Sunday 14 July 2019. #51

Happy Bastille Day! Here’s a bit of history for you. In 1879, the medieval prison, known as La Bastille, was stormed, resulting in the death of more than 200, and this day marks the beginning of the French Revolution. King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette both lost their heads by guillotine months later. Since 1880, apart from during WWII, this day has been a national celebration for the French.

This week I spent a lot of time travelling for work. On Tuesday, I drove from home in NSW to the airport in the ACT, flew to Melbourne and waited for my delayed plane, finally landing in Adelaide. That means 4 states, and I drove 3 cars on Tuesday, then the same 3 cars and 4 states in reverse on Thursday. I had a lot of airport and aeroplane knitting time. Does anyone else wait for their luggage wondering if it is actually going to turn up?

I started the week with a catch-up breakfast and during my stay in Adelaide, the team went out to dinner at a lovely restaurant called Jarmer’s Kitchen in Bowden. It was a lovely setup and the food was great. The weather has turned very windy, from the nice, calm sunrise on Friday morning to the choppy bay shown here, though it doesn’t look as windy as it was. It’s still blowing hard and that is making the apparent temperature even lower.

Knitting

My Millie sweater came along for my trip to Adelaide this week. I got to knit on it both in the airport and on one plane each way. It’s an easy knit but I had to restart it when I’d knitted a couple of inches as I’d confused myself with the increases. It’s not a raglan where you increase every second round. It’s going very well now and I’m not far from separating for the sleeves. I was hoping to stop increasing earlier to get a lesser dolman effect but I’ll need to make sure I have enough stitches on the sleeves for my arms. I’m still loving this colour! It has all the colours in a fire.

My Boy Lollipop came along for the trip too. This is such an easy knit and absolutely mindless. I tried it on when the pattern indicated that the ribbing should start but I needed another inch and decrease to get to the under-bust point for me. I think this one will be done next week as I only have about another 2 inches of rib left, though I  may keep going to the end of the skeins.

The third knitting project that came on the trip with me were my Dad’s Mina’s Vanilla socks. This part is very vanilla as I’m working up the leg. I think I need to do another half an inch before I start the rib. I have decided to do 2 x 2 ribbing for the cuff. Will these be done by next week?

I’ve made progress on the Fish hat, now at nearly two-thirds of the colourwork section. Once the colourwork is done, it will take no time to finish the crown. A good soak and block will ensure the stitches sit nicely together. Another one to finish this week? Perhaps.

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Finished object: The baby Strange Brew sweater is finished. It didn’t take too long to get through the sleeves on this even though it didn’t come on the trip with me. I bound off the sleeves using a larger needle as I didn’t want the end to flare with a looser bind off but I’m thinking it’s a bit tight. I’ll try it on Evie today and make the call. I can always re-do the bind off.

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This is now an almost finished object. My Lanesplitter skirt no. 2 is now ready to be sewn up at the sides after it gets a soak and a block to even the ends off. Then I can pick up the waistband stitches. I’m wondering if I can attach a wide band of elastic straight to the skirt instead. I’ll see what I can find in the way of wide elastic and maybe give it a try.

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This week I was playing around with some stitches to do a slip stich shawl. I had some great ideas to use the Drover and Classer yarn that I’d purchased at Fiberex last month. The concept was good with the swatch but when I tried it with an actual pattern, the increase and decrease ends played havoc with the slip stitch pattern. So this is getting frogged. I have seen a pattern that will be perfect for this yarn so I’ll wait for that instead. It’s a Joji Locatelli pattern but it hasn’t yet been released.

These projects are all about finished, apart from Millie, so I think it may be time to re-introduce my Comfort Fade cardigan. It’s halfway down the sleeves and then all that’s required is the shawl collar. I hope to get that done in the next few weeks and maybe re-introduce some more WIPs to boost my Stash Dash numbers. My Bell Sleeved top is all but complete, just needing the garter edge on the sleeves. Speaking of Stash Dash 2019, I’ve managed to accumulate 5,981.28m on my race for the 10K finish line. I think I will be able to manage this by the 28th August. These are the finished objects so far.

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Sewing

I have a finished sewing object and I’m so impressed with myself at how well it’s turned out. This is a skirt I’d cut out in May and procrastinated over because of the zipper. I’d followed a YouTube video on putting the zipper in and I think it helped. It also helped that I used an invisible zipper this time. The pattern was from a Bernina magazine a friend gave me, thanks Cathie! The pattern and video used a facing but I decided to add a lining, using the same pattern pieces and adding it as I would have added a facing. I hand stitched the lining down at the zipper and I’ve attached one section of the split of top and lining layers. It fits perfectly and I want to make several of these! I’ll be wearing this to work this week

Spinning

Tour de Fleece continues, now entering week two. I have spun on my single every day, taking it with me to Adelaide for hotel spinning. I’m really happy with how this is going but it’s far from perfect. And it’s a slow process though I’ve only been able to squeeze some in every now and then. Today I’m off to Wollongong and I won’t be able to get any done. I’ll take this as a rest day. It’s a very portable activity but not something I want to dangle I’n front of a 9 month old!

Acquisitions

It seems I can’t go into Spotlight without checking out the remnants bin! I got some buttons for the Preparer soon Arrivee cardigan and picked up these great bits. Clockwise from top left:

  • PTD Micro Fleece in the Spaceplace colourway, 1 metre of 148cm wide.
  • Black Manhattan crepe knit 1.15cm of 150cm wide.
  • White Charlotte lace, 1 metre of 90cm wide.
  • PTD Poly crepe in the mustard flower colourway, 1.20cm of 148cm wide.
  • PTD Sateen Cheeta in the dark mustard colourway, 1.05cm of 122cm wide.

I already have plans for some of these and ideas for the rest.

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A couple of weeks ago I ordered a piece of carding cloth in order to make myself a blending board. I managed to find a supplier who sells replacement cloth for blending boards and this arrived during the week. I just need to get a bread board at the correct size and attach it with a staple gun. Then I’ll be able to blend fibre and make rolags. Watch this space!

This week I caught up with all my podcasts and moved on to my book. I finished The Retreat by Mark Edwards and I enjoyed it. I’ve now started Broken by Karin Slaughter which is the next novel in the Will Trent series. These are always entertaining. I’m looking for a good series to watch as I’m up to date on the ones I’ve been watching. I believe the next season of Suits is due out soon.

Another week of successful crafting! Thanks for joining me for my crafting and life update. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 7 July 2019. #50

And so begins the second half of 2019! Welcome. This week has been very uneventful – apart from work, there’s been hairdresser knitting, some foot love where I forgot my knitting and a morning run on Collingwood Beach. The middle part of the beach had some considerable weed concentration; you can see the wave churning up the weed. The last couple of days have been slow knitting due to a small cut on my left forefinger. That’s the finger that does the most work. It’s not pleasant having the pointy end of a needle poke into the cut. I’ve managed a bit with the middle finger and a bandaid has been helpful but not ideal. It definitely won’t stop me! Our daughter and her husband have been down for the weekend so it’s been wonderful relaxing together.

This week I was blown away to have my Graphica sweater featured on the Knitting Vicariously podcast! Caroline absolutely loves it. Dunderknit, as she is known, is a very popular British knitting podcaster so I feel I now have international celebrity status!

Graphic on KV

Knitting

The Preparer son Arrivee cardigan is complete, albeit the buttons and a few ends. It did block nicely. This may be a little big for Evie but she’ll grow into it. It may just need the sleeves rolled up for wearing now. I’ll get to try it on her next week so I hope I can find some buttons. The yarn feels nice but had a few bits where the spinning was a bit uneven. It may need a glean before even wearing. It’s a Bendigo yarn called Ready For Winter (RFW) made up mainly of merino with other fibres such as alpaca and bamboo.

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I’ve made some progress on the Fish Hat, now about 1/3 of the way into the colourwork. I first thought it would be a difficult colourwork to follow but it’s proving much easier. It’s looking quite good but will obviously improve with blocking to get the stitches even for more pattern definition.

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New cast-on: During this week I noticed that Nice and Knit were having a Millie KAL so I thought I’d get on the bandwagon. The Millie pattern has been in my Ravelry queue since 4th June 2018, so it was a good opportunity to finally get it onto the needles. I’d been thinking about combining some of the skeins I’d purchased on the Sydney Quilt Show/Fiberex weekend and these two were the main contenders. I thought they would combine well but I’m absolutely loving the colour they have created – it’s even nicer in real life. There’s the Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn (90/10 merino/nylon) in the Guppy colourway (the lighter colour yarn) and the Fiber Lily Super Soft Sock Yarn (75/25) in the Gold Fusion colourway. The HHF yarn seems considerably thinner than the other (see in the picture) but the meterage in comparison for 100g is 400m:390m so there should really be little difference. I’m using the helical knitting method hence it is essentially striped but because there is a considerable overlap of gold/orange colours it doesn’t look striped. The pattern calls for 2 skeins for the small size so I’m going for it with these two. There are only 3 sizes (S-M-L) but they cover a wide range, being a boxy fit. It is a three-quarter sleeved so I’ll finish the body and then use the remainder for the sleeves until it runs out. If they end up a bit shorter than the pattern, I’ll be happy with just above the elbow. The fabric is quite open as the fingering weight is knit on 4.5mm needles but it’s looking just fine. It has dolman sleeves which I may make not quite as dolman as the pattern calls for so I’ll stop the increasing and separate for the sleeves a little earlier.

