Sunday 17 January 2021. #130

Hello friends! This week has been full of fun, starting with a couple of days of beach weather. On Wednesday, I went to spend the day with Evie and we did some birthday shopping for her daddy and had a pool party. It was a good way of keeping cool on a hot afternoon. That evening, Robert and I had dinner and drinks at the brewery with our friends, Ken and Deb. On Thursday, I had a fun day with my friend, Lorraine, at her place with some sewing, lunch and a swim in her pool. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos! On Friday, I spent most of the day doing housework and getting ready for Steven, Kim and the kids’ arrival later that night. I also made a Zuppa Inglese birthday cake. It seems not long ago that I was telling you that – October for our other big birthday grouping. The kids visited to celebrate Steven’s and my birthdays coming up this week. We had a lovely day yesterday at the beach, then Chinese lunch at the Golf Club followed by afternoon tea birthday cake. They all left this morning and I’ve been relaxing today, starting with a visit to the beach. I went to a different beach today, just to the left of our normal beach, because of the southerly blowing and I didn’t even get into the water as it was quite fresh in and out.

Knitting

I finished the Bitty Baby booties on Wednesday this week and Evie and I took them to the post office. Erin has received them and she really likes them. I have also made a little progress on the Lieselotte baby blanket though not as much as I would have liked. I just need to keep going round and round for some time yet!

I have made some progress on the Long Squishy Tube test but, again, not as much as I’d hoped. I had ordered a set of 5.5mm tips which arrived on Wednesday but then I realised that this size of tips, and sizes above, require a different cable with larger connectors. I will ring and order some of those tomorrow in probably three different sizes. That way I’ll have the right cable if I need to use these tips on another project or maybe some other tips. In the meantime, I’ve been struggling along with the DPNs. It’s not horrible but a bit painful and definitely slower going. I had hoped to be at the end of this section by now but I’m only about half way. I’ll try to catch up this week when I get the cables. I will continue with a repeat or two each day until then.

The Half Moon Oracle shawl is moving more slowly now since the last increase as there are now 294 stitches. I’ve mainly been working on this while on my International Virtual Knit Night zoom chats but have also picked it up a couple of other times. I have another 13 rows to do before I moved onto the next section which I think is more brioche.

Sewing

Last Sunday, I got the urge to cut out the Hope dress by Style Arc. For this, I decided to use some patterned chiffon that I purchased on special from Super Cheap Fabrics. I think I paid under $3.00 a metre for this so it’s very economical. It is a bit see through but I intend to wear a black slip underneath. The chiffon is quite slippery and I have decided to do French seams to encase the edges and avoid fraying. I cut out the size 10 which would be fine but I probably should have cut out size 12 as the seams are only 1cm. It’s challenging to do French seams on a 1cm seam, especially with such a fine, slippery fabric. Anyway, I have been doing teeny seams and it seems to be working but I’m concerned that the seams might be a little larger than the 1cm allowed. It is a loose and flowing style so I’m hoping that it’s OK. I’ve only done four seams so far – the front and back bodice pieces to the sleeves. I’ll probably do a bit more this week so I’ll see how far I can get. There are not many steps on this pattern. I have to add the facing and sew up the sizes and sleeves. Then it’s only a matter of gathering the skirt and attaching. I was thinking of applying elastic instead of gathering and that will bring the bodice in under the bust a little. That may not be necessary as the fabric is so drapey. I find that dresses on me without shaping under the bust tend to have a maternity look about them. For the hem, I could do a rolled hem but I haven’t done that before. I think I’ll be happy to add a normal hem to give a bit more weight to the bottom and it would probably be too long on me otherwise.

Patchwork

On Monday and Tuesday, I finished off the Superman quilt I was making for Finn as a play mat. I only had a little quilting to do on Monday and then on Tuesday I worked on the binding and added a “peeper” in red. I found some fabric in stash in the right colour for the binding and used the red fat quarter that was part of the original fat quarter pack for the peeper. When I had sandwiched the quilt I went a little crooked and the white border was beyond the backing by about half an inch only on one end of one side. To remedy this I trimmed that side and was wondering if I should only trim the opposite side when I realised that I had trimmed a good side. So I trimmed all sides by half an inch. This only reduced it to a two and a half inch finished border which is fine for this size quilt. I added the peeper at the same time as the binding which, at first, was a bit fiddly though I soon got into a rhythm with it. I took it up and gave it to Finn on Wednesday and he thinks it’s great! So does his sister who joined him for a test run.

Paraphernalia

I managed to watch a few shows this past week though I was hopping from one to another as I found it hard to concentrate on any one in particular. I’ve been watching Virgin River on and off and that was good for having on while I was sewing. I watched a bit more of Ozark, another episode of Unforgotten (that’s coming out each week) and have also started Bridgerton, which has grabbed my attention.

Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating another solar return and will be spending the day with friends and family. I’ll be catching up with friends for breakfast, then other friends for morning tea. My mother-in-law is visiting for a couple of nights so we’ll be going out for dinner. I’m catching up with Mary on Wednesday for a day of painting and knitting. On Saturday, there is a group of us that will be attending a candle-making class and that should be fun. It will be great to catch up as a group again. Erin is due to have her baby on Thursday so I’ll be waiting for a call. Unfortunately, restrictions are still on so that we won’t be able to visit while she’s in hospital and have to wait until she and the baby go home.

Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 10 January 2021. #129

Hello friends! Welcome to a beautiful summer day here on the south coast of New South Wales. The weather has been on and off but the better days are starting to be in the majority now. I’ve been to the beach most days this week and it’s amazing how good it feels in the sun and the saltwater. I haven’t done much this week apart from a few medical appointments and the beach. And, of course, time in my studio working on projects.

There has been some activity around the house this week. The fence is finally being installed and, though they’ve been working all week, it is still not finished. There was a bit of rock that they needed to get through for the posts so that slowed things down a bit. Along with rain on several days. The fence is being installed between our property and the one on the side but we are not having the back fence put in just yet. The owner of the property at our back is having some trees removed and they are on the border so it’s best to wait and have the back fence put in when that’s completed. I think the trees are being removed this coming week so we’ll then schedule the last part of the fence.

Knitting

I’ve made considerable progress on the Lieselotte baby blanket this week. Apart from the four corners, it’s just stocking stitch in the round so it’s been easy to knit on. It’s hard to show the square shape whilst it’s scrunched onto a cable but you can get the idea from the last photo where I put in a couple of more cables so that I could spread it out. I’m onto my 3rd cable at the moment and I’m about to change to the next size as you can see it is really getting bunched up. I’m only on my second ball at the moment and I have another seven. I don’t see using all of them but I’ll work that out when I get a lot further into it.

