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and how dangerous could it be to clean your sewing room?

Brother Sewing Machine BOBBINS | eBay

Just bobbin’ along – but not suitable for my machine

You might recall I mentioned having made some inroads with tidying my sewing room? I’ve made no further progress with that, but I can at least get to the machine now. So I sat down to finish a spot of sewing the other day, There was white thread in the bobbin and I was working on some dark blue fabric. I always have spare bobbins. Always. I couldn’t find any for the Janome (but a dozen or so Singer bobbins precisely where they should have been; and, sadly, not  interchangeable). I searched high and low, looked in all the likely and unlikely places I might have put bobbins. Nothing. Well, heck.

Today I went off to buy some! And the truly dangerous thing about that? It wasn’t the having to get down on my hands and knees to read the label on the packaging, or even having to brave the industrial aircon at full revs. No. It was that bit of fabric that someone else was buying at a reduction of nearly 70%. I wouldn’t normally be tempted by it at full price. But we have a wedding coming up in a few weeks, and I would like to have something a little bit dressy and decent for the occasion (for once, there’s nothing truly suitable in my wardrobe). So a couple of metres came home with me, as well as the new bobbins.

However, I DID return the fabric I’d picked up to make myself a new summer nightie. I’d thought it was out at sale price, but that proved not to be the case. I couldn’t justify that sort of expense for something I’m going to treat like a rag, though I’ll wear it for years. Of course you’re right to suggest that, balanced out across the number of years – or even only one year – it wouldn’t be an extravagance at all. But I’m sure I can find some suitable leftovers in my stash. Perhaps the fabric won’t be as soft, but that doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t worry about making a new nightie except that the previous one I made is wearing out. I whizzed it up in a hurry five or six years ago. The seams are still neat, the neckline reinforcing is still doing a wonderful job, and the hems are holding up remarkably well. But it’s badly sweat-stained and the fabric has holes in it! It’s truly the baggiest, shaggiest nightie I’ve ever had but it’s been fantastic during hot, summer nights. We get quite a few of those in this part of the world.

So I reckon that’s me sorted for a few weeks. What have you been up to lately that’s proved more dangerous than it seemed at first blush?!

 

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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the unexpected, sideways wallop

Looking the goods in a nicely masculine colourway.

Seems as if it’s looking the goods, in a nicely masculine colourway.

Day 3 saw the tension square arrive at the point where I thought I’d done enough to check it. Then Life did one of those, “You’re getting too complacent. I think it’s time I walloped you with a bit of four be six,” numbers in the shape of news of the sudden, unexpected death of a close cousin: not only close by blood and near in age, but one with whom I’d remained in contact as we’d both wandered across the globe and through life. Yeah. Not truly conducive to knitting for a couple of days, that’s for sure. Sorry, Meredithe; I know you’ll understand.

However, given the restorative power of creativity, I’ve checked the tension and it does look the goods, so I’m now tinking that to reuse the yarn and get cracking on the socks. Straight knitting is going to be easier than the tricky stuff involved in doing a circular sample with a straight technique. You get lots of dangles at the back and it’s messy. Goodbye to all that and on with magically looping both socks at once. That will have its own mess, I dare say, but I should at least hit a good rhythm with genuine circular knitting and the wonderful Old Joe pattern.

So it’s on with the knitting and on with life; and may all your news be good.

 
 

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bean(ie) counting?

Bright and cheerful and bound to be deliciously warm

Bright and cheerful and bound to be deliciously warm

You remember how I’d hoped to finish that second beanie really quickly? Yeah, I know. Dooming myself to failure at the outset, wasn’t I? It has been such a busy time at work that there was an evening last week where I was asleep at the table, face down in my dinner much the way a toddler sometimes is. You can’t count stitches and decreases in a beanie when all you’re eyeballing are your beans. And that’s my excuse for the appalling miscalculation with beanie 2, which is too small! I could perhaps wear it and one of our extremely petite female friends could certainly do so, or it could be put in a raffle as a child’s beanie. Someone, somewhere will be able to wear it. No harm done, though I don’t think I want to knit another to that pattern just yet. Something with unambiguous cables will be fine.

