Hi friends! Happy birthday to my mother-in-law, Jean, for her birthday today! We’ve certainly had some unseasonal weather this week. Wednesday turned out very hot but, since then, it’s been quite cold. It’s been snowing in certain parts of Australia, which in itself is unusual, and this has kept the temperature down in the low teens, and low single digits overnight (Celcius, of course). We had to put an extra quilt on the bed and I resorted to tracksuit pants this morning, which I’d pack away! I think today will warm up some and tomorrow and Tuesday are predicted at 30 and 33 degrees! The photos below show the front that came through on Friday.
On Monday, Julie and I went for a bike ride after my front flat was fixed. The repair got me as far as Woollamia boat ramp and to Huskisson, which is about 9 kilometres and, then when we had finished our coffee and chat, I had to call Robert to pick me up as the tyre was flat again! The tube has now been replaced and Friday’s bike ride to Huskisson was a success. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Evie and I had fun together. We watched the Melbourne Cup race (pictured here) and went to the park where it was much too hot to have fun. Yesterday I met up with a couple of old hockey friends for a lovely lunch in Nowra.
Finished Object #1: The Starflake shawl is now completely finished with ends sewn in and it has been blocked! I really enjoyed making this shawl and it didn’t take as long as Stephen West’s Texture Time from last year. His patterns, particularly his MKALs, have plenty to keep you from getting bored as you move from one section to the next. It didn’t use up as much yarn as I had expected, though I must admit I thought I was going to have a lot more left when I got to the final stage. I still have 48 grams left of each yarn – how’s that for a balanced colour scheme? I started with 100 grams of each. I would like to use this leftover yarn to possibly make the Water For Elephants socks but it doesn’t say how much yarn is used in the pattern description. I usually use just about 50-60 grams in total for socks but this is colourwork so uses up more than normal. The other option I have is to make the Dottie mittens and there would be enough yardage.
Finished Object #2: Hot off the needles last night was the Ranunculus top. I haven’t yet sewn in any ends or blocked it – does one block cotton/linen? I think so. I know that the yarn tends to soften with use and washing so blocking should be a good thing. I’m looking forward to wearing this very soon! I think it may go nicely with the Mindi skirt I’ve cut out. I used 5.0 mm needles rather than the 6.0 mm recommended as I didn’t want the top to be as oversized as the pattern is intended. I had look at other projects (and there are many of them!) and also added a cuff to the sleeve cap. Otherwise, the sleeves would have been finished raw without anything added. I know that others had wished they’d done this. I only used 2 balls of the yarn and have very little of the second one left.
The Turtle Dove sweater that I cast on for the #BlameDunderknitAlong is motoring on nicely! I have split for the sleeves, literally just this morning before working on my blog. It was one of the projects (this and the Ranunculus) that I took to Wollongong with me. You can see me having a break with my Turtle Dove whilst Evie was having a nap. I started the neck with 64 stitches rather than the 60 for my size and I used the 6.0 mm needles prescribed for that part. With hindsight, I think I would go straight to the 7.0 mm needles that are used for the body, instead of starting with the smaller size. The neck feels fine but I would have preferred a more funnel-type neck. Though I started with stitches for the larger sizes I only increased the yoke the number of times for the smallest size. As shown below, I am knitting with the 7.0 mm needle tip on the right side but replaced the left with the 6.0 mm needle. This is making sliding the stitches much easier. The 7.0 mm needle has quite a difference from the very narrow cable to the full 7.0 mm diameter and it was harder to slide the stitches, therefore making progress slower. As long as you have the correct needle on the right, it doesn’t really matter what is on the left. The progress marker shows where I was last week when I posted. I am going to try to remember to move these after each post.
New Cast On: Last week I mentioned another project I wanted to cast on for the #blamedunderknitalong, using my handspun. In the end, I did decide to go ahead with the Songbird shawl. The first part was very easy with garter stitch and then garter ridges but now that I’ve moved into the slanted stitch section I have come to a grinding halt. The first repeat worked out just fine. The second repeat has already been tinked back twice – the first time because I forgot two rows of the repeat, and now I’m having trouble getting the right number at the end of the repeat. I had put it aside so that I can study the pattern a bit more closely and work out exactly where I’m going wrong, but I haven’t done that yet. It’s on the to-do list for today. I hope I can work it out because it’s really going to be easy when I do. It’s only a four-row repeat, after all, so how hard can it be!
I only added a row or two on my Garland sweater. This project is so compact at this stage that I like to have it when I can’t take my larger projects. It is a lace (2 ply) silk yarn so very light and thin and fits easily in my front bike pouch. On Monday I had left early for my bike ride meet up to see how the flat tyre repair would hold up, so thought I’d sit and wait with my knitting. As I mentioned at the beginning, the repair held up for about 9 kilometres only.
Scheduled for Frogging: Though I’ve done a lot of work on my Twist of Fade I have decided that it is going to be way too big for me. It has been in time-out for the past couple of weeks while I’ve mulled over its fate. I first thought I’d rip it back to the ribbing as that is the right size. The issue is that the increase after the ribbing is huge, adding another quarter of the stitches which adds about 9 inches. Now I feel like I don’t want to reknit it. I was thinking of doing the Le Pouf cardigan shown below and, though it’s fingering (4 ply) yarn held double, the idea of it is to change one strand to blend into the next so it may not be good for the yarn I’m frogging. I may have some other single skeins I can use for the Le Pouf fade. This DK yarn may now wait until next autumn unless I get inspired in the meantime.
