Sunday 16 February 2020. #82

Hello friends! Welcome from Fisherman’s Paradise on the south coast of New South Wales. We’re in the middle of our stay here, moving out next weekend to our long term accommodation while the house is being built. It has been a relaxing week as there is not a lot to do around here but enjoy the peace and quiet. And the boat ramp. We are on a creek that flows into Lake Conjola. The first part of the week was very wet, and the boat ramp was underwater with only the floating jetty visible but with no access. You can see in the photos the difference when the water receded.

This area was in the thick of the fires a few weeks ago and has now been submerged in the floods that happened in the last couple of weeks. You can see the burnt bush in the photos but it’s so heartening to see all the fresh green coming from the black trees that seemed to be just burnt sticks. The first photo shows the view from our back deck with the water flooded into the area between the creek and this row of houses. The second last photo shows the same view with the water receded.

The rains caused a flood at Lake Conjola where many houses that had been through the bushfires now had water through them. To fix this problem, the local council organised to have the lake opened up to the ocean though it was so full it probably would have happened anyway within the next 24 hours. We were lucky to witness this when we did a little scout around the area. As usual, the south coast has some wonderful coastal views. The rain has seen a host of mushrooms popping up around the area but also lots of mosquitos which love me. That has not been as welcome!

As I mentioned, it’s been a relaxing week. You can see my favourite position, usually with knitting but also with some stitching. I went to Wollongong for a day with my beautiful granddaughter and we went for a play at the Discovery Space because the weather dictated indoor activity. You can see her here, off to save the world! My friend Mary and I were able to catch up briefly on Thursday but she came for a visit on Friday and we had a lovely afternoon chatting with our knitting.

And finally, Project New House is continuing nicely, despite the heavy rain we’ve had. You can see here the initial picture, progress with the demolition and, finally, the cleared block. There is only one retaining wall remaining and that is on purpose. The pipes on there will be removed.

Knitting

This week has been big on finishing. I have essentially finished my Lunae shawl but won’t claim it just yet as I need to add tassels. I think there are 41 tassels to add so they will take a little while! It will be a good opportunity to use all the different colours that are in this project. I worked out early in the piece that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to do the contrasts on the large border so I got a couple of more balls of yarn. Different colours as I wasn’t able to find the same ones. They are all Drover and Classer yarns except for the white which is some off-the-shelf yarn from Lincraft that I had in my stash. I didn’t realise, in the change of colours, that I had actually gone from warm colours to cool colours but I don’t think it has ruined the project. There were lots of ends to sew in and, contrary to my usual practice, I actually sewed them in immediately. Well, it actually took a couple of days but I didn’t leave the shawl languishing for weeks before doing it. And I even blocked it! I’ve often been asked what the benefits of blocking are and this project is a great example. Top pic is unblocked, bottom pic is blocked. The ends may have been straighter if I’d blocked them out beyond the ends of the blocking mats that I used.

Last week I finished the Songbird shawl and I have remembered that it needs tassels. I have blocked it and this is another example of the benefits of blocking. I posted the top left pic last week and you can see how nice and flat it is sitting now. Seems like today may be a tassel making day! At least this one only has 3.

Another finishing episode with my Olilia shawl. It had been waiting for me to sew in the ends which I did finally get done. Another blocked project and it’s looking great. This one doesn’t need tassels so is finished-finished but I claimed it as finished last month. It was quite difficult to take the final photo as I really had to get up high over it for it to fit in the screen. The picot border is still a bit curly as I didn’t have my individual blocking pins to use. I hindsight, I probably could have used normal pins. I have one more project to sew ends in and block (my Outline advent shawl) and will hopefully get that done this week to clear all the backlog of finishing.

Finished Object: My Mina’s Vanilla socks using my Inversibles yarn from Fibernymph Dyeworks are now finished! I’m glad to have these done but won’t be wearing them for a while. With these, I did a German short row heel and I’m not sold on that type of heel. You can see from the photo that the short row section is a bit loose even though I tried to keep the stitches tight while knitting. I think I’ll stick with a heel and gusset in future, though I’ll need to work out which one. I have some leftover yarn so I may be able to get a pair of little ones out of it. I was sitting on the jetty knitting these the other day when the sun came out.

I finally got back to my Tuileries sweater and I’m loving it all over again. This one was put aside mainly because of advent knitting and also because I was figuring out how the yarn blend was going to go. I wanted to start on the sleeves with the yarn I’d used for the yoke. I only have four balls of this MadTosh Merino Light one of a kind and they all have a little different colouring. I’ve been using the helical method to resolve the colour differences and continued this with the sleeves. I did about 6 inches on one sleeve and have now moved that yarn over to the other sleeve and will do the same amount on the other sleeve. I intend to use all four balls but need to ensure I have enough length on the sleeves before finishing the body. The helical knitting means I now have 4 balls attached to the project. I also don’t want to cut the body yarn to do the sleeves so I may just add that yarn from the centre of the balls when I get this sleeve to the same point as the other one. I’m technically on sleeve island and doing a twisted rib so it seems to be going very slowly. Having said that, it’s all I want to knit on at the moment!

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The last project I worked on this week is my Garland sweater. I took this and the socks to Wollongong for babysitting. I wanted some easy knitting, and I never only take one project. Just in case something stops me from progressing on one of them, I would have another to work on. I’m still on mindless body stockinette but I’ll have to check how much further I need to do before separating for the sleeves. I don’t think it will be too much longer. It’s looking very crushed as that’s how it is in the plastic bag that’s it’s been stored in. I think it can now progress to a proper project bag.

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Patchwork

It’s taken all week but I finally finished putting the rows together on this little minkey quilt. I seemed to get interrupted each time I sat to do this one. It wasn’t too bad putting the rows together but still had to use lots of pins. I’m glad I’ve cleared this off my sewing machine so now I can move onto another project. This will now need to be backed and I think I’ll use some pretty flannelette that I have. It’s in storage so it won’t happen just yet. I don’t have any other minkey fabric and I’d rather not use that as backing anyway because I think it needs something that has some structure, without any stretch.

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Stitching

My Round the Garden quilt came out to play this week. I worked on several more flowers for the inner border. I’m going to need to cut a lot more circles to get this done! This is the sum total of the large circles I had left. This afternoon may be a good time to put these onto the quilt.

Paraphernalia

Last week I’d started a new book but have put that one aside now for a book that I’ve nominated for our Book Club. The book I chose was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. This book won the Goodreads Choice award for 2019 and was reviewed highly by Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb on their Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast. I hope it’s as good as they say because I really should have read it before nominating it. I didn’t have that much time the last couple of months. I have finished the latest episodes of When Calls the Heart as I had downloaded them from Netflix but I’ve been watching Married at First Sight when it’s shown on Sundays through to Wednesdays. It’s one of those shows that gets you in but wouldn’t be missed if you never watch it. I’ll be so glad when I get back onto wifi next week!

This week will be another relaxing one; even more relaxing as I don’t need to go to Wollongong. I’ll have plenty of time for crafting but I’ll also have some socialising time with breakfast tomorrow morning and a sewing day on Wednesday. I’m also looking forward to a massage and facial tomorrow that I was gifted for my birthday.

Time to get on with the day now so I’ll sign off here. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 9 February 2020. #81

Hi friends! Welcome to a very wet south coast of New South Wales. We’ve been staying at a beach town called Bawley Point and were lucky enough to get some good weather for the first part of this week. Today we move to another little town, this one called Fisherman’s Paradise and is situated on a river. Maybe a little kayaking could be on the cards but it appears that this week is going to be very wet. Maybe some inside activities instead. I have plenty with me!

We moved out of our old house last Sunday night after a huge day getting everything out. There’s not much room left in the storage unit. It took much longer than anticipated and we didn’t leave till about 10pm, arriving at our accommodation at Bawley Point not too far from midnight. On Monday, we both spent the day recovering from the sore muscles we’d worked up with the move. It was both mentally and physically exhausting. But what a place to relax! The walks on the rocks at the point are very relaxing and the rockpools are fun to inspect.

The weather declined a little each day but I was able to go to the beach until Thursday. The very strong northeasterly winds brought in the bluebottles. I didn’t have the energy to get fully into the water earlier in the week as there was a strong shore dump and the decline in the weather didn’t improve my desire to get fully wet. I did walk along the shore and soaked my legs in the refreshing salt water. On Friday, we had to make a quick trip to Sydney and the rain had set in overnight. We made a very good decision in only driving to Wollongong and then getting the train to Sydney as it would take us very close to where we had to go. It made the very wet trip much more relaxing. We spent the night in Wollongong on Friday night and drove back on Saturday morning.

