Sunday 2 May 2021. #145

Hello friends! I’m back writing from the south coast of New South Wales. We finished off the trip to Alice Springs and I have lots of photos to share with you. Last Sunday was ANZAC Day, when we celebrate the sacrifice by so many Australians and New Zealanders during World War II and those from wars before and after, right up to the recent conflicts. Because of Covid, the service was held at one of Alice Springs’ cemeteries rather than ANZAC Hill where it is traditionally held. The first and second pictures show the beginning and the end of the service with the sunrise happening along the way. It was a pretty cold morning and the donation breakfast was very welcome afterwards, particularly the cup of tea that helped warm my shaking hands! The photos also show the fabulous clay sculptures; the main one of a soldier and busts of each of the services – airforce, navy and army. The final photo shows ANZAC Hill which we visited after the service. The sunrise is pretty spectacular when the service is held there.

To fill in some time, we then headed to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame where we found so many road transport vehicles from across the decades, from small trucks, large trucks, buses, semi-trailers, and more. Lunch was at the Golf Club and we decided not to wait around for the two-up games as we needed some rest after getting up very, very early. After a bit of R&R, we dressed up for dinner at Sporties Restaurant, which is a bit of an icon at Alice Springs.

Monday morning started with a bit of a sleep in and a relaxing cuppa before Vicki and Pam picked us up for the day’s adventure. We headed out of Alice Springs to the West MacDonnell ranges, specifically to Standley Chasm where we were booked in for a cultural tour and dot painting, along with morning tea and lunch. We started with the morning tea which consisted of freshly made scones and jam/cream. During morning tea, there was a bit of an emergency when the fire, freshly topped up with wood, flared up very high and started to burn the mantle and displays. Fast action by someone in the cafe ensured it was extinguished quickly. It was then referred to by the staff as the “smoking ceremony”. 😊 After morning tea, we were led to the Chasm by a local tour guide who explained all the different bush tucker and other relevant information. This chasm is part of a long hike called the Larapinta Trail – it’s quite a long trek and for experienced hikers only. This particular spot on the West MacDonnell Ranges is a short hike – it took us about half an hour with lots of stops and information but only took about ten minutes to walk back. On our return, we were treated to a slide display and talk about Aboriginal history. It was very interesting and I certainly discovered things that I’d never heard before. Our schooling, back in the day, barely touched on Aboriginal history. We had lunch and then were treated to a slide display on Aboriginal art history and uses, followed by our own hands on dot painting activity. It was so much fun and painting the dots was so therapeutic. We used acrylic paints and I think I’ll be having a go at some myself in the near future.

Our original plan was to head to Ellery Creek Big Hole for a swim after our day at Standley Chasm but we weren’t ready to leave until later than expected. Ellery Creek is another hour’s drive away from Alice Springs so we instead called in at Simpson’s Gap on the way back to town. It was only a short walk to the creek section and it was worth it. When we get back to the apartments, we sat outside and had some nibbles for dinner and then we were picked up again to go to the Alice Springs Quilting Association meeting. This was Vicki’s local group and it was her last night there. It was also her birthday so we brought a cake and sang to her along with all the members. Their show and tell was very interesting, including three gorgeous quilts that were made (I haven’t included photos as they were for a quilt exhibition), a demonstration on squaring up blocks and several other works. Then it was time to head back to the apartments and finish off our packing.

Tuesday was a very long day. We left the apartments at 7.00 am and I was home at 7.15 pm. Mary had a bit further to go and she drove home from Huskisson. I really liked the bougainvillea plants that I saw around Alice Springs – they are more like bushes than climbing spikey plants. I think I’ll see if I can get something like this. The trip home was uneventful but long.

On Wednesday, I was up before dawn and headed up to Wollongong for a day with Evie and Finn. On the way home that night, I called in for dinner at the Brewery where some friends were gathered. I had a big sleep in on Thursday morning and a quiet day; a bike ride on Friday morning and a big walk yesterday. I even made some green tomato pickles. We had some rogue cherry tomato bushes in the backyard and I grabbed the last of them to make a couple of jars of pickles. I hadn’t made any in years and years and it’s not that hard. I think I’ll make them again some time.

Knitting

There wasn’t a whole lot of knitting this week. I finished Finn’s Classic Ribbed hat and started and finished Cooper’s as well. I think the pattern is quite small but could be my tight tension. I’ll probably make some more but I’ll go for a bit bigger for the next ones. I made some decent progress on the Zauberball socks I cast on during the trip to Alice Springs last week. I’m just working tubes and will add afterthought heels later on.

Crochet

I did spend a good amount of time on the Artemisia top crochet pattern test and there’s not much left to do. You can see the front and then the back here – it just needs another row to go before joining at the shoulders and then the lace sleeves. I’ll be finished this in a couple of days, in good time for the 10th May deadline. It’s been a fun crochet. The fade looks weird in the photos but is not quite as obvious in real life.

Sewing

Last week, I didn’t get the chance to show my Pattern Emporium Hello Gorgeous top and Palazzo pants. You can see them here together. I wore the pants on the plane and they were so comfortable. The top is great too and I’ll be making another one very soon. I did get to finish the Aida blouse on Thursday, the day before the 30th April deadline for the #sewaprilblouse challenge. It is a great fit and I may wear it this week though I’ll need to put a camisole underneath. I just need to work out what colour will be best under this stripe.

Acquisitions

In last week’s blog I mentioned some fabric purchases I made while in Alice Springs. Here they are:

  • Two panels that I may put on canvas and hang.
  • Some beautiful silk – I am thinking possibly a Cielo top for this fabric.
  • Two lovely pieces of fabric that will be shirts for Cooper and Finn.
  • Some pieces of fabric that caught my eye. I intend to use the patterned ones to make a top for me and possibly some pyjama pants for Robert.

