Sunday 5 July 2020. #102

Hello friends! Can you believe that half the year is over now? I’d like to send a happy July 4th to my American friends and hope you were able to celebrate safely. It seems this year can only improve. Our restrictions have lifted some more but those in Victoria are currently going backwards. It’s been a pretty hectic week for me, mainly on the road up and down, to and from the house. We are getting to the pointy end and things need addressing every day. On Monday I had lunch with my girlfriend, Mary, after checking out some lounges at a local furniture store. On Tuesday, we went to Warrawong to look at lounges. There are about ten different places there and we were able to settle on one and order it. On Wednesday, we picked up a dining table that was gifted to us. Some friends of my mother-in-law were moving and didn’t need it anymore. It will make a great addition to my studio as a large work area for pattern cutting, etc, and also when I’m hosting my crafty friends. After a quick stop for coffee and cake (cake for Robert), we dropped that straight off to the house as there’s nowhere we can keep it down here. The table and chairs are sitting under the house in what will eventually be a workshop for Robert.

On Thursday evening, we were invited to dinner at our friends, Rebecca and Bruce’s place as they were here again for a few days. It was a sumptuous winter dinner of baked lamb shanks and I made a puffy and very yummy bread and butter pudding. We met up with Rebecca and Bruce again on Friday, for lunch and a game of Finska. I made a favourite of mine – Barbecue Glazed Meatloaf. Yesterday, I had to go back to the house to sort out some issues with the position of one of the vanities and I took Mary with me as she hadn’t seen the house yet, apart from all my photos.

The first two of this week’s beach photos are from near our house where Robert went for a couple of laps. It’s been a brisk but sunny week. If you can find a sunny spot without the wind it’s glorious but very bitter in the shade.

House Update: As we are nearing the end, there is so much happening! The kitchen, laundry and vanities have been installed and measured for the stone tops (not the laundry). I forgot to take a photo of the laundry. It appears that all the electricals are in for the main part of the house, yet to be installed in the studio area. I’m really pleased with the pendants in the kitchen and above the stairs. They look small in the photo but perfect in real life. The stone feature wall is currently at the three-quarters level and I forgot to take a later photo when I was there yesterday. The stone is heavy and it needs to be done in stages so that each section can dry before progressing. The stair rail is about to be installed. This week everything will be finished off and, hopefully, we’ll be able to move home at some point from next Saturday. We are able to start moving things from the storage shed into the garage from the end of this week. I’m just a little bit excited! 😍

Knitting

This week I’ve only managed to focus on a couple of things. If I’ve been in the car, I worked solely on my Koivua sweater. I finished off the first sleeve chart and worked through the 5 repeats on the knit/purl texture which is either where the final chart is started or you can repeat more to get a longer length. I’ll have to try it on and extrapolate how much further the last of the colourwork is going to get me. I wouldn’t want to frog the colourwork to add another repeat if I got to the end and found it was the wrong length. The pattern is designed for bracelet length sleeves and it all depends on what row gauge I’ve managed to achieve. This is up for a try-on and some calculations today.

That was car knitting. Night at home knitting consisted of working through the sleeves of my Le Pouf cardigan. I finished one sleeve and now I’m working through the same colour changes for the second one. Once this is done, probably tonight, I’ll pick up the button band and that will be knitted with the dark red yarn. I’m pretty sure this pattern doesn’t actually have buttonholes or buttons.

I only spent a little time on my Habitation throw this week, during a Zoom chat with my girlfriends on Tuesday night. I finished the magic knot ball and have now moved onto more leftovers. I have paused on this until I finished the first sleeve on my Le Pouf cardigan, then I’ll have all those leftovers to add. There is no teal left to use and I had divided the yarn so I’m pretty sure I know what I don’t need now.

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Spinning

Tour de Fleece: The other craft I’ve been focussed on this week is spinning, specifically for Tour de Fleece. I’ve done more than I usually do as this challenge is to clock up as much time and fibre as possible. I finished the first 100 grams yesterday which was Day 8. I need to ply it now so that may happen this afternoon. So far, since last Sunday I’ve clocked up 12.25 hours and 100 grams of fibre.

This one doesn’t qualify for Tour de Fleece but does for Stash Dash. This Ashford fibre turned out the same as previous spins – it’s a worsted weight of 166.5m/100 grams. It’s soaked and skeined and will join its siblings in a box for now. I will be starting something with them soon but there’s a bit too much happening at the moment for that.

Paraphernalia

During spinning time, I finished off the second season of New Amsterdam. I’ve continued with Ozark but I find I can only watch one episode at a time. I’ve also started the latest season of Line of Duty, which I’ve been looking forward to. It’s now on Netflix and I’d missed it when it was live on Foxtel. This coming week is my turn at babysitting and I can’t wait to catch up with my little sidekick. I’ll have a few stops on the way up to get some more bits and pieces, as well as my new sunglasses that are ready for pickup. I think Thursday will see the start of moving the small stuff out of the shed. I won’t be here much longer now and I’m looking forward to getting home, especially since that now means the new house. It will also mean I’ll be able to settle into some sort of routine as the last few weeks particularly have definitely had zero! Our mattresses are coming next Saturday but we have to wait a few weeks before the lounge is ready. Once everything is moved into the house we’ll have plenty of time to unpack and find new homes for it all. I’m also looking forward to being able to enjoy some of my other crafts, particularly dyeing, which I haven’t done since January!

Now it’s time to enjoy this beautiful, cold winter day so, until next week, I hope you are safe and well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 28 June 2020. #101

Hello friends! We’ve really arrived at winter here. If it’s a nice sunny day then it’s wonderful in a little protected corner in the sun. Without the sun, it’s very bitter. I say this as it’s all relative – we certainly don’t get any snow so it’s never that cold. This week has been busy with house and family so we’ve been out and about a lot. Monday was probably the only quiet day I’ve had all week. On Tuesday afternoon, we drove up to Wollongong via the lighting shop in Shellharbour where we picked the last of our lights. This time it was outdoor lighting. On Wednesday, I spent the day looking after Evie and she was quite unwell with a yucky cold. On Thursday, we went up to see how the house was going after the flooring had been installed and tested mattresses. Lunch was again late and ended up being pies at Huskisson with the great creek/bay view. On Friday, Grandma came to visit for lunch and I made a very nice frittata. Yesterday was a really big day. It started early when we headed to Shellharbour to pick up the last of the lights and fans that had arrived, before heading to the house to wait for some deliveries. After that, we called in to see our friends from Sydney, Peter and Sue, who were down at their holiday house in Swan Haven. It was a great catch up and turned into a seafood feast! It was after 9pm after we got home.

Here are some of this week’s beach views. I found this massive tree trunk on the beach and it must have been at least 20 metres long! Imperially, that is about 66 feet. The walks have become considerably cooler now.

House Update: Things are moving very fast now. The floorboards and carpet were laid this past week, the tiling was finished and the robes were installed. It’s looking great and I can’t wait for the rest of it to happen this coming week. I’m amazed at the difference that flooring makes. My studio looked smaller than expected until they laid the floorboards and now it’s looking huge. Same with the other rooms – I didn’t realise that would happen. I am now looking forward to seeing the kitchen, vanity and laundry cupboards installed, the shower screens, bath and accessories and the lights. I am hoping that we can move back in two weeks; if not, very soon thereafter.

Knitting

I did finish the body of my Koivua sweater this week but then it sat there until yesterday when I finally picked up the sleeves to start the last chart. The sleeve is tightly gathered on the 9-inch circular so it’s not easy to see but I should have considerable progress next week. I didn’t win at yarn chicken on the body rib – I had to join the next skein when I was more than three quarters through the bind-off.

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The second Leaf and Lace baby cardigan is almost finished, with only about 2 inches left to knit. I should manage that today and will be able to soak and block the two of them after I sew in the ends. Again, unlucky at yarn chicken as I had to join on the second last row before binding off the body. To pick up the sleeves I needed to frog the other cardigan that I’d made a couple of months ago. I wasn’t really happy with that one though I may have kept it if I didn’t need the yarn. There’s a good bit leftover, both blue and cream, so I may make a couple of little hats to go with the cardigans. I made this cardigan the same as the cream one, omitting the lace pattern in the body and sleeves. The other change that I made, which I don’t think I mentioned for the cream cardigan, is to decrease the sleeves during the knitting rather than waiting until the cuff to decrease the stitches by half. That would have produced a puffy sleeve and I didn’t want that look.

And my trusty Habitation throw was good for company knitting yesterday. My friend Sue is as avid a knitter as I am so we had lots of yarny goodness to talk about. I managed a whole repeat on this throw while we were chatting and I’m almost at the end of the magic knot ball. The colours in the magic knot ball seem to have blended together somewhat, not being as clearly defined as the previous yarns I had used. I’ll now need to find some more scraps. I do have some from my Le Pouf cardigan (which didn’t get a look in this week!) but I’ll need to drag out some more when I unpack my yarn stash.

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Spinning

I finally got around to plying the Ashford merino and silk bobbins on Friday. It was a very easy 2 ply and I’m really enjoying my tensioned lazy kate. I prefer to have it to the side of me, rather than behind me as I have seen in lots of spinning demonstrations. You can see it here when one ply had snapped. It was the only break of the ply so I was really happy. I have yet to wind this off onto my niddy noddy to work out the meterage and the weight of yarn. Another job for today!

