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!

Stitching

Last week, I mentioned that I was about to start a temperature cross stitch for the grandbabies and I finally got to do it yesterday. I’m using a pattern by Apricot Polka Dot. It’s been quite some years since I last did any cross stitch and I had forgotten some simple things, like you do the bottom layer of stitching in the same direction followed by the top layer in the opposite direction. The centre 5 stitch blocks on these look a little messy but only if you look very closely. I’m doing all three on the one piece of Aida cloth; Evie’s on the left, Finn’s in the centre and Cooper’s on the right. You can see the value of the temperatures when each of them were born, Evie’s being the coolest and Cooper’s being the warmest. I’m liking how the colours are going so far. I was a little concerned that the DMC Perle yarn I’m using might be a little thicker than the 16 count fabric requires but I’ve already picked out all the colours and it’s much easier than peeling off two threads for each colour of stranded yarn. It doesn’t look like much at this point but should start taking shape nicely by next week.

Dyeing

Now for some dyeing of a different type. I recently watched a tie-dye video on Facebook by MetDaan and decided to give one of their examples a go. I didn’t realise there was sizing on the t-shirt I used otherwise I would have washed it first. I use some narrow rope that was in the garage but I think a shoe lace (as shown in the video) would have been more effective for tying tighter. I used two Rit dye colours – Evening Blue and Teal and sprinkled it on the tied up donut but the dye was being repelled by the sizing. I had it in a microwavable casserole dish I use for dyeing and I just put it into the microwave and nuked it. Doing it this way meant that it would take up more dye than was intended but it didn’t come out too bad and actually does look tie-dyed. The photo of the finished t-shirt is a lot lighter than in real life but you can get the idea. I hope to try it again some time to get some white bits.

Acquisitions

A week or so ago, I purchased some fabrics from Spotlight’s discontinued section and they were only $4 a metre! It was a great saving and I was able to buy four metres of fabric for the Wildwood Wrap dress by Sew House Seven. I’d wanted to make this dress but that amount of fabric at normal prices would mean about $100 or more. I bought this stretch sateen and I think it will work really well. The model here is in a linen and I always find it a messy looking fabric. Some of the Wildwood dresses I’ve seen look fantastic. The buttons here are for my #frugalfrocks2021 dress (cream with blue edging), brown that looks a bit bluish in this pic, for my Dolly cardigan and the grey that look blue, for Cooper’s cardigan. These came from All Buttons Great and Small in Newtown where there are literally thousands of different buttons, but it was still really hard to match them up. My visit to The Sewing Basket in Balmain resulted in a decent piece of chiffon(?) that I’ll use for the Aida blouse by Bernina. This is the March free pattern so if you’ve seen this early enough it will still be available. The instructions are very basic but Sam from Frugalisama has done a YouTube tutorial on the trickier bits of this, including raising the neckline and adding the neck facing. This fabric was $16 for about 3.5 metres. The only thing with purchasing fabric that has been donated to The Sewing Basket is that you need to guess what it is. I think for that price that it will be a great wearable toile. The pattern calls for ribbing on the cuffs but I intend to just add elastic in the hem instead. These two projects will probably be next on the cutting table.

Paraphernalia

This week I finished listening to Rodham and I enjoyed the book. I’m quite intrigued now and want to find some more information to see how close to real life the book was, though it did go on a different path. Bronwen pointed me to a four part factual series on SBS On Demand called Hillary and I’ll be watching that next. Kim mentioned that season three of New Amsterdam is showing so that’s on the top of the list too. I knew it was coming but each time I checked there were only two seasons. I’m now reading my next randomly selected novel – Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster. I think it will be a compelling thriller. Other shows that have been advertised on 9Now and that I think might be worth watching are Hostages with Toni Collette, Lipstick Jungle with Brook Shields and, lastly, Almost Family. And I think there are new episodes of Blacklist on Netflix! Plenty to keep me interested in between watching Married at First Sight.

