Sunday 13 June 2021. #151

Hello friends! Welcome from the south coast of New South Wales. The weather took a major dip this week and we had one of the coldest days in many many years. That and some rain made it very gloomy. On Monday, I had a a few friends around for a last minute sewing day. It was a lovely day and I made a very tasty Spanish Potato Tortilla for lunch. The recipe was from a Coles magazine. That was me playing with the tulle in the photo below – more info on that later. On Tuesday morning we had a very, very red sunrise. As the old adage goes, “red sky in the morning, sailors take warning”. It did rain a bit later on and there was some thunder around the area. It actually hailed a little further south at Ulludulla. I did manage to get a bike ride in that morning though. I had to put the car in for its service so I put the bike into the boot. When I dropped the car off, I rode back to the place where I meet Julie for our bike rides and I was 25 minutes early. And I didn’t have any knitting! I didn’t want to ride home and then back so I sat and looked at the water while doing stuff on my phone until Julie arrived. We went for our ride and coffee, meeting up with three other friends. It’s definitely rug up time on the bike, especially for very early rides. I think my red jacket is more noticeable than hi-viz gear!

On Tuesday night we had Book Club though I didn’t think to take a photo. On Wednesday, I had lunch out with Julie, Annette and Carol at the Five Little Pigs in Huskisson. We were originally heading to The Pavilion but it was closed, even though it was showing open on the internet. The we tried the Sand Bar but that, too, was closed. We did end up having a lovely lunch at the Pigs. Thursday was a great day for staying indoors, apart from a quick trip to the local yarn store which was having a 50% closing down sale, but I did go for a good walk on Friday. The weather seemed to be holding up but I ended up having to shorten my journey and hasten my pace so that I didn’t get wet. In the end, I only felt a few spots and it didn’t actually come to anything.

Knitting

Finally, I can now reveal the test knit that I participated in for Libby Jonson of Truly Myrtle. This is the Outlaw shrug and it’s ever so cosy! It’s not yet available for sale on Ravelry, though you can see it, because it’s part of Libby’s Wardrobe Toolbox at the moment but will be up there sometime soon. The body of this shrug is knit in DK weight yarn but I used Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply held double. This 4 ply (fingering) is quite a bulky one so I think the yarn held double was more like a worsted weight. For the cuffs and collar the pattern prescribes fingering weight yarn but I ended up using KnitPicks Wool of the Andes sport. This was actually very close to the weight of the Debbie Bliss yarn. I had originally intended to use the Debbie Bliss yarn for both body and ribbing but I only ended up having enough for the body. I was fortunate to have the KnitPicks yarn in stash and it was a very good match – a bit lighter but it definitely worked well. The test knit had quite a tight deadline and I missed it by about three days in the end. There is a lot of ribbing but I think it seemed like “death by ribbing” mainly because of the tight deadline. The ribbing is definitely a major design feature of this shrug and it wasn’t all that bad in the end. It was great to knit the rib while I was in my car the week before when I spent over three and a half hours waiting for a Covid test. The pattern on the body is fantastic and uses some slipped stitches to give a wonderful effect – something I hadn’t seen before. All in all, I’m really, really happy I made this! I should have some action shots for next week’s blog as I may be wearing it this afternoon. I can definitely recommend this pattern. 👌

New Cast On: Once I’d finished the test knit, I felt free to get into some of my other projects and this new one. I mentioned the sale at the local yarn shop – I picked up some pinky purple yarn that I thought would be perfect for a beanie for Evie. This yarn is Heirloom Merino Magic 10 ply – a worsted weight yarn, and the colour is not showing correctly in any of the photos I have here. I think the finished hat photo is probably the closest but it’s more a softer, deep dusky lilac in real life. The colourway is called Soft Plum. I did a search for some free patterns on Ravelry that use worsted weight and I decided on Ysolda Teagues’ Daniel’s Hat. This pattern uses single colour brioche which makes it very squishy and soft. The brim is supposed to turn up though I’ve photographed it with the brim down. I used about one and a half 50gram balls and I’ll be making a pom-pom with the remaining half a ball. I started this on Friday and finished it yesterday. A very quick knit using 4mm and 6mm needles though I did have to redo the crown decreases after a couple of rounds when I found I had started doing the wrong decrease on each side of the marker. It would have looked wonky otherwise, but the crown turned out perfectly in the end. I tried to tink back for the round but tinking back on brioche is hard enough without having to tink back BrLsls and BrRsls! I didn’t have short 6mm needle tips so I had to use magic loop and, like with colourwork, I prefer to knit brioche in the round. I have now ordered some short Chiaogoo needles (10cm) in 6, 7, 8 and 10mm so I’ll be able to use them in future. I only made one mistake in the normal brioche section and it seems I managed to photograph that particular side of the beanie. 😊 If the mistake wasn’t right on the magic loop join section I may have dropped down to fix it. It wouldn’t have been a problem using a short cable in the round.

I’ve made good progress on the Flax Light sweater I’m knitting. I picked up the sleeves the other day as soon as I’d finished the test knit and I’m now two inches from doing the cuff. I think I should be able to get there tonight. I’ll be having dinner with a friend who knits and we get to knit a bit before dinner. Once the sleeves are done, I’ll be able to pick up the neck and do the ribbing there. This will definitely be a finished object by next week’s blog. I even got some knitting done on my Zauberball yarn socks. I’m getting close to the cuff section – I’ll need to measure it for the heel placement to see if the leg section is long enough. These are for my dad and will make a good Father’s day present for him though he will probably get more use out of them if I give them to him now. This afternoon I intend to cast on four (2 pairs) of baby socks. Once this Flax Light is done, I’ll also be getting out a couple of WIPs that I’ve been itching to work on but I had to finish the test knit.

Crochet

I really do enjoy jumping from one project to another! I get much more pleasure having a variety of things to work on rather than spending most of my time on one project. When I get to the end of a test knit I find I spend most of my time on that and it feels very restrictive. I was able to get all the colour pieces finished for my Owl Obsession blanket this week. I’ve included the owl pieces that I showed last week (at the bottom) but I’ve now done the four big circles and yesterday I smashed out the twelve little circles. I can now move into the natural yarn for the background of the blanket and I’ll start by doing the outside of the small circles which makes them square. Then I’ll move onto the outside of the owls and all the other bits to join all the pieces together. I’m not sure my tension is the same for all the pieces but I’m sure they’ll all block out just fine.

Sewing

On Monday, when the girls were here for the sewing day, I got onto making the tulle underskirt for Evie’s Emma Wiggle outfit. I used the mesh crochet headbands that I’d ordered and joined a piece of one to a full one so that it’s not too tight. The photos below were taken today at the same time but it’s amazing how the background changes the colour in photographs. The yellow is actually the golden colour on the right. The process was really easy but I think it needs more tulle. I had ordered 20m of tulle on eBay and it’s soft and lovely but I think the black satin overskirt may flatten it too much. Anyway, I’ve ordered more tulle and I can add it even when I fix it to the skirt with the waistband. I may not receive the extra tulle in time but it will be fine as is for when I next see Evie.

