But on the weekend it was quite pleasant, with a nice breeze where we were in Norfolk. I took DH away for a birthday treat (it wasn't his actual birthday but it's a better time of year to go) to the area of Thetford where they filmed a 1970s British TV comedy called 'Dad's Army' which he quite likes. We visited the Dad's Army Museum in the Town Hall in Thetford which was surprisingly good, with a lovely vintage tea room, and costumed re-enactors such as this gruff Captain Mainwaring in a recreation of the Vicar's office. I took DH's picture with him later.
Our hotel was a surprise. It didn't have very good reviews on TripAdvisor but actually turned out to be rather impressive.
Lyndford Hall is yet another Victorian country pile now converted into a hotel and trying to survive. While admittedly tired in places, it has retained extensive grounds and we enjoyed a walk around and a Pimms on the terrace. As it happened, they had a 1940s dinner dance on that night which fit in with our Dad's Army theme. I dressed in a 1940s style dress complete with seams up the back of my tights, and topped off with one of my hand knit shawls in a traditional pure wool and stitch pattern.
I'm now trying to do at least one hour of Japanese study almost every day, which although enjoyable is severely cutting into my already limited craft time on work days. So not a huge amount of crafts this week. On the car journeys on the weekend I was of course knitting on my ten stitch triangle shawl. It's almost big enough now, I think one more time around (or perhaps two) then I will knit on a solid colour edging to pull it all together.
I have to confess to being a total quitter on the Cynthia England featherweight wallhanging. I just found the 'freezer paper on top' method very aggravating, there were a kazillion tiny pieces and it was almost impossible to get them to line up neatly, and it was frustrating not being able to see the finished result because of the papers in the way. I tried to fix the section I got wrong last time, which was a waste of time, so I had to re-do most of that, and then realised there was still a piece in the wrong fabric right in the middle. I don't like to give up on things and rarely do, but I looked at the enormous expanse of tiny pieced pattern sections still waiting to be tackled and just thought 'no'. The whole project has gone in the bin and I have crossed it off my list. It feels good, should have done it 15 years ago. In celebration, I whipped up a sheep-themed knitting project bag using some fabric I bought for that purpose a while back.
I haven't done any bobbin lace since the Wymington lace day last weekend, but I did find a pretty embroidered tablecloth with a hand-tatted edging in one of the antiques shops we visited in Norfolk. I don't think the tatting can be that old as the thread is variegated, but it is neatly done and looks nice in the hallway. I wonder if someone added an edging to a vintage cloth they already had?
Japanese dollshouse: After some extensive testing (a handful of labelled brown-stained coffee stirrers to prove it), I've decided that the Rustin spirit-based wood dye in Dark Oak is the closest match to the old Colron stain I was using. It isn't penetrating as deeply (the spirit is obviously something less noxious) but the colour is very similar. I can see a difference but I don't think it will be that obvious to anyone else. So I went ahead and stained all the wood pieces I posted a pic of a few weeks ago, and I've done the initial assembly of the right hand first floor balcony room. It still needs a ceiling, trim and windows, then the balcony railings to go on.
You may remember I blogged about how much trouble I had getting the basic structure of the left hand balcony room to fit together? We're talking actual hammers, heavy compression with quick-release clamps and intense effort trying to get things together before the glue went off. This time I dry-fitted everything and was having similar problems, but worked out that it wasn't me being incompetent, it's actually that certain plywood pieces were significantly thicker than others. The thin pieces of plywood fit fine into the prepared grooves and slots, the thick plywood definitely does not. Having identified that at an early stage, I was able to sand down the offending pieces before painting them. So assembling the right hand balcony was much less traumatic, whew!
I wanted to blog a neat gadget I saw at a beading demo over at Coleman's craft warehouse. Rather than laboriously hand-threading dozens of beads onto the soft beading wire, you just bend a hook at the tip of the wire, and insert the hook into the bowl of a spinner full of beads. The spinner sits on a spindle, and when you whirl it with one hand, the beads are driven onto the hook and hey presto you quickly fill the wire with beads. I thought this might be useful for knitting as well, for patterns asking you to pre-thread the beads onto the yarn. You could thread them onto the wire and then slide them off the other end onto the yarn. The instructor said you can buy these spinners for about £14.