But in true, “You thought that was tricky? Try this!” fashion, I’ve found myself suddenly needing another cowl for a friend who’s unexpectedly about to undergo major surgery. I’ll once again knit a 3-hour cowl. It takes me longer than three hours – I’ve already had to unpick! – but it’s a quick knit even at my pace and the resulting cowl attractive as well as something different from anything you could purchase.

The yarn is I’m using Moda Vera’s Fitzroy, which I think is a new season’s release. I bought it at my LYS on Sunday while Dr B and YoungB hunter-gathered some groceries. Fitzroy is a 12 ply/bulky weight and I’m knitting it on a 7 mm circular needle. As with my previous make, I’m not following the instructions religiously, but the difference in appearance caused by my knitting the slipped stitches in situ then passing them over – rather than, as the instructions advise, moving them around then slipping and knitting – is minimal. For me, there’s less likelihood of dropped stitches and if I say that’s what it’s meant to look like, I’m sure the recipient won’t argue.

So, yeah, beanies? Not entirely 🙂

 

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no knitting but lots of walking

Just a few of the stairs in store for us

Just a few of the stairs in store for us

Beyond all that greenery, you can see some steps, I think. Youngest Aunt and I managed to scamper up and down – well, that was more Youngest Aunt, the scampering part; but I went up and down them, however badly – quite a lot of stairs last Saturday, clocking up 19.95 Km, according to my tracking device. We’d been aiming to do 20 Km, so that wasn’t bad. Had Youngest Uncle met us just a few metres farther along the road, we’d have romped it in. Well, we’d have made it. By that time of the day, very late afternoon, there wasn’t a lot of romping.

However, I have managed to do something a bit craft related: last night, I bought some wetting beads to use when I make the cooling neck collars. Also, the fabrics for the wedding decorations are exercising my calculating abilities. I cannot reconcile the differences in area in any meaningful way! My suspicion is that I might have to get some more of one to balance the other. Headache-inducing, but in the nicest way.

May all your crafty problems be equally enjoyable 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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and in 2015, what I’ll do is…

What we watched on our TV; image from the City of Sydney’s 2014 Sydney Fireworks

Happy New Year. We watched the early version of the fireworks with Nonna.

Every year, I end our Christmas letter with a hope that the coming year will be filled with peace, good health and prosperity; and may 2015 be such a year for all of us.

I can truthfully say that, on present indications, ours will certainly have some wonderful moments: YoungB will return from his year abroad and there’s to be a wedding in the family. I’ve resolved that I’ll do more sewing and knitting this year. You know I’m not good at plans, because they’re all too frequently derailed by events well beyond my control, but it can’t hurt to aim for a better level of creative activity. As I say, I’m much nicer and considerably less frazzled when I have a piece of knitting in my hands.

The first event of note will be Middle Aunt’s 60th birthday. Celebratory attire might require that I either make something or refashion an existing garment. The latter holds more appeal. There are several items in my wardrobe that no longer fit but, because of my rushed and shoddy sewing, can’t be given away. If I were to pull them apart, very carefully, who knows what I might end up with?! That will do for a first not-plan or non-resolution for the year. 😉

If you have plans for this year – or if you don’t make plans, if you have a to-do list or some vague ideas of what you reckon you might achieve – all the best with bringing them to fruition. Cheers and warmest wishes for a fulfilling year. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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adding things to roses

One day it’s only halfway through November, the next we’re nearly a third of the way through the Advent calendar. I put the tree up last weekend and it will do. I hung our rosy wreath on the outside door this year but decided that it needed something else. So I knitted a little Father Christmas using the pattern found here – eclectic homelife.blogspot.co.uk – and hung him in the middle. It sort of works. Dr B says, and I agree, that he needs to be in a different plane but no matter. He’s there.