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Mina’s Vanilla socks are coming up the leg now so shouldn’t take much longer to finish. I’m enjoying the Arne & Carlos Regia colourway and I think they’ll be perfect for my dad. I haven’t decided on what type of rib I’ll do for the cuff.

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My Lanesplitter No. 2 skirt is on the downhill run now as I decrease both ends of the row to complete the right angle. I should get this finished this week. From my experience with the previous one, it’s not hard to sew up the side seam but then I need to pick up the waistband stitches. ETA not too far away.

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After finishing Preparer (above) I was able to use the same circular needle to pick up the sleeve stitches on the Baby Strange Brew sweater. This should be finished this week and there are no buttons required! I ended up with a strange situation on the left shoulder where it looked like I may have gone backwards at one particular point. Because it was in the yoke part, I could not rip back to it as the whole body is complete. I’ve ended up with a little hole but I’ll be able to join the stitches on either side once I sew in the ends.

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My Boy Lollipop got a bit of action while watching some Wimbledon highlights. It’s very vanilla and I don’t need to look at it at all so I’m able to focus on the tennis. I’m coming up to the decrease section again, so will soon be at the point where I frogged it before. It’s probably worth a try on at this point. The pattern is quite basic and the instructions, particularly the number of repeats, is confusing. It says “repeat these two rounds a total of …..” but the “total” includes the first two rounds, not just the total of repeats. Anyway, I was able to work that out because the number of stitches is listed.

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Spinning

Well, I’ve certainly taken off with the spindle. You can see how chunky my initial spindle quantity is – it’s the left one (top left). For this, I’ve only used the fibre that I prepared at the class with Sukrita at Fiberex (information in the previous blog). I was a little concerned that I may not have enough in the second spindle to ply with the first one so I prepared some orange fleece that I’d dyed myself some time ago (bottom right). But I had plenty as I found when I plied the two singles together and didn’t need to use it. The plying was quite easy in comparison to spinning the singles. I had fun winding the skein onto the niddy noddy as I kept getting tangled up and the yarn kept falling off the sides. I finally achieve a skein and soaked it for a while. Apparently, you need to soak for at least 20 mins. I don’t know what the fibre is as it was supplied at the class but it feels as if it could be merino. The skein is 37gms and 13.5m. This qualifies as an entry in the Knitting Expat and Babbles Travelling yarn SMAL – Spinning and Make A-Long, for the spinning part. For the making part, I intend to crochet a small table mat with the extent of the yarn. If I just do a spiral it doesn’t matter where the yarn runs out.

I’m so on a roll now and I have started my next project. This one is for the Tour de Fleece which started yesterday along with the Tour de France. It is intended to use spinning along with the spinning of the athletes on their bikes. This fibre is from deep stash and I think was intended for felting (along with all the fibre I already have). It is a blend of merino and silk though it doesn’t indicate quantities. My spinning has improved out of sight. I can get a fine single now, for the most part. I learnt that fibre prep has everything to do with being able to draft the fibre easily. In the photo below, I have some fibre prepped next to the single on my spindle. There’s a total of 250 grams here so let’s see what I end up with. The Tour de Fleece goes to 28th July, so I’ll see how much I’m able to spin by then. As I can’t take my spinning wheel to Canberra or to Adelaide this week (I doubt transporting on a plane would be fantastic!), I will instead take my spindle for “competing” in Tour de Fleece while I’m there. I believe there are some Tour de Fleece teams that take this competition very seriously, matching the Tour de France for the different stages, eg sprints, hills, and have jerseys awarded. I’m in a very casual team called #BabblingPurls, a mash-up of two podcasters – Babbles Travelling Yarns and Sew Perfect Purls.

As well as using the spindle, my intention is to get comfortable with the spinning wheel. Yesterday, for the start of Tour de Fleece, I used my Wee Peggy for the third time. I prepped some fibre, shown in the photo on the right, and it made a lot of difference. I also found that the single was being overspun so I moved the drive band onto the larger whorl. I hope I’m getting these terms right! I did find I had to restart many times and that was a pain each time as I don’t have a good hook to get the yarn through the orifice. I’ll have another go this afternoon, continuing my participation in Tour de Fleece.

Sewing

As I’ve been occupied with my daughter and her husband, I haven’t had too many opportunities to sit at the sewing machine but I did finish the Simplicity 1565 Baby Romper. I did not like sewing on the press stud tape as I needed to get very close to the edge, and near the stud it was difficult. I ended up buying some different press stud tape from Spotlight as the tape I got initially had the studs very close together which was totally ridiculous (centre photo). The finished romper has 8 press studs and the other tape would have made it more than double that number to do up. Let’s see how this romper fits – it’s probably going to be too big but I had a vague height measurement to go by. The only other bit of sewing I did was to reattach the handle on my daughter’s duffle bag.

Paraphernalia.

Apart from my weekly Handmaid’s Tale and The Miniaturist, this week I started watching an Australia show, also on SBS, called “Every Family has a Secret“. This is a weekly episode which has Noni Hazelhurst tracing family members of two different people. It’s very interesting to see what these secrets are and it’s usually a tear jerker.

This week I have my final work trip to Adelaide so there will be airport and flying knitting time. I have to decide which projects to take with me – I imagine my new Millie sweater will be one, and I’ll take my spindle for hotel spinning for Tour de Fleece. I will definitely take another 2 projects, probably the socks and maybe the Fish hat or My Boy Lollipop, or both! These are all compact projects and have plenty of knitting left to go.

So that’s this week in a nutshell! Thanks for joining me for my crafting and life update. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 30 June 2019. #49

Happy end of the Australian financial year everybody and welcome to a sunny and blustery cold winter day! It’s getting so close to the end of my very first year of blogging. That has totally amazed me! This week started with the fortnight girlfriend breakfast catch up. I thought I was going to have to catch up with myself until my friend Marg arrived. It was a cold wet winter morning so I don’t blame the others for enjoying a little sleep in. I, on the other hand, was dressed and on my way to work so had little choice. It was a normal week of work. On my return from Canberra on Thursday afternoon, I arrived a bit early for an appointment so took the opportunity of a few rows on my socks sitting in the last rays of the sun of the afternoon at Huskisson wharf. On Friday, we went up to Wollongong to visit the kids there and I had some quality time with Evie, and yesterday we had breakfast down near the Wollongong wharf. I must say, I’m impressed with the drape of my Graphica sweater. I thought it might be a stiff fabric but it’s very soft and drapey.

Knitting

Finished Object: Yesterday I finished the Blaise shawl, just in time for the Ravelry The Colorwork KALs, KAL 15 challenge in their Rainbow category. I was taking my time with this one as it wasn’t urgent – until I realised I only had two weeks of the three months to go and half yet to knit. It was really a quick knit and I stitched in all the ends on Thursday night. It blocked overnight on Friday and I made and added the tassels yesterday.

New Cast On: I’ve had the Scuba Fair Isle hat in my mental queue for ages now and finally cast it on for my husband. I call it the Fish Fair Isle hat as, though he used to scuba, he’s an avid fisherman and also fishes in the cold winter months at night. It’s a free download and I’m using leftover Cleckheaton Country 8 ply that I used for my Graphica sweater. I’ve modified the graph so that there are waves on both sides instead of waves on one side and the word scuba on the other. I’ve only managed 3 rows of the colourwork so far – the rib took more than a night of knitting! The colourwork needs to be followed very carefully as there is no pattern to it, just the fish design. That means it’s not a project that can be done too easily whilst watching shows.

Take two on My Boy Lollipop! I finally got some 4.0mm needles free and was able to re-cast on this sweater. The 4.5mm needles were giving me positive ease so I hope the new needles will be enough to get it to the correct gauge as still haven’t swatched. I consider the first attempt to be my swatch. I only cast this on yesterday and could have been much further but I got my numbers mixed up. The first repeats were supposed to be 2 rows a total of 5 times adding to 10 rows but my brain said 10 repeats. I had to tink back 5 rows before going on with the next repeats. I tinked back because I didn’t feel like ripping it back and having to put the stitches back on the needles. I would estimate tinking back would take at least twice as long as knitting so I would have had about 15 or more rows done further than this. It doesn’t normally worry me but I feel like this one has been two steps forward, two steps backwards, one step forward, half a step backwards. I’m looking forward to keeping in the forward direction!

