Sunday 25 October 2020. #118

Hello friends! I’m very late with the blog today as I’ve been up to Wollongong again for more festivities. After last weekend’s birthday festivities, I had a very slow day on Monday after waking up exhausted and with a headache. I took a “sick day” and spent it mainly on the lounge with my knitting. I didn’t even go down to my studio! On Tuesday, I was feeling much better and rode over to Huskisson with my friend Julie to meet up with some friends over coffee. I then spent most of the rest of the day in the studio. On Wednesday, I was in Wollongong with Evie and we had a great day out at a different park. This park has a fence all the way around it and, though the activities are for smaller kids, it was perfect for Evie and she was able to run around from one activity to another. The park is right next to a huge mural that you can see below. We’ve had some heavy winds this week and on Thursday I found that my tomato plants had fallen down. Fortunately they weren’t actually broken so I was able to re-stake them – which I had been meaning to do for a while as they were getting so big. There are lots of little flowers and hopefully soon lots of little tomatoes. On Friday, Julie and I rode over to Huskisson again for breakfast with some other friends. Today’s activities in Wollongong were for Kimberley’s baby sprinkle. It was a lovely gathering of her friends over some yummy afternoon tea. I had made apple and pecan friands along with some Portuguese custard tarts. I also make some chocolate cupcakes using a vegan recipe as I had to make something without eggs, dairy, cashews or peanuts. I think the cupcakes worked well.

The weather this week has been up and down with a couple of beautiful days. Unfortunately, today wasn’t one of them and the baby sprinkle had to be inside due to the rain. It has rained steadily since yesterday afternoon and I think that will be great for the lawn and for filling our water tank. It is predicted for rain for a few more days.

Knitting

The Turtlepurl Yarns self striping socks are very near to completion. The other day I decided to put the afterthought heels in so that I can see how much further I needed to go. The afterthought heel method I like to use is one by Kirbywirby Yarns. With this method you leave 2 stitches at each end so that you don’t end up with a gap at the join. It works really well and I grafted the stitches using the Knitting with Suzanne Bryan tutorial on How to Kitchener (Toes) Without Ears. You can see how smooth the finish is with this method. I am now back onto knitting the leg and I think I’ll just finish off the white section I’m on and then do the cuff in the dark red. I’ll try them on again once I near the next black section and if necessary I can knit a little bit more.

The Cabled Baby blanket is on track. Last week I mentioned that I’ll try to do a repeat and a half each day and I’ve managed this, doing 9 rows religiously until today. I have not yet had a chance to do any knitting so today’s quota will have to be written off. I think I allowed for a bit of a buffer with that calculation so it should be fine. I’ll get back onto it tomorrow.

SPOILER ALERT: Slipstravaganza. I’m currently working on Clue 2 (Section 3) and I am exactly halfway. I didn’t get to this much this week so I’ll need to do some catching up. The first photo shows Clue 1 (Sections 1 and 2) and the other photos show Clue 2. The lighting wasn’t fantastic this morning and the close up is showing some brown, of which there actually isn’t any. It’s actually bright teal, light teal and grey. I’m hoping I’ll have better photos next week when the whole section is finished. Each section has looked better once it was all done and it will also be so much better once it’s blocked out at the end. Clue 3 came out on Friday but I haven’t yet looked at it. I’ll wait until I finish Clue 2 before I do. The project has, as predicted, slowed down due to the number of stitches. At the end of Clue 1, I had about 269 stitches and the first row of Clue 2 took that number up to over 400 and each row is increasing. It does make each row take a lot longer to knit. I will definitely be working on Clue 3 by next week’s blog.

Spinning

I finally finished plying bobbins three and four of my Ixchel Fibres December 2019 batts and I’ve started on number five. It has been slow going because I have been using some of my spinning time on my knitting. That’s OK – it’s still coming along and there’s very little of this bobbin to go now so I’ll be starting on bobbin number six.

Sewing

I did spend a bit more time at the sewing machine this week. Last week I had left off on my Peppermint Wrap Top before adding the sleeves. I did that early in the week, attaching them with French seams. You can see how many pins I used. The top is finished and it fits, though I only tried it on very quickly. I know there are some blogs that explain how they made bust adjustments so I may check those out as I think I’d like to make another one of these. This is the second finish for my #wfhmodulesewalong.