Paraphernalia

TVI caught up on my shows this week, watching both Unforgotten (last episode of season four) and New Amsterdam. Then I found that the Handmaid’s Tale had started and watched all three that have been aired. I can’t wait to see the rest of these! I finished listening to Lethal White by Robert Galbraith and found that the first book of this series had been made into a mini TV series, so I am watching that now. It’s good that they cast the main characters in line with how they come across in the book. The only difference I’ve found is that Cormoran Strike has a different accent with the audio book but it’s not an issue at all. I’ve started another book, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I’ve only just started it but I think it will be OK, though I feel like diving into the last Cormoran Strike book but I’ll keep that one aside for a little while.

It’s been a big day today, as we headed to Wollongong and back and I am finally getting to finish this post. I have a few things planned for this week, starting with breakfast catch up tomorrow morning and a lunch out on Wednesday. I’ll be pottering around the house for the rest of the time. We are expecting several days of rain so it will be perfect for spending some time in the studio or on the lounge. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 25 April, 2021. #144

Hello friends! Welcome to the centre of Australia. I am currently in Alice Springs catching up with a friend who lives here. Monday started in the normal way with a breakfast catch-up and then I headed up to Wollongong. On Tuesday morning, Kim and her mum, Evie and I went to the WIN Entertainment Centre to see The Wiggles. That was much more fun than I thought it would be and we all enjoyed it, especially Evie! On Wednesday, I went for an early bike ride and then spent the day packing and getting the house ready for visitors. Kerry and Mary stayed for the night as we had an early departure in the morning to get to our 11.30 am flight.

Thursday was a long day. We got the airport in plenty of time. Lorraine drove me, Marie, Mary and Kerry. After leaving the car at the parking station, we settled in at the airport after meeting Karen. We had nearly a two hour wait but we were advised to be there two hours before the flight. The flight to Melbourne was quick and uneventful but when we disembarked and headed into the terminal for our connection, we had to stop and fill in border entry forms. That took some time because of a glitch not allowing us to do them on our phones and they had to be filled in individually by one person. We finally made it to our next gate and met up with Janice who had flown from Canberra airport. The flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs was about two and a half hours. On arrival, we had our border entry forms ready but it was a very long queue to check in with them. We caught the shuttle to our accommodation and unpacked in our respective rooms. There are five of us in a two bedroom apartment and two others in a studio. Our friend Vicki and her sister Pam met with us and we headed to Montes Bar for dinner via a Tesla taxi. That was a very smooth ride but dinner was far from smooth. The place was absolutely packed and, in the end, dinner for four of us took about one and a half hours to arrive. It was nice when it did but it would have been far more enjoyable to eat when everyone else was eating. We all slept very well that night!

Friday started with a walk to the Olive Pink Botanical Garden where we had breakfast at their cafe. We then climbed the hill behind the gardens which led to a great view of Alice Springs from above. After that, we headed to The Purple House which is a dialysis centre for the indigenous people of the area. While we were there, we heard all about how this Purple House built up far reaching centres around the outback along with mobile units, all from fund raising. It was amazing to hear how one person, Sarah Brown, was the main instigator for this amazing centre. She is the CEO working with its board of Indigenous directors. It was a very inspirational visit. After leaving, we called in at an art gallery in the centre of Alice Springs followed by a late lunch in one of the cafes. From there we visited two fabric shops – the first a patchwork shop and the second an Aboriginal fabric shop. The nine of us managed to pick up some nice bits and pieces at both the shops. Then it was time to head home and four of us walked which ended up a bit further than we expected! We had a lovely dinner at the local Golf Club watching the sun set with the light reflecting off the ranges.

Alice Springs is situated on the Todd River which is dry almost all the year and full of red dust. Yesterday, we started with breakfast again, this time at the Araluen Arts Centre. It was a relaxing morning after which we visited Central Craft, where local artisans are able to get together and rent some space to do their craft. We met some of the talented people who were there at the time and we checked out a couple of the exhibitions at the Art Centre. There was a very large metal caterpillar in the garden – it is native to the area and called a Yeperenye. We then moved on to the Telegraph Station which is where Alice Springs began before moving to where it is now. I didn’t go in as I’ve been before so Mary and I sat and knitted while the others went through all the buildings. We had another late lunch and most of us spent the afternoon sitting around relaxing before getting ready for dinner. We had a lovely meal at the Hanuman Restaurant in the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

Knitting

For the trip, I decided to cast on some vanilla socks. I still have my Shell Cottage socks which are just past the heel section but I felt that it was too fiddly with the pattern. The vanilla sock have been good to just knit on without thinking too much. I had a Crazy Zauberball in my stash for years and I’ve been wanting to make some socks with it. The yarn is irregular so I just split it into two balls. The two socks will be fraternal rather than identical but I think it will look really good. I worked the toes on the way up to the airport and then was able to just knit in the round. I’ve done a good bit on them now, as they are perfect to keep in the handbag. One of the socks has been mostly blue and black but I’m now starting to move into some of the orange/red which I’m looking forward to getting to.

I have continued with the Classic Ribbed hat for Finn. I have knitted all the body of the hat – the bottom section is turned up as a cuff. I haven’t been able to move into the decreases because I’m going to have to do that with a longer cable on magic loop and I didn’t bring one with me. It won’t take much to finish off when I’m able to.

Crochet

The crochet test is going well but I haven’t had a lot of time to crochet on it. I had some time during the second flight but, since then, we’ve been on the move a lot and it’s not a compact project. I hope to split for the armholes soon.

Sewing

I did manage a little bit of sewing before heading off to Central Australia. I finished my palazzo pants and wore them on the plane. They were very comfortable. I have started work on my #sewaprilblouse challenge but it will be touch and go as to whether I finish it by 30th April. When I get back home, I’ll be heading to Wollongong and Sydney the very next day. This is the Bernina Aida blouse and I have followed Frugalisama’s tutorial on raising the neckline and installing the neck facing. I don’t think it will take too long if I can get to it.

