Far too much XXX

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters on January 13th, 2016

Christmas was fine despite my misgivings. My to do list of essentials filled the sheet of paper but with a little delegation it all got done. It appears that wiping down the skirting boards and vacuuming under the furniture are not essential Christmas jobs after all. The tree is down, the spinning wheel is back up and I’m starting to work my way through the pile of miscellaneous wool that I tidied off the floor before Christmas. I did what I think of as an “emergency tidy” in the spare bedroom which is where I pick up everything and stuff it in a bag to deal with later. The bits of wool ended up filling a pillowcase and it was the first place that I went to when I decided that the dog needed a new blanket. The one I made in 2009 has developed a few holes where he’s clawed it in his rush to jump on to the back of the settee and defend the household against passing dogs/cats/delivery drivers. I could mend it but it’s had a five year run and I can make the replacement the length that I intended last time (I came up short on one of the panels so the whole thing ended up 4″ shorter than I wanted). I’ve split the wool into two piles because it looks like the makings of two blankets, a brown and green one for me and a red and brown one for someone else. The red pile is the photo on the right, it’s not red yet but dye will fix that.

You might expect that after nearly a month I’d have one of those two baby jackets finished by now but instead of finishing one of them I cast on for a third. I have a rational explanation other than the fairly obvious one that I like knitting and am not overly taken with making up. The first little sweater was knitted as a tube and needs to be cut down the sides and front, which means I need to get out the sewing machine to reinforce the cut edges. The second little sweater needs a lot of hand sewing and I have to have decent light to do it. If I started a third sweater that would also need machine sewing then it would be worth getting the machine out because then I’d have two sweaters to sew. I’d also have some knitting to be doing while I was plodding through the hand sewing. If you look at it in that way it seems perfectly reasonable and not at all a case of startitis. I should add that I am not enjoying sewing X’s onto my knitting and I am very sure that I won’t be making another of these.

Sweater three, which is a cardigan, is black sock yarn paired with the yarn I spun in October. At the time I spun it I intended it for a baby sweater which is why I split it into a skein for the body and two smaller skeins for the sleeves. I made the colour runs shorter in the smaller skeins because sleeves are narrower than bodies and I was hoping to get stripes of similar thicknesses. I’m happy with how the stripes have turned out because the ones in the sleeves are pleasingly narrow. It appears that 50g of coloured yarn is not enough for the body but I think that’s okay because 25g is too much for a sleeve. The body is now on hold until I’ve knitted both sleeves then the leftover yarn from the sleeves will (hopefully) be enough to finish the body.

 



One foot in front of the other

Posted by Caroline in Family, Knitting, sweaters on December 15th, 2015

It was a stroke of genius telling the blog where I’d stashed the new tree skirt because there was no way that I would ever have tracked it down to the top shelf of the airing cupboard. As it was I only found it after the tree was up and I didn’t fancy pulling the tree forward two inches so that the tree shirt would lay flat to the wall. We have had a tree collapse once and it wasn’t a pretty sight. I folded under one of the points and it’s good, far less risky than trying to move a fully decorated tree. It has no fastening and that’s good too, I’ll work out what I think it needs before I put it away after Christmas. It is exactly the size it needs to be, it looked enormous when I made it and I was convinced that I’d miscalculated somewhere but once it had the tree for scale it became magically the right size.

