Welcome to another week of Spring Downunder, though the sun has been mostly absent. We got some well-needed rain and I hope that it was received where it is most needed.
Though the week seemed to have been uneventful, I had plenty of events to keep me busy. On Monday, my old bike proved it still had it in it and we rode over to Huskisson for our fortnightly breakfast catch-up. Tuesday was earmarked for another bike ride to Huskisson but it was miserable so Robert and I went down the road for coffee with a few friends. In the afternoon I went to Huskisson pictures to see the Downton Abbey movie. Having seen all the seasons, I thoroughly enjoyed this finale. On Thursday, I had a Spinners group and you can see below where they had a tutorial on i-cords, including for cast-ons, bind-offs and up either side. I have done these before so didn’t participate other than to help. On Friday, my friend Carol had an art studio day and I again dabbled with some acrylic paints. This one is a work in progress. I certainly don’t profess to be able to paint but I must say I really enjoy using up all the paints I have leftover at the end!
New Cast-on: There’s something about the Spring feel at the moment that makes me want to cast on everything. I had a really good excuse this week. I wanted to take some knitting to the movies and didn’t have anything that was plain vanilla or not at a critical point. I have wanted to cast-on the Twist of Fade for some time now and had the yarn all ready for it. This is definitely very vanilla with plain knitting and a few rows of fading. It turned out not very successful for movie knitting. This pattern is for DK weight yarn and my first colour was actually a fingering weight that I held double. It would have been fine but, as I have discovered previously and should have considered, pulling fingering weight yarn from the centre of the cake does not work very well. Actually, it was a proper pain for the whole section. Note to self, next time I should wind up two separate cakes. My original plan was to divide the different colours into seven-inch sections and I remembered that I only had half the amount of the pink than the other skeins. I was concerned as to whether I’d have enough yarn for the project when I remembered that the blue skeins were 200 grams each. So I was happy then to only have a four-inch section for the pink and all its painful knitting. It just means the other sections will be eight inches. So for cinema knitting, I achieved about 4 painful rows and gave up. I have to keep enough of each colour for the sleeves to match. The cake in this photo doesn’t look very big but it’s actually half the size of my head!
New Cast-on: Did I mention Spring? 😊 Yep, yesterday morning was considerably warmer and my attention was diverted to some warm weather knitting. I have been thinking about jumping on the Ranunculus sweater bandwagon for some time and I took the leap. There are 3,481 of these projects on Ravelry so there were plenty of examples. It’s a very versatile pattern suitable for all weights and bases of yarn. I have had some Juniper Moon Farm Zooey DK in my stash for a few years now and I decided to drag it out for one of these tops for the Spring. The yarn is 60% cotton/40% linen and has a thick/thin texture. The pattern calls for 6.0 mm needles but after looking at projects done with the same yarn I decided to try the 5.0 mm instead. The pattern is for a very oversized top but I’m going for something not as big. I’ve cast on the wider neckline and also added another 10 stitches to account for the smaller needles and then increased to the correct number after the rib. The pattern should only take two skeins. I have this yarn in a bright orange, a beige and white. The beige is on another project that I must locate at some point. There are 6 skeins of the orange yarn so I thought I’d leave that for something else. I’m really happy using the white yarn and hope there is enough. I thought I’d purchased three of these so I’m thinking there’s another skein hiding somewhere. I’m not sure how I’ll finish the sleeves – the pattern is either capped sleeves (the result of the yoke) or long sleeves. I’ll be going for a short version of some type but will need to see when I get to them.
I have made some steady progress on my Tuileries sweater. I’m still very much in love with this project! The different lighting is showing the colour very differently and the actual colour is something in the middle of these two photos. The hanging picture shows this sweater best. You may be able to see some curly stitches in the middle of the front where I changed skeins. The skein I changed to here was the one I used for the swatch so there were already knitted stitches. These curly stitches will smooth right out when the sweater is blocked. I do have one stitch on the back that I’d dropped and didn’t realise until I was a good way on. I picked it up to where I could but it would have been too tight to keep going. I’ve anchored it with a safety pin temporarily and will tie it off at the end. It won’t be noticeable and it doesn’t interfere with any pattern since it’s plain stockinette on the back and front.
As planned, I’ve kept to doing two lace border repeats each night on my Rugby shawl. Except for last night – last night I decided to have a night off this one. I think I must be about a third of the way into this border. The lace is not that complicated but I do find that every now and then I have counted incorrectly and have to tink back. This tinking back is dangerous for undoing k2tog and ssk. I’ve managed to drop a couple of stitches and picking them up is difficult, to say the least. On the whole, it’s going nicely but very, very slowly.
The only other project I’ve spent some time on this week is my Garland sweater. It may not look like much but these 288 stitches on 100% silk with twisted rib is slow going. I think it might be easier with pointier needles but my Chiaogoo lace needles only go up to 3.0 mm. I think the problem will only be until I’ve finished the twisted rib, but I’m only about halfway. Lucky I’m not in a hurry for this one!
Last week I showed some top that I’d dyed black and red. I wasn’t very happy with the black so I overdyed those sections with some black food dye and at the same time had another go with red food dye. I think it did take more of both but the black is still not fantastic. I may have mentioned that I don’t have any trouble dyeing yarn with black but it appears that the pre-spun form of fibre doesn’t like it. Anyway, it turned out not too bad as you can see from the braid below. I have now started spinning this.