I only spent a short amount of time at the sewing machine this week. I think it’s because the weather was perfect for sitting on the lounge and knitting rather than in the cold room downstairs. I will have to get the heater out for a decent session at the machine. I only managed two seams of my York pinafore on the machine when I attached the bias binding to the armholes. I mentioned last week that the bias binding with four folds is a bit thick for this project, as I’m folding the bias completely to the inside. If I was having the bias tape as a feature on the outside the four fold would be appropriate. So I cut one of the folds off after I trimmed the seam. That was perfect. Except I found that I’d sewn the bias binding onto the inside instead of the outside! Rooky error! And I did it on both armholes! 😒 So it sat in the naughty corner for a little bit but yesterday I unpicked one side and re-pinned it. I’ll get back to it tomorrow. And finish the Wiggles skirt and start on my already cut out Hello Gorgeous top.

Artistry

Continuing with the #dyicad2021, I managed to produce another four index cards this past week. The prompts for these were (from left) Snowglobe, Verdigris, Canoe or Kayak, Twist. It might take more than 61 days to finish my 61 index cards but I’m still working on them! I have plans for some others and will try to catch up. But, as I will be away for a couple of days this coming week, I’ll try to double up on a few of them.

Acquisitions

I did purchase a few bits this week. First up was an order I placed with Lush Fabrics. I had been looking for some sweater knit fabric for a Songbird cardigan that wasn’t from overseas and was a reasonable price. This Hachi sweater knit is lovely fabric and very lightweight so I’m hoping it’s OK for the Songbird. From what I’ve seen, the long cardigans seem to be back in fashion at the moment. I also purchased some navy athletic performance knit. I have had the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings pattern for ages and I want to make some. I also have some patterned athletic knit that I want to use with the navy for some colour blocking. Other purchases were for yarn. I mentioned earlier that my local yarn shop was having a 50% off closing down sale and the pink plus the large haul were from that visit. The whole lot cost $157.50 which was less than half the cost. The mustard yarn was less than half price already and came down to $3 a ball! Fantastic considering it’s 50% NZ merino, 20% nylon, 15% alpaca and 10% possum. So very soft! It’s called Waikiwi and it’s 4 ply. The chartreuse one is Chaska 100% Alpaca Muhu DK from Peru. The charcoal and dark blue are both Heirloom Merino Magic 8 ply (DK) and the pink, I mentioned earlier, is Heirloom Merino Magic 10 ply (worsted). The final photo shows some sock yarn that I purchased from Bendigo Woollen Mills. One of these is actually Mary’s yarn. I am almost out of sock yarn so I thought these would be good value at only $14 a 100gm ball. The colours are (clockwise from top left) Autumn Leaves, Dusky Skies, Blueberry Blush (Mary’s) and Blue Jeans.

Paraphernalia

I’m still listening to Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang and have about three more hours to go. It’s a fascinating historical account of China from about 1866. It wasn’t something I learned much about at school but it’s interesting to see that China’s imperial era was from 221BC to 1912 BC, it was a republic until 1949 and, though since then has been The People’s Republic of China, is governed by the CCP (the communist party). Very interesting but I’m looking forward to moving onto something a little lighter. I’ve finished all the episodes of Keeping Faith on Foxtel – I highly recommend that one, and I’m up to date on the CB Strike episodes, from the Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) books of the Cormoran Strike series. I still have the final book to read and I think that may be next. I want to read it before they release it on the TV series.

This coming week will be my away week, so I’ll have a day with Evie and Finn, and another with Cooper. I am so looking forward to seeing them! It’s over two weeks now since I’ve seen them and photos are great but not the same. I’m going to try for a full day at the sewing machine tomorrow as I’ll have plenty of knitting and crochet to take with me when I head north. This afternoon we are off to see some friends from Sydney who are down for the weekend and I’ll be able to do some knitting as well. Time for me to go and cast on those baby socks! Thanks for joining me today. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 6 June 2021. #150

Hello friends! Welcome from a cold and sunny south coast New South Wales. Well, that was quite a week! Monday started with an early morning ride to our breakfast catch-up followed by a Covid vaccination and then lunch with my friend, Lorraine. I had a terrible reaction to the vaccination starting with the shakes when it was close to 12 hours later. That then turned into fever, headache, stomach ache and dizziness. I felt like I was in a rocking boat when I actually got out of bed to get some Nurofen. I didn’t actually get to sleep until about four am and spent most of Tuesday in bed. By that night I only had a slight headache and I was all better by Wednesday morning. I went for another ride on Wednesday morning and we’d just been informed that someone who had tested positive to Covid had visited our town and local area a couple of weekends previously.

What made me mad was that they’d had symptoms from the 25th but only got tested on the 31st May! I hadn’t actually been anywhere when they were there but one of the places they’d visited three times was our local Coles supermarket which I do frequent. Just in case there had been transmission and I overlapped with that transmission I decided to get tested on Thursday morning. I arrived at the drive through testing clinic at 8.30 am and didn’t get tested until just after 12.00 pm. There were so many cars! Lucky I had some knitting with me and my podcasts and audiobook. With the amount of people being tested Wednesday and Thursday, I was surprised when I received my negative notification at 11.00 pm on Thursday night. On Friday morning I was able to go for another bike ride and coffee with my friend Julie. Yesterday was a quiet day at home with some sewing and knitting. So far, it appears that there was no transmission in the area.

Knitting

This week I’ve been working very hard on my Truly Myrtle test knit which meant that I didn’t really get to much else. I did, however, finally finish Evie’s Rye Light socks. I kitchenered the toes and sewed in the ends so they are now ready to go. They may be a little bit big – we’ll see. I also managed to finish the body of the Flax Light toddler sweater that I have been working on. I am now ready to pick up the sleeve stitches and work on them. The deadline for the test knit is today but there are few that have managed to finish. That was understood at the time as it was a very tight deadline. Without giving anything away, I’m about to cast off the ribbing on the body (lots and lots of stitches) and have most of one sleeve done. These were both ribbing – I’ve felt like it’s been “death by ribbing” and I still have another sleeve cuff (9 inches) to go! I also want to cast on socks for Finn and Cooper once I’m done with the test knit. I intend to knit them four at a time. 😊

Crochet

When taking a short break from the test knit, I managed four more owls for my Owl Obsession blanket. I missed out on a BLO (Back Loop Only) section for the majority of these but I’m thinking that will not be noticeable once the eyes are added. There are nine required for the pattern so I stopped there until I gauge whether there is any yarn leftover to do more. My next step is to knit the large circles then the little circles. These little ones lead into the Main Colour and then joing the lot together.

Sewing

I had many attempts at spending time at my sewing machine but it didn’t happen until Thursday afternoon. I finally made the bias binding for my York Pinafore. The video I use is by SewCanShe and is very straightforward – it’s an easy process but I like to refer to it so that I sew the right edges together, especially since I haven’t made any for a while. You can just see the lines I marked for cutting. I ended up with four yards and twenty inches (1.73m) of double fold bias binding.

