Hello! This Sunday I’m posting from sunny but hazy Sydney. We are moving through winter quite quickly now and, for us down under, it will be Spring in exactly 14 days. I’m not expecting it to get very warm too quickly though today is supposed to be about 23 degrees Celcius!
This week has been very relaxing as I try to settle into a routine. I have managed to get a few things done but I also found that I have been knitting less, getting into different activities during the days. I am moving back into my exercise routine and had three lovely mornings running along one of our local beaches. I say running but it’s more like a shuffle as I get back to where I was previously. It’s amazing how good I feel after a session on the beach. You can see the lovely views I get to take in while I’m out there.
On Friday night, we went to our local Golf Club for a birthday celebration – there were four birthdays we celebrated but one was a special 60th.
Yesterday was an early start and I had a lovely visit with my son and his wife and, especially, baby Evie. We had such fun playing together before I finished my journey to Sydney. On the way through to my mum and dad’s place, I made a couple of stops. Firstly to Skein Sisters as I needed a new cable for my Chiaogoo interchangeables and then to the button shop in Newtown – All Buttons Great and Small for some buttons for my Preparer son Arrivee cardigan. I think I have the right ones now but it was still hard to match anything.
During the afternoon with my mum and dad, I went for a walk up the main street to see what was happening in my old neighborhood. I took some pics of the local old buildings that I was happy to see are being looked after and maintained for posterity. I also walked through the local markets that I’d forgotten were on every Saturday. These markets have been famous for a long time, attracting visitors from far and wide.
I have continued to concentrate on the same four projects this week, but mainly 2 of these. Firstly, I’m making reasonable ground on my Humulus sweater. I picked up the sleeves and started knitting with a larger size needle. I remember on my Feather and Fern that knitting the sleeves two at a time made them very tight. I knitted the Humulus body with 4.0 mm and am using 4.5 mm needles on the sleeves. The stitches seem to blend with the other stitches so I think it’s working well. I’m hoping to have this finished for Stash Dash, which ends at midnight on the 24th. I think that gives me a little bit more time as that means 25th August here – I’ll just need to check what time exactly.
The other main project this week was my Millie sweater. This one is also on sleeve island but, unlike the Humulus, the decision to use larger needles was not a good idea. I think this is because of the difference in the weight of the yarn. The fingering weight was already using a whopping 4.5 mm needles so using 5.0 mm tipped it over the scale of being a very loose stitch. I got several rows into the sleeves when I finally made the call to rip them out and start again with the 4.5 mm needles. To avoid the tightness from knitting two at a time, I decided to decrease to the second size rather than the first so that there are more stitches. I am all but finished the sleeves but just had to call it a night last night. Once the smallest ball is finished, then I will be done. The first photo shows how I’d split the balls for two at a time and helical knitting. I managed some TV knitting with this one while watching the Cady Jax podcast. You may be able to see how the stitches look very messy in the top section of the middle picture.
The only other knitting project I’ve worked on this week is my socks. That is because they are portable and I needed portable knitting. The first was when I was waiting at the doctor’s office for two hours and the second when I had breakfast in town after an annual fasting blood test. I managed to find a toe-up pattern that uses a heel flap – it’s the How I Roll socks that I already had in my library. I probably have another inch or so to do before I start the heel. I like how the stripes are moving along and it’s quite addictive to get to the next colour all the time.
I haven’t done much on my Tuileries pullover, mainly to get the Humulus and Millie done for Stash Dash, so it’s not worth showing what will look the same as last week. I did, however, get out one of my languishing WIPs. I’ve had it in mind to make another shawl but thought that it would be good to finish my Rugby shawl before starting any others. I only spent some time working out where I was, what needles I had stolen from the project and I knitted 2 rows to get the feel of it. It’s a very simple pattern but has a beautiful applied border. This will be in my knitting rotation starting next week.
I really got into my spinning wheel this week. I started with some fibre that I had dyed some time ago, more specifically for using when felting. I’m pretty sure that it is merino as I don’t think I’ve had much else. I do have a stash of Corriedale but I’m not sure what I will do with it as it is a very short staple and not smooth. This could be improved with blending so I’ll give that a go at some point. With this merino, I decided to use my carding combs to prep them into fauxlags and this worked very well. I spun up all the blue fluff and then started a new spindle with some rusty orange. I then managed to ply the two together. It is purposefully barber-poled as I thought it would be a good exercise to see how the plying went. I find that plying is awkward because the lazy kate doesn’t have any tension and the yarn is plying itself together as it rolls loosely off the bobbins. I’m seriously thinking about getting a tensioned lazy kate to help with this. This spin will help add 139.5 m to my Stash Dash total. The meterage for spinning is worked out at the length x 3, one length for each of the single spins and one length for the plying.
