Hello friends! What a fun week I’ve had. I babysat Evie on Tuesday and Wednesday and had the pleasure of joining in with her swimming lesson. That was a great experience to share with her. On Wednesday, we had a lovely time at the park and spotting the dogs and birds on our walk. My friend, Julie, and I rode to Huskisson for coffee on Thursday morning and then I had lunch with some other friends, again at Huskisson.
On Friday, I finally took the plunge and rode to Huskisson for some laps in the saltwater pool. I’d been going to do that for a few weeks now but was concerned at the water temperature. When I realised that my friend Carol had been swimming for a couple of weeks, she reassured me that it was nice. I can confirm that and hope to keep it up a couple of times a week during the warm weather. Last night was party night when we attended a surprise birthday party for our friend Annette. It was a great night out and I may need to have a nap today to catch up on some sleep!
This week, I’ve been working on a couple of projects only. The Turtle Dove sweater needs to be tried on and that hasn’t happened, so it’s been having a little break. I have made considerable progress on my Songbird shawl. I finished the first skein and am a few rows into the second. It’s hard to say at this point but I don’t think the pattern will use up all the second skein. I’ll wait and see because it would be easy enough to add a repeat of something but it also has tassels so that could utilise the remaining yarn by itself. I was surprised at how easy the stitch patterns were once you know what it’s supposed to look like. The first repeat of each of the two different stitches was confusing but then it was easy to remember so now I know what I need to be doing each row.
I’ve made no progress on the Lunae shawl as I tried picking up stitches again, this time having too many. I think what I need to do now is to quarter each half so that I know how many stitches I should have in each small section. Here’s hoping that the third attempt will be successful! My vanilla knitting this week was the Garland top. It is slow but steady progress. The constant knitting in the round makes it easy for any social occasion, even while Evie is eating her lunch. She’s getting used to Nonna’s knitting now (Nonna = me).
New Cast On: (And almost finished project!) I have been thinking about some gift baby knitting and was inspired by the Hey Sister Podcast to knit up the Kimono Nur, which is a kimono jacket for babies. The newborn size is a free pattern. I thought I’d give it a try to see how it would come out for size so that I could adjust if necessary. The pattern on Ravelry costs 12.99 Euros which would be about $25 and I think that is a bit much for a baby kimono, even if it is so damn cute. For this one, I am using the Ready for Winter yarn by Bendigo Woollen Mills that I’d used for the Preparer son Arrivee cardigan for Evie. I thought I could keep this one for a winter newborn – there are a few babies coming along. The recipient of my next Kimono Nur is due in March so I was thinking they will need more a 3-6 months size for winter. I’m hoping I may be able to achieve that by going up a size in needles as the newborn one seems dense enough that the fabric should still be suitable. I have about 9 rows more to knit but 2 rows to tink back as I just noticed I should have stopped increasing 2 rows ago. Then it will need seaming up the sides and sleeves. Yes, seaming is my least favourite part of knitting.
I had recently made a sample Bitty Baby Booty (a free pattern) from some leftover yarn. This is the style of booty that the recipient’s mother fell in love with and it worked out nicely. I’d like to make the Kimono Nur, these Bitty Baby Booties and a Twister Bonnet to match. I think I could do the bonnet in garter stitch to match rather than the twist pattern. I will end up making the other Bitty Booty as they will be a nice gift too but there’s not enough of that yarn to make the set. You can see the little buttonhole – I’ll have to find some cute buttons for them.
It’s nearly December and I’m looking forward to using my advent minis. I dyed them over the last couple of months. In the last few days, I have been wondering what to do with them and I have decided to make the Olilia shawl with some modifications. I thought I’d look for a free pattern (or one that I already have) and I had to decide on what exactly I wanted to make. Since there are 240gm and 1020m of yarn, a shawl would be most suitable to using the majority of the yarn. The Olilia shawl fits those parameters and I do love a good crescent shape with short rows. The modifications I will make is to firstly eliminate the part where the main colour is just knit back and forwards under the single row of contrasting colour and add a couple of repeats. There are four short row sections along the left-hand side and I want to use all six speckled minis. It will likely make the crescent less symmetrical but I don’t mind that. I thought it would be good with the tonal skeins as the main colour and the speckle as the short rows on the left-hand side. This will use up more tonal yarn than the speckled yarn but I will be able to use that in the border which is made up of the contrasting yarn. That’s the plan – we’ll see how it goes.