In comparison, I haven’t made a lot of progress on my Long Squishy Tube cowl test knit now that I’ve reached the slip stitch section. This is because I had to go up from 5.0mm to 5.5mm needles and all I have is DPNs. It has been working but it feels like I have more fingers than I need! I am doing a little at a time waiting for some 5.5mm tips that I have ordered. I could only get 4″ tips so I’m hoping they won’t be too long for knitting in the round on this small tube. I’m liking the pattern that I’m getting as I go through my coloured balls. I have plenty of the orange and blue so will do more of those colours than the caramel and green. I hope the tips arrive in the next day or two.

And then there is my Half Moon Oracle shawl – I am so loving the brioche on this! I think I need to have a brioche project on the go all the time. 😄 I am about to finish the brioche section and I will be starting the next lace bit in the caramel. I’m looking forward to adding more of that colour. There’s more brioche after that and I’m probably going to change the colour B to colour C so that I have the turquoise and caramel together this time. From there, there will be another lace section and I’ll decide which colour it will be when I get to it. The pattern calls for colour C which is my turquoise. In the photo below, I was watching a YouTube video on Hong Kong seams whilst knitting on this.

Erin’s baby is due in ten days and we are all excited, waiting to hear some news as it could be any time! She asked me for a pair of Bitty Baby booties like I’d made for her friend, Ash, so I whipped these up yesterday. I only need to stitch them down now and add two buttons so I hope to get that done this afternoon to pop into tomorrow’s post. I believe they may be for the “Welcome Baby” photo.

I finally got around to blocking my Slipstravaganza shawl! It is HUGE! Which is normal for Stephen West’s shawls. It is really amazing what a difference blocking makes. In the middle photo, you can hardly see the colours in the honeycomb and diamond pattern sections and the blocking has opened them right up. I still have a few ends to sew in though the majority have been done already. This shawl will definitely be in rotation next winter.

Sewing

My new Janome has been set up for free motion quilting on the Superman quilt this week so I have moved onto the old Janome to work on this Harvest top by Pattern Runway. This is a free pattern available through Peppermint Magazine. I am making this as a wearable muslin but it’s probably become much more complicated than the normal project would be because I used some lacy fabric. The sticker on the fabric said Charlotte lace when I purchased this remnant from Spotlight and I was hoping for some inspiration as to how to use it. I thought the three section design would be good to feature the fabric. I had to fussy cut the top and bottom pieces so that the fronts and backs would match and I used some good quality homespun for the centre bits and sleeve cuffs. I think it’s homespun or it could be some quilters muslin as it’s softer than normal homespun fabric. I had to make a few modifications. Firstly the bottom section of the top is supposed to be a doubled up piece of fabric but I wanted to use the lace edging without a hem. For this I just needed to cut a half horizontal piece. The pattern also has a front neck facing and back neck facing/button band but I didn’t want the big facing around the neck. Instead, I cut a bias strip which I attached and folded over the seam before folding and stitching in place. That produced a small quarter inch seam without raw edges. I then had to work out what to do for the back. Instead of the button band facing I decided to add a doubled up piece of homespun on each side for the button band which also enclosed the raw edges at the back opening. I’m yet to try it on at this point so I’m not sure if it’s maybe longer than I’d like. Also for the fit. I removed one inch on either side of the back opening which I think is what I needed to remove for the different button bands. I can make any adjustments I need to before adding the buttons. I need to unpick and re-stitch the bottom of the right button band as it is longer than the other – it looks like the lace may have stretched a bit when I was adding the band. I didn’t actually measure it, just cutting it off when I reached the end. I think the top would be really easy and straightforward to make if I didn’t need to make so many modifications and I have some fabric that I would like to use for it. I should have more photos of this one next week – hopefully some action photos too.

The old Janome really got a workout this week. I also hemmed around three different muslins. I showed the fabric last week and got stuck into that to get them away to Erin. The mail was really quick as she received them in two days! You can see below that the Crazy Sock Lady was keeping me company whilst sewing these.

Paraphernalia

The Superman quilt is still in the machine and I forgot to take photos but that is getting close to finishing. I have been listening to my book, The Champagne War, whilst quilting. Other than that, I’ve finished The Fall on SBS On Demand and I’m now watching the second season of Unforgotten on Foxtel. I’ve also been physically reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. That has been my beach entertainment. I have a quick swim then set the alarm for half an hour while I read. I don’t want to be in the sun for too long so that’s a good beach session for me. My YouTube podcasts have settled to a normal state after the plethora of Vlogmases and I’ve even had time to catch up on some audio podcasts. I listened to a good episode of Dr. Chatterjee’s when he interviewed James Clear on Making Habits Stick. It’s kind of topical at this time of year.

I have another quiet week ahead of me apart from a trip to Wollongong on Wednesday to see my beautiful grandchildren. I have missed my little sidekick, Evie, as I haven’t seen her since just after Christmas apart from one video chat. I’m looking forward to some fun with her. I’m also looking forward to some Finnick cuddles! I’ve see photos each day and he is changing so quickly. He’s fully connecting now and I can’t wait to see him.

I know the Covid situation around the world is still making people miserable but, until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 3rd January 2021. #128

Hello friends! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Welcome to 2021 and here’s hoping that it’s a great year for everyone. Many have been wishing 2020 away because of Covid but I know that it will take more than a date to fix the problem and I think it will take some time in 2021 for things to get better. I have had a quiet transition into the new year. The family stayed until early this week and I enjoyed my quality time with the big kids and the little kids. The little kids melt my heart! We enjoyed some more deck meals but not as much as we would have liked. The weather has been very wet and there was only one day that you could actually call summer. Evie helped remove all the ornaments from the Christmas tree and we had a little fun with the tree skirt before it was packed away. I was in bed by 11.30 on new year’s eve and didn’t hang around to see the fireworks on the TV, choosing instead to rest up. I’ve had a lot of washing to get through since everyone left and the weather hasn’t been the best. I try to avoid using the dryer if I can help it. The Christmas stockings made for colourful laundry!

Zoe from the Ewe Sew You podcast suggested a live stream for an Oracle shawl cast on party for our IVKN group while going from 2020 to 2021 where she is in the UK. (More about the cast on later.) She also asked if anyone would like to be a guest on the live stream and I thought it would be a bit of fun to try out some vlogging. We started at 10 pm UK time which was 9 am my time so it was perfect for me. We had a great time, with some other members of IVKN joining in on chat while we were live. This was Zoe’s first time using the StreamYard platform and there was a little hiccup when she tried to switch the camera to the live broadcast of the London fireworks. That totally crashed her computer and I had to muddle on by myself for several minutes. It was a little awkward as I was only a guest but I had to keep chatting for those watching. Finally, Zoe managed to get back on and I no longer felt like the imposter who had hijacked the vlog! I’m not sure if I’ll ever do any YouTube videos but it was a good experience. Maybe I will give it a try one day. The photo is during the set up of the stream.

