Sunday 27 September 2020. #114

Hello friends! Welcome to my little corner of the interwebs. I am starting today’s blog in sunny but windy Sydney and I know I’ll be home before it’s finished. What a busy week it’s been for me. The week started with a predicted temperature of 30 degrees Celcius and ended with 20 degrees and under, with cold winds. The 30 degrees didn’t actually eventuate for us as the sea breeze kept it down but it was a lovely day on Monday. I managed a bike ride on both Monday and Tuesday and finished with a ride on Friday.

On Tuesday we were invited to JB Brewery as they were being filmed by the Sydney Weekender for a future show. As they don’t normally open on a Tuesday (apart from the summer tourist season) they let a few of us regulars know that it was happening. It was a lovely day to sit and chat with friends over lunch and a wine or two. It’ll be interesting to see how they put the shots together when it airs.

Wednesday was my Evie day and it was a great day for some shopping and then a walk to the park. The flowers are really coming out everywhere and we checked these ones out. Some had bees so we stayed well away from them. After leaving there I headed up to Sydney and spent the night at my parents’ house. On Thursday I drove them down to our house as they hadn’t seen it at all apart from photos and they spent a couple of days with us until I drove them home on Saturday.

After dropping mum and dad off home, I headed over to Erin and Shaun’s house. Erin and I had a late lunch and then went for a walk around the local area. The wind was keeping the temperature down but it was a very sunny spring day. We passed by the old Colgate-Palmolive factory building which has been turned into fancy apartments with a great view. We then had a relaxing time watching the football until Shaun came home to cook us dinner.

This morning we had a big breakfast and Erin and I went on a walk around Ballast Point, Birchgrove and East Balmain looking at venues for a picnic baby shower. I think we’ve settled on Ballast Point as there are several spots that would be perfect that could accommodate for wind in different directions, while still maintaining a lovely view of the harbour.

Knitting

This week I put in a lot of work on the test knit for Truly Myrtle as it’s due today. I’m happy to have finished in time and blocked it on Friday. It has dried nicely while I was away and now I’m just waiting on the go-ahead to show what it is and what it looks like. I still need to take some decent photos. Once that was done I was able to move onto something else and the only thing to hand and easy was this pair of socks. The Turtlepurl self-striping yarn in the Trenchcoat colourway is look great and I just want to get from one stripe to the next. I’ve decided on afterthought heels as I want to keep the stripe pattern correct. The picture I posted on Instagram and Facebook last week attracted a few comments that it looked like I was knitting a bikini! I’m glad they are now looking like actual socks. I have ordered a new needle for sock knitting as the ones I’m using don’t have a great join and I’m always trying to get the end stitches over the join. I might have called in at Skein Sisters on the way home to get the 2.5mm 60cm Chiaogoo needle but they are not open on Sundays these days. I hope that it arrives soon so that I can move the stitches onto it. I have a few plans for other knitting now. Firstly, I want to knit a cowl in some super bulky yarn in my stash. I was hoping to take that with me to start but I can’t find my old circular needles. The pattern I’ve chosen (and probably chunky yarn requirements anyway) uses 12mm needles. I didn’t really have the opportunity to get some until today and then I thought I’d probably have some already if I can only find them. I’ll be picking up a WIP to work on this week too.

The main plan coming up is to dye some yarn for the new Stephen West MKAL. I have done the last two and I am looking forward to doing this next one also. I initially thought I wouldn’t have time, with the test knit, but the dates work well. I have a few ideas on what I want to dye but I don’t have all the equipment I need yet. I don’t want to be dyeing in my new kitchen so I wanted to buy a portable electric cooktop. Looks like I may need to order it so I’m not sure when I’ll get it. The MKAL doesn’t start until October 9 which gives me a little bit of leeway and time for planning.

Spinning

I mentioned last week that I’ll be starting on a new spin and that’s exactly what I did. This is the Ixchel Fibres 2019 December batt, or rather two of them. The total amount is just over 300gm so I originally thought I’d do two lots of 75 x 75gm 2 ply until I remembered that my bobbin can only take 100gm. Instead, I’m now doing three lots of 50 x 50gm 2 ply. It’s spinning up very nicely!

Crochet

The crochet segment of this blog has finally made a reappearance. But, before you get too excited, it’s only for a previously finished project. I have been wanting to pick up my crochet hook for a baby blanket project but I still haven’t found them! I finished this Rings of Change blanket a few months ago, before we moved home, and I wasn’t able to block it. It’s taken two months of being in the new house and I finally unearthed it and it’s now blocked. I think it looks good where I have put it. I just like having it on display as it was quite an achievement. I didn’t complete the whole pattern as I ran out of the yarn several rows short. I was happy with how much there was anyway. You can see the blanket blocking on my studio deck – the photo was taken from above on the main deck.

Sewing

I haven’t had much opportunity to sew this week but I was really happy to get a start on my #WFHmodulesewalong with a remake. While we were at Bawley Point waiting for the house to be built, I made these Pietra pants. They turned out large and, even when I took in what I could without them being weird, they were still large and billowy so I didn’t like them. Lisa from And Sew On had a YouTube video recently on the Pietra shorts to skirt makeover. It seems that the Pietra shorts are sized quite large and it’s a common issue. I decided to follow Lisa’s example and turned mine into a skirt. I really wanted to wear it on Tuesday but I didn’t get it quite finished. Since then it’s been quite cool and definitely not skirt weather. I’ll take pics when I finally get to wear it. The final photo here shows some rayon that I purchased for the lining on my Marbella dress so I’ll be able to move on with it this week.

A little bit of other sewing was the next Geranium dress for Evie. I showed the fabric last week. I did get some time on it but I got to the point on putting the skirt together and decided the fabric was quite fine and probably should have a lining under it. I have some rayon (that’s what I think it is) in white that will be suitable for a lining for this. I’ve washed the fabric and I’m ready to move on …. once I work out exactly how I’m going to tackle this. The first issue I had was that, although I had plenty of the birdy fabric, I didn’t quite have the width for the skirt if the birds were orientated correctly. So then I worked out that I had enough lining fabric to put a couple of panels, one on each side. While I’m doing that, I thought it would be nice to have a small band of the contrast fabric under the bodice. The bodice lining is cut to size so that it overlaps the seam where the skirt is attached. If I lower the front bodice with a band, then the bodice lining won’t cover the seam. I’m trying to decide whether to put the lining onto the skirt and gather them together but I need to work out how I’ll manage the bodice lining. I have a few ideas and I’ll work out the best way for it. TBC!

Paraphernalia

This week I watched Season 2 of The Split on ABC iView. It was great and I hope there will be a Season 3 but I know I’m going to have to wait a long while for it. I didn’t watch much else but I have now started Longmire on Netflix. I had intended to watch this one for a while and finally started it. I had heard lots of good reports and I am enjoying it. I’m still listening to Girl Woman Other and I am definitely still enjoying it. I only managed to listen on my way home from Sydney today and I kept on it for the majority of the three hour trip. Mostly during this week I was listening to podcasts and I’m really interested in a new one that was recommended. It’s by Dr Rangan Chatterjee and it’s called Feel Better, Live More. From his website: “I want to empower you to become the architect of your own health. Because when you feel better, you live more.” The episodes I’ve listened to are great and I’m inspired to get his book called Feel Better in 5 which is “the first daily 5 minute plan that is easy to maintain, easy-to-follow and requires only the smallest amount of willpower.” What I’ve heard about this book sounds great.

As I expected, I made it home before I was able to finish today’s blog and it’s getting dark now. I’d better get this blog up so that I can get dinner sorted and get started on the new week. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 20 September 2020. #113

Hello friends! Welcome to a wet and cool spring Sunday on the south coast of New South Wales. It’s definitely not a day for spending outdoors but it’s great for watering our new lawn. It is growing very well though we’ve had to water it several times this week until the rain started last evening. It’s only a steady rain but that is great for the lawn. You can see the view out from our loungeroom window. The garden is next up on the list. We are still working out what type of edging we are going to use. I started the blog outside this morning, on our new outdoor setting but it got a little bit cool.

Monday started with an early bike ride to Huskisson for a catch-up breakfast. There was an early heavy fog and it was interesting riding the bike. As I neared Huskisson, the fog had settled in properly and I had to remove my sunglasses as they fogged up as well. Our normal cafe is undergoing renovations so we went to Pilgrims instead. It’s a vegetarian Mexican restaurant and I ordered the banana pancakes. They were great except they were sitting in what I could only call maple soup! Tuesday morning’s bike ride was a little later and it was to my hairdresser at Huskisson. I arrived a little early and grabbed a coffee at Nutmeg before going in for the chop. It doesn’t seem that long since the last visit but I had plenty to cut off. I managed bike rides on Wednesday and Thursday as well. On Thursday Robert and I drove up to Warrawong to look at outdoor furniture and get quotes for blinds. The furniture was available immediately but we’ll need to wait almost until Christmas for the blinds.

