Hello friends! We are now heading into the last week of winter and the weather has been up and down the thermometer. Last Sunday and Monday mornings, I enjoyed walking around Ballast Point at Birchgrove, taking in the beautiful views across Sydney Harbour. Monday lunch saw a different, but just as nice, view of Wollongong Harbour before a visit with Kim and Evie.
We have had lots of sunshine but the temperatures have vacillated between highs of 13 and 22 degrees Celcius. This was compounded by winds which made the 13 feel so much worse. One particular day, I think it was Tuesday, the winds were actually gale force and you can see that in the picture below, with the white caps and waves in Jervis Bay. The other days were beautiful. There was a fabulous bright orange moon on one night, though the photo doesn’t do it justice. Tuesday night was Book Club, which I can now attend full time again. We had a pleasant evening and have a couple of more books to read before the next get-together.
Early in the week, our neighbours removed some trees which only helped to make our view even better. You can see the before and after pictures here and some more clearing not shown in this photo. It will help with letting in the winter sunshine to warm the house. Last night, we had a pleasant evening with some friends and enjoyed a suspenseful game of Jenga. You can only use one hand when removing the blocks!
Finished Object #1: Just in time for the end of Stash Dash, the Humulus sweater is now finished and blocked and I love it. Unfortunately, the weather is warming up but I think we’ll still have some cool days. I do need to sew in the ends but there are very few of them. The yarn was a little crispy but has come up very nicely with a good soak. I used Hillesvag Tinde Pelsulgarn that I bought from Norway last year. The main colour is Naturgra, which is a beautiful steel grey, along with Petrol for the colourwork. I still have a sweater quantity in tan and some contrasting colours left so they will become a colourwork sweater for next winter.
Finished Object #2: Again adding to my Stash Dash total, the Millie sweater is now complete and it won’t be long before I can wear it. This will be perfect for the start of Spring. I nearly used up all the yarn from the two skeins, with only 9 grams of the Fiber Lily and 13 grams of the Hedgehog Sock yarn left. I joined the remains of those with a magic knot and they will go into my advent pile or toward my Kettle Valley poncho which uses lots and lots of scrap sock yarn. I had intended to knit the sleeves until one of the yarns ran out but I started the rib a little early. I felt that continuing would have made the rib on the sleeves look weird being too long. And I was kind of over the two at a time sleeve ribbing.
Now that Stash Dash is officially over, I am moving on with my other projects in current rotation. The Tuileries sweater got a little love this week while sitting waiting for a doctor’s appointment which always takes way too long. Lucky I have my knitting and podcasts to keep me occupied. With this one, I wanted the funnel neck to be not as wide as in the picture so I started with the smallest number of stitches and it is going very nicely. I’ve now done 4 inches of the neck and I’ll be increasing to the correct number shortly, to get the bottom part of the funnel to the correct size. I will need to work out what the correct number of stitches should be, since I’m using a fingering weight as opposed to the sport weight recommended in the pattern, along with smaller needles. The neck is currently larger than I thought it might be so I may be better to do the M size rather than the L that I had originally worked out.
The Rugby shawl is also moving well now. Again, I have adjusted the pattern in order to use the yarn that I have. From my original calculations when I started the project I should be nearly ready to start the applied border but it appears that I have copious amounts of yarn remaining. I was doing the small size but I’m thinking of doing the medium. I will just need to have the right number of stitches for the pattern of the applied border and, currently, my stitch count doesn’t match what the pattern indicates. The issue is whether there will be enough yarn for the applied border. That will be the solid red, selected so that the lace will show best. I am thinking that I can risk it and, if necessary, finish any of the applied border with the other yarn which is not as contrasting as I first thought it would be. Though, I must say, in the photo it’s quite obvious. I may put it on a longer cable as I have a very long one not currently being used.
There’s not a great deal of progress on my socks and that’s because I suspected I was very close to starting the gusset and heel. I was working on these while I was waiting for my daughter in law and granddaughter to come home from Mother’s Group. It was convenient as it was lunchtime and I sat at a cafe with a great view and knitted while I had lunch in the sun. Having now measured the socks, I was correct and will start the gusset when I pick these up next.
Finally! The buttons are on the Preparer son Arrivee and I think they are perfect. Perfect to look at but there are ten of them and they are not round. They will probably get easier to do up and undo after a few goes and the holes get bigger, as it always does. The colour in these two photos are quite different but it’s the same project. The right one is pretty much accurate. You can see how I add the buttons with the little safety pins, pinned through the holes to start with and I do them up as I go along to make sure it’s all going well. There are too many to redo if the last one is in the wrong place.
I have now finished my second wheel spin and have moved onto a new project. For the second spin, I used some more of my own dyed fibre in red and orange to get the barber poled effect shown in the picture. This fibre yielded 51 grams and 127.5m in an average DK weight.