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Earlier this week I started on one of the sleeves for Preparer son Arrivee but I wasn’t happy with the stitch gauge in comparison to the rest of the cardigan. I used a 4.0mm 9 inch circular needle and it appears that I knit very tightly with those, as you can see in the photo below. I pondered on the situation for a few days wondering whether to keep going or frog it. If I frogged it, then what would I use? I settled on frogging and using 4.5mm needles on magic loop. That seems to have been the right move. I’m usually tighter when doing magic loop, which is balancing the difference between the 4.0 and 4.5mm needles, and I’m now halfway down the two sleeves at once. I could probably finish the sleeves by tomorrow night but I still need buttons! I’ll have a look at Spotlight after work tomorrow and see what they have. I’d really love to go to the button shop in Enmore, Sydney, but I doubt I’ll be able to get there for a few weeks, at least.

There’s not a lot to report on the baby Strange Brew sweater. This week I finished the ribbing on the body and I will be starting the sleeves in the next couple of days. I’ll take a lesson from the Prepare son Arrivee experience, above, and go up to the 4.5mm. I’ll just have to wait until the other one is done and then start these sleeves. The ribbing took longer than I anticpated.

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Sewing

Last week I cut out the Simplicity 1565 baby romper and yesterday I got to spend some time at my sewing machine. Like a professional, I basted the zipper this time, though I’m not sure it was a total success. I definitely need more practice on zippers but I tend to baulk at them. I’ll probably finish this today. I need to sew down the neck binding, add the snap tape and do the sleeve and leg hems. I’m thinking it could be good to put some light elastic in the hems so that there is no air gap. The pattern doesn’t call for it so maybe it won’t be necessary. Then I hope to get to put the zipper in on a skirt I have cut out and started – just waiting for me to do the zipper and move on.

Stash Acquisitions

After my session with the drop spindle last week, I really wanted to continue with it. I searched everywhere for my one and couldn’t find it so I ordered one from Feltfine. I did end up finding my spindle but it turns out that it’s a bottom spinner rather than a top spinner, so now I have one of each. While I was searching for this I only found one of my carding combs so I had a set of those included in my order. One comb is useless and they come in pairs. The parcel only arrived on Thursday so I’ve had little time to do anything with them yet. Feltfine has some fabulous fibres so I may need to get my hands on some. There are some very unusual breeds.

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Make9 Update

So far, I’ve managed to complete (or just about complete) five projects from my Make9 for 2019, shown with a green tick. The Bell Sleeved top (top right) is all but done, I just need to add another inch or two to the sleeves as I felt they were a bit shorter than I’d like them. Of the remaining four I still want to make the Carbeth cardigan (top centre) and the Garland sweater (bottom left). The Booth Bay cardigan (centre) was included as a base for a cardigan I want to make but I think I’ve found a better base to work from. I’ll be replacing that one with the Sevrine cardigan by Vanessa Smith, though I’ll be omitting the cables. Of the lot, the only one I’ve gone off is the Kagerou vest and I won’t be going very far to replace it, selecting another one from the same collection by michiyo, the Mori cardigan. There are also a few others still at the top of my queue though, the highest priority being the Koivua by Caitlin Hunter.

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Paraphernalia

I’m still enjoying my drip feed of The Handmaid’s Tale though I must admit it can certainly get me very angry. Can’t wait for the next one! I’ve finished Seasons 2 and 3 of Cardinal on SBS. It’s a very enjoyable murder mystery type show – imdb.com is showing that there could be a 4th Season. I’ll have a couple of The Miniaturist episodes to watch this week as Cardinal has been keeping me occupied. I’m clearing the backlog of audio podcasts but I’m getting quite behind with the video podcasts, again blaming Cardinal. I’m still listening to the same book, The Retreat by Mark Edwards, but I’ve been holding off on that, trying to catch up on audio podcasts instead.

I only have 24 days of work left; time seems to be moving slowly but at the same time quickly! This week should be quite normal with three days in Canberra but I’m really looking forward to next weekend when my daughter and her husband are coming for a visit.

Thanks for joining me for my crafting and life update. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 23 June 2019. #48

Hello friends! Apologies for the late post today but what a busy week and weekend I’ve had. It all started with work in Canberra and a minus 2 start to the morning there. I was so glad that I took my heated blanket with me this week as the room was so hard to heat. I ended up laying on the bed with my knitting and the heated blanket. I also took the opportunity to give blood because the mobile van was at work. It had been a while since my last deposit as I don’t give well but I’m very appreciative of the help my son got in hospital last year so I wanted to make an effort. I almost managed to give a full load.

On Thursday afternoon, my three girlfriends and I drove up to the Central Coast to our Air BnB for the weekend. We had dinner at the local Bowling Club where they had these copper tank beer vats. Then on Friday, we started very early and drove to Gosford train station and jumped on a train to Central Station in Sydney. We had breakfast in the cafe in the renovated Booking Hall. It’s a beautiful old station and it’s great to see that they kept the fabulous stained glass windows, marble and sandstone. We spent the rest of the day at the Sydney Quilt Show. The Show seems to be smaller this year but we did enjoy looking at all the wonderful wares, with a few little purchases.

On Saturday, we were booked in for some classes at Fiberex at the Newcastle Uni Campus at Ourimbah, not far from where we were staying. We managed a little look around the marketplace before we started our classes. It was a very cold day and the heating seemed to struggle a bit. The photos show the marketplace as being quite bare but it was full of yarny goodies and the expo had just opened. There were many more people there later in the day. This was the first of this expo so I’m looking forward to it growing in the future. Our first class was Weaving a Wall Hanging with Sky Carter. We had a wonderful time putting together our small wall hangings, though mine seems to be a bit over the top. I may need to trim some of the hanging bits. After lunch, I attended a Fibre Prep and Spindling class with Sukrita. I found that I enjoyed spindling on this, my second try, and feel that I may actually try for a reasonable spin now. You can see the two little makeshift bobbins of blue singles that I spun. I had separate the yarn into two as we were going to ply them but ran out of time. I’m sure I’ll be able to do it myself now. The fibre prep was a lot of fun. We used two carding combs to make imitation rolags (fauxlags) and they are light clouds of fluff. I think they’ll be so easy to draw and spin and I intend to prep my fibre in this manner for some future spinning. I will spin these cloud puffs on my spindle – when I locate it. It was a great day and we had a relaxing start this morning before our drive home, after a quick stop at Shelley Beach for a photo.

Knitting

During the week, I worked on the sleeves of my Bell Sleeved top. I have finished the 5 1/2 inches that the pattern indicated before doing the garter edge but I’ve not had an opportunity to try it on yet. I will try it on in the morning and, if the length is suitable, I can finish it off and block it tomorrow night. I’ll be so glad to cast it off as the two at a time sleeve knitting is now quite tangled. It’s amazing the different colour in bad lighting.

I also reached the bottom band on the baby Strange Brew sweater. I need to change the needles now and do the ribbing, then the sleeves.

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Before leaving for our adventure, I pulled out the socks that I started for my cruise in February. I’m using Mina’s Vanilla Sock Recipe. I had been waiting for a foot measurement so that I could work out when to start the German short row heels. I took this one with me and got the heels done last night. These socks are now vanilla knitting again and shouldn’t take very long to finish. They are for my dad so I hope they fit and I’ll have them done for my next visit in a few weeks.

Another project that came away with me was the Blaise shawl. I want to finish this for a KAL that ends on the 30th June which is next Sunday. I got a fair bit done and the rows have decreased considerably so it should be quick to finish now. You can see how I packed up the colours to keep them in order – I used a short cable with ends. I’m onto the last purple before the light purple and pinks. The last colour will be done across 4 to 10 stitches so this end is going to be quick.

The last project that hitched a ride to Shelley Beach for the weekend was the Prepare son Arrivee cardigan. Unfortunately, the colour is not showing well here. I did most of this knitting on the train to and from Sydney on Friday and then finished off the body on Friday night. I used a looser bind off so that the bottom button will be able to be done up. It looks very loose here but I think blocking will sort that out. If not, I’ll just undo the bind off and do it less loosely. Tonight I’ll start on the sleeves as I want this one done for Friday next week when we head to Wollongong to see the kids, big and little. I doubt that I’ll have buttons for it yet – there’s a sad lack of button shops around these days but I’ll see what I can find.

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Sewing

This was another weekend away from my sewing machine but last Sunday I managed to cut out the romper that I want to whip up. It’s the Simplicity 1565 Baby Romper pattern but I graded up a size from the largest which is an S. It would be good to have that done for next Friday but I doubt that will happen. I have the zipper and button snaps read to go. Again, the lighting wasn’t great this evening but I love this fleecy bug fabric.