This week I got my next spin ready. It’s the Ixchel Fibres October Batt Club – I have two of them so I separated them into three lots of about 100 grams. You can see the two batts opened up in the photos below and the top one is much more vibrant than the other. The batts were inspired by a painting by Salvador Dali and include merino, Tencel, angora, cashmere, bison, Angelina and silk. I’ll spin the three lots onto separate bobbins and chain ply them. I haven’t separated colours with this lot so I’ll be spinning end to end, though one bobbin will definitely be a lot bluer than the other ones. This will be the start of my Tour de Fleece. The event officially started yesterday but as I was out all day, I’ll put that down as my first rest day. 😊

Crochet

Finished Object: I have finished my Rings of Change blanket! When I posted last week I only had 50 grams of yarn left. The next two rounds were going to be plain half double crochet and then single crochet and I didn’t want to waste the remaining yarn on such plain stitches. I looked at the next round and it was for puff stitches all around so I decided to go with that. They were tedious but at the same time fun to crochet – this round used up 20 grams and I had to decide what to do with the rest of the yarn. The next round was to be chain sections going from single to half double then double crochet and would have looked silly without something more interesting on the next rounds, which would never happen with the amount of yarn that was left. Also, it was such a painful set of stitches so I ripped back after only doing a few inches. I had to decide on a finishing round and went for a scalloped edge. Due to the number of stitches around, it had to be divisible by 3 so I did a single, half double, double, extended double, treble and back down through them to single again. It’s good to know that I got to the other end with the right number of stitches. There was still 17 grams left so I decided to finish with a single crochet edge. I got all the way around to within about 15 inches when I did finally run out of yarn. I was not concerned as it’s not at all noticeable and I finished there. You can see the end of the yarn and the stitch marker for where I needed to get to. The final picture shows the scallop. The blanket is a good size but I know it will block bigger. I intend to block by pinning at the longest stitch of each scallop and I’m going to need some more space and more blocking mats – I only have two with me and no pins, so I’ll wait until I move back home when I will have all the space and items I need. When that’s done, I’ll post some close-ups of the different stitch patterns along the journey of this blanket.

Sewing

The closest I got to any sewing this week was to purchase and print the Itch to Stitch Oia dress pattern. It’s a style that I absolutely love and it was on special. I am really looking forward to making this one but the fabric is in the shed (if there is enough of it) and I’ll need to buy some lining fabric. I have started putting the pattern pieces together so that it will be ready when I’m able to tackle it. There’s really no hurry as I won’t be wearing it any time soon!

Paraphernalia

There’s not as much variety as usual in my crafting this week because of being out so much and I’ve come to realise that some things will need to wait until I have the space to work on them. I’m looking forward to moving home and it looks like I only have a couple of weeks left now. I don’t think I can express how excited I am to do that! We should be able to start emptying the storage shed of all the boxes and smaller items by the end of the week after this one and, hopefully, we can then get the large items moved on that weekend. That will mean that we can actually stay there though the kitchen backsplash may not have been installed yet. That is the last thing to get done for the kitchen when it’s all installed. The benchtops will go in before that and they also require measuring up and installation before the splashback can be measured up. We’ll be able to do without the splashback as we’ll be spending most of the time unpacking everything. It won’t worry me if I have to camp in my new house but we’ll definitely have all the beds there by then.

I’ve been listening to my audiobook – A Court of Thorns and Roses and still working my way through season 2 of New Amsterdam. I have plenty of data download to use over the next 12 days before I go back to the minimum data plan. I’m hoping to use most of it up before then otherwise I’m going to lose it. Another job now is to get the wifi happening at home and that will depend on the day the electricity is switched on. There’s a lot to do before we move home but I’m looking forward to it as it will mean the ultimate reward at this point. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 21 June 2020. #100

Hello friends! I made it to 100 posts! What a milestone, and one I never thought I’d get to when I made my very first post. So I think I’ll keep going and try for 200 now. I really enjoy doing this blog and many of you keep coming back, which is wonderful but surprises me as well. This week has been very busy and we’ve spent a lot of it on the road. On Monday we were up at the house and called in at Huskisson for a quick lunch of pies and a nice view before heading on to Sydney. Same with Friday, but lunch was later and this time it was pizza at Jervis Bay Brewery while we waited for the pink slip for my car. Registration is due again and the pink slip is mandatory.

When we reached Sydney, I took the opportunity to head into the City to check out some prices for new pots that I need for the induction cooktop. Our frypans are newer and are induction-ready. The trip was totally a waste of time because normal shopping hours are not happening for the stores I needed. It’s quite random as one store, David Jones, was open till 7pm which is a normal time but Myer closed at 5pm. Unfortunately, it was just after 5. DJ’s doesn’t have cookware. Myer is having their End of Financial Year sale which is why I wanted to call in there. The other store I wanted to visit was Victoria’s Basement which has cookware and all sorts of kitchenware on sale all the time but I wasn’t surprised that it was closed. I caught the bus into town and sat in a COVID19 approved spot. There weren’t many on the bus but a few got on during the trip and were not interested in sitting where they were supposed to. Which is why I decided to walk home. The trip home on the bus would have had a lot more people heading home at that time of night (6 – 6.30 pm) and I felt that they probably wouldn’t all be compliant. The walk home was nice as it was a very mild evening. I walked through Hyde Park – there were many doing the same thing so I wasn’t alone, and past the War Memorial, up through Darlinghurst then alongside Victoria Barracks and past the Paddington Reservoir. It only took about half an hour and qualified as bonus exercise after my morning run on the beach.

Even though I had sufficient exercise on Monday, on Tuesday morning I went for a run around the inside circle at Centennial Park. I really enjoy that run and try to do it whenever we are staying at my parents’ place in Sydney. It’s about a kilometre walk to get to the starting point, 3.5 kilometres around the circle, then another kilometre walk to get home. There were so many people out walking and running, and a large gaggle of geese were also taking advantage of the lovely winter morning.

On Thursday night we had some friends from Canberra over for dinner. We’ve known Rebecca and Bruce for more than 25 years when they lived nearby and our kids went to school together. It was also coincidental that they had a connection with Bawley Point so we try to catch up when we are both here at the same time. We don’t normally get here too often these days except for now while we are building. Yesterday we had a great day with morning tea followed by a hilarious game of Finska, late lunch and a walk north to the boat ramp. Finska is a game of skill but also very random that levels the playing field for everyone. The idea is to throw a cylinder of wood and hit many numbered cylinders or individual ones to add up to a score of 50. When they are hit, they are stood up again wherever they landed. You can’t rely on the bounce as it doesn’t go where you think it will. This is now on the list for Christmas this year when the whole family will be at the new house.

Here are this week’s beach scenes. I was particularly confused by the footprints one day because the angle of the sun made it look like they came up out of the sand rather than being imprinted into the sand. Quite the optical illusion! I was up early enough to see a wonderful sunrise on Monday morning.

Iso Cooking: I only managed a couple of extra-curricular cooks this week. On Sunday, I was inspired by a friend on Instagram – she’d made raspberry scones. I had most of the ingredients for my raspberry and white chocolate muffins except for the white chocolate. The recipe actually has coconut instead so I went with that this time. I only made a half batch as I have been doing with my cooking lately and they lasted just the right amount of time. Yesterday morning, I made a batch of Apple Oat biscuits to take to Bruce and Rebecca’s place for morning tea. I googled biscuits and scrolled until I found something easy that included ingredients I already had. I omitted the slice of apple on top as I didn’t want to use all the apples in the bowl. These are what’s left of them and I must say they were enjoyable.

House Update: Exciting news on the house front – we are moving home in 3 weeks, give or take a day! This week we had the front door stained and installed, along with the glass panels, and the glass balustrading has been installed on the decks – you might not notice them at all except for the stainless steel strip along the top of them. The water tank has been delivered but not yet been put in place – it will sit under the lower left window and next to the protruding section of my studio. All the floor tiles have been installed in the bathrooms and laundry and the tilers are working their way through the wall tiles – they are more than halfway with some already grouted. I can’t wait for the tilers to put the feature slate tiles on the outside and through the entryway. The next two weeks will be jam-packed! Starting tomorrow, the carpet is going in, on Wednesday the floorboards are going in and the robes are being installed. The kitchen, laundry and vanity install starts the following Monday and the bathroom-ware is going in – toilets, shower screens, bath, basin bowls, etc, along with the lights, pendants and outdoor lighting. Is there anything I’ve missed? It will only take a week then to finish off any little bits and pieces. I can’t wait to go home!

Knitting

It seems that the crafting content is less than the life content this week, mainly due to not being around much. That means that the most crafting was done on my knitting as I had some car knitting time. I reached the rib band on my Koivua sweater and tried it on for length. It fits really well but needs a little more length. The pattern allows for an increase in length by repeating the bottom knit/purl section as many times as required to add two inches each time. One repeat will be all that I need and I’m halfway through that now. There are only seven rows of ribbing to finish it off before bind-off. I’m not sure how successful the fade was as the caramel is much lighter than the orange and the red but I still think it looks OK.  I’ll be doing the sleeves one at a time – much as I really like doing sleeves two at a time, I don’t like colourwork on magic loop. Therefore, I’ll be using my nine-inch circular and it won’t worry me as I’ll know exactly where I am on each side. My preference for two at a time is because I have this thing that I need the row count to be exactly the same and with the same tension. Doing them singularly doesn’t allow for tension consistency but I’ll have the row count perfect because I’ll be following the chart. By next week I should have started at least one of the sleeves.

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The first Leaf and Lace cardigan is now done and it is so cute. I need to sew in the ends and wet-block it but I’ll do that after its fraternal twin is finished – you can see that on the right. This one has the yoke finished and I’m about to split for the sleeves. The wet-block will help wash the white cardigan; it got a little grubby while knitting. I should have the second cardigan finished by next weekend. I’ll need to find some nice matching buttons for it – I’ll have to buy them as my stash is well hidden at the moment. I think I may have had just the right buttons there but it’s hard to tell without seeing them.

I also managed some progress on my Le Pouf cardigan. The second sleeve is now almost at the same point as the first sleeve except that I was unable to complete the last section because I couldn’t pull out the centre end of the yarn. The end is out but it’s so tightly caught up inside that it’s pointless to keep trying. I’ll just wait until I finish on the other side and use that ball. I had separated that ball into two separate balls specifically but hadn’t counted on the centre pull not working. I have found that happens frequently with my fingering weight balls. The winder seems to go very tightly. Moving forward now I will have to marle in more yarn to get the sleeves to the right length and I’ll be using the leftovers of the teal yarns. I should probably halve what is left so that I get it the same on the other sleeve later on. The dark red that is attached in this photo will be what I’ll use for the button bands after I’ve finished the sleeves. There is plenty of yarn for that. Again, the colours just won’t show correctly on this!

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Of course, my Habitation throw always gets some love, being such an easy and portable project. I’ve nearly finished using my magic knot ball now, having maybe two and a half colours left to go. I’ll have to dig out some more leftovers to keep going on it. I’ve not yet reached halfway – once I think it’s wide enough for a large square I will start on the decreases to the end. I should have some leftovers from my Le Pouf cardigan to add to it.

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Spinning

This week was a little light on spinning but I did finish the second bobbin of my Ashford merino/silk, ready for the two-ply this week.