Friday was a busy day, starting with a barbecue breakfast. Robert’s swimming group occasionally have barbecue breakfasts and I joined in with this one. The swim was at Iluka but there are no electric barbecues there and fires are not currently allowed, so we popped around the corner to Greenpatch. Greenpatch is a very well known camping and picnic spot where visitors enjoy the beach and the copious numbers of local birds. You can see how friendly they were, mostly looking for scraps. The kookaburras are quite daring and can take the meat out of your sandwich if you’re not paying attention. They’ll just swoop past and can be dangerous. The parrots and rosellas are a little bit annoying, flapping about you to see what they can get. There were also magpies and a pair of bower birds. The female bower bird can be seen on the tree in the last photo below. It was a very enjoyable morning. That was followed by Carol’s art studio. I was running a bit late and couldn’t put my hands quickly onto my paints so I grabbed some knitting and enjoyed the time chatting with the girls.

Yesterday turned out to be a busy day again. I had been wanting to cook up some fruit that was getting a bit old and was able to get it done yesterday morning. It ended up being a cook-athon! I had bought some strawberries that were really cheap – they are lovely at the moment, and I wanted to make jam. I had seen some jam at Huskisson with strawberry and pink lady apples, of which I had several, so that’s what I started with. I based it on this Recipeland strawberry and apple jam recipe. I used some Jamsetta sugar that I had in my pantry along with lemon juice and apples but I still got a runny jam. I don’t have a lot of luck with strawberry jam. The last lot was also runny but it was really yummy. This would probably work really well with the traditional scone/jam/cream method. I understand that you should put the cream on first? The strawberry jam could then be drizzled on top as I’ve always wondered how you spread jam over cream. 😊 I had some pears that were a little bit beyond their best so I googled and found this pear and cinnamon muffin recipe from The Imagination Tree and it worked really well. I made that one as per the recipe. Next, I had some bananas to use up – it’s amazing how these ripened so much overnight! I had a look at NotQuiteNigella’s website and she had a page just for the Ultimate Banana Bread Recipe Collection Banana Bread Bake Off with something like 79 recipes. I don’t know how many I scrolled through before I found Molly’s Recipes Banana Teacakes. That was the one I settled on and it turned out great. This one will be made again! Instead of making this as teacakes I used a loaf pan, so that needed a little bit longer to cook. I also didn’t have any nuts so I added some desiccated coconut (some – I didn’t measure it). For the dried fruit I just used sultanas and, for the dairy, she suggested sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk or a mix of any. I had a little bit of sour cream in the fridge and a little bit of yogurt which both added up to the right amount I needed. I didn’t use any almond extract as I didn’t really think I wanted that flavour but I was happy to use some non-special whisky that’s been sitting in my alcohol stash. I definitely recommend this recipe!

After standing up in the kitchen all morning, the outdoor furniture arrived and we set about putting that together. The table, chairs and coffee table came in boxes but the lounge suite was just plastic wrapped around the middle. I think that may be why there were some scratches on the metal and I’m waiting to hear what we can do about that. The table weighs 100kg (just over 220lbs)! I can say it was certainly an effort to get it upright and then moving it around to decide which way it was going to go. The top looks like a grey timber but is actually tiles and I think that’s where the majority of the weight is. We looked at a few timber tops and this will be better as the tiles won’t warp like timber tends to do over time. Anyway, now it’s all up and we’ve moved things around a few times, I am really pleased with it all and looking forward to the spring weather to settle in.

Studio Update: Phew, what a busy week! In amongst all of the above, I did manage to do some work in the studio. Things are getting sorted but there’s still a lot of mess. I know that it will always be worse before it gets better but I can see real progress now. My old Ikea tabletop was earmarked to be cut to fit in the section with the new Ikea tabletops. This tabletop was cut down when I first bought it to fit in where I needed it so I was happy enough to cut it again. You can see what the tabletops look like inside. We need to finish off that end somehow but it’s not noticeable at the moment as it’s against the wall. I need to move my newest Janome and my old Singer overlocker from the studio dining table onto that table but I need to finish the end first. I also want to put up an Ikea peg board on the wall to the left of the tabletop first. I have now filled one of the bookcases with yarn – really filled it actually, and there’s more that I’d like to put in there, mainly cotton/linen yarn. I need to use some of my yarn to make some room! The other bookcase has patchwork fabrics and I have more to add but that’s taking more time as I’m folding them to a particular size as I go through them. Dressmaking fabrics will be stored in a different area.

Knitting

I am still working on the Truly Myrtle test so most of my knitting time has been spent on that project, counting, tinking back, counting, tinking back. This project needs to be finished by the 27th which is next Sunday so I’ll be able to share it with you then or maybe the week after depending on when it’s released to the world. In the meantime, I needed a small project to take on the bike with me and I didn’t have anything so I picked one of my sock sets and cast on on a pair of socks. This sock set is a self-striping yarn with matching mini from Turtlepurl Yarns – the Striped Turtle Toes in the Trenchcoat colourway (75/25 superwash merino/nylon). The second picture with the band shows how they knit up and you can see where I’m up to at the moment. I started with the contrasting mini doing one toe at a time and then I put the two toes onto the same needle to join the main yarn. I’ve reached the very first dark red stripe and I think these will knit up very quickly. It’s one of those potato chippy projects where you just want to have the next stripe, and the next stripe, and the next! It will be great for my little pouch on the bike. Sorting through all my yarn has got me thinking about using some of it and I think I might start a chunky cowl. That will use up a couple of large skeins and hopefully make a start on getting more room in the bookcase. That’s only the first item on the plan but it should be a quick finish and instant gratification.

Spinning

Tour de Fleece (and Tour de France) finishes tonight and I managed to spin up two 100 gram skeins. The beige merino silk on the left (Autumn Leaves) was the first one and I’m going to use it with the three October 2019 batts to knit a jumper. I will use helical knitting with all four at once so that the plain beige one will last to the end of the project and the fabric will be balanced. I’m looking forward to starting that but haven’t chosen the pattern yet. The second finish for Tour de Fleece was the very pale purple/green (Dream Cloud) which I finished plying last night. It will go into my handspun stash for the moment as I don’t have a project for it.

What will I spin next? Below you can see my two choices. The first two photos are of one of the Ixchel Fibre December 2019 batts. The photo on the left has a blue tinge to it but is more actually grey as shown in the second photo. These batts (I have two though only one is shown here) are made up of merino, cashmere, angora, rainbow glitz, llama, silk, shetland, hemp, BFL and angelina! I don’t remember the artist that this colourway is based on but you can see the picture of the inspiration painting. My second option for spinning is a set of 20 mini batts each from different sheep. I bought this set before I even got my spinning wheel, to try out all the different breeds. Each label has a picture of the sheep, indicates the microns and staple length and has a small description on the breed. The mini batts are 20gms each and I am still deciding on how to spin these. I was originally thinking of separating each into two and spinning on separate bobbins for a two ply. My other thought was to separate into light and dark, grading from lighter to darker for each and then spinning continuously from light to dark and finally plying the two together. This would probably give a bit of a barber pole effect where one bobbin may continue a particular breed longer than the other bobbin. It would be a very subtle barber pole, I’d say. Anyway, I’m currently favouring the second option but have not yet decided. I’ll have to make that call very soon as I intend to spin tonight. My spin session these days is usually after dinner each night.

Sewing

There wasn’t a lot of sewing this week but I did get a start on my Marbella dress by Itch to Stitch. I had cut out the main fabric or, as I realised, most of the main fabric. There were two pieces that needed a second piece cut out. This week I cut out those extra pieces, along with the interfacing required and interfacing to use as stay tape. After ironing all those pieces on, I started on the front bodice, making the princess seams. I realised that the fabric was quite fine and I was concerned as I wasn’t going to do the lining for this first version of this dress. In the end, I decided that the lining would probably be a good option so I will now hold off until I get to Spotlight for some lawn or something similar to use for the lining.

Before starting on my Marbella dress I needed to finish the latest Pansy dress for Evie. I only had the hem and sleeve hems to do and I didn’t want to have to re-thread several times. That is now done and ready to take up on Wednesday. After I decided to put the Marbella dress on hold for the lining, I moved onto another make for Evie. This is for another Geranium dress, with this beautiful purple bird fabric. I thought I had heaps of fabric for this pattern, and I would have if I could turn it sideways, but the birds really should be upright. That left me a little short on the width for the skirt and I ummed and ahhed over which way to go. I had picked out this mauve spot for the bodice lining and there was enough of that to use for a narrow panel on each side and one around the bottom of the bodice. I think that should look good. Will I be able to get this done by Tuesday night? Hmm, do I have buttons to match? Maybe a trip to Spotlight tomorrow.

Paraphernalia

I have continued with my latest audible book, Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo. I am enjoying this book and it’s quite unusual in that it covers characters separately. They are all linked but the narrator concentrates on each one at a time. I’m up to the fourth character and not yet halfway through so there could be more. I suspect that they’ll all come together later in the book. I finished watching Mirage on SBS and really enjoyed that show. From there, I was wondering what to watch next and I noticed a comment on the Chat 10 Looks 3 Facebook page about a series called The Split. Apparently a lot of people thought it was great and were happy to have the second season out now. This show is on ABC iView and I found that the first series was available. I have finished all six episodes and I now looking forward to starting season two! Fortunately there is a never-ending list of shows to watch to keep me company while I’m knitting or spinning. 😊 I’m not sure if I mentioned last week that I also watched the whole series of The English Game on Netflix which is about the emergence of soccer. I wasn’t sure I would be interested but the good reviews convinced me and I really enjoyed it.

