Hello friends! This is our Labour Day long weekend for New South Wales, and a few other states. It is also traditionally (for the last few years at least) when we start our daylight savings time and the change started at 2 am this morning. That means that I will spend the next week, at least, comparing the time to what it actually is in normal time because when I was working, my body struggled to adjust. Now that I’m not getting up before 5 am I think that I won’t have any problems. The weather is consistently inconsistent, with days of 28 and 30 and, in between, we drop to 15 or so. I’ve started washing my winter woollies to put away for the warm weather and but may have been a bit premature. I’m hoping that we start warming up soon. The washing process is a long one as I only do one large item every couple of days and I’ve started storing them individually in ziplock bags to keep them from moths.
Last Sunday started with a lovely catch-up lunch with my old school friends. As the buses are less frequent on Sundays I caught an early one and enjoyed knitting while I was waiting and people watching. The flowers are definitely in bloom! The company and food were wonderful, as usual.
This week was very relaxing, starting with our fortnightly Salty Joe’s catch up. I rode my bike over and did the same on Tuesday when I met up with a few different girlfriends. Thursday was Spinners group and on Friday my girlfriend Julie and I rode over to Huskisson for a coffee at Portside. That’s where the dolphin and whale watching boats leave from and there were lots of people waiting to board. Tourist season has definitely started.
New cast-on: As I mentioned last blog, I really enjoy the Stephen West MKALs. I’ve done two of them so far only having known about them for that long. The latest one is called the Starflake shawl and you can see the yarn I’m using. It calls for two skeins each of two contrasting colours. The story behind the colours of these yarns is detailed in the Dyeing section below. The first clue dropped on Friday (US time) but I had to wait until yesterday for the teal colour to dry and now the other colour is ready to go. I have no misconceptions that I’ll be able to get each clue done each week but we’ll see! At least it’s not going to be as big as last year’s huge shawl.
Finished object: The Rugby shawl is finally done. It is here, having been soaked, waiting for me to pin it out. I thought I could get it pinned and then finish the blog but that lace section will need lots of pins and I’m going to have to resort to the big mats for this one. You can see at the bottom of the picture where I had to use the contrast colour to finish the lace. I only realised recently that the reason it’s called a rugby shawl is that rugby jerseys are always wide stripes as per this pattern. I can see that my stripes are not that even and the final stripe was only to get to a certain number. Lucky I didn’t go any further as I only have 7 grams of the variegated skein left. The bottom border appears to be very tight even though it’s knit with an extra yarn over that’s dropped so that it doesn’t get too tight. I don’t think I’ll get that edge straight but the shawl will work anyway.
Though I did do some knitting on my Tuileries and Twist of Fade, it was only minimal and they would look exactly like last week’s pictures. I focussed mainly on the Rugby shawl and, here, my Garland sweater. This sweater has a lace section of about 6 rows at the bottom, above the rib, and you can see my stitch markers which kept me on track. There is a lot of stocking stitch for me now and it is much quicker to knit without twisting stitches or knitting lace.
I did make some progress on my Ranunculus sweater. I have done the 10 cm prescribed by the pattern to where you start ribbing but, when I tried it on, it just covered my bust so I’m going to keep knitting. As I used smaller needles, I think I should have probably done a few more rows before splitting for the sleeves but it fits fine. It is supposed to be cropped but I think 8 cm of ribbing below my bust would not be a good look. 🙂
I finally finished the first half of my spindle spin and here it is wound off onto an old bobbin waiting for the next half so that it can be plied. I ended up having to do this lot in two sections as it got to the point where it just kept breaking. I really need to get a light spindle but I think that may be for Christmas. This is Ashford fibre in merino and silk.
Last week I started spinning on some fine merino for chain plying practice. I finished the single spin at Spinners group this week and have also now done the chain plying. I watched the tutorial by the Classy Squid Fiber Co. and went for it. It was very awkward to start and I could have done with at least one or two more arms but I got into a bit of a rhythm. The tutorial tells you how to fix breaks but I had to resort to tying them as the single had a lot of twist and just wanted to ply itself while I was trying to fix it. This is Another reason why a tensioned lazy kate will come in very handy. Another Christmas present, perhaps. There is plenty of twist in the ply, maybe tending towards more than necessary. I will end up dyeing this yarn for something sooner or later. In the meantime, I think I’m OK to chain ply the yarn that I have spun in red, black (grey) and white.