Acquisitions

I’ll wait until next week to show what I have purchased so that I can leave it all packed up for now. There are a few bits of material – some for shirts for Finn and Cooper and some Aboriginal fabric.

Paraphernalia

I have started listening to a new book – Lethal White by Robert Galbraith. I didn’t choose this one by random selection. I wanted something for the flight that I knew I would really enjoy and this one is definitely doing the job. I have finished watching Married at First Sight, finally, but I haven’t had the opportunity to watch anything else before we left.

Today is ANZAC Day and we are heading off to the dawn service so I’ll have more photos in next week’s blog. We don’t fly home until Tuesday morning so we still have a few adventures to keep us occupied until then! 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 April 2021. #143

Hello friends! Welcome from a very autumn-cool south coast New South Wales. We did have a couple of very warm days but the temperature has dropped again. On Monday, I went for a bike ride and it was really cold! Ear warmers and gloves type cold – for the bike, at least. I finally got around to adding a layer to the ironing board – I like to use old wool blankets which makes it better for pressing and doesn’t leave the honeycomb mark of the board base. I am not happy with the cover that came with it so I’m going to get a new one, hopefully tomorrow. My clothesline was put up on Monday, too, and I’m happy to have somewhere better to hang sheets and towels now. Robert is going to add pavers underneath. It did warm up a bit and Tuesday turned into a beautiful hot day for our anniversary. We’ve made it to 36 years! I had another bike ride and then went lunch with some girlfriends. We went to the Pavilion, which is a new restaurant attached to Huskisson Pub and has a lovely outlook onto the pool, the Bay and Currambene Creek. It is slightly marred by the Marine Rescue building smack in the middle but you can’t help that. They haven’t put up fencing yet either so you have a nice view of striped warning tape. Lunch was lovely but it got a bit hot in the sun! Robert and I celebrated our anniversary at dinner at the same place that evening and, though the food was great – Robert said the fillet steak was the best he’d had in a long time, there were some annoying things. The main one was that they serve everything you order at once. Our entree came out with our steak and salmon. You have to order at the bar so next time, I would order the entree first then mains separately. When I said we would have the quesadilla for an entree, they should have let me know. Another little annoying thing was that they had pepper grinders but the salt (help yourself) was in little paper sachets. Anyway, the meal was great but it was all over in 45 minutes so I wasn’t late for Book Club – actually, I had to fill in time before going there.

On Wednesday morning, I headed up to Wollongong for my Evie day. We started off by playing in the back room where Evie pulled out Kim’s 200 crochet square book and started “reading” it. I will be teaching her to crochet but not for a couple of years yet. Then we had some park play, after our regular babycino, and we’ve graduated to all the big activities now. Evie is only little so I followed her up the big slippery dip climb – she made it on her own but the gaps in the railings were very large and slippery. Of course, when I got to the top, I had to get down again so Evie went first and then watched me slide down. We did that several times. 😊 After her nap we played outside with her balance bike, the Wiggles car and I showed her how to do hopscotch. That was a lot of fun. Poor Finn wasn’t feeling well so he spent the day with mum. When dad came home, I headed up to Sydney and had dinner with my mum and dad, where I spent the night. Early on Thursday morning, I headed over to Erin and Shaun’s place where I had some quality time with Cooper. He’s still going through the eat, sleep, poop phase but his sleeps were a bit erratic. On Friday I had my third bike ride for the week and in the afternoon I had a massage and facial package that I received for my birthday in January. That was an hour and a half of bliss! I called in to see my friend Lorraine afterwards to check out how 5 ladies’ suitcases will fit in her car and she gave me a pink gin to try. I don’t like gin and tonic but the pink gin was quite palatable. I mentioned in the last blog that there are seven of us heading to Alice Springs this coming week, hence the suitcase planning as five of us will be in one car.

Knitting

I haven’t done a lot of knitting this week but I did finally put the buttons on the two Gramps cardigans. They are now both with their respective recipient and the weather is getting to the stage where they’ll be well worn. I can’t wait to the see the two boys together with these cardigans and Evie wearing the cardigan I made last year which used the same navy yarn as Finn’s one. I also started a baby sized Classic Ribbed hat by Purl Soho. The one you see below is my second attempt as the first one seemed a bit too small. It’s a free pattern – for the baby size you cast on 84 stitches with 3.25mm needles. This seemed a small size of needle for 8 ply yarn and I ended up ripping it out and starting again, this time using 3.75mm. The fabric is looking nice at that gauge and will probably fit better now. The beanie knit is coming to Alice Springs with me, along with some socks that I need to drag out of WIPs.

Crochet

I’ve actually spent more time with the crochet hook this week on Hailey Hodge’s (Graphic Knits) Artemisia top pattern test. I had started using some Patons Summer Swirl yarn which is 50/50 cotton and acrylic. There are four strands together and one changes every so often to create a fade. I’d started with this yarn for practice with the lace pattern while I waited for the proper yarn to arrive. When that arrived I did a swatch as indicated in the pattern. It seemed that my treble crochets were loose as my horizontal gauge was perfect but the vertical gauge was too long. It was good practice doing the swatch so I was then able to tighten up the trebles as I proceeded on the original yarn. Hailey had mentioned that she’s interested to see how it goes with a fade so I’ll continue with this. The correct colour is probably the last, latest photo. You an see how the fade moved from the bottom to the deeper colour on the top. I have to split for front and back so the fade may prove problematic at that point. I have decided I hate crocheting into chain stitches! OMG they are so painful and that was every second row on the lace. I did get smarter with how I did them. The body rows are great for mindless crocheting but I need to watch when I do them so I can’t watch anything that is interesting to see as I won’t get much done – it’s great for listening to my book. It will also be good plane crochet and I do need to work on it to catch up to where everyone else is, so this is another project I’ll be taking with me. The only other project that I’ll take with me is the temperature cross stitch as that will be nice and portable. I didn’t get any done this week so it won’t have it’s own section in this blog.

