Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shawls and Weddings

I have finished my Forest Canopy Shawl using 5mm circular needles and Regia Hand-dyed Effect yarn. I did 12 repeats and 12 rows of edging and it still only just ended up the right size. My youngest daughter is getting married in 2 weeks and her dress is Ice Blue with blue embroidery, so I am hoping she will like this shawl to keep her warm during the evening reception. If she pops over during the bank holiday I will show it to her and see what she thinks : )In a fit of optimism I bought this pattern by Sharon Miller. It is 25 pages of charts and instructions!!! I think I may be practising my lace for a while longer before I make this one LOL

PS Click on the photo's for bigness.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Surgery & Fabric

I have the appointment for my first operation. It is Wednesday 2nd June in the morning. I am trying to be calm and sensible about his, but am a bit wobbly still : (

I also bought a selection of patterned and plain fat quarters to make a quilt. I am not sure when I will actually make it, but it is pretty to look at LOL

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Malvern Quilt Show 2010

On Friday DH and I went to the Malvern Quilt Show. As always, the quality of the quilts is outstanding. I was inspired by many of the quilts. The artistry and quality of workmanship was wonderful to see. I have put together just a few my favourite quilts. I think, if you click on the photo, you can get a better, larger picture.
I loved this one because the quilter had used words as well as colours. It seemed a refreshingly new interpretation of the competition requirement to produce a rainbow quilt.

The movement of the colours in this quilt caught my eye.

I love lone star type quilts and this one, with its foundation piecing, just spoke to me.

This was by the inimitable Ferret. She has such a distinctive look that her work can be spotted miles away. The wholecloth is dyed one colour. The lighter colours are created by using dense embroidery in other threads.

I chose this one for the beauty and harmony of its colour scheme and the accuracy of the piecing.

And this one for the same reason.

Don't those colours just zing???
I came away feeling both inspired and despairing. I have such a long way to go before I can produce anything like the work I have seen displayed. Still, everyone has to start somewhere!!
My next project is to try Cathedral Windows, by hand.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It Fell Into My Basket.......

Honestly, it just sort of fell into my basket.......all by itself!! The yarn below is Wollmeise Twin in Campari Orange. Isn't it delicious? 150g and 466 metres of heaven : )

The wickedness continues. I went to Web of Wool and bought 4 balls of this:

It is called Panda Wool and is 51% bamboo. I havent knitted with bamboo before, but I love the colours and sheen. Each ball is 50g and 172 metres.

Finally, meet Phoebe. The label says she was hatched on the 13th March. I needed a new pin cushion so I can justify this purchase ; )
I think I have definitely failed at not buying yarn this year..........and that goes for fabric too!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Day Job

After the interest show on my posting about the wood yard, I thought you might like some photos of what we do for a day job. We design, build and hire out continuo organs. Most weekends we travel to a concert hall or church with one or more continuo organs that we have made. Choirs and music societies hire us to provide an organ for their performances. It involves a lot of travel but we get to hear some top performances and wonderful music.

The above two photos show one of our organs. It was designed by DH and everything you can see which is made of wood was made by us, even the keyboard. Only the metal pipes are bought in as they have a high lead content and have to be made by specialists. The quantity of wood required shows why the wood yard is a big feature in our lives : )
Of course, to transport such an instrument takes lots of room. This is why we bought a Berlingo. It was the only non-van available which fitted both an organ and DH's long legs.
This shot of me near a statue is not purely gratuitous. The net is entwined with bits of knitting yarn.
Above are more photos of the wonderful artwork and carving in the church we were at for the latest concert. It is in Holborn in London and very High Church. I love looking at old churches and especially stain glass windows.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dyeing n Stuff

First: Some knitting. This is my latest attempt at a Forest Canopy Shawl. My first try was more of a thicket and wouldn't fit an wood nymph!! This one is being knitted on 5mm circular needles using Regia Hand-dyed effect sock yarn. So far, so good but I hate the yarn : ( It is plied with a black thread and I just don't like the result. When I get it finished I will be looking for a new home for it and making myself one in yarn I like.

Now for the dyeing: Below is a photo of my front room completely obscured by 3 x 7 metre pieces of cotton lawn which I have dyed with Dylon Machine dyes. They are to make DH 3 pair of pyjamas. Shop pyjamas leave him with a cold back and ankles cos he is so flipping tall - so I have offered to make him some custom fit ones. The red in the middle is much more burgundy but my camera is sulking and wont play properly.
Finally, I went to see the Urologist today and they are going to operate in the next few weeks. I am happy that it will soon be over, but terrified of the anaesthetic as, years ago I saw a documentary where someone was awake during their operation but unable to move or speak. I hope I wont cry and make a complete idiot of myself : (

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Woodyard part 2

The Wood yard is HUGE - once you have signed in at reception, they assign you someone to take you round to find your wood and help you choose it. There are thousands of piles of wood in hundreds of varieties - and it is only hardwood as they don't sell softwood!!
He goes off and fetches our log of wood in this special side loading fork lift machine thingy (technical term LOL), and then places it on the ground in the wood yard outside.

Each plank is then carefully sorted through, the good ones are kept, and the bad ones are discarded. Its a bit like sorting through a fleece. We just take what we want, rather than buying the whole tree.
We took DS with us this time and DH introduced him to the mysteries of the grain and density of the wood. DH and the wood yard man had deep discussions about the merits of each plank, which made me very confused as it all looked the same to me, but they seemed to understand it all!!
Apparently good wood has a well defined grain, with the rings close together. This means it is very strong.

So we left with about 60 cubic feet of wood to make lots of lovely swifts and nostepinnes, and I was happy to collapse in a pub in the afternoon and relax.
Of course, when the wood is delivered, we have to spend 3 days cutting it into blocks, but I don't have to think about that just now : )

The Woodyard part 1

As blogger still wont let me put up my Wood yard post all in one, I have split it into 2 posts. This first photo shows the 'pedigree' of the wood they stock. It is all responsibly sourced and stamped so none of it is illegal or endangered woods.
The second photo shows how they take a whole tree, then slice it up into the thickness customers require. Thin batons are then placed between each slice and it is kiln dried to prevent warping and cracking. We selected an English Ash tree this time to make swifts from. The Ash is very dense and hard, but has pretty markings (figuring) on the wood so it is attractive to look at but strong too. We often use Beech and Sycamore for the same reason.

The blocks of wood below have been cut from Oak and are destined for a childrens play area. I found it interesting that the wood can be cut to most sizes a customer desires - truly a personal service : )

After kiln-drying, the wood is placed in huge barns to keep them dry and let the air circulate. As you can see, different trees have been cut to different thicknesses. Our Ash tree has been cut to 1 1/4" and 2" thicknesses for the arms and blocks needed for swifts. The offcuts from the arms make the pegs so nothing is wasted.

More on selecting our wood on the next post : )