Usually at this time of the year I have a long list of things that I have to do and my aim each day is to make it shorter. This year I’m so behind that I don’t even have a list and I thought that it was pointless to start one now because there would be too much to do in the ten days I have left. Then I remembered that we need party crackers and cranberry sauce. There’s a difference between prioritisation and randomly doing stuff so the list needs to happen despite my misgivings about what it’s going to show me. The tree is up, the turkey is ordered, some presents are wrapped, it will all be fine. The reason that I’m so far behind is because of the impact of Dan’s music exam. That has been my focus for the last two months, ferrying him around to music lessons and the sessions with the accompanist, checking that he’d complied with the exam board’s regulations (especially the ones on photocopying music), timing the programme, checking the syllabus again and writing excusal notes to school. When it was all over and I could finally stop having nightmares over sheet music I found that the first week of December had already gone and by the time we’d done with school concerts half of the second week had followed it. This will be the Christmas where I do less, there’s no way I can be a week and a half behind and catch up at this stage of the game and it’s got to come down to priorities. The world won’t end because I didn’t hire a carpet cleaner, Santa will not be pulling out the furniture to see if I vacuumed behind it and if he did he would be invited to consider which was more important, dusty skirting boards or DipLCM after my son’s name. He’s had the results, the pass mark is 75% and he clocked up 96% so that was an early Christmas present for us all with the bonus being that I don’t have to wrap it.

This is another reason why I’m behind. I’ve spent hours researching fridges, comparing energy efficiency, quietness, shelf configuration, net volume and whether it would fit in the same space as the current one. I put a day aside to wait it for it to be delivered and I’ve subsequently spent over two hours listening to hold music in an attempt to get it collected. My extensively researched perfect fridge is damaged and it’s got to go back. I’ve ordered from company A and they’ve had it despatched directly from the manufacturer. In my dreams I talk to A and they collect it but what is supposed to happen is that I talk to A, they talk to the manufacturer and then the manufacturer talks to me to arrange collection of the damaged fridge and delivery of the replacement. The reality is that I try to talk to A, spend half an hour on hold then they talk to the manufacturer and nothing happens. Repeat from start. Three times. I’m fairly sure that what will be happening next is that instead of having a replacement I take a full refund and go somewhere with better customer service to buy a fridge from a different manufacturer. In the meantime I’m on day five with a island configuration that is just not working for me, it’s too tall and has no storage potential.

In the period before the exam I was too stressed to knit but I’m back with it now. I decided to knit the sleeves flat rather than in the round so that I could make both together and avoid messing up the stripe sequence. I can still misread the pattern but as both sleeves will be the same it won’t matter. There are no elephants on the sleeve, it’s stripes all the way up and as I’m knitting both at once if I run out of yarn it won’t be a problem. The real challenge is that I can’t see the difference between the grey and the green at night but because I’m working from both ends of the same ball I know that I will be consistent even if I’m not right. If you try hard you can ignore all those ends, that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment.

With all I have to do it’s unlikely that I’ll be posting again this side of the big day so I’ll get in early and wish you all the very best of the season. That’s what we’ll be having (I hope), just the best bits with the non-essentials skipped for this year.

 

 



Hat season

Posted by Caroline in hats, Knitting, sweaters on November 30th, 2015

I’m not at all convinced that this will be the final colour of the hats, I’m tempted to dye them with a small amount of navy to reduce the contrast and make the turquoise less attention seeking. I have one more bobbin to ply which will make another hat and then that will see the end of this batch of fibre. There is a small amount of yarn left over from each hat but I don’t think that combining the leftovers will give me enough for another one. The first one was boring, the second was not that bad and then after that I got into the swing of casting on eight stitches on to double pointed needles. It’s a good thing that there was only 400g of wool to start with because otherwise I could have been going on with these all winter.

The baby sweater is cast off but not finished, it’s a twelve month size and the baby is currently less than two months old so I have plenty of time. The first part of finishing is making the sleeves match, at the start of the first sleeve (on the left) I strayed from the pattern and if I’d replicated it on the second sleeve I could have got away with calling it a design feature. On the second sleeve I copied the pattern from the body rather than from the first sleeve so now I have one sleeve that has a purple row at the top of the band and one that doesn’t. I could just leave it, I keep telling myself that it doesn’t matter. If I didn’t know that I could fix it then I might leave it but I know that I could make it right in under fifteen minutes. I’ve already spent more time than that trying to convince myself to leave it alone, at some point I’ll make a cup of tea, find an appropriate needle and get down to a spot of grafting.