But any crafty stuff of real helpfulness? No, that hasn’t happened. I managed to break a needle on my sewing machine yesterday afternoon when I was doing a rescue job on Dr B’s favourite jeans. I couldn’t even muster the energy to swear about it! There’s a big part of the problem right there: exhaustion. It happens every year but we’ve had a busier than usual year this time and I congratulate myself daily for just putting one foot in front of another in order to get things done.

Do you have that experience, too? There are days I think the Clauses have it easy: a whole year to dedicate to nothing but Christmas! On the other hand, I truly don’t want my life taken over by dedicating it to preparation for one single day. You miss out on too many other things if you do that. On the other, other hand, it would make this time of year less difficult and perhaps less busy (if you’re anything like me, you find you have something extra-curricular happening nearly every day for most of December) so that we could actually enjoy ourselves more. There’s no simple answer, I know.

However your year has been progressing and whether or not your are now looking at the sewing machine with one eye and the clock with the other, all the best for the last few hundred metres of the race.

PS: I know it’s my blog and I can do what I like with it, but I apologise sincerely for the lack of photos and for links that are just URLs. I’m still without a computer and to say I’m typing this with fingers crossed doesn’t come close to describing how disempowering it is to return to using old, unreliable technology. Still, it gives me more time to add things to my roses, so it can’t be all bad. Right? 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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a few reflections

18 years ago YoungB was blond and still a baby

18 years ago YoungB was blond and still a baby

You know how I was unemployed for quite a while and doing some work from home to help with the bills (I couldn’t say it actually paid any of them)? And that I was genuinely looking for work, all the while in the sincere expectation that I would never again work full-time and probably not even part-time, what with being so old and everything? Yeah, I know. How wrong can you be? When I attended that job interview the other week, I was the youngest in the room which made me optimistic; and, given my background, I thought I was in with a very good chance of matching the ethos of the organisation. And, yippee, they thought so too.

So now that I’ve been there for four weeks I can honestly admit that there have been many days when I’ve been so overwhelmed by technology problems and the feeling of having bitten off far more than I could ever possibly chew that I’ve wanted to say, “I give up. It’s all too hard.” But I’m not like that. And besides, nobody expects someone coming into an organisation from such a diverse background to hit the boards running and have everything learnt and dealt with in the first week or even the first month. I’ve been mightily relieved to discover that my predecessor floundered for a while, too. I’ve cracked some of the codes earlier than she did but I suspect her organisational skills were way ahead of mine!

My boss told me today at our weekly debrief, this one the end of a hideously busy few days where we’ve had a series of meetings and been working hard to meet reporting deadlines, that I could hardly have chosen a more frantic time to start with the organisation. I’d anticipated that it would be a busy job and I was right. But today we all downed tools and had a sit-down, civilised morning tea to congratulate some newlyweds and welcome a couple of new employees. There were speeches and laughter and nobody rushing us back to work. The only caveat was that we had to remember to change our status on the “what you’re doing” screen to “busy”!

I’d planned to knit on my long bus trips but that’s not happening. The second bus services a busy school route. It’s jam-packed in a way that’s reminiscent of sardines but actually pales into insignificance against memories of London tubes or even Roman buses, and there have been days where I’ve been one of the upright sardines: no knitting possible. Some of the other grown-ups complain about the kids. I suppose it’s because my own kid is not long past that stage that I don’t mind it. They’re kids and often clearly as tired and sleepy as I am. Also, the benefit to me (at least during term) is that, if I were to forget to ring the bell for my stop, it wouldn’t matter, because I get off at the same stop as all the kids.

And what’s my kid up to? He’s having a wonderful time in Rome with his rellies. The cousin who hasn’t seen him since he was a little, blond baby – 12 months and a couple of weeks, to be reasonably accurate; and in the photo, they’re admiring the gardens at one of the local educational institutions – said she’s finding it difficult to accept that he’s grown into this tall, dark-haired young man. She was quite emotional about it. Even so, she and her family have been showing YoungB all the Roman sites from the viewpoint of a local and that, to be sure, is something very special that I’m sure he’ll reflect on in years to come.

 

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