Once my bias binding was ready, I was able to get onto my York Pinafore by Helen’s Closet. I think this was cut out two weeks ago, just waiting for some bias binding, but that was my away week. The pattern starts with bias binding on the pockets. The bias binding suggested by the instructions for the pinafore is the double fold (four layers) kind. It would be fine if the binding was showing but I’m opting for the hidden binding. I found that was a bit too thick on the pockets but I went with it. I have now pinned the binding onto the armholes and I think I’ll cut one fold section off so that it’s only three layers. Bias binding has names for the different folds – I’m not sure what this is called but I would say it’s in thirds. The pockets on the front are curved and you need to turn the bottom edge under by 1 cm. The pattern makes a good suggestion of stitching around it and gathering it a little to get the curve to turn under. It was an easy way to do the pocket hems. It won’t take much to finish this project off – once the armholes are done I need to bind the neck hole and turn up the hem.

Artistry

Though artwork is not my forte, I do like to dabble every now and then. Recently I’ve been following @gypsy999 who is Daisy Yellow Art on the interwebs. For the last few years, Daisy Yellow has been running the Index Card a Day challenge which started on 1st June and finishes on 31 July. So that’s 61 days of art. I thought I would join in and see where/how I go. This challenge is really whatever you want to do but also has daily prompts and weekly themes. So far, I’m sticking with the daily prompts though I’m already 2 days behind. Days 4 and 5 are on the agenda for this afternoon. So far, the prompts have been 01: Contraption, 02: Snapdragon, 03: Lyrics. I’ve been quite literal as my small art ability requires that assistance. For the lyrics, I had been listening to a Strong Songs podcast on “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carol King so I went with the lyrics for that one. Day 04 is Snowglobe and Day 05 is Verdigris. That’s where I’ll be later on today!

Paraphernalia

I mentioned last week that I’d started listening to Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang. It’s proving to be a very interesting book but also a very complicated one. I’ve listened to four hours and still have another eight hours to go. It requires a lot of concentration, especially because of the names being so close. There is a Sun and a Soong so I’m often wondering which one they are talking about. To add to the confusion, Soong is Charlie Soong and is sometimes referred to by his first name and other times by his surname! Anyway, I’ll keep going with it but I’m not sure it will be finished by Tuesday evening. I enjoyed watching Mare of Easttown on Foxtel and a little bit sad that the season is over. I now need to wait until the next one. After finishing that one, I moved onto Keeping Faith, also on Foxtel, and that’s proving to be a good one. I’m into Season 2 now and I understand Season 3 has aired. On SBS, I started watching Bloodlands, which is set in Northern Ireland. It has some good reviews but, having only watched the first episode, I’m going to reserve my judgement for now. It’s been a challenge with the accents (Keeping Faith is set in Wales) but my ear gets adjusted fairly quickly. I love all those different British accents.

This coming week is another home week and I have a few things planned. On Monday, a couple of sewing friends are coming around for the day. On Tuesday, I need to drop my car off for a service and rego check and, in the evening is Book Club. On Wednesday, I’m having a body massage and facial – it was supposed to be last Thursday but I was waiting on the Covid result so I had to postpone it. Time to get on with enjoying my Sunday – thanks for “listening” to me today! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 30 May 2021. #149

Hello friends! Welcome to another week of my adventures. 😊 It’s been a very busy week and I’ve only been home half a day on Monday and most of Thursday and Friday. The blog today will be more of what I’ve been doing out and about and less of my crafty adventures. After a decent sewing session on Monday morning I drove up to Sydney to see my mum and dad. On Tuesday, I spent the day with Erin and Cooper. We had a lovely day and finished it with a walk in the cold late afternoon checking out the last of the autumn leaves. It’s definitely feeling like it’s only two days away from winter!

On Wednesday, I spent the day with Kim, Evie and Finn. Of course, Evie and I went out for a coffee and babycino before having fun at the park. The surf was up and there were lots of surfers out there catching, or trying to catch, waves. I only saw one actually on a wave. Evie and I braved the big slippery dip together though it’s pretty easy these days. I find that three slides is enough for me! Evie and I finished off the afternoon with some watercolours.

I spent Thursday and Friday relaxing and managed to get one bike ride in. I didn’t get a lot of crafting done but I did do some admin and planning. I had coffee out on Friday morning and then 4 girlfriends and I had dinner out on Friday night. It was a special theme night at our local cafe at Huskisson, Salty Joe’s, and we had a lovely night. The theme was Italian Stallion night for this one. The food was yummy and the company was great.

Saturday morning saw a very early start when I headed back up to Sydney. After a quick stop off at Miranda Fair to buy a few baby clothes that weren’t available online, I arrived at Erin & Shaun’s place for a quick change and was then dropped at the ferry wharf. I was heading over to Barangaroo for lunch with my school friends – the ferry ride was only six minutes long. I love ferry rides so I’ll take any I can get. We ate at a restaurant called Muum Maam which is Thai cuisine. The food was wonderful but I wouldn’t recommend visiting during a cold windy day. All the restaurants along Barangaroo waterfront are outside, protected only by some clear plastic blinds. It was very cold! I’d like to go back again when the weather warms up. There were three of us for lunch and we were meeting our fourth after lunch.

After lunch, we were waiting for our other friend to turn up and thought we’d go somewhere warm to have coffee. The sun had totally disappeared and it was bitter. As the new Crown casino was open for everything except the casino section, we thought we may be able to get a coffee there and check out the place. I was very impressed with it – it’s all new and fresh and the restaurants and bars looked great. Unfortunately, we were not able to get coffee as all the bars and restaurants were full and there was only outside seating. Nobody was sitting outside. Instead, we wandered up to the pool level – there’s only the outside pool and we looked at it from the window, then walked down the central staircase which features in the lower section of the hotel. At the top of this bottom section, there’s a window in the ceiling where you can see up the length of the tall tower. The Teahouse lounge bar looked pretty good, especially the lantern booths situated along the outside of the restaurant.

Once we’d exhausted all the casino options, we headed back out into the whistling wind and found the Bel & Brio Emporium where we settled in for some coffees. I had a hot chocolate and an amaretto liqueur which was very warming after the cold outside. I really like this venue – the setting is what I think of as Chicago Italian jazz and has different sections including a cellar and a market place. Sadly, we had to leave and head back out into the cold to say goodbye and make our separate ways home. Again, I jumped on the ferry but this time I stayed in the protected inside section. After a nice breakfast with Cooper, Shaun and Erin this morning, I headed home with a quick stop to say hi to Steven and Evie and drop off a couple of things.

Knitting

This week’s knitting was again focussed on the Truly Myrtle test knit so I don’t have a lot of knitting to share. We’re getting to the end of the test so I’ll be able to reveal it all very soon. I did manage a little bit of other knitting. I am still working on the Rye Light socks for Evie though I need to do some reverse knitting as I have got one stripe too far on the foot. I obviously didn’t measure it properly as I thought I needed this stripe but it will have to come out and become the toe instead. There are about five rounds I need to remove but I think I’ll tink back each of these rather than remove the needles and pick them back up. Hmm, I’m not sure; I’ll work that out tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have the toes done on these tomorrow and then I’ll move onto socks for Finn and Cooper. The other knitting I worked on was the Flax Light sweater gift knit. It was easy to pick up and do a few rows here and there as it is just stocking stitch in the round. I am just under an inch away from the ribbing on the body so I should be onto the sleeves in the next couple of days.