I had a little spare time yesterday morning and I finally put together a Sheona top that I had cut out in January this year. I had wanted this navy top to go with a skirt and it never did get sewn up. Mostly because it turned cold and winter arrived but now I need it. It took about an hour to put together so it was a really quick win. This is finish number three for the #wfhmodulesewalong. And I actually wore this today with the skirt that it was intended for, though it also goes with the current module.

A late entry to my #wfhmodulesewalong is the Seamwork Laura wrap skirt. I had some remnant linen suiting that I got into my mind would be great for a wrap skirt and I was going to use the bottom part of the Charlotte dress pattern that I’d made up recently. In the end, the fabric I had wasn’t enough but I was determined that I was going to make a wrap skirt. I found another piece of linen that I’d purchased for my Metamorphic dress and, though it was a large piece, it still wasn’t enough. I had found a pattern on Seamwork for this Laura wrap skirt and it was easier to download that than to modify the Charlotte pattern. I then spent some time wondering how I could colour block using two of the fabric pieces that I have and in the end decided it wasn’t going to work. I came to the realisation that I was never going to wear the Metamorphic dress as it really did not suit me at all. So I put it to another use instead and used it for this wrap skirt. I have put the main part of the skirt together, using folded in seams. I’m not sure if they have a name but I thought that French seams would be too bulky and I didn’t want to just serge them. I think this works well. I only have the band sections and hem to go on this. Instead of doing ties, I’m going to add a button on each side so that there is less bulk and it will work with my Peppermint Wrap top. This will be #wfhmodulesewalong item #4.

I have not yet finished my Marbella dress but I did try it on. It fits but I will just take a little bit off the bust seam before finishing it. Once I’ve done that, I only need to join the skirt lining back section and stitch it down onto the inside zipper seams. Then the hems and it will be finished. That will make my #wfhmodulesewalong #5.

Patchwork

Early in the week I got working on the Superman quilt and have almost finished the backing. I have used up all the fabric that was left over from the front piecing and I just need to add some white sections to make this the size I need. I hope to sandwich it this week so that I can start quilting it next week.

Acquisitions

I have started thinking about Christmas and I have at least one more stocking that I need to make for this year for Baby 1. I know that there will be another for next year for Baby 2 due in January so I wanted to get a couple more in preparation. It’s really hard to know exactly what size the panels are when you see them online and the minimal measurements are hard to work out with the shape. In the photo below, the red one is the fraternal twin of Evie’s that I made last year and her stocking is larger than the rest of the stockings for the whole family. Of course, all stockings for this generation will need to be the same size and I thought the ones I’d ordered would be about the same size but you can see here how much bigger they are! And because of the design, I can’t really cut the size down. So I’ve gone back to the drawing board and ordered some more. Fingers crossed they are about the same size or even a little smaller. I can easily add a border if I need to.

Paraphernalia

I finished listening to my book early in the week as I couldn’t put it down. That was Robert Galbraith’s third book in the Cormorant Strike series. I very nearly just went straight to the next book but decided instead to go to the next book in my list which was Karin Slaughter’s Piece of Her. Another compelling read and I have already finished that one too! It was full on from the very beginning and kept the same pace right to the end. I finished that one yesterday and today I started a new book – Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell. I only managed a short stint on that today so I haven’t got a feel for it yet. On Netflix, I’m still working my way through Longmire. I’ve now started the sixth and final season – I think that may be the real finale as that season was released in 2017 and there aren’t any more so far.

It’s been a long day so I’m going to leave it there. I have a few things happening in this coming week, including a visit by some old friends. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 18 October 2020. #117

Hello friends! Today is my husband’s birthday and we celebrated it last night at the same time celebrating our daughter’s birthday, which was on Friday. Evie had her second birthday on Wednesday and there is a small birthday party for her today. So, at the start of this blog, I’m coming to you from Wollongong. My week started with a breakfast catch-up which was very enjoyable. On Tuesday night I hosted Book Club and on Thursday we went to the Brewery for a couple of drinks and dinner. We have a rogue chicken that is hanging around the back of our properties. It obviously comes from a nearby neighbour in that area but it has had free range in our three backyards while we wait for the fencing. That is still a few weeks away. I’ll have to go down and see if there are any eggs hiding somewhere.