On our way back, we called in to see how the house demolition was going. They have been at it very quickly and the place is down to the floor level already. The photos show the progress from Monday to Friday. Demolition is expected to be completed by next Friday, along with some excavation. I’m hoping the predicted daily deluge is not going to hamper progress too much. The rain is very welcome otherwise and it seems that the major Currowan fire has now been declared completely extinguished. While at Vincentia, we stopped for a coffee and watched the rain come down!

Knitting

My knitting has resumed and I’ve had a very relaxing week of it. I’ve been enjoying working on the Lunae shawl. The mosaic stitch pattern has been a delight to knit, especially once I worked out how to keep track of where I’m up to. I took a snip of the chart and loaded it into Paint where I could “rule” out the rows I’d completed. I say “rule” in quotations because it was actually freehand with the mouse and very uneven but it did the job. I’ve now finished the main chart and only have a small chart left to go. In total, 16 rows left which include the bind off. I’m hoping that it may be done tonight while I’m watching TV.

Finished object: The Songbird shawl is now finished! I didn’t have a lot left to go and it was great car knitting on the way up to Wollongong on Friday, and back on Saturday. It finished with a picot edging that I expected to take longer than it did. The picot was to be a 4 stitch bind off but I went for 5 stitches instead, like the picot I did on my Olilea shawl. I figured that would use less yarn and go faster. I was conscious that I still have to make tassels and needed to leave enough yarn. I doubt that I’ll make this shape of shawl again. It’s not my favourite style as the start of the knit it takes forever to get any width and you’re left with a very long skinny bit. I think crescent shawls are my favourite shape. It will need a good blocking, which will hopefully get done this week.

The other project I’ve been working on this week has been my Mina’s Vanilla socks.using my Fibernymph Dyeworks inversibles yarn. I have now added both heels and I’m working my way up the leg. One could say that I’m on the last leg of this project. Sorry, pun fully intended! It was great for knitting on the train from Wollongong to Sydney and back. I didn’t have a small bag or plastic bag to put the socks in as they were in with my Songbird shawl’s bag. The socks were fine in my handbag (Mary Poppins style, with everything including the kitchen sink!) until I removed them on Friday night. I had dropped at least a dozen stitches and it was hard to pick them up. After several attempts with the circular needle, which was all I had with me, I decided I was only making it worse and waited until I got to the house when I could use my trusty little crochet hook. It looked like such a mess that I’m now surprised at the fact that it’s not even slightly noticeable!

I did manage to block my Turtle Dove, though it’s been so steamy that it’s taken several days to dry. All ends are sewn in and I just need to wait until the weather cools before I can wear it. I think it will be a fantastic staple in my wardrobe. The lighting in the garage was not great and this pic makes it look like it’s brown, rather than a very dark, almost black charcoal.

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Patchwork

Though we were only staying at Bawley Point for a week, I did end up getting out the sewing machine and diving into a little project that’s been on the list for some time. I’ve had a pack of minky fabric for a few years now and thought that it’s time to use it. There were 8 pieces that I squared up to 13.75 inches each and then cut them into four. Minky is such a soft plush fabric and is also stretchy. I have heard that this fabric is such a pain to sew together and maybe that’s why I hesitated for so long. I was thinking that I might use some tear-away paper to assist when I discovered that it is only stretchy in one direction. So, when I laid out the squares, I made sure (or thought I did) to have one stretchy side match up with a non-stretchy side. This worked fine if I used several pins. You can see how I laid them out initially and then how they ended up after the individual rows were sewn. I need the rows to be offset as well for when I sew them and realised that one row was wrong. It still works OK as it has been rearranged as I wasn’t going to unpick. I will sew these rows together this week. The zig-zag patterned piece was not straight on the fabric and I couldn’t straighten it or I would have lost too much fabric and would then have been on the diagonal, leaving two stretchy sides. As it is, I got the measurement wrong on the pink and white spot fabric so only got 2 pieces. Lucky I only needed 30.

Paraphernalia

During my packing experience, I uncovered some of my first few successful knitted items. These three are circa 1985 as I know that the yarn for two of them, the plain cream and the grey, was purchased in New Zealand on my honeymoon. I’m also pretty sure that the cream one was knitted completely on my honeymoon – we had a hire car and drove around the south island for 2 weeks. Robert drove which meant I could knit to my heart’s content. They have held up very well considering they were just tied into a normal plastic bag (not airtight). The cream one had one tiny hole but also had some age stains. I have kept the grey one for now.

I finished my book, The Godmother, and did enjoy it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d not been so distracted with the move and opportunities to listen to it were so far apart, that the book was quite disjointed. The ending was excellent. I have moved onto my next book which is Heavy on the Dead by G.M. Ford. It’s a light, fast-moving detective story which is part of the Leo Waterman series that I’ve been reading for many years now. I was intending to listen to a different book but it hadn’t been download. This one will be nice and entertaining for the next week. As there is no wifi for the next couple of weeks, I took the opportunity to download some episodes from Netflix when we were in Wollongong. I downloaded the latest season of When Calls the Heart. I’m thinking that something light is best at the moment. In the meantime, I have been watching the start of the latest Married at First Sight season. Very light and entertaining, and a good laugh at times. Sometimes quite cringe-worthy!

We have two more weeks of living out of suitcases and a final car packing before we move into our temporary accommodation for the build. Those two weeks should be quite relaxing and we will be a little closer to home. We’ll be able to call in and check out the progress. Time to finish packing the cars and move on to our next stop so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 2 February 2020. #80

Hello friends! What a week this has been. I thought our packing was hard work until we got to this week. Today we leave our old house after living here for 29 years. I can’t say I’m really sad about it because it was a renovation to start with but now we’ll have our own designed home to live in.

Every day has included packing from first thing in the morning to at least 4.30 in the afternoon. Packing, loading, moving to the storage space, repeat. Aside from that, Monday evening we had a drink at the Brewery to celebrate a friend receiving the Order of Australia Medal. We had a visit by a Longicorn beetle. They are at least 4 times bigger than the normal beetles we get around here! I babysat Evie on Wednesday and we went to the pool for a swim. On Thursday night, we had dinner with our friends for which we’ll be house sitting. We got the lie of the land and had dinner looking out at a wonderful sunset. Instead of sunrises we’ll be seeing sunsets for a while. On Friday morning, I got up before the sun and was soon greeted by a very red sky. The second photo shows the sun in the sky but doesn’t show how orange it was. The final three photos were yesterday. The first shows the state of our main entrance area this week. Everything from other rooms had to come through here and it looked like nothing had changed all week. The other rooms are very empty now. Finally, after working hard packing and moving in 38 degrees, we were able to have a cooling swim. You can see the bruises on my legs, mainly from hoisting boxes!

The storage space is filling up nicely but it will be pretty packed today when the rest goes in. There are heaps of stuff from the pantry, laundry and bathroom, along with outdoor chairs and bikes, and more! We will still be able to access at least all the items closest to the front where we’ve put our winter clothes, my crafting supplies and other items. I’ll post the final photo next week. That outdoor table frame was only draining as it still had some water to get out. It’s now sitting at the top right of the picture, above the lounges and three bed heads and ends.

Knitting

Finished Object: This is going to be a very short blog this week as I have done very little. Actually, Thursday, Friday and Saturday did not see a stitch made! That’s a very unusual situation but we had to meet the deadline and there was still so much to do. Early in the week and on Wednesday, I spent a bit of time knitting on the body of my Turtle Dove and was able to bind off while Evie slept. I did try it on a few times, even though the temperatures were in the high 30s, and I finished it with the simple rolled hem option. It’s a bit wonky at the moment but I think blocking will fix that. Hopefully, I get the chance to do some blocking this week. It’s not urgent, though, as the temperature will have to drop some 15 or more degrees before I’ll be able to wear it!

The only other project I worked on this week was my Lunae shawl. My evening knitting has been done in front of the Australian Open watching some very entertaining tennis. You can see the pattern is taking shape now, though it is slow progress with so many stitches.

As I mentioned, not a lot of content this week and I’ve been missing my crafting. I’ll be able to do plenty of knitting tonight, though, when we settle in at Robert’s sister’s holiday house down the coast. We’ll be here for this week, moving next Sunday to a friend’s holiday house for 2 weeks. I have packed plenty of knitting, sewing and some spinning to keep me amused for the next three weeks before we move into our long term temporary accommodation and watch the new house grow. This week, I’ve managed to work through a few podcasts and some of my book but nothing else. I’m certainly looking forward to the rest next week, especially for my back which has really not enjoyed the lifting and standing and bending! So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 26 January 2020. #79

Hello friends. Happy Australia Day!! Today I celebrated with friends, something that has become an annual event hosted by our friends Pam and Rod. We are so lucky to live in such a wonderful country.