Spinning

Sad progress on the spinning front! I did start the next bobbin but I only managed one session. When I’m on the grandbabies’ circuit week, the spinning is dropped as the lowest priority at the moment and, as I won’t be home much this week and heading to Alice Springs, it probably won’t get a look in at all.

Sewing

On Monday, I cut up another pile of sewing projects for this week. As I mentioned, it was a busy week so I haven’t managed to get much done on this pile, unlike last week’s pile. Here are five projects – starting from the top is the Nikau dress by The Sewing Revival which was carried over from last week while I got some matching fabric, the Angelia shorts by Itch to Stitch, the Hello Gorgeous top from Patten Emporium, the Palazzo pants again from Pattern Emporium and, on the bottom, the Aida blouse by Bernina (the Swiss one, I think).

With the Aida blouse, I wanted to raise the neckline a little as suggested by Frugalisama and she had a tutorial on how to do that and also how to add the neckband as the pattern instructions are very minimal. It was easy enough to do the alteration and then I had to remember to add seam allowance when I cut it out. I got that all done and it’s waiting to be put together now. Hopefully this week, in time for the #sewaprilblouse challenge. If I do manage to get it done, I’ll probably pack it for the trip.

The first project I tackled was the Nikau dress as it had been waiting since last week. I nearly started with Hello Gorgeous and the Palazzo pants as they would be a quick win but I really wanted to sink my teeth into this one. It’s a great pattern and the instructions are very good. The instructions have a link to The Sewing Revival’s video tutorial on doing the enclosed facing by burrito method. I have done a few of these now but I still have a look before I start. You can see pre and post burrito in photos three and four. The reason I didn’t start on this last week is because I needed extra fabric for the backing of the belt and the pockets. As I was sewing, I thought it might have been nice to have the facings done in the contrast as well as you can see a bit of the inside at the neckline. Anyway, this is now done except for the hem. I need to try it on for size and length but I think I may have taken a little too much off the length before cutting. So I intend to do a faced hem using the contrast fabric. This dress might make it into my suitcase too, though it will need to be ironed when unpacked. I think the fabric is plain cotton and it creases easily.

The other item I got to start were the Palazzo pants. I had purchased some stretch crepe for this and I realise it’s quite crushed. They will need a very good press but I’ll need to be careful with the temperature as I scorched a small piece that was meant for the pocket binding. Lucky it was a small piece as I have more fabric but I doubt I’d have enough for a leg piece if I scorched one of those! I made these pants a few weeks back without pockets and I really struggled with the instructions as there are so many pocket options – I think I was following the wrong type and, in the end, I just did what I thought should happen from the stage that I was at. I didn’t use a pocket bag and I think stitching around the pocket on the pants was the right way to go. It’s not like I’m going to put a lot in these pockets but they could be handy for a tissue. I only need to add the waistband and do the hem now.

Patchwork

I finally got to a bit of patchwork yesterday but I didn’t get the whole top done though I would have liked to. I had left these as we were going to have a sewing catch up on Friday but I had to cancel that due to my forgotten massage appointment. Anyway, I did get the rows done and just need to sew these together to finish the top. I hope it will be done in a short session this week so that I can sandwich and quilt it when I get back from Alice Springs.

Paraphernalia

This week, I started on a new book – The Summit, which came up with my random selection method. I’ve had The Summit by Harry Farthing for a long time and didn’t like it the first time I tried. I’m afraid I didn’t like it this time either so I canned it and I have moved on to my next random selection which is She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge. I’m up to date with watching New Amsterdam and Unforgotten and just have an episode of Married At First Sight to watch. I’ll probably watch that tonight which is also the finale, so I’ll have to watch that another night. I’ve also caught up on several podcasts that have been piling up in my list.

What a busy week it was this week! And next week will be busy too. Tomorrow I’ll head up to Wollongong, with a spot of shopping on the way, and will be going to see the Wiggles with Evie and her other grandmother on Tuesday morning. Evie will have a ball! This afternoon I’ll start packing for Alice Springs and I’ll have to finish it by Wednesday. Mary and Kerry are coming here from Ulladulla for the night so that we can leave by 6 am on Thursday. We’ll head over to Lorraine’s place and be met by Marie and head up to the airport with Lorraine driving. It will take us about three hours to get there which should be just right for the 11.30 am flight. We will be met by Karen at the airport for the first flight to Melbourne, where we will meet Janice coming from Canberra and we’ll board the final leg to Alice Springs. Vicki will be meeting us there and I think her sister, Pam, will also be there as she’s heading over from north Queensland on Tuesday. That makes nine of us in total and I think we’ll have a fantastic time! Next week’s blog may be a little different but I’ll be putting one out regardless as I haven’t missed one yet, and I don’t want to.

Thanks for joining me for this chat! 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 April 2021. #142

Hello friends! Welcome from a very fresh but sunny south coast NSW. The temperature has dropped and it’s time to start bringing out the warmer clothes. We were still at the beach last weekend – you can see Cooper giggling on the towel last Monday. They went home on Tuesday morning and I’ve been very productive since. I’ve had two walks and two bike rides and it’s just wonderful to see how the crisp autumn weather makes everything look amazing.

We did have some rain which resulted in me picking up a leech on my ankle while walking around the Scribbly Gum track the other day. As a Scout Leader, I had experience with leeches but I still just panicked and ripped it out quickly when I found it while standing in the kitchen. The methods that work best are usually salt or a lit match/lighter. I had access to both but went the panic route instead! The difference is that they inject some anti coagulant so it means you bleed for a while longer. Lucky it was only a little thing! That was on Thursday, and then I went to the blood bank and gave away more of my blood. 😊 On Friday morning, I got to ride with my friend Julie, who has been away for weeks travelling around Tasmania and we had a great catch-up coffee at Portside Cafe at Huskisson.