It’s been another cooking week, and all sweets. For Book Club, I made a Sicilian Apple cake, recipe from NotQuiteNigella, which was a big hit. It will now be in my rotation as it was very easy and very yummy, but does require a lot of peeling and slicing of apples. On Friday, I made a Zuppa Inglese for last night’s celebration and you can see it here with a little slice missing. Evie had dinner before our Indian takeaway meal arrived so we let her have some birthday cake for dessert. It was a huge cake and we are working our way through it Yesterday morning I baked RecipeTin Eats’ My Very Best Vanilla cake for today’s birthday cake. This recipe is touted to last fresh for four days. I can attest to it being great on the second day. The bear is in honour of Evie’s Big Ted, who is really quite small and is also her dad’s original bear. She is very attached to Big Ted and we were concerned at what she would think when we sliced up the cake! All good; I’m sure she understood it was just a cake.

Knitting

My Turtlepurl Yarns socks are growing slowly as I’ve only worked on these a few times this week. They won’t take much longer to finish the leg and there seems to be plenty of yarn left.

I haven’t spent too much time on the Cabled Baby blanket but it’s coming along. I’ll need to make more time for this one as it will be needed soon. I have worked out that I have probably another 50 cable repeats and a rib to do and Baby 1 is due in 36 days. If I do 1.5 repeats (9 rows) a day, I should be able to make it.

SPOILER ALERT: Slipstravaganza. This week I have been working on the first clue and was going quite well until Stephen West released a Part 2 of Clue 1. I’d say the extra release is because the first part was not very large, which I thought was unusual. The second part is not difficult but it has lots of slip stitch rows. When I added the third contrast colour I was concerned that it might not have much contrast to the first part. I was also concerned that this contrast colour would blend a little with the black as there are many speckled dark/black sections. I stopped knitting and got out lots of different skeins to see if I should go a totally different colour but, in the end, I stayed with the original and I think it is working out fine. Clue 2 came out on Friday but I haven’t looked at it yet and I will wait until I finish this section.

A couple of weeks back I started knitting the City Limits sweater with my handspun yarn. Once I got past the short row section and started in the round I realised that I didn’t like the fabric that I had – it was much too loose. So I have now frogged that project and will look for something with a smaller needle size. The City Limits used a 4.5mm and I think it will look a lot nicer with a 4.0mm. I’m not in a hurry at the moment so I’ll see what alternative project I can find.

Spinning

This week I finished the fourth bobbin of my Ixchel Fibres December 2019 batts and I’ve started plying bobbins three and four. I haven’t spent as much time spinning this week as I’ve prioritised some knitting instead. This one will be finished in the next day or so and I’ll then move onto bobbin number 5.

Sewing

I did spend a fair amount of time working on my Marbella dress by Itch to Stitch and it’s not far from finished now. I put the skirt part together followed by the skirt lining and then the zipper. I did a great job on the zipper and I find that the basting helps so much when you are lining up the waist and bodice seams. I had to adjust the bodice front seams so that they fit onto the skirt for that section. There are two back seams, the zipper seam, two front seams and the side seams. They all lined up perfectly except for the front middle section. It wasn’t hard to undo a little and move the seams over a bit. When I was putting the skirt lining together, I managed to add the skirt backs inside out – you can see the seam and the nice dart in a photo below. The darts were easy to remove and do on the other side – easier than undoing the side seams. 😊 You can also see the lining of the dress before I put the zipper in. I had been hanging the dress and it seems that the lining has fallen somewhat. I’ll be attaching the lining to the dress at the waist and I’ll see if that raises the hem a little. Otherwise, I’ll need to remove an inch or two from the bottom of the lining so that it doesn’t droop below the skirt hem.

During a little break from my Marbella dress above, I decided to move onto another project for my #wfhmodulesewalong set. This one is the Peppermint Magazine Wrap top by In the Folds. I’ve had this free pattern for quite some time now and I have wanted to make it. There are so many of these tops out in the wild and each time I see one I want to make it. I am using some stash fabric, totally unknown content but it seems crisp like shirting. It is quite thin so I’ll need to wear a camisole under it but it will be a great wearable toile if it works out properly. The consensus is that the pattern comes out a bit on the big size so I rounded down just a little on which size I cut out – I think it’s size D. It’s a very easy and quick make so I’m well into it with only a couple of short sessions. I only have to add the sleeves and finish the bottom, I think. This is made with French seams which is great for an unlined garment. I have made one other garment with French seams, including the sleeves and that was another Peppermint pattern – the Ruffle Sleeve top.

