Hello friends! Welcome to May – how the year is flying, but also going very slowly. The weather has turned decidedly colder and holds the promise of a very cold winter. It’s still Autumn here but is starting to blend with winter already. The majority of the week has been quite blustery but, as I sit here in my (deck) office, the wind has calmed and the sun is peeking out of the clouds every so often; enough to make the temperature out here bearable. Here are this week’s beach views – not a lot of sunshine in them!
I have again been Corona Cooking this week. I blame all the Instagram profiles I’m following for making all the things look amazing! Firstly, inspired by Lorraine of #notquitenigella, I made this Mug Cake from Taste.com.au. I was after one that wasn’t chocolate and Robert doesn’t particularly like orange so I went hunting. This Golden Syrup Microwave Mug Cake was very nice though I didn’t add any golden syrup or ice cream on top. The next bake was of Arnott’s Scotch Finger biscuits. I discovered this week that Arnotts are releasing recipes for some of their biscuits – #baketogether. I missed the one last week for Monte Carlo biscuits but may still give those a go at some point. The Scotch Finger biscuits came out very short so I think it needs more flour. I’ll add a bit more next time – there will be a next time. They were very easy to make but hard to flatten out in the tin, though I think that would be better with more flour so that it doesn’t stick to everything. And finally, last night, while Robert was crumbing one of his freshly caught squids for an entree, I made Recipe Tin’s Broccoli Chicken Fritters. They were so yummy but I would leave out the garlic next time. It might be because I finely chopped it (not having a garlic crusher here with me) and it made it a bit bitter, tasting a bit burnt like.
May is also MeMadeMay month, so it’s time for some awkward selfies. Generally, people participating in this rotate their wardrobe so that they are wearing their own makes each day for the month, or whatever they can manage. Personally, most of my stuff is still packed away and most of that is knitwear with a couple of summer dresses. I will need to get some knitwear out of storage for the cold weather but could probably manage with the few bits I have with me. On Friday, I wore my Monroe top by Tessuti, along with the Audrey jacket by Seamwork. Both of these were made for my first #thegreatmodulesewalong. They are both a bit big and swamp me a bit but they are very comfortable. Yesterday’s MeMade was my Turtle Dove sweater by Espace Tricot. I finished this a couple of months ago and it’s not been cold enough to wear until now. I also have this on today.
House Update: There’s little to update this week and no photos that show much progress. Little bits are happening at the moment. We’ve had only one thing that has been affected by this pandemic and it’s the stone panelling that we were going to have in the front entry and foyer. The product we were going to use is made in China and would be a long wait as it’s not stored here. Instead, we’ve chosen a different stone which is installed as tiles. The sample I have photographed is not really showing correctly but is supposed to look like the snapshot on the right. The bathroom fittings will be installed this week and the plasterboard will go up also. We’ve chosen the exterior paint colours and the exterior will be painted very soon so that they can remove and return the scaffolding. We are still looking at kitchens, laundry, vanities, cooktops and stove, to mention but a few items we need.
Finished Object #1: This has been a week of finishing. I have decided to consider the Kettle Valley poncho finished, without adding the dark red to the edges of the sleeves. It was hanging around so I called it finally and sewed in the edges, then blocked it. You can see it here as it is drying. If it’s dry tomorrow, I think I’ll wear it and try to take some photos to show what it looks like. As it’s fingering weight (4 ply) it drapes nicely, from the elbows down, which is where the ribbing starts on the sleeves.
Finished Object #2: The latest Drifting Snow mitts are also finished. I did the thumbs on Monday but I haven’t yet posted this gift to its recipient. I’ll try again tomorrow.
Finished Object #3: My Ranunculus II is also finished. This is another one that I’ll be wearing for MeMadeMay. It’s such a cosy knit and the colours came out very soft, which is what I was going for. I used Stranded Dyeworks’ Yesterday’s Bouquet in a fingering weight and mohair, each held with a plain undyed mohair and fingering. I did the plain finish on the sleeves with the rib instead of the diagonal cuff line. I would have liked to have done that but the short rows wouldn’t work with the helical knitting of the two different yarns. I also decreased as the sleeves grew rather than leaving them to gather at the cuff with an i-cord bind off.
My Tuileries sweater is an almost finished object! I could probably have finished it last night but it meant trying it on during the movie we were watching; instead, I chose to spin. One sleeve is probably done – depending on the length when I try it on today. I have removed the second yarn (helical knitting again) and did that when I was at the underarm, beginning of row section so that it wouldn’t be obvious. If it needs more length now it will only be a few rows and I can do that with just the one yarn. Once I’ve bound that off, I’ll finish off the other sleeve in the same way. The bottom of the body was a tubular bind off using 2 set-up rows and I’m not fussed with the look. I think I’ll do the sleeves with the tubular but not doing the set-up rows. I’m sure I’ve done it that way before but there aren’t many stitches if I need to rip it back. This MadTosh yarn has gone a long way and it seems I have a reasonable amount of leftover yarn, out of the 4 skeins I started with.
