Hi friends! Things are starting to settle down around here now as the fires have calmed down, in some cases are properly out. We’ve also had a little bit of rain here and there – nothing major but enough to dampen things. As far as long term goes, we’ll need a lot more rain to get the greenery back because, as it is at the moment, there is a lot of dry tinder out there. We are looking at some high temperatures later this week but yesterday and today have been quite cool. Definitely requires more than short sleeves type cool. You can see below what it’s been like around here lately. The photo on the left is just smoke, taken earlier in the week, and the one on the right was taken this morning and it’s smokey and drizzly. The photo at the bottom shows what our view normally looks like.
At this time of year, I always have photos of my times at the beach but we’ve only really had one day that has been worth a visit so far. The other days have been cool or smokey or very windy. I’m hoping that I can get some beach time in soon. This week started with a breakfast catch up at Huskisson which is currently a ghost town. The tourists were either sent home or decided not to come, and the area is suffering. This is a tourist destination and, if there are no tourists, there are a lot of businesses that are going to struggle to make ends meet. I was not very good at taking pictures this week! We also went to the Brewery for a drink on Tuesday evening but there is no photographic evidence. My week has been mostly consumed with packing. As of today, we have 20 days left till we leave the house so I’ve been hard at it. There is so much still to do but I think I have broken the back of it, though we’re still in a mess with boxes everywhere! You can see the photos on the left below. The top one has been cleared but I’m working through more. On Friday night we had a big dinner at the Golf Club – there were 19 of us, and it was a fun night. I’m a bit later with the blog today because we went over to Hyam’s Beach for breakfast with some of the Friday night crew. Again, both places were very quiet. At this time of year, we try to avoid these places as it’s hard to get a table and the wait is long. The all-clear has been given now, so I hope that the tourists come back. The air quality is definitely improving, especially when we get the normal northeasterly winds most days.
This week has been all about the knitting. I have been spending all the mornings packing and, by lunchtime, I’m exhausted and my back requires some TLC. The easiest thing to do is to sit and knit. Before I get into the “knitty-gritty”, I realised the other day that I totally did achieve my goal with the Ravelry Challenge – I had not yet updated Ravelry and found that I had yet to add a project for the Golf Club Covers! That took me to 34 projects exactly.
I have now resumed most of my normal knitting from before the Christmas advents and gift knitting. The main one I haven’t started on is my Turtle Dove because it has been quite warm and bulky knitting is not exactly comfortable at the moment – it also needs to be tried on. I don’t remember where my sleeves are at with decreases as I’m doing them as I go. Today is quite cool so it may be a good day to try this on. I think this would only take a week or so when I get back onto it.
Finished Objects: In the meantime, I finished the Bitty booties I started on New Year’s Day and the Garter Ear Flap hat the day after. The booties are done minus the buttons required as it will be a week or two before I can get to a button shop of any description. I think they are looking quite cute as a set which will be even better with the next project below. See how the colour changes from day to day, or different times of day, with different light?
New Cast-on: Early on this week I cast on a new baby item. I was originally going to make the Kimono Nur that I’d tried out at the end of last year but I wasn’t quite convinced at the construction of that one. Firstly, it requires seaming and that hasn’t happened yet on the trial project. Secondly, the decreases on the front section that shows are quite tight. I do have another baby kimono pattern by Joji Locatelli but I preferred the lower angle on the cross over front sections of the Kimono Nur. In the end, I decided to wing it and work out my own construction. It’s only a small project so I wouldn’t consider it a waste of time if I have to frog it back. You can see my construction notes below – or at least the part that I’ve actually done. If it all works out, the finished garment will have a button on each side of the bottom front. You can just see the button holes showing on the right-hand side section which, if I’m honest, could be the wrong side. As it’s all garter, it looks the same either side but button placement depends on whether it’s a boy or girl. As I won’t know that till it’s born and my intention is to gift it before, I will make the call when I pick up for the sleeves. I can’t imagine it would be something that people would notice.
I totally forgot to include my completed Outline scarf in last week’s post! I was able to finish it on New Year’s Eve – finished minus the ends sewn in and not blocked. I’m taking the status as complete due to finishing the actual knitting. I have not had an opportunity to block this yet because floor space is at a premium at present during the packing process and outside is not a great idea due to smoke and some rain. It’s not urgent that it is blocked at the moment and once we start moving the boxes out to the storage area there will be plenty of room, and maybe a bit more opportunity. Hmm, did I pack my blocking wires? Quite possible!
There’s been some good progress on the Olilia shawl but I still have a fair bit to go, mainly due to the number of stitches now. I have no idea how many there are but I’m guessing upwards of 300. When I finished the main section I decided to do the border in stocking stitch -I didn’t want the contrasting purl bumps on the right side and I want to use as much of the yarn as I can. Having said that, as I move onto the last couple of colourways (or should I say the first couple?) there is a lot more yarn left so I’m trying to keep the amounts similar to the other sections I’ve done. I really want to finish this quickly but, as I mentioned, the rows are so long now and I’m enjoying mixing up the knitting amongst the other projects. I’m glad I’m using the speckled yarn as I love how they look transitioning through the different colours. It wasn’t so noticeable in the first section of the shawl.
My Mina’s Vanilla socks are not moving too quickly but I enjoy adding a few rows on them here and there. They will be good portable knitting in the future but I took the Olilia to breakfast on Monday instead, trying to get that one done.