Knitting

I’m still amazed at how photographs can make things look sooooooo different. These two pictures are of the same Gramps cardigan that I just finished for Cooper. The one on the right is completely off and the one on the left at least has the grey contrast but the main colour is actually a dark teal. Anyway, I finished knitting this lovely little cardigan and I just need to put the buttons on. I love to see the difference pre and post blocking. In the pre photo, you can see the curly bind offs and messy stitches. That all disappears with a good blocking.

I thought I’d finally decided on buttons for my Truly Myrtle Dolly cardigan this week but now seeing them in situ at home, I really don’t like them. Firstly, the colour is way off – it wasn’t like that in Spotlight the other day. And secondly, they feel awful and plasticky. Back to the drawing board. Let’s see if I still have the receipt for these as I really don’t want to even put them in my button stash.

Crochet

I mentioned last week that I was going to be working on a crochet test knit for Hailey Hodge who is Graphic Knits on Ravelry. I had ordered some yarn but it only arrived on Friday and then I hadn’t even realised as I hadn’t checked the letterbox. In the meantime, I thought I would get started on it using some stranded cotton yarn that I had in stash. I made a huge mandala blanket with some yarn like this and I thought it could be good to give it a go for this project and, at least, get some hooking practice. It’s been several months since I’ve properly had a hook in my hand. I found my Clover hook pack and, luckily, the right hook was available. It seems there are three that must be hiding in WIPs somewhere. I started casting on the FSC stitches (foundation single crochet) and found that the yarn was very fiddly and the strands were a bit annoying but I think it’s mainly because I always hate the beginning row of crochet. I didn’t go further, thinking I’d wait for the new yarn, until Hailey mentioned it would be interesting to see how it looks in a fade. So, I’ve picked it up again and I’ve completed the first two rows of the pattern. It’s not looking too bad now but, as I was only have a play with it, I hadn’t actually done a swatch to see how my gauge is. I’ll get this up to the main part of the body and then I’ll be able to see if it’s worth going on with it. I do have the other yarn so I might just start on that one too, this time with a gauge swatch first. It’s relatively quick and easy once you get going so I’m not concerned that I’m a bit behind.

Spinning

I got to plying my two bobbins this week and have finished it in two lots. The first lot was a very full bobbin and I had to stop and wind off onto the niddy noddy so that I could finish the rest separately. I only finished plying the second lot last night so now I’ll skein the first one and wind off the remainder. That was a total of 200 grams and I have another 300 grams to spin. I’d like to get another 100 grams single done this week but I’ll see if I can fit it into my sewing schedule!

Sewing

Last week, I had cut out four projects and was thinking about cutting out a fifth – I did. In the end, I managed to get three and nearly the fourth done already. I started with the easiest – the Vera top by Forget Me Not patterns. That was a great make and I’m definitely going to make more but I’ll size down one. It’s a little bit bigger than I need but is still very wearable. I was a bit concerned about the v-neck but the pattern instructions were great and it was rather easy in the end. The bishop sleeves are gathered and I used the zig zag method with a strand of candlewicking cotton and it worked very well. I’ve gathered a few things lately and I’m totally over the double row of stitches method! I’ll have this pattern on the cutting table again soon. The fabric I used for this is a cotton linen jersey and is perfect for the weather right now.

Another finished project is my Itch to Stitch Angelia shorts. I made version A which is recommended for a muslin as it is the most basic and short version so uses up the least fabric. The fabric I used was handed on by my mother in a recent de-stash and I think it’s a poly type of suiting or something like that. It has a good bit of structure to use to compare for when I make these in some denim I have in stash. The pattern was great to follow – I hadn’t made a fly front before and I had absolutely no trouble following the instructions. The way the shorts are designed, the zipper does sit slightly to the right though, and I don’t understand why I needed to buy a 7 inch zipper and then pull out the teeth and reinstall the zipper stops to make it shorter. Anyway, that was something that I’d never done before and it was good to learn how to do it. Maybe it was to ensure that the zipper actually stops at the right point. I did the straight size 10 in these which was perfect for the waist but I think I’ll grade down to the size 8 for the hips on the next pair which will be the mid length version. That way the legs will taper a little rather than flare out. I put a jeans button on the front which was left over from a previous project.

The third project that is finished – I just need to sew on the buttons, is the Style Arc Marley shirt. I think I would have finished all five projects this week if it hadn’t been for this one. Style Arc have some lovely patterns but they are very lacking in instructions. The Big 4 pattern companies cop flack for minimal instructions but they are nothing like the Style Arc ones. I would only recommend these to experienced sewists. I would say that I’m at intermediate level and I had to scratch my head so many times trying to figure out what was to be done. They have drawing tutorials on their website but they don’t line up with what I needed. The collar, for instance. Their tutorial for a collar and collar stand has a collar stand the full length of the collar, not a small semi circular piece like this. I think I did it right. And then, I managed the folded hem with split seams but how to finish the front off in the same manner did my head in. It might have been easy if the line of the front was straight but it cut in at the front hemline. I did email and was pointed in the direction of a tutorial that was for a split hem for pants that was nothing like the section I was working on, and the drawings were so complicated they made no real sense to me even though I knew what to do there. In the end, I just turned up that section and stitched it down with a topstitch. The other bug bear is that you stitch down the front button placket but, at that point, you can only go so far and now I have an unstitched bit at the bottom that I’ll need to either stitch from or unpick and restitch. In the end, I really love the shirt but I feel I could have had a better finish on it if the instructions had been like other indie pattern designers. Because of the lightness of the cotton voile, I needed to add some washaway to the back when I put the buttonholes in. You can just see it showing on my trial buttonhole. I also did the darts using a tip I’ve seen a couple of times recently where you do a couple of stitches then use the tail of the thread as a line to follow to the point. Works a treat! 👌

The fourth project was a top that I copied and I’m still adjusting bits on it. I’m happy to work on other things before I get back to it. Here are some awkward photos that show my finished items. The shorts were the extra project that I had cut out. The final project, was the Nikau dress by The Sewing Revival and I needed to get some coordinating fabric to go with it. I didn’t have enough to cut the backing of the belt and a pair of pocket pieces. While I was at Spotlight this week, I picked up some cotton poplin which will work well. I didn’t measure how much I needed so I didn’t get enough to cut the belt on the straight grain. As it will be the backing, I think I can risk cutting this on the bias. And there will be plenty for the last pair of pockets I need to cut.