Sewing

Again, very little action in the sewing section. I have been putting together two patterns so that I can cut them out this week. On the left, I have the Tessuti Monroe top. There were two pdf files and I thought they may have been two different sizes so I only printed one out as I noticed one A4 page had “Size 1” printed on it. It turns out that this one was the sleeve only, for both size one and size two. Looks like I’ll have to print the other one out now. I am using some olive spot cotton-linen jersey for that one. I also think I’ll try modifying it so that it has a grown-on turtleneck. If it doesn’t work I can cut it off and put a normal neck on it. On the right-hand side is the start of the Fibre Mood Charlotte dress pattern. There are so many pieces for this one that I still have more to put together and then all of them to cut out. Here is the floral fabric with black background that I’m going to use. I retrieved this from the storage shed the other day – I hope there is enough fabric. The wrong side of the fabric is light so I should be able to use the cream thread that is already on the overclocker. I’m hoping the wrong side won’t be too visible, as it’s a wrap dress but it should work as a wearable muslin.

Paraphernalia

This week I’ve been watching episodes of New Amsterdam. I’ve got plenty of data at the moment because I haven’t needed to use much lately and I want to use it before my monthly plan is over. If I don’t use it then I’ll lose it when I go back to the minimum 3GB data allowance. We’ll be back on wifi when we get home so I won’t have any need for such a high allowance but I also don’t want to lose it without using it. I have listened to some of my book – A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J Maas and I am enjoying it more now. It has started to get more interesting, rather than just being a soapy type of romance. I also attended the International Virtual Knit Night on Zoom this morning – it has been the first opportunity I’ve had for a while and it was great to catch up with them. It seems to be the same people online when I’m able to join so I’m really getting to know them. Due to the end of daylight savings in the southern hemisphere and the start of it in the northern hemisphere, the window is so small for me to join unless I get up very early. Being winter here, that is not an attractive option.

My mind has started planning the return to our new home. We have a few things we need to buy and sort out before it happens. I am so looking forward to unpacking my stash and sorting it all out in the new space. I will need a few things in my studio too, to get it to how I want it and that may not happen immediately. I hope to get it all done before too long so that it will be a good useable space, rather than filled with boxes that can’t be unpacked.

It’s time now for me to enjoy the rest of this sunny Sunday afternoon and stop chattering on. I hope you are all safe and well and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 14 June 2020. #99

Hello friends! I am enjoying some winter sunshine today in my outdoor “office”. You can see the photo of me when I started this morning though I had to retire to my inside office for a while because the wind was a bit cool for early morning. I’m now back on the deck and it’s lovely – still windy but much warmer. This week I drove up to Wollongong to look after Evie and I babysat for the first time at the new house. Here are some of the pictures from our walk. The top one shows Wollongong in the distance. The beaches here are lovely and there’s a great park just nearby with lots of swings and slippery dips. Next time we’ll walk in the other direction to see what we find. On the way home on Wednesday night, I stopped off at the Jervis Bay Brewery at Huskisson to pick up Robert and I enjoyed a drink and a pizza. It’s nice that things are getting back to normal and we can enjoy a little bit of socialising. Thursday was a busy day with three appointments. You can see that one was for my regular blood donation. I planned the others around that as it’s a 3 hour+ round trip at the moment.

Last Sunday, while Erin and Shaun were here, we decided to go for a walk to Nuggin. That’s a point to the north of the northern end of Bawley Point. It turns out that it was not possible to get there as Lake Willinga had broken open to the ocean. It’s been a long time since that had happened and was very long overdue. The lake had been creeping ever so close to the bridge level and the ground near the road out to the highway was getting swamped. This was quite an occasion! You can see it in the first photo below with lots of locals and tourists there to experience it. We must have timed it perfectly as we weren’t aware of this happening. There were so many kids out there on their boogie boards and surfboards riding the standing waves. The water coming out was very brown and full of debris that was leftover from the fires at the end of last year. Yesterday I went for a walk to see how it was and you can see from the other photo that the water is now clear and fresh.

After checking out the lake opening, I went for a walk along the track beside the creek that leads to the lake. It was another beautiful winter day and the views were so picturesque – I couldn’t help but take several snaps. Here are a few of them.

Well, it wouldn’t be an MCO post without some beach views and this week’s ones did not disappoint. I love how the sun photographs when it’s peeking out of the clouds and how the clouds reflect on the water on the sand. And a misty beach photo is always worth taking.

Iso Cooking: This week I tried another one of @notquitenigella‘s recipes that I’d added to my list. This is the Simple French Apple cake and it was lovely, even if I did overcook it a little. I only made a half batch and it’s hard to estimate the cooking time when you do that. It didn’t help that I was cooking dinner in the oven at the same time. It should have had a bit of a custard centre and would have if I’d taken it out sooner. I’ll make this one again and know what I’m doing with it next time.

House Update: Things are starting to ramp up on the house front. This week saw the wet area floor tiles being installed. I think they are probably all in now waiting for grouting as these pictures are from Thursday. You can see the gadget hanging from the wall just inside a couple of the bathrooms – that’s the underfloor heating. I am so looking forward to that! The inside painting also started, the first coat being sprayed on. It’s so much easier to paint when the house is new. Just cover up windows and doors and spray it all on! The scaffolding has been removed and you can see the back view properly now. The piers need painting and the deck glass balustrades need to be installed but it’s looking good. That will be happening soon. The flooring has been organised and the kitchen is due in two weeks. I think it will only be four more weeks now before we can move in. I’m started to get excited about that and planning in my mind what I’ll be doing for the unpacking. That’s a good thing as I’ll need to get a few bits of furniture and other items so sooner is better than later.

Knitting

Lots of driving time this week meant less knitting time. I much prefer to be driven and that way I can get where I’m going along with getting some knitting done. My main focus this week, little though it was, was on my Koivua sweater and I’ve gained some ground on the body. I started the body colourwork with the red yarn and joined the orange ball after the first couple of rows. I thought that was better than a clean break into orange. I made sure I had enough red so that I can do this on the sleeves as well. I have another 5 rows in the orange and then I’ll bring in the caramel yarn. The sleeves have a different pattern so I need to introduce the caramel before the body ends so that there’s some flow between the body and the sleeves.

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Later yesterday and into last night I concentrated on the sleeves of my Le Pouf cardigan. I managed to get a good three inches done on the first sleeve which now has me at the same point where I ended the rows for the body of the cardigan. I marked down how many rows of each colour and each marle section between colours as I went along so that I could follow that with the sleeves. You can see my checkmarks and scribble on the piece of paper. That’s my MO, using a piece of paper to mark things down and sometimes the piece of paper already has stuff on it, like this one. Generally, I like to print the pattern and use that so that I don’t lose the notes. I haven’t been printing them lately as setting up the printer is more effort than it’s worth. I sometimes mark on the pdfs on the computer screen but that has limited scope. One problem I find with random sheets of paper is that they can get lost together and it’s hard to remember which notes were for which project if I need to refer to them again. I think that’s a temporary issue as I’m kind of “camping” at the moment and working in my new studio will be wonderful! I have two photos of my cardigan here because I was trying to get the colour right – one in shade and one in sunlight. Neither of these turned out close as the real thing is considerably darker.

I finished the body on my Leaf and Lace baby cardigan. This is looking great and I’ll be picking up the sleeves this afternoon.

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Again, I managed some work on the Habitation throw. I did some while Evie was having lunch the other day and she wanted to play with my magic knot ball thinking it was a normal ball. So sweet!

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Spinning

There hasn’t been a great deal of progress on my spin this week but I did start on the second bobbin. I’m looking forward to getting some more done for Stash Dash this year. Stash Dash started on the 22nd May and I’ve clocked up some metres already. I have several projects nearing completion that will qualify for my Stash Dash total. Spinning is a good way to get some kilometres. Eash spin counts for the number of finished metres and that is multiplied by (the number of plies plus one). I’ll also be participating in the Tour de Fleece this year as part of team IVKN Wooligans. This event is to spin each day that the Tour de France is riding, with options to follow suit on the rest days and challenge days by resting and doing some challenging spinning. Or just plain spinning throughout. It’s generally a competition but our Team is just a social one. The Tour de France was due to start on June 27 but has now been postponed to August 29 so I’m thinking that will delay our Tour de Fleece.

Crochet

The Rings of Change blanket also got some love this week and I worked out the issue I was having with the round I was on last week. There were so many single crochet stitches in a row with a couple done together here and there, and just working out exactly where I was at any given point was very difficult as the stitches are small. And it wasn’t just doing X number of single crochet – no, it was more like sc in next 2 sts, sc in ch sp x 3, plus extras x 2. There was one spot where there was a single chain amongst single crochet stitches that I needed to aim for but it was almost invisible. Anyhow, I got through it and have finished another round as well. I’m now down to 75 grams of yarn – the last round took 7 grams and the one before took 16 grams. It all depends on what stitches make up the round – I should have 3 or 4 rounds left. Maybe. This will be great for my Stash Dash total. I haven’t actually explained this year but Stash Dash is a challenge to finish lots of projects. All the WIPs are brought out of hibernation and finished off. This one is very close to the end.

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Sewing

Being out of the house a lot this week meant not much has been happening on the sewing front. I did, however, get my act together yesterday and printed the Willow Pinafore pattern and cut it out. I’m using some pinwale cord that I purchased as a remnant and there was plenty, leaving some more for a future project. The pattern has a bodice lining and I decided that I didn’t want to use the cord for that so now I need to sort out some other lighter weight fabric. That means this won’t be started until I get that. Maybe a trip to the storage shed will produce some but it may be easier to just go to Spotlight and buy some. I can’t wait to have everything unpacked and sorted into my studio!

I’ve lost steam on my #thegreatmodulesewalong with only one and a bit more to go. The bit – I didn’t quite finish the sheath dress as it’s a summer dress and needed some adjusting. I decided that I will wait until closer to the time when I may actually wear it in case it needs further adjusting. The final item was to be the Erin skirt by Sew Over It. I still want to make this but because the pattern needs grading and that is within the pocket section, it has gone into the “too hard basket”. I feel that I need something easy to do instead of feeling like I have to make myself work on a project. I want to enjoy my sewing so I think I’ll do something else for now, especially since my current workspace is less than ideal. That just makes everything a little bit harder. I have been watching the And Sew On podcasts where Lisa has shown many free patterns and I’ve downloaded a few of those. Yesterday I printed out the Charlotte dress pattern from Fibre Mood (photo below). The short one is free and is meant for someone 10cms taller than me so I think the length will be fine. I’ve got some fabric that I can use, purchased from The Sewing Basket, a fundraising shop that sells donated crafting supplies. The fabric will be great for, hopefully, a wearable muslin. The fabric is black with a floral pattern so it will mean that I’ll need to change my overlocker threads – unless the back of the fabric is actually light. I don’t remember at the moment as the fabric is at the storage shed. It’s been decades since I actually changed threads in an overlocker.  I have lots of patterns I want to make but it’s a little difficult for now so I’ll do something that I like. Here are some of the patterns I’ve downloaded lately.