The spindle spin is also complete and I really love the results. Because of the amount of yarn, I plied these on the wheel which is much easier than doing it on the spindle and there is no way I’d have fit it all on the spindle anyway. As it is, on the wheel I had to stop plying and start a new bobbin as it was starting to overflow. From the first spindle amount (the three bobbins on the left), I got a worsted weight of 106 grams and 127m. The remainder of that spindle produced more worsted weight of 33 grams and 45m. My second spindle was much finer, having considerably mastered the technique and I got a nice sport weight average of 71 grams and 160m. You can see the difference in comparing the two – 106 and 71 grams and 127m and 160m respectively. In the bottom right picture, the sport weight is obviously the one on the left.
I think all these yarns would make a great Andrea Mowry style project like the Shifty sweater but her pattern uses fingering weight and my yarns vary from a sport to a worsted weight.
I couldn’t wait to dive into my stash and see just what I actually had that I couldn’t remember. I chose these two fibres and I have started on the braid already. I want to start another spindle but I didn’t think either of these would be suitable – the braid because it has such a long staple and I thought it would make it very difficult and the two batts because there’s such a large amount that it would take months. I’ll dig a bit further and use a smaller amount on the spindle. After having watched copious amounts of Mina (Knitting Expat podcast) and Grace (Babbles Travelling Yarns podcast) demonstrating prep methods, I decided to split the braid (100 grams) into four long strands and spin two of these, end to end, on two bobbins. I have no idea what the content of the braid is – my friend Mary picked it up at the Fibre Festival in Maitland the year before last. As I suspected, the staple being so long made it interesting to get started and get the feel of the draw. I did manage to get into a rhythm finally and have finished the first two long strands (half the braid) on the first bobbin. The idea of spinning with this prep is to get a self-striping effect but I’m sure my spinning is not even enough to be exact and avoid barber poling. I think I will like the effect anyway. I should have the second bobbin done and both plied by next week. Watch this space.
I did get a fair bit of patchwork time this week. Firstly I sandwiched the Snow Days top and it is ready to quilt. I always use our outdoor table for sandwiching because I can clip the ends to it to hold it tight. The old way was to crawl around on the floor using masking tape to fix the backing firmly. I hated doing that then and I hate it even more now. This new way is very effective and so much easier. I haven’t started quilting yet as I only have one machine set up and I wanted to finish piecing before I reset the machine for quilting.
My other quilt top is now complete and ready for backing. I have some fabric and will need to piece it before I can sandwich the layers. I finally decided on a suitable pattern that used the fabric that I had, though I had to piece one red block to get enough squares. I also added the blue fabric for the posts. I’ll need to make a decision for the binding and would like to use the same blue fabric but doubt very much that I have enough left to do this.
Once I’ve pieced the backing for this and then the quilt backing for my dad’s nautical quilt, I’ll start a marathon quilting event. I should be able to finish a few audible books in the process.
I’ve been itching to get back to sewing my Metamorphic dress which has been languishing for several months but I didn’t want to change the thread during the patchwork piecing. Lazy, I know. But the thread was fine for doing the gathers on the skirt tops (x 4) and matched the top dress fabric so I sewed those skirts to the tops. I have the bottom dress pinned and ready to go today. I wonder if I can get this one about finished today? I’ve usually have had enough by the time I get to the hem and here there are two quite wide hems. I’m looking forward to doing the burrito method to get the seams inside and invisible when turned inside out. That makes it perfectly reversible.
Stash Dash went from 24th May to 24th August this year and I signed up for the 10K finish line. I’m happy to say that I made it to the finish line with a comfortable 10,851.55 metres. I could have added my second Lanesplitter skirt too, but I never got around to sewing it up, though I had the time – how surprising! These are all the items I finished, except for my very first spindle spin The grid would only let me have this many pics and the first spindle spin is the least impressive of the lot so I left it off. I’m pretty happy with the result though I’m disappointed I never picked up my Comfort Fade cardi. Now that Stash Dash is over I can concentrate on other projects that didn’t feature because there was no way they’d be finished in time.
I finally got to watch the last episode of Season 3 of Handmaid’s Tale and it didn’t disappoint. It will definitely have another season to go which will see all the loose ends tied up. The latest series I’ve started watching is called Mindhunter and it has been keeping me very entertained. This is set in the late 1970s and two FBI agents interview serial killers to solve open cases. One of the main characters is an Australian, Anna Torv, who also starred in the Australian series Secret City. I’m still listening to The Binding by Bridget Collins and it has turned into an interesting read. Next for Book Club is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. My Audible library has several books waiting for me that I’m excited to get to.
I have another quiet week coming up with one or two coffee dates. I have decided that I’m missing some socialisation since finishing work and hope to organise some regular events to fill that gap. But I will have plenty of time for crafting again and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!