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Stash Acquisitions

Of course, I have a few acquisitions to mention here from our escapades on the weekend but, firstly, I did get some happy mail before I left. I was really impressed with the Knitpicks Swish I used recently for Evie’s cardigan that I ordered more for future projects. The problem with that is that it seems to be pilling a lot. That’s OK, I’ll use it for something like a Soldotna for me as it may perform better for an adult garment. The other happy mail was some 100% merino sock minis and a sweater quantity of 70% merino, 20% yak and 10% nylon for some dyeing. The yak grey base will make a very interesting colour when I decide what I’m doing with it.

My acquisitions on Friday were the two patterns below – Over the Hill by Wendy Williams (Flying Fish Kits) and the linen pack to go with it. I have plenty of the coloured fabrics and felts needed already, and Lilly’s Quilt pattern. I also bought the two skeins on the left of the four skein photo. They were Yarn (is cheaper than) Therapy in the teal colour (no colourway indicated), an 80/20 superwash superfine merino and nylon, and the Hedgehogs Fibre sock yarn in the Guppy colourway, a 90/10 merino and nylon. At Fiberex on Saturday I purchased some Drover and Classer hand dyed wool, a Bellevue Park Drover Australian Superfine merino, two cakes in the Waterhole colourway (100g each) and three small cakes (25g each) in colourways Gooseberry Jam, Fox and Harvest. It’s a sport weight yarn that I’m thinking will make a fabulous scarf. I also purchased 180g of beautiful rolags from an indie dyer called Willow and the Wisp. There’s a contrasting set, one a blend of merino, silk, flax and Corriedale and the other a blend of merino, silk, flax, bamboo and rose fibre. I will probably do them all together in some way when I’m up to spinning such fine stuff. The pics show each side of the pack – I don’t want to take them out as I’ll never get them back into the bag. The other two skeins, from centre right, a beautiful Qing fibre Donegal sock yarn in the Cave colourway, an 85/15 superwash merino with beautiful black and grey neps, purchased from Convent and Chapel, and the last one is a Super Soft Sock from another Australian indie dyer called Fiber Lily in the Gold Fusion colourway, a 75/25 superfine Australian SW merino and nylon. The four skeins could easily go together to make a beautiful sweater but I’m not sure about the Donegal neps being out of place.

It’s been a fantastic weekend with my girlfriends and I now need to recover! I have 39 days of work left which I’m sure will fly. I have a catch-up breakfast tomorrow morning and this coming week will be fairly normal for work with three days in Canberra. On Friday, my husband and I will be heading up to Wollongong for the night to catch up with those kids. I’m really looking forward to that as I haven’t seen Evie (in person) for about a month now and she changes so quickly. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Sydney kids but they’ll be down the following weekend – something else to look forward to!

Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 16 June 2019. #47

Hello friends! Another week has gone by in what seems to be a flash, though I’m sure it felt that it took much longer as it was happening. The week started with a public holiday Monday which was very much appreciated. It was also catch-up breakfast Monday and a beautiful day. Even Canberra was mild this week and I didn’t have to remove any ice, though I was only there for one night this time. On Friday night, we went out to celebrate a friend’s retirement and belated 60th birthday. I don’t have any pics from that night as I had unfortunately left home without my phone which was charging. I finished the week with a morning beach run yesterday (they happen so infrequently these days!) and we are expecting a lot of rain today.

On Wednesday night in Canberra, I met a good friend for dinner and we had our first Teppanyaki experiences. It was great catching up over a fun dinner. Those eggs were thrown at us, which we caught in bowls, then the omelette pieces came flying into (or close to) our mouths. We also caught flying bowls of fried rice into our bowls and didn’t wear any!

Knitting

There’s been lots happening in the knitting area this week. Let’s start with My Boy Lollipop. It’s such a quick knit but it’s way off gauge so I will probably be frogging and starting again. I didn’t swatch (bad girl!) but it seemed so unnecessary. To knit this, you pick a size 2 inches smaller than your bust size. The pattern comes in increments of 2 inches so I chose 3 inches smaller; 37 being an uneven number I went for 34 inches. That’s why I thought I was safe but, after trying it on, it seems I’ve ended up with positive ease rather than negative ease. The gauge indicated is 20 stitches over 4 inches and mine is 21.5 with an unwashed swatch. I will start again, with 4.0mm needles instead of the 4.5mm needles I’m using. Unfortunately, I’d already done the sleeve bands as I wanted to be able to knit until I needed without worrying that I had enough left to do them.

Finished object: (Spoiler alert) The You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones) Leftovers Cowl KAL is complete! I finished episode 6 and then did a 3-needle bind-off to join the beginning to the end. Laying flat doubled it measures 43 inches (109cm) so would be a total length of 83 inches (2.18m). I’m not sure how it will go as a cowl but the process was worth the effort. As you can see, I did episode 6 with full colourwork patterns for each of the remaining characters, with the yellow stripe for Danaerys’s death and the larger maroon stripe for Gilly, who was still alive but did not appear in the final show – she ended up being an uneven number so I had no other character to pair her with.

The baby Strange Brew is coming along nicely and also a very quick knit, considering I had about 10 rounds done last blog. The colourwork section flew and I only have about 4 inches to go before I start the sleeves. The size options for this were 6-12 months or 1-2 years so I opted for the latter. Even if it’s not worn until next year, I think it will get more wear being the larger size. Evie is now 8 months old, and maybe it’s on the smaller side and can be worn straight away. I didn’t swatch for this either knowing that she would grow into it if it’s too big and if it ends up smaller it can be worn now.

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The yarn for the Preparer son Arrivee arrived early this week and I’m well underway. Before I started, I was concerned at how confusing the pattern was but it’s actually easy when you work out what it is trying to say. It’s one of those “do this while doing this and while doing this” type patterns. I have to keep track of rows for the raglan increases, the pattern of the cable and bobbles and also the buttonholes. All will different numbers! I actually had forgotten totally about the second buttonhole but remembered before I reached the third so I was able to drop those two stitches down 6 rows and add the buttonhole. The yarn is lovely – a blend of merino, alpaca and bamboo, and it comes in 200gm balls, which are almost the size of Evie’s head. I ordered 5 but I know I’ll finish this cardigan with leftovers on the first ball. I hope the yarn performs well as it appears that the Swish yarn I used on the previous cardigan is pilling quite considerably.

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The Lanesplitter skirt (No.2) has grown a little bit though I only worked on it briefly at the beginning of this week.

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The Bell Sleeved top is coming along nicely though it’s highly unlikely I’ll be wearing it next weekend. I have done the purl ridge and increase row, now working down the final 5.5 inches of the sleeves. You can see lots of strands of yarn because I’m working the sleeves with helical knitting, two-at-a-time with three balls, meaning that one of the balls is attached to both sleeves. I don’t think this will be travel knitting as keeping the yarn under control is challenging enough while sitting at home.

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Yesterday, I unravelled the ends of the sleeves on my Sunday Sweater and removed the last increase repeat, about 5 cms. You can see the shorter sleeves on the top, the bottom picture showing the original finish. It looks much better, even if I haven’t yet tried it on. The sleeve bind-off edge was hard to rip back but it was smooth sailing once that round was gone. I was concerned that the yarn may stick together more than it did.

It took a good couple of hours on Friday afternoon but I finally got all the ends sewn in on the Graphica sweater. I then gave her a decent soak (overnight) and laid her out to block. She’s now dry and ready to wear!

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Sewing

Last Sunday and Monday I worked on the Mabel skirt that I’d cut out. I actually used the overlocker which is working well. It started a bit awkwardly as I kept breaking a thread until I realised that it was twisted on the very top guide. I used a beige light knit for the waistband interfacing as I needed something light there and learned about trimming the interfacing so that it gives a waistband shell which rolls slightly to the inside so that you are sure that the interfacing will not be seen. I only needed to use my normal machine for some bits and had so much trouble with skipping stitches that I gave up on the skirt until yesterday. I do need to use the overlocker more to get used to how it should work. I also need to ensure my notch clipping is smaller. The overlocker seam didn’t reach beyond the notch, which you can see in the bottom left picture. I wanted to use the normal machine to widen the seam but it just didn’t work. I tried several different needles because the ballpoints weren’t performing but didn’t get any to work properly. I even tried my old sewing machine which gave me a better result – the two bottom pics show on the left several large skipped stitches and on the right only one large skipped stitch. I think that one was with a normal needle, not ballpoint. I persisted because I didn’t want to go over the seam with the overlocker as it would end up with a lot of stitching. I may have to just unpick those two sections and redo them. I think the problem is that the fabric is quite thick, though my Blackwood Cardigan fabric was at least as thick and I had no issues.

The only other sewing related task this weekend was to grade a baby romper pattern up one size. I wanted to purchase some tracing paper on Friday but Spotlight only had the McCall’s Traise and Toile which was probably an even better choice. The Simplicity baby pattern only indicates length measurements and not sizes. I think I’ll need a longer length. In retrospect, I may have only needed to lengthen the pattern but I can always take it in if necessary. I may cut out the pattern today. 