Paraphernalia

This week I finished the Book Club book, Night Over Water by Ken Follett – just in time for Book Club! It was a bit predictable but still an entertaining and fun read. I’ve now moved onto the third in the Cormorant Strike series by Robert Galbraith. Despite her unfavourable notoriety lately, she writes a great book and I’m churning through this quickly. I’m into Season 3 of Longmire and have barely started Spooks from the very first season.

I don’t have too much happening during this week apart from babysitting on Wednesday and then some cooking for Kimberley’s baby sprinkle next Sunday. That will be a nice cosy affair in Wollongong with a few of her girlfriends. It’s been a very long day as we are now back home after the party so I’ll head off to do some knitting on the lounge – it’s just about dinner time so I won’t get a lot done beforehand. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 11 October 2020. #116

Hello friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying some lovely weather because I certainly have. Here on the south coast of New South Wales, we are enjoying a wonderful introduction to spring. Last weekend was quite wet but, since then, the sun has been glorious. I’ve been out for a few early morning rides and so have a lot of other people around here. This past week was still school holidays, ending this weekend, and we can look forward to a more normal existence now until December. It’s even been hard to get out of the local supermarket carpark because of the increased number of vehicles around so I’ve limited going anywhere. I went to Wollongong for my babysitting day with Evie on Wednesday and on Friday morning I visited Carol’s studio for a little while. I only took my knitting as I had to leave early but the girls were doing ink painting, oil painting and mosaics.

I left Carol’s studio and headed up to Wollongong to babysit Evie again, this time for two whole nights while her mum and dad were away enjoying a short break before Evie’s little brother comes along. They call this a “babymoon”. So many new names for things that weren’t a thing when I was that age. 😊 Evie and I had a wonderful time together – yesterday we had a full day together and went to the park in the morning and then, in the afternoon, we had a bit of fun on the beach. Her nanny picked her up this morning; basically a handover as she will be there now until tomorrow afternoon. I missed here when she went!

Knitting

My Turtlepurl yarns self-striping socks are proving to be very portable. I’ve passed where the heel will be and am now working up the leg. I think I will probably use all the remaining yarn for the leg. I have the remainder of the 20gms contrast yarn that I used for the toes and I’ll use that for the heel too. When I get closer to the top, I think I’ll add the heel before I finish so that I can see if I have enough to knit the cuff too. Evie was having lunch while I was knitting and I also did a few rows while I was waiting in line at Aldi. I was there early the other day so that I could get a travel cot that was on sale but none had arrived due to supply difficulties at the moment.

I have made some progress on my Cabled Baby blanket. Last week I only had a cast on and two rows to show. The cable is a very easy pattern but it’s slow going due to the small needles I’m working on. It’s coming along nicely though.

SPOILER ALERT! Slipstravaganza has started and if you don’t want to see the start of Clue 1, please scroll down very quickly. Though I must say it’s not a big spoiler as it’s very hard to see what is going on. Stephen West’s 2020 Mystery Knitalong (MKAL) started on Friday night (our time) and I had packed all the yarn and necessary items for my stay with Evie. She sleeps very well from 7pm so I had the evenings to work on this. As usual, this MKAL is very addictive and I only want to work on this project! This pattern is a honeycomb and is looking great, though will look better once I get a little bit further. I’ll have more to show next week and we’ll see if I’m up to Clue 2 yet.

Spinning

On the nights I’ve been home I’ve been working on my second skein of my Ixchel Fibres December 2019 batts. I finished bobbin number three and I’m working through bobbin number four. My spinning has taken up some of my knitting time lately, mainly since Tour de Fleece #2, and I may cut that down a little now that I have several knitting projects on the go.

Sewing

I finished Evie’s latest Geranium dress and she had to put it on when I gave it to her. That’s probably a good thing because she is fitting it perfectly and won’t be able to wear it for long. It wasn’t a warm day on Wednesday but it was fine with her little skivvy underneath. She has certainly shot up and I’ll have to go up a size from now on. While I was there on the weekend I was able to take her measurements for the next dress I’ll be starting on soon.

I was able to spend a good portion of two days working on my Marbella dress by Itch to Stitch and I’ve now finished the bodice. When you add a lining, it essentially means you are making two items and sewing them together. I used some rayon in this beautiful caramel as I couldn’t get any lawn at spotlight – it seems to be working well. It has more drape than lawn would have and has a “memory” that I don’t like but it’s only a lining. The memory I’m talking about is that it shows marks – when ironing, it will show anything underneath and even stitching causes marks, see the echo line along the stitching in the top right picture? Fortunately these marks will disappear but you need to be careful, when ironing particularly. I’m looking forward to making the skirt section this week as that won’t be as involved as the bodice was. Then I’ll have my second go at installing an invisible zipper and I hope it goes as well as my first one.