Patchwork

This little miss on the Paper Doll quilt now has some shoes and as they are made from velcro she’ll be able to wear other shoes too. I traced the shoe pattern onto some Heat and Bond and then ironed that onto the soft side of velcro. It seems that I’ve made one leg slightly larger than the other but it won’t be too noticeable. I’ll just need to allow for that when making the shoes. These now need to be stitched to the fabric as the Heat and Bond will last only so long. It’s more just to get something fixed in place so that you can more easily stitch.

Another little patchwork project I’m about to start is cushion making. Last week I mentioned that I spent some time with Mary and our friends, sifting through some of Mary’s boxes of furnishing samples. From that, I grabbed a few that I thought might make some good patchwork for cushions. I spent a little time on Pinterest and found some examples that I might make up for the new house. I’m going very neutral with the house and intend to use pops of colour to brighten it up. These can be changed easily on a whim whereas furniture and walls are somewhat harder. The pictures are only inspirational. The colours will be my choice.

Paraphernalia

This week I’ve been watching several episodes of New Amsterdam. I’ve enjoyed this show and I’ve been rationing the episodes to fit in with the current data download. I’ve also caught up with some podcasts but I’ve not listened to my book this week. I’m wondering if that means I’m not really into it. I’ll give it another try. I’ve also started organising our annual retreat for August as I’ve received word from the accommodation manager that it’s very likely to go ahead. Restrictions have been lifted so that you can have 20 other people in your home but we’re hoping that accommodation numbers lift in the time before we go. That is if there is not a spike in numbers from the riots and lifted restrictions. We’re monitoring the situation as we go along and are keeping our fingers crossed.

It looks like we’ll have a quick trip to Sydney this week to sort out some issue for my parents but otherwise there is little planned. I should be able to spend some more time on my crafting. My next episode is number 100 and I’m amazed that I’m about to reach that milestone! I hope you are safe and well and, until next week, I hope you enjoy lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 7 June 2020. #98

Hello friends! Welcome to Winter Downunder. In my little piece of paradise, the weather has been very cold but we’ve also had a day or two where it has been sunny and warm, more like early autumn. The past week has been very busy and has limited the crafting time a little. On Monday, I visited the house and picked up some carpet samples. On Wednesday we drove up to Wollongong via the house and carpet shops and helped Steven & Kim prepare their new house for the move in the next day. That afternoon I sanded the skirting board in the lounge room and then assisted with painting the boards. After packing lots of boxes that night, the removalists arrived the next day and took the big furniture items while we did several trips with boxes. On Friday, after a bit of housework, I had lunch with Mary and Janice and then we spent some time in Mary’s sewing room sorting through some boxes of furnishing fabric samples with Kerry. After that and some grocery shopping, our friends Bruce and Rebecca called in for a drink and chat. We hadn’t seen them for about a year so it was lovely to catch up. Soon after they left, Erin and Shaun arrived for the weekend. That’s when the cooking started. They brought along a game called Bananagrams which is a take on scrabble played individually. The only reference to bananas is the shape of the bag the pieces come in and the terms used for playing. It was lots of fun and we even got Grandma playing it on Saturday afternoon.

Though we weren’t home much this week, I managed to get plenty of beach photos; some very early in the day and some later in the afternoon. The clouds were certainly very interesting on Sunday afternoon. I also snapped these bell shaped flowers that seem to have bloomed around the rocks at the points. I would have thought that to be unusual at this time of year.

Iso Cooking: There weren’t too many opportunities for ancillary cooking this week until yesterday. Apart from a fresh focaccia (not shown) I took the opportunity to make a Caramel Apple Cheesecake from #notquitenigella’s website. Shaun particularly likes both caramel and cheesecake so it was the perfect treat to make for his birthday last month, since we couldn’t celebrate it then. It was a great cheesecake and I’ll keep that one on the list for a future re-make!

House Update: This week’s achievements at the house included internal doors and the external laundry door. The floors of the bathrooms and laundry have had screed put down, including the under floor heating in the 2 bathrooms upstairs. The tiling was due to start last Wednesday so I’m looking forward to seeing if it has. The gyprock has been finished off, including the under-stairs area in my studio. That means that the painting can and may have started. The painters were finishing up any patching ready for the spraying. We have now chosen the carpet so there’s little left to decide on.

Knitting

I finally finished the yoke on my Koivua sweater. It’s looking great but will certainly benefit from a good blocking to get the stitches to settle evenly. This project came along for the drive north on Wednesday – a good block of knitting time. Today I will be separating for the sleeves and moving into the next colourwork chart. I’ll be doing that one in matching orange yarn.

On the trip home from Wollongong on Thursday evening I got most of the body finished on the Leaf and Lace Baby cardigan – obviously I have omitted the lace part and kept it plain stockinette. As I was knitting in the dark, this one was the obvious choice. It was easy enough to knit the button bands by feel as they are only K5, P1 at each end or K6 at each end and the rest either knit or purl. I stopped before I got too far as I didn’t want to measure it in the dark.

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There’s been some more progress on my Habitation throw and it could have been good for knitting in the dark but I was up to a lace row and decided not to do that.

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Spinning

I started a new spin this week. It’s another pack of Ashford fibre, this time merino and silk. I have spun a few of these already so this one will be a good addition to the stash. I finished the first bobbin but haven’t started on the second one yet.

Crochet

The Rings of Change blanket has had some progress but the rounds are so long now it’s not easy to notice. I would have done a little more but I was stuck on the beginning of the latest round. I’m wondering if there is a mistake in the first part of the instructions for that round. I went over it many times and it doesn’t seem to work. That is the bit before the repeat starts and the repeat seems to work fine. I’ll be able to use the repeat instruction to get that round started. There’s not a lot of yarn left so I have weighed it now to find out how much it uses for this round and will do that for the next round and however many are left. I think there may be only a few rounds that I can get out of the remaining yarn. I’m up to the last strand of the colour change and will be onto plain turquoise soon. There is a good bit of turquoise to finish with so we’ll see how many rounds we get.

Sewing

Last week I had cut out the Poppy and Jazz Pansy dress by Sew Over It and I sewed it together on Monday. It came out really well and was a quick easy sew. I mentioned that the fabric isn’t fantastic and I haven’t changed my mind but it should be OK for the amount of time that Evie will be able to wear it. It will be good for daycare. It is a little bit big yet but should be good for the end of winter/start of Spring.

I had also cut out a pair of the Acacia knickers by Megan Neilsen. It was very easy to put together. You can see below how the gusset uses the burrito technique to ensure all seams are hidden. They seem to fit but I may adjust the pattern a little bit to suit my personal preferences. I’m not 100% sold on jersey knickers so they may not be a success. I probably wouldn’t bother but they keep changing the ones that I like.

Paraphernalia

Apart from a couple of audio podcasts, I’ve really not listened to or watched anything else. Masterchef has been a staple but that’s about it. I’ve been very disturbed by the riots and riot police events occurring at the moment and feel that this shouldn’t be happening in this day and age. It’s obvious that there are still people who need to be educated. I can’t speak to this personally as I don’t have the words but I’ve taken in a lot from more knowledgeable people on Instagram.

This blog is coming out so late today and that’s due to visitors and activities but also because of the slow internet available down here at the moment. As it’s a long weekend and the first opportunity for anyone to travel since March, the area here has been overrun by tourists. It’s normally a sleepy little seaside village and has been even quieter since the Covid 19 Lockdown. As I’m not using wi-fi, the data network seems to be overloaded and it’s been like working with dial-up internet again!

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 31 May 2020. #97

Hello friends! Welcome to the end of Autumn Downunder 2020. Tomorrow begins our winter though we’ve felt a bit of it already in the last week or so. I’ve not been home much this past week, firstly going to Wollongong on Tuesday to babysit on Wednesday. Evie and I had a wonderful time together. We went for a big walk around Wollongong harbour and kicked the little soccer ball around, then did a touch of shopping. I was home on Thursday but on Friday we headed up to the house and to check out some more carpet, mirrors and door handles. While we were up there, Robert caught up with a few mates and I caught up with a couple of girlfriends. It was wonderful having some social time but then there was the one and a half hour drive home again. While at my friend, Narelle’s place, I noticed all the lorikeets on her date(?) palm just outside her deck. They were feasting on the fruit and having a big squawk about it all. There were actually more birds than in my photo below but they must have flown about when I took that. On Saturday, I visited with Marie and Kerrie and we had great catchup. Things are slowly starting to take on a bit of normality but it’s probably good that it’s slow at this point. As I mentioned, the weather has been a bit cool with mostly nice sunny days since last weekend’s downpours. There was one particular night when we could not avoid turning on the pretend fire, though we didn’t need to have it on all night, once the place had warmed up.

The beaches are as beautiful as ever and the clouds have been something to look at this week.

House Update: The feature of this update is the installation of the garage door. It looks great and it will look better once the stone wall is done to the left of it. The doors have been delivered and will be installed tomorrow, the tiler is starting tomorrow and more of the inside will be getting painted. At this point, only the garage has been painted as that needed to be finished before the garage door went on.

Knitting

This week has been a knit and frog type of week. I picked up the sleeve stitches on one sleeve of my Le Pouf cardigan and knitted up a couple of fades then moved over the next sleeve. I was about 20 rounds in when I realised that I only had 60 stitches instead of 62 on that sleeve so I decided to rip them back. The two stitches would have made a difference and I am at that point with knitting that I don’t mind going back to fix things. In the not too distant past, I would have possibly decided that it would be fine. Anyhow, I’ve manage to get beyond those previously knitted rounds and further on the other sleeve. I’m just about at the elbow on the first sleeve which is where I need to start the increases.