Crochet

I’ve enjoyed working on my Owl Obsession blanket crochet this week. These owls are quick and easy to churn out, taking about fifteen minutes on each. I’ll do another five of the owls and then move onto the big and little circles. I thought I’d finish each type of motif first as it makes it easy to repeat after the first couple. The yarn I’m using is Knitpicks Chroma Worsted 70/30 wool/nylon which is what is used in the pattern. I have the natural for the background and Pegasus and (I think) Carnival for the coloured bits. I’m missing the Carnival ball band but I had bought some fingering of the same at the same time. The colour changes are perfect for this project.

Sewing

Monday was the only day I really used the sewing machine and I made good progress on Evie’s Emma Wiggle outfit. I got as far as I could go and I was able to try it on her on Wednesday. The skivvy is finished and she wore it for the rest of the day. I love the fabric that’s made out of – it’s a rayon spandex. The skirt still needs the hem done but I can’t do that until the tulle section is finished. I used a cotton ribbing for the waistband but I am very unimpressed with how it has stretched out already. Instead, I’ll remove that and replace it with some pretty belt elastic I purchased that is lightweight and has a little frill on top. The tulle has now arrived but I’m waiting for the mesh headbands that I ordered for attaching the tulle. I think they should arrive this week. I thought I’d be able to get the headbands anywhere (maybe a couple of years ago) but they are literally nowhere and I had to order them on eBay. Once the tulle section is done, I’ll attached the skirt and waistband to it and then I can trim the hem on the skirt.

Now for a photo update on my recent Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven with a couple of cheesy selfies and a couple of more normal pictures. I’ve had good wear out of this top this week. The only other time I used my machine this week was on Friday when I took in the sides of my Tessuti Monroe Turtleneck top. It got lots of use last year but I always felt it was too wide and gapey at the bottom. I drew a line from the underarm to the hem at a spot 1.5 inches from the side so that means I’ve taken reduced the bottom hem by 6 inches. I haven’t tried it on yet but it still looks very big. It should now let less cool air in at the bottom!

Paraphernalia

I’m caught up with the Handmaid’s Tale but there wasn’t a new New Amsterdam episode. I don’t think I got to the end of this season so maybe they are only putting them out a few at a time. I also started a new series on Foxtel called Mare of Easttown and I am loving it. I think I watched five episodes in a row (over a few days) and found that I had to wait until the next one. I didn’t realise that it was streaming weekly – I just started late. Last week I had started listening to A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. I thought I was a good way into the book but it appears that I have another 18 hours left to listen to! The book is 23 hours long so I’ve managed 6 hours already. As it’s getting close to our next Book Club meeting I thought I’d best get onto the second book (or I think I read the second book and this is the first/main book chosen) otherwise it wouldn’t be finished in time. The book I had read was The Henna Artist and this other book is called Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang. It appears to be a biographical recount of three sisters in 20th century China. One sister married Chiang Kai-Shek, another became Mao’s vice chair and the other was Chiang’s unofficial main advisor and one of the richest women in China. So far, we’ve only touched on the three sisters, working well into the history of all the characters around them. It’s definitely a book that requires concentration but it is also very interesting.

This coming week is a home week for me, along with the week after. With two weeks in a row, it means I’ll get to spend plenty of time in the studio and I have a list of projects I want to get working on. As usual, the list is very long and comprehensive so I’ll chip away at it and the priorities will doubtless change. The week is going to start with breakfast and a lunch tomorrow and I’m itching to get into all my stuff. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 23 May 2021. #148

Hello friends! Welcome from a sunny and cool south coast New South Wales. The weather is certainly dipping down into the winter realm though we’re not quite there yet. The doona has been unearthed and sandals and t-shirts are now put away. It’s time to re-discover what the winter wardrobe contains. It’s been a quiet week but it seems to have flown anyway. I managed three bike rides on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. They were cold rides and Thursday’s was the coldest. I’ve taken to adding gloves and headband now and I think I’ll need something a bit warmer under my jacket as the temperature continues to drop!

On Friday, I met up with some friends from Canberra in Berry where they were having a weekend away. It was a lovely day as we browsed through the shops and then had lunch at The Hungry Monkey cafe. It used to be the Berry Sourdough Bakery but had changed hands just before Covid. I hadn’t known it had changed and was surprised that the Bakery had gone. Lunch was great – I had the pulled pork burger (there were lots of different types of burgers) with a side of sweet potato chips. I think they might be the best sweet potato chips I’ve had. So yummy! On the way home from Berry, I called in at the Brewery for a drink with Robert and a couple of his friends and was able to drive them home. I had a quiet day at home yesterday trying, not for the first time this week, to sort out my printer issues. Of course, HP Technical Support doesn’t work on weekends so I need to wait until Monday now.

Knitting

I’m still working on the test knit for Libby Johnson of Truly Myrtle but, as it’s still a secret test, I can’t show you my progress on it yet. I did realise that I will run out of the fingering yarn I thought would be enough for both the DK section and the fingering section but I should be able to use some other yarn I have for the fingering section. The colour is almost exactly the same but looks like it’s a little bit faded. Also, it’s a sport weight so a smidge thicker than I need but it should still work. In other knitting, I’ve turned the heel on my toddler sized Rye Light socks for Evie. I have to knit the foot for five inches before I start decreasing for the toes. I’ll be seeing Evie on Wednesday and I’ll be able to measure her foot. I suspect that five inches might be a bit much for her little feet as she’s wearing smaller shoes than normal for her age. I’ll be able to adjust the measurement though I wouldn’t want them to be too fitted so she has a little growing room. For the last couple of days, I’ve knitted a stripe on these whilst still in bed in the morning with my cup of tea. I’m not sure I’ll have that luxury for the week coming up though.

New Cast-on: On Monday I decided to cast on a Flax Light sweater that I’d been planning as a gift. The child in question is just over one year old so I had a think about what size to knit. There is a 1-2 year size but I thought that would only last this winter, especially if he’s on the upper end of the scale. In the end I went with the 2-4 year size. I think it will still be OK to wear this year with the cuffs turned up and would be suitable for another couple of years’ wear. The pattern is free and has been knitted by so many people around the world. Ravelry shows 10.6k of projects! The pattern has a garter stitch panel running from the neck and down the sleeves. It can be made with or without the panel and is a great basic jumper pattern. There are two options for the neck – to knit the collar from the cast on or to knit the collar after finishing. I chose the second option as I like the finish with a picked up neck and may even do it a double rolled over neck. I’ve split for the sleeves and I’m now working down the body. It’s such a quick knit even though it’s in fingering weight. The yarn I’m using is a Malli Merino Wool which is 50/50 merino/polyester. This should make it a bit easier to care for. It’s quite a thick fingering weight so should should be very warm. I originally thought I’d purchased a DK weight – that’s how thick the yarn is!

The one other knitting related activity this week was to make a pom-pom for Kim’s Classic Ribbed beanie. I found my pom-pom makers and used the largest size. The only issue is that I didn’t really know how to use it so I had trouble tying it up once I’d wound all the yarn. I’ve since found a YouTube video on how you are supposed to use them. The alpaca yarn is quite drapey so it seems to be a floppy pom-pom.