Stash Acquisitions

This week’s happy mail was some fabric that was on special at Tessuti. I got some designer white/gold 50% cotton embroidery 50% nylon organza – a 1.8m piece for $13.05 and a natural/black piano striped 92% Viscose 8% Spandex jersey knit – 1 metre for $11.00. Even with the $10 postage, this is quite a bargain, particularly the organza. I also bought some snap ribbon fastener tape from eBay for the baby romper. Other than that, I was able to have my patterns printed and am now ready to make the Suzy dress, the Adrienne blouse and the Winslow culottes. I just need more time at my sewing machine!

Paraphernalia.

My digital entertainment this week consisted of only one episode of the Handmaid’s Tale – after three being released last week, I was a bit disappointed to only have one. Also, I’m enjoying my current book – The Retreat by Mark Edwards, and finished the latest season of Designated Survivor on Netflix. Though it could never live up to The West Wing, I find that Designated Survivor has the same flavour and I’m enjoying it.

Next week, three girlfriends and I are off for an adventure. We’re staying a couple of nights at Shelley Beach, on the Central Coast north of Sydney, and attending the Quilt Show in Sydney on the Friday and then the Fiberex event at the Newcastle Uni Campus at Ourimbah on the Saturday. We are looking forward to catching up after a considerable hiatus and also the events. At Fiberex we are booked into morning and afternoon classes. All four of us are doing the “Weave a Wall Hanging with Sky Carter” class in the morning. I had enrolled for this class at Skein Sisters last November but it was cancelled. In the afternoon, the other girls are doing the “Arty Crafty Rope and Basket Making with Sky Carter” class while I’ll be doing the “Fibre Prep and Dop Spindling with Sukrita” class. My main aim with this class is the fibre prep, not so much the drop spindling though I may be able to get some tips on drop spindling that makes me like it a bit more. It’s always better when you get face to face instructions than trying to figure it out for yourself. I’m also looking forward to the Marketplace so may have some acquisitions to show next week. I will report back on this adventure, and the blog may be a bit late on Sunday when we are on the return journey.

I have a lot to look forward to this week! Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 9 June 2019. #46

Welcome to my little corner of the internet! It seems that I finish one blog post and it’s time to do the next. That’s what happens with the working week and I’m pleased to announce that my last working day will be on the 1st of August, only 53 days away. That’s only 37 more days I have to work. Yes, I am counting. You can see my countdown calendar below – I have it up in the entrance of one of my craft rooms. I am looking forward to a lot of “me” time, with more time for loved ones and friends. It’s unfortunate that the last work days will be across winter, with the icy problems as shown below. This week’s ice took a lot more to get off and I’ll probably have to do it every week now. I only have a couple of kilometres to drive but maybe the visibility could/should have been a little better? The last photo shows a very small section of my messy table at home, and that needs attention today. At least I know exactly where everything is – all in the same place. This weekend we have our Queen’s birthday public holiday on Monday. The current monarch enjoys her birthday in April but New South Wales has kept the June tradition from one of the old kings instead.

Yesterday was Worldwide Knit and Crochet in Public (WWKIP) Day and I joined in with the Nowra Spinners and Weavers at the Nowra Library. It was a good turn-up with several ladies bringing their spinning wheels. A few people stopped by to see what we were doing so it was definitely worthwhile. I didn’t attend last year but I know it was held outside, in the shopping centre area. That may be a good idea for the northern hemisphere but last year’s event was held in bitter windy weather. The library was very public and nice and toasty. I even got to wear my Feather and Fern for the first time.

Knitting

I’m currently working through the last episode of my You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones) KAL Leftovers Cowl. I had hoped to have this finished by today but I decided, for the last episode, I would do full colourwork patterns for each of the characters. Spoiler alert – you can see there was only one death in this episode. Anyway, I only have about three more of these sections before I reach the end so it will definitely be finished for next week’s blog.

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The Bell Sleeved top is coming along nicely now with the sleeves down to the purl section before the bell sleeved part begins. I will try it on today, to make sure, and continue on hoping to have this to wear soon. Maybe for the Sydney Quilt Show or Fiberex Event coming up in two weeks. Hmmm, that could be a good incentive.

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The Blaise shawl is on the downhill run. I haven’t given it too much love this week but a little at a time will see it finished soon enough.

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New cast on 1: Yes, that heading does tend to indicate that there is more than one – I did finish three projects last week. A couple of weeks ago I showed my finished Lanesplitter skirt and discussed how I had wanted it a bit shorter. Well, last week I cast on another one. I counted how many fewer repeats I needed to do up the side of the skirt for the length I’m after and I’ve now turned the corner to the straight part for the long rectangle. As I did last time, I thought this section looked quite short but, knowing how much I need now, I have gone with it. The first one didn’t take very long so this one should take even less time. The only difference so far is that I’ve swapped the colours A & B. The garter ridges on this one is the turquoise/red Noro yarn and the stockinette part is the grey/black.

New cast on 2: I mentioned last week that I wanted to cast on a new project for Evie and I’d ordered some yarn from Bendigo Wools to get it quickly. Unfortunately, the sale they had meant they were overwhelmed with orders so I am still waiting for it, the delivery only having commenced on Thursday. So, in the meantime, I had wanted to use some yarns that I had in my stash (very deep stash) and decided to start a Strange Brew sweater for Evie – something I’ve wanted to do anyway. I had the beautiful orange/rust Cleckheaton Country Naturals 8 ply and the Shepherd Colour4Me Prints 8 ply but decided that the main yarn I had wouldn’t do. I found the oatmeal in the Country Naturals at Spotlight the other day – the Canberra one because the Nowra one has very limited stock. I cast this on Friday night and started the colourwork yesterday before I headed over to the WWKIP day.

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New cast on 3: This one was a totally random cast-on. I’d been watching the hype on the internet for the My Boy Lollipop sweater by Nancy Ricci on the internet and was not very interested. Until I saw some of the finished projects. The fact that it only uses two balls of DK got me thinking about the two skeins of Wren & Ollie Spin DK that I had purchased last year from Skein Sisters in Sydney. The sweater has a short cap sleeved and is cropped, hence why it uses so little yarn. I figured this would be a perfect project for the Wren & Ollie and would be a quick finish. There’s nothing like a couple of quick projects when slogging through some of the large sweaters. The yarn is 100% superwash merino and I’m in love with the speckle detail. The speckles are so crisp – something I’m trying to perfect, with only little success so far. My favourite colour is a variety of teal and turquoise and this is turning out with a majority of those colours so I’m loving the fabric I’m getting. I’m using the helical method as the skeins had different saturations of white once balled up, as you can tell from the photo below. The alternating was a little confusing in the seed stitch neck border but it’s a disruptive pattern so is totally unnoticeable.

Sewing

A couple of weeks ago, I’d purchased a remnant of some blush pink scuba suede. I think I may have mentioned it as it’s a new to me fabric. The remnant was 47cm of 150cm wide fabric so I thought I’d be able to use it for a short (above the knee is short enough for me) skirt. This week I stumbled on the Mabel skirt pattern by Colette Designs which I thought would be perfect. It’s an easy sew, with no zippers or buttons, relying on the stretch of the fabric instead. I cut it out yesterday and hope to sew it together today. I have a few patterns cut out and ready to sew. I’ve just been waiting for the opportunity when I’m near my machine. This weekend has a public holiday Monday so I may be able to spend some time sewing. I’m doing version 3 which is a longer pencil-type skirt with a kick pleat and I adjusted the length of the pattern so that it uses the total length of the fabric. I was a little concerned but I even managed to eke out the waistband pieces – I had thought I may need to buy a small piece to cut those. I think the remnant only cost me $4.50 so, if it works out, it will certainly be value for money!

Stash Acquisitions

I have been looking at patterns again, mostly inspired (or enabled?) by Instagram. The Suzy dress by Athina Kakou is another one of her easy patterns, similar to the Sheona dresses I’ve made. The Instagram pic on the right below inspired me to get the Adrienne blouse pattern by the Friday Pattern Company. Another easy pattern I’m itching to put together. I tried to get these printed on A0 on Friday afternoon but it seems I may have broken the Officeworks printer! Just kidding, but it wouldn’t print them and they’ve had to call for a mechanic. The usual lady wasn’t there and I’m not sure they knew what was going on. I think I’ll try again in Canberra this week and hope they don’t have the same problem. Probably a good thing I didn’t get the patterns as I should probably work on those projects already cut out.

After a couple of visits to Spotlight this week, I now have some more fabric and patterns. The first trip was to get the Vogue V9075 and I also picked up some lovely teal and gold rayon and some knit rayon with a pale blue/teal and brown. This knit rayon should be good for the Adrienne blouse. It’s not exactly what I was looking for but should be a good wearable toile until I find the right fabric. The next trip was to buy some ballpoint machine needles and I found a couple of remnants and a 3 for $15 pattern offer. Two of the patterns are for some Evie outfits and the other, Simplicity 8551) may be perfect for the teal/gold rayon from the previous purchase. I got a lovely microfleece with bugs for Evie and a 1m piece of rayon I’ll use for something, I’m sure.