This coming week will lead into the Easter weekend which is also the end of daylight savings here in NSW. The mornings have been dark until almost seven so the end of DST will mean the mornings will be lighter – at least for a few more weeks until winter starts to set in. Tomorrow I’ll be going to lunch with some local girlfriends – we’re heading to Milk Haus in Milton. This cafe is situated in an old cheese factory and uses produce from their own gardens. I’m looking forward to trying the food and chatting with the girls. On Wednesday I will be heading to Wollongong for a day with Evie and Erin and Shaun will be heading down to our place for the Easter break. I’m hoping for good weather but Easter has been known to be quite wet in the past. The current forecast is indicating rain from Sunday. I hope that it blows out to later rather than comes earlier.

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 21 March 2021. #139

Hello friends! Welcome from a wet, wild and miserable east coast of New South Wales. The weather has been mostly wet and has become quite torrential, especially in Sydney. The rain is coming down quite hard as I sit here and type. This week started with a sewing day at my place. Kerry, Narelle and Lorraine came around for the day and we shared some creative time, food and chat. I only managed one bike ride this week due to the weather and the rest of the week was spent pottering around the house, mainly in my studio. We did get out on Wednesday evening for dinner at the RSL Club. Their pizzas are great and, when it’s pizza night with pizza and drink for $15, it’s great value. We get to take home pretty much a whole pizza which is then lunch on Thursday. We seem to be averaging once a month lately. The RSL Club is situated right on the entrance of Currambene Creek and has a lovely view from the deck. The photo below is from the street to the left of the Club looking straight up the creek.

On Friday, I had some old school friends come visit for the weekend. We normally go away together once a year but missed out last year due to Covid. This year, because of the new house, the weekend away was here at my place. It’s become a tradition that I run some crafting activities or workshops and this weekend hasn’t been any different. In the past we’ve done sewing, dyeing and a whole host of other activities. This weekend we covered several different crafts and combined most into one project. More information on that later. On our weekends everyone contributes to the food and we always have more than we need. Another tradition on our weekends is a proper Spanish paella that Mari makes. It rained the whole weekend but we had plenty to occupy us! We didn’t get out of the house at all until tonight when Bron and I went for a walk as it wasn’t raining. The other two had left for home already.

Knitting

Apart from blocking Finn’s Gramps cardigan, which didn’t involve any knitting, the only thing I’ve worked on this week is on the Dolly cardigan test for Truly Myrtle. I haven’t managed a lot of knitting time over the weekend but I’m still on track. Currently, I’m about at the cuff on the long sleeves but I just want to try them on to see if I need to knit any further. There are only 44 stitches left on the sleeves so even if I have to add some more length, I should finish the sleeves by tomorrow night. Then all I need to do is the button bands, one on either side. The deadline for this is the end of this week.

Sewing

In preparation for this weekend’s school friends’ workshop, I put together the top layer of an apron so that we’d know what we had to do, rather than work it out at the last minute. The pattern we used was one I’d found on Pinterest by Suzi Quilts called the Free Modern Patchwork Apron tutorial. This was really easy to put together and only had one simple template for the armhole with the squares being cut out from measurements. This is as far as I got before the weekend. I rushed the seam and you can see that I missed by about 3mm. I don’t think anyone is going to notice!

Patchwork

Last weekend, I’d realised that I hadn’t yet started on Cooper’s play mat quilt. I have made the other grandbabies a play mat quilt each to lay on and have their tummy time and I was a a bit late starting on this one. In the end, I had a couple of coordinated fabric packs that I showed to Erin and Shaun and Shaun picked this one. I didn’t get a chance to take more photos of the fabric but next week I should have the top put together which will show all the blocks. There are lots of toy trains, cars, helicopters, dots, crosses, words, etc. on light blue, green, yellow and cream backgrounds. This block is a simple 6 1/2 inch square with 2 1/2 inch strips on top and bottom and then again on each side. I’m just going to but them all together without sashing. I’d like to have it done as soon as possible but I doubt it will be done by Wednesday when I head up to Wollongong and Sydney.