Dyeing

This week I dyed my first lot of yarn this year! I mentioned last week that I wanted to dye two skeins for the Slipstravaganza MKAL and here they are. I was waiting for a portable electric cooktop which arrived on Wednesday. On Thursday, I got to use it though it wasn’t such a successful attempt. I put cold water into the baking dish and it took forever to heat up. Note number one – use hot water next time. I managed to dye the black but I ended up finishing most of it in the microwave. That was fine for what I was doing this time but for other types of dyeing, eg speckles, I’ll need to use the baking dish. Once the black was done I added some burgundy and some teal which is very subtle, though you can see it in the pics below. The yarn is not superwash so the black didn’t take as a deep black; more like a dark charcoal. It looks very dark in some lights but in sunlight it’s more of a dark grey. It has turned out fine though I did end up adding some more burgundy to one of the skeins that didn’t really show any at all. I wanted the two skeins to be similar so that it doesn’t look like a different yarn when I start knitting on the second one. I’m hoping it turned out OK as I left that in the microwave cooling on Friday morning and left without thinking about it. It’s now hanging in the afternoon sunshine to dry.

Acquisitions

A couple of weeks ago I found some new fabric stores in Australia via the Dahlia Sew-ciety podcast. There were several that came highly recommended and I have been looking through their wares. I found this beautiful caramel Atelier Brunette lightweight viscose with a beautiful drape. The colourway is Moonstone Ochre. It was a pre-order through Seamstress fabrics and I thought I could think about what I would make with it while I was waiting. I have several projects on the go so I wasn’t worried about the wait but it turned out arriving more quickly than we thought. I was so excited to get it – it’s certainly beautiful looking in real life and it has a beautiful feel. Kat from Seamstress fabrics included a lovely card which mentioned that I got a bit extra as it was the very beginning of the bolt! What a wonderful surprise. I will have to wait until I finish a couple of things (mainly the #wfhmodulesewalong) and until I make the decision as to what to make. I intend to make a toile of whatever I choose as I’ve been burned before in using beautiful fabric only to find the style doesn’t suit me.

Paraphernalia

I have been catching up on my video podcasts and working my way through Longmire on Netflix. I am also hoping to start on Spooks on SBS on demand as they now have all the seasons available. It’s always been on my list but I never got to watch it. I finished Girl Woman Other and have started a new book for Book Club called Night over Water by Ken Follett. There was another book that was recommended, called Mullumbimby, but many of the other girls are not enjoying it so I didn’t even start it. The Ken Follet book was written in 1991 but is proving quite enjoyable.

Things are going to get a little hectic from now. This week I’m hosting Book Club at my place on Tuesday night. I am trying to decide what fancy cake or tart to make as that is the custom with hosting. I also want to try a vanilla cake from RecipeTin Eats that is supposed to stay perfectly fresh for four days. I’m making Evie’s birthday cake for next Sunday and I think this one will work well. I’ll probably do that tomorrow. I’ll also be making a Zuppa Inglese for Robert and Erin’s birthday celebration on Saturday night. I’ve mentioned this cake before on the blog – I’ve made it for the past 20-odd years! So there’s going to be lots of cake making this week and again for the following two weeks for Kim and Erin’s baby showers.

I’ll be off now to do some more Slipstravaganza knitting! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 4 October 2020. #115

Hello friends! Welcome to October and daylight savings time here in New South Wales. The sun has been coming up very early in the morning and I’ve been waking with it. That’s because we don’t have blinds yet. I’ve had a few quotes and we are ordering them now but they will probably take several weeks before they are installed. At least daylight savings will help for a little while. Today is a beautiful day and we’re looking at reaching 31 degrees Celcius but I think the sea breeze will be keeping it down well below that. I started this morning with some breakfast and knitting on the deck. My mother-in-law stayed the night so it was great to have some time on the deck before the nor-easterly comes up. I had to move over to the chair near the sliding door as the sun was shaded from my face there. I’m not sure if I mentioned the tomatoes that I had planted in a pot on my studio deck but there are now two more pots. The larger one contains two heirloom mini tomatoes and they are growing very well. Last weekend, my son-in-law, Shaun, gifted me a couple of tomato seedlings that he’d sprouted which I put each into a smaller pot along with some chives seedling that I’d purchased. He also gave me some basil which I put into the larger pot – one is doing OK and the other is struggling a bit but I think it’s coming good. Fingers crossed a possum doesn’t find them.

