Saturday 2 December 2023

It's cold out there

 We're in the middle of a cold snap.  It freezes overnight, and every morning we wake up to a heavy frost in the garden so all the plants are dying back for the winter now.  The high yesterday was 3 degrees C during the day.  So basically I don't feel like going out because I'm not used to it yet.  Not that it feels a lot warmer inside the house - we've turned the heating up but it is still dropping to 15 degrees now and then, inside.  Too many cold spots and drafts. I have assumed my winter uniform of fleeces, fleecy boot slippers, neck shawls etc.  The dollshouse room remains icy all day but the sewing room will get warm if the radiator in there is on.  I'm getting more done though, because I'm inside more.

Despite the cold, I've been working on the Chinese dollshouse kit most days, it's at the fun stage where the house is going together, and all the little bits you make first are getting installed.

The ground floor.  I made the big rocks look more realistic with an application of wood filler and paint.

The upper floor coming together

Some sewing finishes this week.  My first quilt on the longarm, the Sunbonnet Sue panel quilt, is complete and I'm currently sewing the binding on.  It is not terrible.  I was basically trying out various rulers without actually doing much measuring, so the designs are all a bit wonky and off centre, but overall it looks fine I think. It certainly wasn't a disaster, and I have been sufficiently encouraged to load my 1930s Sampler quilt onto the frame as my next project.

I also finished the top for the Embroidered blocks quilt kit that I bought in Paducah, which is based on a Moda Blue Ribbon panel.  I took the smaller embroidered blocks along on my Japan trip back in April as a craft project, and sewed the first pieced block in October.  This week I added the nine-patch blocks and created an applique butterfly block using a design from one of my books of 1930s quilt reproductions - to fill in the gap created by adding the extra blocks to the original design.  I think it looks better now, more balanced than the original although not perfect. I also like that the pastels come forward more, so it is less aggressively red/white/blue. I sewed a backing and cut the binding, and it has now taken its place in the queue ready for quilting. I'm not really sure what will be the best way to quilt the embroidered blocks - the examples I've found online went with an all over design but that rather detracts from the blocks.

I finished off the Santa Claus letter cross stitch kit that came with the CrossStitcher magazine last week. I used the provided fabric to bind the edges of the canvas, rather than to sew a pouch as suggested, so that it becomes a Christmas ornament.  Fun stitch.

The Robin cross stitch meanwhile has careened onwards. Due to a multiplicity of errors, my wreath is a bit more oval than round and my stitches were also out by one thread when I came around to join the beginning.  Oh well, if a blind man can't see the mistakes from the back of a galloping horse, as my American quilting friend used to say...  I've started on the backstitching.

My bobbin lace group exchanges Christmas presents every year. This year I made them little cat-shaped clips, that I learned how to make in Japan. These were for sale in an Akita cafe that sold a variety of crafts, and the maker kindly showed me and a couple of other students how she made them. I traced the pattern and bought the clips to bring home with me.  The cats are based on a Japanese laundry clip - they tend to hang their washing on poles, rather than lines, where I was living. I didn't think I would be able to find the clips in the UK so made sure to buy some there and bring them back.  If you squeeze the cat's legs, their front paws open.

DH and I went for a Christmas-themed afternoon tea yesterday - with a gluten-free version for me.  So I enjoyed my first mince pies and turkey sandwiches of the season.  A fun way to kick off December. DH has also ferried down from the attic all the multiple boxes of Christmas decorations, so I can get started on Christmasfying the house.

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