Hello everyone! I’ve had such a relaxing week off this week. It all began last Sunday visiting friends at the next town along the coast – Hyams Beach. It’s pretty famous around the world for the whitest sands, though you can’t see that from the picture below (top left, view from their cottage). The secret is that our beaches have the same white sands but I won’t give that away! I also managed one early morning run on the beach which only exacerbated a sore back. No more running this week though it’s not the running that does it. I did see some lovely sunrises, one where the fog totally obliterated Beecroft and Point Perpendicular out over the bay.
It was such a relaxing week that I even manage some bed knitting most mornings! Wednesday was hairdresser day and I always have some knitting with me. Thursday was ANZAC Day – I was going to attend the dawn service but my back decided otherwise. I wanted to make some ANZAC biscuits but didn’t have any golden syrup in the cupboard so I made them on Friday instead. There are three choices for these biscuits – soft and chewy, thin and crispy, dark and crunchy. I went for the latter but ended up with a mixture as the outside was crunchy but the inside was a bit chewy. I think I should have flattened them a bit thinner in the middle but we got the best of both worlds. These biscuits are quite a tradition for Australians, and I suppose for New Zealanders too. The biscuits were sent by wives and women’s groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. Friday night we had a Chinese meal at the local Golf Club for 2 birthdays – it’s a great way for the group to get together monthly. And, finally, last night we had friends from Sydney over for dinner and a great catch up. So relaxing and full of fun!
Well, it seems that an endless sea of sleeve islands is ahead for me. Starting with my Graphica sweater. I’ve finished the body and started the right sleeve. The first pattern is finished – I’ll put this onto another cable and do the same for the other side before I move on to the next pattern. I’m using a Chiaogoo Red 9 inch circular and it’s like re-learning how to do colourwork! The needles are only 2 inches long so my left hand is struggling to tension the yarn. I think I must use the normal left needle as a stabiliser. You can see the elastic band I’m using as a stitch stopper. I wonder if Chiaogoo has these. I think this sleeve island should move quite well as I’ll work on a pattern at a time.
Sleeve island number 2 will be my Ochre cardigan test. I’m currently finishing the band after having done the lace, but I’ve hit a snag – or several snags. I was pulling from the centre of the ball and ended up with massive yarn barf. I spent a good hour unravelling as I don’t want to cut and have a join right in the middle of the band. I’ve nearly fixed it but still have a little bit of unravelling to go. There are only 2 rows and the bind off left for the band and then it’s sleeve island. They are only three quarter length sleeves so shouldn’t take too long. D-Day is 13th May so I have two weeks to get them done.
Sleeve island number three will be my Sunday sweater. I only bound off this morning so will move onto the sleeves very soon. I used Lori’s Twisty Bind Off as this was highly recommended by Carolyn of Dunderknit (Knitting Vicariously). This method seems to be very true to its name but it took me a few minutes to figure out how to start off. The bind off has you twisting the right needle right around in both directions and the tutorial uses a sample square. My needle was firmly implanted in the stitches on the right-hand side so there was no way I could twist it. I did finally have a light bulb moment realising that I should remove the needle and use it separately. I put it on another cable and again realised that was silly as there was this wayward cable flying around each time I twisted so finally removed that and was cooking with gas (as we say down here). The twisting motion is quite tiring for the right shoulder but it worked really well.
Sleeve island number 4 is my Bell Sleeved top. I’ve bound off on the body of this sweater and need to move onto the sleeves now. Considering I’m using DK instead of worsted, I ended up on only the second size and it’s still a little loose. The silk/merino blend and weight should ensure it will drop rather than stretch any further sideways.
Now for some sleeve relief! I’ve really been enjoying my You Win or You Die Game of Thrones KAL project, the Leftovers Cowl. In the pictures below, Episode 1 is at top left and I’ve only managed about a quarter of Episode 2 so far. I didn’t decide on the final project until mid last week so I’ve had some catching up to do. I have 33 characters and I am expecting some to disappear soon. The bottom picture shows where I’m up to with Episode 2 – the grey purl stitch yarn is the episode divider. I started with quite a narrow tube and decided that I needed to add another repeat to make it more comfortable knitting. You can see where that happens in the right side picture but this won’t be noticeable once the cowl is wrapped around the neck. I’ll just have to decrease these stitches when I get to the end so that I’m able to join onto the beginning provisional cast on.
I have only made minor progress on my Blaise shawl, moving through the greens. I’m only about three or four colours away from the widest part of the shawl and I’m concerned it will not be very wide at all. I have weighed the grey yarn (that’s the most limited one) and if I’ve used less than half when I get to halfway, then I’ll add a colour or two. I don’t think I’ll have a lot but there may be one or two repeats in it.
The Lanesplitter skirt has moved into the final leg, so to speak. I’ve reached the measurement for the width of my skirt and have turned up the side. The measurement required is the widest part – obviously the hips. This should go very quickly now as you decrease two stitches every two rows. I’d like to wear this next week, so we’ll see how I go. I have to actually sew up the sides so that may mean it never gets worn! And, I nearly forgot, I have to knit the waistband too.