This week I have babysitting duties and I’m hoping that the weather is good for a visit to the park. From there, I’ll be heading up to Sydney to see my parents. Last time was in April and they have not yet seen the new house. I will be bringing them down for a short stay from Thursday and will take them home again on Saturday. So I’m set for another busy few days! I think I’ve chatted enough now and need get back to some sorting in the studio so, until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 13 September 2020. #112

Hello friends! Welcome to another week of spring here Downunder. Though we have been hoping for a little bit of rain for the new lawn, there has not been much and it’s only getting nicer each day. As I type, it’s raining a little but I don’t think it will amount to much in the water tank. It may help keep the lawn moist though. I’ve been able to get out and about on my bike this week and I have enjoyed the fresh but sunny early mornings. What I haven’t enjoyed is having magpies swooping me as I ride. There is a vicious magpie on my normal route and on Monday it threw itself against me about 5 times, the beak hitting my helmet and the body hitting my back. That was really scary. On Tuesday, I took a slightly different route and was swooped by a different bird. That one wasn’t as vicious as the first one but still unpleasant. On my final ride, I went a different way and managed to avoid the nasty birds. This will go on until summer now, or close to it, so I’ll need to avoid those birds.

It’s amazing how I can forget what happened during the week merely five or six days later! Pretty sure I spent most of the time at home, except for Wednesday when I went up to Wollongong for my Evie day. That was the day that it rained so we weren’t able to go to the park or the beach. Instead, we settled on a bit of shopping where Evie helped pick some summer items for her wardrobe. She’s such a good little girl! Other than that, we headed up to Wollongong yesterday for a late Father’s Day celebration with the kids. While the boys were off playing golf and soccer, the girls spent the afternoon at the beach building sandcastles. I love it when the 7 of us are all together! ❤

Studio update: As I had so much time at home, I was able to get into lots of sorting. I consider the laundry to be an extension of my studio (when not washing) and I was able to finally get that room sorted after some issues with the washing machine and plumbing. You can see how I’ve sorted my yarn dyes and some of my specialty paints. I continued with furniture building and now the second Ikea Billy bookcase is up, after some help with putting on the doors. It’s definitely a two person project! I’m still not able to get too far into the sorting for these as they now need to be anchored to the wall. As they are narrow, there’s a high risk of them tipping over if we’re not careful. You can see that I’ve started sorting my fabrics into colours. All you can see from the second bottom shelf upwards are fat quarters. Off picture, I have colour piles of larger pieces of fabric. Once I have all the colours sorted, I’ll arrange them in rainbow order (ROYGBIV) – piles of fat quarters and piles of larger fabric pieces. On the bottom shelf, I currently have some of my dressmaking fabrics though I’m thinking these may end up somewhere else. In the third picture you can see some pigeon hole shelving that I made many many years ago. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep this item but I’ve found some baskets that fit perfectly. Currently, I have random items there just to get them out of the way until I get to them but I have started using the baskets. I intend to spray paint the shelving so that it is white to match the rest of the storage furniture.

Knitting

I mentioned last week that I’m doing a test knit for Truly Myrtle, due on 27th September, hence this Knitting section is going to be very short. I spent most of my time on the test knit and I can report that I’m enjoying it. I’m now about halfway through, or maybe just under. In the meantime, I have done minimal work on the Habitation throw but I did find a couple of more leftovers that I can add. I’ll continue working on that during this next week. I didn’t get to do anymore work on the Baby Sports Fan pullover. You can see what happened to the 4.0mm needles I was using for this project. That’s what happens when you leave the needles on the carpet near where you sit and then stand on them! I broke it clear off where the join section is and this end is no longer usable. That leaves me with an odd needle and it appears that all my other 4.0mm needles are hiding in languishing WIPs. I know I have at least 2 other sets of 4.0mm needles.

Spinning

Last Sunday, I chain plied the Autumn Leaves Ixchel Fibres braid but I haven’t yet wound it onto the niddy noddy. It’s an easy task; it just hasn’t popped into my view much. I’m sure I’ll get it done today or tomorrow. Once I had that off the wheel, I immediately started on the next spin which is another Ixchel Fibres braid in the Dream Cloud colourway. It absolutely looks like just-whipped meringue or fairy floss! I’m loving the way it’s spinning up with a slight pink or green tinge amongst the white meringue. I’m spinning this one on two bobbins of about 50 grams for a two-ply yarn. It’s another merino/silk blend so it will go nicely with the Ashford merino/silk skeins that I have in my handspun stash for something in colourwork. I have been going through my fibre stash and I’m really looking forward to getting into some other spins. I don’t know if it’s possible but I’m hoping I’ll have this one finished by the next blog and that I’m onto the next spin.

Sewing

I showed my finished Charlotte dress last week and mentioned that I wanted to fix the facing in place. I got out my Misty Fuse and cut some narrow strips, though first I tried it on some scrap fabric. It worked really well and you couldn’t see that there was anything there – you can see how fine it is. Anyway, I’ve stuck the whole facing down and I hope it stays when it’s washed. All I need to do on that now is add a press stud at the bust to make sure there’s no gaping. I need to get some black ones from Spotlight when I next remember. In the meantime, I found the fabric that I wanted to use for my Marbella dress by Itch to Stitch and I’ve cut it out ready to sew. Yesterday, I purchased an invisible zipper (forgot about the press studs) and I’m ready to start sewing. The only thing that I may need for this is some “stay tape”. I’m not sure exactly what is required but I may have something in stash that could work for that. I’m thinking maybe some medium interfacing could work.

Last week I had stalled on the latest Pansy dress because my overlocker had thrown a needle. I just needed to find some motivation to fix it and I was able to restore it to working order. I managed to get the needle back in, after several attempts with the tweezers, and I could see that the inner needle was a little lower than the outer one. I managed to find a YouTube video on my very old Singer overlocker and realised that this is how it should be. I had never noticed that before. Now that the machine was ready to go, I whipped together the Pansy dress – all bar the hems. That won’t take long to finish so it should be done by tomorrow. I’m not 100% sold on the neckline. I know that the other Pansy dress’s neckline has stretched too much and I am not confident that this one won’t go the same way. I am trying to decide whether to remove it and use some ribbing which will have better recovery. I could also do that with the other one. These dresses will be great for spring and will be able to be used for summer as well if I make the sleeves short.

Acquisitions

I had a list of items that I needed from Spotlight so I took the opportunity to go there on Monday morning while doing a couple of other things in town. I wasn’t able to find much on my list (no, the press studs weren’t on the list) but I did buy some fabric that I need for Evie. She’s really into purple so I picked up a couple of those along with the pinky one at the top and I couldn’t resist the floral at the bottom. I have a pattern in mind for at least 3 of these fabrics. Other than that, I mentioned last week that I was supposed to have received my final pattern of 5 that I’d ordered in the Spotlight 5 for $20 sale but it hadn’t arrived. I didn’t hear any further regarding the investigation but on Monday afternoon I found it sitting on the front doorstep. I was happy to get it as I’m thinking of making view B soonish.

Paraphernalia

I started listening to Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo again this week and it’s quite promising. I’m only about 10% into it at the moment. Later in the week I just wanted to listen to podcasts and I managed to get through several of them. I finished watching The Sinner on Netflix and the last couple of episodes were full on. From there, I have moved onto a show called Mirage on SBS On Demand. It has been good for spinning to even though it’s half English/half French. Fortunately I’m able to spin and read the subtitles with this fibre.

I have a couple of things planned for this week – a couple of breakfast/coffee catch ups and a hair cut. I’ll probably ride over for these, rather than using the car – unless it’s raining. In between I’ll be doing lots of sorting in the studio as it’s all coming together nicely now. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

9A62A542CA7641ED9958F5ABF3D4EEFA[3774]

Sunday 6 September 2020. #111

Hello friends! Welcome to September and happy Father’s Day. Wow, it’s only 3 months until Christmas and it seems that the year is disappearing fast. Particularly since we moved home in July. This week was a bit more exciting than I originally planned. Monday was very quiet, with only a bike ride in the early morning to get me out of the house. It was a lovely morning and the whole week has been very Spring-like. We had been hoping for some rain for the newly-laid turf. On Tuesday, my old friend Elaine, who used to live nearby, was in town so came to lunch and another old friend Deb, who is local, called in and joined us. It was a very pleasant catch-up.

On Wednesday, we made the spur of the moment decision to head up to Wollongong to pick up our new lounge suite and, at the same time, deliver the old ones and a double bed to Steven & Kim’s new place. It was a bit of an adventure and we borrowed a friend’s small tabletop truck. The old stuff fit nicely but the new lounge had to be tied in. You can see the new lounge in situ, but I’ll need to make some new cushions as the old ones just don’t go with it and they are looking very tired. On Thursday morning, we had a breakfast at Salty Joe’s with Elaine and the local girls. I rode my bike over and it was a pleasant start to the day.

