Sunday, 30 March 2014

Silence is golden

Dear 'Readers'

On Friday I sat talking to you while the boys where at karate. Then I uploaded the file. Then I had an epiphany of sorts. I talk to you on Friday, I embed that chat to the blog on Sunday and it doesn't really add anything. The blog is essentially becoming a transcription of the audio file. When I look at how many downloads there are of the audio version compared to how many page views of the blog I'm thinking that the space I'm taking up on line could be better used. 

So from now on, the written word is all powerful.  I'll still add the odd video or audio link if the need arises, but it won't be a regular thing. 

That said how had your week been? Mine has been good. I've had a busy week at work (no surprises there) and a productive week at home. 

I'm starting a new course.

As a pharmacist I have to do Continuous Professional Development. I have to be able to show that I'm keeping up to date with current goings on in the medical world. I love learning new things and clinically I learn constantly. My soft skills often get left behind. I find fluffy, wishy washy things frustrating sometimes. It's all to do with the methodical nature of my mind I think. 

There is an organisation called CPPE who's role is to facilitate CPD for pharmacists. They do many courses and workbooks on all kinds of subjects. They're piloting a management course which involves 4 study days. Normally their courses use e-learning platforms or use workbooks. I thought that participating in this pilot seemed like an interesting thing to do. The idea of working on my management skills with other people intrigued me. I think it might make an otherwise dry subject more interesting. 

The course starts on Thursday. I've got a lot of reading to do before the study day which I've started, but I need to focus a little more and get it done so I'm well prepared. I'm a great starter, but I do tend to lose focus towards the end! 

Feeling the love - 

This week has been all about handspun. I've almost exclusively worked on a project that's new to you. I cast on Piper's journey in my bah humbug handspun from last week. The pattern calls for 540 yards of Quince and Co's Chickadee sport weight yarn. Bah Humbug is probably tending towards a heavy fingering weight and I got 520 yards. The pattern also says that the applied edging takes around a third of the yarn. So I thought I'd work the body's until I had 40g ish of yarn left because I want to use up as much yarn as I can. I reached the stitch count written in the pattern and weighed my yarn. I still had over 60g left. I carried on. I added just 2 more repeats of the body increases before I bottled it! I had searched Ravelry for other projects which used handspun. So many people had run out of yarn and had to rip out the whole edging and some body rows. That filled me with dread, so I'll stick to the stitch count I have and I'll maybe add what's left to my Six'es yarn pile. 

I stayed up late last night because I wanted to start on the edging. It's looking lovely. 

I've also spun quite a bit this week. I finished the first batt of my Nunoco Watermelon fibre. It's a dream to spin. I've started on the second single and I'm just at the point of the batt where the green gives way to the pinks of the watermelon flesh. LOVE!!!! I can't wait to see how it looks when it's plied. 

Once upon a time (at least 12 years ago!) I bought a sewing machine. I've no idea what possessed me to such a thing because I am the worlds worst seamstress. But hey ho!  I decided I was going to make myself some maternity tops (that shows how long ago it was - that baby is 11 in a week or so!). Needless to say, that didn't happen. I'm going to blame the nasty pregnancy I had for that. 

The machine was loaned out to a friend for a year or so, and when it came back it was put on a shelf. I found it last year and thought I should really make something with this, but I couldn't find the bag I'd put the foot and the instructions in! So it languished on the shelf for another year. Last week Matthew found the bag with the missing parts! I was spurred into action. I'd been wandering through Craftsy's new iPad app (a must! Did you know you can download your courses onto your iPad and watch the videos off line ?!?!? Genius!!!) and I'd seen a couple of mini classes on making project bags. 

So yesterday I went to my local fabric shop Just Sew who's staff were great. You may have gathered by now, that I'm a complete novice when it comes to fabric and thread. The pattern calls for 2 fat quarters. I panicked! What is this fat quarter? Is it 26 cents worth of fabric?!?! 

I introduced myself to the nice lady as a pleb who needed help. She smiled and taught me all about fat quarters and eighths! She showed me a bench full of half yard lengths of beautiful fabric, a huge box of bundles of 5 fat quarters. I was dumbstruck by the array of fabric loveliness. In the end I bought a couple of 1/2 yard pieces of fabric. This shop is great. They are part of the buy local group in our town and when you spend £10 on fabric you get a free bobbin of thread! Fabulous! I was ready to go. I went home armed with enough fabric to make 2 bags and a burning desire to crack on and get sewing. 

Once the epic laundry-a-thon was done for the day I set up the machine. I was impressed by the fact I could remember how to thread the thing. Well, ok, so it's pretty much printed on the casing of said machine, but I'm having that win ok!?

I printed out the directions from the Craftsy class and set about cutting out my pieces. At this point I panicked. What if I ruined this lovely fabric?! I decided to stop there and have a dry run. Remember that fabric I bought 12ish years ago?! I dug around for an hour to try and find it to no avail. I think I must have binned it ages ago. But I did find a bag of maternity clothes I was keeping for some reason! There was a red top that I thought had enough fabric to make a bag. 

At this point I should point out that this top is made from Jersey material. Dear Lord in all creation! This was NOT a cunning plan! Those of you out there who have done any kind of sewing will know that Jersey isn't the best fabric to learn on (as do I......... now!). It stretches in all manner of ways when you're trying to measure it or cut it or sew it! 

Put it this way, it took 2 hours to measure and cut out the pieces for the bag. The air was blue with expletives! By the time I'd got all the bits cut and ready to go it was dinner time. I must confess that I had a couple of glasses of wine to soothe my nerves. I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and left the actual sewing of the bag for today, when with a fresh brain and a better temper I can have a go at sticking these bits together. 

Wish me luck! I'm going in! Hopefully I'll have something half decent to show you next week. 

On the horizon - 


I'd like to get Piper's Journey off the needles if at all possible. 

I'd also like to finish spinning the Watermelon singles. I'll probably not get around to plying next week, but it would be nice! 

Other projects probably should feel some love, but is it likely? Possibly not! 

Have a great week guys! 
Ellen x