Stitching

Recently, I was talking about doing a 100 day project doing some crochet. I have been busy doing other stuff so I’ve gone a bit cold on that idea and I have now decided on another one instead. A friend of mine on my zoom knit night group started doing a temperature cross stitch which was designed by Apricot Polkadot. So I’m now going to start three of these cross stitch panels as shown below – one for the first year of each of my grandchildren. It took me a bit to come around to this design for a temperature project as it’s not very obvious where the days are but, in the end, it’s all just about colour changes so I think it will look nice anyway. There might not be a great deal of difference as Evie is October, Finn is December and Cooper is January but there should be enough to look a little different. Also, Evie and Finn’s will be on temperatures in Wollongong and Coopers on temperatures in Sydney which, again, may not be very different. I have twenty three different colours starting from 13 degrees and finishing at 36 degrees Celcius. Instead of using DMC stranded threads, I am going to use (mostly) DMC perle threads and I won’t have to bother with separating strands. I have downloaded the temperatures for Evie’s year and this is the range. Obviously, Finn’s and Cooper’s temperatures are yet to be decided but I will use the 13 degree colour for any temperature below that and the 36 degree for any above. This will be an ongoing project of more than 100 days so will be good enough to take the place of the 100 day project. I hope to get this started tomorrow and it will be a really good portable project. I haven’t done any cross stitch for many many years so I don’t have a stash of suitable fabrics. I found this Aida fabric at Spotlight and I think the 16 count will be OK.

Workshops

The first activity that my girlfriends and I enjoyed this weekend was some candle making on Saturday morning. I had ordered us the A Very Special Soy Candle Making kits from All Australian Candle Making Supplies and Kits. This kit included a kilo of soy wax, a single scent and five little milk bottles for 155gm candles. The scents we used were Coconut and Lime, French Pear and Vintage Rose. There was more wax than would fit into the bottles so we had to scramble to find some other things to fill. In the first instance, I had an ice block tray that I have used in the past to hold different coloured paints and that worked very well. Once the blocks were set it was really easy to pop them out and they’ll be great as wax melts. For the next pour, we used a couple of small heavy duty plastic bags and that worked well, again for wax melts but we’ll need to break bits off that one. For the last pour, I had another plastic bag but it wasn’t as thick as the others. That one sprung a couple of leaks so I ended up emptying it into an old glass candle container but without a wick. I may be able to melt it again and add a wick at some point. On the whole, the process went well but we did notice that there were some that had caved in areas right at the wick. I had heard that soy doesn’t set as well as paraffin wax and a mixture of both is best but it could also be that we didn’t check the temperature before pouring them off. Even though the tops may not be perfect, I think they’ll burn nicely.

I mentioned earlier that we were working on aprons this weekend and part of that activity was to carve our own stamps to use on one of the blocks. We chose a pattern from the fabric we were using and carved it on the soft rubber carving slab. It’s fantastic for making stamps – so much easier than carving on lino. On the other hand, it’s also easy to over-carve or cut off bits accidentally so you need to do it carefully. It was great fun to get into stamping again and I have lots of different types of stamps. I think I’ll get a roll of paper and do some stamping to make some individually designed wrapping paper. That could be a bit of fun!

So now to the aprons we made! I think the hardest and yet most fun part was deciding which fabrics to put together. We started with putting the four blocks together and then stitching the straps and tabs. Due to sizes of fabric pieces, we had to make some adjustments to the block sizes which made it a little tricky with lining up the template piece for the armholes but we were able to use my apron top section to cut them on each of the others. Then we put the apron onto the backing fabric and just cut out the shape at the same time as pinning the two layers together. Before sandwiching the two layers, everyone decided on what sort of pocket they would have and each apron has a different design. They all look fantastic and it’s great how different they each are. I didn’t get to finish mine yet but I’ll work on that this week.

Paraphernalia

This week I finished the 29th book in the Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford. As usual, he did not disappoint and I am looking forward to the latest book. I didn’t use the random selector for my next book as I chose to start the Book Club selection – Rodham. I’ve only just started it and it’s quite interesting so far. I think the first part of the book is supposed to be accurate with actual fact before it goes off on a totally different tangent and how her life might have turned out.

I have a couple of days to relax before my week gets a bit hectic. I will be having a day with Evie on Wednesday and heading to Sydney that night. After spending Thursday in Sydney we’ll be heading back to Wollongong on Friday. I think we’ll be home again on Saturday. This is probably the latest I’ve ever posted a blog before so I think I’ll finish up here and head to bed. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 13 March 2021. #138

Hello friends! I’m typing here on a drizzly, windy and cool Sunday. Yesterday was hot and ended with a summer storm last night and it has cooled the temperature down a lot. It’s been a week filled with grandchildren (and grown up kids) and I’ve had a wonderful time. Steven and Kim were down last Sunday and Monday with Evie and Finn and then, on Wednesday, Erin and Shaun arrived with Cooper. It’s been great to have them all here. Today we headed to Wollongong to celebrate Kim’s birthday which was on Wednesday.