Crochet

Since I finished my Artemisia top, I’ve had a hankering for some more crochet. So I dug down into my WIPs and found my Owl Obsession blanket. I started working on this one several years ago but I was frustrated that my owls were not the size that the project required so it languished and got buried. I have since made one owl this week and I’m having the same problem. I have decided that I can block it a little bit bigger but I doubt that it will match the 5 1/4″ as required by the pattern. I will keep making them and will just need some more pieces to make my blanket.

Sewing

I haven’t done a lot of sewing this week. I think it’s because it’s getting colder and I just wanted to sit on the lounge and knit. In the end I finally got to the machine and I put together the Toaster Sweater #2. It’s quite an easy project and it took little time to make, once I’d cut the fabric. The finished item fits reasonably well but is a bit small in the shoulders. I think that’s partly because of the stitch in the ditch to anchor the mock turtle neck. I have some close-ups below which show how tight that section is. The front view actually shows the slight puckering. I think I’ll unpick the stitching and just catch the fold under at the end instead. That should loosen it up a little. The fabric I used was a Double Knit remnant in black and white. I hadn’t realised what the fabric actually looked like because it was folded with the outside on the inside. Until I put it in to wash I thought it was thick black/white stripes. But it turns out that it’s thin stripes and every second white was actually grey because of the black behind it. The grey is not very noticeable unless you look closely. I also pinned carefully on the sides so that I could get the stripes to match – it was mostly successful. The pattern has very easy instructions to mitre the hem slits.

Before sewing the Toaster sweater, I cut out the York Pinafore. I thought this was going to be a very easy project but then I realised that I have to add bias binding and I’ve decided to make my own rather than the boring Spotlight variety. I have selected a fat quarter out of my large cupboard full and I’ll be using a YouTube tutorial to make continuous binding from that. It’s quite an easy process but I like to refer to the tutorial so that I remember which sides I attach to which to get the continuous run!

I have promised Evie an Emma Wiggle outfit and I’ve been mostly planning until now. I’ve had issues with the printer all week and I’ve ended up cutting out the yellow skivvy using the size four pattern that I used for Evie’s pyjama top. I wanted to make a size three but without the printer I don’t have a pattern. I think the difference between sizes will be minimal and in Emma’s picture it looks like her skivvy is quite loose. I’ve cut a larger band for the neck to add a turtle neck. I’m hoping that works. I’ll put that together tomorrow. For the skirt, I’m doing a full circle in black satin, using a pattern from Sweet Red Poppy. I have the ribbon to add two stripes to each side as per Emma’s skirt. The pattern is for stretch knit so I’ve cut the waist quite large as it will be gathered to a stretchy waistband. For the tulle section, I had originally bought some tulle from Spotlight but I wasn’t totally happy with it. Last weekend, I went onto YouTube for easy ways to make a tulle skirt and I found a great No Sew Fluffy Tutu tutorial. It uses a roll of tulle and I quickly went onto eBay and ordered one in a colour that is much closer to what I wanted. Anyway, that hasn’t arrived yet, though it was supposed to be here on Friday – it’s coming from the Gold Coast so it shouldn’t take too long. I did get an email saying that the post is taking longer at the moment than eBay suggests. I wanted to have it all done by tomorrow evening so that I could take it up for Wednesday. I’ll have the skirt and top done at least. Fingers crossed that the tulle arrives tomorrow but I’m not holding my breath.

Acquisitions

A couple of weeks ago I purchased some polymer clay buttons for my Dolly cardigan. I’ve had terrible luck finding buttons to go with it but someone on the Dolly test group commented that they had used these and actually made them for her shop. That was Lyn from Fibre2Go in New Zealand. They took a couple of weeks to arrive from New Zealand but I’m so pleased I can add the buttons. I could have worn the cardigan without them but I’d already placed all the marker pins for the buttons and didn’t want to have to rework that if I removed them. The only other purchase was some lovely lace I found at the Berry Bead shop on Friday. The shop doesn’t sell a lot of beads but does have some nice bits and pieces, including this lace edging. I’m not sure what I’m doing with it yet but I envisage a top with the edging on the sleeves and around the hem. I’ll know it when I see it!

Paraphernalia

Last week I was finishing listening to The Henna Artist. Well, that didn’t take very long and I’ve since also listened to the 30th book of the Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford, Masked Prey. Another great book from the series and I’m surprised at how he can keep writing them! So I’ve moved onto the next book which, selected randomly, is the next book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series – A Court of Mist and Fury. I think it will be like the last book – once it gets over the romance bits it will get exciting. 😊 I have caught up on The Handmaid’s Tale and New Amsterdam and was wondering what to watch. I picked up where I left off with The Blacklist but I’m finding it a bit silly now so I’m struggling through it. Yesterday I watch The Green Book which was a great movie.

This coming week will be my away week. I’m heading up to Sydney tomorrow night to see my parents and will be with Cooper on Tuesday. From there I’ll head down to see Evie and Finn on Wednesday. I’ll be home again on Thursday. I’ll have plenty of knitting to take with me. Then I have a dinner down here on Friday night and I’ll be on my way back to Sydney on Saturday morning for lunch with my school friends. It will be a busy week!

It’s time for me to think about dinner now so I’d best be off. Thanks for joining me for my weekly chat. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 16 May 2021. #147

Hello friends! Welcome from a cool south coast New South Wales. The temperature has started dropping and today is one of those crisp, sunny ones. It’s supposed to get up to 16 degrees Celcius – I suppose that doesn’t sound too cold but the current apparent temperature of 8.9 degrees certainly is! Last Sunday was a great family day. We celebrated Mothers’ Day and also Shaun’s birthday. It’s wonderful when we can all get together and the littlies are so cute! I managed three bike rides this week, which is highly unusual lately and also because I wasn’t around too much. The pelicans are always hanging around on the inlet at Huskisson and I googled what the collective noun was. There were about five listed but my favourite is squadron. It looks like we’ve had a full squadron this week. 😊

Wednesday was my Evie & Finn day and we had some fun together. Evie and I did some dot painting and had fun at the park, after our usually coffee and babycino, of course. It was a nice day but you can see the dark clouds rolling in over the ocean. Finn is scooting around the floor now; not crawling but he manages to move around and can be on the other side of room quite quickly! At five and a half months, he’s not far off working out that his legs will help.