Last week started with a breakfast catch-up at Huskisson on Monday with some girlfriends. This time I tried the granola and it was amazing, but huge! That was followed by a facial which was wonderful. On Tuesday, I had a cook-fest as our friends Peter and Sue were visiting to check out the house and have lunch with us. I didn’t take many photos, particularly none of the final products. I made a barbecue glazed meatloaf and a potato and sweet potato bake. The meatloaf recipe is for mini meatloaves but I always make it into one larger loaf as it’s less fiddly. For sweets I made pecan and apple friands and Portugese custard tarts. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I always cook these together. The friands use egg whites and the tarts use egg yolks so it saves waste. If I leave one or the other for later I tend to end up throwing it out. I use frozen sweet tart cases for the tarts which is so much easier. This week, I rode my bike on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Wednesday was very hazy though it’s not showing so badly in these photos.

Thursday’s bike ride was much clearer and there were so many SUP riders out on Myola point. I’d say it has to do with it being school holidays and the area here is filled with tourists. All the camping areas are about overflowing! I had an appointment with the Blood Bank on Thursday so I managed to get some bits and pieces for the house while I was in town. The mirror in the walk in robe needs some double sided tape and no nails – these ones specifically for mirrors and my pegboard in the studio needed plasterboard screws. While I was waiting for my turn in the Blood Bank I managed a few rows on my socks. On Friday, we had a good view of the controlled burn on Beecroft Peninsula though it turned out it wasn’t too controlled. It was mostly smoke clouds during the day but the night photo shows the fire. I normally post photos of the sunrise from my bed but this time I was watching the fire glow in the full moon.

Yesterday I had a fun day with my friends Mary and Kerry. On the way down the coast, I called in at a local garden centre and checked out some ideas for garden edging. I’m thinking either rusty metal or the leftover slate tiles that we used for the front entryway. Mary, Kerry and I had coffee before we headed off to the local art and craft show. I also had breakfast, not having had any before I left home. The craft show was a disappointment as it was very small and took literally five minutes to walk through. From there we went to a Thai restaurant-come-cafe-come-garden centre on the south side of Ulladulla where it was coffee time again. I’m looking for a tall pot for the front entry and I got lots of ideas there. I did purchase a lovely pot for the hall table in our entry.

Studio Update: I’ve spent quite a bit of time this week sorting the studio. Each time I went down to do some sewing I found myself just sorting stuff. I had moved all the boxes into the bathroom and had room to move the table to where I want it. Robert had cut down my tabletop and I was able to set up all the machines as I want to use them. The window has a few artworks and other such but they are only temporary. I’m coming to like how they look there though! There’s still a lot of sorting to do and I intend to buy a sofa bed for the area near the sliding doors to the deck. While I was out having fun with the girls yesterday, Robert put my pegboard up and it looks great. I still need to get some hooks as the Canberra store didn’t have any when my friend Marie pick up the board for me. I’ll have to decide what will be on there. Scissors and rotary cutter at least. And what to put in the containers.

Knitting

There has been some progress on the socks as they are easy to take anywhere. It’s just knitting in the round constantly as I’ll add the afterthought heels after. 😊 I hope to have these finished for my dad’s birthday at the end of the month.

New Cast-on #1: I was feeling like doing some other knitting earlier this week and went looking for my Comfort Fade cardi. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it as it appears I’ve buried t in the bathroom with all the stuff waiting for sorting. I gave up on that and went looking for something else. I decided on a new cast-on of something in my Ravelry library with something from my yarn stash. The pattern I chose was Dove Cottage by Emma Wright and I found some Berroco Ultra Wool DK in the Sunflower colourway. It’s a dark orange, more as in the photo of the swatch below. I only have 4 large balls of this yarn and it is enough. I deliberated for some time over what to pair it with and, in the end, I went with some 4 Seasons pure wool 8 ply grey yarn that I had in my stash. The Berroco is superwash and the 4 Seasons isn’t, so the decision changed several times but I decided to run with it. I was itching to get it on the needles and didn’t really read the pattern properly. As you can see in the photo below, the body is cast on with the contrast colour but I didn’t notice that until I had knitted the whole rib band in the main colour. More deliberation then as I decided whether to undo it all and start again and I decided to keep going. The sleeves on the picture are done with the main colour at the cuff so I’ll reverse that and do those with the contrast colour instead. It’s knitting up nicely and the chart is very easy to remember for each row, though I have the assistance of stitch markers at each repeat.

