Saturday, 20 May 2017

Nice weather for ducks

The garden was previously suffering as it has been a pretty dry winter and spring, but now we've swung the opposite way and it's been raining almost every day for over a week.  The lawn now looks lush and needs a cut but it's too wet to cut it. At least it's a lot warmer. Tomorrow I'm going to plant out the plug plants I've been growing on because hopefully we aren't going to have any more frosts.

Last year I took part in a seed distribution programme and tried to grow several things from seed.  Some were a qualified success: I had several salvias that bloomed and some have survived the winter, I've got three Hydrangea Paniculata growing in pots, and the Mexican Fleabane has been a delight.  I also had a single Lily Martagon which survived the winter and started growing quite vigorously over the last several weeks.  I was quite pleased and looking forward to some lovely flowers. It kept growing taller and throwing out more stems with no sign of flowers, until it was about three feet tall.  I was still hopeful, until I noticed the exact same plant growing out of cracks in the pavements in the neighbourhood and in rough verges and I realised I had been tricked - it's a weed.  I doublechecked online and sure enough my plant looked nothing like Lily Martagon. So I pulled it up. It must have snuck into the pot somehow while the real seeds didn't grow, and I've been carefully nurturing it like a cuckoo in the nest. DH thinks this is quite funny.

Today we dug three post holes in between rain showers, and cut the first three pergola posts to length.  Tomorrow if the weather cooperates we will have a go at concreting them in.

I did some bobbin lace this morning, trying out a pattern for a Christmas snowflake, but I had to undo everything because I realised my thread is too thick for the pricking.  I've enlarged the pricking now and I'll have another go.  A few days ago I finished my sample of Bucks Point gimp fingers.  It looks nice but each 1/4 inch took about one hour so I can't see myself ever making anything usable in this pattern. I have mixed feelings about Bucks Point lace. I really like how it looks - to me it looks much more like 'lace' than the more geometric laces like Torchon.  But it is so incredibly slow to work, at least for me anyway.  It's also very complicated, I've only done simple patterns so far and there is so much more to learn, and I do not have a good memory.

After finishing this sample, I took the cover off my styrofoam pillow so I could wash the cover before moving it onto the replacement pillow I bought at Peterborough last week.  I was amazed at how shredded the old pillow had become. The middle, which takes the brunt of the lace pins, was basically loose crumbs.  I've realised Bucks Point lace must be particularly hard on these cheap pillows because you use so many pins set so close together.  But the advantage of these pillows is that they are very lightweight and portable.  I've got a better one which is the big circular pillow I bought for making the Idrija doiley, but it's quite heavy.

I joined together the pieces of my machine knit baby dress successfully, and I just need to knit the collar on now.  It looks alright although it would have looked better if I had done fully fashioned decreases along the raglans instead of just leaving them plain.

I've also sewn all the diagonal rows now of my William Morris grid quilt so the next job will be to sew them together into a top. I had originally planned a random mix of blocks but the value range is so wide, from very dark to relatively bright. In the end I decided if you can't beat them, join them, so I arranged some dark blocks into a square on point and filled in the middle with the brightest blocks.

At my age I need good light to see things, and I've struggled a bit with the light levels around my sewing machine because the overhead light fixture casts shadows.  I've got a clip on IKEA light which helps, but then I saw a great idea online to fix self-adhesive LED lights inside the throat of the sewing machine.  I ordered from the same supplier here.  It's hard to take a picture of because the camera is reading the light levels and darkening the machine.  It's almost too bright now under the machine, I've actually had to put some black electricians tape along the glossy machine
bed because it was reflecting the bright LEDs into my eyes. The LED strip cuts to length to suit your machine and then has its own power cord.

I'm still knitting my Reaverse slippers. I couldn't knit for a few nights because my RSI flared up in my right hand after all the pergola painting and stained glass renovating last weekend. I forgot to blog last week that I finished my Outlander socks. The designer based these on the books by Diana Gabaldon which are set in Scotland, which is why I chose a tartan-like colourway and have finished the cuffs off with stag's head buttons.  These fit well and the cuff actually helps them to stay up.

The stained glass panel had to cure for a week lying flat after I applied the cement last weekend.  So today I put it into the frame I made for it and mounted it in my bedroom window.  I really like it.  Yes there are some broken panes but I feel like I saved it because it was in pretty bad shape when we bought it at the Newark Antiques fair.  As well as looking pretty, this gives me some additional privacy as there are flats to the left that have an oblique view of this side window.  Now that the light is streaming through the glass, I can see some areas where I need to do a bit more cleaning and tidying but overall I'm quite pleased with it. Something a bit different which is what I like. I don't think I'm much of a decorator but it seems that if you keep buying things you like, somehow they mostly look good together.

On Thursday I heard a short but violent cat fight in the garden then our cat streaked in through her cat flap. I looked out and saw a much bigger cat strolling off.  Our cat seemed fine but then she went off her food on Friday and still didn't eat anything today. I suspected she had an infected wound so we hauled her off to the vet who confirmed the cat had a fever and also a bite on her back. The vet shaved a patch around the bite so we can keep an eye on it, and jabbed the cat full of £75 of antibiotics.  And of course the excess on the pet insurance is £80 so we can't claim. That cat needs to get a job. At least she hasn't gotten trapped in next door's basement for a while.

1 comment:

swooze said...

Poor kitty!

Sounds like you have a path forward on the pergola. Hope it goes together easily.

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