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.

Spinning

I finally wound off my second bobbin of the Ixchel Fibres October batt. I haven’t soaked this or the first one yet and may get around to that this week. I really wanted to start spinning the final bobbin of this project but I wasn’t able to get the spinning wheel to draw properly. I had snapped the drive band again and, this time, rejoining didn’t work. I will need to change the drive band though I’m not 100% certain as to what I need to get for it. I have some cotton twine, which seems very similar to what is on there so I might give that a try. I’ll see if I can get some online in case this one doesn’t work. I hope I can get it going again.

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Patchwork

I usually start a new project for our annual retreat and I decided to go ahead even though it’s only a very short getaway. I purchased this pattern and the linens to go with it at last year’s Sydney Quilt Show. This is the Wendy Williams (Flying Fish Kits) Over the Hill quilt pattern. I thought it was going to be a bit complicated but after putting the first block together I was able to set up a few more ready for stitching. I’m well into putting together the first section of seven. I think I’ll work on completing each section at a time. Once I have these six blocks together I’ll add the felts before moving onto the next section.

Stitching

I am now back at work on my Round the Garden quilt! This is another Wendy Williams (Flying Fish Kits) pattern and I can honestly say that I have quite a number near completion and a couple already completed. I love all her work. Before things got really hectic with the house I had started the second quarter of the building border on this project but didn’t get that part done. Yesterday afternoon I managed to finish all the felt bits and they are now pinned and ready to stitch down. As with the first quarter, I’ll then add all the extra stitching for trees, birds, bees, etc. before moving onto the third quarter. I also have a pile of circles ready to add to the inner border so might get onto that at the same time.

Paraphernalia

I think all that I’ve managed this past week were a few episodes of Call the Midwife. It’s such a lovely show. I’m working my way through season eight and I’m hoping that Foxtel has season nine as well.

This next week will be another one of a lot of unpacking, firstly to clear all the boxes in the garage and hopefully then to get some time to also work at my studio. It feels good each time I empty a box but there always seems to be so many still to go. Surely it will soon start looking like I’m making a dent in them! Once I am mostly unpacked I will feel able to spend more time crafting, though I still need to get some furniture for storage before it will all be complete. Good old Ikea will be helping in that regard.

This post is going out early for a change so that I can get back to our crafting today. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 26 July 2020. #105

Hello friends! Welcome from a rainy south coast New South Wales. We’ve had pretty good weather for winter lately so I expected to get rain sooner or later. It’s been a very busy week with unpacking and it’s going to take some time to get it all done! I did have a day away from the grind to mind Evie and we had some fun. We went for walk to the park to kick the ball around. There are also a couple of pics from around here from yesterday.

I had a wonderful massage and facial on Friday – I had been waiting for this since my birthday in January. It was a gift voucher that I get every Christmas, birthday and Mother’s day. My new bedroom boasts a wonderful view and I don’t even have to get out of bed. These are a few snaps I took this week with the third one being this morning. It has been raining all day.

While we were working inside the house, there was some work going on in the backyard too. There is an easement that runs from the top of the hill to the bottom and it crosses the bottom corner of our land. Our land and the one next door were the only ones not to have the easement piped and they set to work on rectifying that this week. The pipes were installed and the dirt respread. There are a couple of silt pits as well. Once they have finished whatever else they need to do we are going to have new fences installed.

Studio Update: The studio has been at the bottom of the priority list this week and I only went in yesterday to move a few things around. I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time in there and I will need to order a few things from Ikea before it is all finished. I’ll be capturing the progress here – you can see how many boxes I have to open and sort through!

Knitting

This week has been another one when I have been unable to get much crafting done. I only managed some little bits and one was finishing the first sleeve on my Koivua sweater. I added about three or four rows of the final chart to get that bit extra on the sleeve. I haven’t tried it on yet so I’m hoping that it’s OK. I finished it off, as the pattern indicates, with the contrast colour and I think there should be plenty for the other sleeve. I didn’t weight the caramel yarn so I’m unsure but I can always tink back on the i-cord bind-off and as many rounds as I need if I run short on the other side.

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I did do a little bit of knitting on my Habitation throw but it’s not enough to show at this point. The only other knitting I did was to finish off the third Flurries beanie for the matching cardigan set. Here are two of the beanies with their matching Leaf and Lace cardigans. I just need some buttons and blocking and I’ll be able to gift them next week. The babies have now been born and they are gorgeous!

Acquisitions

I bought a few bits and pieces at Spotlight the other day as I needed some yarn for the Knit for Cancer challenge. This came up on my Facebook feed and I thought it would be a great idea. I registered and they sent me some patterns. You can knit a hat and/or a scarf which they’ll sell to raise funds or use for patients. Anyway, the colours that they ask for are blue, grey and white or at least two these so I dropped in at Spotlight to get some. I settled on acrylic which was very soft (another requirement) and easier to care for than wool. While I was there, they had a special on 2 patterns for $12.00 and I picked up a couple of patterns that were on my list. Seems I’m really feeling the summer clothes even though it’s the middle of winter!