I have just received a beautiful advent pack from Willow and the Wisp (see Acquisitions) and have been searching for a suitable pattern for those minis as well. There are 25 x 10-gram minis and, again, I wanted to use a pattern I either had or was free. In the end, I think I’ve settled on one that covers both criteria. I’ve had the Outline wrap pattern by Beata Jezek in my Ravelry library for a long time. This is a free pattern on the Hedgehog Fibres website and I’m hoping it will be suitable. The pattern calls for 1000 – 1300m and the advent kit has 1050m of yarn. I can make it narrower by using one less repeat but that is 30 stitches and I love the size that it is shown in. Unlike my own dyed minis, this advent will be a total surprise and I have no idea of what will be coming out of the little boxes each day so I think a random knit pattern like this one is perfect. I’ll just knit each until I run out and then add the next and, hopefully, I’ll be able to do that every day, along with my other advent which is every second day but twice the amount – 20-gram minis.
I have decided, where possible, I’m going to use yarn that I already have and patterns that I have or are free. I have accumulated a lot of patterns and I’ll look at those first. Of course, there is likely to be something that I just can’t live without but I’d like to bust some of the stash. I’m still looking at the Le Pouf cardigan – it needs 5 skeins have identified three that are perfect and two others that I can dye to match. The pinky beige one was used in my Elton cardigan and I think I’ll do a bit more than half grey and the rest teal, and the pale green on is one of the skeins that I dyed for the Starflake shawl to get a deep teal. This time I’ll dye it a black teal which I’ve had good results with previously. Watch this space.
I finally got to ply the Wren & Ollie spin and barely managed to fit it all on the bobbin. I had some yellow from the second bobbin leftover and started spinning that from an Andean bracelet but had issues continuing after restarting the next day. The bobbin wasn’t taking up the yarn even though I was spinning in the same direction so I tightened it a bit but must have tightened too much as the drive belt broke. I was able to rejoin it but have not had much luck continuing with the Andean ply. Rather than rush things, I left it aside and will get back to it properly today. You can see how I had to just take the Andean bracelet off; here’s it’s sitting patiently waiting, still attached to the bobbin. And, I just found out that a Wee Peggy can actually be used as a single drive. It was set up as a double drive so I never questioned that. I believe the two methods are quite different in execution so I may have to explore that one day. I also soaked and skeined my first EVER spin. As I mentioned last blog, this one is going into the felting cupboard. But it’s great to see how far I’ve come.
I only got to sew for a while yesterday morning to continue with Mindi skirt I’d cut out from the same fabric as I had cut the Laura dress. I have now attached all pieces to the waistband and have to install the front exposed open-end zipper and the instructions are so brief that I’m totally confused. I did notice that there was a link at the end of the pattern to the Style Arc tutorials so tried that but it didn’t work. It appears that the site changed – the old link had a .com.au ending and they currently use the .com URL instead. So I have emailed asking if there are still tutorials available and anything that explains what I need to do now. I’m hoping for a reply tomorrow as I don’t expect a reply on the weekend.
Having come to an impasse with my Mindi skirt, I thought I would cut out some small people projects. I had been wanting to make another Geranium dress for Evie and, since I still had plenty of the navy and white fabric left, I have cut out a different version from that. This time I’m doing the sleeveless version (the previous had faux cap sleeves) with pleats (the previous had a gathered skirt). I have cut out some navy fabric with pink and other pops of colour for the bodice lining. I had also purchased some combed cotton jersey with a toucan pattern and some matching teal organic slub cotton jersey to make a Racerback dress which is a free pattern from Hey June Handmade. (I forgot to photograph this fabric with the remnants in Acquisitions.) This pattern starts at size 1 year right up to 8 years. It’s a very simple summer dress that would be great for those really hot days. I had purchased 1 metre of the toucan fabric and half a metre of the teal, and the pattern, especially for a 1-year-old, uses very little. So what is one to do with the remaining fabric? Yep, cut out a 3-year-old size to give as a gift. These are all ready for sewing now and the Racerback dress will go together so quickly on the overlocker.