The week began on Sunday in Sydney with a relaxing day at home with my daughter, Erin. The boys were at Shaun’s golf competition and the girls took the time to chill. I had a lovely walk in the afternoon through the beautiful area around the Harbour near Balmain.

The rest of the week was constant packing and moving, relieved only by two days when I was babysitting Evie. I took Evie to the Discovery Space at Wollongong Uni which she enjoys. It was my first visit and it was a difficult place to find but I know where it is now! They have so many wonderful learning experiences; different settings for children to learn in. In the photo below, Evie is heading off at full speed with the junior-sized trolley to go “shopping”. There are all sorts of small items they can shop for and a till to pay for it all. They also have a puppet theatre, a train station and so many other great interactive experiences. On Thursday, we had a huge hail storm which was quite frightening, though I can’t imagine how much worse it was in Canberra with their golf ball-sized hailstones! That did so much damage to cars and property. I was fortunate that our hail was small as my car was out in the middle of it all. The storm was followed by an amazing rainbow.

We finally had access to our storage space on Monday and you can see the first load and then after Thursday’s load, which was followed by a well deserved cold drink at the brewery. It was 41 degrees Celcius that day and I know it didn’t drop very much during that night.

Yesterday was another hot day, though only in the mid-30s and we had some very helpful friends come and assist with moving all our big furniture and appliances. Many hands certainly make light work, and it was all moved by midday. That doesn’t mean the work is over! Now that the big stuff is gone, the rest of the minor items will be easier to move and it should be easier to fill the storage space in the most economical way as it is getting close to full.

We did another load over to the storage space today before we went to our Australia Day party and saw so many people celebrating at Moona Moona Creek. There was little space left for any new arrivals and the kids were lined up on the bridge to jump into the water. There was nowhere to stop the car but I managed to take a few snaps as we were driving along the bridge.

Last Sunday I had some spare time and actually sat down to think about goals for 2020. I have had some goals floating around in my head and decided I would like to put them down on paper so that they don’t get lost/forgotten. I have set some personal goals and focussed on Knitting and Sewing as they are my main crafting categories. One general crafting goal that I’ve set is to work on at least one craft each week that is not sewing or knitting.

This week’s crafting content will be quite short as there was not much time for a lot of it.

Knitting

There was plenty of progress on my Turtle Dove sweater despite the temperatures. I had to try it on several times for sleeve length, including the 41-degree day.  That took a super effort and I didn’t leave it on for very long! The pattern has three quarter length sleeves but I went for the full length. I may have gone a little longer than necessary but it will be nice and cosy. I don’t have too long to knit on the body now and I’m hoping to get it done by Friday so that it qualifies as a finished object for the #blamedunderknitalong. The temperatures are going to be high again so trying it on will be a chore.

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I’m almost up to the heel on my Mina’s Vanilla socks. I have a template that I made for my dad and it works for my foot as well as he has small feet. The pattern has a German short row heel and has an option for a mini heel flap adjustment. I think I’ll just go for the heel without the adjustment.

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The only other project I worked on this week was my Lunae shawl. It probably looks very similar to what I posted last week but I did add a few more rows. I’m struggling to follow the lines on the chart as it’s a wide chart and it’s hard to mark where you’re up to. The good thing is that the pattern is easy to remember once you get a few repeats into the row and it’s just reversed on the second half. I know that the Knit Companion app is supposed to be really good on apple devices but I haven’t been able to work it out on my android.

My knitting goals for 2020 are, in no particular order:

  1. Follow my 20in20 list in the Fibernymph Dyeworks challenge. This shouldn’t be too difficult as the lists can be updated and changed every three months. That makes it more manageable and allows for change of mind or something new and exciting, either in patterns or yarn.
  2. Shop stash yarn and patterns. This may seem like I’m going against number (1) above but I think they actually go hand in hand. The 20in20 is actually to use stash yarn and stash patterns but I don’t want to limit myself to that exclusively, just minimise new purchases.
  3. Clear WIPs. This is self-explanatory though I will not be focussing exclusively on WIPs but clearing one or more at a time as I work through my 20in20. I like to have a variety of projects on the go as I find it minimises project fatigue. Also, some WIPs are actually on my 20in20 list.

Sewing

I have set my sewing goals but they come with a caveat. As I’m moving into very, very temporary accommodation, very temporary accommodation and finally temporary accommodation, some of my goals will be dependent on my ability to set up my sewing area. Obviously, my best set up will be after I move into my new home. My goals are as follows:

  1. Clear WIPs. I have several sewing WIPs and I want to finish them off.
  2. Shop stash fabric and patterns. I have accumulated a sizeable fabric and pattern stash and I’m looking forward to using what I can.
  3. #Make3in3. This is a new challenge that is more achievable than the #Make9 challenge. You set yourself three things that you want to make and try to get them done in three months. If you don’t, you can let any ride for the next 3 months or change up the ones that don’t appeal anymore. It also allows for that shiny new project that you really need to make.
  4. Sew 15 minutes a day (min). This is dependent on being home, and on how I’m set up for that particular stage of my accommodation journey.

Unfortunately, no sewing happened this week but I have my WIPs ready to pack and they’ll be travelling with me.

Paraphernalia

I’ve been far too busy to listen to my book this week aside from my trip up to Wollongong. I did manage a few episodes of Call the Midwife but more often I’ve watched the Australian Open tennis. I’m looking forward to the next season of Outlander which starts about the 15th of February but I won’t be on wifi at that time. I hope that we can sort out some wifi when we move into our permanent temporary accommodation. This week’s post has been more chatting than crafting so I think it’s time to close. I hope I get more opportunities for my knitting this week but it will be all systems go to get everything out of the house so that we can leave next Sunday. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 19 January 2020. #78

Hello friends. Happy birthday to me! Yesterday was my birthday and I got to celebrate my “solar return” in Sydney with my family. We were also celebrating our son’s birthday which is tomorrow (Monday) so we all went out for dinner at Chinatown followed by ice cream at Messina. I love it when we are all together!

The week started last Sunday with a day out at the Jervis Bay Brewing Co. at a fundraising day for the fires. Though it was a dull day weather-wise, it was a fun day with bands playing and raffles, and good friends. The rest of the week was particularly boring with my view mainly in cardboard cartons. We have packed a good deal and the boxes are cluttering the house in nearly every room. Fortunately, that is going to change tomorrow when we start moving them all into storage. It will certainly make the rest of the packing much easier.

Knitting

This was another week where knitting was the only craft. The packing has been very physical and quite tiring so relaxing in the afternoons with some knitting has been therapeutic. I had so many things brought back into rotation last week that I totally forgot about my Lunae shawl. This one was quite a slog. I’m not saying that I’m not enjoying it but the star stitch rows were very slow going. On one row I had to pass over a stitch every three stitches and the next row was making a stitch every two stitches. The rows are very long at the moment and now that I’ve started on the slipped stitch section it will go much more quickly. The top and middle left pics show where I was last week and the bottom one is where I am now. The middle right photo shows how I did nearly a whole row slipping incorrectly. The return row on a mosaic pattern requires an almost rib-like backwards and forwards of the yarn and I hadn’t done that. That meant fixing every burgundy stitch as I went along. I was able to drop the two rows and fix each stitch without having to frog bag two whole rows. I had obviously lost concentration at that point. The difference is a little difficult to see but you may notice the white yarn cutting the bottom of each burgundy stitch where it shouldn’t, as you can see in the correct pattern in the section below it. Hopefully, I only have a couple of more weeks to finish this one. I’d like to get all these projects off the needles asap so that I can move onto some new cast-ons and some languishing WIPs.

Finished Object: I finally finished the Olilia advent shawl! The ends haven’t been woven in and it will definitely need blocking, but that will have to wait until I get home and find some time and space to do it. There is very little yarn left from the 12 mini skeins that I’d dyed up (only 3.5gms of each purple and red as shown) and I even calculated the amount for the picot bind off without having much leftover and not running out along the way. I worked out that I needed about 4 times the amount of each row and I had a little bit more than that as I wanted to cast off on a knit row. You can’t really see the picot at the moment without me pinning them back so I’m hoping that the blocking will resolve that.

The Songbird shawl is moving on with still more than a quarter of the second skein left. I have transitioned from the extra slanted stitch section into a garter stripes section and I’ll be able to add another slipped stitches section before I cast off. I will need to leave some for the tassels too.

There has been a little bit of progress on my Mina’s Vanilla socks. On the drive up on Friday, I noticed that I’d dropped a stitch but it was at least 10 rows down. At the gauge that these are knitted it would be too hard to pick up so I just added a safety pin and I’ll anchor it later. I seem to drop one stitch on most pairs of socks that I’ve knitted! It’s never noticeable but it’s very annoying.