On Thursday, I spent some time with Cooper. He is starting to be more interactive, heading towards four months old, and is spending a bit more time awake. Mum went out for lunch so I was able to give him his lunchtime feed. I drove home after that and met Robert at the brewery. The food selection for the night wasn’t great so we went to the RSL Club for dinner instead. I went for the third bike ride on Friday morning and also went to brunch with my friend Annette. On Friday evening, I was in Wollongong again, this time for a sleep over. Yesterday was swimming day so Finn and I got to watch Evie and mum in the water. We also did some craft with an Easter headband template. Evie gets very excited at the mention of craft. ❤

Knitting

I finished the latest Classic Ribbed hat on Tuesday. Technically, it was Monday but I hadn’t tied off the end until Tuesday. I was going to add a pom-pom but I wasn’t able to locate my pom-pom makers. I bought a set last year sometime before we moved into the new house and now I’m not sure where I put them! I’ll have another look today. I used some Heirloom 100% Alpaca yarn that I had in stash. I can normally remember where my yarn comes from (and there’s a fair bit of it) but these three balls are a mystery. I’m glad I’m using up the stash though! The rest of the third ball will be used for pom-pom. I used the yarn doubled with 4.5mm needles and the toddler size but obviously it turned out bigger with the thicker yarn and larger needles. This one is for Kimberley. I also started a pair of socks for Evie. I’m using the Rye Light sock pattern in the toddler size. I’m using some yarn that I’d made socks with in 2019. My mum is using those ones. Again, I can’t remember exactly what the yarn is that I used. Obviously, it’s a self-striping yarn but the rest of the information escapes me. It has some lovely sparkle too! I’m about an inch off turning the heel. Depending on how the sizing is for these, I’ll probably use the pattern for socks for Finn and Cooper next, using the baby size. The pattern actually has a garter panel on the front but I’m just knitting them in stocking stitch. The main knitting this week has been on another test knit for Truly Myrtle. Yes, another test knit! But it’s a pattern I want so I’m happy to participate. I’m not sure how much information I can reveal so I’ll just talk about the yarn. I’m using some Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply (fingering) that I had in stash. The pattern uses DK and fingering yarn. I had a pack of ten balls and it calculated at enough yardage for the pattern using it double for the DK section so I went with that. I’m not really a fan of using double strands as it’s easy to split the two without noticing if you’re not watching. I’m now not sure how I will go with the ten balls but I might be able to use some other yarn I have for the fingering section. Stay tuned for more information next week. There’s quite a tight timeline for this one so I’ve set myself a target for each day.

I also finished the baby pair of Rose City Rollers Littlies on Monday. They only needed the toes done so it was a quick finish. A friend of Erin’s has just had a baby girl and I’m going to gift them to her. I’m also gifting this baby the rompers in the photo below. My friend Mary had knitted them but not sewn them up so she gave them to me. It was easy to sew up the sides and add the buttons for the straps. I’m not a fan of sewing knitted pieces but this was an easy one. My two boys are too big for this and, anyway, I think it’s a girl pattern so it can go to the new little one too. Mary also gave me a baby’s jumper that only needs to have the sleeves sewn on and ends sewn in. I started on that during the week too. There are so many ends as it was knitted double. This should fit one of the boys nicely!

Crochet

Monday was the deadline for the crochet pattern test of the Artemisia top that I did for Hailey Hodge (Graphic Knits). It was a great project and I thoroughly enjoyed crocheting again. Here are the photos I took of the finished top and one of them actually features on the pattern page in Ravelry! It fits really well but, unfortunately, I’m not able to wear it now as it’s too cold. It will be a great one to bring out in spring. The lace pattern is so simple but very effective in the circles that it produces. I’ll have to find another crochet pattern to work on now.

Sewing

I wasn’t able to get to the sewing machine much this week but I did do some more on the McCalls 6016 shirt for Finn. It was only the cuffs and I would have done a bit more but I needed to do a buttonhole in each of the cuffs before attaching them. I was able to call in at Spotlight on Friday and got some that will be suitable. I’ll be able to get back to that tomorrow and make a start on the matching shorts. Other than that, the sewing activity was mainly planning. My next makes are going to be the York pinafore and Arden pants from Helen Closet and the Toaster sweater by Sew House Seven. I have picked out some fabrics (all from stash) that I’d like to make these with and it depends on whether there is enough. I have some pinwale cord in black and caramel for the pinafore but I’m not sure either would be enough on their own to make it. I had this pattern printed at Officeworks on Friday so I’ll be cutting it out today and will find out if I have enough. Maybe I can colour block it with both. The Arden pants are a woven jogger style and I have some pale green linen-style fabric chosen though, again, not sure it’s enough. This fabric is real deep stash, I think from my mother’s stash. I started taping this pattern together on Friday, using many A4 pages and it was annoying me which is why the York pinafore and Toaster sweater have been printed in A0. I’ll finish putting the Arden pattern together today and see if I have enough. For the Toaster sweater, I have pulled out some black and white striped double knit. There should be plenty for this but I haven’t checked it yet. There are two versions of the Toaster sweater and I wasn’t aware of that. This one is a little looser around the bottom. There is a combo pattern pack that I could have bought if I’d realised! I will be able to grade in on the one I have (#2) as I don’t like it to be as open at the bottom. So that is this week’s sewing ready to go and I have a few other patterns on my list once they’re done!

Paraphernalia

This past week I’ve mainly been listening to podcasts and my book. I finished The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. It was a very enjoyable read. I then moved onto the first of our two Book Club books, the Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. I’ve done a good bit of driving this week so I’m nearly finished. I am really enjoying the book and I’ve been listening while I’ve been knitting too. There’s only an hour and a half to go and I hope to finish it today. I have the latest Handmaid’s Tale and New Amsterdam episodes to catch up on also.

I’ve started thinking about my weeks as home and away weeks. The away weeks are when I have my Evie/Finn and Cooper days. This coming week is a home week so I’ll be able to work on my sewing projects and hopefully some spinning. I don’t have many plans at this point but I’m hoping for some social get togethers thrown in amongst the crafting.

Thanks for joining me for my weekly chat. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 9 May 2021. #146

Hello friends. Happy Mother’s Day! I know it’s Mother’s Day in the US too, though the UK celebrated in March, I think. I’ll be celebrating with my children and grandchildren today. This past week has been a bit wet. It started fine – last Sunday I may have mentioned already that I caught up with Evie and Finn. You can see Evie setting up our tea party and Finn enchanted by his latest toy. I went for a bike ride on Monday morning to our Huskisson catch-up and then the weather deteriorated quite rapidly. The picture below shows a miserable rain drenched deck outside my bedroom and it was hard to get out of bed. I had a few medical appointments and had to negotiate the rain that was going sideways because of the wind. It rained until yesterday which was a beautiful day. The weather has still been quite mild but I imagine that will change soon.

On Wednesday, I had lunch with some girlfriends at a newish restaurant in Worrigee, just outside of Nowra. The Worrigee Sports Club have turned their downstairs into a very stylish restaurant call The Growers and I can say the food was good. The meals were very large! It was unfortunate that the weather wasn’t great as it would have been lovely sitting outside with a view to the nearby green hills. The restaurant looks empty – there were a few people but it was early and filled up soon enough.

Today is Mother’s Day but we’ll also be celebrating Shaun’s birthday which falls on Tuesday. Shaun fancies a good cheesecake and I thought I’d make his favourite Oreo and white chocolate cheesecake. I also wanted to make a Salted Caramel Cheesecake so I split the difference and the cheesecake too! I was going to make a slice slab cake but I never have a rectangular plate big enough to put it on so instead I opted for my largest spring form cake tin. I covered a piece of cardboard with foil and used that as a divider to fill the first half of the cake. I think I ruined the look of it by trying to smooth the top and just blended the caramel instead. I think it will still taste good but the caramel looked so much better before I smoothed it. Once that had set, I removed the divider and added the white chocolate cheesecake part. It’s a very large cake and it will feed us all tomorrow, with plenty of leftovers, I think.