One other project that I cut out on Friday is for a little bag for Evie. She has started carrying around mum’s purse and her little lunch bag so I thought she needs her own. I found this dog and cat remnant at Spotlight on Thursday and thought it would be perfect. It’s cotton duck fabric so a nice firmer weight and I’ve matched it with a tweet tweet fabric that I’ve had in stash forever for the lining. This will be a little bucket bag with two handles and I’m going to insert a zipper pocket on the outside. I have made these types of bags many times but I just need to figure out how to attach the zipper with its own lining.
Last week I forgot to mention a new painting technique that I tried. I stumbled across Rinske Douna on Instagram and she has a fabulous paint pouring technique that I’m absolutely loving. Rinske is doing the 100-day project with a different paint pour for 100 days. For these pours, Rinkse is doing individual videos and is also doing 100 days of video editing. The videos are both on Instagram and YouTube where she has many more painting videos. Anyway, it’s something I’d highly recommend you check out. I tried it last week and had a ball. I even videoed myself though I didn’t really have anywhere good to put the phone to record as I was doing it on my washing machine. Essentially, this method uses acrylic paint mixed with water poured onto a canvas and surrounded by more watered down acrylic paint, mostly white, and a hairdryer is used to blow the paint around. Rinske also uses a small blow torch to create bubbles. I used a little one I had for setting the sugar shell on pannacotta. The viscosity of the paint is fluid enough so that she can also blow it to where she wants it to go. This was my first attempt. I’m going to check out different canvases to see if it’s possible to get them without the texture that you see here. I also need to set up a better, bigger area to work in. I really want to do some more!
As I mentioned earlier, I received some happy mail this week – a party in a box, actually! I ordered the Willow and the Wisp Advent Kit in July and I’ve been anticipating its arrival as I knew it was getting very close. It finally arrived and I’m really excited to start my advent knitting, but I won’t open the first box until 1 December. There are 25 individually boxed and numbered micro skeins, 3 free gifts and an introduction to Chromatherapy Guide. There were several choices of kits and I chose the Chakra pack. I don’t actually remember what the other choices were. The Chakra pack has “a selection of colours that represent the colours of the chakra”. There is a colour definition guide and I’ll be able to learn about each of the colours and the traits associated with each as I knit.
Another trip to Spotlight this week for some supplies and, as usual, I left with some remnants. Clockwise from top:
- Rayon, Olive Bloom – 0.70m x 135cm ($2.80)
- Cotton Voile, Dandelion – 1.15m x 135cm ($9.77)
- Muslin, Giraffe Island, ivory – 0.75m x 135cm ($9.00)
- Cotton Duck, Dog Gone, teal – 0..50m x 112cm ($4.50)
I’m still enjoying listening to Where the Crawdads Sing and am getting closer to the end. It is definitely a book I’d recommend. I have so many audiobooks lined up so I imagine I’ll quickly jump to another one. I watched the last episode of The Red Shadows and was a little underwhelmed. Everything happened so fast and suddenly it was over, with little time spent on explanations. It was very reminiscent of the last season of Game of Thrones. I did enjoy it aside from that. I’ve now moved onto the latest season of The Crown on Netflix. I’m finding that series very interesting from a historical point of view. It all happened as I was growing up and was too young to know about it, aside from a vague recollection of some of the events.
This week I have a line up of events, starting with breakfast on Monday, lunch and dinner on Tuesday, lunch on Wednesday and then a work reunion in Sydney on Saturday, culminating with lunch in Sydney on Sunday. I’m also going to get into a bit of Christmas crafting – I have a stocking to finish for Evie and a Christmas Tree quilt to finish quilting and binding. I’d like that finished to hang for Christmas as this is our minimal Christmas decorating year. Our kids spend alternate Christmas Days with their in-laws so we don’t get a tree in those years. We get a fresh tree for the other years. We are fortunate to be able to spend Christmas Day with Kim’s parents so it will be wonderful to share that day with Evie. Last Christmas, Evie was 2 months old therefore this will be a very meaningful Christmas for her.
Another long post! It’s amazing how I feel that I have nothing to talk about until I start and it all comes together. If you’ve hung around to the end, thanks for sharing this all with me and now it’s time for us all to enjoy some real crafting. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!