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Paraphernalia

I’m really late with this blog today because the family has been visiting the new house. Evie has had fun running around and up and down the hallway and it’s been a great day even if it has been raining the whole time. I love having the family together!

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This coming week will be spent unpacking and sorting ad infinitum! I hope to spend plenty of time in my studio. I will be getting together with a couple of friends next weekend as our annual retreat had to be cancelled due to the COVID spike in Sydney. Several of our attendees are from out of state and are not able to travel and the numbers became too low to make it economical. I have a couple of projects to take with me and they are baby focussed. I’m very lucky to have two grandchildren on the way – my daughter-in-law is due in November (having a boy) and my daughter is due in January (gender unknown).

It’s time that I get this blog out and I hope I can get back to my regular programming very soon. So, until next week, I hope you are keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 19 July 2020. #104

Hello friends! Welcome from sunny Vincentia on the south coast of New South Wales. We are back home now, albeit in a brand new one. We’ve only spent two nights here but it’s been wonderful, even though we’re still in the turmoil of unpacking and sorting through all the boxes. Everything is out of the storage shed and mostly in the garage. I have unpacked quite a few boxes but there seems to be a never-ending supply. All my crafting boxes have just been moved into the studio as a lower priority. I’m still looking for some essentials, for instance, the dinner set, but we’re managing with the picnic set in the meantime. I love how my pendants are casting shadows on the walls and ceiling! We celebrated the first evening with some champagne after setting up the TV for the football. We didn’t have the furniture and the TV stand was in a yet-to-be-discovered box so leaning it up against the wall was perfect, along with a couple of lounge cushions on the floor. The last picture shows what I see when I’m lying in bed – it’s an amazing sight to wake up to.

While we were still at Bawley Point, earlier this week, we had some terrible weather and it really churned up the ocean. You can see the wild seas crashing through and washing right up to the top of the beach. It was quite a sight to see and there were many spectators.

The next photos are local to where we are now and there are a few from during the stormy seas. The swell doesn’t come through into Jervis Bay unless there is a storm like this and the local surfers had a great time on the rare bay waves. One enterprising surfer actually set up some lights and they surfed until about 1.30 am!

Knitting

I haven’t had much time for crafting this week but did get some done while we were driving up and down from the house. Each time I took my Koivua sweater with me although the first two times I actually forgot to take the chart sheet. I was a bit tired and didn’t actually realise that I could have downloaded the pattern onto my phone. Sigh. I probably needed the rest. Finally, I remembered the pattern and I’ve now reached the end of the final chart on the left sleeve. I had added an extra knit/purl section repeat and I think it will be easy enough to add a little more of the chart if I don’t think it’s long enough. I haven’t had an opportunity to try it on to see how it fits, so maybe I’ll do that tomorrow and I’ll be able to finish off that sleeve. I’ll be glad to get onto the final sleeve as I’m looking forward to wearing this!

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Last weekend, I started knitting a baby bonnet using a very old pattern. I’ve now finished two, and I am halfway through a third. I think the first one might be a little bit big to match the baby cardigans I’ve knitted so I knitted a smaller one in the ivory (it’s not white and it’s not cream), and the third is another in the blue yarn. That way I’ll have matching bonnets to go with the cardigans. The tops are finished with i-cords looped in a very cute way.

I have only added a few rows onto my Habitation throw but it is handy as something that is easy to do at any time, though the baby bonnets were even easier! It needs a little more before I start decreasing and I think that each week. Hopefully, I’ll get to that point soon!

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Spinning

There hasn’t been very much spinning this week but I did get to finish the second 100 gram single. I didn’t get the opportunity ply the yarn and will be looking forward to doing that this week. Then I’ll be able to start the third 100 gram bundle of fibre. You can see some close-up photos of the first skein and I love the colours. I can’t wait to use this for a cardigan or sweater but I’ll need to add another skein or two. I’ll have to see if one of the last lots of fibre that I spun up will possibly blend. It was another batt from Ixchel, but from the November club. I have sent up the spinning wheel yet but maybe tomorrow. The lounge room is still a work in progress, using our old lounges until we get the new ones.

Paraphernalia

It’s another short blog this week and I’m very late posting. I spent most of the day today sorting through boxes. I am still deciding where things will go although the kitchen is coming together well. The pantry is yet to be finalised once I see what I need and I’ll have to get some tubs and baskets so that everything remains tidy. I have been lining all the drawers and I’ve employed my crafting skills to get it all looking nice. Cutting the liners wasn’t easy and they looked really ragged until I got my cutter, ruler and mat out. So much easier and a better way to do it.

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I will leave it at that for this week and I hope that next week I’ll have more to show. We are still monitoring the COVID situation in Victoria, and whether New South Wales will start to show the same spiking pattern. Until next week, I hope you are safe and well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 12 July 2020. #103

Hello friends! This week has been so busy and I’ve been on the road every day. I don’t even remember what I did on which day! This week’s blog will be a little short as I’m in the middle of moving boxes into the garage of the new house. We’re doing that for anything that fits into our two cars in preparation for the move of the big items next weekend. The highlight for the week would have to be spending time with Evie. We spent some quality time together. We went to the park and had some fun on the swings and slippery dips. She’s growing up so quickly and getting very chatty. Her vocabulary is increasing rapidly now and I can understand most of it but it is hard at times to work out what she is asking. I did try out my new deck while waiting for someone to come and measure up.

