Sunday 4 October 2020. #115

Hello friends! Welcome to October and daylight savings time here in New South Wales. The sun has been coming up very early in the morning and I’ve been waking with it. That’s because we don’t have blinds yet. I’ve had a few quotes and we are ordering them now but they will probably take several weeks before they are installed. At least daylight savings will help for a little while. Today is a beautiful day and we’re looking at reaching 31 degrees Celcius but I think the sea breeze will be keeping it down well below that. I started this morning with some breakfast and knitting on the deck. My mother-in-law stayed the night so it was great to have some time on the deck before the nor-easterly comes up. I had to move over to the chair near the sliding door as the sun was shaded from my face there. I’m not sure if I mentioned the tomatoes that I had planted in a pot on my studio deck but there are now two more pots. The larger one contains two heirloom mini tomatoes and they are growing very well. Last weekend, my son-in-law, Shaun, gifted me a couple of tomato seedlings that he’d sprouted which I put each into a smaller pot along with some chives seedling that I’d purchased. He also gave me some basil which I put into the larger pot – one is doing OK and the other is struggling a bit but I think it’s coming good. Fingers crossed a possum doesn’t find them.

Last week started with a breakfast catch-up at Huskisson on Monday with some girlfriends. This time I tried the granola and it was amazing, but huge! That was followed by a facial which was wonderful. On Tuesday, I had a cook-fest as our friends Peter and Sue were visiting to check out the house and have lunch with us. I didn’t take many photos, particularly none of the final products. I made a barbecue glazed meatloaf and a potato and sweet potato bake. The meatloaf recipe is for mini meatloaves but I always make it into one larger loaf as it’s less fiddly. For sweets I made pecan and apple friands and Portugese custard tarts. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I always cook these together. The friands use egg whites and the tarts use egg yolks so it saves waste. If I leave one or the other for later I tend to end up throwing it out. I use frozen sweet tart cases for the tarts which is so much easier. This week, I rode my bike on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Wednesday was very hazy though it’s not showing so badly in these photos.

Thursday’s bike ride was much clearer and there were so many SUP riders out on Myola point. I’d say it has to do with it being school holidays and the area here is filled with tourists. All the camping areas are about overflowing! I had an appointment with the Blood Bank on Thursday so I managed to get some bits and pieces for the house while I was in town. The mirror in the walk in robe needs some double sided tape and no nails – these ones specifically for mirrors and my pegboard in the studio needed plasterboard screws. While I was waiting for my turn in the Blood Bank I managed a few rows on my socks. On Friday, we had a good view of the controlled burn on Beecroft Peninsula though it turned out it wasn’t too controlled. It was mostly smoke clouds during the day but the night photo shows the fire. I normally post photos of the sunrise from my bed but this time I was watching the fire glow in the full moon.

Yesterday I had a fun day with my friends Mary and Kerry. On the way down the coast, I called in at a local garden centre and checked out some ideas for garden edging. I’m thinking either rusty metal or the leftover slate tiles that we used for the front entryway. Mary, Kerry and I had coffee before we headed off to the local art and craft show. I also had breakfast, not having had any before I left home. The craft show was a disappointment as it was very small and took literally five minutes to walk through. From there we went to a Thai restaurant-come-cafe-come-garden centre on the south side of Ulladulla where it was coffee time again. I’m looking for a tall pot for the front entry and I got lots of ideas there. I did purchase a lovely pot for the hall table in our entry.

Studio Update: I’ve spent quite a bit of time this week sorting the studio. Each time I went down to do some sewing I found myself just sorting stuff. I had moved all the boxes into the bathroom and had room to move the table to where I want it. Robert had cut down my tabletop and I was able to set up all the machines as I want to use them. The window has a few artworks and other such but they are only temporary. I’m coming to like how they look there though! There’s still a lot of sorting to do and I intend to buy a sofa bed for the area near the sliding doors to the deck. While I was out having fun with the girls yesterday, Robert put my pegboard up and it looks great. I still need to get some hooks as the Canberra store didn’t have any when my friend Marie pick up the board for me. I’ll have to decide what will be on there. Scissors and rotary cutter at least. And what to put in the containers.

Knitting

There has been some progress on the socks as they are easy to take anywhere. It’s just knitting in the round constantly as I’ll add the afterthought heels after. 😊 I hope to have these finished for my dad’s birthday at the end of the month.