At long last, my Turtle Dove is again underway! I tried it on the other day and decided to decrease again on the sleeves. Since then, I’ve added another decrease within about another 6 inches of knitting and I need to try it on again to see if any further decreases are required. The pattern has the sleeves finished with a ribbed cuff so I need to see where to start this. I have not yet decided on the bottom of the body. I have actually knit to further than where the pattern says I should start the ribbing for a high low split hem so I thought I would just knit the simple rolled hem. But, looking at my photo of where I’m up to on the body, I think I could still do the high low split hem. This project was cast on for Knitting Vicariously’s #blamedunderknitalong and I have until the end of January to finish it for it to qualify. It has been sitting waiting since the end of November, I think. I should be able to get it done! I have left the body on two needles to make it easier to try on, rather than adding the needle and taking it away each time.

Finally, I had intended to do a birthday cast-on but I didn’t plan well enough. During my stash sorting for the packing, I noticed several skeins that I would like to start working on, one being the Stranded Dyeworks Yesterday’s Bouquet in fingering and silk/mohair. I also have another fingering and silk/mohair combo and I was wondering what I could do with such a small amount of yarn. When I knitted my Millie top, I decided to use two different skeins that had overlaps of colour and the combo came out very nicely. As the Yesterday’s Bouquet skein has some undyed sections, I wondered whether I could alternate with an undyed skein and another silk/mohair. I did have a small amount of beige silk/mohair but not enough that would do the job. I thought I could use the Stranded mohair with the undyed fingering and the beige mohair with the Stranded fingering but firstly, of course, there’s not enough of the beige silk/mohair and secondly, it may be too plain, looking at how pale the Stranded mohair skeined up. I do have quite a lot of burgundy silk/mohair and I’ve decided to try that combination – the two stranded colourways together and the plain undyed fingering with the burgundy mohair. The Stranded fingering skeined up quite dark so the undyed fingering would lighten it up and the burgundy would match the burgundy in the Yesterday’s Bouquet colourway. Anyway, it is yet to be seen whether the combo will work well as I didn’t bring the right length cable to knit the rib neck in the round. I actually don’t think I have anything short enough with 6.0mm tips that would do the job. My Chiaogoo shorties only go up to 5.0mm. The pattern I’d chosen to do with this yarn is the Ranunculus. I already made one in a cotton/linen blend and I’ve been wearing it but I wanted a woollen one also. The one I’d knitted already was done with 5.0mm needles but I want a looser gauge with this one. It certainly doesn’t need a lot of yarn though I’m hoping to get long sleeves – or as long as they will go. I think I’ll use the 5.0mm shorties for the rib, adding some extra stitches and will then change to 6.0mm at the increase row. This project would qualify for the #2ndsweatherKAL being run by Cady Jax.

Paraphernalia

As mentioned, there’s only been knitting this week but I’ve got a stash of different projects that will be following me during our 3 weeks before moving into our temporary accommodation. During those 3 weeks, we will be staying at two different places, gratefully offered by family and friends. We will be moving into the first one in two weeks exactly today.

I had an opportunity to listen to my book the other day as I had a quick trip to Sydney on Wednesday if you call a 6 hour round trip a quick trip! No crafting at all on that day but I managed a good chunk of listening. I’m listening to The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre. It’s actually quite a quick read/listen so I hope I have some opportunities this week too. I’m not sure I mentioned it last week but my evenings are filled with binge-watching Call The Midwife on Foxtel Go. It’s such a heart-warming and also a heart-wrenching show! I also love it as it’s set in the time when I was only a few years old and, though it’s set in the east end of London, I can correlate it with my own neighbourhood, to a certain extent.

This week will again be very busy, more so because I’ll be spending a couple of days with Miss Evie and I’m so looking forward to that part of the week. Other than that, I’ll be lugging furniture and boxes into storage, as much as we can move by ourselves, and the rest will require some help next weekend. It’s Australia day next Sunday so there could be some festivities thrown in as well. I have the rest of the day in Sydney with my daughter today but it will be a relaxing one. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 12 January 2020. #77

Hi friends! Things are starting to settle down around here now as the fires have calmed down, in some cases are properly out. We’ve also had a little bit of rain here and there – nothing major but enough to dampen things. As far as long term goes, we’ll need a lot more rain to get the greenery back because, as it is at the moment, there is a lot of dry tinder out there. We are looking at some high temperatures later this week but yesterday and today have been quite cool. Definitely requires more than short sleeves type cool. You can see below what it’s been like around here lately. The photo on the left is just smoke, taken earlier in the week, and the one on the right was taken this morning and it’s smokey and drizzly. The photo at the bottom shows what our view normally looks like.

At this time of year, I always have photos of my times at the beach but we’ve only really had one day that has been worth a visit so far. The other days have been cool or smokey or very windy. I’m hoping that I can get some beach time in soon. This week started with a breakfast catch up at Huskisson which is currently a ghost town. The tourists were either sent home or decided not to come, and the area is suffering. This is a tourist destination and, if there are no tourists, there are a lot of businesses that are going to struggle to make ends meet. I was not very good at taking pictures this week! We also went to the Brewery for a drink on Tuesday evening but there is no photographic evidence. My week has been mostly consumed with packing. As of today, we have 20 days left till we leave the house so I’ve been hard at it. There is so much still to do but I think I have broken the back of it, though we’re still in a mess with boxes everywhere! You can see the photos on the left below. The top one has been cleared but I’m working through more. On Friday night we had a big dinner at the Golf Club – there were 19 of us, and it was a fun night. I’m a bit later with the blog today because we went over to Hyam’s Beach for breakfast with some of the Friday night crew. Again, both places were very quiet. At this time of year, we try to avoid these places as it’s hard to get a table and the wait is long. The all-clear has been given now, so I hope that the tourists come back. The air quality is definitely improving, especially when we get the normal northeasterly winds most days.

Knitting

This week has been all about the knitting. I have been spending all the mornings packing and, by lunchtime, I’m exhausted and my back requires some TLC. The easiest thing to do is to sit and knit. Before I get into the “knitty-gritty”, I realised the other day that I totally did achieve my goal with the Ravelry Challenge – I had not yet updated Ravelry and found that I had yet to add a project for the Golf Club Covers! That took me to 34 projects exactly.

Project challenge

I have now resumed most of my normal knitting from before the Christmas advents and gift knitting. The main one I haven’t started on is my Turtle Dove because it has been quite warm and bulky knitting is not exactly comfortable at the moment – it also needs to be tried on. I don’t remember where my sleeves are at with decreases as I’m doing them as I go. Today is quite cool so it may be a good day to try this on. I think this would only take a week or so when I get back onto it.

Finished Objects: In the meantime, I finished the Bitty booties I started on New Year’s Day and the Garter Ear Flap hat the day after. The booties are done minus the buttons required as it will be a week or two before I can get to a button shop of any description. I think they are looking quite cute as a set which will be even better with the next project below. See how the colour changes from day to day, or different times of day, with different light?

New Cast-on: Early on this week I cast on a new baby item. I was originally going to make the Kimono Nur that I’d tried out at the end of last year but I wasn’t quite convinced at the construction of that one. Firstly, it requires seaming and that hasn’t happened yet on the trial project. Secondly, the decreases on the front section that shows are quite tight. I do have another baby kimono pattern by Joji Locatelli but I preferred the lower angle on the cross over front sections of the Kimono Nur. In the end, I decided to wing it and work out my own construction. It’s only a small project so I wouldn’t consider it a waste of time if I have to frog it back. You can see my construction notes below – or at least the part that I’ve actually done. If it all works out, the finished garment will have a button on each side of the bottom front. You can just see the button holes showing on the right-hand side section which, if I’m honest, could be the wrong side. As it’s all garter, it looks the same either side but button placement depends on whether it’s a boy or girl. As I won’t know that till it’s born and my intention is to gift it before, I will make the call when I pick up for the sleeves. I can’t imagine it would be something that people would notice.

I totally forgot to include my completed Outline scarf in last week’s post! I was able to finish it on New Year’s Eve – finished minus the ends sewn in and not blocked. I’m taking the status as complete due to finishing the actual knitting. I have not had an opportunity to block this yet because floor space is at a premium at present during the packing process and outside is not a great idea due to smoke and some rain. It’s not urgent that it is blocked at the moment and once we start moving the boxes out to the storage area there will be plenty of room, and maybe a bit more opportunity. Hmm, did I pack my blocking wires? Quite possible!