Knitting

I haven’t done a lot of knitting this week. I’ve spent a bit of time working on another Classic Ribbed hat, this time trying a larger needle and double DK yarn. I was hoping for something that would fit Evie but it’s turning into a small adult size instead. I’ll keep knitting and see if one of the girls want it or I’ll keep it for myself. I’m using some Heirloom Alpaca that I had in stash, though I don’t remember having this yarn. The 100% alpaca is very soft and squishy! I only need to knit about two inches before I start decreasing. I should be able to get that done in the car up to Wollongong today.

I also started another baby hat, this time the Mishka hat. This is a square type hat and the pattern, which is free, has two little pom poms, one in each corner. It’s done with a type of broken rib pattern and another version has a cable up the centre of it. When I’d reached the point of the first photo I nearly ripped it out back to the rib and started knitting it in plain stocking stitch but I decided to keep going. The stitch is a bit tedious and if I don’t concentrate I’ll start doing the wrong stitch. There is a plain knit round alternated with an offset rib. I’m only now just over half way so a bit more knitting to go yet. When I get to the right measurement, I’ll be binding off with a Kitchener stitch.

Crochet

This week’s focus was to finish the Artemesia crochet pattern test and I’m happy to say it’s done. Here she is blocking nicely and I’ll be taking photos tomorrow. I had enough yarn, with not much left over which is great as I wasn’t sure of that as I was going along. I’m not sure what plan B would have been had I run out before finishing. The fade went more quickly on the back as I’d use most of the red section on the front but I think it still looks good though the colour of the sleeves seem unrelated looking from the front. The sleeves didn’t take as long as I thought which was a good thing as I definitely don’t like crocheting into chain stitches. I’m also glad to be finished because of the way I had to stretch out the yarn the whole time. The yarn is made up of four fine strands and after crocheting a bit there was one that seem to be longer than the rest. I would just stretch it out as I went along, with the excess pooling near the ball. In the end, I expect all the strands were different lengths. You can see how it was in the photo. That’s not a knot – just uneven strands. Though I was very close to knots at several times!

Sewing

A few weeks back, I’d made some flannelette pyjama pants for Evie. I’d made a size three to try on for size and they were good. Kim asked if I could add a cuff to the bottom so that they don’t ride up in the cold wether. That was an easy addition and I also made up a fluffy top to go with them. The pants were a free pattern from Sew Simple Home. I made the pyjama top from a pattern that I had from Waves and Wild (previously known as Made By Jack’s Mum). The pattern is Pick n Mix, which has t-shirts and onesies in a variety of styles – round neck, button neck and envelope neck. I used the size four t-shirt pattern because I was using a thick fabric and I didn’t want it fitted. We’ll get to try it on today to see how it fits. I think a larger size would be fine as it would have good coverage at the waist – my only concern is if the neck is a little wide.

I did do a little bit of sewing on some Angelia shorts that I’d cut out in some stash denim a couple of weeks ago, but it’s not really worth a mention. Instead, I decided to start on my McCalls 6016 pattern of shirt and shorts for Finn. The measurements are quite unusual as they are S, M, L and XL for babies. I am doing the XL size as I think that should be good for next summer. The fabric I’m using for the shirt is a remnant that I received in a Nerida Hansen mystery bundle and I think the sharks are perfect for Finn. I purchased a piece of homespun in a matching blue/grey that I’ll use as the sleeve cuffs and shorts. So far it’s been an easy sew but I haven’t started the collar yet. It’s a little weird, also, doing 5/8 inch seam allowance on such a small item! If nothing else, this will be a good fit test as I have some other special fabrics to make shirts out of for Finn and Cooper if this pattern works out for sizing.

Patchwork

I finally put the block rows together for Cooper’s quilt and I’ve also pieced the backing out of the remaining fabrics. I now need to sandwich and quilt it. I should be able to get the sandwiching done tomorrow though I doubt I’d get the quilting and binding done by Tuesday night to take up on Wednesday. Let’s see how far I can get.

Paraphernalia

This past week, I caught up on the New Amsterdam and Handmaid’s Tale episodes and watched the final episode of Hillary. I also finished watching all the CB Strike episodes that are available on Foxtel. I know the fourth book has also been filmed so I’m hoping to be able to watch that soon. With nothing else that was grabbing me, I started on Deadwater Fell on SBS On Demand. I like David Tennant and I think this should be a good series to watch. I have started on a new book – The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I selected this one by random number generator. It’s been a good book though I’d mentioned last week that I was tempted to read the final book in the Cormoran Strike series. Maybe that will be the next book I choose. 😊

It’s time for me to head north for the day. I hope all the mothers out there have a great day today and are able to catch up with family! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 2 May 2021. #145

Hello friends! I’m back writing from the south coast of New South Wales. We finished off the trip to Alice Springs and I have lots of photos to share with you. Last Sunday was ANZAC Day, when we celebrate the sacrifice by so many Australians and New Zealanders during World War II and those from wars before and after, right up to the recent conflicts. Because of Covid, the service was held at one of Alice Springs’ cemeteries rather than ANZAC Hill where it is traditionally held. The first and second pictures show the beginning and the end of the service with the sunrise happening along the way. It was a pretty cold morning and the donation breakfast was very welcome afterwards, particularly the cup of tea that helped warm my shaking hands! The photos also show the fabulous clay sculptures; the main one of a soldier and busts of each of the services – airforce, navy and army. The final photo shows ANZAC Hill which we visited after the service. The sunrise is pretty spectacular when the service is held there.

To fill in some time, we then headed to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame where we found so many road transport vehicles from across the decades, from small trucks, large trucks, buses, semi-trailers, and more. Lunch was at the Golf Club and we decided not to wait around for the two-up games as we needed some rest after getting up very, very early. After a bit of R&R, we dressed up for dinner at Sporties Restaurant, which is a bit of an icon at Alice Springs.

Monday morning started with a bit of a sleep in and a relaxing cuppa before Vicki and Pam picked us up for the day’s adventure. We headed out of Alice Springs to the West MacDonnell ranges, specifically to Standley Chasm where we were booked in for a cultural tour and dot painting, along with morning tea and lunch. We started with the morning tea which consisted of freshly made scones and jam/cream. During morning tea, there was a bit of an emergency when the fire, freshly topped up with wood, flared up very high and started to burn the mantle and displays. Fast action by someone in the cafe ensured it was extinguished quickly. It was then referred to by the staff as the “smoking ceremony”. 😊 After morning tea, we were led to the Chasm by a local tour guide who explained all the different bush tucker and other relevant information. This chasm is part of a long hike called the Larapinta Trail – it’s quite a long trek and for experienced hikers only. This particular spot on the West MacDonnell Ranges is a short hike – it took us about half an hour with lots of stops and information but only took about ten minutes to walk back. On our return, we were treated to a slide display and talk about Aboriginal history. It was very interesting and I certainly discovered things that I’d never heard before. Our schooling, back in the day, barely touched on Aboriginal history. We had lunch and then were treated to a slide display on Aboriginal art history and uses, followed by our own hands on dot painting activity. It was so much fun and painting the dots was so therapeutic. We used acrylic paints and I think I’ll be having a go at some myself in the near future.