On Friday, my friend Janice came over from Canberra and spent the evening. Janice’s Dad lives nearby and she was going to visit for Father’s Day today so we decided to make a weekend of it. A few of my local crafting girlfriends came over on Saturday and we had a sewing day. There was a lot of crafting and so much food! Janice and Lorraine ended up staying on Saturday night and we stitched into the late evening. 

Knitting

I haven’t really done a whole lot of knitting this week. On the drive up to Wollongong and back I was able to finish off the Big Wool Baby blanket. There was very little left of the blue/green yarn and then I was going to do several rows of the green but decided that it really should look like the other side. I had forgotten with this pattern that it knits up sideways so I think one side border being very different to the other side might look silly. The only other knitting I did was on the Habitation throw. I only did a few rows but I wanted to see if I could correct my issue with the wrong number of stitches on the eyelet row. A lovely reader called Carol helped me with the issue. It seems that there needs to be an odd number of stitches on every row. I worked across the row adding a stitch marker at every 50 stitches until I got to the end. I did have an odd number but I haven’t reached the next eyelet row yet to see if it will work this time. I’m not really in a hurry with this project so I’ll see when I can get to it next.

One of the reasons that I’m not hurrying with my Habitation throw is because I’m doing a test knit for Libby of Truly Myrtle. I went through a lot of choices in my stash as I wanted to use up what I have and, as the due day is the 27th September, it might have taken far too long to get anything else. There were so many choices but, in the end, I went with this beautiful Heirloom 100% alpaca yarn. It is so soft and squishy so I’m hoping it works well. I do need a statement skein of yarn and I think this Wren and Ollie handspun I finished early in the year might work. I say “statement” because I think the plain brown needs a little something to lift it. There will be mohair as well and I have a few choices; also I can dye some easily enough when I make the decision. I won’t be able to show any progress pictures but there will be a big reveal at the end of the month.

Spinning

I have finished the Ixchel Fibres braid of yarn I showed last week. I started this one a couple of days before Tour de Fleece 2.0 started and I’ve managed to spin on it most days. I didn’t do any on Friday or Saturday because of visitors but will get back to it today. I will be chain plying this one to use with my last three skeins of Ixchel Fibres yarn. I should be able to get this plied today and tomorrow I’ll start on the next project. I have another braid to do and I also found my Ixchel Fibres December 2019 batts which I’m excited to get onto ASAP! I’ll show those next week when I get them started. Tour de Fleece will finish on 20th September. There are two rest days in the Tour de France, the first tomorrow, and seems I’ve had my two rest days already! I’ll see if I can spin for the rest of the Tour now. 😊

Sewing

I have finished my Charolotte dress by Fibre Mood. I still have some threads to snip and I want to anchor the facing somehow but I’ll still call it a finish. I tried it on for the girls yesterday and they seemed impressed with it. The fit is perfect so I’m really happy with it. Now I need to see if I have somewhere to wear it! The pattern and instructions were great. The only thing I think I would change with this is to make the facing wider. It’s a very narrow facing and I think a wider one would make it less likely to have it flip out. I think I’ll try fusing the facing down with some Misty Fuse web or something that is an iron-on fusible. I’ll try it on some scrap fabric first so that it doesn’t end up noticeably fused.

I did get started on the Alex dungarees by 5Berries and got quite a way into it until I made a mistake on the bottom section that I had to unpick. I thought that part of the pattern was a bit confusing. I managed to sort it out by carefully reading the terms of each piece mentioned as the photo was deceptive. The picture showed a piece that was much longer than the one I had. Though it may have been a larger size that was pictured, I thought it would at least look relative in the photo. Other than that it’s been easy to put together. I think the frill for the girl version might be a little bit narrow and I think I’d make it a smidge wider on the next one. I’ll need to add snaps on the straps, sides and the bottom. Hopefully these will be easy with the new purchase I’ve made. More on that in Acquisitions!

I had cut out a Pansy dress for Evie and made a start on it yesterday when the girls were here. Somehow, before I had hardly started it, one of my overlocker needles popped out and I think it will be fiddly to put back. I did have a little go at it but decided to set the overlocker aside to work on later when I can concentrate on it more. So I moved onto the muslin that I had purchased for Baby 2. Baby 1’s muslin is finished and I showed it in an earlier post. I did this one in the same manner by folding over the selvedges once and stitching down, and then folding the raw edges over twice for a quarter of an inch each time and stitching. These two muslins are the first items for the Baby 1 and Baby 2 modules I’m working on.

Patchwork

After the overlocker issue, I also moved onto putting together the columns on the Superman quilt. I think it looks wonderful and bright, even though it uses only primary colours. I had a think about finishing and I’ll be adding a white border (about 3 inches) and then I’ll do a scrappy binding with the remaining fat quarter pieces. I’ll also include a red peeper between the binding and the border.

Stitching

There was quite a lot of activity yesterday and I even then moved onto my Round the Garden quilt by Wendy Williams (Flying Fish Kits). I finished the green grass patches below the lighthouse and moved onto the embroidery tree in the middle of the top picture. Once I had stem stitched the tree section, I started doing the many colonial knots required to fill the tree. I think this is a cherry blossom tree and I used appropriate pink thread for the knots. I started by using two different colour thread and thought they looked far too similar. On the third pass I used some DMC variegated thread in a very light to medium dark pink and that seemed to add the appropriate finishing touches. You can see the three stages of the colonial knots. For this section of the border, I need to do another tree in the gap on the right hand side and a few flowers between the house and the lighthouse on the left. Then a few bees and butterflies and some more attention is required at the top of the lighthouse on the right. I’ll make a start on the tree this afternoon and hopefully I’ll be in a position to start on the third quadrant by next week. As the background is linen, it crushes very easily when I’m grasping each section to stitch. It does iron really well and I think it will be so much better once sandwiched and quilted.

Acquisitions

Last week I mentioned I’d received three of the five patterns I’d ordered in the Spotlight 5 for $20 pattern sale. I got the fourth pattern early in the week and I really want to make this one soon. I need to get some fabric for it. I was supposed to receive the fifth and final pattern on Thursday as I’d been alerted that it had been delivered. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case so there’s currently an investigation on the delivery. I’ll have to wait a few days to see what happened with that. Also, I had forgotten to post this last week but I had received a snap press machine. I’m so over using the little snap applicators that you can get from haberdasheries as the snaps seem to come off so easily. And I have several projects lined up that use snaps so I decided to get something that will give me a more professional finish. There’s a video on how to use it and I’ll be watching it this week so that I can apply the snaps to the dungarees that are nearly finished. This starter pack came with 100 snaps in five different colours that you could choose.

Paraphernalia

This week I finished the second of Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike novels, The Silkworm. It was another fabulous read and I’m looking forward to the next one. In the meantime, I’m starting a Book Club book called Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. I tried to start it already but I was in the middle of sewing something complicated and I just haven’t gotten back to it. I’m also watching The Sinner on Netflix in between The Masked Singer episodes. I’m not sure what it is about this latter show that is quite entertaining. I suppose everyone needs some mindless entertainment at times.

This coming week is looking to be quiet, though that often changes. I do have my Evie day on Wednesday and I’m really looking forward to that as I haven’t seen her for a month now. Last time she was sick with a cold and her daddy was too so they looked after each other instead of infecting Nonna. 😊 There is still plenty to do around the house, particularly in my studio. I need to put together the second Billy cupboard but you can see the first one here where I’ve made a start on sorting my patchwork fabric into colours. I have some dressmaking fabrics on the bottom shelf at this point. I’ll see how much fits into the bookcase but, as with the rest of the room, things may evolve and end up in different places.

It’s time for me to get into some sorting and maybe some relaxing for the rest of Sunday. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 30 August 2020. #110

Hello friends! Welcome to another week of bedlam here at MCO headquarters.  😊 The weather has been beautiful with so much promise of a hot spring and summer. Hopefully, it doesn’t mean bush fires like we had last summer and like the western side of the US is currently experiencing. The only social event this week was Book Club on Tuesday night where I was able to attend for the first time since last year. It was great catching up as I wasn’t there to discuss the books – I hadn’t read these ones though I’m catching up with one of them now. Other than that, this week has been full on. I have either been working in the studio or working on the front lawn. The front lawn was a lot of hard work and I’m so glad that it’s done and over with. The garden still needs to go in but that is only a small section. Robert had the job of breaking through the hard dirt where it had been compacted by heavy machinery during the build and dried after the rains. We lifted rocks, shovelled and raked topsoil and carried heavy rolls of turf! Now my back is recovering – again. But what a wonderful result and I’m looking forward to a lot less dust in the house. We have a tank of water which is great for watering as there is no rain expected for about a week. I hope it’s a heavy downpour to give the garden a good soak and refill the tank.

