Hi everyone! So, I’m back to the full working week routine, sigh… it was nice having the time off while it lasted and now I have to make the most of my leisure time. Yesterday, I attended a sewing day with a few of my close crafting friends. We have a group that tries to meet every second Saturday of the month at different places as we are all living in different locations – Canberra, Sydney and several places on the south coast around me. My views this week included watching the sunrise each morning after my 5.00 am workout and yesterday’s fun with my crafting friends. We were at my friend Mary’s place – check out her awesome studio, and you can only see a small part of it. And she made me a HUGE cupcake birthday cake! It was a great day of catching up with these girls. I received my first birthday present, this awesome clock for my new studio. I’ll have to be patient as it will be quite a few months before I can put it up on the wall. I also received a beautiful hand sewn journal to which all my crafting friends contributed. It’s not quite complete but I’ll show it when I get the finished journal.
My intention for January is to finish a lot of the things that have been in my current rotation. I finished the Cerisara cardigan on the last day of 2018 and you’ll see coming up later in this blog that I finished my Texture Time KAL. For the rest of January, I hope to finish Fern and Feather, my How I Roll socks, Nightshift shawl, Sharman Cocoon, the Granny Square dress and the Inka blanket. As I’ll be sailing on the 30 January, the deadline for these is 29 January, a couple of days short of the end of the month. I don’t intend to take any of these with me and I hope I’ll achieve my goal of finishing them. I’ll also be bringing a few projects back into rotation and I am looking forward to getting them going again.
On Monday, I finished the colourwork on my Fern and Feather and on Tuesday night I wet blocked for a quick check before proceeding. Newstartknitting’s picture on the Grocery Girls Speedy Sweater KAL on Ravelry indicated that mine should be fine for size. I was also concerned that the last section of contrast colour is showing differently to the rest of the colourwork – not as plump, but this may be because the stitches are all individual.
The Speedy Sweater KAL started on 1 January and finishes on 31 January and you need to start and finish a sweater in this time. I had every intention of casting on this project as my New Year’s Day cast-on and, since it’s a worsted weight, I thought I’d have a go. I slowed a lot during the colourwork because of my concern in sizing. After seeing Newstartknitting’s picture I felt confident to move on and have tried to do a fair bit each day. Here you can see when I tried it on after separating for sleeves. There’s plenty of ease in the curling sleeve and body stitches. The bottom photo shows that I’ve just hit the waist and I’m about to start the hip shaping. I hope to have the body finished early this week and move onto sleeve island.
The relief I felt when I cast off the last stitch on my Texture Time KAL was huge. For a 5 week project, I think (and so do lots of others in the KAL) that it would have been a full time, single project effort to get this done in that time frame. OK, I haven’t sewn in the threads yet and I have a group of threads to make a decision on as to what I’ll be doing with them but, for all intents and purpose, this is finished! I started this on 6 October and finished it on 8 January – 3 months. And I worked on it for reasonable amounts of time most days each week, obviously less towards the end. To finish Clue 5, I decided not to do the fold over hem with three-needle bind off and chose to do an i-cord bind off instead. The reason is that I had to pick up stitches from the back about 12 rows down and I could not work out exactly which stitches were to be picked up. The dropped stitches did not make that very easy and also, 12 rows further down, there were more stitches than the current row. You can see the back of Clue 5 in the picture below. Knowing whether I picked up in the correct stitches would have been a nightmare. The i-cord option took more stitches/time to bind off and I also added another row of dropped stitches but it was a much more preferable bind off. The i-cord was an option for several others in this KAL. The reason for the extra row of dropped stitches was that binding off after the last 6-row section made a very flat edge after the pleating of the dropped stitches. It only took one more row to make the bind off section match the rest of Clue 5. The border is also a little bit wider doing it this way but I was not going to frog 6 or more rows of 600 odd stitches each. I’m happy with the result and I hope to have it blocking today, or should I wait until I’ve sewn the ends in?