New Cast-on #1: I was feeling like doing some other knitting earlier this week and went looking for my Comfort Fade cardi. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it as it appears I’ve buried t in the bathroom with all the stuff waiting for sorting. I gave up on that and went looking for something else. I decided on a new cast-on of something in my Ravelry library with something from my yarn stash. The pattern I chose was Dove Cottage by Emma Wright and I found some Berroco Ultra Wool DK in the Sunflower colourway. It’s a dark orange, more as in the photo of the swatch below. I only have 4 large balls of this yarn and it is enough. I deliberated for some time over what to pair it with and, in the end, I went with some 4 Seasons pure wool 8 ply grey yarn that I had in my stash. The Berroco is superwash and the 4 Seasons isn’t, so the decision changed several times but I decided to run with it. I was itching to get it on the needles and didn’t really read the pattern properly. As you can see in the photo below, the body is cast on with the contrast colour but I didn’t notice that until I had knitted the whole rib band in the main colour. More deliberation then as I decided whether to undo it all and start again and I decided to keep going. The sleeves on the picture are done with the main colour at the cuff so I’ll reverse that and do those with the contrast colour instead. It’s knitting up nicely and the chart is very easy to remember for each row, though I have the assistance of stitch markers at each repeat.

New Cast-on #2: I had recently finished spinning the fourth skein of what I wanted to be a jumper. It must be the spring air but, whatever it is, I cast on this new project. Again, I wanted something that was already in my library and I narrowed it down to the City Limits by Tanis Lavallee. The photo shows it done as a fade but it can also be done with one colour yarn. What I’ve chosen to do is use all 4 balls at once with helical knitting as I want to blend the yarn. I don’t think it would have worked as a fade as all the skeins (apart from the plain beige one) have all the same colours at varying stages. This pattern has options for ribbing at the neck, sleeves and bottom of the body or using i-cord instead. I think I like the idea of the i-cord but there’s no hurry for that decision. As there are short rows straight after casting on, I held off with adding the other balls until almost the last short row. The helical knitting was tricky with the short rows but I managed to work it out by knitting the two strands together where the turn is otherwise there would have been a gap. I’ve now moved onto the normal yoke increases in the round and have added the final ball. Let’s see how this goes! The yarn works out at worsted by meterage/weight but is reading more like DK with bits of fingering weight throughout. I’m hoping the 5.00mm needles don’t prove too loose. I’ve also started using knitCompanion which is a free app. It’s a really great tool for keeping track of where you are and has several counters and other features. It’s not available for my laptop (it’s a dual laptop/tablet) so I’ve been using it on my phone. I’ve also paid for a subscription to the app which gives you more features and it’s been great so far. I had heard of KC previously and downloaded the app ages ago. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to use it until last week when I happened on a YouTube tutorial by Very Pink Knits on using the app! It really sold me on actually using it as I know how to now.

New Cast-on #3: Yep, you read that correctly – the third cast-on in the one week! This cast-on would have been done some time ago if I’d found the yarn I wanted. That happened yesterday. Kerry mentioned some very affordable and lovely yarn that was available in the art/craft franchise shop called Offline. There is one in Ulladulla and that would be my closest. We all went and had a look and I found what I needed for the baby blanket I’ve been planning to knit for my grandson (baby 1) due on 24 November. The yarn comes in Merino Wool or Alpaca Wool, both 4 ply and is 50% with acrylic. I went for the alpaca version – 50% alpaca/50% acrylic. The pattern I chose is the Cabled Blanket by Linda Whaley for Rowan Yarns. It’s a free pattern and I downloaded it in October 2018. The yarn they used is a sport weight but I think it will work well with this 4 ply (fingering) as the needles used are so tiny – 2.75mm for the ribbing and 3.25mm for the main part. I have, so far, done two rows of the rib and I’m working on this via my knitCompanion app. The colour here is blown out so is showing a bit paler than in real life. The pattern calls for eleven x 50gms of sport weight but I have eight x 50gms of fingering. There is no yardage shown on the ball band but I know that fingering yarn has greater meterage per 50gms than sport weight. I also reduced the stitches from 240 to 220 which will help as well.

Spinning

I have finally unwound my Ixchel Fibres Dream Cloud onto my niddy noddy and skeined it up. I have yet to work out the weight from the meterage spun. I also finished plying the first skein of my Ixchel Fibres December 2019 batts and that’s also been niddy-noddied and skeined. I might need a new niddy noddy as I accidently stepped on it and cracked one end. It was falling apart while unwinding the pink/grey yarn but I’m going to try and stick it together. That was last night while watching Longmire and I also started on the first bobbin of the next skein.

Sewing

I finally got back to my machine on Friday and made a little bit of progress on my Marbella dress by Itch to Stitch. I had set myself an hour on several projects and all I managed on this was to add the yoke section to the front and then put together the back sections. The next step is the yoke parts on the two back sections. It was good to spend a little bit of time on it.