Knitting

It’s really all about the knitting this week! The weather and general lethargy has made it my go to crafting. First up, I finished off the stripes on my 25 stripe sock yarn. As I mentioned last week, the socks are long enough to make into two so I kept knitting through the last stripes that were actually meant for heels and cuffs. Being longer, I ended up with a couple of longer stripes though they won’t be noticeable, particularly because they’ll be inside the shoe. I also ended up with one extra long stripe as when I wound off my skein for dyeing, I finished at 24 and had to add another one for 25. I kitchenered the toe but I haven’t sewn the ends in yet because I’ll do that when they are separated so that I can get to the inside. These socks are now going to wait until I meet up with Mary and her socks and we’ll afterthought separate them and add the cuffs. Then the heels.

I managed to finish the Cabled Baby blanket on new year’s eve. I knew it wouldn’t take long once I picked up the second side’s stitches. It’s very squishy and stretched out easily enough for blocking and I hope that it will keep its blocked shape when it’s dry. I had spun the blanket in the machine so it wasn’t very wet when I blocked it out so I’m thinking I may wet it again when it’s dry, before I remove the pins. I thought the stitches my improve where I dropped down to fix a cable that was the wrong way but the stitches still don’t look great. I think it will be unnoticeable when it’s being used.

I have made some progress on the Shell Cottage socks. I had stalled when trying to work out how to the do the gusset and heel flap backwards but I worked out the gusset easily enough. I have also found a free pattern via the Little Big Knits podcast that does the gusset and heel flap from toe up. She’s used it and it is just what I want – its’ the Toe Up Socks with a Difference by Wendy D Johnson. I won’t be doing too much on this for this month as I have some commitments now. Maybe a little bit here and there.

New Cast On #1: Yesterday I cast on another baby blanket. This time I’m doing the Lieselotte shawl by Beatrice Perron Dahlin. This came up in my blanket search but it’s actually a triangular shawl. As this pattern was the one chosen by Erin, I decided to go ahead with it and make it the full square. That was easy enough as I’ve done one like that previously – the Twinkle Twinkle Baby blanket by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. That pattern included an eyelet each four rows and I just ignored that. To cast on in the round, I used the Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast On YouTube video by KnitFreedom. It’s a really easy process, though I remember it took me a few goes last time; this time I had no problem. I followed the pattern for the Twinkle Twinkle blanket for the first seven rows then I realised that the Lieselotte had a different method for the side borders of each quadrant. The Lieselotte uses Left and Right Lifted increases (LLI and LRI) on each side of three stitches so I moved into that pattern though I wasn’t very happy with the result. I found the sides of the three stitches to be messy with that type of increase and noticed that on the projects on Ravelry too. Instead, I am now doing Knit Front & Back (kfb) and it’s a lot nicer. So now I do kfb on the stitch before the three and kfb on the third stitch. The kfb adds a purl stitch as the increased stitch, therefore I’m getting that on each side of the three stitches. It was a bit of a confusing cast on but now I’m able to just knit easily. The premise of the square is that you need to increase at each end of each quadrant in every second round and I was finding that it was getting more confusing to know which round I was on as the stitches increased so now I have a red globe stitch marker (shown on the first picture) which I put on at the beginning of round when I’m increasing then I take it off for the next round. I think that will be better than making a mark on a piece of paper or even clicking a counter on KnitCompanion. I’ll see how that works. I am enjoying this and I just want to keep knitting. I have scheduled at least an hour on this each day. When I have more than one project that need to be finished, I like to set a daily amount so that I can get through them.

New Cast On #2: There were a few of my friends on the International Virtual Knit Nights zoom group who indicated that they wanted to start the Oracle shawl by Voolenvine and someone suggested an informal KAL. Since I’ve had the pattern for the Half Moon Oracle shawl in my library for the last couple of years, I decided to jump onto the bandwagon. The Half Moon version is just half of the Oracle shawl. I would like to do the full version but I can’t imagine using the shawl doubled, therefore I had purchased the half version. This semi circular shawl is my favourite shawl style so it was a no brainer. I then had to stash dive to find the yarn I wanted to use. I looked at many versions but then I found some leftovers that I love, some teal Wren and Ollie sock yarn in the Seven Seas colourway from my Zweig sweater and some Mad Tosh Merino Light one of a kind colourway from my Tuileries sweater, and thought they would be perfect together. Then it remained to find one more yarn to go with it. I found a skein of KnitPicks Hawthorne fingering in the Aquatic Speckle colourway that I’d never liked and thought it was time to overdye it and use it. More on the dyeing later in the blog. The final decision was then to work out which order I should use the yarn. I went through all the variations with three skeins and settled on the caramel as A, the dark teal as B and the overdyed yarn as C. I think C is the one that stands out the least and, being bright, I thought that might be the best option.

New Cast On #3: Yep, I know! Mad, really but I said I would so I will. Susan Distel is a member of the Ozzie Fibreholics group that I belong to on Facebook and she was asking for test knitters for a cowl that she has named The Long Squishy Tube cowl. It’s in worsted weight with 5.0mm and 5.5mm needles so would be a quick easy knit, especially if you didn’t have anything else on the needles. Anyway, I volunteered and found some leftover KnitPicks Tweed yarn that I used for my Nightshift shawl by Andrea Mowry. This doesn’t need to be finished until the end of January so I reckon I’ll be able to do it. I’ve scheduled half an hour each day on this one and will see how that goes.

Sewing

I have carried on a new year’s day tradition that was passed down by my mother and that is to wear something new on the 1st of January. The premise for this is that you will have new clothes for the rest of the year, or something like that. I always have something new, even it if it’s only a new pair of knickers but this time I had nothing! So, what do I do? I spent a relaxing new year’s eve putting together a simple top by The Assembly Line. The pattern is free and is actually for pyjamas but I’d been thinking about doing a drapey top from the top on the pattern for a while. So I did. I used a remnant of poly crepe that I’d picked up from Spotlight recently. It was a very quick and easy project and it’s great. For the next one, and I do think I will do another, I will go down a size as the medium is a bit too drapey. And I also intend to make some pjs out from the pattern too. You can see that I’m wearing this top in the photo near the beginning of the blog, during the live stream on new year’s day.

Dyeing

I enjoyed a small dyeing session this week too. I mentioned earlier that I needed a third yarn for the Half Moon Oracle cast on and this is what I used. The first two photos were taken of the same skein of yarn within minutes and within a metre. It shows how different the colours show in pictures. The first was on my sofa lounge in the studio and the second on a pine blanket box in front of the sofa. Anyway, the colour was something between the two, hence the reason for taking it in different places, as I couldn’t get it right. I used Landscape Ice for the new colour and it turned out great. I did have to do another dye dip as I had tied the ends too tightly onto the skein, leaving undyed sections. It came out tonal as I had intended and I’m really happy with the result.