The majority of my crafting this week has been the IKEA type. All the boxes arrived on Monday and, in between working on the front lawn, I put some of it together. So far it’s all going well except for the Miecke drawers on castors. It is a bit rickety and I’m concerned I didn’t put some of the inners together properly. I had no problem with the first bookcase and the drawers for under the tabletop but the Miecke is totally different. Anyway, I have one bookcase almost ready to fill; it just needs to be anchored to the wall at the top so that it doesn’t topple. The bookcases are 2m tall and only 30cm deep so will definitely need to be anchored. As I’m still working through the construction phase, I wasn’t able to start any of the sorting phase, only finding that I’m just moving boxes from one side to the other to the other when I need to do anything. The desk area is almost setup – I just need to cut off a piece from the end of my old tabletop so that it fits nicely into the nook.

I got out on the bike four times this week and was able to enjoy the beautiful weather. It was very cold one morning with the apparent temperature below 2 degrees Celcius but the sun was shining a treat. I didn’t bother with the bike ride on Friday as I was exhausted by the lawn work on Thursday and I knew what was coming up.

Knitting

As I mentioned earlier, there hasn’t been a lot of real crafting time this week. I did manage to finish one sleeve on my Baby Sports Fan pullover. I’m not fussed with how the decreases happened so quickly. It will still fit the baby’s arm but I think any future ones will have an extra round or two before each decrease. I hope to pick up the stitches for the other sleeve tonight.

There’s been plenty of progress on my Big Wool Baby blanket. When I did get some knitting done, I usually picked up this project. There’s not a lot left to go on this one as I am now into the second last ball of the main colour. Then there’s the top border which is only eight rows. I may have miscounted on the bottom border as it seems quite thin.

Spinning

This is what I gravitated to mostly this week when I managed any crafting. The spinning wheel has been moved around the studio a bit along with the chair that I sit in to spin. Everything else has been in a state of upheaval but the wheel has been accessible the whole time. It’s great for watching shows at night. After finishing my Ixchel Fibres October 2019 batts, I tried the lucky dip version of finding my next spin. I pulled out two braids and settled on this one. It’s another one from Ixchel, this time merino (70%) and silk (30%). It is spinning up very nicely. I was going to do this one on two bobbins as a traditional two ply but before I got to the halfway point I changed my mind. I was trying to decide what to do with the three skeins I had just finished and realised that I need one more skein to make it into a sweater – the colour of this new spin would fit perfectly. Therefore, I am now doing this one as a chain ply to match and I’ll be able to use the helical method with the four skeins to make it all balance and have enough to complete a project. I haven’t done helical with four strands so this is going to be very interesting. The normal way would be one skein of the blue yarn and one of the beige yarn but then I would run out of the beige. So four x helical it is!

Sewing

I only got to do some sewing yesterday as the machines had been moved so that I could sort out the tabletops. As I’m still waiting for my third (and oldest) tabletop to be shortened to fit, I have moved my new machine over to the dining table and I was able to move my old machine onto one of the tabletops. It’s all fun and games at the moment – either a treasure hunt or musical boxes/machines! Anyway, I did get some time to do the next step on my Charlotte dress. Early in the week I put the bottom fronts and back together and started on the frill. Yesterday I ironed the 2mm hem on the frill over again and stitched it down so now it’s ready to attach to the skirt. That’s the next step, hopefully to be done tomorrow.

In between the Charlotte steps and moving machines I finished off the buttons on the romper that I made a couple of weeks ago. I was waiting till I’d picked up the buttons and then it was a quick job to do the buttonholes. This will likely be a gift.

Last week I mentioned some baby modules that I was planning. You can see my notes here and most of the fabrics I’m going to be using. These will be for 5 babies and I’m ready to start with the first one. The pattern shown pinned below is for the Alex dungarees by 5Berries. I chose that one to start on as it seems the easiest, apart from the next muslin which I’ll do at the same time as that only requires hemming. I have cut out all the patterns and I think I’ll have a big cutting day. Either that, or I’ll make one of each so that I can iron out all mistakes before doing more. I’m looking forward to the machining; the cutting of the fabric not so much as that takes the longest.

Along with the baby modules, I have been lured by Whitney of TomKat Stitchery to join in with her next sewing module – the Work From Home Module Sew Along. This one is because lots of people are still working from home and, though I’m not working, my “work” is at home. To lighten the workload on this one, I have chosen some that I’ve already started on and a couple that I wanted to do anyway. The premise of the module is that it all coordinates and you end up with several outfits that go together. The module usually consists of three tops, two bottoms and a topper. In that vein, I have selected the Sheona pattern as a t-shirt that I have already cut out in a navy stretch fabric as my first top, a Peppermint Wrap top in white and the third top will be either the long sleeved cropped knit in the McCall’s M7574 or another Emmie top (Seamwork) in navy. For the bottoms, I intend to convert the twill Pietra pants I made for the previous module into a skirt and the Marbella dress from Itch to Stitch in place of the second bottom, in a honeycomb print that I have somewhere. For the topper, I will look at the fabric I have (when I find it!) and probably do a Cozy Little World jacket. This was a free pattern I downloaded a couple of years ago and it doesn’t appear to be free anymore. I want to use both fabric and a pattern I already have for the topper so I’m hoping something will work there. I’m all set for some serious sewing sessions now!

Patchwork

Again, I only managed a little bit on the Superman quilt because of the musical machine movements. I have been working on this one on my old Janome and it has now been put where it will remain. I think. 😊 I will know for sure when the rest of the tabletops are in place. I had to cut out some more 10.5 inch white strips as I had forgotten about half of the ones in between the large and the smaller blocks. It’s looking good though and I should be able to finish the top of this one this week now.

Acquisitions

Last week I mentioned some patterns that I had purchased online in the Spotlight 5 for $20 sale. I have only received three so far as they are obviously coming from where they have availability. The three I show in the Sewing section above all came from one Spotlight and the other two are coming from two different Spotlights. I did purchase the Play Date dress pattern from Ellie and Mac and, also shown here, a McCall’s pattern that I’d picked up before the sale.

Paraphernalia

This past week I finished the latest season of Cardinal on SBS On Demand. It was another great season and I’m hoping for more. I’m pretty sure these are from a novel series so I might look that up. I’ve now started the latest season of The Sinner on Netflix. That one is quite heavy so I won’t be able to binge watch it. I also finished my audiobook Extreme Prey by John Sandford. That one definitely delivered as all of his do. I am now up to my eyeballs in the second novel by Robert Galbraith – The Silkworm, and I can’t “put it down”, choosing to listen to that over anything else. I’ve passed three quarters so it won’t take long to finish it. There is plenty to keep me amused.

I don’t have a lot scheduled for this coming week but I’m looking forward to some girlfriends coming for a sewing day on the weekend. I will be doing a lot more in my studio, though, and that will certainly be keeping me very busy. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 23 August 2020. #109

Hello friends! Welcome to a sunny but cold south coast of New South Wales. It’s a beautiful day but the apparent temperature is only 5.2 degrees Celcius! It’s lovely in the house as we had the sun streaming in to warm it up. At this point I’m hoping this post makes it out on time and as I like it. The WordPress editor has been updated and it’s very clunky. I hate it when improvements seem to be like taking a step backwards. I can only go back to the Classic Editor if I upgrade to a business plan and that’s way out of my budget. To add to that, my Adobe Lightroom wasn’t syncing with my phone and I’ve had that issue nearly every week. Despite the fact that I uploaded more than half last night, the photos are coming through at a dribble over several hours and not in order. It means I can’t finish any section until they are in and edited. Enough complaining!

This week has been as normal a week as I’ve had since before the Covid lockdown in March. Sunday was a bitterly cold day and I had to go into town for an Osteopath appointment in the late afternoon and I also called in a the hospital to visit my mother in law, Jean, who had been admitted the evening before with a broken hip. Unfortunately she was still in theatre so I didn’t get to see her then. Even though it was a nasty day, it was nice to see such a beautiful magnolia bush. It has been working hard toward spring! On Monday, I caught up with some girlfriends for breakfast at Huskisson. It’s the first time I’d been able to get to one since April when we moved to Bawley Point. I also have a picture of the three agave plants that my friend Kerry gave me. These are pups from her plants that will go into the front garden when we get around to it. Robert is currently working on the front garden, preparing it for the turf we’re ordering once the winds die down. The turf underlay needs to go in first and we don’t want that blown away before the turf arrives. We’ve had some beautiful sunrises to wake up to and I can’t help myself but take a photo. I restrained myself and only put one here. 😊 I did get to visit with Jean twice since my first failed attempt.

On Tuesday, I finally got the bike out and dusted off for its first ride since January. It had been locked up in storage and recently under the house. The tyres needed pumping and I was off! I rode Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Apologies for all the photos but it’s such a beautiful area that I took heaps!

On Wednesday I had a few girlfriends over for a sewing day. It was a lovely day and nice enough to sit on the deck for lunch. My friend Carol had her art studio open on Thursday and I even got some painting done! I spent a lot of time in my studio this week but have not done much for setting it up further as my Ikea order doesn’t arrive until tomorrow. I have been cooking again. I found another of @notquitenigella’s recipes, this time for a Moist Pumpkin and Walnut bread – it was very yummy but I forgot to add the pepitas on top before putting it in the oven. I also made some Portuguese Custard tarts. This is a very old recipe of mine and I always make them when I make my Apple and Pecan friands. I forgot to take a picture of those but I made them gluten free for our sewing day. This uses 5 egg whites and I use the yolks for the tarts. I had a mishap while making the friands – I totally forgot to put in the melted butter! I realised at about halfway through cooking so I spooned some over each of them. They turned out perfectly even without the butter as all I managed was for the butter to sit on the bottom of the cupcake pan. That just goes to show that they probably don’t even need the butter!