I also allocated an hour on the latest Geranium dress for Evie. I decided against adding a lining as that would have made the gathered section way too thick. I think it will be fine without it. Once I put the bottom sections together I added the bodice. It’s straight off the machine in the photo below so needs a good press and then fixing the bodice lining. I should finish this one tomorrow which will be good so I can take it up with me on Tuesday. Kaye from the Crazy Sock Lady was keeping me company while I was working on this.

Patchwork

Another hour allocation was for the Superman quilt for baby number 1. The main part was together so I added the three inch border. I didn’t get a lot done in the hour but I did work out how I’m going to move forward on this for the backing and binding. I also allocated an hour to my dad’s nautical quilt top that has been hibernating for a year. As it’s his birthday this month I thought I’d try to finish that also, though it might be a Christmas present instead. I didn’t take any photos this time but I’ll include some next week. I was going to finish the top without a border but I decided that a border was the way to go.

Dyeing

I haven’t actually dyed anything yet but there are plans afoot! I mentioned last week that I’m going to participate with this year’s Stephen West Slipstravaganza MKAL and I think I’ve decided on what yarn to use. I have the three skeins below – Yarn Therapy in Real Teal (80/20 superwash merino/nylon) and two Julie Asselins in the Fall River (left) and Folk (right) colourways (90/10 superwash merino/silk. They go together really well. As I need five skeins, I have pulled out the two bare skeins below in 50/25/25 merino/alpaca/nylon to dye. These are required to be the same colour which will make the dye session easy. I just need some equipment and I think that’s been resolved. I had purchased a small microwave from KMart last week but it turned out way too small. It was a 20 litre 700 watt size and I returned it and exchanged it for a 28 litre 900 watt model. I’m hoping that will be big enough to hold the bowls I would be using in there. The other item, which I think is more important, is an electric portable hotplate. After a couple of attempts had failed, I have now purchased one from Catch and it’s a 2 plate version that should work well for my large stainless steel pan. That is what I will be using to dye these two skeins. I won’t have this hotplate at least until Wednesday (I hope) and that will give me Thursday to dye. If I’m not able to pick it up on Wednesday (it’s for click and collect at Target in Wollongong), I’ll be able to get it on Friday or Saturday. Fingers crossed it’s not held up at all as the first clue of the MKAL drops on Friday – that is Saturday my time. My intention is to dye the yarn with black and add some teal and burgundy. That way it will be a dark yarn with hints of the two colours. I’ve done this before with teal and it looks fantastic. The black doesn’t take completely which leaves areas for the colour but darker. One of the Julie Asselin skeins has some dark pinks in it which I’m going to pick up on so that the colour isn’t all teal/black/grey. I’m excited, for both the first dyeing session of the year and the start of the MKAL!

Acquisitions

As I mentioned in the Knitting section above, I purchased this lovely gray alpaca/acrylic yarn for the baby blanket but I also saw it in this fabulous dark teal and I couldn’t resist it. The yarn was only $4.50 (AUD) so an absolute bargain. I was only able to get eight balls of the gray in the same dyelot and six balls of the teal. There wasn’t anymore teal and the other gray was very different. I went with the gray with the most balls available.

Paraphernalia

I’m still listening to my audiobook, Girl Woman Other, and still enjoying it. I know I don’t have much left to go so I’ll be interested to see how it finishes. I have been introduced to many characters and their stories, all connect by varying degrees. Longmire has been keeping me entertained while spinning at night and I know it will continue to for a while as there are six seasons and I’m just into the second now. The other show I have been watching, and I think I forgot to mention it last week, is Get Organized – The Home Edit. The Home Edit is run by Clea and Joanna and I think they’re almost a cult in the US. I’ve been eating up their shows – some are way out there, like celebrities with huge organisation feats but others have great tips for the everyday. I find that a lot of what they do is what I’m doing also but I have picked up a few tips to help me. And they are just so fun to watch! Who else has an organisation obsession?

I have a busy couple of months coming up. I am babysitting Evie for two days this week Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Friday to Saturday evening. The following weekend is one of our two major family birthday weekends with Evie, Erin and Robert all having birthdays in the same week. The adults will be celebrated on Saturday night and Evie is having a birthday party on Sunday. I will be making a birthday cake for each day. The following weekend is Kim’s Baby Sprinkle and I’ll be doing some cooking for that; the weekend after is Erin’s Baby Shower with more cooking. In the week between, we are having three couples come for a visit on the Thursday and Friday. Yep, you guessed it – more cooking! The final weekend on the 6th and 7th November I am going away with some girlfriends and that will be a relaxing weekend. Some cooking required, but only on a small scale.

I’m looking forward to getting the blinds and fence ordered, and doing some more sorting in the studio. In between, I’ll be getting some crafting done though there won’t be too much on the sewing machine as I’ll be away from it for the most part. At least I’ll have plenty of knitting to keep me occupied!

Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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