Another project that has been re-introduced into rotation is my Songbird shawl. I have actually finished the pattern as written but I’m now working through more repeats to use up my hand-dyed yarn. This is actually a good thing because the pattern seems to increase quite narrowly and is only just getting to a decent width now. I think I have more than a quarter of the total yarn to go.
Due to the fires around at the moment, there is a lot of wildlife that needs some tender care from injuries etc. Facebook is inundated with different causes to get pouches, etc. for these animals and I’ve been following the Animal Rescue Craft Guild. I have started a medium joey pouch but realised that knitting is the slowest form of any of the items they have requested. During my packing, I found some yarn that I thought I could get rid of and then realised it would be perfect for these pouches. Anyway, I’m persisting with this knitting as I’m about halfway, but the next one will be crochet. That will move so much more quickly. These pouches also require cotton liners so I’ll be able to whip up a few of those on the machine quite quickly. That’s a project for next week perhaps.
With all this packing I had a good sorting of my yarn and realised how lovely it is! It may be something to do with the new year as it’s happened before but I have a really strong urge to finish stuff. Along with that, I now have an urge to not buy anything and to use up what I have. In that vein, I’m joining in with a couple of Ravelry KALs for using up pre-2020 yarn and patterns. The Crazy Sock Lady Podcast has a #stashbusters2020 KAL and Fybrenymph Dyeworks is having a 20in20 KAL. I’m not sure of the hashtag for that one as there are quite a few on Instagram. The Stashbusters KAL is to use yarn from before 1 January this year. That will not be hard at all, and there are themes for each quarter. The 20in20 requires you state lists of 20 in whichever categories you wish, or all of them – yarn, pattern and fibre, of what you will use. I’m going to try for all though I don’t have 20 separate fibre packs. The requirement for each is that you acquired them before 1 January this year, so same scenario. Let’s see how I go! I’m itching to cast on a couple of new things, and they qualify) but I’m hanging off until I finish a couple of things. One is the Le Pouf cardigan by Hedgehog fibres. I have the yarn for this one but just need to dye a couple of them to suit the colour scheme I’m going for.
I did want to do some spinning this week but where my wheel is set up has become overcrowded by boxes. As I’m mid-ply on my black (grey), red and white spin, I don’t want to move it and there’s probably nowhere else for it to be at the moment. I did sort out my fibre stash this week – partly for the 20 in 20 challenge I mentioned earlier, but also because I’m packing that to go with us to our temporary accommodation rather than into storage. We’ll be able to access the storage unit whenever we need but I know what needs to come with me. My non-current knitting WIPs will be on top of this pile.
I did attempt to continue with my Inka the Little Llama security blanket project this week but the stars were obviously not aligned. Firstly, I realised that the hook is no longer with the project and I have no idea where it might be. Secondly, I realised that I probably crocheted the head in the wrong size hook but I have no way of knowing this. And lastly, the crochet hook I need to proceed has gone AWOL also! Needless to say, this project has been put back into time out until I can find/get another hook. Looking at the size of the head I crocheted and the blanket I can see that it’s probably out of proportion and I’ll just have to do another head before moving onto the ears, nose and arms. There is definitely something to be said about reading patterns carefully!
It was nearly another week without any sewing projects but I managed to squeeze in a little time, and a little floor space, to cut out my next project. As I mentioned last week, I wanted to cut out a short-sleeved top from the navy crepe jersey I have. My indecision rested with whether to cut out the top from the Sheona pattern that I have already used or cut out a new pattern that I have called Neenah. In the end, I went with the path of least resistance and used the Sheona pattern. Let’s see when I’ll be able to start stitching on this. If you look at the top photo of the two of my packing chaos early in this post, you may see right at the back I have a pile of, mainly, sewing/quilting items that I’ll be taking with me to our temporary accommodation. That pile is currently either next to or on top of my machine, or on the chair in front of my machine. I have to pack up that pile ready for transport.
I had intended to work on my goals for 2020, and also my word for 2020 but that hasn’t really happened. My word for 2019 was “settled” and I may just stay with that one for 2020 because of the house build. We thought it would start mid-2019 but we were delayed and that was one of the reasons I selected the word. Let’s just go with that. As far as goals go, I’m looking at getting my fitness back and losing a couple of kilos. Christmas and visitors slowed down the fitness regime which I’m now getting back into properly. I would say my major goal for 2020 is getting settled into the new house and that has kind of started with the packing cull. Living in the same house for 30 years has seen a build-up of stuff that is no longer needed and I’m enjoying the cleaning out process during the packing. I must say there’s a non-enjoyment side to this process too as it’s really hard work and playing havoc with my back. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
As far as books go, I’ve not been able to concentrate on listening to any during the packing as I do need to think about what I’m doing. I have managed to get through a few podcasts as I can tune out on those every now and then and they have been building up. Night knitting has been accompanied by binge-watching the Call the Midwife episodes, from season 5 and I have plenty to catch up on, but I also want to start The Witcher. I think I may try to split the difference and take turns on each. It’s hard because I like to move onto each next episode when I’m really into something.
I should now move onto some more packing but I think we’re heading over to the Brewery with some friends for a fundraiser afternoon and some bands playing. It is Sunday after all, and I’m pretty sure I deserve the break. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!