Sunday 26 April 2020. #92

Hello friends! Happy ANZAC Day for yesterday. This year, the celebrations were very different. Originally a day of remembrance for those Australians and New Zealanders who served in the Gallipoli campaign during World War I, this day now honours all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died and those that are serving. Normally everyone gathers in groups to watch the ceremonies, held both at dawn and then at 10 am at memorials all over Australia and New Zealand. The second ceremony is held following a march in all cities and most larger towns. This year there was no march and the ceremonies were few, watched on television or listened to on the radio. TV campaigns promoted a “light up the dawn” for everyone to stand in their driveways or at their gates with candles. You can see the photo below of our little ceremony where Rob and I listened to the ceremony on the radio and watched the sunrise. Though we were the only ones in our section of the street, it was wonderful to see on TV and social media how so many celebrated in a similar way.

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ANZAC Day for us

Here are some of my weekly beach photos taken either on my morning run or afternoon walk. We were also visited by a flock of galahs and it seems the postman left a frog this time!

Isolation days are being filled with cooking across the world and I’ve been joining in. This week I tried a Teabread recipe from homebody_diaries (in her highlights). I’m pretty sure I made this a long long time ago and I had forgotten that it existed. It uses 4 ingredients – self-raising flour, sugar, tea and dried fruit, and it becomes a great fruitcake – great for morning tea or just any time. The biscuits are all ANZAC biscuits. These were originally made to send to soldiers in WWI as the sugar content ensured they lasted a long time. These were all variations from a recipe on Taste but I wasn’t impressed with them. After making these I saw that notquitenigella had posted her recipe. Kim and Erin both made them and they seemed to be a success.

House update: All the electrics are being installed now along with the air conditioning. Also, the downstairs deck off my studio is now finished. It will be great for all the wet activities – felting, dyeing, etc. and just sitting outside crafting. The view down there is only of the backyard so I’ll probably be sitting on the upstairs deck more often. This week I had to make three trips up to do house stuff as we need to finalise so many things. We are talking to kitchen installers and looking at all the fittings required for bathrooms, laundry and kitchen. Tiles and floorboards have been selected, but not the carpet yet. So many decisions to be made!

Knitting

I was able to get some knitting done on two of the three trips up to the house (the third I drove up alone) and I managed to almost finish my Kettle Valley poncho. This could be the finished state but I think I’ll add a few rows on each sleeve in the same yarn that I did the body and neck ribs. It probably doesn’t need it as it’s all scrappy anyway but I kind of feel like I have to do it. It should only take a short amount of time to do, then I’ll block it. The increase stitches on the yoke are a bit puckery but I’m hoping that blocking will settle that. I may be wearing this next week as the weather is cooling, particularly at night, though we’ve had a few hot days too.

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Moving onto something a little move conventional, my Ranunculus II is in rotation again. I only have the sleeves to do and it will be finished. There’s probably 5 inches left to do on the sleeves and I think I’ll have yarn leftover. I’m thinking I might undo the bottom rib and add a few more rows – it doesn’t really need it so I’ll see once I bind off the sleeves and try it on properly. It’s amazing what you can get from adding a natural skein to a patterned skein. There is mohair but I’m thinking of the two yarns held together as one only. This pattern is very economical.

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My next pair of Drifting Snow mitts are all but done, needing only the thumbs. The thumbs take almost no time to do so I’ll probably do that this afternoon. The colour is not showing accurately here because in real life it’s a much darker purple, some parts almost black. These are another gift pair so they’ll probably be in the post tomorrow or Tuesday. The yarn for these is Blackwattle Alpaca Yarn and Fibre Myrtle 8 ply (DK) – 100% alpaca.

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Some time ago I saw a post on Ravelry where someone was knitting 10 socks (5 pairs) all at once. It made me think it was a great idea – if you can do two, you can do as many as you like. I have decided to try this method with more Drifting Snow mitts that I wanted to make – again for gifts. So here you can see that I have 10 mitts on this circular needle and I was in serious need of yarn management. I have since organised the yarn but it’s not staying where it should while I’m knitting on it, though it is still manageable. What is not as easy as I thought it would be is the actual knitting. When knitting two at a time, you need to pull the cable through for each row and, with that many stitches on the needle, it’s quite a chore. I got several rows done last night and it is getting easier so I’ll see how it goes – I can always take a few off if I need to and do them separately.

Spinning

I was hoping to have the next bobbin of my November batt club from Ixchel Fibres and Yarns done by now. I’m very close but not quite there. I did finish the blue-ish section early in the week and I’m enjoying this pink/peach section. The blue doesn’t look so blue with all the other bits spun in it but it will look different to the green/yellow section when I get to that. The pink/peach is so yummy looking – it looks like fairy floss or some sort of candy cream! This will be finished by tomorrow and then I’ll get onto the third and final section of this fibre. I’m already thinking of how I can use these together. I have only just over 300 grams so I may need to add something else unless I make a shawl or something like my Ranunculus that doesn’t use a lot. I think I’d prefer to use this in a cardigan or jumper. The colours don’t really lend themselves to a colourwork pattern as there is not a great deal of contrast so maybe the 3 skeins with helical knitting will look good. Let’s see how bobbin number 3 turns out.

