Wednesday, 21 August 2013

FO: Embroidered vest

Tomorrow I head off to Buckinghamshire for a weekend of prancing about in a field pretending to be somebody else. As I've mentioned before, I've been working on a new piece of kit for this event, an embroidered vest featuring the symbols of my current nation and the nation I am moving to in game:

This was a test on some fabric scraps
to see if the stencil worked ok

Last time I posted, I had just made a start on actually embroidering the design to the back of my vest. Well, with the event looming ever closer, I finally got round to finishing it last weekend.

The embroidery itself didn't take me all that long, in the end. I finished that about four weeks ago! What's taken the time has been figuring out how to sew the chiffon I bought to trim the arm holes and waist with. I don't have an overlocker, so had to come up with another way of preventing the cut edges from fraying. After several attempts to sew the edge after cutting, I decided to do it the other way around.

I drew the shape I needed with chalk, then zigzag stitched around what would be the raw edge, before trimming very close to the outside edge of the sewn border. This seems to have worked, and the finished edges don't look like they're about to start fraying any time soon.

I'm really pleased with how this has turned out. Relatively inexpensive too, as all I've had to buy is a metre of chiffon and a metre of black ribbon.

I'll try and get some pictures of me wearing it at the event, so you can see it with the rest of my kit.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

It's been a long week


My week started with a wedding last Saturday, which featured a lot of sunflowers. These ones had been planted on purpose in the garden where the wedding was hosted, growing right outside the tent where we sat down to dinner. I've never successfully grown sunflowers myself, so I was very impressed as there were quite a few of them, and they were all very tall and beautiful.

I then spent the week on a residential course at Highgate House in Northamptonshire. The course was very brain-intensive, and the days were long. I didn't mind quite so much though, as the hotel is amazing!

Highgate house

It was built in 1663, and was a coaching inn originally. The main house is huge and everywhere I looked I found interesting details, like this sundial in the main courtyard:


I did take my knitting with me, as I was sure I would have the evenings to myself. It didn't quite work out that way though, as there was a lot of networking/socialising in the evenings, and on most days I was too tired to stay up even to my usual bedtime.

I did manage to escape it all on Wednesday evening though, and spent a couple of hours relaxing in my room, knitting my Wingspan and watching BBC Four documentaries on iPlayer. I've completed five triangles now, and it's starting to get too squished up on my needles to be able to take a proper photo of how it's progressing. There's one shade of green in the yarn that I'm not overly fond of, so while I'm enjoying the process of knitting it at the moment, I'm uncertain how much I will actually like the finished scarf! I'm sure I will feel differently once it's done and blocked though.

No rest for the wicked, however. Got home from Northamptonshire yesterday afternoon, and am off back to Northampton today for another wedding. Then it's five days and counting until Renewal, and I have so much to get done before the event that I doubt I'll get much knitting in. Which does mean I won't get Dragonfly Wings finished by the official end of the KAL, either. It's a good job none of my projects have an actual deadline!

Monday, 5 August 2013

In which I manage not to kill plants, and successfully grow a mushroom

About six weeks ago, I started a new round of attempting to grow things that were edible. I have to say, I timed it perfectly, as the heatwave we've been enjoying, coupled with me remembering to water them every day (much easier now I have a garden hose!) has meant the herbs I planted have grown beyond my wildest imaginings!

This was how they looked when I first planted them

and this is how they looked a week or so ago!

They're doing so well! Especially the mint, it looks super-healthy compared to the sickly little thing it was after we brought it home from the supermarket. We've even used the sage a couple of times in the last few weeks, in my homemade sausagemeat stuffing.

I also bought a grow-your-own Mushroom kit at the same time as the herbs. A few weeks ago, I prepared the kit and put it in our spare room (the warmest room in the house). After the prerequisite amount of time, I moved it downstairs to the cool confines of an empty cupboard in the kitchen. It wasn't as cool as the packet suggested, but it was the best I could do given the heatwave!

After a period of time, teeny tiny mushrooms appeared. And one monster!

This was eight days ago

I was quite curious to see what would happen. And then I forgot about the kit until Saturday. When I went to check on it, this is what I found:

It's meant to grow button mushrooms!! This is HUGE! We haven't eaten it yet. We're a bit scared, to be honest. Also, none of the other teeny tiny mushrooms have grown. I will keep a closer eye on it and see what happens!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Year of Projects 3: August 4th update

I've actually managed a fair bit of progress this week! Mostly, I've been a monogamous knitter, working solely on my Wingspan.

I've completed two whole triangles and started a third! I made sure to weigh my yarn after the first triangle, so I know it takes roughly 10g of this yarn on these needles. That means I might be able to squeeze an additional triangle out of it and make the shawl a bit bigger.

I have discovered something though, When I cast on for the second triangle, I used a cable cast on and then just knit normally into the stitches. It's left me with quite a loose cast on edge for those stitches. With triangle number three, I used the same cast on, but knit into the back loop for the new stitches, which has left me with a much neater, tighter edge.

I will do the rest of the triangles the same way, and leave the loose edge as a "design feature". I doubt anyone apart from me will notice it anyway, once I'm wearing it!

Yesterday, I also picked up Dragonfly Wings again, dug out my 5mm needles and started the lace border. So far, I've knit two row of it! I appeared to be one stitch out, so I have fudged it a little near the centre and I'm sure it won't make a difference when I'm done. Another "design feature"!

In other good news, while tidying the house for a visit from the in-laws yesterday, I found my missing DPN in the sofa. Which means work can start again on my socks.

Not likely to get much knitting done this week though, as I have a lot of studying to do before I go away for a course on the 12th. I think Wingspan and the socks will make very good projects to take with me to keep me entertained each evening when I'm sat in my hotel room all by myself!
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