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There’s been some good progress on the Olilia shawl but I still have a fair bit to go, mainly due to the number of stitches now. I have no idea how many there are but I’m guessing upwards of 300. When I finished the main section I decided to do the border in stocking stitch -I didn’t want the contrasting purl bumps on the right side and I want to use as much of the yarn as I can. Having said that, as I move onto the last couple of colourways (or should I say the first couple?) there is a lot more yarn left so I’m trying to keep the amounts similar to the other sections I’ve done. I really want to finish this quickly but, as I mentioned, the rows are so long now and I’m enjoying mixing up the knitting amongst the other projects. I’m glad I’m using the speckled yarn as I love how they look transitioning through the different colours. It wasn’t so noticeable in the first section of the shawl.

My Mina’s Vanilla socks are not moving too quickly but I enjoy adding a few rows on them here and there. They will be good portable knitting in the future but I took the Olilia to breakfast on Monday instead, trying to get that one done.

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Another project that has been re-introduced into rotation is my Songbird shawl. I have actually finished the pattern as written but I’m now working through more repeats to use up my hand-dyed yarn. This is actually a good thing because the pattern seems to increase quite narrowly and is only just getting to a decent width now. I think I have more than a quarter of the total yarn to go.

Due to the fires around at the moment, there is a lot of wildlife that needs some tender care from injuries etc. Facebook is inundated with different causes to get pouches, etc. for these animals and I’ve been following the Animal Rescue Craft Guild. I have started a medium joey pouch but realised that knitting is the slowest form of any of the items they have requested. During my packing, I found some yarn that I thought I could get rid of and then realised it would be perfect for these pouches. Anyway, I’m persisting with this knitting as I’m about halfway, but the next one will be crochet. That will move so much more quickly. These pouches also require cotton liners so I’ll be able to whip up a few of those on the machine quite quickly. That’s a project for next week perhaps.

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With all this packing I had a good sorting of my yarn and realised how lovely it is! It may be something to do with the new year as it’s happened before but I have a really strong urge to finish stuff. Along with that, I now have an urge to not buy anything and to use up what I have. In that vein, I’m joining in with a couple of Ravelry KALs for using up pre-2020 yarn and patterns. The Crazy Sock Lady Podcast has a #stashbusters2020 KAL and Fybrenymph Dyeworks is having a 20in20 KAL. I’m not sure of the hashtag for that one as there are quite a few on Instagram. The Stashbusters KAL is to use yarn from before 1 January this year. That will not be hard at all, and there are themes for each quarter. The 20in20 requires you state lists of 20 in whichever categories you wish, or all of them – yarn, pattern and fibre, of what you will use. I’m going to try for all though I don’t have 20 separate fibre packs. The requirement for each is that you acquired them before 1 January this year, so same scenario. Let’s see how I go! I’m itching to cast on a couple of new things, and they qualify) but I’m hanging off until I finish a couple of things. One is the Le Pouf cardigan by Hedgehog fibres. I have the yarn for this one but just need to dye a couple of them to suit the colour scheme I’m going for.

Spinning

I did want to do some spinning this week but where my wheel is set up has become overcrowded by boxes. As I’m mid-ply on my black (grey), red and white spin, I don’t want to move it and there’s probably nowhere else for it to be at the moment. I did sort out my fibre stash this week – partly for the 20 in 20 challenge I mentioned earlier, but also because I’m packing that to go with us to our temporary accommodation rather than into storage. We’ll be able to access the storage unit whenever we need but I know what needs to come with me. My non-current knitting WIPs will be on top of this pile.

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Crochet

I did attempt to continue with my Inka the Little Llama security blanket project this week but the stars were obviously not aligned. Firstly, I realised that the hook is no longer with the project and I have no idea where it might be. Secondly, I realised that I probably crocheted the head in the wrong size hook but I have no way of knowing this. And lastly, the crochet hook I need to proceed has gone AWOL also! Needless to say, this project has been put back into time out until I can find/get another hook. Looking at the size of the head I crocheted and the blanket I can see that it’s probably out of proportion and I’ll just have to do another head before moving onto the ears, nose and arms. There is definitely something to be said about reading patterns carefully!

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Sewing

It was nearly another week without any sewing projects but I managed to squeeze in a little time, and a little floor space, to cut out my next project. As I mentioned last week, I wanted to cut out a short-sleeved top from the navy crepe jersey I have. My indecision rested with whether to cut out the top from the Sheona pattern that I have already used or cut out a new pattern that I have called Neenah. In the end, I went with the path of least resistance and used the Sheona pattern. Let’s see when I’ll be able to start stitching on this. If you look at the top photo of the two of my packing chaos early in this post, you may see right at the back I have a pile of, mainly, sewing/quilting items that I’ll be taking with me to our temporary accommodation. That pile is currently either next to or on top of my machine, or on the chair in front of my machine. I have to pack up that pile ready for transport.

Paraphernalia

I had intended to work on my goals for 2020, and also my word for 2020 but that hasn’t really happened. My word for 2019 was “settled” and I may just stay with that one for 2020 because of the house build. We thought it would start mid-2019 but we were delayed and that was one of the reasons I selected the word. Let’s just go with that. As far as goals go, I’m looking at getting my fitness back and losing a couple of kilos. Christmas and visitors slowed down the fitness regime which I’m now getting back into properly. I would say my major goal for 2020 is getting settled into the new house and that has kind of started with the packing cull. Living in the same house for 30 years has seen a build-up of stuff that is no longer needed and I’m enjoying the cleaning out process during the packing. I must say there’s a non-enjoyment side to this process too as it’s really hard work and playing havoc with my back. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

As far as books go, I’ve not been able to concentrate on listening to any during the packing as I do need to think about what I’m doing. I have managed to get through a few podcasts as I can tune out on those every now and then and they have been building up. Night knitting has been accompanied by binge-watching the Call the Midwife episodes, from season 5 and I have plenty to catch up on, but I also want to start The Witcher. I think I may try to split the difference and take turns on each. It’s hard because I like to move onto each next episode when I’m really into something.

I should now move onto some more packing but I think we’re heading over to the Brewery with some friends for a fundraiser afternoon and some bands playing. It is Sunday after all, and I’m pretty sure I deserve the break. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 5 January 2020. #76

Happy 2020 everyone! I hope you had a wonderful entry into the new year. Around here, the fires are still raging and the emergency situation continues. On New Year’s Eve, we had another pyrocumulonimbus event when the sky turned to night, though it wasn’t quite as dark as the previous one. Our son and daughter in law were leaving that day but the highway was closed so they stayed an extra night. The highway opened up to the north the next day from our point of entry though was and is still closed to the south. There has been a huge loss of property and too many deaths. For us, the situation has only been uncomfortable, with smoke and road closures and they were only minimal – the smoke cleared each morning once the northeasterly wind kicked in and we weren’t going anywhere. The situation flared on New Year’s Eve with very high temperatures, in the 40s Celcius and very strong winds. That’s when a lot of houses were lost.

Our daughter and her husband left on Monday and I took Evie for a walk to the park via a couple of the local beaches. We’d had a few outings to the beach, trying to get Evie to accept that sand is sand and you can still have fun on the beach. Tuesday wasn’t a day for the beach and at 3.30 pm it was quite dark again. Chatting to some tourists at the shops, they told us that they’d left the beach because it was too weird being dark at that time. On New Year’s Day, we woke to a very smokey atmosphere and doors needed to be kept closed. We said goodbye to the kids and they managed to get out onto the highway and home without too much traffic. The traffic situation became critical soon after with all the people trying to flee the fires from the south and there were lots of times they weren’t allowing vehicles through.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were spent packing. We now have 26 days to clear the house so there’s no point in waiting till the last minute. Weather predictions forecasted a repeat of New Year’s Eve and maybe worse for Saturday so on Friday we packed up and went to Wollongong to stay with our son and daughter in law. It was very precautionary as I don’t think we were particularly under threat – maybe indirectly due to embers flying around but there would be considerable devastation if the fire actually reached our place. We went more to avoid the smoke, possible road blockages and power outages which had disrupted other towns and closed shops, etc. I’m sure we would have managed for at least a week with the food in the house, particularly the canned and dry goods that we have. Regardless, it was a pleasant time with family and we spent Saturday morning at the local beach pool.

We have returned home to cool, calm and slightly smokey conditions – not bad enough to have to close doors. The fire had diverted slightly westward which was definitely in our favour. Unfortunately, it is still burning well all around.

