Sunday, 27 May 2018

Another bank holiday

May is a great month, with a bank holiday long weekend at both the beginning and end of the month. So now on Sunday early afternoon, I'm only halfway through my weekend - yay!  We've just got back from the garden centre where I was perusing the clearance tables looking for perennials to fill in gaps in my borders, plus a few annuals.  I'm going to plant up a small hanging manger basket if we can get it screwed onto the wall on the new patio - never a certainty when trying to fix things into old brick.  A couple of days ago I installed a wall mounted clothes hanger on the basement wall and when I started drilling the first hole the drill hit something hard and jumped literally a half inch sideways and a bit upwards, making a huge mess in the plaster wall before drilling easily into what was presumably a masonry joint. Luckily the bracket covers up most of the mess. It's too muggy outside at the moment to put the new plants in but hopefully it will cool down later.

I did some DIY yesterday as well, finally clearing out all the clutter from the alcove in my bedroom that functions as a walk in closet with a curtain hung across it. After procrastinating for almost four years about it, I have now painted over the dark navy blue walls, which made it look like an unwelcoming gloomy cave in there,  using a beige/stone colour to match the bedroom. Then I installed a new hanging rod across the back so I finally have somewhere to hang my coats, jackets and out of season clothes.  DH is going to go to IKEA next week to get a couple of cheap flat pack shelves which will house more out of season clothes and my shoes.  I will look for a cheap curtain rod to replace my improvised one, and possibly sew up a prettier curtain than the beige one I've been using. What finally motivated me to tackle this project?  Belatedly finding in March a new winter coat concealed behind all the clutter and piled up coats, when it would have been nice to have been wearing the new coat all this winter during the miserably cold weather.  I bought the new coat in the sales last spring, put it in the closet and promptly forgot all about it. Now everything is hung up neatly where I can see it.

I've run into a bit of an impasse on the Japanese dollshouse project. I had planned to really do a lot of work on it this long weekend, and to that end I opened up the next half dozen chapters and separated out all the pieces that need staining dark brown in order to build the next balcony room.

I had recently run out of the spirit-based Colran Georgian Medium Oak wood stain that I've used for the first half of the house, but was not concerned because I had another full can of it.  Only when I went to open the new can, I discovered it is not the lovely-to-use spirit based stain, it is some water-based gloopy wood dye which doesn't sink into the wood, goes splodgy instead of covering evenly, and isn't even the same colour as the old dye.  I dragged DH off his comfy seat in the sunshine to drive me to the DIY store, but all they stocked was more of the gloopy stuff.  Back home and looking online, I discovered that the law changed in 2014 (EU) as apparently the good spirit-based stuff is bad for the environment and now Colran only make gloop. Very frustrating.   A company called Liberon (which sounds French but wouldn't they also be covered by EU regulations?) still makes spirit based wood stains so I've ordered three small tins of that to see if any of their colours match what I've been using.  Apparently you can also mix the colours so I might be able to mix something custom. In the meantime I will have to work on smaller jobs that don't require any stained wood pieces.

I finished the Bruges Lace motif that I started on the course in Peterborough.  There are a lot of mistakes in it as I really didn't know what I was doing with the leaves.  I did look at my book but it seems to be saying different things than what the teacher told us. I tried some of the book techniques on the second leaf (on the right in the photo). I guess I should regard this experience as a taster and if I want to actually learn Bruges lace, I should start from the beginning of a book and work my way through. It just feels like I don't have enough time to do that at the moment when I haven't finished either of the Bucks projects I am making.

The Peerie Floores fair isle mitten  is not going very well.  I pulled back the first attempt and restarted the thumb gusset at an earlier point, and was sort of winging a design on the gusset as I didn't like the designer's chart. I didn't like how my improvisation was looking so I pulled back after some rows and tried something else and completed the gusset to the the same size as the original design. When that gusset was finished, I realised it was way too small for my man hands.  I stopped improvising and actually charted out a gusset that is a lot taller and knit that up.  I like the design now and the gusset is almost the right size, but it's still too high up the mitten and I think the initial increase above the cuff is actually too baggy on my hand.  So now I've pulled all the way back to the cuff. I've going to cut out a repeat of the flower motif to make the mitten fit more snugly, and start the thumb gusset much earlier, but knit it to my own chart so it is a good size for me.  Hopefully fourth time is the charm!  I've also started knitting a simple baby cardigan in DK for a work colleague who is having a baby girl in July.

I've also been struggling with my 'freezer paper on top' Cynthia England design as I find her picture piecing technique really difficult.  I watched her Youtube videos on how to do it, but when I try to do it her way, I can't get my tiny pieces lined up properly, I can't see the crease for where to sew along the edge of the paper, I ended up sewing papers into the quilt etc etc.  So I started winging it and have come up with a way which works much better for me.  First of all, whenever possible, I sew the seam first and then iron the two pieces of freezer paper on top on either side of the seam.  Where I am adding to an existing block of seamed pieces, I put the block down onto my light table so I can see the edge of the freezer paper through the fabric, and draw a seam line along that edge on the wrong side. Then I can lay on the second piece of generously-cut fabric, stitch along my drawn line, then iron on the second piece of freezer paper to align with the seam, then finally trim the seam allowances.  It's going much better now and I've finished the first block A which is the window scene in the top left of the pattern picture.  You leave the freezer paper on to stabilise the edges that aren't sewn yet. I'm pleased that it's going better but it still feels like a very slow and tedious way to sew a picture.

1 comment:

swooze said...

Wow. Everything’s a challenge! I wouldn’t be happy. Hope you sort out your stain color. Thanks for sharing your pile of pieces. I’d find that overwhelming.

Seems like you’re determined enough to keep on trying until you succeed. Excellent quality.

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