Workshops

Yesterday, I attended a painting workshop with my friend Annette. She had wanted to do the Frida Kahlo class and, though it wasn’t exactly what I would have chosen, I joined in with her. Turns out I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are lots of the sip and paint classes popping up everywhere at the moment. This one is Pinot and Picasso and is in Nowra, a half hour drive from where we live. We took some wine and nibbles and had a wonderful afternoon. There were 16 in the class and it was amazing how different everyone’s painting turned out, though all very similar. The photo with only two paintings alone in it were those of the teacher. The one above was what we were working on and the bottom one was what she did during the class. There is a heap of variation between the two. And you can see mine and Annette’s are similar but different also. I am now booked in for another class doing Cleopatra after my friend Carol said she was doing it and asked if I wanted to, along with Mary and maybe other friends too. I don’t want to do too many of these classes but the two portraits might look good together.

Acquisitions

A visit to Spotlight for some shirring elastic this week ended up with some more fabric. With another baby coming along this month, I bought some more muslin. Erin had asked if there were solid colours available and when I saw the rust, grey and mustard below, I sent a picture and they were approved. I found a blue muslin remnant which would be good as a gift and I also purchased some bubble crepe for a Charlie caftan beach dress. The 40% sale made all this a good price. The photo was taken while I was in the queue as it was long and slow!

Paraphernalia

This week I finished watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and then I moved onto The Crown. It’s interesting to see their interpretation of what the royals actually did in private, but I’ve heard that this latest season has been categorised as more fiction than fact for this very reason. Still, it is entertaining.

There’s not too much happening this week, aside from a catch up breakfast and a remedial massage tomorrow, then a chiropractor appointment on Friday. My back has been really bad for the last couple of weeks and I’m hoping it will improve. Things are a starting to lock down in the urban areas of Sydney and Wollongong due to more Covid clusters so I’m not sure what travel to either of these will be like. I’ll have to see whether I can lock in babysitting with Evie but I may hold off until the following week and see how things pan out. Until next week, I hope your year has started strong and you are all keeping well with lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 27th December 2020. #127

Hello friends! Welcome to the remnants of 2020. I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday week, however you celebrate. We had a very social build up to Christmas day with a breakfast catch-up to start off Monday. We had family arrive on Monday and also on Tuesday and on Wednesday we went to the local park with Evie. The playground has just been updated and it’s state-of-the-art – well, for what we normally have around here! On Wednesday evening, we had the new neighbours over for a few drinks and it was fun to be on the deck even though it was a bit fresh. Thursday was spent finishing Santa sacks and a Christmas stocking, and then wrapping all the gifts. All the good plans to have it all done early went out the window somewhere along the way! Christmas morning was very special with Evie having a wonderful time, totally surprised by the glorious sight of all the presents left by Santa and given by the family. Finn wasn’t too impressed, happy to sleep through it all but watched the opening of his presents later. We had a few more visitors arrive for lunch which was the usual feast of roast turkey, pork and vegetables with gravy and a beetroot, bean, spinach and fetta salad. Mary brought an awesome leg of ham with a maple glaze. After popping some crackers and telling jokes, which were actually quite funny for a change, and we’d devoured the feast, there was more to come with a flaming plum pudding and a white chocolate cheesecake slice. We had lunch on the deck but it was unfortunately a bit cold which required rugging up somewhat.

My festive cooking happened on Monday and Tuesday and consisted of a large Christmas cake, a pudding and some fruit mince pies. This was all made from the fruit mix that I had put down to soak with some rum. It’s an old Woman’s Weekly recipe that I’ve been using for over twenty years, missing only last year. The different options are wonderful and Robert and I love having them all, though the kids are not too fussed with any. Kim eats a little bit of pudding and Erin likes the fruit mince pies. The boys don’t partake of any, Shaun preferring the cheesecake to anything else and Steven likes the ice-creams. I forgot to take photos of the mince pies.

Today is a beautiful summer day, after several days of mixed weather but mainly cool. The prediction was for 31 degrees Celcius and I don’t think it reached that but it was lovely at Moona Moona Creek this morning with the kids. Evie is not overly enamoured of the water but is getting more used to it each time. Finn spent the whole time asleep in the beach shelter while we paddled in the water

Knitting

There has been very little knitting action this week with zero knitting for a couple of days. After all the Christmas activities on Thursday, I was able to pick it up again and I’m still a little behind on my 25 stripe socks, currently on stripe number 23. It won’t take much more to catch up but I’ve changed plans a little bit. Because they are so long, my intention is to now make two using afterthought heel and cuff. I had allowed for 24 to be for cuff and 25 for the heel but I will knit them until finished and dye some more yarn for the second toe, and both cuffs and heels. Halfway at 24 isn’t quite long enough for my foot so I’ll add those as stripes before adding the toe.

Patchwork

The focus this week has been mostly on getting Christmas patchwork finished in time for Santa. I think I mentioned that it took considerable deliberation when cutting the pieces to extend Finn’s stocking to be the same size as Evie’s one and I took a leap at sewing them on but the process worked perfectly. I finished the stocking, barring a couple of stitches on the end of the binding and Finn’s name but it was perfect for leaving for Santa this time. I’ll now finish it off properly. Finn can actually fit into his stocking but he looks cute lying on top of it! In comparison, Evie looks big though she’s only little.

The other Christmas project was the two Santa sacks – for Evie and Finnick. I had put together some fabric a couple of weeks ago and now added what was required to finish the sack. On the bottom of each I put some Christmas cat fabric because it’s so cute, adding a couple of inches of more neutral fabric at the bottom. For most of the seams I sewed them at 1/2 inch and I folded them under at each side, stitching down to secure. This sack will be used for a few years to come so I wanted it to hold up to the use. The only seam I didn’t do that with was the cat trim – it was a border fabric so I could only manage a quarter inch between strips. With that, I stitched down each side of the border after adding. I used matching red and green Christmas fabric for the E and F on each sack and some matching fabric as a facing on the opening. I stitched a channel of one inch at the bottom of the inside facing for some cording to cinch in the top of the sack. I still have work to do on these – there is no cording yet and I have to blanket stitch around the E and the F. I’m hoping to get that all finished this week.

Last Sunday night, I did some work on the Superman quilt but it was put aside to get the Christmas projects finished. I have started stippling in the picture blocks. That will continue this week and the intention is to finish it as soon as possible.

As a little side project, I made a little mattress for Evie’s baby cradle. I intend to make more bedding in the next few days. This was just a piece of fabric covering two lengths of wadding. It’s not a thick mattress but it will do the trick.

Acquisitions

The only crafting gift I received for Christmas was from Mary who bought me this awesome Sculptural Embroidery Starter Stitch Kit by Meredith Woolnough. Mary and I have taken a class by Meredith and it will be great doing some more. We’re planning a workshop day to work on these!

As a Christmas gift to myself, I purchased two new patterns as they were both 30% off. The first was the Hello Gorgeous Puff Sleeve tee by Pattern Emporium and then I bought the Hope Woven dress by Style Arc. These are both Australian designers and I saw some samples on the Dahlia Sewciety Youtube podcasts – the Hello Gorgeous top and the Hope dress. She made some lovely pieces which inspired me to get the patterns. I’m looking forward to making up some of my patterns in the next few days.

