Welcome to my little crafting corner of the internet! Today I’m posting from a very windy south coast of New South Wales. It has been windy since Thursday, and I don’t mean just a strong breeze but more like a constant gale. Unfortunately, it was also garbage night on Thursday night and there were many casualties. Today started quite bleak but the sun has come out again so hopefully it won’t be as bad as I thought.
Our retreat was a resounding success again this year. In the patchwork section down below I’ve put a collage of the beautiful quilts that were worked on. Some were started, some were finished and some were started and finished during the week! There was a lot of hand stitching, knitting and crochet going on too. And we ate very well! These are some shots of our group in action. Spoiler alert – this is going to be a picture heavy post!
I can’t post this blog without photos of the beautiful views from the house. The sunrises and sunsets were glorious. Our walks each morning were shared with some horses training on the beach and they were beautiful animals.
I didn’t do as much knitting as I normally would this week as there were many other crafts and activities happening. I managed to finish the body of my Humulus sweater and will start on sleeve island this week. I’m so glad to have picked this one up again and I hope to have it finished before the end of Stash Dash on the 24th of this month. I have not made any modifications on this project and the fit is lovely. I can’t wait to finish it as I may still get to wear it before Spring settles in properly next month. Though the weather at the moment is more glacial than normal!
Another project that got plenty of love this week is my Millie sweater. I finished the body of this yesterday while watching some podcasts (Mina’s Knitting Expat podcast shown here) and the football was on in the background. The fire was on right next to me so it was nice and cosy. The ribbing seemed to go on for ever. I’m sure I was at 3 inches for way too long. Every time I measured it, it was still 3 inches! I finally finished casting off last night after watching the latest Handmaid’s Tale and halfway through the Eldenwood Craft podcast. I’ll start the sleeves this week and I’m not expecting them to take too long as they are three quarter length. I have been alternating the two balls shown and there is 28 grams and 21 grams left of each, respectively. I’ll halve them today and will work the two sleeves at a time but with separate balls, and I intend to knit as far as the yarn lets me. I don’t mind if the sleeves are elbow length; sitting in the crook of the arm length.
I nearly forgot to mention my Tuileries sweater. There is slow progress on this one because it is twisted rib and I’m only doing a couple of rows a day. I do like how it’s coming along though!
Yesterday I tried to do some plying with the yarn I’d spun up on my wheel. They are my first and second bobbins and the first was well overspun. I’m not having much luck plying the two together as it seems the bobbin is not taking the yarn in. It works if I don’t hold the singles but then they just wind themselves and become a mess. I think I’ll need to go to the Spinners and Weavers for some more help before I try to ply my spindle yarn. I’ll start off some new bobbins now that I’m able to control the draw better.
I have made considerable progress on my spindle spin. I’m still getting the dropsies but I’ve worked out now that it means I haven’t spun enough. I think I move up too quickly and need to spin more and move slowly. Since working that out, I have had better progress but still need to stop and think to go slower once I’ve been spinning for a little bit. The photo shows the three bobbins ready to ply. My first spindle spin is on the left, the second in the middle and the third I started a new spindle as the second one kept breaking. The latest spindle only has the fibre attached and the three slivers on the left to go and I’ll then start the last one, fibre showing at the bottom. That fibre is equal to the amount for this latest spindle.
I showed last week that I had cut out the fabric for the Ashton top by Helen’s Closet and here it is finished. It was an easy sew; the hardest part was pinning and sewing the bias facings but I can’t really say they were hard, just lots of pins. There are no actions shots for this one as, though I can get it on, it’s a little too tight to be comfortable. I’ll make the next one the next size up. There are several hacks up for this one now so maybe the next one will be one of those.
Most of my days this week were spent at the machine so I made considerable progress on the patchwork projects I need to get done. The first one, here, is my nautical quilt using lots of different fabrics from a series called Anchors Aweigh, a 2011 RJR Fabrics. That means I probably bought these in 2012 and they have been waiting patiently since. I made it up as I went along but had always wanted to start with the Mariner’s Compass block int he centre This quilt will be for my dad for his birthday in October. He loves anything nautical so he should like it. I have lots of fabric left over so the next step will be to piece those bits together for the backing, then sandwiching and quilting. First, I want to add an “N” “S” “W” “E” to the borders around the compass.