I delved through my stash this week and found these two different Knitpicks skeins – the ones shown below with the tags on. They have been in stash for so long because the colours were just not doing it for me. I was after 4 skeins for the Stephen West MKAL so I thought I would overdye these and use them. I used the veil technique with teal and spruce for the teal skeins and aztec gold and chestnut for the bronze skeins. I also added a small amount of russet to the bronze as the yellow was still showing, though the picture is showing some orange and it’s not like that in real life. The real skeins are much more golden in colour but I struggle to get the colour just right in photos. It’s obviously the lighting that changes the colours as you can see the backgrounds are all different colours though the same. I’m really happy with the results. The veil technique is where you do several layers with each not quite covering all the yarn. That way you get to see sections of the different layers. Anyway, that’s how I describe it and the results that I get. I’m sure there is a better explanation.
While I was overdyeing these skeins, I decided to start some of my mini skeins. These were natural colour when I started them so are not quite the same as the larger skeins. Again with the photo colour inaccuracy, here the bronze one looks more like the larger skeins actually turned out and the minis are more a browny colour as they didn’t start with yellow. I’ll probably continue with the minis going forward and get to an advent set or two.
I finished my Emmie top from Seamwork this week. It was an easy sew and I think I’ll enjoy wearing it. I may even get it on today as the weather is supposed to be warming up. When I cut the pieces from the fabric I shortened the body a little bit to fit the fabric – I am 5′ 2 1/2″ so figured that the shortening would work. I then read the write up that said the model was 5′ 10″ and they extended the body length. I found the length a bit short so I made a small frill from leftover fabric. I couldn’t just add length because the bottom is curved and it would have looked tacked on. Instead, the frill is now a bit of a feature.
I really wanted to cut out a Laura dress or even a Charlie caftan but I haven’t had an opportunity to go to Officeworks to have the pattern printed. I could have printed them here but there are so many pieces to put together I thought I should probably use some fabric and a pattern that is ready waiting. So I’ve cut out the pattern pieces for the Georgia shift from Seamwork. I hope I can cut this one out today – it will be a bit fiddly as I’ll need to pattern match. I’m doing the feathers as a border at the bottom of the shift and will either do the bodice with the border or the sleeves. That’s why it’s not cut out already. Which way do I go? I think the sleeves will look better with the feathers.
I spent a good few hours yesterday afternoon quilting on the Snow Days baby quilt. I had to make a call on what thread I would use to quilt this and, after vacillating from pink to blue to green variegated threads, I settled on a cream/brown variegated thread. It is so much less in your face. I had to also decide what and how to quilt and settled on a stipple on the long strips and border leaving the star posts and snow days blocks free. I got all that done yesterday afternoon and I think now I will just stitch in the ditch around the snow days blocks so that they are more defined on the back of the quilt. I think this is needed as the majority of the quilt has two snow days squares slightly offset so there are large sections not quilted. That shouldn’t take too long and then I just need to bind the quilt and it’s done. I will then move onto the other baby quilt! I will be stippling that too as I know it will look good though I need more practice on other quilting patterns so that they can look better.
There was not a lot of knitting done this week but there was plenty of other crafting on the go. I got to read a lot of my Book Club book, particularly yesterday while I was quilting. The book is A Gentleman in Moscow. It’s a long book but very interesting as it covers life in Russia from fall of the Russian Empire and the takeover by the Bolsheviks, and through the decades, but it’s done from a very unusual perspective. On Netflix, I worked my way through Northern Exposure, and I am now watching The Bletchley Circle – San Fransicso. These are not mind-blowing but kept me entertained, mostly while working through the lace border of the Rugby shawl.
Today is grand final day for the Australian National Rugby League (NRL). That will be keeping Robert entertained tonight while I watch something else and probably knit. This week I’m looking forward to having some girlfriends over for some sewing, knitting, chatting or whatever on Wednesday and then, on Thursday, I get to look after Evie who is turning one on the 14th! How that time has flown. October is the start of what I call “gift season” which lasts until late January. A lot of birthdays are squished into this time with four major birthdays in October, two in November and another two in January, along with some not so major mixed in. And then there’s Christmas smack in the middle! There are a couple of major birthdays during the year but thankfully not squished in with the rest.
Now it’s time to let you get on with your day so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!