Paraphernalia

It’s another late post this week as I’ve been busy with family today. I have managed to keep up with most of the few Vlogmasses that I’ve been following while working on these projects but have watched little else. I finished the second Season of Blood on SBS On Demand early in the week and only watched one episode of The Queen’s Gambit yesterday.

It’s almost time for me to go to bed now! I hope the last few days of 2020 are enjoyable for you and I look forward to chatting with you again in the new year. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 20th December 2020. #126

Hello friends! Things are all systems go, here in my world. It’s been a busy week with a variety of things; some quality time with my grandbabies and many events where I enjoyed some Christmas celebrations. Last Sunday, we got the Christmas tree standing (in a reasonable manner) but I couldn’t make myself decorate just yet. On Monday, I had a trip the chiropractor for my seizing back and felt great for a little while until I started working on decorating the tree. I managed to finish decorating though I think it could have done with a little more work. I think it still looks good, especially at night, and I think you can see it from the street. I must get out there tonight and have a look.

On Tuesday, Evie and I did some Christmas shopping and enjoyed morning tea together before some indoor playground fun. There was a very special babycino with two marshmallows and some snowflakes! Shopping was basically a Christmas tree hunt – we found them everywhere. And have a look at my beautiful Grandson at two weeks! I can’t even!

On Wednesday morning, I drove down to Ulladulla and had breakfast with Mary. We enjoyed a bit of knitting before Mary had to go to work. I then went to a “Wednesday Golf” Christmas party in the afternoon at the brewery. Yes, there is only one glass of beer there – most of the girls enjoy the wine instead. 😊 I was awake early on Thursday morning so I got onto writing up some Christmas cards before the shops opened. I went to all three of the local supermarkets before heading to Carol’s studio for Christmas lunch. I only managed one bike ride this week because I was so busy but also due to the wet weather. The bay is still a very milky turquoise – it looks great but I’m not sure that an algal bloom is a great thing. It definitely makes visibility poor.

On Friday, we had the “Friday Golf” Christmas party. It’s great that Robert likes playing golf as it make it social for me too. We went to the local Japanese restaurant, Kanpai, for a great meal and tasted a variety of sake. The one I have pictured here was the best – it’s the plum one. Personally, I think most sake tastes a bit like dirty socks; not that I’ve ever tasted dirty socks! I had a wonderful cocktail called Tokyo Rose and I think it’s my new favourite. It had plum sake, peach schnapps, vodka, cranberry juice and orange juice. I liked it so much, I had a second one. I’m quite partial to cranberry juice in cocktails – my other favourite is the Cosmopolitan. After a fun night out, I got up very early yesterday morning and headed up to Shellharbour Square to get the Christmas shopping sorted. It was a very productive day though I may have forgotten one important thing. I think most of the people within a 100 kilometre radius had the same idea. I got most of it done and then stopped for a coffee and toast (late breakfast) to take stock before continuing.

Knitting

I didn’t knit much on the Cabled baby blanket this week though I did finish one side border. I stalled a bit because I have to pick up the stitches on the other side but that will be done this week. The side with the border is sitting much better. It’s going to be a very warm blanket so I don’t think it’s needed just yet. Thankfully. Check out my grandbabies rocking their Nonna-knitted (and dyed) socks! Evie’s are made with the leftover of a sock blank that I used for myself so we have matching socks and Finn’s are from a whacky self striping dye attempt.

There was very little other knitting done this week apart from my 25 stripe advent socks. I’m up to date and currently on the lavender colour at the moment which I worked on during my International Virtual Knit Night (IVKN) zoom this morning. I’ll probably be at my machine tonight so I’ll need to finish today’s when I’m knitting tomorrow’s colour at a catch up breakfast in the morning. I had a little accident the other day while cutting some fabric. I thought the yarn wasn’t anywhere near my scissors. I was wrong. 😒 The whole point of a 25 stripe yarn is that there are no joins. Anyway, it’s only one and it really didn’t take too much out of the pale yellow stripe – it looks just like the one below it.

Patchwork

Wednesday’s job was to sandwich the Superman quilt and I got it done. I was lucky that the rain stopped as I like to use my outdoor table for the job. I lay the backing first (of course) and clip that to the table at the top end, then layer with the wadding and top, clipping and smoothing each time. It usually works a treat. I always give the table a good wash before doing this as it can get really dusty being outside. I’ll be working on this tonight and probably watching (or half watching) a mushy Christmas movie.

The Christmas stockings are a priority now. I finally got to cutting some extra bits yesterday after some considerable deliberations on how to attack this. First, I cut out a template from the large stocking and then cut the missing pieces. I needed to do an extra cutting as I had only left enough for one seam (that of the actual stocking) and needed another for it to join properly. I’m just about to add the bottom bits and then it will be easy going for sandwiching.

This week I’ve also been working hard to finalise the studio and get it ready for visitors. I came across this quilt that has been waiting for about five years to have the binding added. I decided that I would get that out of the way so that it was out of the studio and actually on display for Christmas. I could have left it for after the visitors but we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it and it probably would have been left until next Christmas. It was a quick job as I’ve nailed the machine sewn binding technique, though cutting the strips is how I cut the yarn. The binding fabric is rows of music and doesn’t sit quite straight on the fabric. It was easier to follow one of the lines using scissors rather than trying to line up the cutting ruler. It’s now resplendent on our lounge and it’s big enough to go both sides. It’s basically one big square. Unfortunately, the cushions are not Christmassy. Maybe for next year!

Acquisitions

I mentioned earlier about my IVKN zoom meeting this morning. I was busy and may not have joined the meeting except my Secret Santa was in attendance. Firstly, the person I was Secret Santa for and then I re-joined the meeting later to see who was my Secret Santa. My Secret Santa was Patricia from the US and she sent me a gorgeous sock set by Birdhouse Fibres in the Hydrangea colourway. This is 85% High Twist Superwash Merino and 15% Nylon in fingering weight. Also included were these gorgeous stitch markers! I love this gift and I’ll be using this yarn as my New Year cast on. I would say Christmas Eve or Christmas Day cast on but I think I might be too busy and my good sock needles are in use. So I’ll be madly finishing those to cast these ones on. The premise for Secret Santa this year was a little different due to Covid – mainly because of postage delays. Everyone participating had to name three different yarn websites in their country (or for Europe, even a nearby one) and we were able to gift from those yarn stores. I was Secret Santa for Martina in Milano, Italy, and for her I purchased three balls of Rowan Kid Classic. I had a look at Martina’s Instagram page and saw that she did a lot of colourwork. The three balls I sent were a light grey, dark grey and a rust colour called Rosewood. These are 70% lambswool, 22% mohair, 8% polyamide.