Sewing

I didn’t get many opportunities to machine sew this week though early on I added the shoulder panels to the Sheath dress that I’m making as part of #thegreatmodulesewalong. This part is technically the sleeve and I had to finish and hem the arm end before attaching each one to the front and back dress sections. You can see how the piping then finishes off the rest of the sleeve hole. As per directions, I then sewed the back seam together from where the zipper goes to the split pleat at the bottom. The next step is to add the invisible zipper so prior to diving in, as usual, I watched a YouTube video on how to install invisible zippers. The tutorial by Made To Sew is excellent. The first thing she says is to not join the bottom of the back seam so I’ll be unpicking that. I also realised that my standard zipper foot will not cut the mustard for sewing invisible zippers so I ordered one on Thursday for my Janome. The mail is a bit slow at the moment so I didn’t expect to have it on Friday (which could have happened once upon a time) so I’ve shelved this dress until that arrives. Hopefully by Tuesday and I can dive into my first invisible zipper installation.

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The only other sewing tasks I did were very “admin” in nature. The first pic below shows how I fixed the waistband on a pair of my leggings. These are ready-made leggings and the waistband was just caught in 3 places. That didn’t hold out so I have now stitched the band down properly and they feel so much better to wear. I had been meaning to do that for some time but once it warmed up last spring they were just put away. The other picture shows me cutting out the Acacia underpants pattern from Megan Neilsen Patterns. This is a free pattern if you sign up for their newsletter. Lots of people have been making underwear lately, particularly knickers as they are a great way to use up stretch fabric scraps. The pattern also includes a stretch guide as different fabrics have different amounts of stretch. I haven’t yet looked at the guide but I know I have some scraps that have totally different stretch amounts. So far I’ve only cut out the pattern as I don’t have the scraps to hand and I purchased some lingerie elastic when I was near Spotlight the other day. These are so simple to make – I watched Whitney’s TomKat Stitchery tutorial the other day and Jayne from Loopy Mabel’s Closet has one as well. The only other sewing “task” I performed was to add some of the interfacings onto the Pietra pants facing pieces. I am missing one piece of the pattern for the pocket facing so I may need to print that piece off if I can’t find it. This was my way of taking the first step on these pants, which I have already cut out for #thegreatmodulesewalong module.

Patchwork

My Paper Doll quilt project is moving along nicely now. I wish I had a name for this girl but I’ll leave that to Evie when she gets this. I only had to sew on the hair (in 3 sections) and add the underwear. On that, I’ve added some velcro at the waist and on the shoulders. The pattern actually uses velcro fabric but I wasn’t able to find any that would be easy to get. I think this will work with the other part of the velcro attached to the clothes. Next step is to sandwich this with the wadding and backing and quilt it. I’ll also start making some clothes. I haven’t decided what to do with the shoes – the pattern says to sew them onto the doll but I was wondering if I could work out how to make it so that she can have different shoes. I have an idea that may work. Watch this space.

Stitching

Definitely slow progress on my Round the Garden quilt but it is slow stitching. I am still working on the top outer quarter of the quilt, finishing off a couple of trees and bushes that are embroidered. I have also traced the next couple of section pieces onto the freezer paper ready for ironing onto the felt which will be the next step. That is, after I finish off the top of the lighthouse in that corner. It’s so enjoyable sitting on the deck listening to my book and stitching on this.

Acquisitions

When we were checking out the flooring and tiles at showrooms near Spotlight, I ducked in to get the remaining buttons for my Seamwork Audrey jacket. I actually got the wrong ones – red copper instead of the bronze ones so I had to change them when I took the flooring samples back. At this point, I had decided that I needed some lingerie elastic and I even took advantage of the 40% fabric sale. Here you see I got some rayon/spandex knit in the Big Cat colourway to make another Tessuti Monroe top. I think I have heaps and may also get something else out of this, at least some knickers! I also got a remnant of some cotton linen jersey in the olive Sketch Spot colourway. There’s only 0.75m of that so I am not sure yet what it will grow up to be. And you can see my knicker elastic there too. It should last me a little while, especially if I don’t particularly like making knickers!

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Paraphernalia

I was able to join in with a few Zoom meetings in the past week. Tuesday night I caught up with some friends, on Wednesday morning I joined the International Virtual Knit Night and yesterday afternoon I chatted with the Australia Virtual Knit Night girls. I am limiting myself to half an hour on each of these due to data limitations. It’s not ideal as I’d prefer much more time but a little bit is definitely better than none!

I finished listening to the latest Jack Reacher novel – Blue Moon by Lee Child. As usual, this book took me for a wild ride and it was thoroughly enjoyable. My next book is the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. I can’t remember where I got this recommendation but it sounded good. So far, I have only listened to about an hour therefore I can’t make a call on that yet. Again, due to data limitations, I’ve only watched the odd podcast, being very selective on which ones I pick.

This week I’ll again be participating in a few Zoom meetings and on Tuesday we are booked in to finalise some bathroom fittings and fixtures, like taps, toilets and bath. We’re not up to choosing vanities yet as I may be getting those through the kitchen people. I say “booked in” because not many places allow you to just walk in at the moment due to limits of customers allowed inside. You have to make appointments. Tuesday night will be a Book Club Messenger video chat which will be very interesting and, again, for about half an hour only. I really need to join as the books we are talking about were my selections.

I know that a lot of places overseas are starting to lift restrictions and there is a great deal of talk about that here too. That both excites and scares me! I so wish to get back to normal but I’m concerned about a spike in numbers once people are gathering again – I imagine there will be a lot of people taking advantage of the lifting of restrictions. I suppose we will have to be diligent about washing hands and not touching faces. It’s time now for me to move onto other things, like researching induction cooktops, ovens and dishwashers, and all the other things so, until next week, I hope you are all safe and healthy and you are enjoying all the opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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