Stitching

I’ve only made a little progress on the temperature cross-stitches I’m doing for the grandkids’ first years. The pattern is from Apricot Polka Dot. I have been working on these only when I’m on my international zoom meeting. I am getting into a rhythm with it and I’m enjoying it when I’m working on it. You can see that the very middle sections are a bit messy but only when you get close. The rest seems to be going fine now that I remembered how it should be done.

Patchwork

I have not worked on Cooper’s quilt for a couple of weeks now – out of sight, out of mind, so I shouldn’t put things away! I have laid out all the squares and I can start putting them together. A bed waiting to be made up is perfect as a blank canvas! Hopefully, the top of this will be done this week.

Acquisitions

Well, a trip to Spotlight for necessities usually ends up with a few pieces of fabric, especially when it’s so cheap. They seem to have specials on all the time now. All but one of these fabrics that I have washed ready to work on came from the other day (the blue/pink/white was from a few months back) and another piece, a black with white spot georgette, is not shown. I really want to cut most of these out this week – I’ll see how I go. The navy stretch crepe on the left is for another pair of Pattern Emporium Palazzo pants and the pink leaf with brown background rayon spandex will be a Pattern Emporium Hello Gorgeous top. I’m thinking the Aboriginal print rayon spandex in the middle might be a PE Lounge dress – there’s only a metre of it but I love the print. The teal fabric at the front, another rayon spandex, might become the newly released Brenda dress with statement sleeves but I’d like to make a toile of it first. Tomorrow is going to be a cutting day.

Paraphernalia

Last night I finished reading The Likeness by Tana French. It was a great read and I’m not ready to move onto the next book yet! After finishing Rodham a couple of weeks ago, I’ve now watch two episodes of the Hillary (Clinton) documentary. It’s great to have that to compare with the fictionalised Rodham book. I’ll be glad to see the end of Married at First Sight tonight, or maybe tomorrow night. I’m over it now but I do want to see how it finishes. I started the latest season of New Amsterdam and I’m up to date with the latest season of Unforgotten but the latter is a weekly instalment so I have to wait for that. I have a long list of shows that I want to watch so I’ll be working my way through it.

This week, I have a few things planned. Tuesday is my anniversary but we don’t usually do a great deal – especially since it’s school holidays at the moment and Tuesday nights are not great for variety in restaurants. We’ll probably celebrate with a dinner out next week. I do have a few things happening on Tuesday, starting with a bike ride with Julie and coffee catch up with some other girls, lunch with Annette and then book club after dinner. On Wednesday, I’m heading up to Wollongong for a day with Evie and Finn and then I’ll keep going that night to Sydney to spend Thursday with Cooper. I’ve started thinking about my packing for the trip to Alice Springs the following week and I’m hoping to take a few of my makes with me.

Thank you for spending time with me here in my little corner of the web! 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 April 2021. #141

Hello friends! Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate, otherwise happy holidays. Our Easter weekend is generally quiet, with family and, if we’re lucky, beautiful weather as we are having at the moment. This has got to be my favourite time of year. The mornings and evenings are brisk but the days can be so warm and mellow! Monday started with a bike ride and a catch up with the Huskisson pelicans – they love to congregate just across the creek. Later that morning, I was picked up by my friend Jenny and a few other friends and we went for a day out to Milton, down the coast a bit. There were eight of us all together and we started with coffee at Driftwood Cafe and a little browse through the shops, then on to Milk Haus for lunch. It was a great feed – using produce from their own garden. After lunch we went for a walk through the garden. On Tuesday, I went for another bike ride. Two days in a row has been unheard of lately!

Later on Tuesday, I headed up to Wollongong and did a bit of shopping on the way up. I spent the night up there and then the day with Evie and Finn all day Wednesday. Evie and I went to the Lagoon park where she played on the equipment, then we had a spin on her balance bike, followed by a paddle and some sandcastle making. We also had a coffee and babycino. What a big adventure! Finn was waiting for us when we got home. Erin, Shaun and Cooper arrived at my place on Wednesday so they were there waiting for me when I got home that night. The weather has been amazing and we’ve had a couple of Cooper walking naps and yesterday afternoon we went to Moona Moona Creek to give him a little dip. There were lots of people enjoying the park and paddling in the almost low tide of the creek. On the bay, there were lots of people out on their kite boards. I wonder if they get tangle up? I imagine it wouldn’t be great if they do!

This morning we went for another walk along the bay from Huskisson to Moona Moona Creek and it was stunning!

Knitting

Not a lot of knitting has been happening this week and little crafting in general. I finally put the buttons on Finn’s Gramps cardigan and I have started on the sleeves on Cooper’s Gramps cardigan. I only took the photo this morning but have already frogged the sleeves and started again. I realised I was using 4.0mm needles when I wanted to be using 4.5mm but persisted thinking it would be fine. That is, until I saw that the stitches were looking smaller as I’m usually tighter when I do magic loop, though I was trying to be looser. Anyway, I’ve now picked up the stitches again with the 4.5mm needles. It won’t take long to finish the sleeves – I was just putting off picking them up all week.

My Dolly cardigan test knit for Truly Myrtle is finally finished – all but the buttons! I was going to sew them on this morning and realised that they were too big for the holes. I really wanted smaller ones but settled on the bigger ones as they were all that was available. I hadn’t tried them in the holes. I’ll have to look for some other ones!