It was a fun little knit so I cast on for another small sweater. This one doesn’t involve any cutting of armholes, it’s knitted in the round up to the sleeves and then divided for the front and back. It was the elephants that drew me to it, they would have been better in a solid grey but I’m all about using up leftover sock yarn so variegated elephants were the order of the day. This uses the leftovers from the last sweater together with some oddments from the bag of sock yarn leftovers. I’m knitting the small size because I know someone with a new baby. The idea is that they get the elephants now and the bigger sweater later.

The blog silence is down to me being very busy at the moment. Sixth form visits were followed by application forms and now interviews. Junior has a music exam coming up and mock GCSEs on the horizon and the result is that I’m putting in extra hours as a taxi service and tutor. Rumour has it that Christmas is just around the corner but I think this is a scare story designed to put the wind up those of us who are working flat out on other things.

 

 



Send more day light

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters on November 5th, 2015

Time got away from me there, I’ve been spending more time than usual on parenting duty as it’s the time of year for viewing sixth forms. So far we’re up to three visits, with one school kicked out sight unseen and one more visit to go. In the time that slipped away since my last post I spun, plied, soaked, dried and knitted up the superwash and nylon fibre that I was spinning last time. It made a pair of socks with a little bit left over. They were a good match for the pumpkins, I went for a minimalist effort this year which I liked but have no record of. For the second pair of socks I picked out a ball of Opal which I thought would match the leftovers from the first pair. In my defence I would say that I made the selection under artificial light because in daylight you can see that they have very little in common.

I gritted my teeth and plodded through the shoulders of the baby jacket, I didn’t enjoy it and there was a considerable amount of ripping back to correct wrong side mistakes. I didn’t like knitting the sleeve either, it’s my own fault because I should have more sense than to be knitting black in November. You can see that the sleeve increases start off in a black section of pattern and that was my problem. The increases should be every five rounds but I couldn’t work out how many rounds I’d knitted because I couldn’t see where I’d made the previous increase. Once I’d got far enough along so that the increases fell in the light yarn it was altogether more of a pleasant knit. I’ve started the second sleeve while the pattern is still fresh in my mind and I know that I just have to stick with it through the difficult part. I’ve found what I want to knit next so I have plenty of motivation to get me through the first few inches.

I have been tidying up, I have 400g of this wool and I decided that it has hung around for long enough and it is time for it to move along. It’s going to be hats unless I think of something else before I finish spinning it, I’m only on the second braid so there’s plenty of time yet. There might even be enough time for a better photo, daylight permitting.

 

 

 



Pumpkin season

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters on October 16th, 2015

It’s turned cooler, not quite fire o’clock but running that way. This is my summer stick collection, I need to store them securely where they cannot be retrieved and cashed in again and the fireplace seemed as good a place as anyway. Pebble has never been a stick carrying dog, he comes from a long line of dogs bred for beauty and manual labour is beneath him. He also doesn’t really have the equipment for it – tiny teeth and next to no jaw. Over the summer when he was out for walks with WFB junior he started bringing in sticks, some no more than twigs and a few so long that I had to break them up to fit them in the fireplace. Some days he brought in three, other days he couldn’t find any that were worthy of his attention. The deal is that I get the stick and he gets the dog treat. At some point his hard work will pay off and he can laze on the rug warmed by his burning twigs.

The wool I thought I was going to spin turned out to be not at all what I was wanting right now. I kept looking at it and in the end I put away the rather boring lilac and blue and pulled out some colourful superwash merino and bright nylon instead. That was obviously the right project because it spun itself. This looks very like sock yarn, there’s just over 400 yards of chain plied yarn here with the colour repeats in the two smaller skeins being intentionally shorter than those in the big skein. That’s because this is not sock yarn and I’m planning on the small skeins becoming sleeves. This is probably going to be a little sweater rather than socks providing that there is enough of it, I can see it paired with a deep chocolate brown in something stranded that probably is going to look very like the black and grey one that I am still knitting.

