I have really fallen out with my domestic sewing machine this time. I don't think our relationship will ever be the same. It just isn't prepared to try hard enough these days so I have decided that after it has a good sort-out, it will be time to sell or trade in. It really did not want to sew the army canvas that I was using to construct a roof-rack bag for the Yurt. I tried using a great big needle but it still struggled so I ended up having to make a gigantic army-issue laptop bag with a daisy print binding to finish off the edges, since a double seam was out of the question. Then the so-called-top-of-the-range sewing machine balked at the industrial Velcro that I should have remembered it didn't like when I sewed the Yurt roof panels. It continued to sulk when I wanted to satin stitch onto a quilted Yurt panel with metallic thread and it kept snagging up the bobbin until I became hoarse with shouting at it. All seemed well with attaching binding until I pressed the reverse button and suddenly that was all it could do – it got stuck going backwards! I got out my more basic but (actually) made in Sweden machine and it was more than happy to oblige. I have decided that I don't use the posh (not actually made in Sweden) machine for any of the fancy embroidery that I thought I would when I first bought it and it is pointless keeping it unused in a box. I will have to get it serviced and fixed then decide whether I need to replace it with a different machine altogether; maybe I should even consider an industrial one.
I have been completing American Quilt Society forms to be considered as a teacher at Des Moines. I had to list exact quantities of fabrics and supplies, so it became a useful planning exercise. This prompted me to try out circles quilted with a twin needle on a domestic machine as an alternative to using the circle-making attachment on the longarm.
This week was busy with non-quilting happenings. On Monday I attended school as an observing teacher to see how teaching maths in primary school may have changed in the 10 years that I have been away. Of course, the concepts remain the same but the emphasis is on more active learning and the interactive computer screen has replaced the blackboard. I now have to wait for a formal interview and hope that drastic cutbacks in education have not closed the list of relief teachers in my area. It would be good to know that I could have a reliable income that would help fund my USA Yurt tour. Fenella was thrilled to start Brownie Guides and was adamant that she would need the uniform straight away. Fergus played Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" on guitar for the school talent show and was delighted to be chosen as the winner. Freya had her first senior school prom and persuaded a friend to help operate the hair-curling gadget to make her look glamorous. I expect she was worried that I might burn her hair or make her put on too much glittery eye shadow. Blue Cat accidentally stayed out all night for the first time and was most disgruntled in the morning.
I ordered a couple of unusual items online; antler buttons from The Highlands and a pair of builder's props from a tool merchant in The Midlands. Both of these are Yurt related. The buttons will look good on one of the new curved Yurt panels and the props are to hold the Yurt crown in place, rather than make someone balance on a ladder to wait with aching arms until all of the roof spars are lined up. The alternative to these would have been plasterer's stilts but I thought these would have been quite tricky to master!