Hi friends! Today is my granddaughter’s first birthday party – she turns one tomorrow, which is Monday, so today is a better option for a party. It’s incredible how quickly this year has gone. The party is to be at the Botanic Gardens but I’m a little concerned with the weather. There is a Plan B, so we’ll see how this goes. I’m getting this post out as early as possible today as I’m making the birthday cake and still have to travel up to Wollongong.
The week has passed so quickly, I really have to think about what I’ve done other than crafting. Weather-wise, it has been a wet and cold week and feels like winter has returned. We need the rain but it really doesn’t need to be cold! There has been snow on the mountains which has kept the temperature down around this area. I hope the weather turns a little more spring-like soon!
On Tuesday, I rode over to Huskisson for coffee with friends and that was almost a wet ride. It did rain while we were having coffee so we moved inside. There were only a few sprinkles of rain on the way home but it was very cold. On Wednesday, it was my turn to host our crafting get-together. There were four of us for the day and it was great to catch up and relax with our chosen craft. Narelle was doing Sashiko, Lorraine and Marie were knitting Trauma Bears and then Marie moved onto another knitting project as she needed some help moving forward. I was knitting on my Starflake shawl in between providing tea, coffee and food. I also wore my newly finished Emmie top but forgot to take any photos of it. The girls thought it looked great and it felt great.
On Thursday, I went to Wollongong and looked after Evie for the day just to make sure I was up on all the details before Kim goes back to work next week. We had a wonderful day and I’m looking forward to my babysitting adventures to come! We did get out for a couple of walks and, though it was a cool and windy day, the sun did come out for most of the day. Last night, Rob and I went out to the local Golf Club with some friends for an early celebration of a few birthdays, including his which is next Friday. As I mentioned last blog, this week we have Evie on Monday, my daughter Erin on Wednesday and Rob on Friday!
Spoiler Alert: For the first part of the week, I concentrated on my Starflake shawl MKAL which I’m really enjoying. I finished Section 1 of the first Clue and moved onto Section 2. That’s a much easier section but I did misread the pattern and ended up with the wrong number of stitches. Fortunately, I realised this early so I asked in the Ravelry group to see how many stitches there should be per section. That was on Wednesday and, on Thursday when I was babysitting in Wollongong, I left the project in the naughty corner. I picked it up again on Friday to work out how to get the stitches correct after a few helpful responses on Ravelry. That is now going to plan but, yesterday, I was distracted and did the yarn over increases where I should have been decreasing. I didn’t notice this until two rows later. I did drop down to fix it but there was too much yarn to deal with so those two long rows had to be tinked back so that I could fix it properly. Needless to say, I still haven’t finished Clue 1 and Clue 2 dropped on Friday but it may be a few days before I get to start that. I’m OK with that and I’ll get there when I get there.
The Twist of Fade has been good company this week. It’s a very vanilla knit apart from measuring where to start and stop the fade and the solid sections. I have now split for the sleeves and I just have to knit straight up on each side as it is a dropped shoulder. Rather than do this on either the front or back at a time, I’m doing both using the outside and inside of the skein. I’m only an inch into the 6.5 inches required but it should work up quite quickly. The pattern has a stepped shoulder but I thought I would leave the stitches live, instead of casting them off, and kitchener the shoulders together. Anything to avoid seaming!
I haven’t done a lot on my Ranunculus sweater but did manage to add a little length to the body. I think I need to try it on again for length and when to start the ribbing. I was a little bit annoyed when I changed over skeins. I had not gone very far when I found a break in one of the plies but thought I would continue regardless. That is until not much further there was a join! I decided to go back to my join and remove the section and now there is only one join and no breaks. It did remove more yarn than I expected, which you can see in the photo below.
I started back on the black (grey), red and white spin this week. I had dyed up 150 grams and spun the first half a few weeks back. Now that I’ve had some practice doing a chain ply, I thought I would spin the rest of the yarn before I go ahead and chain ply these two bobbins. I really didn’t get a lot of spinning time this week so, hopefully, I’ll finish this one during next week and start on the chain plying.
The spindle spin is going quite slowly, as is the nature of spindle spinning, I suppose. I don’t get to it every day which makes it a slower process. I finished the first half which I posted in a previous blog, and this is all I have to show for the second half of the fibre so far.
Yesterday, I decided to do some mini skein dyeing to add to those that I had dyed previously. I ended up doing four more sets of two. My plan for these is to have six tonals/solids and then marry them in between with speckled skeins. The first two I did were teal and caramel; now I have blue, purple, red and yellow. I wanted to keep them similar with the depth of colour – hopefully, these don’t lighten too much when they are dry. I used at least three different dyes of each colour in the dyeing process, the yellow and red had four colours. I started by doing the blue with mixed up dye but the rest were done with direct application of the dye powder. I used an old pyrex dish I have for dyeing and the heat was in the microwave. I ended up adding some dye powder directly to the blue in the end, as it was much too light.
As planned last week, I did cut out my Georgia pattern on the beautiful Art Gallery fabric that I’d purchased several months ago. It is 100% Rayon and has a beautiful almost silky feel but is very light. I hope it’s not too light! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sew at all this week but it’s ready to go for next week. I should be able to get some sewing done from Monday to Wednesday. At the moment, the best option for me to cut is on the kitchen bench but that is quite limited and I can only do a piece at a time. I normally lay it out on the floor first to see how the pieces are going to fit. I never go by the pattern layout for cutting as it wastes too much fabric. The pattern will usually have the same layout for all sizes so it’s easier to work it out myself to ensure the least waste. Also, for fabric like this, I wanted to fussy cut so that the border is in the right place on the pieces. You can see how much fabric I have left over and that photo shows how easily the fabric is creased. I may have to use some starch when I’m ironing it otherwise I may end up looking like I slept in it!
I had to call in at Spotlight on Friday to buy some cupcake cases for the party today and, while I was there, I checked out the remnants bin and the specials. I bought three remnants and one other piece, the navy and ivory fabric on the left, is specifically for the Laura dress. This cotton/linen fabric was 30% off. I wasn’t able to check the pattern instructions when I purchased the fabric so I thought a little bit more is better than less. Looking at the pattern now, it requires two metres and I usually find that the amount indicated is very conservative. I think the fabric would make a nice top or pair of shorts from any leftovers.
I’m often stumped by some of the terms and abbreviations in the pattern descriptions but the fabrics, from the top, are:
- Icon chiffon, wine – 1.90m x 114cm (this is a deep burgundy but not showing well)
- Cotton premium cheesecloth, white – 1.15m x 112cm
- PTD Georgette 1, black/white – 1.90m x 148cm.
- PTD cotton linen, ikat, navy/ivory – 2.50m x 132cm.
As I mentioned earlier, this week is full of birthdays to celebrate and all the children are coming down to stay for next weekend. I have a few birthday cakes to make, starting with a bunny rabbit butter cake for Evie today. On Thursday, I’ll be making a Persian Love Cake for Erin and on Friday I’ll make a Zuppa Inglese for Robert. The latter has been a tradition for more than twenty years now and I always make it for Steven in January as well. In between all that, I have my normal fortnightly catch up breakfast on Monday morning, coffee with another group of friends on Tuesday morning and Spinners Group on Thursday! I think the week will fly by.
Thank you for joining me for this week’s life and crafting catch-up and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!