Paraphernalia

This week’s most exciting of my various digital entertainments was the release of Season three of the Handmaid’s Tale. Three episodes were released and I’m impressed at how they’ve managed to keep up the excitement in this new season. I will confess to crying through a fair amount of episode 1. I can’t wait for some more episodes, though I’m not sure of the frequency of how they are releasing them. Maybe three a week? That would be much better than one a week.

I’ve started a new audiobook, The Retreat by Mark Edwards. I think I’ll enjoy it, though I’ve barely just started it. I’ve also downloaded Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon and The Binding by Bridget Collins which are the books for the next Book Club session in August. I’m looking forward to that as I’ll be a regular in the Book Club group again. I’ve been catching up on my audio podcasts on my drives, this week to Canberra and back, and also to Wollongong and back. I’m nearly caught up with them and will be happy when I only have that week’s episodes to listen to.

Thank you for joining me while I tell you about all my makes and what’s happening in my life – I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy putting it together. I know I will certainly enjoy my extra day at home tomorrow. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 2 June 2019. #45

Welcome to June! This year is flying by. Here in Australia, we declare winter on the 1st of June and the temperature is certainly agreeing with that. I had my first morning with ice on the windscreen, which is very frustrating when you’re not prepared. There was hairdresser knitting on the Smocked dress (only bind off) and I got to see the beautiful view of the Shoalhaven river from Nowra Showground, which I haven’t seen for a long time. The river is the prettiest part of Nowra, by far. We also had an amazing sunset which made all the clouds in the east turn bright orange.

Knitting

Finished object 1: Finally,  I can announce that the Graphica sweater is finished! I was going to extend the neck and started doing so. I realised after a few rows that knitting stitches that are knit in the opposite direction do not line up exactly. You can see that in the photo below. So I ripped back those new rows and bound off as per the pattern. I have sewn in all the body ends but now have the same amount on each sleeve. See the picture showing the ends and the floats. Once done, this will go for a good soak.

Finished object 2: The Sunday sweater! I thought the sleeves would never end but got there last night. This morning I even stitched down the neck but I haven’t sewn in the ends. I’m not sure this one needs blocking but most do benefit. I’ll give it a try. The picture shows the texture as quite lumpy though in real life it’s very smooth.

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Finished object 3: The Smocked dress was a quick knit. I knitted it in undyed yarn as I didn’t have any DK in a colour that I wanted for Evie. I made a couple of modifications – firstly I added increases for the bottom section, 4 stitches per round for 5 rounds, spaced about 10 rounds apart shown by the safety pins in the pic below. The second modification is that I did a frilled bottom instead of plain ribbing. I was concerned that the dress may be a bit small as I used 4mm needles instead of 4.5mm but it was a size one pattern and we have a few months to go before Evie is one. Fits beautifully!

My Bell sleeved top has now come out of hibernation as I thought it would be good train knitting for my trip today. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do much. I wanted to do the sleeves two at a time but forgot I needed 2 spare needles to set that up and I only packed one. So instead I started knitting the one sleeve, using the helical method. All was going well but I really want to try it on to make sure the sleeves don’t need decreasing. I suspect that they may – I will try it on so that I can keep going. The body hem seems to roll a lot so I hope that blocks flat.

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I have finally turned the corner on my Blaise shawl, now heading down the decrease side. That means that the rows will only be getting shorter with each repeat. I’ve progressed into the lighter teals then towards the blues. Apologies for how crumpled the project is – I think I need to move it into a larger project bag.

Episode 5 of my You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones Leftovers cowl) KAL is complete. I should have the 6th and final episode done this week but I intend to do the largest colourwork patterns for the remaining characters. Up to now, I’ve been splitting most large colourwork sections into two. In the photo below, you can see the split pattern with the orange and pale orange, then the other half in the green and purple. There are several dead characters in that section.

Sewing

Last week I hadn’t posted a picture of my second Sheona dress. This is such an easy project and so versatile. I mentioned in a previous post that I modified the neckline by adding a facing instead of a t-shirt type neckline. It worked perfectly. I’ll definitely make more of this pattern. There was no time for sewing this weekend but I’m hoping to have lots of time next weekend. There’s really not a lot to see in this pic as it’s just a plain black dress.

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Dyeing

 In Kangaroo Valley last weekend, we managed one more dye session. My friend’s daughter is obsessed with all things watermelon and wondered if we could dye yarn like a watermelon. I think we managed to get just the right look. As the yarn was already soaking when the decision was made, we went for an abstract watermelon look as, to get a real portrayal, we’d need to have wound off sections. It wasn’t hard mixing the right red, and the green is straight from the Emerald Jacquard bottle. There are even the black seeds, and the fade from the green to the white and the red to the white is just like a real cross-section of watermelon.

The only other dyeing I did was the Smocked dress on Friday. It took a few light layers to get the colour right. I would have been happy if it was lighter but the smocking and frill took several goes to take up the dye properly.

MeMadeMay 2019

The weather changed last Monday and I was able to wear some of my knitted items, not that I took too many photos. I started on Monday with my Zweig and when I got home I needed more warmth so put on my Weekender with my Strange Brew alpaca cowl. The cowl didn’t last too long as I found it was a little scratchy on my neck. I don’t have any problem with the mohair in my Adventurer cowl so I was very surprised at the feel of the alpaca. Tuesday I wore my Lush cardigan and Adventurer cowl. On Wednesday, I wore my new black Sheona and the Nightshift cowl. I only managed a photo of the cowl but there is a flat lay of what I was wearing. Thursday, my only me-made was the Baubles shawl. On Friday, I wore my original Sheona dress and on Saturday I put my Zweig on again. That is such a light, easy sweater to wear.

Spinning

During the week, I was able to get in touch with the Spinners and Weavers Guild of Nowra who meet every Saturday. That suits me well at the moment and I really needed some help to get comfortable with my wheel. So I attended their session yesterday – I met some lovely ladies there and Janet was able to give me some help as she has a Wee Peggy wheel also. I still need lots of practice but it was good to be able to get comfortable with my wheel which was what has held me back until now. Shown below is some nicely overspun merino. I really want to participate with the Spin and Make Along (SMAL) so I need to get some serious practice on the wheel. The SMAL is being co-hosted by Grace of Babbles Travelling Yarn podcast and Mina from the Knitting Expat podcast.

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Stash Dash 2019

Last week, I had my first entry to Stash Dash 2019 with 646.1 metres. This week, I have three more finished projects. Graphica = 1,227.4 m, Sunday Sweater = 825.8 m and Smocked = 303.7 m. That now gives me a total of 3,003 metres!

Stash Acquisitions

I have little to add for this segment this week, though I did partake of the Knitpicks 20% off sale and ordered several balls of Swish DK yarn. I know that I’ll be knitting several bits and pieces for Evie so stocked up in preparation. I have a few plans already; one approved project is the Preparer son Arrivee pattern (it’s French which translates to preparing for her arrival) by Kasia Lubinska. For that, I took the quicker route and ordered some Bendigo Ready for Winter yarn, in the colour Tide (I think). They are 200gm balls of a blend of mostly wool, alpaca and bamboo. At $10 a ball, that’s quite a saving. I also purchased the McCalls M6953 pattern that I’d been introduced to via Instagram. This has three hemlines – straight, scoop front and longer front, in both long and short styles. It’s definitely my style though I think I’ll wait for warmer weather and the right fabric. I also purchased small remnant of blush pink suede scuba. I’ve only recently heard of this fabric, mentioned in some of the podcasts I’ve been watching. I’m hoping it will make a nice short (above the knee) skirt for wearing with boots.

Paraphernalia

I don’t think I mentioned in my last podcast that I’d started watching After Life with Ricky Gervais. He is a very funny actor and can be very confronting but I’m drawn to his humour. This mini-series is very funny and very sad, and also very heartwarming. Warning – there is a considerable amount of swearing. The other show I started watching this week is Chernobyl. It’s a very new historic mini-series that’s currently running on Foxtel and I have to wait a few days before I can watch the next episode! It’s supposed to portray the real story of what happened there in 1986 and I can see how it could be very true. It’s very tragic and the many, many lives that were lost also included very brave people trying to save millions of lives by preventing further disaster after the initial meltdown. Very compelling, and Jared Harris is one of my favourite actors since he starred in Mad Men.

Today I finished my book The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner while I was on the train to Wollongong and then back. I thoroughly enjoyed it though I think the narration was a bit off-putting. As the story was quite compelling I didn’t find that it stopped me from listening. I’ll now have to decide which one will be next. I’m very behind in audio podcasts and have culled a few new ones that I think I can live without. The Ologies podcast I’m currently enjoying is about Mycology (mushrooms). It is certainly very interesting!