Knitting

There hasn’t been much opportunity for crafting but I’m now almost back to my regularly scheduled knitting program. I finished adding the heel to my son in law’s socks and they look quite large! I didn’t finish them before he left but I don’t think he’s in a hurry for them during the current 30 and higher degree temperatures at the moment. I’ll be able to get them to him later this month. I added a true afterthought heel which I hadn’t yet done, normally doing the waste yarn version. This time I had no idea where the waste yarn was to go but I’m really happy about that as this is a much better method.  Using waste yarn tends to leave more gaps on the heel corners than the true afterthought method. The YouTube tutorial I used was by KirbyWirby, where she leaves two stitches at each end of the cut row which keeps that section closed up. Most videos just leave those strands loose to sew in later but I tied them to the yarn I was using for the heel. I worked out afterwards that you need to see which side of the hole the ends are and tie them off on that side. I just tied them when I reached them and I know one was definitely at the top section and I tied it to the bottom section. It’s OK but I know now for future heel additions.

I was able to pick up again on my Olilia shawl. It was good knitting for distracting situations and for travelling as it’s all garter stitch. It was a little tricky increasing in the dark on the way to Wollongong on Friday night, when I had to M2L and M2R at each end of the right side rows. Last time I checked in with this project was when I had started the yellow section. I’ve now completed that with the speckled yarn and I am all but finished the green and its coordinating speckle. I’m considering the best way to start the border. The pattern only has one colour but I want to use the remainder of each mini in the correct order of the matching speckled minis. The shawl finishes with a picot bind off so I’ll also need to ensure I have enough of the final mini to complete that. I think the final colour will be a speckled one.

New Cast-On 1: I didn’t do any cast-ons on New Year’s Eve as I hadn’t prepared for it and a beautiful sleeping baby was guarding my yarns and needles. It was easier to sit and just knit on my Olilia shawl. On New Year’s day, though, I cast on two new projects. One was a pair of socks using some Fibernymph Dyeworks Yarn’s Inversibles. The colourway has been discontinued – I’m using the turquoise blue and dark brown version on her Bedazzled base – 75% Superwash Merino/20% nylon/5% stellina. Again, the colours are showing differently in the two pictures but the right one is correct, and you can’t see the sparkle. I’m using Mina’s Vanilla Sock Recipe for these, doing toe-up and two at a time. She provides both cuff-down and toe-up instructions, though there is only one way for the toe for the toe-up method. I wanted to try the rounded toe that is provided for the cuff-down instructions and reversed the decreases for my increases. I managed that very well but should have started one row later in the pattern so had to increase again after what should have been the last one. Also, I had knitted a round straight after casting on and probably should have gone straight into the increases. It’s really not noticeable but I like the round look and I’ll know what to do for the next one. There are so few patterns for toe-up that includes a heel, most use the afterthought heel. I have made these before and now know where my heel placement should be. This pattern has a German short row heel and mini heel flap adjustments.

New Cast-On 2: The other cast-on was the Bitty Baby Booties for a little one due in March. I had made one booty late last year to try it out. That one was very small so this time I went up a little bit with the needle size and I’m using a worsted weight instead of DK (8 ply). I finished both the booties on New Year’s Day but I need to sew them together now. Not cast-on on New Years Day but the day after was a matching Garter Ear Flap hat by Purl Soho. I had made one for Evie and it’s really cute. I remember it was a bit small for Evie so I am knitting it with 5.0mm needles instead of the 4.5mm required. This new baby will also be younger than Evie when the hat will be worn so it should fit nicely. The yarn I’m using is the KnitPicks Swish Worsted in the Rainforest Heather colourway. It is 100% Superwash Merino and very soft and squishy.

Another way to review my knitting in 2019 is the Ravelry Project Challenge. In 2018 I finished 33 projects so for 2019 I set my challenge at 34. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get there, only finishing 33. The potential 34th project was finished on New Year’s Day so I was very very close! I finished 1 scarf, 1 cowl, 4 tops, 6 shawls, 2 pairs of socks, 8 sweaters, 2 hats, 1 skirt and 8 baby items. Not a bad effort. I think I’ll stick with a challenge 34 projects again for 2020.

Going into 2020, I hope to “shop from my stash and my library”. As part of my packing this week, I sorted through my stash and I have some lovely yarn to use. I’ll be matching up what I can with patterns in my library that I haven’t yet made.

Sewing

With the house full after Christmas and our quick trip to Wollongong, I haven’t had a chance to do any sewing but I certainly have plans. The first is to make a short-sleeved navy blue top with some navy stretch crepe I purchased recently. I need a top to go with a skirt that I haven’t worn yet and this has been on the cards for a few weeks now. The main hold-up was deciding which pattern to use. I don’t particularly want to purchase a new one for a simple short-sleeved top so will either go with the Shona dress pattern, cut as a top, or the Neenah dress pattern that I have. I’ve made two Shonas and wanted to use the modified neckline that I made on my second one on the Neenah pattern. I’m just concerned that the Shona may be a bit more fitted than I’m going for so I may cut the Neenah pattern and go with my first plan. But, then again, it may be OK. Watch this space! Hopefully, I’ll get some sewing time in amongst the packing.

Paraphernalia

I didn’t have a lot of projects to talk about this week. Though I’ll be packing, I’m hoping that everything else now settles back to a more normal routine after the festive season and that the fires die down. As I type, I’m looking out at some very light rain and this is very comforting. A little rain is better than the drying gale-force winds we’ve been having. My heart goes out to all the people who have lost everything in this crazy time. When we left for Wollongong on Friday we had to decide what to take with us. Most of our stuff is replaceable though it would take some time. My husband packed up his surfboards, golf clubs and fishing gear. I took most of my needles, current projects and a couple of future projects. We decided that if the house was to go, we’d need something to keep us sane in the aftermath. I didn’t think there was real cause to worry but there is always that little bit of doubt.

Until next week, keep safe and I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 29 December 2019. #75

Hi friends! Welcome to the final blog for 2019. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas week. For me, this week has been a bit of a whirlwind spent with wonderful friends and family. On Monday, we had our regular fortnightly catch up breakfast. I had intended to ride over to Huskisson as I normally do but the smoke from the fires was so thick it was difficult to breathe just putting out the garbage. The fires are still burning in the areas around us.

The rest of Monday and also Tuesday were spent baking. All my present wrapping was complete so I decided I would make a Gingerbread House. Except that I don’t like gingerbread so when I saw Marilisa from A Girl Meets Yarn podcast making one with a chocolate sugar cookies recipe, that was the perfect solution. It was a lot of fun making this but it sure doesn’t take 5 minutes! I also made a Zuppa Inglese which is a fabulous recipe from the Woman’s Weekly Italian Cookbook. I have been making that recipe probably twice a year for the past 20 years!

Wednesday was Christmas Day and we had a wonderful time with our daughter in law’s family. There was a lot of fun and food to enjoy! I was amazed at how well the gingerbread house stayed together, surviving a 1.5 hour drive without anything dislodging. It was still standing even when nearly half the walls were taken out. You can see the creamy Zuppa in the photo below along with a yummy plum pudding and custard.

On Thursday, Robert and I took advantage of the Boxing Day sales on our way home from Wollongong. As expected, the shopping centre was crazy with others doing the same thing. We didn’t spend a lot of time there but we came away with a couple of bargains. All the kids arrived on Friday and we’ve been having a wonderful time, with Miss Evie stealing all the attention. There’s still some smoke around but it’s mostly high up. You can tell from the yellow hue on the photos, and the sun always looks red/orange. There was a strong north-easterly wind yesterday so we went to Moona Moona Creek for a paddle. That was followed by a quick visit to the Jervis Bay Brewery.

Knitting

I’ve had much less time for crafting this week and the time has been spent on the same things as last week. I managed to finish the socks for my son in law and we have measured them for placement of the heel. I’ll be cutting into them for the afterthought heel today! So far they fit OK as tubes but will be much better once the heels are in.

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I also finished the second golf club cover and made pom-poms for each of them. I made my own template for the pom-poms and it was hard deciding on the size to get them big enough and I think the centre hole was probably a bit bigger than I needed. I’ll need to get myself a set of those pom-pom makers if I’m going to be making more. I had trouble cutting the yarn between the cardboard templates as the yarn wanted to fall into the hole that wasn’t very full. I think they look OK though, and I’ve worked out the sizing of these club covers now if I need to make more.

The Outline scarf is ongoing but I never did get caught up. You can see in the photo that I’m knitting day 21, about to add day 22. Once the afterthought heels are done today I will work on finishing this off.

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Day 25 included a wonderful surprise of extra gifts. There was a full cake of Willow and the Wisp‘s Hand Dyed Slub yarn, 90% superwash merino/10% nylon, along with some great little stitch markers and a crystal! The slub yarn doesn’t have a colour name but it has lots of different colours, including mint, turquoise, magenta, blue and lots of others. I’ll have to show how it knits up. I wonder if that yarn is suitable for socks? It may be a bit too textured.