Last week I mentioned that I was going to try a different type of dyeing – Batik dyeing. Here is how it went. The photo below without colour is the initial wax stage. I think this stage should be done on a warm day (it was cold and miserable) or possibly with something warm underneath. Maybe doing this in the sun would be good. Anyway, the wax hardened fairly quickly as I applied it. The photo above that is after I applied the dye. The next stage was removing the wax. I’m not sure it will ever all be removed but I think I’m now at a point where the residue is acceptable. The pair of photos at bottom left shows the colours after the first attempt at removing the wax. After several hot washes with detergent, the final result is at the top, and it is showing a bit more colour than in real life. It lost a decent amount of colour. I applied the colour and wax to the underside of the fabric so that side is showing the darkest. I have plans for this piece and it will be fine for its purpose. More info on that in weeks to come. The colours are very basic as I only used those that were part of the kit. If I should choose to do this again, I think I now have some better processes.
I have some plans for more dyeing this week. There’s a new Stephen West MKAL happening next month and I’m quite partial to his KALs. Last year’s KAL was quite a slog but this one is not supposed to be quite as big. It requires 4 skeins, two different colours x 2, and tonal as it will be a high contrast design. Now to decide on colours! And I have some minis that I may dye at the same time.
On Wednesday I finished off my Ixchel Fibre batt spin. This one is the picture on the left and is shown on the right side with her sister. The colour of the skein on the left is pretty accurate. The latest skein came out at 106 grams and 381m. It’s not my best ply so far as it is quite a loose ply in most spots. I think maybe finer yarn needs more spin when plying. It’s mostly a light fingering with some sport weight but there are a couple of spots where it’s lace weight and one spot where I’m concerned it’s actually going to stay together! I think this yarn may become a shawl and, at the moment, I’m thinking possibly the Odyssey shawl by Joji Locatelli.
The other project on my wheel this week was the black/red top that I dyed. I started this for Spinner’s group on Thursday and finished the first bobbin of half the top yesterday. It’s looking quite good even though it’s not a very black black. In the picture below it’s looking more purple but, to the naked eye, it’s a dark charcoal colour. I’m hoping to ply this by doing a chain ply. To that end, I’m going to need to practice that on something that is not so important as it will be my first time. I think I’ll spin up some of the undyed top that I used for this dye and see how I go. If it turns out OK I can then dye the yarn at that point. I still have another half of this black/red top but, due to the lack of bobbins, I’ll wait until I do the chain ply practice first.
I procrastinated a bit this week with sewing together my Emmie top. That was because I needed to use the overlocker which meant setting it up on the dining room table. In the end, yesterday I got set up and only managed to overlock the edges on all the pieces. I started off sewing the first steps – adding interfacing then stay stitching the necks on the fronts, back and interfacing. When I sewed the first seam on the overlocker I thought it wasn’t ideal as the seam is less than the 5/8″ prescribed in the pattern and there is no guide line on the machine to follow. I didn’t want to cut fabric willy nilly so decided I’d overlock all the edges then stitch the pieces together on the sewing machine. I had heard that either Helen or Caroline of the Love to Sew podcast does that. By the time I had unpicked the first overlocked edge (aaarghhh!) and got those done I decided to call it a day. I much prefer to sew in stages rather than a whole day at it and not getting it all done anyway. This was also a tactic for efficient sewing that I picked up from the Love to Sew podcast. I’m not sure I mentioned how great that podcast is. If you are into sewing garments, then it’s an absolute must listen.
Another procrastination point for this week was the backing for one of the baby quilts I’ve made. Making the decision on how to piece the backing took the whole week but now it’s ready to be sandwiched. I would have done that yesterday but, as I do my pinning on the outdoor table, the pouring rain said I should stay inside and knit instead. Today is a glorious day so, hopefully, I’ll get that done. Fingers crossed. I think there’s a load of quilting on the agenda for this week.
Last week I forgot to mention a couple of patterns that I purchased. The Pietra Pants and Shorts and Charlie Kaftan patterns by Closet Case Patterns. Both of these patterns have three options. The pants have options for narrow leg, wide leg and shorts. The Charlie dress has options for short and long dresses with pleats, gathers or tie back options. There are no plans for these at the moment but I wish I could make everything in a day!
Last week I received some dividers that I’d ordered as I was fed up with my mass of threads that had decided to tangle themselves together. I think the final result is much better! Now I just need the motivation to use them.
I finished my audiobook yesterday – Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith and I’m excited to get the next book in the series. Before that, I’ll be starting the next Book Club book which is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I have a long list of books that I can’t wait to read, some new ones by Robert Crais, David Baldacci, Michael Robotham and G.M. Ford to name a few.
Of note on the screen, I mentioned that I really enjoyed Downton Abbey at the movies this week, but I also watched the latest A Star is Born on Netflix. This is the third version that I’ve watched of this movie but, apart from this 2018 version with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, there were three others. The first was 1937 with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March, then 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason and the other was 1976 with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. I wonder if it’s possible to get the original somewhere?
I have also been looking through this book (below) called Acrylic Expressions, which has some examples and tips for painting with acrylics. I think it might help with my pitiful attempts. 😁 I was going to take it with me on Friday but left the book at home. Maybe next time?
Wow, so much chatter from me this week! I’ll leave you with all that and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!