That stopped being fun immediately after I took this photograph. You can see that I’ve cast off at the front neck so I now have to knit in rows rather than rounds which means purling in pattern. I’m telling myself that it’s only for a couple of inches and I have in the past knitted entire cardigans with patterned purl rows. The difference is that now I know that there’s an alternative to purl side rows and also my knit side rows are much more efficient because I can carry one colour of yarn in each hand. I have two hands that knit but I still only have one that’s smart enough to purl. I’m planning to weigh the body when it’s done and work out exactly how much yarn I used so I can see whether there is enough of  the handspun to make another of the same shape but with less pattern.

I enjoyed spinning the merino and nylon so much that I did it all over again, except that this is normal nylon rather than trilobal nylon so it’s not sparkly. I think I picked this braid of fibre because of the orange, it’s a very seasonal colour for the next week or two and in addition I had the idea that I could use it to stretch the kingfisher yarn just that little bit further in case there wasn’t enough for a sweater. That was the original plan anyway but as soon as the yarn was dry I cast on for a pair of socks. I regret nothing.



How was your day mum?

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Spinning, sweaters, Weaving on September 30th, 2015

Thank you for asking sweetheart, my day was good. I did two loads of washing, dealt with the recycling (as I keep telling you, there is no recycling fairy), ironed a score of shirts, walked the dog, did some boring banking stuff, bought your father’s Christmas present, acted as your agent and booked you on a workshop, bought a length of shirt material and buttons to match, vacuumed the floors and baked a batch of bread. Then I went to my mother’s and devised a series of tests to determine which part of the wire-handset-mower combination was at fault, causing her robot mower to not mow. When I got back I decided to ignore the dusting for another day and instead played with wool and did some thinking.

I’m plodding along with this, it will in time be one of those looped scarves that ends in a V. It’s not exactly flying along and that’s because of the multiple colours in the weft. It’s all stop-start and I don’t like that. It is using up odd bits of yarn so it is a worthy thing and someone will like it when it’s done, possibly even me. Sitting with it gave me some valuable thinking time and as a result I’ve decided not to beat myself up about the lack of progress on the big grey blob of a sweater. There’s nothing about it that’s making me happy, the knitting is boring, the spinning is ok but not exactly exciting and combing is not right at the top of my list of favourite things. I will not freeze this winter if it isn’t finished so what does it matter if it isn’t? I would rather spend my time on something that make me happy and the grey sweater isn’t it. This time I will pack the pattern with the sweater when I put it back where I found it.

The knitting that is making me happy this week is the little sweater that I started last week. I can be certain this time that we are looking at the front here, you can see that the central black pattern is starting to divide. In about an inch there will be a few stitches cast off and a steek for the neck opening. I’ve not made a neck like this before and that is the single reason that I bought the pattern. I had a bit of a yarn crisis with this, I decided that I wanted a grey, black and olive colour scheme and then google assisted me with choosing the accent colours. Where it went wrong was that when I went to the sock yarn bag there was a marked absence of undyed yarn. I buy it a kilo at a time and although I assume that the bag will always be full it stands to reason that there will be times when it isn’t. There was just enough yarn to dye the grey and the olive and then I had to ditch my carefully planned colour scheme and look at what yarn I had. The blue is left over from baby Sirdal and the purple was sitting about from the neckwarmer that I ripped back last week. It’s not exactly what I had in mind but “good enough” will do. The blue and the purple look to be more uneven than the black/grey, it’s not my knitting but the wavy twice-knit wool

Now that I have recognised that grey Wensleydale is not a priority in the spinning queue it means I am free to spin some pretty things that I actually want to spin into yarn that I want to use. This is superwash Cheviot and if it behaves itself it is going to become a pair of socks or possibly mittens depending on how I’m feeling when I get that far. It’s hard wearing and washable but it’s not the softest of wools so that knocks it out of the running for baby wear. Before I start I need to decide whether it’s going to be one ball that transitions dark – light or two balls (ideally matching) that run dark – light or whether I mess about with it for something more random.