I’ve had very little time to visit the beaches because I’ve been on the road so much. I only got there the one time this week. I must say it was so nice and I really miss my walks and runs. I’ll be able to get back to that sooner or later. Yesterday, we had lunch at the local boat ramp between loads and it reminded me how much I miss my local area.

House Update: This week has seen a hive of activity at the house. We got to the stage where the main works were complete and all the other bits and pieces were able to be done. Parking in the street was at a premium and on Wednesday someone counted twenty-three cars! The stone tiling in the foyer through to the entry was completed and now just needs a sealer. The kitchen, laundry and vanities are 90% complete, and the stone benchtops were installed in the kitchen and on the vanities. The plumber has reached about 50%, and the driveway, side paths and water tank slab were poured and are pretty much dried through. We only have 5 more sleeps before we get to move home barring any unforeseen issues, like the very bad weather we are expecting tomorrow through to Wednesday or later. The last thing to go in will be the kitchen splashback and I learnt a lot about the different types this week. We are going for a glass splashback with a mirrored effect. There are actually mirrored splashbacks but the one I like uses a particular type of metallic paint that gives a mirrored effect without actually being a full-on mirror. I’m so happy with how everything is looking and can’t wait until we’re in with all the furniture. Our mattresses are coming on Thursday but the lounge won’t be ready for a few weeks yet.

Knitting

My Le Pouf cardigan is now finished. During this week I finished the second sleeve and knitted two and a half inches of band around the fronts and neck. It looks fine but just needs to be blocked to pull out the bands a little. I knit the sleeves with a 4mm nine-inch circular needle that I shared with the Koivua sweater. Now that it’s finished the Le Pouf I’ll be able to move on with that one. It seems I had much less yarn for the second (left) sleeve even though I weighed the skeins when I separated them. They were very small amounts and one gram can make a big difference over several mini balls. I don’t think it will be very noticeable.

Last week I forgot to show the second finished Leaf and Lace baby cardigan. I had finished it early in the week and thought it had actually gone onto the previous week’s blog. One thing I noticed only when I took the photos this morning is that I finished the second set of sleeves differently to the first. I remember thinking of doing a garter finish on the first but decided on the rib as the pattern suggested. I was going to sew in ends on the drive up today but I think I’ll rip the garter rows back and make them match.

I did a few rows on my Habitation throw but not enough to notice the difference in a photo. I think I’ll need to measure one side to see if I’m ready to start the decreases. I have several things to block piling up but they’ll have to wait for the move. Even if I did do them this week, the wet weather will not let them dry.

Spinning

I’ve had less time for spinning this week but I’ve still managed to do some. I’m about halfway through the second 100 grams of my Ixchel fibre batts. I am really enjoying the spinning time even though I haven’t had a lot of time for it. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy – I find it a very relaxing craft. I will be grabbing a bit of time here and there to continue on my Tour de Fleece challenge. The first 100 grams has been plied and skeined but not yet soaked and I haven’t calculated the length and yarn weight yet.

Paraphernalia

This week I listened to a lot of podcasts that had piled up recently while driving up and down the coast. I also finished my audiobook, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. In the end, I really enjoyed the book and I am looking forward to the next one in the series. In the meantime, I will be starting one of the many that I have waiting for me. I started the latest series of Line of Duty on Netflix and got to the season finale when I wasn’t able to stream due to all the people around here for the school holidays blocking up the terrible network. And then I had to drop down on my data download as we have just signed up for our new wifi. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get that going today at the house and I’ll be able to download the episode. I then started watching a series called Unorthodox that I had recently downloaded from Netflix. It’s only a short series but it is proving to be well worth watching.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is a very short blog this week. I’m really looking forward to moving into the new house and having all my crafts available. That is quite a stretch as it will take me a bit of time to get everything unpacked, sorted and stowed away. There are many crafts I haven’t done for ages and one is dyeing. The last thing I dyed was at least January, though I think it was more like before Christmas sometime! It’s time for me to head off and move some more boxes as it’s going to rain cats and dogs for the next two or three days and I may actually have some time to sit and knit, in between cleaning up the house we’re in and packing in preparation for our exit on Friday. 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 5 July 2020. #102

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

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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Spinning

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

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

Paraphernalia

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

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

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Sunday 28 June 2020. #101

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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Spinning

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

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

Crochet

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

Sewing

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

Paraphernalia

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

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

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Sunday 21 June 2020. #100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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

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Spinning

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

Sewing

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

Paraphernalia

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

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

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

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Sunday 14 June 2020. #99

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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

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Spinning

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

Crochet

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

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Sewing

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

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

Patchwork

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

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

Paraphernalia

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

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

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Sunday 7 June 2020. #98

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

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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Spinning

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

Crochet

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

Sewing

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

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

Paraphernalia

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

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

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

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Sunday 31 May 2020. #97

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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Spinning

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

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

Sewing

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

Stitching

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

Acquisitions

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

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Paraphernalia

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

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

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

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