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New Cast-on: I started on the white twin cardigan this week. This time I’m using a different pattern, namely the Leaf Lace cardigan which is free. It’s shown on Pinterest with a photo that is actually a different and paid-for pattern I’d seen on Ravelry. The picture shown on Pinterest is the blue one below and the pattern they have is the white one I had done below. It’s still a nice leaf pattern even if it’s not the same. The first two pics are the first iteration of my knit and it was just too big. It would have easily fit Evie at 19 months, I think, where I am going for about 3 months. The pattern called for 3.5mm and 3.75mm needles. I had done the blue cardigan with a similar number of starting stitches with 4.0mm so I thought I’d just use the same. That may have been OK as I thought it was just the collar garter in the smaller needles but it turns out that the whole yoke is in the smaller needles and is why mine turned out so big. Anyway, I started again with the right sized needles and the final photo is where I got to last night after a few stitch count mishaps in the pattern repeats. I like this pattern much more than the one I used for the blue cardigan so I may just start another one in the blue yarn when I see how this turns out. I am doing this without the lace pattern prescribed for the body, just having stocking stitch after the yoke pattern.

My trusty Habitation throw got some love this week as it’s very portable and no-fuss knitting. I’ve put on a couple of colour repeats since last week’s post but I’m still a good way off the centre point where I need to start the decreases for the home run.

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Spinning

I hadn’t shown a skein photo of the Ashford merino/alpaca fibre spin. This spin turned out thicker than I expected considering that I had done a two-ply. It works out that there’s 101gm finished yarn at 168m. I think that translates to worsted weight.

I have finally finished the Ixchel November batt club spin. I hadn’t posted a pic of the pink skein previously and now the final ply is complete. That was the green/yellow bobbin. The plied bobbin is a bit blurry below but it was by far the most comfortable chain ply of the three of them. I had always thought that the bobbins need to be behind me when plying, as that’s what I’d seen before and seemed to work OK with normal plies. But for chain ply, I found my body twisted too much and it was awkward and painful. With the latest ply, I put my tensioned lazy kate out to the right-hand side of me and it worked a treat. These are essentially 3 ply skeins but have come up much thinner than the two ply that I just talked about above. I obviously spun that one thicker than these. The three skeins are shown together below – the blue on the left is 103gm for 216m, the pink in the middle is 101gm for 252m – the thinnest of the lot, and the green/yellow on the right is about 100gm (forgot to weigh before I put it in for a soak) for 210m – obviously, the thickest spin of the lot and the last one spun. That makes these about a DK or light DK, though the yarn itself ranges between fingering and worsted weight. I think they’ll work nicely together, though there’s not enough for a whole jumper. I might be able to use the blue/grey merino/alpaca above with it, even though the texture is a little different. I’m thinking of using all three (plus another skein) with helical knitting, essentially doing a four stripe throughout. There is a lot of overlap of colour within the three of these so it will not be noticeably a stripe.

Sewing

I was able to cut out the Pansy Poppy and Jazz dress by Sew Over It yesterday. This will be a very quick and easy sew and I will probably do that tomorrow. I’m using some organic cotton jersey from Spotlight (see Acquisitions). It was difficult to work out the sizing as I measured Evie’s chest and then promptly forgot to write it down. I cut out the 18-24 month size which is where she should fit but I think it may be a little bit big. That doesn’t matter as she’ll grow into it and I have some more fabric to make another one, once I try this one on her this week and work out exactly which size I need for now.  I had enough leftover to cut out a pair of Acacia knickers from the scraps. Again, I am not sure which size I need for those so this will be a prototype that I can work on. You never know, it may be the right size first off!

Stitching

There was no actual stitching this week but I finally got my act together and cut out lots of circles on the Cricut that I borrowed from Kerry and Mary (bits from each). I’ll be able to do a heap more circles for the inner circle flower border on my Round the Garden quilt but I suspect that I may need to cut more. The first time I cut circles I cut out perfect rectangles of felt to use with the templates but this time I used all the bits and pieces of felt that had already been cut into. I have lots of bits and pieces with me but my full felt stash is in storage at the moment. It seems I will probably have enough to keep going for a while yet.

Acquisitions

Evie and I went shopping in Spotlight for fabric for her Pansy dresses on Wednesday. We decided on the two florals below. These have been washed and dried but not ironed. The top floral looks like it may need ironing after washing but the other one came out much better. I think it may also be the front loader washing machine. I’m used to my top loader machine which is in storage but the front loader here and the one at our previous accommodation resulted in more creases than I normally get in my top loader. The blue animal fabric took my liking because Evie is currently into all animals and the sounds they make, and I think it may make nice pyjamas. I bought the olive spot because I already have a remnant and wanted to make a Monroe turtleneck out of it but there wasn’t enough fabric. Now I think I have more than enough! Maybe more knickers?

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Paraphernalia

This week I’ve continued watching Ozark. It’s been very entertaining but I’ve only managed one episode at a time. Masterchef is still my favourite of the moment and is on all nights except Friday and Saturday. I really need to try some of the recipes that they make. I was able to download some more audio podcasts and I’ve been listening to those, including a new-to-me podcast called The Joyful Frugalista. This is an offshoot from another podcast which ceased recording. I listened to an interesting episode on shares the other day which confirmed I had little idea about this topic and I’m now much more enlightened.

This week will see more house stuff as we finalise carpets, pendants, door handles, mirrors and who knows what else. Every time I think we’ve finished making decisions, something else comes up. In the mix, we’ll be heading to Wollongong to help Steven and Kim move. It’s another opportunity to see Miss Evie too. Then we’ll have Erin and Shaun visiting for the long Queen’s birthday weekend. Some long time friends who holiday in Bawley Point will be here too and my friend Janice will be at Mary’s place. It will be very hard to see everyone but I’d like to manage that somehow.

Time to get this blog up before Sunday is actually over! It’s a bit later due to joining in with the International Virtual Knit Night Zoom this morning and then a visit from my MIL for lunch. So, until next week, I hope you are safe and well and enjoy all your opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 24 May 2020. #96

Hello friends! It’s been a busy week with the house, and finalising a lot of details but still not all done yet! There’s been nothing of interest to report this week apart from a couple of Zoom meetings. There was my usual catch up with my crafting girlfriends on Tuesday night and then, last night, I attended a surprise birthday “Webcake” for my friend Marie who was celebrating a special birthday. You can see some of the faces in the picture below – Marie was very surprised and touched. In a normal time, I know Marie would have had a celebration with all the people who attended the Webcake. I’m sure we’ll get close to back to normal at some point but I’m not expecting that too soon. The weather has turned cold but the birds are still visiting – I only managed to catch this one parrot getting into the last of the flowers. And my little friend Kermit came back to the letterbox for a short visit.

I haven’t had as many opportunities to get out onto the beaches this week due to house visits and then the weather turned quite nasty. There was a lot of rain and wind. Today is very windy but at least the sun is out amongst the storm clouds. I think we’re expecting a lot more rain tonight/tomorrow.

Corona Cooking: It seems I’ve certainly found my cooking mojo again! Last week I showed the pizza dough that was rising – once that was done I portioned it into quarters. The dough sat in these containers in the fridge for a couple of days as per the long fermentation recipe. I made three of them and I think I may have added a bit too much topping but they were very nice. The fourth pizza is on the menu for lunch today as well as some focaccia, which is ready for the oven. I had some very ripe bananas and yoghurt that was almost out of date so I did a search on Taste and found this really nice banana cake. One of these is still in the freezer. Robert has been fishing a bit and has been lucky with snapper. You can see the one we had last night which I cooked whole in my quick Thai green curry. Last but not least, I whipped up a quick pineapple upside-down cake yesterday when my MIL came for lunch. Now I can’t remember which recipe I used which is unfortunate as it was a great recipe.

House Update: We finalised the kitchen, vanity and laundry details this week, with last-minute changes, appliances and accessories. This week’s achievements in the house include the stairs being installed and the wet areas getting sealed. The stairs are out of spotted gum and look great, considering they were mostly covered up and not yet varnished. We probably won’t be able to walk on them for a bit after they are varnished. I wait excitedly for each visit to see what has been done since the last!

Knitting

New Cast-on: On Sunday, I was inspired by my leftover pile to jump in and cast on the Le Pouf cardigan. This is a free pattern by Beata Jezek of Hedgehog Fibres and had been on my mind for several months. I had intended to use 3 good skeins of fingering weight and over-dye a couple of others until I realised that I had more than enough leftovers for a fade, as you can see below. The original line up (on the deck railing) changed a bit to what is in the tray below. I removed some brownish ones and replaced with grey, speckled and pink. The first photo there is more indicative of the colouring. You can also see my Lunae shawl which I was using as a blanket. I have just about finished the body – yep, this was all I could focus on this week. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the right colours with the photo of the cardigan body, as they are quite darker than what is shown here. I’ll have to take more photos without all the outside light. This was so very potato-chippy as I kept wanting to get to the next fade and then the next, and so on. It wasn’t a portable project after I split for the sleeves as I had to weigh the yarn as I went in order to have enough for the sleeves. It is suggested that 50% will work with the sleeves so I knitted with my scales next to me. The tray photo shows what is left for the sleeves. This project is worked with two strands of fingering which are swapped out one at a time for the marle. I almost finished the body last night while we watched both Men in Black 2 and then 3. It was quite late then and I need to try it on to make the decision.

I did get to knit some more on my Koivua sweater as this project is portable and I did spend some time in the car. The colourwork has been very enjoyable and I only have 10 more colourwork rows and a handful of rows of the main colour left on the yoke before I divide for the sleeves. I’ll be able to finish this section of colourwork with the red yarn and I’ll start the next lot with the orange yarn. I may have more than enough to finish with the orange but I’d like to introduce the caramel as well. Looking at the picture of the sweater and the charts, I think that will work.

There has been only a little progress on my Habitation throw. It came along for the drives as well as I like to share the love on my projects. It’s also a very mindless knit so I can be good company while knitting on it. So far, with this magic knot ball, I’m up to the third of twelve minis which were leftovers of an advent that I dyed up in 2018.

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Spinning

Earlier this week I finished the first bobbin of my Ashford fibre and yesterday I finished the second. The colour is very much like the balcony railing paint which I’ve always thought of as grey; the yarn is just a little bluer. I’ll be doing a traditional 2 ply on this one, probably tomorrow, and then I’ll be able to chain ply the third and final bobbin of my Ixchel fibre.