My only bike ride this week was on Tuesday morning and it was a beautiful but cool ride through Huskisson over to the boat ramp at Woollamia. I went early and watched the sun come up while I was riding. Also on Tuesday, we had our first girls lunch at Pelican Rocks in Greenwell Point. The local girls have decided that we’ll do different restaurants about once a fortnight or three weeks to try out all the great spots around the local area – within about an hour around us. I’ve started saving my root ends of the shallots I use and I’ve planted them. I started the shoots going in a jar of water but I believe you can just put the ends into the soil, which is what I’ll do with the rest of them. I’ve been going to do this for some time now. Here’s hoping for lots of regrowing shallots.

The rest of the time I’ve been spending with Erin, Shaun and Cooper, going for walks. We have been eating on the deck as the evenings have been quite mild and last night we watched the storm come through. You can see in the photos below how it came from north-west and headed south-east, totally obliterating the view of the bay. And really hasn’t stopped raining since!

Knitting

I haven’t had a lot of time to knit this week but I’m still making good progress through the first sleeve on my Dolly cardigan test knit for Truly Myrtle. I’m still working through the decreases and have just changed over one of the balls of yarn. I hope I’m working it the same way as the body so that the change of yarn doesn’t look too obvious or different. I hope to have this sleeve done by tomorrow night so that I can get onto the next one.

Finn’s Gramps cardigan is now done, having finished it early this week. I just need to sew in the ends and decide on buttons for it. Wooden buttons or dark blue buttons? I’ll give Kim some options.

Sewing

I finished sewing my Pattern Emporium Palazzo pants and I’m really happy with them. With the size requirements I needed either a 12 or 14. Because I wanted to have the stripes going down, it meant I had the less stretchy size across the low waist/high hip. I went with the 14 to account for less stretch but it turns out I was a couple of sizes out. The yoga waistband was across the maximum stretch and the 12 would have been plenty; the rest of the pants should have been a 10. I used the overlocker for all the sewing on this and at the top sides, I shaved off twice so that would have taken it to at least a 10. They are so very comfortable and I think I’ll get plenty of wear out of them. I intend to make another pair soon, this time using a lighter weight jersey. The fabric on these is quite structured so a lighter weight would drape more.

I was wondering the other night what I would be wearing with my Palazzo pants and decided a I needed a white top. I had recently purchased New Look N6620 and thought it would be really easy to whip up with some double knit white jersey I had in stash. I was correct. This only took a night to put together as it has only three pieces to the pattern. The front neck called for bias binding but, not having any white, I just cut a piece of the same fabric and used that. It worked just fine. It’s unusual for a wrap top as the wrap on this one is at the back – the front is on the left and the back is on the right. Then I put it next to my Palazzo pants and realised that it’s not quite navy and white striped – the white is an off white and just looked dirty next to the bright white of the top. I’m sure it will be fine with other bottoms and I think I’d prefer a navy top with the pants anyway.

There’s currently a big challenge happening in the sewing world and it’s called #frugalfrocks2021. This challenge was started by two Yorkshire sewists – Sam from Frugalisama and Ruan from The Yorkshire Sew Girl and has now taken on global proportions. The rules of this challenge is that you need to use a free pattern, fabric you have in your stash and make a dress in March to reveal on the 31st. That’s it! There are so many fantastic free patterns around and I’ve been working my way through all the YouTube videos that sewing vlogists are putting up each day for this challenge. I really liked a few patterns from Mood Sewciety – they have so many wonderful patterns, but in the end I chose one of the many from Peppermint Magazine. I have already made a couple of theirs – the Wrap top, the Boxy top (or Harvest Top) and the Ruffle Sleeve top. This time I’ve chosen the Button Up dress. All their patterns are by designers and you can get them for free via the Magazine online. They are now asking only for a small donation to keep things going. To make this pattern, I’ve chosen some linens that I had in stash – a navy and a cream. The dress has princess seams and I have cut the navy for the side panels and the cream for the centre panels in a colour block. For the lining I’m using a third piece of linen in a beige colour. There would have been enough of the navy but that wouldn’t look great under the cream panels. I’ll get to sewing on this later during the week.