This year I didn’t do a Christmas Eve cast-on. I had my hands full with these Christmas knits and no desire to get further behind with them. I do have plans to do a New Year’s Eve cast-on, which is a tradition of mine lately. Reviewing this year’s Make9, I managed to finish five of the projects and I am working through the sixth one. With the others, I think I’ll do the Sevrine cardigan by Vanessa Smith instead of the Boothbay cardigan by Hannah Fettig and the Mori cardigan instead of the Kagerou top, both by michiyo in the Hikari Collection. I still think I’ll make the Carbeth cardigan by Kate Davies. I have the yarn for all of these. I don’t think I’ll do a Make9 for 2020 – instead, I’m planning on using stash for both yarn and patterns. I’m obviously not going to limit myself to that if something shiny and new pops up that I just have to make but I want to cut down on stash as I love what I have and want to use it. I also want to finish the WIPs that I have waiting patiently. Not just the ones I abandoned for Christmas knits but there are a few that I want to finish that have been there longer.

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Acquisitions

The main acquisition this week was receiving a tensioned Lazy Kate for Christmas! I had put it on my wish list and that wish was granted. Of course, I got other wonderful things for Christmas but this was the only crafty one. I was also given some yarn to make something for Evie so that could well be the New Year’s Eve cast on if I can decide what to make. I put my Lazy Kate together and it’s ready for me to use once the visits have left. I have a chain ply started but I don’t want to hassle with it when there are so many wonderful distractions at the moment, spending time with all the kids.

Paraphernalia

I did manage to watch the remaining Vlogmases but have not had much opportunity to do anything else. I have started a new book, The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre, translated by Stephanie Smee. Originally written in French, this novel won the European Crime Fiction prize and was well received by Leigh Sales and Annabelle Crabbe from the Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast. I have barely started it so I can’t make any judgement but I’m looking forward to getting into it further.

I’m hoping the fires will die down and give some relief to the affected areas and all the volunteer firefighters that have been hard at work for several weeks now. It’s such a sad state of affairs and many families have suffered so much this Christmas.

There are no plans for New Year’s Eve at this point so it might be a quiet night at home. We’ll see what happens in that arena. And the week ahead is looking to be quiet also, apart from packing up the house. I’m hoping to get some beach time in amongst the packing. It hasn’t been the best for the beach in the past week or so.

Now it’s time for me to cut open those socks. I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful end of 2019! So, until next week and into the new year, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 22 December 2019. #74

Hello friends! We are creeping ever closer to the end of 2019. This week was a busy one as I was babysitting and also had to do a bit of driving. My week started with lunch with my bestie, Mary, down at Ulladulla. We’ve had a few nice days with some minor smoke haze. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent with my little sidekick, Evie. She wasn’t well with a tummy upset but fortunately got over that, not without passing it on to both her parents. Luckily I didn’t get it! On Wednesday evening I drove to Sydney to pick up my mum and dad again and drove back on Thursday morning for several appointments. One of these was a visit to the Mobile Blood Bank. I then had a little bit of time before the next appointment so sat in the Library and knitted for a little while. It was a very hot day so sitting in the car was not an option!

Friday was a busy day. I started it with a relaxing coffee at Huskisson while mum and dad spent some time there. That was followed by a quick turnaround when I dropped them home and headed back for lunch with Lorraine and Narelle. During the afternoon, I whipped up some mini caramelised banana and walnut crepes to take to drinks later that evening. They turned out very yummy! The evening started with the opening of the local brewery. It was a good turn up and we are hoping that it takes off with the tourists this season. I’m not a beer drinker – fortunately they also offer wines. The evening ended visiting friends at Erowal Bay for some Christmas drinks. It was actually where we’ll be spending a good portion of the first half of next year while our new house is being built. You can see the view from the back deck out to the Basin where I think I may do a bit of kayaking. The area here is called the Bay and Basin, with Jervis Bay on one side and St. Georges Basin on the other side. I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

Yesterday was quite eventful in an unusual way. It started with a trip to Shellharbour Square after dropping my mum and dad off at Kiama Station. I think I have about finished my Christmas shopping now, thank goodness! The fires have been spreading around our area with a couple of new ones now started. We have a major one about an hour south of us, a couple about 30 minutes to the west and another about 20 minutes to the north. We are essentially surrounded by fires. We are not alone in this – apparently, there are more than 90 fires just in New South Wales. We were predicted for a high of 41 degrees Celcius yesterday which is 105.8 Fahrenheit but we only reached about 26 degrees (79 degrees Fahrenheit) where we are. It was more like 38 degrees in Nowra. We did get a southerly come through to cool things off but that also brought with it a huge pyrocumulonimbus storm front formed by the intense heat of the fire causing air to rise rapidly in the smoke plume. It doesn’t necessarily bring rain but we did get some thunder and a short shower. That only managed to bring down wet ash and the smoke smell which wasn’t there earlier and it also caused the day to disappear to night time as you can see in the screenshot below. I couldn’t get a decent photo that showed how dark it was but it was essentially like midnight for about a couple of hours before it moved over us and almost normal daylight reappeared before the sun even started to set.

Knitting

I still haven’t resumed my normal knitting program due to the advent and gift knitting this week, also due to the limited crafting time. I am several days behind on my Outline scarf now, currently knitting on day 17. Since it’s the 22nd today, that makes me 5 days behind! That’s OK as I’ve also worked on some gift knits which have a higher priority. How wonderful are these beautiful jewel tones from Willow and the Wisp!

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The Golden State Warriors socks are growing well. The progress marker shows where I was at last week and how much I’ve done since. I still need to do at least a couple more inches before I start the cuff. The cuff will be the solid blue and then I’ll add the heel when they are tried on by the recipient so that I can put the heel in the right place. I think I might do the heel starting with the solid blue and finish it with the solid yellow.

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I finished the first golf club cover last night but I went a bit big in size. My local golfing authority (Rob) said it needs to be a bit tighter all over. I can manage that and I’ll cast on another one today, using only 36 stitches for the shaft and do maybe two fewer increase rows on the head section. It should be a lot easier to do now that I know what I’m doing and also because there will be fewer stitches. Of course, there will be a pompom on top!

My other advent, the Olilia shawl, has been relegated to the lowest priority for now but I still gave it a little bit of love this week. I was in the middle of the 4th section last week and have only finished that and started the 5th section.

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Spinning

This week I finished my spindle spin singles on my spinning wheel. I haven’t plied them together yet as I need to clear a couple of bobbins. I have now wound the single off the spindle and onto one of the bobbins below ready for plying.

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In an effort to clear a bobbin, I got back to my black (grey), red and white spin. This is the second lot of the same fibre and I’ve started the plying with a chain ply. It’s a tricky form of plying and it’s been a little bit of a struggle but I’ll get back to it today without disruptions and maybe get into a better rhythm with it. I think a tensioned lazy kate would help keep the flow of the yarn coming out willy nilly and plying on itself before I get to it. It’s looking quite tightly spun but I’ll see how it comes off as I’ve been a bit underspun lately.

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Sewing

This week I cut out a pattern I found online for some baby bloomers. I was a bit suss about it because the front and back were the same but went ahead anyway. I had only very little left of the contrasting fabric so used that for the bottom frill. I used a size 1 pattern but the bloomers turned out a bit small. I’ll do some modifications to make them a little bit bigger. I haven’t added the elastic to the legs yet but they are a bit narrow too. The dress was a success if a little bit big, so there’s room to grow into it.

Paraphernalia

We are reaching the end of 2019 and there are some apps around that sum up your Instagram year. My “Best of 2019” features my Graphica sweater and includes my Baubles shawl, the Starflake shawl, my Humulus sweater and my Floozy cardigan. It is interesting to see the stats.

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Another app is the “Year of Colour” on Instagram. I did it for both my My Creative Obsessions profile and my personal profile. I always hope to see more bright colours but it obviously includes all the background colours. The one on the left is my MCO profile and the one on the right is my personal profile. I can see that there are many more colours on the MCO profile.

In the lead up to Christmas, I will be wrapping presents but I’ll also start packing boxes for our removal next month. Everything is now set for a start date of the first week of February to demolish the house and building will commence immediately after. I was able to get some packing boxes through Facebook Marketplace but I’m certain I’ll need more. Once these ones are filled, I will have a better idea of exactly how many I need. Obviously, I won’t be able to pack a lot until we get closer otherwise I’ll be packing things we need on a day to day basis. And the whole family will be here next weekend so I don’t want people climbing over boxes the whole time!

I finished my Audible book – The Survivors Club by Lisa Gardener and enjoyed it. I haven’t started the next book yet, choosing to listen to podcasts while driving at the moment. For my viewing pleasure, vlogmas has been keeping me occupied, if not a little overwhelmed! Again this year, I have chosen some to follow religiously as there are far too many to watch them all.