Paraphernalia

Last night I finished watching Blood Season 2 on SBS On Demand. It was another season of twists and turns and whenever I thought I knew what was happening I was wrong. It was a great watch. I also watched another couple of episodes of Succession. I have heard rave reviews of it but I’m still waiting for it to take off. It’s definitely good, just don’t know if it’s that good – for me anyway. I will keep watching it. I haven’t listened to much of my audiobook, choosing to listen to podcasts instead, but I think it will be an enjoyable read.

This week will be busy with Steven & Kim and the kids arriving tomorrow and I have so many presents to wrap. I’ll have to get onto that! Erin & Shaun are arriving on Thursday unless the obstetrician advises otherwise. I hope they are able to come for a few days, at least. They have an appointment for Wednesday. I don’t have too much on this week so I’ll be able to spend some time with the grandbabies. I’m looking forward to some beach time so I’m hoping for some nice weather. It hasn’t been great in the past week and it’s looking like the near future may be a bit damp.

I hope you are enjoying the build up to the end of 2020, regardless of how you celebrate, and that you are able to connect with family. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures! Merry Christmas!

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Sunday 13 December 2020. #125

Hello friends! It’s been a busy week but I’ve had plenty of time to spend with new, old and yet-to-be born grandchildren. Finnick is now one week old and it’s like he’s been around for a long time. Evie and I had some quality time together; we went to the park, for a paddle in the lagoon, shopping and playing at home. Erin & Shaun came down yesterday to meet their new nephew and I was able to catch up with them too. Erin is due on the 21st January so it’s all go in our family at the moment.

The week started last Sunday with some drinks at JB Brewery to celebrate a friend’s retirement. It was a very pleasant summer evening. Things are definitely hotting up on the social scene. Monday morning was a ride to Huskisson for a catch-up breakfast. Tuesday, another ride to Huskisson for coffee with different friends and then a hair cut. That evening I attended our Book Club Christmas function which was another pleasant summer evening though it was a little bit cooler.

The bay water has been a vivid green this week and it’s looking stunning. I think there could be a bit of an algal bloom.

I may have mentioned in my last blog that I’d partially received delivery of my Koala sofa bed. It took most of the week and many conversations to get the rest of it delivered and we finally put it together this morning. It’s looking great and I think it will be comfortable to sleep on. Kim & Steven will be sleeping on it in my studio for their Christmas stay and there will be plenty of room for them and Finnick away from the rest of the house, with their own ensuite. The studio is coming together very nicely now and I’m excited to get it all finished. On Friday, I headed to Wollongong again and called in at Santa’s Farm at Tullimbar to buy a fresh Christmas tree. It was the last one left so I was lucky, and lucky that it was a decent tree. It’s still looking a bit flat in the photo below as it was netted for more than 24 hours. Here it is drying as I had it in the rain to clean off the dirt and dust. I hope to have it up and decorated by tomorrow evening. I don’t have a very large car but our trees seem to fit in there nicely and it smelled very Christmassy for the trip up and back.

Knitting

Finished Object: Well, the Slipstravaganza shawl is finished apart from the blocking and sewing in ends, but the 950 stitch i-cord bind off is done and dusted. I had a great session on it yesterday and managed to finish it off late last night. The blocking will open it right up which will make it look so much better – currently the first and middle sections are a bit concertinaed which is hiding the lovely teals. Next week I will have blocked photos and I’m really looking forward to seeing them.

Advent Knitting: So far, I’ve done 12 days of knitting and 12 different coloured stripes on my Advent socks. I’ve realised that there will be too much yarn for one pair of socks and perhaps enough to make two pairs of shorty socks. The plan is now to knit until the end of the 23rd colour and then do another toe with the 24th colour. The 24th colour was going to be the cuff on the socks so it will now be a different coloured toe to the one I started with. The reason for doing this is that I’ll now be making 2 pairs of afterthought everything shorty socks. Essentially, it will be a long tube with a toe at either end. Once the end toe is done, I’ll be picking up stitches at halfway to do a cuff for either end. That will be easier than doing afterthought heels but the same process. At that point, I’ll need to decided if I have to add more length before the cuff. And finally, I’ll add afterthought heels on all four socks. I hope that didn’t sound as confusing as I think it did! It will become clear when I take photos of it. I’ve included my advent wines here too, though I’m missing a couple that I took to Wollongong. I’m four little bottles behind because I keep forgetting to take them with me. Check out the cute little pink bubbly!

Sewing

In last week’s blog, I showed the beginning of the Peter Pan dress by 5Berries Patterns, that I hacked for a “Sew the Look” for Evie. The yellow dress is the one that we found on the internet. The one I made was going to be a wearable toile. I was thinking that it may be a little too small for Evie but it has turned out perfect and will be her Santa photo dress. The hacked sleeves turned out perfectly and the trim looks great. Evie loves the pockets – show me a toddler that doesn’t! Instead of press studs on the back, I used buttons.

I have also started a long term project for a new handbag. I have been after a new crossbody handbag and I haven’t found one that is the size I want or the price I want. It occurred to me that I could make one and had a look around for some leather. I found some kangaroo leather and ordered it. It’s arriving today so I’ll be very interested to see what it’s like. For the bag, I wanted three zippered sections and I found a tutorial online at SewCanShe.com. This is for a small three zippered pouch but I thought I’d make one up with the sizing indicated as a practice and then I can alter the sizing to make it the size that I want. I’m not in a hurry for this as I have plenty to finish before Christmas but I thought I might just do a step here and there. I ordered some Sallie Tomato zipper tape and pulls from Voodoo Rabbit fabric and they arrived early this week. Let’s see how this works – I know the fabric pouch will be easy enough and I think using the leather should be too. It’s a very thin leather so it shouldn’t be too hard to stitch. I’ll use the leather for the outside parts and fabric for the inside parts.

My plans for this week include making a Victory Patterns Sofia dress. I think it will be a pretty quick sew and, if it looks good, it will be my Christmas dinner dress for our do on Friday night. Fingers crossed. 🤞 For this pattern, I called in at Officeworks on my way to Wollongong on Friday and had it printed on A0. That will save plenty of time instead of sticking together A4 sheets. While I was there, I also printed off The Assembly Line’s free Pyjama pattern. I want to make up some pyjamas very soon but I also think the top would look great in some drapey fabric. I may have picked up a decent remnant of some drapey fabric at Spotlight the other day. 😀

Patchwork

I’m moving into full Christmas sewing mode this week and will be putting together two Christmas stockings and finishing two Santa sacks. Here is one of the stocking panels that I’ll be using – it will be Finn’s. I need to make this bigger to match Evie’s stocking size as I wasn’t able to get more of those. This is a Nancy Halvorsen panel and I’m fortunate enough to have some matching Nancy Halvorsen fabric in my deep stash. I obviously knew I would need it several years down the track! The panel was sitting on the base board of my sofa bed that had been taking up room in my studio and waiting for all the other bits during the week.