Knitting

Knitting has slowed down this week as I’ve been able to use my studio for other crafts. Previously, all I did was knit. Most of my knitting this week has been on the Big Wool Baby blanket as it is so easy to pick up and knit on. This is about halfway now so should be finished in about a week. There’s really very little to say about this one! Sorry – there’s no link for this one as I can’t find it anywhere.

I’ve made little progress on the Baby Sports Fan pullover as it reached a tricky point. I’m always spurred on by the fact that a post is about due so last night I finally finished off the shoulders. Originally I was going to use a three-needle bind-off but instead I went with a kitchener stitch – doesn’t it look great? Once that was done I was able to pick up the stitches for the sleeve. I can only do one at a time unless I split the ball of green in half – I don’t want to do that so I’ll do them separately. I am doing this by magic loop but I’m thinking I can possibly use my Chaiogoo shorties inter-changeables instead. I’ll see if I can get it small enough today.

Spinning

I finally finished my Ixchel Fibres October batt club spin! I have been listening to my latest books so I spent a good amount of time spinning. I finished it last night so it qualifies for Stash Dash but I’ve yet to count up the meterage. You can see the final skein and the three skeins together. I have finally put all three in to soak and I’ll be hanging them up very soon.

Sewing

Last week I showed a picture of some overalls that I’d cut out. I sewed these together on Wednesday during our sewing day. I had a cut at centre front of the neck that I needed to resolve and ended up making a “V” slit. I think they turned out quite well – the actual colour is in between the two photos. I bought some buttons yesterday so now I can add the buttonholes and finish it off.

This week I got to use my studio dining table for cutting out a large pattern, which is one of the uses I have for it. I pinned out the Charlotte dress pattern and cut it out – what a dream to have this table for cutting! I have been doing a step or two most days and it’s coming along nicely. I have essentially finished the top half, though I intend to stitch down the facing as it doesn’t like staying in place. I have now started on the skirt section and hope to have it finished by next week. I tried the top on and it seems to fit. The beauty of a wrap dress is that you can fudge a little either way. The skirt has a lovely frill and I think that may be a little bit fiddly – mainly just hemming the frill. Stay tuned for a dressmaking finish perhaps next week!

If you’ve read my recent posts you’ll know that I have a couple of grand babies coming in a few months time. This has inspired me to make a few baby things and, in the way of TomKat Stitchery‘s module sewing, I have worked out a couple of baby modules. The first three of the fabrics below are new and the other two have been waiting patiently. I now have plans for them and some others that you’ll see in Acquisitons. The first three are for Baby 1 and the two bottom ones are for Evie. Baby 2 fabrics are shown in Acquisitions but I’ll have a better photo of all of them when they are dry. The first two photos are of a muslin that I hemmed up – so easy to do and it’s ready! The other two fabrics are for the Made By Jacks Mum (MBJM) Pick’n’Mix bodysuit, short sleeve version. This pattern is amazing as it has the option of t-shirt or body suit with three necklines and two sleeve lengths and an option of fold-over mitts. There is plenty of fabric so I’ll probably be making some items for Baby 2 out of these as well but I also have the MBJM Over-it-alls that could come from this fabric too. The final two pics have some jersey for a Pansy dress and some cotton for a Geranium dress for Evie. If there’s enough left, I may be also able to make some shorts for Baby 1.

Patchwork

I’ve made some progress on my Superman baby quilt this week. I attached some short sashing inbetween the smaller pieces and laid out the blocks so that I could balance the colours. I think it works but I could move the blocks around all day and still not be happy! Since then, I’ve added the longer sashing to the large blocks and will now be able to join the columns and then put those together. I’m thinking this top will be finished by the next blog post and I’ll try to get it sandwiched for quilting.

Painting

As I mentioned in the opening, I got to do some painting at my friend Carol’s place this week. I’m not very artistic but I like to dabble and prefer to be instructed, or I try to copy something. I chose another of Wow Art’s YouTube tutorials – this time an African sunset. It’s not finished yet, mainly I have to complete the sun and I’d like to adjust the highest sun reflection as it’s not right. The painting started with a masking tape circle which I couldn’t remove until it was dry and now I need to paint into that to blend it to the rest of the sunset. I really like how the trees came out and I’m happy with the bottom two thirds of it. At least I have fun doing it. 😊

Acquisitions

I have purchased some more baby fabric. I don’t think I showed the lovely dinosaur jersey and animal muslin in my last post but I had already purchased it. Yesterday, I called in at Spotlight and picked up a few more fabrics for my Baby Modules. Baby 1 is a boy but we don’t know the gender of Baby 2 so I tried for some neutrals. It’s very difficult to get a neutral that doesn’t tend to one gender or the other. I also needed some ribbing and there was an extremely limited selection. I managed to get some white but I couldn’t get a pale cream. Even looking on the website I was unable to find what I need so I think I may try to tea dye some white to get the colour I need. I also purchased the 5Berries Alex shortie romper pattern which is ever so cute! I’ll be making a few of these – you can add frills to the straps too. I have a few baby gifts to whip up and these could be perfect. I also bought a baby shorts pattern which I don’t have here but I’ll include it when I get some patterns that I ordered online. There is currently a 5 for $20 sale for Simplicity, Butterick and McCalls patterns at Spotlight but they didn’t have many of the ones I wanted. I managed to get online and have taken advantage of this fantastic deal. Normally, a single pattern is about $20, if not more! It was even hard to look at the pattern books and in the pattern drawers as there was competition to get to them. It was so much easier to order online!

Paraphernalia

I had a feeling that this week’s post would be a long one! I think it’s because I can now dabble with most of my crafts, rather than being limited to mainly knitting. Last week I had started listening to The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn but I really wasn’t enjoying it. Instead, I started and finished Sulfur Springs by William Kent Kreuger (Book 16) and have started Extreme Prey by John Sandford (Book 26). I have several series that I listen to and it’s like listening to an old friend. There are several more in these series yet for me to listen to. I’ve also watched some more of the latest season of The Blacklist and started on the fourth season of Cardinal on SBS On Demand.

Tomorrow is the day my Ikea order is arriving and I’m excited for it. That means I’ll be able to get my studio set up properly. I hope it doesn’t take forever to put all the furniture together – I’ll be asking for some help with these. Hopefully, I’ll have a studio update in the next post, assuming I get much done. I don’t have a lot on my plate this week so should be able to make some good headway. Tuesday night is Book Club and I have a physical book to read so I don’t know if I’ll get that finished in time! I have my Evie day on Wednesday and I’m hoping the weather is nice for a trip to the park.

I think I’ve managed to get this post done properly in the new editor and have babbled enough, so until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 16 August 2020. #108

Hello friends! Welcome from a damp south coast of New South Wales. We’ve just had more rain though not as much as the last two weekends. I think the weather will be clear for this week with a bit more rain expected on the weekend. Lucky I don’t need to rely on weekends anymore – we haven’t had a nice one for several weeks now. This week I had my turn at babysitting and Evie and I had a lovely day together. She is such a good girl and her vocabulary is growing so quickly. It’s rarely a case of guessing what she’s saying anymore. The weather was a little dicey but we ventured out and the sun decided to join us for the trip to the park. There were very few other children there but that is a good thing at the moment. I bought her her first pair of gumboots and they turned out to have flashing lights. That was a happy accident as these were the only ones I could get in her size. Needless to say, they were a bit of a hit. The park is right next to the beach and you can see how the surf is still quite rough with the recent bad weather.

The week seems to be a bit of a blur and I am forgetting to take photos. It started with brunch with a girlfriend on Monday and a trip into town on Tuesday where we also picked up the bed frame that we’d ordered. You can see it below after Robert and I put it together yesterday. That took a little longer than actually required because we essentially made it twice – apart from the bedhead, every other piece was first put upside down and we had to undo and turn each one around. The end result is great and I hope to replace the other spare bed frame at some point in the future. On Friday, I had a couple of girlfriends over for coffee, mainly because my friend Andrea hadn’t yet seen the house and it was a good excuse to get together.

Knitting

New Cast-on #1: When I was chatting with my friend Mary yesterday, she told me she was knitting a Big Wool Baby blanket. We had made a few of these as gifts in the past and I remembered I had the yarn for one still in stash. I needed a good vanilla project for my knitting rotation as the Habitation throw needs to wait for some other colour leftovers, so I cast this on. This will be a quick knit and a good way of reducing some stash. It’s classified as super bulky and is 50/50 wool and acrylic so that makes it easy care. The yarn is a Lincraft brand and the pattern was a free leaflet that we got several years ago. I have searched Ravelry but can’t find it there at all, though they do have the yarn in the database. This will make a good pram blanket for either a boy or a girl and, depending on who likes it as to who gets it. There are a couple of babies on the way in the family and could also be a gift elsewhere.

