of my Bucks Point crash lace course, plus I took my second pillow and also made a start on sample 7 which is a little hexagonal motif. Conventional wisdom would say that I should repeat each sample until I can do it perfectly, but I'm just motoring through them mistakes galore so that I can grasp the principles. It was good to have a few hours to concentrate on it.
Unlike previous lace days I've attended, this event was on a much larger scale with probably around 175 attendees. The tables were arranged in long banks of some 40 seats to a side, which didn't feel cosy and made it harder to get to know neighbours. The lighting also was not great and by the end of the day my eyes were quite tired. Many ladies who had been before had brought portable lights and also thermoses of coffee or tea since unlike other events, tea/coffee was not included in the ticket price and had to be paid for at £1.50 a cup. I had been looking forward to the advertised speaker but instead of speaking about lacemaking, she turned out to be a mildly humorous raconteur telling little stories about her life. Although I met some nice ladies at my end of the table, I don't know that I would go again to this particular event. I prefer the smaller events. There were quite a few traders and I bought a nice pin lifter with a turned wooden handle, and some sets of spangles on wire ready to spangle some of my naked bobbins.
After the event finished at 3pm, DH picked me up and we went into St Ives itself, which turned out to be a lovely historic former riverport with some attractive streetscapes and a surprising number of shops selling crafts or craft materials. We found 'Dolls House Number 9' which is a toyshop selling a lot of dollshouse miniatures. As well as the usual Dolls House Emporium type tat, they did have small displays of nicer wooden furniture and various handmade accessories. I bought a little hot water bottle in a knitted cover, and a pretty little china teaset. There was another little shop selling a bit of knitting wool, a couple of artists' galleries and as it happened, an arts and crafts show on at the main church building on the high street. We enjoyed walking around the town and just as we were getting ready to leave, we stumbled across a good-sized antiques emporium near the bus station where I found a nice big damask cotton piece which was advertised as a large tablecloth but at 70"x80" I think it may have started life as a bedspread. I will size it to fit our dining table where I think it will look very nice.
I think I've mentioned previously that my dollshouse club gave everyone a plastic punch bowl to make something with for a group display/exhibition we are putting on in April. I was conscious of the approaching deadline so this week on my day off I sat down to put something together. I knew I wanted to do a seaside scene and I had bought that driftwood wreath at The Range. So I pulled the wrreath apart and hot glued pieces back together to make a stand for the bowl. Then I went through my vast stash of dollshouse bits to see what I had that could go into a seaside scene. This was the end result, a bit childlike but I expect the visitors will enjoy it. It makes me smile.
I have a huge sweet tooth, and have never eaten very healthily. The last few years I have been getting increasingly spooked by all the infomercials and health articles warning about diabetes and how unhealthy it is to be 'apple shaped' like me etc etc. So when I watched a documentary on Amazon called 'That Sugar Film' a few weeks ago, about how we are all addicted to sugar and how much sugar is hidden in everyday foods, it did freak me out a little even the film was a bit corny. Enough to do more research and to find a more scientific documentary called 'Sugar: The Bitter Truth', a 90-minute video on YouTube by Dr Robert Lustig of the University of Southern California, which has gone viral and been viewed more than 7 million times. Dr Lustig actually calls sugar a toxin, and in the video debunks the last 40 years of nutritional dogma which has vilified fat and created the highly unhealthy Western diet that we all eat now. So DH and I decided to try an experiment and cut out sugar for two weeks to see if we felt any different. Not just obvious sugars like sweets and cookies, but hidden sugars like fruit-flavoured yoghurt, ketchup, stir fry sauces, tinned soups, baked beans etc. It has meant a lot of label-reading at home and at the supermarket as you are looking for products that have 3g or less in 100g which is the classification of low sugar. It is absolutely astonishing how much sugar is in things like fruit juice or most cereals, and even a lot of bread. You wouldn't sit down and eat 10 teaspoons of sugar (40g) as a snack but that's how much sugar is in some supposedly healthy smoothies. It's also felt counter-intuitive to be eating a lot of things like nuts that previously I would have avoided as fattening. But Dr Lustig explains how fat makes you feel fuller because it doesn't block the signal called leptin that tells the brain you are full (which is blocked by sugar) so you end up eating less.
The first few days were hard, I had headaches for a couple of days which just shows how sugar dependent I was. Then I had several days of feeling pretty tired, and craving that instant hit of energy that sugar would give me. Finally after about 10 days, I realised that I felt better. I felt more alert, and I found I was feeling quite full on much smaller amounts of food than I would have done in the past. Tomorrow will be the end of the second week, and I am encouraged enough that I want to go on with the experiment. DH has not seen as dramatic a result, I think partly because he never ate as much sugar as I did anyway, and partly because he is still eating several pieces of fruit a day. I'm not doing this to lose weight but I think I could eventually lose weight because I don't feel that I want to eat as much as I used to. I'll see how it goes.