 



The right sort of a carrot

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Spinning, sweaters, Wensleydale, Wensleysweater 1 on September 23rd, 2015

After all that moaning I did about the boring, boring sleeve I managed to knit my way through the whole ball of yarn by Sunday. I am still out of yarn, I’m working on the combing but realistically a ball of yarn a week is all I can manage and that’s if I actually pull my finger out and get on with combing. If I pushed myself I could find the time to comb 100g a day but that’s a bad idea because when my attention starts to wander I find myself combing my left hand. Wool combs are sharp and pointy and you swing them about – it’s a painful combination that means that it is a really good idea to keep your mind on what you are doing. The house rule is to stop when you draw blood,  I’m aiming to stop before then which is why I’m only aiming for 50g a day. I don’t dislike combing but there’s some set up and clean up that I’m not too enamoured of – it’s always easy to say that I’ll skip it today because of [reason]. I’m hoping to have another ball of yarn by the start of next week so that I can finish this sleeve and probably start the next.

Clearly something happened to make me knuckle down and get on with the boring sleeve and it’s not snowed so it isn’t that. I found the right motivational tool in the purchase of a new pattern because there’s nothing like the promise of a new start to make me get a move on and push through the boredom. This is the very start of a Dale of Norway pattern, it’s a Geilo in the twelve month size. I’m doing the sweater rather than the cardigan because the neck treatment will be new to me. The black edge will be only half that length, there’s a picot turn hiding in the middle of the hem and when I’ve sewn it to the back it will stop rolling up so I can actually see what I’m supposed to be knitting. This is the centre of the front or maybe the back, you can see that the diagonals of the pattern are reflected around that central blob. The next pattern doesn’t do this and I can’t wait to get there because I am not coping well with this reflection business. Maybe at some point my autopilot knitter will figure out that there’s an intentional change in the centre but at the moment she’s screaming ERROR when what I’m counting doesn’t fit into the space that I have. There are only a few rows left in this section, I don’t think I have enough time to get the hang of it before the pattern changes.

Sometime this side of Christmas I will need a gift for someone I don’t know very well, I’ve seen a photo of her but that’s all. I’m running with the idea that everyone has a neck (I’m certain she does, it was in the photo) and that you can’t go wrong with soft and fluffy. What I thought I had in the bag was a hundred grams of cashmere but when I came to open it the label (in my handwriting, there is no excuse) said 30% cashmere, 70% merino. I wasn’t expecting to get it all on the bobbin but a positive mental attitude (also known as “stubbornness”) did the trick. There are about four hundred yards here which will certainly be plenty for a little neck thing. I have to decide whether it’s going to be a beaded thing before I decide what colour it is because I have bags and bags of beads that I’ve bought for projects and then not used. I’m going to shop the stash and then dye the yarn to match the beads.



Return of the prodigal sweater

Posted by Caroline in Spinning, sweaters, Wensleysweater 1 on September 18th, 2015

The blog has not seen much of the Wensleydale sweater started last autumn and it’s not alone in that, neither have I. Each year when the Christmas tree goes up the spinning wheel comes down and because I’d knitted the last of the handspun I packed the sweater away too. Time passed, seasons changed. The pattern was living under the coffee table and whenever I came across it I had a vague feeling of unease because I wasn’t sure where it was that the sweater was living. I didn’t hunt for it because that would be admitting that I’d lost it but as the year went on I’d reduced the search area so that if I did need to search for it I knew the places where it wasn’t. I cleared out the spare bedroom while I was getting ready for a spot of quilting and it wasn’t there, we emptied the assortment of random stuff out of the cupboard under the stairs and it wasn’t there. I’d looked in my wardrobe, on top of my wardrobe and then I was out of ideas. It was September and nine months is a long time for a sweater to hide. I was out of ideas and so I came clean about it being lost.