I’m on the last section of my How I Roll Socks but I’ll have to do some surgery on these as they are way too long for my foot. I’ll have to pick up at the end of the blue section and re-knit the toe using the afterthought method. That will just be like knitting from cuff down instead of how I did it from toe up. It means the toe colour may all be lost, which was Day 1 of the Twelve Days of Christmas minis. I’ll just do less of the blue so that there’s some of the original colour still in the sock. There were three options of heel available for these socks and I chose the Eye of Partridge heel. The others were the Slipped Stitch heel which I had previously done and a Reverse Slipped Stitch heel. I know I had said in a previous blog that I’d never done a heel flap and gusset but have remembered that I did actually do a Slipped Stitch heel on my Beachgrass socks (by Joji Locatelli). The difference between the Slipped Stitch and Eye of Partridge (EoP) heels is that the slipped stitch is offset in alternate rounds in the EoP heels. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting these socks and I think it went quickly because of the colour change – I just wanted to get to the next colour. The fact that they are shorties helped too. I only have a few more rows before I do Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind-off.
I still have a good amount of the Twelve Days of Christmas minis left, about 9 grams of each. I think I’ll join these for a magic ball for some future project.
I’m steadily moving towards the end of my Nightshift shawl by Andrea Mowry. I’m glad that the colours can easily be adapted as I’ve just reversed the latest colour combination of caramel and orange, which means I’ve also had to reverse the last section of dark blue and caramel. There are not many rows left to finish this, except that the rows are longer and longer.
Back Into Rotation: Finally, I was able to bring my good friend, Sharman Cocoon, back into rotation! I really enjoy knitting on this and there’s not very much to go until it’s finished. This is one on my “Finish in January” list and I think it’s definitely achievable. I may have one more colour to add, maybe two, before I divide for the sleeve cuffs and bottom band.
The Granny Square Dress is very close to being finished. I have put the skirt together and attempted to gather the top edge yesterday. That wasn’t very successful as I’d obviously not loosened the tension enough and hadn’t realised. I think it should be done today. I have hemmed the skirt but I will try it on for length and adjust that when I gift it. I think it will be a bit too long.
The next step of the HST Quilt is complete, having put all strips together. Next is to add the borders and sandwich prior to quilting.
Next Friday is my birthday and, of course, there has to be a celebratory Birthday cast-on! Is one cast-on enough for a special birthday? I’ve mentioned that Andrea Mowry’s Bauble shawl is a project that’s been ready and willing to be cast on for quite some time. So I should be able to cast that on while having my cuppa before leaving for work. We’ll be driving to Wollongong that afternoon for a birthday dinner with my children and their partners and my little granddaughter Evelyn. It’s my son’s birthday on Sunday so we always have a combined celebration. My son and his wife (and of course Evie) live in Wollongong and my daughter and her husband will be driving down from Sydney to meet us halfway. That will mean I get an hour and a half of knitting time during the drive. I may make it a week of celebratory cast-ons – birthdays should last at least a week, shouldn’t they? I certainly have some ready to go!
Cruise Packing Plans: Only 17 more days until we head on our cruise. At the moment, I’ve decided to definitely take my new Baubles project and my Round the Garden hand stitching on the cruise. Obviously, that is not enough as you never know what you’ll be able to work on so I’m thinking of taking my Brisa top and the next pair of socks I’ve planned. The socks will be great for carrying in my bag when we head out sightseeing in each port and there will be plenty of relaxing time to do all the other projects when we’re on the ship.
This week, I’ll be back to a full work routine with my weekly drive to Canberra on Tuesdays, returning on Thursdays. That means I’ll get lots of listening time for my new book and my regular podcasts. I have The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn ready to go. And I’ll have my bag of scheduled WIPs with me. A great tip I’ve picked up from the Happier podcast is that something that can be done at any time will be done never. That’s why I always schedule my crafting intentions for the week. I actually over-program but that covers any unanticipated stumbling blocks. It’s better to have contingency WIPs than to be stuck doing nothing.
Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!