As usual, I’ve had more to talk about than I originally thought so I’d better stop rambling. Apologies for how late I’m posting but I did have an enjoyable time with my son, Steven, daughter-in-law, Kim and beautiful Evelyn. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

 

Sunday 26 May 2019. #44

Hello from Kangaroo Valley, NSW, Australia! I’m currently away with some old school friends for a relaxing country weekend. Starting with Canberra this week, there was a lot of colour and most of it in carpet form.

We are staying at a large house called Glenmurray Country Farm Stay on a large cattle property. There’s a lot of talking, good food and crafting happening.

Knitting

Finished Object: I haven’t had a lot of time to sit and knit but I managed to finish my Lanesplitter skirt. I had to knit the band and add the elastic. Before adding the elastic I knit down the last row with the row that I’d picked up for the band. I did that to the last 6 stitches and fed the elastic through, finishing the final stitches once that was done. It was more difficult to feed the elastic through the knitted fabric as the corners were catching. I think it is a little longer than I wanted to wear with boots but will still be just fine.

I’m still working my way through the final sections of the Graphica sweater. I had done one sleeve end section with a colourwork pattern that I didn’t think suited the rest of the sweater (centre bottom picture) so I ripped that back and did a plainer section. There’s only the rib left to do on the second sleeve then I intend to pick up the provisional stitches on the neck and add more rib. Still not sure about that. I enjoyed an early morning knit in bed with this one.

I’ve only reached the end of  Episode 4 on my You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones) KAL Leftovers cowl. I don’t think I’ve knitted a stitch on it this weekend yet!

There has been some small progress on the Smocked Baby dress and the Blaise shawl. I was hoping to finish the dress this weekend and dye it. There are still close to 24 hours to so maybe that will happen. I think the dyeing may have to wait until Monday afternoon when I’m home.

Sewing

We had a good session of sewing yesterday, with three machines working hard at the table. The pic only shows two machines as the third, mine, hadn’t been set up yet. I made the Seamwork Akita top which is a very easy one piece top. It’s very comfortable but I found that the dart is a bit high and I may add a smidge more shaping at the waist. I can’t add too much otherwise it will be too hard to put on. This afternoon I’m hoping to move onto the skirt I had cut out. Last weekend, I had finished the black Sheona dress but I don’t have any photos I can share today. I’ll post those next week.

Dyeing

Another crafting session yesterday was teaching a couple of my friends how to dye. Mari did a colour stripe dye and had to wind off yarn into 5 sections for individual dyeing. The hardest part was picking the colours

My other friend, Bronwen, wanted a grey set of yarns, from pale grey to almost black. That was a successful dye session.

Stash Dash

I have my first finished project for Stash Dash – the Lanesplitter skirt. I finished that on 25 May, with the waistband section. That is 656.1 metres for my first entry! The Dash started on 24 May but I haven’t seen the rules video yet so I’ll need that to get started properly.

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MeMadeMay 2019

Efforts for MeMadeMay this week have not been great. I’ve worn my Adventurer Cowl but little else. On Friday, I wore my Floozy (old picture) and got to wear my Sharman Cocoon (shown below). I had packed lots of knitwear but the weekend has been so unseasonably warm that I haven’t worn any.

Paraphernalia

Something I forgot to mention last week is that I had my old overlocker/serger serviced. I’m looking forward to using that for my sewing projects. I didn’t bring it with me this weekend as I had enough to transport and I’m not sure about using it yet. It’s a very old Singer machine that belonged to my mother and hasn’t been used for over 20 years. I was assured that it was definitely worth having serviced as it was originally a very good machine. The plastic is looking a bit yellow but, if it works, I’m not worried about that.

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I think it’s time I stopped rambling and I need to get back to my crafting in this lovely house so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 19 May 2019. #43

Welcome to election weekend in Australia, and it appears that nothing has changed. My week has been pretty normal with my regular Canberra trip. Monday started with my catch-up breakfast and we are still sitting outside. We’ve only been inside once so far but I don’t imagine we’ll be able to do it for too much longer. My view this week consisted of lots of Autumn leaves. I have taken several pics and, though they look good, they don’t have the same effect as in real life. It’s so very pretty at the moment. We haven’t yet had a frost and I think that’s likely to change soon too.

Knitting

I’m still focusing on a few projects at the moment but I am also starting to pick up some that have been waiting patiently. The Graphica sweater has progressed though not as quickly as I’d hoped. The pressure is off now because I didn’t meet the 15 May deadline for the Colorwork KAL. I also got my 9” circulars mixed up and it appears I used the 3.75mm one for the green/orange section instead of the 3.5mm. It didn’t look different compared to the previous section so I went ahead and used the same needle for the rest. The curve of the sleeve divide makes the sections look like they are not lined up with the body but I have kept the same row count. There is only one section left now and the ribbing. This last section is longer than the corresponding colour of the body and I’m not yet sure if I’ll be doing it all in those two colours or if I’ll reintroduce the beginning colours again. After all, the ribbing does use the blue from those colours. I’m leaving it until I get to the same point as the body and will try it on to make the decision. I’m hoping to be finished the sleeves this week and will pick up the provisional stitches on the neck to increase the ribbing for, hopefully, a funnel-type neck. Will it all be done by the next blog?

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The Sunday Sweater was again my go-to knit for Episode 5 of Game of Thrones. There’s always so much happening in those episodes that knitting that requires any thinking is totally out of the question. Mind you, I had to increase twice during that episode and measure several times so that I knew when to increase. Fortunately, that wasn’t too taxing on the brain. I only have just over 15cm to go before 8 rows of rib and bind off so my intention is to finish this one this week too. Because I’m increasing at a set measurement each time the rows are getting longer and the normally quick sleeve row is now taking much more time.

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I have frogged the garter section of the sleeves on the Pop Baby cardi and am working to extend them by about 2.5 inches. There was a decrease near the end of the sleeve so I had to frog back to that. It should be finished this weekend so I can block out the curly stitches.

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The Smocked dress is coming along nicely and I’ve divided for the sleeves. At the moment, I’m just working down the length of the dress which is just round and round stocking stitch. There are no increases during the length of the dress but there were a few at the smocked area which will give some more fullness and also the smocking stitches not being smocked will give more width. I’m not sure I like the idea of the buttons behind the left back shoulder and, if I’d realised before I was well into it, I probably would have centred the button panel.

Progress on my Game of Thrones (You Win or You Die) KAL is constant but I haven’t caught up yet. This is actually a good thing. I should be about up to episode 5 when I watch the final (6th) episode on Tuesday night. I keep my GoT viewing for when I’m in Canberra. Because I need to confirm who actually died, I’m happy to be behind. There are often surprises in this show! I’m about mid-episode 4 below and the bottom right picture shows episode 3 complete.

My Blaise shawl also got some love this week. I am currently moving from greens into teals and I am nearing the centre of the shawl. Depending on how much grey yarn I have left I may add one more repeat before starting the decreases. From where I am now, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that. I should know by next week.

I was able to take some “action shots” of my Ochre Cardigan the other day to submit to the test group. As I’ve been away so much, I had to do it while in Canberra for work. Not shown in the photo are my pyjama pants, which I cropped out. This looks just like the picture of the pattern but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the fronts of the cardigan sitting on the outside of my boobs, preferring the cardigan to meet in the middle. It’s more a shrug type top than a cardigan. It’s not a cold weather outfit so I’ll see how much wear I get out of it next summer. I’d probably wear this with more of a tank top but that was all that I had with me at the time.

My Sharman Cocoon has been waiting patiently to have all its many ends sewn in. Now that the weather is cooling very quickly I’ve been more motivated to get this done. I had a good session yesterday and it won’t take long to get the rest done. I’ll give it a good soak and block once I’ve finished and it will hopefully be ready to take away with me next weekend. It will be a cosy shrug to sit around the fire in on my weekend to Kangaroo Valley, where it should be pretty cold.

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Sewing

I had a full day at home yesterday and was looking forward to getting some sewing done. Well, that didn’t happen because I spent most of the day cutting out fabric. I wanted to get back to my Sydney and Metamorphic dresses but realised this week that I need a couple of items that are wearable now instead of summer dresses. Firstly, I dug out the Inspiration magazines that my friend Cathie had given me. There are several items in those that I want to make but I’m starting with a pencil skirt using some Japanese fabric that I’ve been waiting to use. The pattern doesn’t include seams which I find is very easy to get wrong, and cut without the seams. This pattern only uses two pieces plus a couple of facing pieces so shouldn’t be a problem. I had to trace the pattern and couldn’t find my tracing vilene. In the end, I used some fusible interfacing which is almost the same but I can’t iron it – not that I’ll ever need to. I think I’ve decided to add a lining – it’s much more comfortable when wearing stockings as the fabric doesn’t grab onto them. I haven’t cut the facings or lining yet as I was still deciding. I realised that I didn’t have a zipper in black so that will need to wait until I’m able to purchase one tomorrow. I do actually have one but the zipper pull is missing so it’s not an option and it’s not an invisible one.