New Cast-on #2: I had recently finished spinning the fourth skein of what I wanted to be a jumper. It must be the spring air but, whatever it is, I cast on this new project. Again, I wanted something that was already in my library and I narrowed it down to the City Limits by Tanis Lavallee. The photo shows it done as a fade but it can also be done with one colour yarn. What I’ve chosen to do is use all 4 balls at once with helical knitting as I want to blend the yarn. I don’t think it would have worked as a fade as all the skeins (apart from the plain beige one) have all the same colours at varying stages. This pattern has options for ribbing at the neck, sleeves and bottom of the body or using i-cord instead. I think I like the idea of the i-cord but there’s no hurry for that decision. As there are short rows straight after casting on, I held off with adding the other balls until almost the last short row. The helical knitting was tricky with the short rows but I managed to work it out by knitting the two strands together where the turn is otherwise there would have been a gap. I’ve now moved onto the normal yoke increases in the round and have added the final ball. Let’s see how this goes! The yarn works out at worsted by meterage/weight but is reading more like DK with bits of fingering weight throughout. I’m hoping the 5.00mm needles don’t prove too loose. I’ve also started using knitCompanion which is a free app. It’s a really great tool for keeping track of where you are and has several counters and other features. It’s not available for my laptop (it’s a dual laptop/tablet) so I’ve been using it on my phone. I’ve also paid for a subscription to the app which gives you more features and it’s been great so far. I had heard of KC previously and downloaded the app ages ago. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to use it until last week when I happened on a YouTube tutorial by Very Pink Knits on using the app! It really sold me on actually using it as I know how to now.

New Cast-on #3: Yep, you read that correctly – the third cast-on in the one week! This cast-on would have been done some time ago if I’d found the yarn I wanted. That happened yesterday. Kerry mentioned some very affordable and lovely yarn that was available in the art/craft franchise shop called Offline. There is one in Ulladulla and that would be my closest. We all went and had a look and I found what I needed for the baby blanket I’ve been planning to knit for my grandson (baby 1) due on 24 November. The yarn comes in Merino Wool or Alpaca Wool, both 4 ply and is 50% with acrylic. I went for the alpaca version – 50% alpaca/50% acrylic. The pattern I chose is the Cabled Blanket by Linda Whaley for Rowan Yarns. It’s a free pattern and I downloaded it in October 2018. The yarn they used is a sport weight but I think it will work well with this 4 ply (fingering) as the needles used are so tiny – 2.75mm for the ribbing and 3.25mm for the main part. I have, so far, done two rows of the rib and I’m working on this via my knitCompanion app. The colour here is blown out so is showing a bit paler than in real life. The pattern calls for eleven x 50gms of sport weight but I have eight x 50gms of fingering. There is no yardage shown on the ball band but I know that fingering yarn has greater meterage per 50gms than sport weight. I also reduced the stitches from 240 to 220 which will help as well.

Spinning

I have finally unwound my Ixchel Fibres Dream Cloud onto my niddy noddy and skeined it up. I have yet to work out the weight from the meterage spun. I also finished plying the first skein of my Ixchel Fibres December 2019 batts and that’s also been niddy-noddied and skeined. I might need a new niddy noddy as I accidently stepped on it and cracked one end. It was falling apart while unwinding the pink/grey yarn but I’m going to try and stick it together. That was last night while watching Longmire and I also started on the first bobbin of the next skein.

Sewing

I finally got back to my machine on Friday and made a little bit of progress on my Marbella dress by Itch to Stitch. I had set myself an hour on several projects and all I managed on this was to add the yoke section to the front and then put together the back sections. The next step is the yoke parts on the two back sections. It was good to spend a little bit of time on it.

I also allocated an hour on the latest Geranium dress for Evie. I decided against adding a lining as that would have made the gathered section way too thick. I think it will be fine without it. Once I put the bottom sections together I added the bodice. It’s straight off the machine in the photo below so needs a good press and then fixing the bodice lining. I should finish this one tomorrow which will be good so I can take it up with me on Tuesday. Kaye from the Crazy Sock Lady was keeping me company while I was working on this.