Paraphernalia

I finished two books this week, firstly The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. I really enjoyed this novelisation of the writing and editing of the Oxford English Dictionary, especially after having read The Surgeon of Crowthorne several years back, a book on the same subject but from a different angle. The next finish was A Ripple in Time by Victor Zugg. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would! I’ve been keeping up with the latest Married at First Sight episodes and it’s certainly a lesson in human behaviour. Not what I would normally watch but now I’ve seen a couple of episodes, I feel I need to know what happens later. Other than that, I’ve had little time to watch shows this week.

I have a few things happening during the week. Some of the girls are coming to my place for a sewing day tomorrow. Next Friday, I have some old schoolfriends coming to stay until Monday and I’ll be setting up some crafting for them. We’ll be making some candles and then we’re going to make aprons. The pattern I’ve picked out is a patchwork one from Pinterest from the Suzy Quilts blog and I suggested we carve some stamps to put on one of the sections. That will keep us going for most of the weekend between sight seeing adventures. I shall have some photos for next week’s blog. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 6 March 2021. #137

Hello friends! Here in the southern hemisphere the weather has automatically taken on an autumn feel, like Mother Nature knew it was the first of March. You can smell it in the air, and the coolness of the mornings and evenings have more of a nip about it. The warmth of the day has a different depth to it; it’s really hard to explain but I do love autumn. Last Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk along the beaches at low tide. It was such a beautiful day and the sailboats were out an about. I managed two bike rides this week and it was quite fresh as I like to go early in the morning. We are still in Daylight Savings Time here, until 4th April, so the sun is rising later. I even got to photograph a wonderful sunrise; during the summer months the sun rises before me and further south. I also made some plum jam this week. Plums were on special so I grabbed a few. The recipe I used said to use one pound of plums to 1 cup of sugar, plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. My scales can do either metric or imperial so it was easy to follow this and it turned out I had exactly one pound. That made one decent jar of jam which is plenty for us as we don’t use it often. I actually forgot to add the lemon juice but it turned out just fine. Another recipe I’d seen suggested leaving the plums in the sugar overnight, which I ended up doing. It didn’t take very long to cook – I think it was about 20 minutes all up, if that.

Knitting

This week I finished off the i-cord binding on my Half Moon Oracle! It was great to finish it. You can see it here blocking. I started pinning but there was no real rhyme or reason with the border so I just spread it out nicely and left it to dry. It turned out considerably smaller than I expected but I think it will be just the right size, instead of enormous like some others.

The Dolly test knit for Truly Myrtle is coming along nicely. I’ve finished the body and I’m now about to start on the ribbing. The colours of the photos are just terrible. The hanging one is probably the closest but even that has too much red in it, whereas the other photo doesn’t have nearly enough. I hope to have the ribbing finished in a couple of days and then I’ll move on to the sleeves. I’m thinking I’ll use 9 inch circulars. I don’t normally like using them, preferring magic loop if it’s hard to keep count of the rows but I think it will be the quickest and most accurate. I’m always very tight on magic loop so that I need to go up a size.

Finn’s Gramps cardigan is nearly finished. I finished the sleeves and then I undid the bind off on the body ribbing so that I could redo it with smaller needles. It is much less flary now but still has plenty of stretch. I picked up the button band and collar stitches yesterday afternoon and I’m nearly finished the short rows for the collar. I’m really enjoying knitting this collar – I think it will be finished today! Again, the colours are not accurate – it’s darker than it’s showing here.

Spinning

I’m still working on the second bobbin of my latest spin. It doesn’t have much more to go now and there’s really not much to say about it, except it’s coming along nicely.

Sewing

Early this week I started the SeaChange Playsuit. I had a lot of trouble with the sewing as my tension was too tight for the satin causing it to pucker, even though it was reasonably low. I removed my walking foot (my Janome has a built in walking foot) and put on the normal sewing foot which seemed to help a bit but I ended up having to change back to the Microtex needle which I used for stretch. It was a quick and easy sew and I think it will work well as pjs. If I make another, it will be the longer playsuit, or maybe the jumpsuit. I haven’t worn it yet but it is finished. I also had enough of the satin to make some pyjama shorts, though I still need to add the waist elastic and hem the legs.