I have continued with the Wren and Ollie spin that I started last week. I finished the first bobbin which used two and a half of the mini batts. You can see the finished bobbin below with the yarn I still need to use. The last section of the finished bobbin is the other half of the mini batt next to it and that will be the end of the second bobbin too. I started the second bobbin with the lightest colour, the majority of which was white with some light yellow. When plied together, the darkest colour will be barber poled with the lightest colour. The darkest blue has spun up with more of the turquoise showing than the dark blue. I’m looking forward to seeing the final result with this and hope to have it finished by next week’s post.
Last week may have been “quilting week” but this week has turned into “dressmaking week”. I finished my Georgia dress from Seamwork and it was quite an easy sew. Though I have finished it, I intend to do a slight modification. The dress fits perfectly at the top but is quite voluminous from the bust down which, on me, gives more of a maternity look. I am going to add a small piece of elastic at each side to bring it in under the bust which will get rid of the maternity vibe. It’s an easy sew as there is no zipper or buttons, hence the reason for the voluminousness of it. Yep, that is actually a word. The fabric is an Art Gallery rayon which is beautiful but, as I previously mentioned, very very fine. You can see the slats of the privacy screen through it.
Moving on from the Georgia dress, I’ve now cut out the Laura dress from Rebecca Page and there was enough fabric to cut out the Mindi skirt from Style Arc. And there is maybe another half a metre of the fabric leftover. I’ll be able to use that for something else using some white for colour blocking. The fabric is a cotton/linen blend that I purchased from Spotlight a few weeks back. I love the feel of the fabric but the selvedges were a nightmare. I didn’t notice that when I bought it so I think the edges shrank when I washed the fabric. After I cut the first piece of the dress pattern I had to cut both selvedges off so that I could carry on. You can see the two selvedges below but I’m not sure how well the puckering is showing. I think that goes to show that it’s best to wash the fabric before cutting it out. Though it’s not really a stripe, I cut the dress with the pattern striping down and the skirt with the pattern going sideways. I now have these two ready to go for this week. The Rebecca Page pattern has amazing instructions on how to sew it using French seams but the Style Arc pattern has a brief list of the steps required and assumes you know what you are doing. I’m hoping that I’ll know what to do with the exposed open-ended zipper! It’s always easier to understand instructions when you are actually doing them.
Lined up for my next make is the Charlie Caftan by Closet Case. I’ve been wanting to do this one since I bought the pattern and fabric recently, at about the same time. The fabric is, I think, a rayon that I purchase at the Sewing Basket pop up shop in Balmain, and I think the large flowers will be perfect for this design. The Sewing Basket is a charity organisation that sells crafting goods that have been donated. The pattern comes with 3 views and I’m going to make View B with the ties shown in View C. View C (maxi length) also has the larger caftan-type sleeves but I think I’m going to do the smaller sleeves, though I don’t mind how the larger ones look in the picture below. The front panel is an interesting construction as the two front panels are from shoulder to hem, with a section jutting out for the pleats or gathering. I found a great tutorial done by Sew Sew Live where she has done three separate tutorials for different versions of this dress. I’ve watched the first one and it’s definitely taken away a lot of the mystery of how to put this one together.
My two most dangerous hobbies are watching podcasts and visiting Spotlight. They both enable me and here are my latest acquisitions. The first, shown both folded and opened up a bit, is some new Art Gallery fabric from Bebeloush Designs. I was watching the Stitch Sisters’ Fabric Haul where Nikki had purchased this in the Bloomsbury Botanist’s Essay colourway and I just had to have it. I’ll need to decide what I’ll be making out of this but would look wonderful as a Charlie Caftan! Also, I went to Spotlight to get an open-end zipper and, of course, checked out the remnants. This is what came home with me, from top left:
- Rayon, Big Flower, Navy/Multi – 1.00m x 135cm. ($6.00)
- Needle Out Velvet, Musk – 0.95m x 148cm. ($7.50)
- Denim 7.5 oz Ctn, Light Blue – 1.50m x 144cm. ($10.50)
The denim is actually in two pieces from a mannequin display but for that price is a bargain. The velvet has a corduroy pattern, so I imagine that’s what “needle out” means.
I’ve been working on a couple of advent calendars with some little gift boxes I purchased a little while ago. These will hold mini skeins and maybe some of the other bits and pieces. They are almost too small for the mini skeins but I’m able to just squeeze them in!
I have started my new book “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. It’s the latest book for our book club and it’s proving to be a good book so far. My friend Julie said it was fantastic and I’d heard this elsewhere. I can see how it’s building up to be a very good book. My Audible app tells me I have 7h 47m left of the 12h 12m total. I’ve started watching The Red Shadows on SBS On Demand. It’s a French series with subtitles and it’s going quite well so far. I’m able to knit something vanilla while I’m watching otherwise, it has to be in English.
This week is going to be very relaxing – I have breakfast catch-up tomorrow morning and coffee with other friends on Tuesday. That’s two bike rides to Huskisson. On Wednesday, I’ll be at Huskisson again for a sewing day at my friend Lorraine’s place. She has a pool so I’m hoping for some nice weather! Tuesday is supposed to be 33 degrees and Wednesday only 23 degrees. Hmm, depending on what I’m taking to work on I may be able to ride over then too! And I’m at Huskisson again on Thursday for a facial and massage package that I was gifted by my wonderful school friends, Bronwen, Jane and Mari, for my retirement. On Friday, Rob and I are heading to Bawley Point for the weekend with Steven, Kim & Evie – I’m really looking forward to that! Let’s hope for some good weather then for some fun time on the beach.
Again, I think I’ve babbled on enough so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!