Patchwork

Another hour allocation was for the Superman quilt for baby number 1. The main part was together so I added the three inch border. I didn’t get a lot done in the hour but I did work out how I’m going to move forward on this for the backing and binding. I also allocated an hour to my dad’s nautical quilt top that has been hibernating for a year. As it’s his birthday this month I thought I’d try to finish that also, though it might be a Christmas present instead. I didn’t take any photos this time but I’ll include some next week. I was going to finish the top without a border but I decided that a border was the way to go.

Dyeing

I haven’t actually dyed anything yet but there are plans afoot! I mentioned last week that I’m going to participate with this year’s Stephen West Slipstravaganza MKAL and I think I’ve decided on what yarn to use. I have the three skeins below – Yarn Therapy in Real Teal (80/20 superwash merino/nylon) and two Julie Asselins in the Fall River (left) and Folk (right) colourways (90/10 superwash merino/silk. They go together really well. As I need five skeins, I have pulled out the two bare skeins below in 50/25/25 merino/alpaca/nylon to dye. These are required to be the same colour which will make the dye session easy. I just need some equipment and I think that’s been resolved. I had purchased a small microwave from KMart last week but it turned out way too small. It was a 20 litre 700 watt size and I returned it and exchanged it for a 28 litre 900 watt model. I’m hoping that will be big enough to hold the bowls I would be using in there. The other item, which I think is more important, is an electric portable hotplate. After a couple of attempts had failed, I have now purchased one from Catch and it’s a 2 plate version that should work well for my large stainless steel pan. That is what I will be using to dye these two skeins. I won’t have this hotplate at least until Wednesday (I hope) and that will give me Thursday to dye. If I’m not able to pick it up on Wednesday (it’s for click and collect at Target in Wollongong), I’ll be able to get it on Friday or Saturday. Fingers crossed it’s not held up at all as the first clue of the MKAL drops on Friday – that is Saturday my time. My intention is to dye the yarn with black and add some teal and burgundy. That way it will be a dark yarn with hints of the two colours. I’ve done this before with teal and it looks fantastic. The black doesn’t take completely which leaves areas for the colour but darker. One of the Julie Asselin skeins has some dark pinks in it which I’m going to pick up on so that the colour isn’t all teal/black/grey. I’m excited, for both the first dyeing session of the year and the start of the MKAL!

Acquisitions

As I mentioned in the Knitting section above, I purchased this lovely gray alpaca/acrylic yarn for the baby blanket but I also saw it in this fabulous dark teal and I couldn’t resist it. The yarn was only $4.50 (AUD) so an absolute bargain. I was only able to get eight balls of the gray in the same dyelot and six balls of the teal. There wasn’t anymore teal and the other gray was very different. I went with the gray with the most balls available.

Paraphernalia

I’m still listening to my audiobook, Girl Woman Other, and still enjoying it. I know I don’t have much left to go so I’ll be interested to see how it finishes. I have been introduced to many characters and their stories, all connect by varying degrees. Longmire has been keeping me entertained while spinning at night and I know it will continue to for a while as there are six seasons and I’m just into the second now. The other show I have been watching, and I think I forgot to mention it last week, is Get Organized – The Home Edit. The Home Edit is run by Clea and Joanna and I think they’re almost a cult in the US. I’ve been eating up their shows – some are way out there, like celebrities with huge organisation feats but others have great tips for the everyday. I find that a lot of what they do is what I’m doing also but I have picked up a few tips to help me. And they are just so fun to watch! Who else has an organisation obsession?

I have a busy couple of months coming up. I am babysitting Evie for two days this week Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Friday to Saturday evening. The following weekend is one of our two major family birthday weekends with Evie, Erin and Robert all having birthdays in the same week. The adults will be celebrated on Saturday night and Evie is having a birthday party on Sunday. I will be making a birthday cake for each day. The following weekend is Kim’s Baby Sprinkle and I’ll be doing some cooking for that; the weekend after is Erin’s Baby Shower with more cooking. In the week between, we are having three couples come for a visit on the Thursday and Friday. Yep, you guessed it – more cooking! The final weekend on the 6th and 7th November I am going away with some girlfriends and that will be a relaxing weekend. Some cooking required, but only on a small scale.

I’m looking forward to getting the blinds and fence ordered, and doing some more sorting in the studio. In between, I’ll be getting some crafting done though there won’t be too much on the sewing machine as I’ll be away from it for the most part. At least I’ll have plenty of knitting to keep me occupied!

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

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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.