Before I move onto the next part of my dad’s quilt, I’ll need to finish this one for a friend’s new granddaughter. I had forgotten the due date so when I got news that she’d arrived, I quickly galvanised into action and found some disappearing nine patch blocks that I’d made a year or two ago that I had intended for baby gifting. I put the patches together this week at the retreat and added a border. Now for sandwiching and quilting. This quilt is using some Snow Days fabric by Moda that I bought a good while ago. This one is the girl version – I have some blocks done with a majority of blues so I’ll have those for a boy at some point. Since this arrival, there has been another baby girl arrive and yesterday I found some blocks I had cut ready for stitching that I’ll be able to use. Unfortunately, there is no pattern with that project so I’ll have to be a little bit creative!
Here is the collage that I mentioned earlier. These patchwork projects were worked on by my lovely friends. Everyone is sooooo talented!
Well, finally, I have made some decent progress on my Round the Garden quilt. The pattern is by Wendy Williams but I have changed some of the centre sections. I have seen some wonderful versions of this quilt. My friend Jenny was also working on hers at the retreat this week. The bottom left quadrant is about complete now (centre picture). I only had to finish the leaves and I now just need to add bird’s eyes and the rooster needs legs. The top left quadrant is divided into two sections and I’ve made the larger part into a view of Jervis Bay from my deck/window. I can’t actually see sand, towels and umbrellas from there but that adds to the story. You can see the sun at the top, clouds, Point Perpendicular and a RAN ship, a whale, sailboats and fish, and on the beach a couple of towels and an umbrella and what will be Pied Oystercatchers, a local bird. There is a two inch circle that goes around the whole centre section (you can see the green stitching defining the circle) which will need to be filled with flowers. That is going to take a lot of circles so it was a great time saver that Jenny brought her Sizzix machine and I was able to cut out circles from all the colours in my felt stash. The photo at bottom left shows the pieces that I haven’t yet removed the circles from. That should keep me going for some time. If I don’t fill the circle, I have a couple of friends now with the die required to cut these so I’ll pay a visit and cut more. I’m not sure what I’ll put into the final small section. The pattern has garden pots with lots of flowers so I may just go with that. The piece de resistance will be the final section of houses, trees and lighthouses around the whole thing. I have about one third of that ready to go on.
Apart from my walks on the beach each morning and afternoon, I did not leave the retreat, choosing to keep crafting instead of shopping but I did manage to pick up a couple of lovely bits and pieces. My friend Cathie had some lovely undyed yarn from a friend who is From Ewe to You. This yarn is 100% grown and spun Australian wool. The label describes that the yarn has been created from soft lamb’s fleece using gentle processes. I have two skeins, one is an 8 ply (DK) and the other 4 ply (fingering). I’ll be saving these super soft skeins for something special so I will know how I’ll dye them when I made that decision. The other acquisition is three bags of Ashford fibre; two are merino/silk slivers in peppercorns and storm colourways and the third is alpaca merino in the seamist colourway. These will be great for spinning, either on the wheel or spindle! My friend Vicki picked these out for me – she was calling in at the Glenora Weaving and Wool shop and I asked if she could pick me up some fluff while she was there.
I was too busy this week being social and enjoying everyone’s company so I have a lot of podcasts to catch up on. I did watch this week’s Handmaid’s Tale last night and I think the season finale is next week. And I’m still listening to Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon. This and The Binding by Bridget Collins are my Book Club books for this month and I need to finish them by the 20th. I’ve also started getting into the book shown below, Yarnitecture by Jillian Moreno. I purchased this some time last year and I recently saw Jillian interviewed by Fruity Knitting which spurred me to get the book out. It discusses everything to do with fibres from fluff to yarn and how to design your spin to suit the product you are trying to achieve. I’m not ready for some of the more technical sections but this will be good to grow my experience with spinning and more of it will become more relevant as I get more experience.
This week will be the first of my new life without work. The retreat last week doesn’t qualify as I have been attending every year for so many years that it was a normal part of life. Now I’ll need to structure my time so that I am productive but still get time to chill. I’ll be able to spend more time with already-retired friends, and more time with family – my children and their partners, granddaughter, and my parents. One project I have is to help my parents de-clutter and, at the same time, do the same for myself in the lead up to the demolish and rebuild of our home scheduled for February. We’ll be looking at all the inclusions we need to pick for the new house. I don’t think I’ll get bored!
I hope this long post wasn’t too much but it’s been a big and fun-filled week. I definitely needed to share all of this. So, in closing today, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!