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Sewing

I didn’t do a lot of sewing this week but I did manage to get the facing and sides sewn up on my sheath dress yesterday. I tried it on this morning and it does fit, though I’m thinking it may need a little shaping. I’ll try it on again and make the adjustments necessary so that I can finish off the facings, seams and hem. It will need to come up a good few inches but I’ll need to be careful with that so that I don’t lose the effect of the kick pleat on the back.

Patchwork

This little dolly now has her very first dress. She hasn’t been quilted yet because I need to sort out her shoes which I think I’ll do as black soft velcro. I think that will be a good idea because it means she’ll be able to have different shoes. I bought some leather patch pieces and I intend to make some boots for her. I have so many ideas for clothes and shoes! Now that the first outfit is done, I have a template to work with – shorts, t-shirt, jumper, party dress, swimmers, pyjamas, slippers, party shoes. The list goes on! I need to finish off her shoes so that I can quilt it and I’ve yet to work out how I’m going to do that. I think it will have to be the old-fashioned way of taping to the floor. Lucky it’s only small as that is a killer on the knees. I don’t have any large tables here that I can clip to and I don’t have my clips either, but I do have masking tape.

Acquisitions

Berrima Patchwork has been advertising lots of fabrics on Facebook lately and I just couldn’t resist this beautiful woodland one. In real life, it is a little more vibrant than you can see here and will make a gorgeous little girl dress (or two). It could even be nice as baby boy pants, I think. I’d like to find a good pattern for that so I’ll have a look around.

Paraphernalia

I’ve been enjoying my latest novel – A Court of Thorns and Roses, though it’s a little more of a romantic novel than I expected. My favourite genre is crime/thriller and I’m pleased that there’s a bit of the thriller in this. I finished watching the second season of After Life that I had downloaded and was left wanting more episodes. It’s a bit risque, absolutely hilarious and very sad, all rolled together. I’m also watching the remaining episodes of Outlander but doing that slowly as it takes nearly  1GB of data to watch each of these Foxtel episodes. I have to be mindful of how much I use – until we move into the house and get back onto wifi!

It’s been a bit stressful this past week with the house build and I’m hoping that it will ease a bit now that the majority of decisions have been made. I hope to get the rest of the decisions out of the way as soon as I can but carpet and lighting are tricky. What I’m really looking forward to is that I get to mind Evie again this week. We’re a little further away than we were last time I minded Evie so it will require an overnight visit. I will also be able to help with the packing as they are moving to a new house the week after.

So that’s my week in a nutshell. I hope you are keeping safe and well and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 17 May 2020. #95

Hello friends! It still seems a bit Groundhog Day-like around here though restrictions have lifted a little. I’ve spent a lot of time on house-work (the type of housework you do when you don’t have a house yet!) and have made nearly all the decisions. More on that in a bit. The weather has been getting cooler though most days have had some sun to keep the day reasonably mild. I can’t say the same for the nights and they are only going to get colder. The beach this week has gone from calm to a little wild but both are beautiful. I even got up early enough to see the sunrise on Monday. That was Shaun’s (SIL) birthday and we weren’t able to celebrate together. We’ll save it up for a get together soon.

MeMadeMay 2020: I’m not really good at taking pics for MeMadeMay ever but I have been wearing them. I got my Floozy cardigan out of the winter pile the other day and it was great. I took this pic while walking along because I thought I might forget. I didn’t really have any intention of using this pic but, yes, I did forget. The other shows a pair of my socks – I’ve needed these at night because my ankles have been cold. I’ve had track pants and slippers but the ankles have been exposed! Other than that I wore my Pietra pants and I’m not totally happy with them. They are a bit baggy so I may try to take them in a bit more. I’ve been wearing my Kettle Vally poncho most days (including today) and it’s turned into a kind of at home uniform. At least during the day – it’s light so doesn’t quite provide enough warmth at night; I’ve been wearing my Turtle Dove then. My Monroe top has been popular this week but I’ll need to take that in too – from the armholes down. It’s dropped shouldered so that width doesn’t matter so much. The next one I make will be size 1 and I may taper the bottom a bit.

Corona Cooking: I didn’t have a lot of time for extra-curricular cooking this week but I did manage to whip up a quick Pear and Frangipane tart to use up some fast ripening pears. Actually, I only used up one pear but, in hindsight, I could have easily added a second one. I used the recipe for this Nectarine Frangipane tart and use pear instead. There isn’t a rolling pin here so I used my trusty backup – any flat type bottle will do the trick! You can see it below having just done the job. I think I had the oven on a little high for blind baking (though I had nothing to “blind” it – just shoved in the oven like that). It turned out OK, just needed to remove the very top edge of the crust for some of it. If you like frangipane tarts, I can recommend this one!

House Update: Things are moving very quickly on the house and would have even been scheduled to finish early except the kitchen, vanities and laundry will be a 5-week wait. That will just mean that the finish will be as initially expected, so that’s a good thing. Finish should be mid-July – fingers are crossed for an earlier kitchen install. The kitchen, vanities and laundry have been finalised, a manufacturer decided upon and colours selected. You can see my swatches below – the top row shows the kitchen cupboards (vivid white) and a stone sample of Smartstone Astral. The middle row shows the vanities which will have a timber look Laminex along with a Ceasarstone top in Fresh Concrete. And finally, on the bottom row, is the colour scheme for the laundry doors (Chamois) and benchtops (Alluvial Stone) in Laminex. The gyprock is all in now and they were plastering when I took these pics. The sanding is due to start tomorrow. The external painting has started – the eaves in Ballast and most of the horizontal boards in Rubble. The Dune for the rest of the house hasn’t started just yet. I’ve gone for a muted look because there will be plenty of noise with the stone facade on the left of the garage and the open timber portico. The timber staircase is to be installed tomorrow as well. There should be a few update photos when I’m there on Tuesday! The only decisions left to be made now are for a dishwasher, fans and pendants and some bathroom accessories like towel rails. The dishwasher will be decided on on Tuesday when I can see in person the ones I’m looking at online. I’ve been using Choice reviews to help me with all the decisions I can get there, though some of their review items are out of date, even though the review is very current.

The three trips to the house this week meant less crafting time, especially since I drove for two of those. Regardless, it seems that I got plenty done, if most of it was only a minor step of each project.

Knitting

New Cast-on: Since it was Mother’s Day last Sunday, I had finished three jumpers and my Koivua sweater yarn had been waiting very patiently since last year, I thought I deserved to cast it on. I managed to get the first part of the colourwork done on Sunday as there are few stitches and since then I’ve managed to add a few rows here and there, while increasing, to get through half of the yoke colourwork. This is proving to be a fast knit which is just what I need right now. The worsted weight yarn I’m using is Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Dawn Heather and leftover yarn from my Nightshift shawl from last year. They are KnitPicks Provincial Tweed in, firstly, Candy Apple, which will be followed by Pumpkin Pie and then Caramel. I also have some other colours that I can use if I run out of these but I’m thinking that these will be enough. I’m enjoying doing some colourwork again as I’d been hankering for it lately.

The first Ciqala cardigan is finished. I only had to finish the cuffs and had avoided it as I thought it needed some thinking. It will now need to be blocked and have the ends sewn in. I’m thinking the cuffs may be a bit loose but that will only help when putting those little arms in there. I’m hoping to start on the sister version of this today or tomorrow.

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My Habitation throw got to a bit of a stalemate due to the lack of fingering weight leftovers in the house. I added some leftovers from my Tuileries sweater and called in at the storage shed for more supplies. I had a bag of leftovers along with this magic knot ball that I’d made from the remaining yarn from my 12 mini-skein advent of 2018. I had made an Adventurer cowl and some advent socks (seems I never added that project to my Ravelry) and still had a reasonable amount left over. Since I started on this ball, I’ve worked through the first colour and almost the second already. It will be great looking at my dyed yarn as I go along as I can’t remember offhand what they looked like.

Coming Soon: My mind has moved on to another WIP that would come in very handy this winter. I started this Comfort Fade cardigan in April of 2018 after I had dyed the yarn. I thought I had the yarn in order when I took the photo below but the two turquoise ones are the wrong way around. At the time I stopped knitting because I was having trouble fading the two sleeves at the same time – mainly how I was carrying the yarn. Since then I have worked out that helical knitting is the best way to go, though the fade will be different from how Caitlin Hunter indicates in the pattern. I still think it will work so now I feel more confident about getting the sleeves done. I had done a couple of inches of sleeve but I’ll take it back to the sleeve pickup so that it’s done properly.

Spinning

This week I got to chain plying the second bobbin of my Ixchel Yarns and Fibres November batt. I’m not finding chain plying very comfortable as I seem to be drawing from behind, meaning that my right arm is behind and my body is twisted. I have another bobbin to chain ply but I needed a rest so I haven’t started on that one yet. I think I’ll try drawing the yarn from the side instead and see how that goes. I certainly got into a real pickle at one point. The plied yarn had jumped off the bobbin and tangled around the flyer. While trying to sort that out I suddenly realised that I had only managed to make it worse! I had resigned myself to the fact that this was going to have to be cut when Robert came to the rescue with his enormous experience at untangling fishing line. What a magician! Needless to say, I stepped away from the bobbin once it was done and I still need to wind it off onto the niddy noddy. Maybe today. Also shown here is the soaked and dried skein of the first bobbin but I’m yet to work out the yardage and weight. Maybe this week I’ll chain ply the third and final bobbin.

As I mentioned above, I needed a rest from chain plying so I grabbed a small pack of Ashford 30% baby alpaca and 70% of fine merino. I have 100 grams and will spin 50 grams on each of two bobbins for a traditional two-ply. It’s a lovely soft blue colour and it should work with other skeins I’ve spun up from Ashford fibre.

Crochet

My Rings of Change blanket has been keeping me warm and occupied during the evenings in front of the television. It is only cotton but the extra layer is just enough to make a difference. My Habitation throw is nowhere near big enough to do the job yet. I’ve just finished Round 69 and have 42 rounds of the pattern to go. I’m pretty sure I won’t have enough yarn to get them all done so I’ll need to keep an eye on the weight as I get closer to the end of it. I’ll be able to work it out by weight per round as I’ll need to have enough to do a finishing round – it’s likely that will be needed depending on the round I finish on. I’ve already started on 1 strand of the four in turquoise and I’m expecting to be on the second strand very soon. This yarn fades through the colours one strand at a time. The nature of this yarn means that the hook can get caught between the strands at times but I’m getting used to hooking with it.