Crochet

I am starting a new test knit for Hailey Hodge, who is Graphic Knits on Ravelry. This test is for the Artemesia top. I have ordered some yarn to do this crochet top but I was accepted for the test on Wednesday and that’s when I ordered it. It was posted on Thursday so I won’t have the yarn until Tuesday at the earliest. I’m looking forward to getting some yarn on the hook again. It’s been a little while since I’ve done some crochet, apart from the two little granny squares that I did a couple of weeks ago. I think the last thing I crocheted was my Rings of Change blanket. I love the simplicity of this top with the gorgeous lace detail of circles. I will be doing the body a few rows longer so that my middle doesn’t show but I’m thinking it will be a lovely top. The yarn I’ve ordered is the DMC Natura Linen in the ivory colourway which, now that I think about it, will be very similar to the yarn Hailey used in her picture below.

Spinning

I’ve had a little break from spinning and wasn’t able to get back to it but yesterday I finally got there! I didn’t have much left of my 100gm bobbin spin and finished it while I was watching the first two shows of Season 4 of Unforgotten. The pic below shows the bobbin I just finished and that bobbin alongside the first 100gm bobbin I spun. I’m looking forward to plying these together! Maybe I’ll do that tonight.

Sewing

I was able to finish my Peppermint magazine Button Up dress for the reveal day of the challenge. Unfortunately, it’s about two sizes too big and that was a common theme about this pattern from those made by many others. I can still take this one in and it will be just fine. At the moment it’s just too big and floppy. It seemed a bit baggy before I put the buttons on but I thought that would fix the problem. It doesn’t look too big in the pic but I think that’s because a lot of the fabric was pushed to the back. That was a very rushed and awkward selfie so that I could get the pic up for the challenge reveal day on Wednesday. The Challenge is now officially over and they’ll be announcing winners today/tomorrow UK time. There are many prizes but there are also many people who participated. I’m not hopeful of winning – it’s a random draw, so you never know.

I worked on the Petal Top by Ellie & Mac and got it almost done except for hems. Both Kim and Erin have tried it on and it’s a little small so I’ll be making another one. Erin has requested one without sleeves and will look at my fabric tomorrow to see if there’s something she’d like. It was easy enough to make and the pattern is very well written. It even looks a bit small on the hanger in the picture below.

Last Sunday I mentioned that I was doing a test sew of children’s shorts for 5Berries Patterns. It was a very quick and easy pattern. The part that took the longest was doing the ruffle on the shorts legs. I used the usual method of two loose strands of stitching gathered up, and the first leg took forever. After doing that one, the second leg didn’t take as long but next time I think I’ll try the zig-zag method. Someone suggested using a strand of floss (or topstitching thread, perle yarn) and zig-zagging over the top and then drawing up the floss. I think it would be so much quicker. The test finished on Thursday so I’ll see what the results were from everyone’s input and if there are changes to the pattern. The shorts sit a little low on Evie and Anna said they were a bit long. Looking at other photos, some younger, they seem to be a similar length. I then went on a fabric cutting spree and whipped up some Happy Holidays PJ pants from Sew Simple Home in a size three for Evie. I did the size three because she’s two and a half and, not know how this pattern tends, I thought bigger would be better for a size test. I even put a label and size tag on these. I had ordered some size tags in sizes 1, 2, 3 and 4 and I attached one to the labels I’d bought about two years ago for My Creative Obsessions.

I mentioned that I went on a pattern cutting spree – well that’s correct. I cut out 5 different patterns, one of which was the pyjama pants which were a quick win. They took about half an hour to put together. I just haven’t added the elastic yet. The blue and white leafy fabric is a cotton voile and I am using that for the Style Arc Marley shirt. The orange floral is a cotton fabric that I purchased from Singapore a couple of years ago. I’d been waiting for the right pattern and The Sewing Revival’s Nikau dress hit the mark for me. I’m doing the sleeveless version – the sleeves are huge and I definitely need much more material for that. As it is, I think I only had two metres and I didn’t manage to get the second piece of the belt out of the fabric. I will use a different piece for the backing, I just need to decide what fabric I’ll use. The olive spot fabric is a cotton-linen jersey that I’ve cut using the pattern pieces for the Vera top by Forget Me Not patterns. And finally, the bluey-green cotton-linen blend fabric (which is showing more like a chambray but looks true to colour in the Acquisitions section) I have cut using a copy of a top from my friend Andrea – you can see a picture of it. She is about a size or two smaller than me so I’ve “graded” the copy out to what should fit. From that, I may need to adjust but it’s better to be a bit bigger than smaller. Let’s see how this one goes and I can adjust my pattern as I try it on – it’s a very simple pattern with one piece for the front with a grown on sleeve and a pleat at the v-neck, and the back has a two-piece bottom section (a centre back seam) with a small slice of sleeve and the top part of the back has the rest of the sleeve as a single piece running across from cuff to cuff. I only had one and a half metres of the fabric and I am unable to cut the front facing unless I do it on the bias. I think I can get away with that for this, hopefully, wearable toile. I can’t wait to get stuck into this pile. The cutting out takes the most time and seems to be the most tedious part of sewing – for me, at least. Shall I start with the self-drafted copy of the top?

Acquisitions

I was in Spotlight again early this week, just to get some elastic but I couldn’t help myself. I had a look at the discontinued fabrics and didn’t select any of those. I was actually looking for a stretch crepe fabric for another pair of Palazzo pants but the shop assistant was new and young and didn’t know where to look. In my travels, I came across this gorgeous bengaline with a dark blue forest print and I picked up some cotton linen for the top I was going to copy. I have no idea what to do with a bengaline – it’s a woven and has plenty of stretch. I’ll have to have a look at my pattern database to see what would suit. I think I got two metres. Something like the Nikau dress would be good, I think.