I went to my first local Spinners and Weavers group on Thursday. This one is called The Wool Road Spinners and Weavers for my local area and the ladies are lovely. I actually knew one of the ladies there, though not very well but having a common friend made it like we’d known each other well. It was a great first class to go to because they had a talk about using and caring for our wheels. It helped consolidate some of the information that I’ve assimilated from YouTube and books. At this meeting, I started on some more of my own dyed merino fibre and I hope for that and one other amount to be spun together for another amount for Stash Dash. I should be able to get them done this week. The wheel is sooooo much faster than the spindle.
I’m still working on my spindle spin and have very little left to do. I know that the wheel is much faster but there is definitely something therapeutic in spindle spinning. I’ve been using the half-hour of the Million Dollar Hot Seat before dinner to spin each weekday. I only have five more bits to spin so that will be a maximum of five more days. Then I will ply the whole lot – the first two spindles which is probably about 150 grams and this latest twos spindle’s worth which will be up close to 100 grams. Again, I hope for these to add to my Stash Dash total.
Last week, I mentioned that I’d found some cut patchwork pieces and decided to use them for a baby quilt. The pieces were 9 x 20 inch and 3 x 20 inch but, without a pattern, I was at a loss. I started by stitching the skinny bits onto the wider bits and then cut them into blocks. That was fine, but I needed to take some sides off to join them with other blocks and also to get the fabric pieces to match. It took some working out to get a pattern that looked decent and, in the end, I went with an L shape getting smaller to the other diagonal. Is that description confusing? You can see the blocks laid out on our spare bed. The photos probably aren’t very clear either as there are only three strips sewn up. The sashing can’t be finalised until I add another fabric as what I have left can’t be used as posts because they would butt up against themselves. I’ll have to dig into stash to see if I can add something there.
The Snow Days quilt now has a backing. I purchased this fabric from Spotlight the other day and had to piece a bit down one side to get to the size to fit. I have scheduled the sandwiching of the quilt for next week so then I can start quilting it. That is something I’ll need to work out too – how am I going to quilt this?
I didn’t get to any stitching on my Round The Garden quilt or any dressmaking-type sewing this week. I have come to realise that I may not actually be able to do absolutely everything I want to do now that I’m retired. My list of projects and activities are way too long, especially with some socialising thrown in!
As I mentioned, I purchased some fabric from Spotlight for the Snow Days baby quilt backing and a trip to Spotlight would not be normal if I didn’t leave with some remnants! This week’s remnant additions are, clockwise from top left:
- PTD Sateen Dual Spot, rust – 127 cm x 2 m
- Animal Print Jaguar, multi – 112 cm x 1.45 m
- PTD Cotton Drill M/Reaux Spots, black – 114 cm x 0.9 m
- Eclipse Crepe, Black – 147cm x 0.85 m
I called in at Skein Sisters on my way to Sydney yesterday as I needed a cable for my Chiaogoo interchangeables. It seems that the size I need is always on another project. While I was there, I found the beautiful Julie Asselin yarns that I hadn’t actually seen in person. Of course, I didn’t leave without a couple of those in my possession. I picked up some Leizu Fingering in the Folk colourway (left) and Fall River (right). These are 90% superwash merino and 10% silk. I think these could be good candidates for the Stephen West Exploration Station shawl that I’ve been wanting to make for some time now. I’m pretty sure I have a few other candidates possibly hiding in my stash to go with them. I’ll definitely check that out when I’m home. Otherwise, I know that they will be very good for something sooner or later.
I haven’t watched the finale of the Handmaid’s Tale yet and I’m keeping that for when I get home on Monday. I did finish watching the final season of Suits, though I’m not sure that it’s actually the final but I can’t imagine that Meghan Markle will be featuring in any future seasons. I finished the book I was listening to – Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really liked the main character and the storyline did keep me guessing. That was a Book Club book and we have another one, The Binding by Bridget Collins, that I have just started. This one is totally different from the previous one being more of a magical type genre, but that’s my initial impression. It may be nothing like that. We have our next Book Club meeting on Tuesday night so I hope I can get this one finished by then.
I think this coming week will be another relaxing one, once I’m home tomorrow. I’ll be spending today with my daughter, then tomorrow morning will have a quick visit with my parents and then on to Wollongong on my way home for a visit with Kim and Evie. Apart from Book Club, I’ll also be catching up with a couple of girlfriends on Wednesday afternoon.
There are lots of crafting plans for me for the coming week and I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!