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Sewing

Invisible zippers for the win! I added the invisible zipper to my sheath dress this week and I will not use another type of zipper again if I can help it. As I had a waist seam on the back, I needed to baste the second side of the zipper and, though it was a little fiddly getting that point basted in the exact place, it was a resounding success. The first photo is the basting and the second shows the amazing result. Once I had that done, following the great zipper installation tutorial by Aneka of Made To Sew, I finished off the back seam. I was on a roll then so picked up the facing to add to the neck and realised it was about a centimetre short on either end. The pattern I’m using is from an old Bernina Inspirations magazine which, like Burda, requires you to add your own seams. I obviously didn’t do a great job there and I had none of this fabric left. I am using the blue fabric from the contrast shoulders as the next facing. What to do, what to do! Should I cut the facing and joining on a little bit? That would mean having a seam in the facing and I didn’t really want to do that. The obvious solution was to buy some more of the fabric – I’d only bought it a couple of months ago so it was highly like that I could get it again and Spotlight is near where I had to be. So, as I speak, the fabric is drying and I’m ready to have another go at it. Once that’s done, all that is required is to finish the side seams and hem. I could have done these but I thought it would be easier to handle without the seams joined – it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

Stitching

The next lighthouse is ready for my Round the Garden quilt. To be honest, this one has not been getting a lot of attention so, fingers crossed, I hope to get on with it this week.

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Acquisitions

A trip to Spotlight is never just for what I need, as you may have gleaned from previous blogs. Apart from the blue sateen I needed for the Sheath dress, I picked up some fleece and rayon. I bought 1.5m of 148cm Sports Active Fleece in black and found a remnant of this in grey. It’s only 0.85m but I’m hoping to eke out a pair of Hudson track pants out of this, even if I have to use something else for cuffs and waistband. Maybe even colour block if I need. The other fabric is a piece of rayon in the Large Leopard colourway – must be a reference to the size of the animal as the print is not large. This piece is 0.80m of 135cm width which should make a nice light summer top. I also purchased the Pansy dress pattern by Sew Over It, London. This has sizes from 0-3 months to 6 years so I think it will be very useful.

Paraphernalia

I have been enjoying listening to A Court of Thorns and Roses this week, particularly while driving up and down the coast. I’ve alternated that with some audio podcasts that I’ve downloaded. I also got to visit my girlfriend, Mary, who lives not too far away and was able to download some Netflix shows. I have started the second season of After Life and also have Dead to Me and Ozark waiting in the wings.

As I was contemplating the content for this blog this morning, I was wondering what I would be able to talk about. It turns out that I had plenty! I’m going to head off now and make some of #notquitenigella‘s pizza dough. This recipe uses a long fermentation so it will be waiting for a couple of days before I use it. Let’s see how that goes!

I’ll be back next week, same day, same bat station. I hope you are all safe and healthy and, until next week, I hope you enjoy lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 10 May 2020. #94

Hello friends! Happy Mother’s Day to everyone celebrating today. There are a lot of countries around the world celebrating today but the UK is not one of them. I just found out today that it is because Mothering Sunday in the UK is linked to Easter, having its roots in religious celebration. My day today will be a quiet one around the house but I was able to celebrate on a minor scale yesterday with family. Following social distancing rules, we were able to catch up with Erin and Shaun briefly as they left Steven and Kim’s place. Then we had lunch with Steven, Kim and Evie and it was wonderful seeing Evie in person. She has changed so much in the past 8 weeks since we last spent time with her, and she has become very chatty, having learnt new words.

We also had a visit from our friends, Ken and Deb, on Friday and we were able to show them the beautiful beaches around here. Here are some water photos from this week. I was going to say beach photos but a couple of them are of the lake this time.

MeMadeMay 2020: I haven’t taken photos every day this week but I wore me-made for most of them. Here are a few pics of me and also Evie modelling my makes. Here I have the first pics of my Kettle Valley poncho in all its glory – it’s been getting a lot of wear; my Millie top; Evie wearing a small Strange Brew and then Anna’s Summer cardigan with her new Worlds Simplest Mittens. The last photo was this morning sitting in my “office” with my Kettle Valley poncho and Lunae shawl. It was a tad cool in the dappled sunshine.

Corona Cooking: The cooking bug continued this week and I ventured into breadmaking. I bought a pack of Laucke bread flour the week before and tried some bread rolls. That worked OK though if I’d had them further apart they may have been more successful. As they had little room to spread they weren’t great for adding meat and salad for lunch and I think I could probably have done with a bit more heat for them to rise a little more during cooking. Certainly not an expert! On Friday I tried Lorraine’s (@notquitenigella) focaccia recipe and that was a resounding success. And it was so easy, I might make it a weekly event. Lorraine decorates her focaccia with lots of colourful vegies and I may give that a try some time. The recipe calls for a lot of oil – I used about half and I think that was maybe still a bit much. I didn’t get much opportunity to take a photo before it was almost devoured. I also made a Glazed Meatloaf from Taste.com.a and Banana Bread from @notquitenigella. Both wonderful though didn’t get any pics.

House Update: Well, it’s looking like a real house inside now that they’ve added the insulation in between the wall studs. These photos are from last Tuesday and on Thursday they started painting the exterior; Friday they started on the internal gyprock walls. I can’t wait to see what it looks like tomorrow. We haven’t decided on who is making the kitchen yet though I think we’ll have to make a decision ASAP so that it can get installed when they are ready.

Knitting

This week hasn’t seen a lot of crafting due to all the house stuff. One day I drove up myself which means no knitting and being out of the house generally means no other type of crafting either.

Finished Object #1: My Tuileries sweater is finished! I was so pleased to get this one finished for several reasons. The main one is that I didn’t have to use that 3.25mm 9″ circular cable needle anymore! It is obviously a lace needle and is so sharp. Every time I used that one I would re-open up the hole in my finger. Also, it was good to finally get off twisted rib sleeve island! My daughter yesterday said I should make her a jumper (and I wasn’t sitting down at the time – it could have been ugly!) and she indicated a polo neck would be good. I really think this turtle neck would be great on her so I may be persuaded to hand it over. She hasn’t been interested before so I was very surprised. It took three days to dry because the middle day it was locked up inside. On the third day, I was able to put it out in the sun and that finished it off.

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Finished Object #2: Last week, I got a request for a pair of mittens for Miss Evie so I immediately cast on The World’s Simplest Mittens from Tin Can Knits. After having made 5 individual adult mitts, I realised that the pattern for this and the Drifting Snow mitts are exactly the same, though the Driting Snow mitts are only for adults. The size is only a variation on stitch numbers and lengths. Anyhow, how stinking cute are they? They took an afternoon and a bit of the next day to finish. I didn’t have much available to use so I thought they’d be good in the leftovers of my Ranunculus II sweater. They turned out very soft and cute! I still had leftovers of the fingering which I used up in my Habitation throw.

Finished Object #3: I finally got onto the second of my Drifting Snow mitts. I had made the first of these as a prototype before making the gift ones and I’m glad they’re now complete – apart from a few ends to sew in. They’ll be really handy as the weather is turning cold now.

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There’s only one other project that I’ve added a few rows to this week and it’s my own brioche jumper design. This one has been a low priority but I needed something that is straight knitting for the Zoom/Messenger meetings. Everything else seems to need focus so this one has been good to work on. I’m not fussed with the brioche being on a slight diagonal but I understand that this is common with brioche. I’m hoping that blocking might straighten them up a bit. That’s a fair way down the track at the moment.

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Spinning

All three bobbins of my Ixchel fibre are now spun into singles. The one on the left of the three (and the one by itself at the top) was the green/yellow spin and the one on the right of the three is the blue spin. There doesn’t appear to be any difference but we’ll see how the final skeins look. I chain plied the blue bobbin during the week and you can see it at the bottom ready to be wound off onto the niddy noddy. I think that will be a job for this afternoon.

Crochet

This category is finally making a reappearance! I rescued my Rings of Change out of the storage unit because I felt like doing some crochet. It’s quite large and I had to lay it out in front of the garage and take the photo from the deck above. The left-hand photo shows where I was up to when it came out of storage and the right is where I am now. I’ve done about 3 rounds – they are quite long now so it’s slow going. You can see the edge on the later picture has more of the pink around it. I’m using  My Melody yarn by Wolltraum which is 50% cotton/50% acrylic. For the first part of this project I started from the outside aqua on the cake moving through a mauve, then purple, pink and finally red. When I realised I had lots more to do I thought I’d order another one, though I could well have stopped there. When I joined the second ball I started from the red in the centre of the cake which is the colour I was up to. There are four rows of crocodile stitch in the red section and that used up heaps of the yarn. Without actually weighing it, I’d say there’s at least three-quarters of the full cake left to use. I’m almost finished Round 65 and there is a total of 111 rounds. I don’t know if I’ll have enough for all of it so I’ll finish at the last full round. The rows I’ve been working on are quite dense and it’s been a challenge to get the stitch count correct. I’m fortunate that I’m a good fudger and I think I’m now totally correct.

Stitching

I only spent a little time on my Round the Garden this week. I finished off the lighthouse (I hope a good press makes it look straight!) and did a couple of bees. I have also started putting together some of the houses so I should be able to pin the next section in hopefully this week. I will have to make the next lighthouse before I can do that though, so that will be the next step.

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Paraphernalia

I have been mainly watching free-to-air TV at the moment with Masterchef keeping me entertained. There’s not a whole lot that’s great on TV at the moment. I finished the book I was reading last week, Buried Deep by Margot Hunt. It was very short – only a bit over 4 hours so I think it was one of the freebies from Audible that I’d downloaded a little while back. It was a good and quick “read”. From that one, I moved onto A Court of Thorns and Roses by Susan J Moss, which has been well-reviewed by so many people. I finally took the plunge and it’s shaping up into a great read already. I was hesitant to fall down that rabbit hole because there are many books in this series but I think I was ready for it.

I have no plans for this week apart from house stuff which will require some visits both to the house and to businesses for finalising all the bits and pieces. Now that restrictions are lifting we may be able to think about some get-togethers. Currently, two people are able to visit another home and there’s little else. From next Friday, that number will go up to 5 people within a house and 10 people in cafes and restaurants which will be able to open again. It will be a slow journey but it’s the safest way. I hope that people follow the rules, but these rules are so confusing with the Federal Government saying one thing and then leaving it up to the State Premiers who are all lifting restrictions at different rates.