On Friday, I purchased some black rayon double knit and yesterday cut out another Sheona dress by Athina Kakou. That’s what I’ll be sewing today. I’d purchased a long cardigan (yes, I’m not knitting it!) and thought it would work really well with a plain black dress and my tan suede boots. I’d had plans to knit something to replace a cardigan that I’d retired but that’s not likely to be finished for this winter. Also, I needed something so that I could wear with my boots as that particular colour is lacking in my wardrobe. The boots will also go with the skirt (above). I’ve made a modification to this Sheona for a faced neckline rather than a neckband and I also made a modification as I trimmed the pattern to where I thought it should have been. I now don’t think that but it should work with a slightly more boat neck instead. I also cut the dress down to the size 10 as previously I’d made the 12 and had to take it in down the sides. This should remove some of the extra fabric under the sleeves as shown in my picture below right, which would have required removing the sleeves to do a proper job of taking in. I think it is still very wearable.

Since I was on a cutting roll, I decided to also cut out the Kristy top by Style Arc. I had some fabric I was gifted from my friend Debbie’s mother’s old stash. I really “ummed” and “ahhed” about this one as I’m concerned about pattern matching. I finally decided that it would never be possible so I cut it out anyway. The fabric is a black and green stripe, shown best on the facing piece at the top right of the picture. This could be a good top for work. Depending on whether I finish the Sheona today, I  may start on this one too.

Stash Acquisitions

When I purchased the rayon double knit for the Sheona on Friday at Spotlight, I also picked up a few remnants. I always have a look to see what’s worthwhile. There’s not usually much there. I purchased a 1.75m piece of Combed Cotton Jersey in the Latte colour, a 0.9cm piece of a dusty navy colour Wool Blend Suiting, and a 0.8cm piece of Stretch Denim in Indigo. I almost cut out a Neenah (Seamwork) pattern to make a jersey polo top with either this Latte or some white that I purchased recently. By that time, I’d had enough of cutting. The denim may grow up to be a Moss skirt (Grainline Studio) and I’ve no idea what I’ll do with the suiting. It says 112-145cm – if it is closer to 145cm I will have enough for a skirt.

MeMadeMay 2019

So this week’s MeMadeMay is pretty basic which shows what I need to make, and got me onto my fabric cutting spree. Sunday – Floozy cardigan, Monday – Sheona, Tuesday – Baubles shawl, Wednesday – Marled Magic shawl (pic), Thursday – Lush cardigan (pic) and Adventurer Cowl, Friday – Lush again, Saturday – it was too warm for knitwear and too cold for my only me-made summer dress. I only took two photos all week. My Marled Magic Shawl, which was a mystery KAL by Stephen West, is one of my favourites. It’s actually a shlanket, it’s so big.

Future plans: One of the things that I’ve worked out is that, for work, I would prefer to wear cowls. I find that shawls just seem to drop here and there but the cowl stays where it’s put! If I find some suitable yarn in my stash, I may start the Radost cowl. This should be a pretty quick knit.

Radost cowl

Stash Dash 2019

There’s a challenge held on Ravelry called Stash Dash which has been running for a few years. Until now, I didn’t really have much idea of what it was. There doesn’t appear to be a link to this year’s Dash but last year’s guidelines are here. I will post a link next week a the Dash starts on the 24th May and goes all the way to some time in August. The aim of this is to try to achieve a set meterage of yarn used, either knitted, crocheted or spun. Not sure about weaving but that’s possible. From my understanding, you can nominate how much you think you’ll get done and the interesting part is that you can use your WIPs, including the meterage for the part already done, as long as you have some work yet to finish. The conversation at the moment is whether sewing up and adding buttons or zippers count for the whole project. Looking at my unfinished and languishing projects, I have quite a few that would count. I think I’ll use this as an opportunity to get them finished. Obviously, that doesn’t mean I won’t start a new project or two! The contenders are the Sunday Sweater, Blaise shawl, Lanesplitter skirt, my Brioche Yoke sweater, Graphica sweater, Humulus sweater, Bell Sleeved top, Inka the Little Llama Security blanket, Kettle Valley Poncho, Comfort Fade Cardi, Rings of Change blanket and my long-languishing Levenwick jacket. Oh, and of course my Game of Thrones KAL.

Paraphernalia

I’m currently excited for the 6 June Handmade’s Tale Season 3 premiere. This is just in time to take over from my Game of Thrones. On Netflix, I have finished watching all the Vikings and The Blacklist episodes available and have moved on to the new Shetland episodes. I’m also watching the second season of Secret City on Foxtel. I have added After Life on Netflix, starring Ricky Gervais to my list. I’m really looking forward to that one and am keeping it for when I’m caught up with my random episodes.

I gave up on listening to the book The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane and have started listening to The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner. The former was too slow and quiet sounding and just didn’t keep me interested. The latter is certainly no Pulitzer Prize winner but is much more exciting and I listened for two hours straight on my return from Canberra this week – totally unheard of.

Coming up next week, I have a long weekend away with my old school friends. We do a weekend away at a different place at the end of May each year. This year, we are heading to Kangaroo Valley which is up towards the Southern Highlands. I’ll be taking them through some yarn dyeing and we may even do some sewing, amongst some local sightseeing and food consumption. Of course, I’ll have my bag of projects to knit on during some down times.

I think I’ve rambled for long enough so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 12 May 2019. #42

Happy Mothers Day! I know that we share this day with the US, but the UK celebrated in March, I think. I’ve had a hectic couple of weeks living out of a suitcase, coming home just long enough to change out with clean clothes. This weekend I’ve been in Sydney for several celebrations – our son in law’s birthday, our daughter’s delayed 30th birthday party and today celebrating mother’s day in Wollongong with our son, his family and his in-laws. We had a girl’s day out yesterday starting with a makeup session at Myer, then lunch and to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s been such a great weekend.

Knitting.

Finished Object: Knitting is the only craft I managed this week and I didn’t get anywhere near as much time as I normally do. I was on a deadline to get the Ochre cardigan finished and I managed it easily enough. You can see it now blocking. The skein I used on the sleeves is a bit darker than the rest but not as noticeable in real life. I wanted to alternate skeins but, when I started on the sleeves, I was doing two at a time and didn’t want to complicate it further. I didn’t get more than a couple of rows done before I decided that was not going to work well for silk. I should have then started the helicle knitting but didn’t give it another thought. Maybe some action shots next week.

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My Graphica sweater is moving along but not as quickly as I thought. I spent a little more time on the Ochre cardigan than I’d planned and it took up my Graphica time. This means I won’t get it done by Wednesday which is the end of the 2019 Colorwork KAL. That’s OK. I know it will be done soon after that which is good as the weather is cooling very quickly.

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The You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones) KAL is ongoing but I’m a little further behind on my Leftovers cowl now. I’m about halfway through Episode 3 (on the right) and probably won’t be started on Episode 4 before I watch Episode 5! That’s OK, I’m still enjoying it so much and now, with no deadlines, I’ll be able to get more of it done.

You may remember the Pop cardigan as a finished object but it’s too small. I have cut into the body bind off and added about 2.5 inches. I’m just starting the latest bind off and will do the sleeves next, adding about the same amount. It will need another block because you can see the curly stitches from where I frogged back the garter edge. This will be finished, again, next weekend.

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New Cast On: This is the Smocked dress by Jenny Wiebe (Vangy Knits). This project is one on my Make9 for 2019. It’s not the final colour but I wanted to start it before I could dye anything so went for it in the undyed yarn. I intend to dye the dress as a finished project. It’s a cute smocked front, puff short sleeves dress and will look great on Miss Evie.

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The Lanesplitter skirt is also currently blocking waiting for me to sew up the sides and add the waist rib band. Maybe this week?

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Me-Made May

I managed to wear me-made most of this week but didn’t take all the photos. It started last Sunday with the purple and caramel Ellie sweater which I made back in August 2017 from Touch Yarns Possum Merino 8 ply. That was disappointing as I realised when wearing it that there was a moth hole right on the front chest area. That’s now been put aside for repairs. I wore my Sheona dress (not shown), my Adventurer Cowl, my Elton cardi with my Nightshift shawl and my Riyito sweater in one of my very early self dyed yarns. Today I wore my Floozy cardigan but, because it was so warm, it didn’t make it into any of the photos taken today.

As I’m posting so late today, I thought I’d include our Mothers’ Day pics. Evie is all rugged up ready for the walk to her Nanny’s home and the view from Nanny’s home with the wonderful pre-lunch nibbles. It was such a beautiful day.

My living out of a suitcase continues for this week as I’ll be taking out the old and putting in some new items. Next weekend will be one for relaxing as I won’t even leave the house. I want to get back to my Sydney and Metamorphic dresses and some other crafts. Maybe even some dyeing! Hopefully a little more variety in the next blog. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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