Monday, 27 May 2019

My life is a blur

And I don't need my eyes testing! Head test more like! One of the patients laughed at me when I asked him to hang on while I single tasked. There's nothing worse than having someone turn up unexpectedly because you haven't put their appointment in.

I just feel like life is a roller-coaster with little nuggets of time when I can just sit on my own and meditate over some kind of project.

So this little stash became this little neck wrap (52" unblocked as yet)

With this much yarn left
I ran out of the terracotta before the end of the cast off. I'd already pulled it back two rows so I just used some of the blue to finish the last 23 stitches. A picot cast off takes more yarn than I expected.
It was the ultimate in meditative knitting - garter stitch increased on one side and decreased on the other to make an asymmetric little shawl /neck wrap.

I'll get back to the second sock now.  I cast it on in the good light yesterday afternoon.  It's pretty dark  yarn which is difficult to see in artificial light, although once you get into the rhythm of the pattern you can work in lower light conditions.
I got so caught up in the pattern that I went past the measurement for starting the heel turn on the first one, so instead of unpicking it I just carried on and will put an 'afterthought heel' in. I'm experimenting to find the best way to knit socks. Also the best fit. These I think will be a tad on the small side. I might hit the happy medium next time. Or my butterfly brain will alight on a different craft for a while.

The Battenberg Blanket is nearly half way done now. I'm on row 6 of the 15 rows but all the coloured squares are done. So by my calculations I need another 54 cream squares. I have nearly six balls of yarn left which will do 36+ squares. I'll need extra for the borders too.....  Again this is a meditative make because the individual squares are so simple and Cherry Heart's Sandra has done a great tutorial for joining the squares together.

On the stitching front I made a little accordian pouch
 from a pattern on YouTube (Shabby Fabrics Tutorials)
She has an amazing amount of really good tutorials although I did alter the pattern and make it full size. Karin, my BFF, will be getting a pouch in japanese fabrics ( I have a few in my collection erhem).  I have got an urge to make a hybrid of this and the Sew Together Bag

They are based on similar ideas -so we shall see. I would like to make one that doesn't have an equivalent number of swear words to stitches.  I know how to make it now (the pattern is very poor). 

Both of these were made from Tilda Fabrics which are incredibly expensive in comparison with other quilting fabrics so little projects are less painful on the budget than a full quilt would be. 

My black hen has decided to go broody so I just have white eggs at the moment. 
Actually I think I'll make a frittata as there are a large number of eggs in the kitchen which need using. Maybe a Victoria Sponge too.

There is curry tonight for tea (leftovers from last night), it is made with coconut milk which I love. If I can haul my idle butt off the sofa I'll make some bolognese sauce and portion it up for the freezer so there is just the pasta to cook when I get home from work.

I've enjoyed these past two days which have come at a time when everything seems to be a blur of activity. I can't multi task like I used to and my brain aches when I don't have the choice. 

The Hand Quilting Workshop I ran on Saturday was a hive of activity and chatter until the ladies started stitching. The whole place went silent as they fell into deep concentration.  Hilary and I thought we should have done a before and after blood pressure reading as the calm descended on the stitchers.  I might bring one of the monitors from work and test that out!

Will and Alex went to Caister to visit Alex's grandparents this weekend so I was on kitten/rabbit/hen duty. All survived I'm happy to report. I can hear the key in the back door - here are Will and Alex to collect their keys so I'll sign off now.

Happy stitching everyone.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Darting from project to project

It's very rare that I don't do some sort of  handwork on a daily basis - actually I think the only days I don't pick something up is if I'm ill. I had flu for the second time in my life nearly eighteen months ago and I spent three days in bed. That must have been the last time I didn't indulge in 'making'. With lots of different things going on I never get bored but on the other hand they take a while to finish. I'm ok about that though.

Yesterday (Saturday) I worked on:

A sample for the Hand Quilting Workshop

2. Some more spinning:
My lovely generous father bought me a spinning wheel about thirty years ago, when I lived on the farm.  I'd been given a couple of lambs one easter and was keen to use their wool.  
It turned out that the wool was really scratchy and of course you only get one fleece a year so that handicraft went into mothballs after a while. Now you can get beautiful wool and all manner of other fibres to spin, courtesy of the internet and the many yarn festivals that have sprung up over the past decade. I will ask one of the boys to get the wheel down from the loft and set it up for me.

3. A few rows on my second pair of socks. This is a sock 'tube' and I will cut into it to make the heel when I've cast off. 
The television was on in the background during the morning and I watched the F1 and F2 whilst knitting. Hang the housework I say.

