Hello friends! Happy International Women’s Day! I’ve had a lot of fun this week, starting with breakfast with the girls on Monday morning and then a trip to Wollongong. I always enjoy some quality time with the kids, especially the littlest one! It also gave me the opportunity for some car knitting. Tuesday and Wednesday were relaxing days at home and Thursday we had an evening at the JB Brewery with some friends. It has a great atmosphere for a relaxing drink and some dinner. We also had a visit from what seems to be a local kangaroo. He calls around every few days for some grass on the reserve in front of us. He is definitely a big boy!
On Friday, I headed over to my girlfriend Janice’s place which is near Canberra. I took the route I used to drive weekly but, as I expected, I was greeted with a very different landscape. These photos show just a small section from my trip – there is a lot of this scenery on that road. What is heartening at the moment is all the greenery that is sprouting. The grass has grown back in a lot of places but the trees will take longer. There are sections with lots of black trees and lots of lush green new leaves.
Janice lives on a lovely property and it was touch and go for about a day as to whether we’d be able to get to her house. There’d been more rain around the state and her creek crossing was underwater. Fortunately for us, it had receded to just a few inches and we had no troubles getting through it. By today it had completely receded. The four of us were doing a microwave glass fusion class and I’ll go into that later in the blog. We got to meet her many dogs and cats, along with her lovely pigs shown here. There were also cows, a rooster and chickens but we didn’t meet them personally. Before we left today, Janice took Mary, Karen and me to check out the beautiful yarn and alpacas at Blackwattle Alpaca Yarn and Fibres. More about that later too.
As I predicted, I did get the yoke on my Anna’s Summer cardigan finished, and then I finished the button bands. All I need to do now is sew in the ends, block it and buy/stitch on some buttons. When I joined the body and sleeves at the yoke, I was wishing I had tried to reverse engineer the cardigan so that I did it top down. The yoke section when going bottom-up is very tight and needs to be done with magic loop at the sleeve sections. I had to do about 8 or more full rows before there was enough give to remove the magic loop. Little did I know, until I got to the end of the instructions for bottom-up knitting, that there were also instructions for top-down knitting! That’s what happens when you don’t actually have the pattern on paper. I didn’t realise there was a whole other section.
My Ranunculus sweater has had a lot of progress this week. Over the weekend I only worked on this project as we were busy with other crafty pursuits. I’m nearly at the end of the body, currently working through the ribbing. I mentioned last week that I had intended to do some waist shaping and I did that, removing about 16 stitches. That actually took me to the ribbing and I am now using 5.0mm needles instead of the 6.0mm prescribed. I also omitted the twisted knit rib as I had done with the neckline as I found it didn’t look great with larger knitting needles. I did the body longer and am doing the rib shorter, hoping that it’s about enough now. I’ll need the remaining yarn for the sleeves, hopefully getting full length, but I’ll take what I can get! I could have saved some yarn from the extra room in the body but I don’t want to frog back that far with mohair.
Out of Hibernation: This week I needed something that was not up to a critical point. Something that could just be picked up and knitted on without having to think. All the current projects needed either trying on, picking up bands or winding up yarn so I didn’t take anything to breakfast with me on Monday to work on. On Wednesday, I got some stuff out of storage and that included a box of fibre and WIPs. Say hello to my Kettle Valley poncho, started on the 19th May 2018. I’m currently working on the sleeve cuffs – very long sleeve cuffs. Before I’d put this aside I thought I’d get the cuffs out of the way but soon got bored with that. Anyway, I’m happy to knit on those now and I’ve added some rows. At least I know I can take this anywhere, though it is a bit bigger than a pair of socks. I started this project to use up my fingering scraps and since it’s been languishing I’ve managed to stock up on a good pile, including some leftover sock blanks!
Wee Peggy has come out of the storage shed and I have her set up. I didn’t get a lot of time to spin but I managed to continue with the chain ply that I’d abandoned a couple of weeks before we move out of the old house. I would have had more done except I wasn’t paying attention and let the yarn go over the edge of the bobbin. I was about to move it along and realised that I’d come to a grinding halt, with the yarn trapped outside the bobbin. That took a little while to negotiate and get it back to working order. I hope to finish this ply tomorrow so that I can get into a new spin.
I made a little more progress on my Kristy top this week. I got stuck on the neckline opening where I had to unpick and redo and that took a bit of fiddling with. It’s done now but could do with better ironing. I have also joined the side, sleeve and flounce seams and I’ve hemmed the flounces. Next step I’ll attach the flounces to the sleeves and the sleeves to the armholes. It’s a bit like that song, “the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone……”. The problem with Style Arc patterns is that you’re expected to know what to do with very brief instructions. I wouldn’t recommend their patterns to beginner sewists but they do have a very large selection for those more experienced.
What a wonderful day we had with Janice Laurent at her Stonecrest Creations studio yesterday. She is such a talented lady with so many crafty options. Just walking around her studio was mesmerising and extremely inspiring. Janice also goes to Nepal, teaching the local women how to sew so that they can become self-sufficient, and sells their beautiful jewellery where all the money goes back into helping these women. You’ll see a fabulous necklace that I purchased in the acquisitions section. In our class yesterday, we worked on microwave kiln glass fusing and had an absolute ball. Kudos to Janice for putting up with us as we are all very enthusiastic and eagerly moved from one activity to the next. The class also included morning tea and afternoon tea, the latter where we happily waited for our final items to cool down. Warning: lots of photos but I could have included many more!
You can see some of our glass pieces below. The final photo is my haul, with a couple of pairs of earrings, two pendants and some lovely bits and pieces that I intend to make a hanging window suncatcher or something like that. This class was wonderful and would suit all abilities. I’m hoping to do some of Janice’s other craft classes in the not too distant future!
Early this week I received some bare silk/mohair that I had intended to use for my Ranunculus but my friend Mary gifted me some beige to use. I will use this yarn for future projects and dye it to match. I got this lot from Yarnarama, where I get some of my bare yarn for dyeing. Here is the beautiful necklace from Nepal. I just loved the colours in this necklace though the lighting for this picture was not ideal. I think it still shows how lovely it is. My other purchase was from today’s visit to Blackwattle Alpaca Yarn and Fibre. I bought two little alpacas – one for a little boy born just the other day, a skein of the Myrtle 8ply (100% alpaca) in a discontinued colourway – for some gift mittens I’m about to cast on, and a pack of suri fibre that I may blend with a large stash of lime green merino fibre – when I get to that.
I’m finally getting settled in this house, enough to bring back my yarn stash and a few other items. This is the majority of my yarn but there is a little bit more not shown. I have several projects lined up to start working through this lot!
I finished The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides the other day and I was very impressed. When I first started it, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read it all as it seemed to be so very depressing. I am glad that I persisted as the story moved on and went through unexpected twists and turns with a very interesting ending. I’m also glad I recommended this one for our Book Club; I think it will make for engaging conversation! From that book back to one I’d started just recently – Heavy on the Dead by GM Ford. This is the latest in the Leo Waterman series that I’ve been reading for many years now. I love the fast pace and plot twists, and it’s such an easy listen. It was very entertaining for my trip to Canberra and back. Regarding the visual type of entertainment, apart from Married at First Sight, I’ve not had much opportunity this week, only managing the one episode of Outlander still. I’ll be rectifying that this week!
This week is Kimberley’s birthday and also my Evie week. I’m looking forward to catching up with the kids again and we’ll be having a family celebration next Sunday. Other than that, I will be getting into all the crafting I can manage so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!