Paraphernalia

With the three trips to Wollongong in the past week I finished listening to Nelson Demille’s latest book, The Deserter. I also listened to it for a good session each other day as I was thoroughly enjoying it. I definitely love his writing and his flippant and smart-alecky main characters, with a lot of serious thrilling bits. I have now started The Champagne Wars by Fiona McIntosh, which is our next Book Club book. I am finding the beginning to be quite romantic and soapy so I’m hoping it gets better. I finally finished bingeing Spooks (MI-5) and I’m missing having that to watch but I have moved onto Unforgotten which is proving to be very good. I love anything with Nicola Walker in it. I have a long list of series that I want to watch.

My social plans for this week include three Christmas functions. I thought it was four with one tomorrow but it’s actually the following Monday. I’ll be slotting my creative plans in around those and a trip to Wollongong on Tuesday. Christmas is approaching very quickly and it’s less than two weeks until the family is together to celebrate. Time now for me to put plans down on paper so that I know what I have to get organised. 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 December 2020. #124

Hello friends! This week we were waiting patiently for the arrival of our grandson. We had to wait until very early on Friday morning when our beautiful grandson, Finnick, arrived safe and sound. That was obviously the highlight of the week, closely followed by spending extra time with Evie. The week started quietly on Monday pottering around in the studio – I’m still unpacking boxes! On Tuesday, I spent the day with Evie and we had fun in the park followed by morning tea at the cafe before a paddle in the lagoon. On Tuesday evening, Robert and I had dinner at the RSL Club at Huskisson. We had a lovely meal on the deck with a great view.

On Wednesday I did a bit of Christmas shopping and called in at the car wash on my way home. The car wash was certainly long overdue! On Thursday, I dropped my car off for a service and rode my bike home via the Woollamia boat ramp. They are still doing works there, probably adding more ramp area but it’s hard to tell yet what it will look like. I have given up on my tomato plants as they have been devoured by possums in my absence. Very disappointing. It’s why I don’t normally plant anything anymore as I don’t particularly want to feed the local wildlife! Another bike ride on Friday morning and then I was off to Wollongong to meet Finnick. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen until Saturday morning because I was waiting for a sofa bed that didn’t arrive. Funny, it seems to have turned up since and was left in our under house area. This morning, Robert and I took Evie to the park and then for a paddle. The weather is fabulous today!

KNITTING

I’m getting very close to finishing the Cabled Baby blanket. I finished the top ribbing and then I picked up up the stitches along one side. I’m about halfway through on that one but I might just do more ribbing on the sides than the top and bottom depending on the yarn I use. I have a whole ball for each side but I don’t think I’ll need to use it all. I wanted to do a tubular bind off at the end of the ribbing but, as it’s 2 x 2 rib, that would have meant adding an extra row to swap the stitches around so that it’s 1 x 1 rib. In the end, I just chose to do a normal bind off with a larger needle so that it’s not so tight and it worked perfectly.

After last week’s backward steps on my Slipstravaganza shawl, I’m now full steam ahead to finishing. I’m onto the last chevron repeat and only have just over four rows to knit before the i-cord bind off. Let’s see if I can get this one done and dusted by then next blog. Or will I spend more time on the baby blanket instead? Either way, finishing one will mean I can do the other more quickly.

Advent Fun: On Tuesday I started my advent socks while I was minding Evie. I got the toes cast on and was able to finish the first colour that evening. While I’m doing my socks, I’m also working my way through my mini wine advent. The bottles are so cute and hold a full glass of wine. So far, I’ve had 3 whites, a rose and a red. They are just the perfect size. I have been knitting socks as plain vanilla so far but as I was knitting on the fourth day I thought it might be a good idea to do a slip stitch row when I change each colour. It doesn’t matter that the first few are not like that and I’m loving how it looks with the slipped stitches. It looks like I forgot to take a photo of the socks when I finished day three’s knitting. It’s an easy task to knit each colour on each day and I love getting to each of the colours. I have a feeling these socks may be quite long but I’m going to just knit until they are all done. The afterthought heel will be the last session of knitting. That would be on Christmas day if all goes to plan but I think I’ll be a bit busy with a house full of visitors. It could be a lovely task for Boxing Day when it will all be much more relaxed.

SEWING

Amongst the unpacking of boxes and sorting in the studio, I still got some time to do some sewing. I cut out the 5Berries pattern called the Peter Pan dress and I’m doing a “Sew the Look” of a dress that we wanted for Evie. The Peter Pan dress has long sleeves and I started with shorter ones so that I could try the bodice on Evie. I’m doing the size 2 and I think it will be pretty exact so she may not get much wear out of it. This one is a wearable muslin as I wanted to do one as her Christmas dress for the Santa photo. I should be finished this one in the next session so she’ll get to try it on later this week. I just have to gather the skirt and add it. Then the hem and buttons. The neck is faced with a self binding. The pattern calls for press studs but I might do buttons instead. And I might do buttons to just under the waist rather than all the way down.

I also made a start on my Carnaby dress. I’ve added the facing and worked out how I’m going to finish the back opening without a zipper. I’ve also added one sleeve but didn’t get a photo of that. The fabric is really weird, like the needle doesn’t want to pierce it easily. The pattern doesn’t indicate any gathers for the sleeve but it obviously needs that. Doing the gather was hard with the fabric but I got the first one done. It’s going to be a really wild dress!

ACQUISITIONS

This week I purchased the last of the patterns I was hoping to buy with the sales. It wasn’t on sale but I managed to get a second pattern half price so I took advantage of that. I purchased the Nikau dress and Rookie Wrap skirt from the Sewing Revival. When I saw the dress, I though it would be great for some fabric that I purchased in Singapore a few years ago and I’ve been waiting for the right pattern. I also have some fabric that I’ve wanted to make into a skirt and this one is a wrap that is reversible. It will be great to use some coordinating fabric that I have. All I need is more time to do everything that I want to do!

PARAPHERNALIA

I didn’t get to finish Spooks (MI-5) like I’d hoped but I am very close to the end of the tenth and final season. I’m interested to see how they wrap up loose ends for the finish. Last week, I was reading The Late Show by Michael Connelly. This was a new series and a new character. Though it took a little to get used to it, by the end of the book I was hooked. I’m looking forward to more of the same. I’m now reading The Deserter by another old favourite – Nelson Demille. It’s definitely following the same style and proving a great read. I hope to get some more of it finished this afternoon on my way home from Wollongong.

I’ll be doing more sorting in the studio this coming week, and putting in the new sofa bed. I think it will only be another week or two and the room will be fully set up and exactly how I wanted. Which is good, because the new baby will be sleeping there with his mum and dad while they are staying over the Christmas break. And I’ll have more cuddle time with Evie and Finn! Time for me to hit the road now. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 29 November 2020. #123

Hello friends! I’m coming to you from a very hot New South Wales today. I’ve just returned from Sydney and it was well over 40 degrees celcius – 44 degrees while I was getting petrol! It was in the 30s here in Vincentia and I know it was over 40 yesterday. 44 degrees celcius is a smidge over 111 degrees in the old Fahrenheit scale. It’s been quite a social week which started with a breakfast catch up on Monday and finished with a cafe breakfast this morning in Sydney. I managed to get in three rides, I think. Thursday was my day with Evie and we had fun with some water play in the garden and an outing to the park. We found a Christmas tree in the nearby shopping centre and she was quite intrigued without actually understanding what it’s actually for.