I have some more knitting champing at the bit including a shawl, a jumper and a cardigan as well as a second go at a hat I knit at the beginning of the year and had to give away to a friend with dreadlocks because it came out a leetle larger than intended.

This weekend has been just what I needed after a very long fortnight at work. I even managed to squeeze in a little housework, begrudgingly!

We are changing working patterns from the 1st June and I have decided to give up teaching at my local quilting shop.  In many ways it was a hard decision but in some ways it was a really easy decision too. Thinking of patterns, writing, stitching and producing something week in, week out, takes its toll. Maybe when I retire I'll go back. Maybe not.

I'll continue to design and write patterns which I may publish but I'm not putting myself under pressure. 

John bought us tickets for the Heineken Cup final which was held at St James' Park - home of Newcastle United.  We were in the Platinum Suite with a lovely bar, separate entrance and - joy of joys - padded seats. 

The only down side was the backwards and forwards of people to the bar. There seemed to be a lot of people here for the 'social event' rather than to watch the rugby. It's a lot of money to pay to buy expensive beer!  The game was good and the weather was fine too. It'd rained at lunch time but the sun shone on the match.  John and Steph went on to have a meal at Bouchon Bistro  using the vouchers I gave John for his birthday. They ate here just after John proposed to Steph on a picnic at Sycamore Gap.  so it was a bit of a romantic return. 

We are so lucky to live in this part of the world, close to beautiful countryside, amazing beaches and an area steeped in history. The clear air and wide horizons make my heart sing. 

I came back home to the recording of F1 qualifying to see my favourite driver taking poll position for the race today.  I'll be watching the recording later tonight because we're all meeting up at Will's and Alex's to have lunch today. Before that I'm going to do some more squares on my Battenberg blanket.

It's been a magical weekend and my batteries are recharging ready for the week ahead.  Sometimes I work myself so hard I sink into a fug and feel as though everything gets on top of me, but at times like this I can stand back and feel blessed with the life I have. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Sorry about the absence - I'm back now

It started with my laptop going for a new hard drive. It was a puny 120Gb and now it is pumped up to half a terabyte. I bought it thinking that everything would be done on the 'cloud' and I would only need a small hard drive. Wrong. The operating system for all the bits and pieces I have (and it is not that many) was taking up most of the hard drive.  It went away for a couple of days to a local Apple expert and came back ages ago.

That coincided with a very busy time at work and I sort of got out of the habit of blogging. Sorry! Not having much energy and brain space at the end of the day meant I didn't really get much stitching time in, so I didn't have much to show either.

I can't guarantee I'll get back to weekly blogging but I'll try.  I'm afraid I will have a gap in my daily gratitudes because I can't possibly store that much information in my poor wilting brain.  But it's in there today. There are also some finished articles under the 2019 completed projects tab.

In my Works is Progress at the moment are:
The Batternberg Blanket - now on to the cream squares as all the coloured ones are done
I divided them into two piles of 46 and then started the Join As you Go method from Sandra at Cherry Heart, whose design this is. Hers is done in 4ply and mine is in Scheepjes XL (Aran weight). The colours were from a Christmas present and I have been squirrelling the creams over the past couple of months. It is the first aran project I have done as I normally prefer working with finer yarns but I've enjoyed it immensely. It's going to be a throw rather than a bed size and will have a simple border around to finish it off.

I finished my first ever pair of socks which are far too big for me so I will need to find someone with big feet who doesn't mind hand washing their socks. I think they would fit an English size nine.
 I have measured my feet this time and started another pair.
The pattern is on Ravelry and is designed by HeyBrownBerry - it's called Pebbles and Pathways.

On the quilting front I have been making samples for a workshop - 'The Gentle Art of Hand Quilting'
Today I'll be continuing with some designs for the regular Thursday night class.  This was from a couple of weeks ago - a little zippered bag.
We have been doing some needlecraft accessories over the past few weeks and are now starting a Class Bag. Today - decorating the outer pocket.  But first I need to feed my little henny-pens.

We are starting with new opening hours at the clinic soon - 7.30am to 7pm - guess who's doing the early shift? Until our new physiotherapist starts John will be doing some seriously long days. It is a 45 minute commute each way for him too. We will be shutting down in the middle of the day for two hours and doing admin things as well as a bit of meditation I think! When everything is settled we should only be working normal shift times but there is some pain to come! This bank holiday weekend we are decorating the clinic - all hands on deck. Soooo let's hope we make good progress and maybe get the Monday off. Ha! But it will look good.

Good stitching everyone!