I hope all the mothers out there are having (or had) a great Mother’s Day and that everyone is healthy and safe. I’ll be back next week, as usual. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying all your opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 3 May 2020. #93

Hello friends! Welcome to May – how the year is flying, but also going very slowly. The weather has turned decidedly colder and holds the promise of a very cold winter. It’s still Autumn here but is starting to blend with winter already. The majority of the week has been quite blustery but, as I sit here in my (deck) office, the wind has calmed and the sun is peeking out of the clouds every so often; enough to make the temperature out here bearable. Here are this week’s beach views – not a lot of sunshine in them!

I have again been Corona Cooking this week. I blame all the Instagram profiles I’m following for making all the things look amazing! Firstly, inspired by Lorraine of #notquitenigella, I made this Mug Cake from Taste.com.au. I was after one that wasn’t chocolate and Robert doesn’t particularly like orange so I went hunting. This Golden Syrup Microwave Mug Cake was very nice though I didn’t add any golden syrup or ice cream on top. The next bake was of Arnott’s Scotch Finger biscuits. I discovered this week that Arnotts are releasing recipes for some of their biscuits – #baketogether. I missed the one last week for Monte Carlo biscuits but may still give those a go at some point. The Scotch Finger biscuits came out very short so I think it needs more flour. I’ll add a bit more next time – there will be a next time. They were very easy to make but hard to flatten out in the tin, though I think that would be better with more flour so that it doesn’t stick to everything. And finally, last night, while Robert was crumbing one of his freshly caught squids for an entree, I made Recipe Tin’s Broccoli Chicken Fritters. They were so yummy but I would leave out the garlic next time. It might be because I finely chopped it (not having a garlic crusher here with me) and it made it a bit bitter, tasting a bit burnt like.

May is also MeMadeMay month, so it’s time for some awkward selfies. Generally, people participating in this rotate their wardrobe so that they are wearing their own makes each day for the month, or whatever they can manage. Personally, most of my stuff is still packed away and most of that is knitwear with a couple of summer dresses. I will need to get some knitwear out of storage for the cold weather but could probably manage with the few bits I have with me. On Friday, I wore my Monroe top by Tessuti, along with the Audrey jacket by Seamwork. Both of these were made for my first #thegreatmodulesewalong. They are both a bit big and swamp me a bit but they are very comfortable. Yesterday’s MeMade was my Turtle Dove sweater by Espace Tricot. I finished this a couple of months ago and it’s not been cold enough to wear until now. I also have this on today.

House Update: There’s little to update this week and no photos that show much progress. Little bits are happening at the moment. We’ve had only one thing that has been affected by this pandemic and it’s the stone panelling that we were going to have in the front entry and foyer. The product we were going to use is made in China and would be a long wait as it’s not stored here. Instead, we’ve chosen a different stone which is installed as tiles. The sample I have photographed is not really showing correctly but is supposed to look like the snapshot on the right. The bathroom fittings will be installed this week and the plasterboard will go up also. We’ve chosen the exterior paint colours and the exterior will be painted very soon so that they can remove and return the scaffolding. We are still looking at kitchens, laundry, vanities, cooktops and stove, to mention but a few items we need.

Knitting

Finished Object #1: This has been a week of finishing. I have decided to consider the Kettle Valley poncho finished, without adding the dark red to the edges of the sleeves. It was hanging around so I called it finally and sewed in the edges, then blocked it. You can see it here as it is drying. If it’s dry tomorrow, I think I’ll wear it and try to take some photos to show what it looks like. As it’s fingering weight (4 ply) it drapes nicely, from the elbows down, which is where the ribbing starts on the sleeves.

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Finished Object #2: The latest Drifting Snow mitts are also finished. I did the thumbs on Monday but I haven’t yet posted this gift to its recipient. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Finished Object #3: My Ranunculus II is also finished. This is another one that I’ll be wearing for MeMadeMay. It’s such a cosy knit and the colours came out very soft, which is what I was going for. I used Stranded Dyeworks’ Yesterday’s Bouquet in a fingering weight and mohair, each held with a plain undyed mohair and fingering. I did the plain finish on the sleeves with the rib instead of the diagonal cuff line. I would have liked to have done that but the short rows wouldn’t work with the helical knitting of the two different yarns. I also decreased as the sleeves grew rather than leaving them to gather at the cuff with an i-cord bind off.

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My Tuileries sweater is an almost finished object! I could probably have finished it last night but it meant trying it on during the movie we were watching; instead, I chose to spin. One sleeve is probably done – depending on the length when I try it on today. I have removed the second yarn (helical knitting again) and did that when I was at the underarm, beginning of row section so that it wouldn’t be obvious. If it needs more length now it will only be a few rows and I can do that with just the one yarn. Once I’ve bound that off, I’ll finish off the other sleeve in the same way. The bottom of the body was a tubular bind off using 2 set-up rows and I’m not fussed with the look. I think I’ll do the sleeves with the tubular but not doing the set-up rows. I’m sure I’ve done it that way before but there aren’t many stitches if I need to rip it back. This MadTosh yarn has gone a long way and it seems I have a reasonable amount of leftover yarn, out of the 4 skeins I started with.

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Now that all of these are done (or all but) I can think of moving onto my next pieces. This afternoon I’ll be casting on some toddler mittens for Miss Evie. Kim is hoping she’ll wear them but we’re not overly confident. I also have my Comfort Fade Cardi that has been waiting patiently so I’ll be picking that up again. I got stuck with the fade on the sleeves which ended up with the cardi getting put into the too hard basket. I have since worked out a better method so I’m looking forward to getting this one done. I am also going to start my Koivua sweater by Caitlin Hunter. I have been very good at waiting until these other projects were done! I also brought my Rings of Change crochet project home from the storage unit. I’m feeling the urge for some crochet. And I haven’t forgotten the Ciqala cardigans that I’m doing. I’ll be working on those this week too. No photos of these items today but I imagine there will be plenty next week. I would love to start my Le Pouf cardigan but that means dyeing and I don’t think I can do that here.

Spinning

This is the third bobbin of my Ixchel Yarns and Fibres November batt club. I got 2 packs of this which added to just over 300gms. Once I’ve finished this bobbin I’ll be chain plying each of them separately. You can see the first two bobbins down below – the peachy/pink one, and the other was the majority of the blue fibre. It doesn’t look a whole lot different to the current green/yellow spin as there’s a fair bit of overlap. I didn’t want to separate every little piece of each colour as I think that would have separated all the different fibres in these batts. Once plied, I would think you’ll be able to see the difference in the two skeins but it doesn’t really matter if they look the same.

Sewing

I have now finished my Pietra pants – the third item in my #thegreatmodulesewalong. The dress has had to wait in the wings due to the wrong invisible zipper part that I received. You’ll see in Acquisitions that I now have the right one. These pants turned out to be so easy once I got started. The only hiccup I had was that the pocket was shorter than it should be. I had shortened each piece in the rise by 2cm and did that to the pocket as well, where it indicated to shorten or lengthen. In the end, it worked out fine, just the pocket is 1cm shorter which is unnoticeable. The other issue I had was that they swam on me. I tried them on when the sides were joined and even joined the inner leg seam before the pattern indicated so that I could make sure. I ended up taking a good half to three-quarter inch off each side seam. From the measurements on the pattern, I worked out that I was a 12 in the waist and a 10 in the hip, so I graded the pattern to fit. I didn’t need to worry about the waist as it’s a smaller measurement than the hip and, being elastic, the waist was already at hip measurement otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get them over the hip. They fit quite well, though maybe still a little bigger than they need to be so when I make another pair, I’ll start with a straight size 8. Pattern sizes are never the same which is why you go off the measurements. In this case, it didn’t come out to the finished sizes indicated.

Stitching

I didn’t do a lot of stitching on my Round the Garden quilt this week, only doing a bit yesterday afternoon when I added the doorknobs. I only need to add a bee and finish the top of the lighthouse for this first quarter to be done and I’ve got the next quarter pieces ready to cut out and add to the quilt. You can see the freezer paper pieces ironed onto the felt. I’ll be cutting these out this afternoon. I now also have the Cricut machine from my friends Mary and Kerry so that I can cut out lots more circles.

Acquisitions

As I mentioned earlier, I ended up with the wrong invisible zipper foot for my Janome MC6600P so I didn’t put the zipper into the dress. I now have the right one. You’d think, after all this time I’ve had this Janome and my other older Janome that I’d know the size of the shank. Well, I have a better idea now at least what they are talking about. It must be the 5mm or maybe 7mm. I also bought a set of patterns from Sew Over It, London. I was looking for a skirt pattern to make with the corduroy that I have for my #thegreatmodulesewalong and I stumbled over this set. It has 5 patterns with different views so that make more patterns. There’s a pair of jeans, a knit top & dress, a shirt & shirt dress, a waterfall cardigan and a skirt. I’ve already printed and cut out the skirt pattern and I’m thinking about how I’m going to grade the skirt waist with the pocket. Something to cut out this week, I think.

Paraphernalia

This week started as another week in isolation. I started listening to three books. The first I realised I’d already listened to – I was going to the bottom of the list and it wasn’t marked as read. The other one, I’m not sure about and I wasn’t in the mood for it. So I went from the top and picked the first one that was already downloaded. I am now enjoying Buried Deep by Margot Hunt. On Tuesday night I had an online book club and also joined my girlfriends for a chat. I didn’t wake up early enough on Wednesday to join in with the International Virtual Knit Night unfortunately but was able to spend a little time yesterday afternoon with the Australian Virtual Knit girls.

On Friday, restrictions were lifted so that two people from the same family group could visit a household. I got to visit my friend Mary yesterday. I also saw my friend Kerry over the fence there as she lives next door and it was great to say hello face to face. Of course, we are still required to distance ourselves. I’m hoping people are sensible so as to avoid another peak.

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day and I will be going up to Wollongong to visit with Steven, Kim & Evie. I imagine it will still be the single-family group with single-family group situation. If restrictions are lifted further maybe Erin & Shaun could come down from Sydney to join us.

As I continued with this blog, the sun has come out and it’s a gorgeous Autumn day. I haven’t been for any exercise yet today and I think it’s time for a walk. Restrictions are changing all over the world so, until next week, I hope you are able to get some personal contact and enjoy lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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