Paraphernalia

I finished the book I was reading last week – Beneath the Shadows and, as I suspected, it was a compelling read. I quickly moved onto my next book, selected again by random number generated which fell on number 37 and is The Likeness by Tana French. I have recently read several Irish crime novels and I think they are particularly good. On the screen, I have now started the latest season (no. 4) of Unforgotten. That will be doled out to me weekly so I’ll have to be patient. Married at First Sight will finish on Monday (I think) so I’ll need something else to keep me going in between. I mentioned a few last week that are streaming on 9Now and Netflix and then there is also Mrs Fletcher which is on Foxtel. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to keep me entertained.

I don’t have a lot planned for this week. Erin, Shaun and Cooper will be here till Tuesday so I’ll be well entertained until then. By the way, Shaun said to mention that he had 5 birdies in 27 holes – is that good? 😉 I think we still have breakfast catch up tomorrow morning, even though it’s the Easter long weekend. I’ll be working through my sewing pile this week and I’ll see what I get done by next week’s blog. I hope my yarn arrives on Tuesday so that I can get going on my test knit. I’m off on a trip to Alice Springs with 7 friends to spend time with another friend on the 22nd April, so that’s only 18 days away and I’m counting down!

Thanks for catching up on my life and crafting! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 28 March 2021. #140

Hello friends! Welcome from a sunny (at last!) south coast NSW. The rain finally stopped on Friday and not before time! There was so much rain that the mushrooms came out in force. You can see the ring of mushrooms below – it was very interesting to see and I wonder how this came about. I had seen mushrooms in this spot previously but only a very small patch. Not a ring like this! It’s been a busy week. It started with breakfast on Monday morning and Bronwen and I spotted the mushrooms on our return. The rest of Monday and most of Tuesday was spent in my studio. It was definitely sewing weather! I also had a chat with Evie via Messenger video on Tuesday and we had fun with the face dress-up effects. On Wednesday I headed up to Sydney and spent a couple of days with Erin, Shaun and Cooper and my mum and dad. I even got to go to the button shop in Newtown and The Sewing Basket in Balmain. On Friday we headed up to Wollongong for some time with Steven, Kim, Evie and Finn. It’s always wonderful spending time with these wonderful children!

Knitting

My knitting has been pretty repetitive while working on my Dolly test knit for Truly Myrtle. The due date has moved to the 4th April (Easter Sunday) which has given me some breathing space. I am so closed to finishing now – I only have one button band to do and will probably pick that up tonight. The photo of the sleeve seems to be the closest to the correct colour out of these. I ended up adding 4 rounds to the teal cuff as it seemed a little short for a cuff and I didn’t mind the extra length. The sleeves seem to be quite a narrow fit. I’ll be glad to finish this but I still have the ends to sew in and then blocking. And adding the buttons isn’t really my favourite thing either. When the knitting is finished I wish I could wave a magic wand and the rest is done! I’m looking forward to picking up on a recent WIP.

The only other knitting I’ve worked on is now Cooper’s Gramps cardigan. I had finished Finn’s cardigan in the previous blog and now just need to add the buttons. I had bought wooden looking ones from Spotlight but wasn’t sure about them so I also got some navy ones when I went to the button shop in Newtown. In the end, Kim and I both agreed that the wooden ones were the best choice. I started Cooper’s cardigan on Wednesday and it’s going very fast. I was able to work on this easy stocking stitch when I wasn’t able to work on the Dolly cardigan as I needed to try it on a few times before proceeding. The teal of this cardigan is shown best in the photo with Cooper sleeping in the background, though you can’t see a lot of it. The ribbing band is in a flecky grey colour though it looks a bit weird in this photo. I’ll be picking up for the sleeves using magic loop and I imagine I’ll finish those this week and probably start on the shawl collar/button band.

Sewing

#frugalfrocks2021 is coming to a close and will have all the reveals uploading on 31st March – this Wednesday coming up. I have finished except for the buttons which I bought on Wednesday, and I need to catch the facing in a few spots too, now that I know it fits fine. This Peppermint Magazine Button Up dress was a very easy make and I enjoyed it. I think the buttons won’t be a problem so it will definitely be done and photographed by Wednesday. The facing was done with the burrito method which I have only done once before and it’s very effective. I’m happy with how the colours work together – the different facing colour doesn’t look too obvious and it won’t be seen anyway.

I have a few sewing plans coming up for this week. I have printed a few patterns including, from left to right, the Forget-Me-Not Vera top, the Ellie & Mac Petal nursing top and, just today, the 5Berries Miami shorts which I’m testing. For the Vera top, I have decided on some olive spot French terry but I haven’t yet cut it out. For the first Petal top, I’m using some lycra fabric that I purchased last year from Super Cheap Fabrics and I’m doing the version with a short sleeve. I’ll get both Kim and Erin to try this top on and see how it fits and how well it works. This colour will probably go to Erin and I’ll pick something else out for Kim as I know she prefers other colours, but it will be good to try on for fit. With the Miami shorts, I’m making a pair for Evie – the ones with the frill, using some Australian animal fabric that I purchased from Spotlight last year. Very early last year, I think. These shorts will be priority as they are due by Thursday but they should only take an hour to make. I also hope to have the Petal top done by Tuesday so I can take it to Wollongong on Wednesday. Then I will move onto the Vera top and other plans I have that I’ll talk about in Acquisitions.

Patchwork

During our stay down the coast last year while the house was being built, I put together some squares out of minky fabric that had been in my stash for a few years. It wasn’t a lot of fun to sew but I got the top done. It had been packed away since then but I had recently purchased a large remnant piece of minky in a bright white so I decided to finish it off. In the end, I thought the simplest way to be best due to what a monster minky is to work with, and I just sewed each side of the top to the backing and kind of mitred the corners. The backing comes to the front on all sides. I quilted it by just stitching in the ditch along the block seams. It’s very basic looking but I think it will be great for snuggling under during winter this year and will be fine to throw into the washing machine. I’m hoping Evie likes it!