Friday, June 12, 2009

Some days..

Imagine, himself is away from home doing something very important so I have the house to myself. I am sitting in my comfy chair, feet on desk, morning cappacino in my hand, reading e-mail and surfing the net when I hear a scritchy scratchy sound coming from the ceiling. I had left the bathroom window wide open and a bird must have gotten in. So I run upstairs and check. No sign of any bird, must have flown out again. Close window. Go back to my comfy position. scritchy scratchy sound coming from the ceiling! I checked outside to see if there was any way a bird could get into the house, but can’t see anything. Or was it a mouse scuttling about between the floor upstairs and the ceiling downstairs, in which case I don’t really want to know. Whatever, the sound stopped so I decide I must be imagining it.

5 am next day, I wake up to the sound of our neighbourhood pigeon coo-cooing at the top of his voice from the tv ariel. Turn over to go back to sleep and hear scritchy scratchy sound coming from the ceiling. I tried to go back to sleep but the thought of a poor little bird trapped in the attic was too much for me. So I got up – yes me, at 5am!!
I checked outside to see if I could see anywhere a bird might be getting inside. I go into the loft to see if I could see any sign of a bird. Not a thing. However there is something looking suspiciously like a feather floating just above the guttering. There is an air vent in the roof just above the feather so although there is no sign of breakage I decide to use mesh to cover it anyway. Drive to diy store, buy plastic mesh.
I climb back up the ladder into the loft with the mesh, staple gun and scissors. Think “if there is a bird flying around in here, how will I catch it”? Need something to catch bird with. Back down ladder to look for the large piece of fine black net which we used to use to keep flies out of the back door. Find net in kitchen drawer and put it into back pocket of jeans.
Back up ladder to loft. I clear a few cartons so that I can climb though the gap to get to the vent. This is at the lowest point in the roofline in the part of the loft we didn’t bother to board out as it was so shallow we knew we would never use it. Realise I will have to very carefully crawl along the joists to get to the vent. Back down the ladder to find a box to put the mesh, staple gun, scissors etc in so that I don’t have to carry them. Be brave and go into shed for large cardboard box, hoping the giant spider that lives in there is asleep and doesn’t get me. Saw friendly mouse trap on shelf and got that too. Baited that with caramel and sesame covered peanuts and a piece of chocolate (if a mouse has to be trapped in a can, he may as well eat nice things).
I climb the ladder again. Push the box with my tools in it through the gap, then decide I need to go to the loo. Down the ladder. Do the stuff and turn to flush toilet, Yikes! There is something huge and black in loo. It’s the bloody net that was in my back pocket, must have fallen in when I sat down. Of course I had peed on it. Fish net out of loo and put into sink, wash hands. Go and search for something else to catch the bird with.
Back up ladder. Did I mention that it has been rather warm here recently? I don’t know what the temperature was in my attic, but it is a well insulated enclosed space and it was like a blooming sauna up there. Anyway, I push my cardboard box through the small gap I had made in the stacked cartons and climb through. The ceiling is so low I have to somehow crawl along the rafters, which are around two feet apart, with only fibre glass insulation covering the plasterboard ceiling. I manage to get to the part of the roof with the vent, cut the plastic mesh and by laying on my back, at a very strange angle and trying to keep my weight on the joists, cover the air gap with mesh. I found a small tear in the roofing felt so stapled gunned that to fix it. Then to be extra sure I covered the whole area with mesh. I slithered back across the insulation, through the gap in the stored cartons, put everything back. Climbed back down ladder. I was dripping, smelly, had splinters in my knees, was itching everywhere from the fibreglass, when the phone rang. It was himself, he was having a bad day…

p.s. I did ring back and apologise for swearing at him once I had had a shower. The net washed in the washing machine and so far the trap is still empty. I guess the bird got out the way he got in when he heard me coming.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Paddy Killer machine embroidery workshop

Lincoln Bailgate Guild had Paddy Killer come and teach a one day workshop. Paddy's stuff is awesome and I just had to take the class.
Anyway this is what I produced in one day. We had lots of tuition in the morning with slides etc, then we traced part of a design and drew it onto antung silk fabric using a pigment drawing pen. (The silk had been sprayed with starch on the reverse of the fabric.) I lightly shaded in the areas that I wanted to fill using stitch. We could have painted the design with textile paint at this stage. The piece of silk was layered with cotton batting and had cotton organdie as the base. We used a very fine thread both in the bobbin and through the needle - I found it so much harder to sew with this thread, every tiny wobble showed. I did start to sew around the edge again but ran out of time. As I was using Paddy's thread I won't be finishing the started sample! The pen worked really well with no smudging or bleeding and I would use one again but I think I need lots more practice before I use expensive silk and organdie again.