Hello friends! Welcome to my new normal. On Thursday, it was two weeks since we moved in here at Bawley and on Friday I realised that it takes me two weeks to get into a new routine. After four moves in 8 weeks, I have worked that out. The first three moves were in three weeks so there was no routine for those three weeks. Each place has been different and that is why I’ve needed a new routine each time. Here, I have found that my favourite place is sitting on the little deck listening to the birds and getting some well-needed vitamin D. I’m not sure how long that will last as the temperature is dropping – as long as the sun shines, it shouldn’t be a problem as this little corner (I now call it my office) has the sun most of the day. I have been starting the day with breakfast in “my office”, while I work out what I’ll do for the day – after my beach run, that is. The new normal also includes Zoom a few times a week and only since I’ve upped my data limit on my phone. It’s not unlimited, which is what we had at home, so I need to time these Zoom meetings. I found an hour takes more than a GB. I’m working on a limit of about 1 GB per day. You can see our family Zoom and also my group of close friends that craft together. I also have two Virtual Knit Night Zoom groups that I’ll be getting back into now too.
I’ve had a couple of different beach views this week but mainly the two just near me. On Tuesday we had to go up to the house for more detail decisions. We stopped on the way back, firstly for a walk out to the point at Cunjarong, then for some groceries and lunch. Again, we had pies for lunch this time while looking out at Dolphin Point. I am certainly looking forward to cafes reopening!
I have been enjoying all the cooking posts on Instagram and have now made two things from #notquitenigella. The first were the hot cross buns before Easter and yesterday I made Lorraine’s Dutch Curry and Rice Pumpkin Soup. It was really yummy though I should have rinsed the rice as she directed. It turned out a little bit more glutinous than it should be but I just added more water to thin it out a bit. I’m also inspired by the recipes from The Recipe Tin and may explore some of those too. I think this COVID 19 #stayathome situation has more people cooking these days.
The house continues to progress at a very good rate. Most of the outside walls are on and the roof is finished. We have to decide on pretty much everything now as it will start going together all at once. We have to finalise lighting details on Tuesday so that is another trip up to the house and we’ll take that opportunity to look at tiles, bathroom fittings, etc. I have decided on an induction cooktop so I’ll need to pick kitchen appliances too!
After getting a couple of finished projects into the mail this week I pretty much focussed on getting my Kettle Valley poncho finished. I reached the point where I think the body ribbing should start and finished binding that off last night. I’ve now picked up the neck stitches and I’m working on the collar ribbing. It’s very hard to see how this will look from the picture below but I’ll put some modelled pics on once it’s finished. I think it may be a bit bigger than it should be but, as it’s supposed to be oversized, I think it will be OK. It’s going to be a cosy lounging item so it won’t matter that it’s a bit big. I ran out of the blue on the sleeves so I’ve done the body and neck ribbing in a magenta yarn that I’d dyed at some point. I think I’ll add a few rounds on the edge of the sleeve ribbing to match.
The only other knitting this week has been on the Ciqala cardigan sleeves. Now that I’ve worked out where the decreases should be, as I’m doing this all backwards, it won’t take long to finish. Then I’ll start on the next one in the cream yarn. That one shouldn’t take anywhere near as long as I have it all worked out now.
Coming up: I was going to cast on my next pair of Drifting Snow mittens the other day using some Blackwattle Myrtle 8 ply (100% alpaca) but I remembered that I hadn’t caked up the skein. Lucky I have my swift and ball winder with me! The only problem was that I couldn’t find anywhere I could set them up. In the end, they fit nicely on the handrail in “my outdoor office” and it was such a beautiful day that I skeined up that yarn and some more silk for my Garland top that has been waiting patiently for some caked yarn. The other project that will be making its debut probably this week is the Koivua sweater by Boyland Knitworks (aka Caitlin Hunter). I have had this yarn waiting since last year and I was recently inspired by my friend #manakori_creations who has just finished hers. The main yarn is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Tweed in the Down Heather colourway and the contrast is some leftover KnitPicks Provincial Tweed from the Nightshift Shawl that I finished last year. I think I will continue with my Ranunculus II before casting this on as I only have to finish the sleeves. With that and my Kettle Valley poncho finished I’ll have some vacant spots in my WIP line up!
The Wren and Ollie Rolags are now finished and skeined up ready for my handspun pile. I haven’t yet worked out yardage so I’ll get that done this week. It’s a reasonably loose ply but fortunately not too loose.
This load of Ashford fibre has finally been plied and skeined. This one started out as a spindle spin but I finished it on my wheel. Again, I haven’t worked out yardage yet but it will go nicely with a few other similar Ashford skeins I have in different colours. I’m thinking it may be good for a Stonecrop cardigan. I have the sweater pattern but was thinking I’d steek it for a cardigan instead.
My next spin is now underway. I mentioned last week that this November club fibre from Ixchel Fibres and Yarns would be next. I wanted to split the 300+ grams into three main colourways and it kind of worked, as you can see in the photo below. The blue seems to be spinning up with not too much blue but it’s looking great. I only have a small amount left of that one to go and then I’ll start on either the pink/peach or the green/yellow lot. I intend to chain ply these – not my most comfortable way of plying but I reckon 300 grams of it should make me better at it!