Yesterday I caught up with three old school friends. We get together a couple of times a year – generally a weekend away earlier in the year and a special lunch around this time of year as a Christmas celebration before the mad rush. I got the ferry from Erin’s place into Circular Quay and I wandered up Pitt Street to the centre of the city where the shopping district is. The highlight of the walk up Pitt Street was the Christmas tree in Martin Place. I think the baubles were beachball size!

We had lunch in Sydney Tower which is currently the highest restaurant in the city though that could change when the new casino is finished. Depends on how high their restaurants are. Skyfeast (as the restaurant is called) is a revolving restaurant and we watched the city go around twice. It takes about an hour per revolution. We had a feast with several shared dishes for entree, main course and dessert. We struggled to get through the desserts but managed most of them. It was a lovely day out, followed by a cocktail at Bar 83 which is the floor above the restaurant. It was a very plush and fancy red setting but did not revolve. Dinner last night was with Erin and Shaun at the Tramsheds in Glebe which they followed up with Messina ice-cream.

Knitting

I’ve finally reached the end of the cables on the Cabled Baby blanket! Right now I’m working on the ribbing at the end of the blanket but I will also pick up the stitches on each side of the blanket and add the same ribbing there. The needle I’m using is a cheap 2.75mm and it’s sticking at the cable join. I’ll have to see if I have a better option as it’s not easy to move along and it’s probably too short for the side ribbing stitches. I have some Chiagoo minis in the small sizes and I just need to find the long cable that I purchased specifically for the small attachment. It’s looking quite narrow here but it should block out better and it’s hard to spread it out on the tiles. And the side ribbing will add some width too.

My Slipstravaganza is not popular at the moment. I was zooming along and into my second row on the second last coloured section when I realised that I was doing the wrong stitch pattern. So now I’m going backwards. Normally I don’t mind undoing a few rows but when the stitch count is in the 900s then it’s not so much fun. This is like two steps forward and one step backwards. At least I will be still ahead of last week’s position when I get back to the start of this contrast colour. I thought I’d be able to finish by the end of next week but it may take another week now.

There’s not a lot of progress on my Shell Cottage socks but progress is progress. I’m getting close to starting on the heel so I’m keeping a close eye and trying on after each repeat. I’ll be working a new pair of socks next week for my advent knitting so these may have a little rest until I finish either the Cabled Baby blanket or Slipstravaganza, or both.

Sewing

The only sewing I’ve been doing this week is to finish the test sew. I still can’t reveal what I’m working on as the test ends tomorrow. Hopefully, this pattern may be released soon and I’ll be able to show you what it is. I managed to finish it and take photos on Thursday.

Patchwork

This week I picked up on some Christmas table runners that I started last year for my school friends. They are very worthy of handmade goods and I love gifting them some of my creations. I was able to gift these yesterday at our lunch and they were so excited to get them that they wanted a photo with them. I had finished all the piecing, sandwiched one of them and had cut all the waddings and backings so this week I only had to sandwich and quilt three of them and then add the binding to the four. It was so good to finish one of the many WIPs that I’ve uncovered in the unpacking. I have mine on the hall table in the entryway. I don’t normally put up Christmas decorations until the first day of December but I didn’t want to put it away for four days when I would be taking it out again.

This week I finished the backing for the Superman quilt. I have used all the leftovers from the front piecing and just added a strip of white down the middle. Tomorrow’s job is to sandwich and start quilting. Now that the Christmas runners are finished this is priority one.

Dyeing

Last week I showed the start of my advent project for this year and I actually got to dyeing the yarn this week. It took some thinking on how to go about this and my ziplock bag method proved a good choice. I put each of the 25 sections into snack sized ziplocks and I put dye into each, one at a time. The dish wasn’t big enough for all 25 bags so I used the glass lid as well and I was able to sit the lid on top of the dish for microwaving. The tray photo shows the individual colours I used while I was rinsing them – the two sets are there. You can see the 25 colours of dye that I used and I’ll make a note of them so that Mary and I know which stripe is which colour. I used a combination of Landscape and Jacquard dyes and a couple of Wilton food colourings. Most of the dye was exhausted except for one teal colour – I think it was Landscape Opal or Ice. That one took many rinses but I got it all out. I used a broomstick to hang them to dry and then hand wound each ball. There are two sets of 2 x balls and I’ve already gifted Mary’s set. We are ready to cast on the toe on Tuesday!

Acquisitions

Most of you will know of all the specials that have been filling the interwebs this week for Cyber Monday or Black Friday. I’ve had three patterns on my list and waited patiently for the indie pattern companies to put their sales up. I managed to get two out of the three I was after and one other that I’d been coveting for some time. The first was the Style Arc Marley shirt, then there’s the Victory Patterns Sofia dress and the last was the Sew House Seven’s Toaster sweater. The Assembly Line put up a free pattern for pyjamas as part of their Black Friday sales and I grabbed that as I’m hoping to make a set of these soon. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the final pattern I’m after as tomorrow is Cyber Monday and there is still a chance. I also bought a double Sofa bed with the Cyber Monday special though it was last Tuesday. That’s going into the studio and will be a great spot for me to chill at and also an extra bed for visitors. I’ll be needing it for Christmas. The sofa bed is due to arrive between the 1st and 7th December.

Paraphernalia

I’m still working my way through Spooks (MI-5) and I’m now into Season 9. I daresay I’ll have finished Season 10 by next week. I had also started The Queen’s Gambit, Unforgotten and Succession but haven’t progressed with those yet. I also started a new audible book – The Late Show by Michael Connolly and it’s proving to be another good one. It’s a new series with a detective called Renee Ballard and it indicates that Harry Bosch will be part of it too, though he hasn’t made an appearance just yet.

Baby 1 was due to arrive last Wednesday and hasn’t yet made an appearance. We’re all waiting with great anticipation, no more so than mum and dad! I’ll be having a play date with Evie on Tuesday and otherwise I will be focussed on a couple of Christmas projects, as well as the Superman quilt. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 22 November 2020. #122

Hello friends! How is it that we’re nearly at December? Time is marching through 2020 and that probably suits the majority of people. This week was a relaxing week. On Monday, Julie and I went for a ride over to Huskisson and had a coffee at Portside cafe. It’s such a great spot but I think they could do so much more with the menu. I spent the rest of Monday relaxing after having our friends over on Sunday evening. On Tuesday, Iwent for another ride with Julie and this time we went to the Woollamia boat ramp and then Julie showed me the great kayak/SUP ramp at the end of Dent Street. It’s a great facility for this area and the tourists. It’s not something I’ll use much but I can see a kayak up Currambene Creek sometime in my future.