Our original plan was to head to Ellery Creek Big Hole for a swim after our day at Standley Chasm but we weren’t ready to leave until later than expected. Ellery Creek is another hour’s drive away from Alice Springs so we instead called in at Simpson’s Gap on the way back to town. It was only a short walk to the creek section and it was worth it. When we get back to the apartments, we sat outside and had some nibbles for dinner and then we were picked up again to go to the Alice Springs Quilting Association meeting. This was Vicki’s local group and it was her last night there. It was also her birthday so we brought a cake and sang to her along with all the members. Their show and tell was very interesting, including three gorgeous quilts that were made (I haven’t included photos as they were for a quilt exhibition), a demonstration on squaring up blocks and several other works. Then it was time to head back to the apartments and finish off our packing.

Tuesday was a very long day. We left the apartments at 7.00 am and I was home at 7.15 pm. Mary had a bit further to go and she drove home from Huskisson. I really liked the bougainvillea plants that I saw around Alice Springs – they are more like bushes than climbing spikey plants. I think I’ll see if I can get something like this. The trip home was uneventful but long.

On Wednesday, I was up before dawn and headed up to Wollongong for a day with Evie and Finn. On the way home that night, I called in for dinner at the Brewery where some friends were gathered. I had a big sleep in on Thursday morning and a quiet day; a bike ride on Friday morning and a big walk yesterday. I even made some green tomato pickles. We had some rogue cherry tomato bushes in the backyard and I grabbed the last of them to make a couple of jars of pickles. I hadn’t made any in years and years and it’s not that hard. I think I’ll make them again some time.

Knitting

There wasn’t a whole lot of knitting this week. I finished Finn’s Classic Ribbed hat and started and finished Cooper’s as well. I think the pattern is quite small but could be my tight tension. I’ll probably make some more but I’ll go for a bit bigger for the next ones. I made some decent progress on the Zauberball socks I cast on during the trip to Alice Springs last week. I’m just working tubes and will add afterthought heels later on.

Crochet

I did spend a good amount of time on the Artemisia top crochet pattern test and there’s not much left to do. You can see the front and then the back here – it just needs another row to go before joining at the shoulders and then the lace sleeves. I’ll be finished this in a couple of days, in good time for the 10th May deadline. It’s been a fun crochet. The fade looks weird in the photos but is not quite as obvious in real life.

Sewing

Last week, I didn’t get the chance to show my Pattern Emporium Hello Gorgeous top and Palazzo pants. You can see them here together. I wore the pants on the plane and they were so comfortable. The top is great too and I’ll be making another one very soon. I did get to finish the Aida blouse on Thursday, the day before the 30th April deadline for the #sewaprilblouse challenge. It is a great fit and I may wear it this week though I’ll need to put a camisole underneath. I just need to work out what colour will be best under this stripe.

Acquisitions

In last week’s blog I mentioned some fabric purchases I made while in Alice Springs. Here they are:

  • Two panels that I may put on canvas and hang.
  • Some beautiful silk – I am thinking possibly a Cielo top for this fabric.
  • Two lovely pieces of fabric that will be shirts for Cooper and Finn.
  • Some pieces of fabric that caught my eye. I intend to use the patterned ones to make a top for me and possibly some pyjama pants for Robert.

Paraphernalia

TVI caught up on my shows this week, watching both Unforgotten (last episode of season four) and New Amsterdam. Then I found that the Handmaid’s Tale had started and watched all three that have been aired. I can’t wait to see the rest of these! I finished listening to Lethal White by Robert Galbraith and found that the first book of this series had been made into a mini TV series, so I am watching that now. It’s good that they cast the main characters in line with how they come across in the book. The only difference I’ve found is that Cormoran Strike has a different accent with the audio book but it’s not an issue at all. I’ve started another book, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I’ve only just started it but I think it will be OK, though I feel like diving into the last Cormoran Strike book but I’ll keep that one aside for a little while.

It’s been a big day today, as we headed to Wollongong and back and I am finally getting to finish this post. I have a few things planned for this week, starting with breakfast catch up tomorrow morning and a lunch out on Wednesday. I’ll be pottering around the house for the rest of the time. We are expecting several days of rain so it will be perfect for spending some time in the studio or on the lounge. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 25 April, 2021. #144

Hello friends! Welcome to the centre of Australia. I am currently in Alice Springs catching up with a friend who lives here. Monday started in the normal way with a breakfast catch-up and then I headed up to Wollongong. On Tuesday morning, Kim and her mum, Evie and I went to the WIN Entertainment Centre to see The Wiggles. That was much more fun than I thought it would be and we all enjoyed it, especially Evie! On Wednesday, I went for an early bike ride and then spent the day packing and getting the house ready for visitors. Kerry and Mary stayed for the night as we had an early departure in the morning to get to our 11.30 am flight.

Thursday was a long day. We got the airport in plenty of time. Lorraine drove me, Marie, Mary and Kerry. After leaving the car at the parking station, we settled in at the airport after meeting Karen. We had nearly a two hour wait but we were advised to be there two hours before the flight. The flight to Melbourne was quick and uneventful but when we disembarked and headed into the terminal for our connection, we had to stop and fill in border entry forms. That took some time because of a glitch not allowing us to do them on our phones and they had to be filled in individually by one person. We finally made it to our next gate and met up with Janice who had flown from Canberra airport. The flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs was about two and a half hours. On arrival, we had our border entry forms ready but it was a very long queue to check in with them. We caught the shuttle to our accommodation and unpacked in our respective rooms. There are five of us in a two bedroom apartment and two others in a studio. Our friend Vicki and her sister Pam met with us and we headed to Montes Bar for dinner via a Tesla taxi. That was a very smooth ride but dinner was far from smooth. The place was absolutely packed and, in the end, dinner for four of us took about one and a half hours to arrive. It was nice when it did but it would have been far more enjoyable to eat when everyone else was eating. We all slept very well that night!

Friday started with a walk to the Olive Pink Botanical Garden where we had breakfast at their cafe. We then climbed the hill behind the gardens which led to a great view of Alice Springs from above. After that, we headed to The Purple House which is a dialysis centre for the indigenous people of the area. While we were there, we heard all about how this Purple House built up far reaching centres around the outback along with mobile units, all from fund raising. It was amazing to hear how one person, Sarah Brown, was the main instigator for this amazing centre. She is the CEO working with its board of Indigenous directors. It was a very inspirational visit. After leaving, we called in at an art gallery in the centre of Alice Springs followed by a late lunch in one of the cafes. From there we visited two fabric shops – the first a patchwork shop and the second an Aboriginal fabric shop. The nine of us managed to pick up some nice bits and pieces at both the shops. Then it was time to head home and four of us walked which ended up a bit further than we expected! We had a lovely dinner at the local Golf Club watching the sun set with the light reflecting off the ranges.