The Audrey jacket is now finished! Well, kind of – I need two more buttons and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get them so, for now, this is finished. It wasn’t hard to put the buttons on but I did have a blowout on one. Robert suggested I shouldn’t be hammering on the little wooden outdoor table (with an old tea towel underneath, of course) and suggested doing it on the concrete. The instruction video showed using a piece of timber underneath and it seems the concrete was just too hard. I only had the right number of buttons so that was one less and I had lost one of the little lugs that secure the buttons from the back, making two less. I think I lost it at the last place we were staying so couldn’t even look for it. I will still be able to wear it without these two buttons. The sleeves are a bit long but, for a wearable muslin, it’s pretty good. I would feel comfortable making another one of these.
I had been putting off my next sewing project until I’d finished the jacket so I have now moved onto that one – the Sheath dress from an old Inspirations Magazine. The name of the dress is just a generic one, meaning a straight up and down type dress though it sounds much more exotic. It has contrast shoulder panels (not shown here) with piping in between. I had bought some bias binding for the piping and then decided I wouldn’t bother with it. That is until I realised that the piping is an integral part of the construction. Lucky I had this bias binding, otherwise I would have made some. The piping starts at the neck on both the front and back next to the shoulder panel and is joined by the side seams, finishing off the sleeve holes. I had already traced the pattern last week so it just needed cutting. The fabric I had wasn’t wide enough to do the front and the back pieces in one strip each so I decided to cut the back into two sections with, essentially, a waist seam. Now that I think about it, I might have been able to do it if I’d moved the front to the other end of the fabric. It doesn’t really matter as it will still work like this. I have cut the facing and shoulder panels out of the contrasting blue fabric. It should be easy to put together – so far I’ve only done step one which is adding the binding. I have some leftovers so maybe a little girl dress is on the cards.
I hadn’t intended to cut out the Pietra pants just yet but I needed some brown fabric for the Paper Doll quilt (update down below) so I wanted to see if I had any of this fabric leftover. As it turns out I had enough from a couple of small offcuts and still about half a metre of extra fabric. I had to grade this pattern from a 12 waist down to a 10 hip and that was slowing me down. As I needed the fabric, I forced myself to go for it, not having graded previously. Looking at it incessantly wasn’t going to make it easier so I went for the cut. I had also shortened the rise by 2cms and that was confusing in itself, as it meant doing that on almost all the pieces. I hope to start on this one later in the week as the dress should be pretty quick.
This project could fall into many categories but the ultimate result is a “patchwork” quilt so I’m going with it here. The Paper Doll quilt is coming along nicely. I had the body ready last week but was waiting for the background fabric before I could go much further. I made the underwear and, using the scraps from Pietra pants fabric, I made the hair. I originally was going to use wool felt for the hair but I didn’t have enough brown to cut all the pieces, hence the search for brown fabric. The pattern uses velcro type fabric for the underwear but I wasn’t able to get any of that. Instead, I’m going to add a strip of the soft velcro across the waist and shoulders, using the hook side of the velcro on the clothes. All the doll pieces are ready and I have the background fabric so it’s just a matter of stitching on each layer now. My workbench for laying out and pinning is the in-house ironing board which is small and rocky but it’s doing the job! The top of the quilt will be done this week and I hope to start quilting the background before next Sunday. I won’t be quilting on the actual doll so that section won’t be quilted on the backing. Maybe I’ll do some hand quilting on those sections so that they’re not too big.
There has been progress on my Round the Garden quilt and I’m still enjoying it. I’ve not quite finished the quarter outer border as I had intended by now but I’m very close. I was distracted by the left quadrant that I hadn’t finished and it’s nearly done now as well. I am adding the embroidery in between and around the houses. I’ll start the next section soon or maybe fill that last little wedge that is not done yet.
Thank goodness for mail orders. I received my Spotlight order on Friday and it appears that they were quite generous. Yes, you are seeing double, because they sent double! This is the wadding, backing and border for the Paper Doll quilt and the pink isn’t exactly what I thought I was getting – it’s a bit hard to tell when ordering from a thumbnail pic. It is suitable though and I’m not going to be able to get anything else just yet so I’m going with it.
It didn’t take me very long to finish listening to “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood even though it was over 13 hours worth. I really didn’t want to “put it down” and listened at every opportunity. This book is basically the finale of The Handmaid’s Tale and, though the ending was quite tidy, it kept me engaged the whole way. I also enjoyed the different style which was basically the story narrated in diary form by different characters. Since finishing that one I’ve now started a new book – Blue Moon by Lee Child. This is the latest novel in the “Jack Reacher” series and promises to be a good palate cleanser. I’ve started watching some podcasts again but I’m being very selective due to my limited data allowance. Last night, we were lucky enough to see The King’s Speech on free-to-air TV and it was great. It’s rare to get something as good as that but I’ll keep my eye out for some more gems from now.
This week promises to be more of the same, which I think is the situation for everyone at the moment. I am looking forward to restrictions being lifted but at the same time not wanting this to happen before it’s the right time. I’m particularly looking forward to hugging all my family and friends – it’s times like these when you realise that all this is normally taken for granted. I hope everyone is keeping well and sane and, until next week, I hope you are enjoying the many opportunities for your creative pleasures!