I was able to start using my own dyed self-striping/self-patterning yarn this week. I had to wind it by hand in the first instance and started a second ball once I got to 50 grams. It’s supposed to be a 100-gram skein but I ended up with 60 grams for the second ball. I’m not complaining but I should have weighed it in the first instance and I may have divided them evenly. Once they were balled up, I caked them up, that way I can also pull from the centre. The balls/cakes look quite pretty. I started first off with a pair of socks for me and decided on top down for some reason. I usually start from the toe. As I had suspected, I had not dyed each section long enough. The pattern is not very noticeable on my socks so thought I’d also make some baby socks which does show the patterning much better though they are only thin stripes. I’m doing all four concurrently pulling the baby socks from the centre of the balls and my socks from the outside. I was doing alright but seem to have tangled myself in moving them all a few times. There should be plenty of yarn for each pair though toe up may have been a better option for mine as I could knit till the yarn is finished. I may restart them as I haven’t done a lot yet. For the baby socks, I’m using the Toe Up Baby Socks pattern.
Inka the Little Llama has finally made an appearance. I sewed in the ends on the bobbles and have made the head. It doesn’t look like very much at the moment. Ears and arms are next, then the embellishments. If I try for a little section here and there, it should be finished in a week or two – not promising anything!
Last Monday, my friend Mary came over for a sewing day. We cut out and started sewing our Sydney dresses by Style Arc. The hard part was cutting out the pattern, pinning and cutting the fabric. That took the whole morning. We did manage to get a good way into the dress but Mary had to leave before we could finish. I continued for a bit afterwards but ran out of cotton! What a rookie error. How could I expect a small reel of thread to last the whole dress? I must say that Style Arc is not a pattern company for beginners. The instructions are very rudimentary – the instructions only say to sew this bit or join that bit, expecting that you know how to do it. There was some very minor explanation included for one or two bits but, I repeat, very minor. Anyway, I’ve finished the bodice and was just joining the bodice to the bottom part of the dress when I ran out of thread. I also have the hem band to put on. I could have driven into Nowra to get the thread but I didn’t think that driving for an hour return trip during the school holidays was worth it just for a reel of cotton. I’ll be able to call in after work tomorrow and pick that up. The fabric we used is a cotton/linen blend from Spotlight so it’s very affordable, especially with a 40% sale but it is so thin! I’m hoping it’s not see-through when worn. It may require some sort of undergarment – we’ll see how it goes.
As I was at an impasse with the Sydney dress, I thought I’d move onto the Metamorphic dress by Sew Liberated. The instructions for this dress are very comprehensive and well illustrated. This will be much more complicated to put together as it is essentially two dresses together. I have found a YouTube video which shows how to do the “Burrito Method” – I’ve looked at the instructions but I can’t get my head around what is actually happening there so the video will be crucial. I’m not close to that point yet. This is a good contender for doing a few steps at a time so I started with the pockets, shown below. There are front pockets on the top layer and side pockets for the bottom layer. I did forget to wash the fabric before I started so I hope it doesn’t end up too small after the first wash! I purchased the fabric at The Fabric Store in Sydney and it wasn’t cheap. I can’t remember if it’s pure linen or a blend but it does seem a little more substantial than the fabric I have for the Sydney dress.
I am so impressed with the softness of my Sunday sweater in the KnitPicks Wonderfluff yarn that I ordered more. The plan for this Wellies Heather colourway is a Turtle Dove sweater. I had intended for the camel yarn I’d purchased to be for the Turtle Dove but cast on the Sunday Sweater instead. I decided on a black Turtle Dove because I have a hole in my wardrobe for a plain black sweater. I’m liking the funnel type necks at the moment and I think that would be great with items such as my Lanesplitter skirt and black boots. I’m not going to start it yet but, like the Sunday sweater, it’s a quick knit with large needles so maybe it will be done to wear this winter. The yarn is 70% baby alpaca, 7% merino, 23% nylon.
Aside from my small weekly dose of Game of Thrones, this week I finished watching Secret City – the Netflix show set in Canberra. From that, I moved on to the latest season of Peaky Blinders which is keeping me riveted most nights. I also watched a lovely movie on Netflix called About Time which is from the creators of Love Actually. Definitely a feel-good movie! I still haven’t started a new audiobook as I’ve been occupied with my audio podcasts.
I’ll be easing myself into work on Monday with a catch-up breakfast and I’m not looking forward to Canberra as the temperatures are plummeting. On the coast here, we’re already in single digits at night so I’m expecting some frosts in Canberra. Next weekend, I’ll be away down the coast at Lake Conjola with some girlfriends while our husbands are on a golf weekend so that will be relaxing – some bushwalks, maybe some kayaking and a lot of sitting around chatting, games, eating and drinking. I shall also be knitting and likely the only one. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!