New Cast-on #2: I don’t have these in order of starting but that doesn’t matter. A while back I saw the Baby Sports Fan pullover on Facebook and wanted to make it. I wanted to use the leftover main colour from my Koivua sweater and some leftover tweed colours from the Nightshift shawl. Anyway, I had to wait until the Koivua was finished so that I was certain I had enough leftovers. I started this on Monday, I think. It’s a very quick knit. The pattern has the pieces done separately for seaming and that is not how I operate. 😊 I have done the body in one piece and I’m going to use a three-needle bind off, or crochet bind off, for the shoulders. The yarn recommended was aran weight but my yarn is more like a light worsted, even DK. So it took some consideration as to which size I would make. I opted for 4.5mm needles rather than the 5.0mm and they are working well. The coloured yarn is actually lighter than the beige tweed and I couldn’t go any higher in number for that. I decided to do the third size (18 months) but with measurements for the second size (12 months) as the smaller needles would make the gauge tighter. I don’t know who this will be for as it’s basically a prototype and I have enough beige left to make another one with a different contrast colour. The sleeves are going to be tiny so I think I’ll do them with magic loop as my small 4.5mm needle is 12 inches. That will mean I can do them together anyway. The collar will be picked up in the contrast yarn and it is only a few rows so that it’s a rolled edge like the bottom of the body.

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The Habitation throw is taking a rest once I’ve finished this little ball of yarn. I need to get some more leftovers in a variety of colours because, at the moment, all I have are reds and oranges and some green and I’ve recently used them all already. I have continued on the second half decreases but it’s not working right. For some reason, when I decrease on an eyelet row there are four stitches left instead of the three that the pattern indicates. When I was on the Aussie Knit session yesterday, Carolyn (@2knitncrochet) mentioned she had the same issue. I wonder if it’s something others have found and whether there is a remedy. I intend to check out the Ravelry page or ask the question. My concern is that the end side will decrease at a different rate to the beginning side.

I have blocked two sweaters this week. The Koivua was completely finished with all ends sewn in and I hope to wear it to breakfast tomorrow morning. You can see my nice floats below. There were a lot more ends to sew in that I had expected! The Le Pouf cardigan is blocked and now dry but I have yet to sew in the ends. I think I’ll do that this afternoon so that I can wear it. There are not many ends to sew in so it should be quick.

Spinning

Finally, I changed the drive band on my Wee Peggy wheel and I’m now back in the spinning saddle! It was easier than I expected – my concern was how tight the rear flyer support was as I’d gone fully in each direction. I’m not up on all the terms but this part tightens and loosens the tension of the drive band. Anyway, it’s all working fine now and I’m working on the third and final bobbin of my October 2019 Ixchel Fibres batts. I only changed the drive band yesterday and I spent a little time spinning to ensure that it was working well but I enjoyed it so much that I went back to it for a good session last night. I hope to get this final bobbin done in the next few days so that I can chain ply it like the first two. I’m hoping to start something with these three skeins. Let’s see what length I have in each of the skeins as I may need to supplement with some other handspun of mine.

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Sewing

I finished the Willow pinafore, adding the buttons on Tuesday. Actually, the front two buttons were added when I was in Wollongong as I wanted to try it on Miss Evie for button position. Evie wasn’t in the mood for trying on so I just took a guess and added them while she was having her afternoon nap. It will be easy enough to move them if they need it. It’s a great pattern and I think I’ll be making more of these as she grows up, and for other little girls too as it’s a very easy pattern.

Evie is now wearing the Pansy dress that I’d made a couple of months ago. It is still a little bit big but just means that she’ll get more wear out of it. The size I did was 18 to 24 months, I think, so the sizing seems to be on the larger side.

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I cut out a romper from an old pattern the other day. I believe it’s a 9-month-old size so I thought I’d do a toile first. That is a good thing because I can see that there’s a cut right in the middle of the front neck that I’ll need to remedy somehow. Anyway, this should be quick and easy to sew up otherwise so I hope to get that done soon. I have plenty of nice fabric to make a few of these.

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While I was at Bawley Point, I printed off the Charlotte dress (short) which was a free pattern and yesterday I finished putting the pieces together. I have absolutely no idea what size I printed off as I selected the layer with Seam Allowance only (SA) which is a straight line and probably should have left the layer for the corresponding size which shows a different pattern per size. When I looked at the instructions yesterday, the solid line was for size 46 (EU) so that’s what I put on the pieces. I now realise that it is not this size but I’m not sure which I chose – I think it’s size 12 (UK) which is 40 (EU). The pattern only shows the EU sizes. Anyway, I really want to get this cut out and work on it for at least 15 minutes a day. I like doing a step or two at a time so that would work well. You can see the fabric I want to use and I hope I have enough. I’ll be able to finish the seams on the overlocker with the cream thread that I have on there now as the inside is light.

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Patchwork

There’s been no action in the patchwork category this week but I did unpack a pile of quilts that are nearly finished or in need of sandwiching. The top one is a Christmas table runner and I love the fabric. The brown and aqua pattern is annoying me so I might think of how I can change that. The pink backing you can see is from a crayon quilt that I made many years ago but I wasn’t very good at quilting then (not that I’m fantastic now) but I had some issues and just put it away. It will make a nice girl baby gift so I think I’ll get it finished. I’ll show them more clearly when each is completed.

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Paraphernalia

This week I finished the David Baldacci novel, One Good Deed, and really enjoyed it. As I suspected, this is the first book of a series but it is the only one published at the moment. I’ll be watching out for more. I have started another book, one for our book club, and it’s called The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn. So far, it’s sounding a bit like a twee romance novel. I’ll give it a bit more of a go today and see if I can get into it a bit more. I have now finished the Call the Midwife series and I am missing it! I have moved on to The Blacklist to catch up on some episodes that have come out since I watched it last. There are a few series on Netflix that have new episodes or a new season for me to catch up on. I also took note of a couple of series that were recommended on Chat 10 Looks 3 – The Americans, The Bureau and Succession.

I don’t have too many plans for this week, aside from spending time in my studio, sorting, sewing and spinning. I have another week to wait until my Ikea order arrives and then I can make some decent progress. I’ll wait until I get those before I do another studio update. This afternoon I’m visiting a new osteopath so I hope he can do something with my back as it’s been pretty bad this week, particularly the last few days. I will also be visiting my mother-in-law who was suddenly taken to hospital last night after falling and breaking her hip. She is due for operation this afternoon so I hope I can see her afterwards. It’s time now to get this blog published so until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 9 August 2020. # 107

Hello friends! Welcome from a very wet and windy south coast New South Wales! Proper winter has decided to visit again and it’s pretty miserable. Great for being indoors and crafting. Or unpacking, which seems to be my go-to at the moment. I’m working on the process of a bit of sewing, a bit of unpacking, coffee, repeat. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m crawling towards it! One thing that has totally slipped my mind recently is that I’ve now just passed my second anniversary of this blog! My first post was on the 29th July 2018 and I forgot in the blog before and after that date this year. I think my celebration is actually setting up my studio so that I can continue to post many more!

This past week has been fairly uneventful and was probably what I needed. I have been recuperating from another cold (another Covid test to confirm that that’s all it was) and I put it down to a stressful couple of weeks with moving and unpacking, leaving me very rundown. Last Sunday I was still down at Mary’s place with a couple of others and we continued crafting. Our weekend finished on Monday morning. The pics show one of the projects which was almost put together, along with some stitching and afternoon nibbles. On Thursday, a few of our sewing group had a Facebook Room day where we worked together virtually. It was in place of our retreat, and it would have been our last day there. I managed to get a fair bit done and I wish I’d thought to take a snapshot of the screen. Last night we had dinner with our friends Mick and Annette. It was lovely to get out of the house for some social interaction, even if we did have to brave going out into a very wet evening to get there!

There have been lots of different views from my place this week. It was full moon early in the week and you can see it rising and then shining on the bay. The Navy was doing doughnuts in the Bay again and then the rain came. You can see how miserable it has been the last couple of days and still going now. I believe the forecast is for a short respite before more of the same for next weekend.

My new kitchen has inspired me to get cooking! I think the nasty weather had something to do with it as it’s all comfort food. I got to use my new Scanpan stewpot to make a big quantity of vegetable and lentil soup. While that was cooking, I whipped up some chocolate and hazelnut biscuits. These are from a very old recipe book that I put together for our primary school when the kids were little. It was a great fundraiser and I know of many people that still use it. While I was looking through the book I came across a chocolate nut slice that I hadn’t made for years. I thought that would be nice to take to dinner last night. The recipe only has nuts and chocolate but this time I added some toffee to make it a nut praline with chocolate topping. It was yum! And I still have plenty of all of these goodies left. This morning I was inspired by Recipe Tin’s Facebook post for lamb and fetta gozleme. It was the perfect dish for lunch today. I made up the flatbread dough and filling early and then only had to put them together for frying.