My husband suggested that it might be in the drawer under the bed. He meant well but it was a daft idea as that’s where I keep the sock yarn and you’d think I’d have noticed a big lump of knitting in there. In the interests of marital harmony I went and looked and that’s where it had been all of the time. I looked for the pattern because I knew exactly where that was, except of course that now it wasn’t. I will never know the detail of the notes I made on it because it’s gone, I’m assuming I told myself what I was doing when I ignored the directions to knit the sleeves first and then pick up for the body. Providing it fits when I’m done it doesn’t matter if I changed track part way through, at least I’m sure what size I’m knitting and what needles I’m using and the rest is minor stuff.

The one thing that I managed not to lose was the spinning sample so I was able to make a skein of yarn that looked just like the last one I made before Christmas.  I decided to ignore what I had been doing on the body and start with a sleeve mainly because I could start from scratch rather than having to figure out what adjustments I’d started to make for the body. When I’ve knitted all of this ball I’ll have a clue how much more yarn I need to finish the sweater, at the moment I’m thinking it’s another ball for the other sleeve and two more after that. I’m not worried about running out of fibre, no doubt I will be at some point but not this week.

The blue that was briefly a striped cardigan didn’t all get packed away. This is a dickey to go under a sweater with a wide neck, I’ll need something like this to wear with the Wensleysweater as I think it’s going to itch. At the time the photos were taken it had a flaw that you can clearly see here – the top button is too big for the space it is in and it’s sticking up above the fold of the collar. I liked the buttons, they were exactly right or at least they would have been if the buttonholes had been in a different place. As it is they are not going to work and are coming off. I cast on for with another cowl come dickey and got very near the end of it before deciding that I’d rather have the yarn than the finished object. It didn’t sit right on the shoulders and I knew that I’d never wear it.

The only knitting that I have now is the sweater and it is such a mind numbingly boring knit. There is one interesting cable set in acres of seed stitch with a pair of decreases every three rows. If I didn’t have so much time invested in it I’d rip this too but I know that I’ll wear it once it’s finished and I just have to survive the sleeves.

 

 



Surprise cardigan

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sweaters on August 27th, 2015

We’ve been away on holiday to Northumberland this year (it’s on the right hand side just below Scotland for those of you living further away from it than me). It’s somewhere we’ve driven through on the way to/from the Highlands and we’ve said that we’d visit and then done nothing about it. This was the year when we went down the road less travelled (by us at least) and went somewhere new rather than fighting our way into Devon. It was a good move, there were miles of yellow sandy beaches with very few people on them and it made a refreshing change not to be kicked to death during the height of holiday season. It’s an area known for its dark skies but the weather put paid to any chance of star gazing, the skies may have been dark but they were also covered in cloud. I will accept that the brisk, cool breeze may also have had something to do with the lack of people on the beaches, further research is necessary and we’ll be going back next year.

I had a problem with choosing holiday knitting this year as the only thing I had on the needles was the baby bog jacket and it was close enough to the neck for me not to be certain of having enough knitting for the week. I didn’t feel like knitting lace or socks so I took a risk and decided to start a new cardigan. As I was packing I printed off the pattern, spent a bit of time with the swatch, calculator and a tape measure and came up with a plan whereby I would end up with a cardigan that would fit by using totally the wrong yarns. I set off on holiday with no other knitting and no tape measure which meant that when I came home there would either be a lot of progress or a major ripping incident.

I am four big stripes along although it’s a bigger four on one side than the other. Don’t panic, this is intentional. When I saw the pattern it was a must knit, not because I had the yarn, needed a cardigan or thought I would look good in it. It was a must knit because it looked as if it would be fun to knit. So far it has been entertaining, twenty rows is just long enough before a colour change. It’s twenty rows on one side and four on the other because of all the short row action happening around the back. Had I had more time I might have overdyed the blue with a little green to make a teal which would have been perfect with the brown but time was something that I didn’t have. The blue is fine and good enough will do.