Now that all of these are done (or all but) I can think of moving onto my next pieces. This afternoon I’ll be casting on some toddler mittens for Miss Evie. Kim is hoping she’ll wear them but we’re not overly confident. I also have my Comfort Fade Cardi that has been waiting patiently so I’ll be picking that up again. I got stuck with the fade on the sleeves which ended up with the cardi getting put into the too hard basket. I have since worked out a better method so I’m looking forward to getting this one done. I am also going to start my Koivua sweater by Caitlin Hunter. I have been very good at waiting until these other projects were done! I also brought my Rings of Change crochet project home from the storage unit. I’m feeling the urge for some crochet. And I haven’t forgotten the Ciqala cardigans that I’m doing. I’ll be working on those this week too. No photos of these items today but I imagine there will be plenty next week. I would love to start my Le Pouf cardigan but that means dyeing and I don’t think I can do that here.
This is the third bobbin of my Ixchel Yarns and Fibres November batt club. I got 2 packs of this which added to just over 300gms. Once I’ve finished this bobbin I’ll be chain plying each of them separately. You can see the first two bobbins down below – the peachy/pink one, and the other was the majority of the blue fibre. It doesn’t look a whole lot different to the current green/yellow spin as there’s a fair bit of overlap. I didn’t want to separate every little piece of each colour as I think that would have separated all the different fibres in these batts. Once plied, I would think you’ll be able to see the difference in the two skeins but it doesn’t really matter if they look the same.
I have now finished my Pietra pants – the third item in my #thegreatmodulesewalong. The dress has had to wait in the wings due to the wrong invisible zipper part that I received. You’ll see in Acquisitions that I now have the right one. These pants turned out to be so easy once I got started. The only hiccup I had was that the pocket was shorter than it should be. I had shortened each piece in the rise by 2cm and did that to the pocket as well, where it indicated to shorten or lengthen. In the end, it worked out fine, just the pocket is 1cm shorter which is unnoticeable. The other issue I had was that they swam on me. I tried them on when the sides were joined and even joined the inner leg seam before the pattern indicated so that I could make sure. I ended up taking a good half to three-quarter inch off each side seam. From the measurements on the pattern, I worked out that I was a 12 in the waist and a 10 in the hip, so I graded the pattern to fit. I didn’t need to worry about the waist as it’s a smaller measurement than the hip and, being elastic, the waist was already at hip measurement otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get them over the hip. They fit quite well, though maybe still a little bigger than they need to be so when I make another pair, I’ll start with a straight size 8. Pattern sizes are never the same which is why you go off the measurements. In this case, it didn’t come out to the finished sizes indicated.
I didn’t do a lot of stitching on my Round the Garden quilt this week, only doing a bit yesterday afternoon when I added the doorknobs. I only need to add a bee and finish the top of the lighthouse for this first quarter to be done and I’ve got the next quarter pieces ready to cut out and add to the quilt. You can see the freezer paper pieces ironed onto the felt. I’ll be cutting these out this afternoon. I now also have the Cricut machine from my friends Mary and Kerry so that I can cut out lots more circles.
As I mentioned earlier, I ended up with the wrong invisible zipper foot for my Janome MC6600P so I didn’t put the zipper into the dress. I now have the right one. You’d think, after all this time I’ve had this Janome and my other older Janome that I’d know the size of the shank. Well, I have a better idea now at least what they are talking about. It must be the 5mm or maybe 7mm. I also bought a set of patterns from Sew Over It, London. I was looking for a skirt pattern to make with the corduroy that I have for my #thegreatmodulesewalong and I stumbled over this set. It has 5 patterns with different views so that make more patterns. There’s a pair of jeans, a knit top & dress, a shirt & shirt dress, a waterfall cardigan and a skirt. I’ve already printed and cut out the skirt pattern and I’m thinking about how I’m going to grade the skirt waist with the pocket. Something to cut out this week, I think.
This week started as another week in isolation. I started listening to three books. The first I realised I’d already listened to – I was going to the bottom of the list and it wasn’t marked as read. The other one, I’m not sure about and I wasn’t in the mood for it. So I went from the top and picked the first one that was already downloaded. I am now enjoying Buried Deep by Margot Hunt. On Tuesday night I had an online book club and also joined my girlfriends for a chat. I didn’t wake up early enough on Wednesday to join in with the International Virtual Knit Night unfortunately but was able to spend a little time yesterday afternoon with the Australian Virtual Knit girls.
On Friday, restrictions were lifted so that two people from the same family group could visit a household. I got to visit my friend Mary yesterday. I also saw my friend Kerry over the fence there as she lives next door and it was great to say hello face to face. Of course, we are still required to distance ourselves. I’m hoping people are sensible so as to avoid another peak.
Next Sunday is Mother’s Day and I will be going up to Wollongong to visit with Steven, Kim & Evie. I imagine it will still be the single-family group with single-family group situation. If restrictions are lifted further maybe Erin & Shaun could come down from Sydney to join us.
As I continued with this blog, the sun has come out and it’s a gorgeous Autumn day. I haven’t been for any exercise yet today and I think it’s time for a walk. Restrictions are changing all over the world so, until next week, I hope you are able to get some personal contact and enjoy lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!