Studio Update: Well, I can only say the studio is getting, and will get, worse before it gets better! Mind you, there are now only 4 large boxes left to unpack. Once they are all done, I will work on the small boxes. There is so much more room to move around now, though at times I need to negotiate the piles. I’m putting things together and working out the best places for everything. I have ordered more tabletops and another small set of drawers, a set of drawers on casters, along with two Ikea Billy glass-fronted bookcases but, unfortunately, delivery of these items will not be until the 24th August! My friend Mary, who is further down the coast, is able to get delivery within a week. I’m assuming that’s because it may be close to a hub that is on the main highway? Anyway, it’s really slowing down my progress. You can see that I’ve set up a sewing section so I’m able to do something in between all the unpacking. The desk you see will be extended along where the ironing board is currently located. To the right of the ironing board is the wall (next to the ensuite door) where the bookcases will be. I’ll be putting fabric in one and yarn in the other and you’ll be able to see the colours through the glass. In the meantime, I’ll be chipping away at other bits and pieces.

Knitting

It didn’t take much to finish off my Koivua sweater. All I need to do now is to sew in the ends and block it. I haven’t hurried with that but should get it sorted so that I can wear it. I don’t think having it sitting around wet at the moment is a good idea but I should get the ends done so that it’s ready to go at the first sign of sun or at least dry weather. It was a really fun knit and went much more quickly than it seems as it languished during the move. I have a little bit of the main colour left and I want to use it in a baby sweater. I was just waiting to see what was left. I do need to find where the remaining balls (or maybe just one?) are hiding. Most things require a bit of a treasure hunt at the moment!

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My Habitation throw doesn’t look very different but I have added a couple of more colours. I also completed my first row of decreases so I’m looking forward to these rows getting quicker as I go along. I need some more colours – my stash only has leftovers in the warm reds, pinks and oranges and I definitely need some more blues and purples. Grey would be good too. I may need to knit some more projects before I can get too far on this one.

I didn’t get to make the pom-pom yet for my Greek Mosaic beanie but I started a scarf to go with it. I was wondering what I would do to match the ribbing on the beanie so I went for a single colour brioche stitch. The ribbing would have been too tight but the brioche has gone to the other extreme. After two repeats I thought it would be a good idea to add a stitch or two on either end, which I did, and continued another repeat. At this point, I decided I needed to rip back to the beginning of the mosaic stitch. This will be a good thing as I wasn’t happy with the edges but, looking at this picture, I can see that I made a mistake in the last couple of rows of the last repeat! Sometimes it’s much easier to follow a pattern than to try and invent one. The chart for the beanie starts at a different point so I need to work out where I’m at each odd row.

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Spinning

Unfortunately, I’ve not yet managed to get the drive band changed on the wheel so no spinning this week. I really want to get that sorted so that I can spin – I think I’ll put that at the top of my priority list. I think I’ve put it off because I’m not sure I’ll do a great job of it, but I won’t know until I try and I may surprise myself.

Sewing

While we were staying at Bawley Point, I cut out the Willow pinafore for Evie but I had not yet picked it up to sew. On Friday, I started on it and it is just about done now which is great because I’ll be able to take it up with me this week. I would probably have finished this yesterday except I need buttons. I may only have four big boxes left but I have not emptied the one with the buttons yet! I’ll do another box or two this afternoon and, hopefully, they will be unearthed. The fabric is a remnant of pinwale corduroy – that apparently has the second narrowest ridges in the corduroy family. This will look great with a navy skivvy and navy tights. I have used a navy with pale turquoise spot Cotton and Steel fat quarter for the bodice and strap linings. I hope I have some navy buttons to go with it. I’ll need 6, I think, so fingers crossed!

Another project I’ve been thinking about is mask making. I have put this off thinking it won’t be necessary but now realise that it will be better to be prepared. If Sydney heads the way that Melbourne went, we will need these and the reusable type would be better than the disposable ones. I thought I had some elastic but I can only find the underwear elastic I purchased a couple of months ago. Maybe in another box? I did buy some hat elastic in March but I don’t really know where that is at the moment. I think I’d prefer something a little wider as the hat elastic is very narrow. This is an Olson mask and I’ve been following SewCanShe’s tutorial. I also have a toddler size and a child size pattern so I’m going to give the toddler size a go next.

Patchwork

This project is currently under the Patchwork heading but should next feature under the Stitching heading. I’ve moved a little forward with my Over the Hill quilt by Wendy Williams (Flying Fish Kits). On Thursday, during our Facebook Room session, I put together the individual blocks to make this first section. Each section has its own title and this is the “Life in the City” section. From here I need to cut out and attach some felt shapes – for this one it will be a tree of life, some normal trees and some houses, mainly. I was going to continue onto that on Thursday but I didn’t know where my freezer paper was hiding. I have since found it so I can now get onto that part.

On Thursday I started another project. I had found a Superman fat quarter pack that I’d forgotten about and decided that it was time to make another play mat. I checked out a lot of quilts on Pinterest but I was specifically looking for something with larger blocks to showcase the larger prints. I found one I liked and made up a design and measurements to follow. I just used Excel, with each cell at a width of 2 to indicate each inch. It’s a really easy and effective method. I’ll be adding white sashing and just need to dig it out of my fabric box. I’ve been putting all the fabrics for the Billy bookcase into a big box and I know the white fabric I want to use is in there.

One problem with unpacking is that I keep finding things I want to do. There are so many but I have decided that this kit will be my next project. I ordered this kit from Craftsy several years ago and I think now is the time to get into it. The pattern is also on Craftsy (or is it still Bluprint?) so I’m glad we are still able to access it. Craftsy/Bluprint was going to be closed down but it has now been taken over and will continue. It’s a good thing because I now have time to use all the patterns and classes I have there. I’m not in a hurry to start this yet (yes I am😊) so will finish a couple of other things first.

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Stitching

Thursday was a very productive day! After working on some patchwork (shown above), and doing some unpacking, I also did some stitching on my Round the Garden quilt. Doing a little bit most days will see this section finished by next week, or very close to it.

Paraphernalia

I am still working my way through Call the Midwife on Foxtel, now on Season 9 and I am still enjoying it very much. It’s like the characters are friends. The last couple of days while working in my studio I’ve continued to listen to my audiobook, One Good Deed by David Baldacci. Initially, I was not totally impressed as it seemed a bit slow and naive. The setting is in the late 1940s and I’ve realised that the narration is very well suited to that era. It’s like watching a Bogart movie or something like that, except that I’m watching it in my head while listening to it.

Coming up this week, I will be minding Evie on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to that as I haven’t seen her for nearly three weeks now. On Thursday, a colleague from Canberra will be in the area and I’ll be catching up with her and another colleague that I worked with locally. It’s the first association I’ve had with work since I left, now just gone one year. I’m kind of looking forward to that, not that I’m missing work at all. And now it’s time for me to open another box and maybe warm up a little bit. It’s certainly gotten cold in here! Let’s see how much I get done this week. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 2 August 2020. #106

Hello friends! This week has been another busy one, with continuous unpacking and there is still so much to do. The weather was horrible for the first part of the week – heavy rain and strong winds. Finally, the sun came out again. Erin and Shaun were with us until Friday and it was lovely spending some quality time with them. We played Bananagrams every night and it was getting quite competitive.

The house itself is almost completely done now. The mirrors and shower screens were installed and all that’s left now is one mirror (our ensuite) and one drawer (studio ensuite). You can see my excitement below to have mirrors in the bathrooms! The kitchen splashback was installed on Friday and I think it’s wonderful. The rain washed away a lot of the dirt from where our easements were piped down the back. I think they are coming back to finish off the work and that will mean we’ll be able to sort out the fences.

I am currently staying down the coast for a couple of days with some local friends. We had to cancel our retreat as our friends from interstate were unable to travel and things are heating up again in Sydney. Anyway, we thought at least a few days were needed to make up for this disappointment. There is plenty of crafting happening. plenty of talking and, as usual, there is always plenty of food and beverages to enjoy. We were greeted yesterday morning by some kookaburras who regularly drop in for a breakfast of raw minced beef.

Knitting

This week I knitted up a hat for the Knit for Cancer challenge. It was a very quick knit using the Greek Mosaic beanie pattern. I showed the three lots of yarn I purchased from Spotlight last week and they are working well together. I have to use the white yarn with three strands to match the other yarns. This is a free pattern on Ravelry and is a very easy mosaic stitch. It’s a great way of doing colourwork without having to use more than one colour per row. I ended up doing an extra 10 rows of the pattern (half a repeat) as it seemed that the beanie wasn’t going to cover my ears but I think it may not have needed that. The decreases are very clever in how the pattern ends up at the top of the crown. I will be making a grey pompom for this, probably tomorrow.

I have now passed on the little Leaf and Lace cardigans with their matching Flurries beanies and I look forward to seeing them on their tiny recipients. I blocked the cardigans earlier this week and the beanies were soaked and dried hanging. I would normally block them on balloons but I have no idea where the balloons are at this current moment. I think the way that I hung them helped to make the i-cords on their crowns stand up nicely. The final touch was adding the buttons on Friday.

The only other real knitting I managed this week was on my Koivua sweater where I picked up the second sleeve stitches and finished the first section of colourwork. I now have 6 knit/purl repeats to do to match the other side before completing the rest of the colourwork. It’s getting close on this one and would really like to finish it by next week’s blog. Let’s see how I go with that.