The baby bog jacket is nearly at the point where everything unfolds and sleeves appear. This is the point where I’ve knitted up the back, across the shoulders and I’m now knitting downhill. There’s a bit of scrap yarn knitted in for the neck and it now has two clearly defined fronts. They may be small but I’m working on that. I hope that I have enough of the solid blue to add an edging when I’m done, I’ve been using it to add extra stripes to the patterned sock yarn but I may well have added too many stripes. It’s probably going to get much longer today as I can see that I’m going to need some relaxing knitting because I know that there is going to be a scene. At some point during the night the dog has decided to sleep next to the euphonium case, like you do, and the music on the floor has needed softening up. When my son eventually makes it downstairs he’s going to find that one of his pieces of music has been totally shredded. He can’t blame the dog for knocking it onto the floor as part of it is trapped under the case which is probably how he’s managed to shred it rather than scratching it across the floor. It’s not actually a case of “the dog ate my homework” but it’s as close as I’ve ever seen.

Edit to add – my mediation skills were not required, there was no drama but a surprisingly mature attitude to the destruction of personal property. Phew.



Finished is good

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, sewing on August 13th, 2015

I have been doing a fair amount of hand sewing in the evenings, I’ve hemmed a dozen hankies and sewn bindings on two quilts. When I’ve run out of sewing I’ve had a big slab of garter stitch to fall back on. This is sock yarn on a 3.25mm needle and before I’m done I’ll probably have used all of the ball and some leftovers as well. This will become a baby bog jacket, the last one I knitted back in 2007 was a smaller size, bigger yarn and bigger needles but I remember it as being much more boring than this. I have learned from last time and now if anyone asks me what I’m knitting I demonstrate by tearing and folding a sheet of paper. The orange waste yarn is where I will separate the sleeves from the body, fold the outside edges inwards to make the fronts and fold the top edge down to make the sleeves. I also sewed a few ends in, knitted a collar, found four buttons and finished another baby sweater. This is Drops B13-12 except that I ignored the striped pattern because I had a big bag of sock yarn leftovers to use up. It didn’t use up all of the leftovers but I didn’t enjoy trying to knit random rows so I didn’t feel like knitting another. I started it in March but compared to some of the other things I’ve been finishing lately it counts as a speedy project.

The thing in the wardrobe is now a thing on a bed, it took a ridiculously small amount of time to quilt once I had decided on the motif to fit into the trees. My quilting improved somewhat but it still wasn’t as good as the quilting in the sashing. I was moaning about my loss of skills to my husband and he worked out that the initial quilting would have been done on the Janome rather than the Bernina. I’ve swapped the machines around and he is right, the tension is far better especially on the swooping curves. The Janome has now been promoted to the sewing cabinet and the Bernina will now be the dining table machine. That will teach it to mess with my tension.

Flushed with success I set about quilting the cabin wallhanging for the top of the stairs. I went with something freeform that looks like wind and that was even faster to finish because I twirled my way across from one side to the other. That’s now bound and hung and it fits in the space I have so I didn’t do anything silly with my initial calculations. The small squares are four inches so the whole thing is less than a yard square. At the moment the wobbly edges aren’t bothering me enough for me to take it down, soak it and block it flat. I am really pleased with myself for finishing this, it deserved better than being stuck in a box in a cupboard. It goes without saying that I have other boxes in the cupboard, hopefully I’ll get to those before I run out of steam.

Next in the quilting queue was the larger of the two tree skirts, I was hoping to have it finished by now but I ran out of thread and enthusiasm at about the same time. I didn’t have time to get the coffee table moved, the three layers smoothed and the whole thing pinned before Mr Fluffy came back from his morning walk. He was a Good Dog and settled down to supervise with his chin just on the edge of the sashing. I went to get a cup of tea and give my knees a rest and when I came back he had settled down for a snooze on the section that I hadn’t pinned. It’s not far off being finished now, I need to bind the centre, stipple the white areas around the boxes and decide what I’m doing about fastening the open edge. I’ve quilted Christmas trees and holly leaves in the green star, outlined the presents and I spent two evenings sewing the binding. I’ll probably do exactly the same things with the smaller tree skirt too except with it being smaller I have a chance of getting it basted without canine assistance.