Now it’s time to get away from the computer and either do some chores or some knitting! I know which I would prefer but also what needs to be done. So, until next week, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it otherwise enjoy the holidays, and maybe get lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 15 December 2019. #73

Hello friends! ‘Tis the season….. and it’s been getting quite jolly around here. And preparation for the big pack up has started. Last Sunday we managed to give away our old piano. It had been a great piano for our daughter when she was learning but wasn’t needed anymore. It was quite an adventure getting the beast out of the house – the recipient’s collectors were amazed at the weight of a simple upright piano. Apparently, they have plates of steel in them. Apart from that, little else has been done as I need to get my hands on some boxes. Hopefully this week! We now have 8 weeks left to empty the house before the demolition starts.

The week started with a bike ride to our breakfast catch-up, a hair cut and some Christmas shopping. Tuesday night was Book Club Christmas Edition with some fine food. On Wednesday, we had a Christmas Sewing Day at my friend, Narelle’s place.

Friday started with a paint pouring session at my friend, Carol’s, place and was followed by a pleasant evening celebrating our husbands’ golf year at their annual group Christmas dinner. This year we went to the Kanpai Japanese Restaurant. On Saturday night, we caught up with friends visiting from Sydney at the 3 Gringos Mexican Restaurant. So much celebrating, so little time! The Christmas decorations are popping up around the area – I’ll have to go for a drive one evening just to check them out.

Knitting

This week has been another one without my regular knitting. I’m hoping that the regular program can be resumed soon! The Outline scarf continues each day but, as of today, I’m 2 days behind in my Willow and the Wisp advent. I’m working on 13, next is 14 – the orange and I’ve opened the box for 15. I worked out that it takes about 2 hours of knitting to get each 10 grams done so there’s little time for much else. I was a bit concerned about my choice of pattern and the colours at first but I’m now loving this project. It’s my scarf of many colours!

The other advent – my Olilia shawl has only had a little look in and I’m in the middle of skeins 7 & 8 of the 12-day advent that I’d dyed up myself. I was going to cut one of the short rows to reduce the main colour usage but in the end, I only did three instead of four rows (right side/wrong side) before starting the short rows. This should have the same result and leave me enough to add to the border.

Last year, yes last year, not earlier this year, I started knitting some socks for my now son-in-law. He’s a mad Golden State Warriors fan so I dyed up some yarn – variegated in blue, yellow and white plus solid blue and solid yellow for heels, toes and cuffs. Not knowing how big to make them and when to start the heel turn, they ended up looking huge so I put them aside for a short while. Hmm, maybe a long while! Anyhow, I got them out the other day and decided to rip back to where the heel gusset started and just knit a tube with toes and heels. I got into a bit of a pickle with tangled yarn, especially since I’m doing them two at a time from one skein only. I managed to get that sorted and I’m well underway. I thought I might gift him these, if they’re done, without heels and I’ll put in the afterthought heels while he is here after Christmas, when I can see where they need to go.

More gift knitting is happening. This is a trial run at knitting a golf club cover with a pattern using different size yarn and what looks to be a smaller head size. I managed to get the shaft cover finished quite quickly but have stalled on the head knitting. I am using 8 ply (DK) acrylic yarn and the pattern is for bulky. I did have several starts where I tried knitting the rib using two strands but it looked silly. In the end, I added a few stitches and just used a single yarn. It seems to fit over the head of my husband’s driver. I’m now increasing for the head and I was told it needed to be thicker so I’ll add that second strand and a larger needle. I also want to add some white and it was suggested to do a “D” for “driver” so I’ll see how that works. It will all be finished with a pom-pom on top. If this prototype works I’ll do a couple more in relevant colours.

Spinning

I had hoped to have had this spin finished this week but I haven’t been at the wheel very often. There’s still about an hour or so of single to spin before plying. I’ll try for next weekend.

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Sewing

I had cut out a Geranium dress for Miss Evie a couple of weeks ago and this week I have finished it, all but the buttons and buttonholes. I’ll need to buy some buttons, hopefully tomorrow and maybe finish it off before I head up on Tuesday. It’s a fabulous pattern and I love adding the bits of fun contrasts with the bodice lining and hem.

Patchwork

After all but two years of this Christmas tree quilt sitting and patiently waiting, I am now finishing quilting it. The paralysis was mainly on how to quilt the star border and I’ve settled on thin back and forward squiggles. I had seen this on one of the quilting Instagram photos that I follow. It’s certainly making the stars pop and maybe I didn’t need to have the squiggles so close but it looks good. I would like to have this hanging by next weekend as this is the Christmas tree for this year. I have added the binding on three sides but I’ve left the top so that I can add a rod pocket.

And I finished Miss Evie’s stocking. I found the fabric where I’d left the stocking pieces so I was able to make some matching bias binding. I watched the SewCanShe tutorial on how to make continuous bias binding. I had made some previously but it wasn’t continuous. When I bought the panel, I didn’t realise it was considerably bigger than the other stockings but it is only fair that the smallest person gets the biggest stocking!

Stitching

My Round the Garden quilt got some love at my Sewing Day on Wednesday. I decided to start on the flower border. I had used a friend’s CriCut machine back in August at our retreat to cut lots and lots of little circles. I thought the amount I cut would be enough but it’s going to take more cutting out of circles to get all the way around the quilt!

Painting

On Friday, my friend Carol and I got into some paint pouring a la Rinske Douna. It was a lot of fun. It seems Carol’s hairdryer isn’t strong enough and my hairdryer is too strong! My large picture looked very much like a flower so I added some green to make it look like the bud section. I’m not sure if I need to add more of a stalk to that green bit or not. I did add some more but it’s not shown in the final picture I have here. The canvas is still at Carol’s place as they can’t be moved due to the amount of wet paint on top. I also did a small canvas with leftover paint – the two pictures at the top. This is such an addictive form of painting that we want to do more. I realise that normal painting does not really interest me but this is fun and I love the results.

Acquisitions

I received some happy mail this week in the form of my December Batt Club from Ixchel Yarns and Fibres! The photos do not do this batt justice and you can’t see the sparkle. It is gorgeous! This is my third and last batt of this club and I haven’t even spun up the first. The main reason is I need to decide how I’m going to spin it. I think I’ll be doing one of them very soon though.

Another visit to Spotlight, another few remnants! This week I got the following, clockwise from top left. The colours are a bit paler than in real life – they are much richer than shown here.

  • Stretch 16Wale Cord, Burn Red – 1.30m x 140cm. $13.00
  • Stretch 16Wale Cord, Mustard – 0.65m x 140cm. $2.60
  • Rayon Poly Crinkle, Dark Mustard – 0.80m x 148cm. $6.72

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Paraphernalia

News out recently is that the Pantone colour for 2020 is Classic Blue (19-4052). It’s always interesting to see what is chosen. I’m not sure I’ve seen any previous influence from the Pantone colour but the reasoning behind this is best described by Pantone: “For over 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.” Last year was Living Coral.

I have just joined the International Virtual Knit Night (IVKN) group and have had two sessions with them. I don’t actually have a knit group here and this is a great way to spend some time with other people who have the same interests. Both times there have been people from the UK, the US, Europe and Scandinavia, along with a couple of others from Australia. It’s not too easy to join but it ensures that only the people with the same interests are participating.

This week, seven of my friends and I booked flights to Alice Springs to visit our friend Vicki who now lives there. We will be there at the end of June, during the world-famous (I think) Beanie Festival. It will be a great sewing retreat with lots of other attractions thrown in. I have been to Alice Springs before and have hiked nearly all the gorges there, and there are many, but I’ll be happy to visit a few again with those friends that haven’t been. They are well worth visiting!

I finished up one more advent and this time it was a 12-days of Christmas advent made up of fancy beers for my husband. The real 12 days of Christmas actually start the day after Christmas Day (Boxing Day) and go to the 6th January. This 12-day advent started on 13th December, finishing on Christmas Eve instead. I am struggling to get into the Christmas spirit this year, mainly because it’s not our turn. We have Christmas every second year with our kids visiting in-laws in the alternate years. This is our off-year so we’ll be celebrating as a family the weekend after. We are fortunate that one of the in-laws live not too far away and we are invited to join them. This will be a wonderful Christmas Day as Evie will be able to enjoy the festivities. Last Christmas, she was only 2 months old. Christmas is much more fun with children! So you can see below the sum total of my Christmas decorations. When it’s our turn for Christmas we always get a real tree – I don’t think you can go past the beautiful pine smell.

I think I’ll put on some Christmas music and go and see what other decorations I can put up to maybe get into the spirit of the season! So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO