Hello friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying some lovely weather because I certainly have. Here on the south coast of New South Wales, we are enjoying a wonderful introduction to spring. Last weekend was quite wet but, since then, the sun has been glorious. I’ve been out for a few early morning rides and so have a lot of other people around here. This past week was still school holidays, ending this weekend, and we can look forward to a more normal existence now until December. It’s even been hard to get out of the local supermarket carpark because of the increased number of vehicles around so I’ve limited going anywhere. I went to Wollongong for my babysitting day with Evie on Wednesday and on Friday morning I visited Carol’s studio for a little while. I only took my knitting as I had to leave early but the girls were doing ink painting, oil painting and mosaics.
I left Carol’s studio and headed up to Wollongong to babysit Evie again, this time for two whole nights while her mum and dad were away enjoying a short break before Evie’s little brother comes along. They call this a “babymoon”. So many new names for things that weren’t a thing when I was that age. 😊 Evie and I had a wonderful time together – yesterday we had a full day together and went to the park in the morning and then, in the afternoon, we had a bit of fun on the beach. Her nanny picked her up this morning; basically a handover as she will be there now until tomorrow afternoon. I missed here when she went!
My Turtlepurl yarns self-striping socks are proving to be very portable. I’ve passed where the heel will be and am now working up the leg. I think I will probably use all the remaining yarn for the leg. I have the remainder of the 20gms contrast yarn that I used for the toes and I’ll use that for the heel too. When I get closer to the top, I think I’ll add the heel before I finish so that I can see if I have enough to knit the cuff too. Evie was having lunch while I was knitting and I also did a few rows while I was waiting in line at Aldi. I was there early the other day so that I could get a travel cot that was on sale but none had arrived due to supply difficulties at the moment.
I have made some progress on my Cabled Baby blanket. Last week I only had a cast on and two rows to show. The cable is a very easy pattern but it’s slow going due to the small needles I’m working on. It’s coming along nicely though.
SPOILER ALERT! Slipstravaganza has started and if you don’t want to see the start of Clue 1, please scroll down very quickly. Though I must say it’s not a big spoiler as it’s very hard to see what is going on. Stephen West’s 2020 Mystery Knitalong (MKAL) started on Friday night (our time) and I had packed all the yarn and necessary items for my stay with Evie. She sleeps very well from 7pm so I had the evenings to work on this. As usual, this MKAL is very addictive and I only want to work on this project! This pattern is a honeycomb and is looking great, though will look better once I get a little bit further. I’ll have more to show next week and we’ll see if I’m up to Clue 2 yet.
On the nights I’ve been home I’ve been working on my second skein of my Ixchel Fibres December 2019 batts. I finished bobbin number three and I’m working through bobbin number four. My spinning has taken up some of my knitting time lately, mainly since Tour de Fleece #2, and I may cut that down a little now that I have several knitting projects on the go.
I finished Evie’s latest Geranium dress and she had to put it on when I gave it to her. That’s probably a good thing because she is fitting it perfectly and won’t be able to wear it for long. It wasn’t a warm day on Wednesday but it was fine with her little skivvy underneath. She has certainly shot up and I’ll have to go up a size from now on. While I was there on the weekend I was able to take her measurements for the next dress I’ll be starting on soon.
I was able to spend a good portion of two days working on my Marbella dress by Itch to Stitch and I’ve now finished the bodice. When you add a lining, it essentially means you are making two items and sewing them together. I used some rayon in this beautiful caramel as I couldn’t get any lawn at spotlight – it seems to be working well. It has more drape than lawn would have and has a “memory” that I don’t like but it’s only a lining. The memory I’m talking about is that it shows marks – when ironing, it will show anything underneath and even stitching causes marks, see the echo line along the stitching in the top right picture? Fortunately these marks will disappear but you need to be careful, when ironing particularly. I’m looking forward to making the skirt section this week as that won’t be as involved as the bodice was. Then I’ll have my second go at installing an invisible zipper and I hope it goes as well as my first one.
This week I dyed my first lot of yarn this year! I mentioned last week that I wanted to dye two skeins for the Slipstravaganza MKAL and here they are. I was waiting for a portable electric cooktop which arrived on Wednesday. On Thursday, I got to use it though it wasn’t such a successful attempt. I put cold water into the baking dish and it took forever to heat up. Note number one – use hot water next time. I managed to dye the black but I ended up finishing most of it in the microwave. That was fine for what I was doing this time but for other types of dyeing, eg speckles, I’ll need to use the baking dish. Once the black was done I added some burgundy and some teal which is very subtle, though you can see it in the pics below. The yarn is not superwash so the black didn’t take as a deep black; more like a dark charcoal. It looks very dark in some lights but in sunlight it’s more of a dark grey. It has turned out fine though I did end up adding some more burgundy to one of the skeins that didn’t really show any at all. I wanted the two skeins to be similar so that it doesn’t look like a different yarn when I start knitting on the second one. I’m hoping it turned out OK as I left that in the microwave cooling on Friday morning and left without thinking about it. It’s now hanging in the afternoon sunshine to dry.
A couple of weeks ago I found some new fabric stores in Australia via the Dahlia Sew-ciety podcast. There were several that came highly recommended and I have been looking through their wares. I found this beautiful caramel Atelier Brunette lightweight viscose with a beautiful drape. The colourway is Moonstone Ochre. It was a pre-order through Seamstress fabrics and I thought I could think about what I would make with it while I was waiting. I have several projects on the go so I wasn’t worried about the wait but it turned out arriving more quickly than we thought. I was so excited to get it – it’s certainly beautiful looking in real life and it has a beautiful feel. Kat from Seamstress fabrics included a lovely card which mentioned that I got a bit extra as it was the very beginning of the bolt! What a wonderful surprise. I will have to wait until I finish a couple of things (mainly the #wfhmodulesewalong) and until I make the decision as to what to make. I intend to make a toile of whatever I choose as I’ve been burned before in using beautiful fabric only to find the style doesn’t suit me.
I have been catching up on my video podcasts and working my way through Longmire on Netflix. I am also hoping to start on Spooks on SBS on demand as they now have all the seasons available. It’s always been on my list but I never got to watch it. I finished Girl Woman Other and have started a new book for Book Club called Night over Water by Ken Follett. There was another book that was recommended, called Mullumbimby, but many of the other girls are not enjoying it so I didn’t even start it. The Ken Follet book was written in 1991 but is proving quite enjoyable.
Things are going to get a little hectic from now. This week I’m hosting Book Club at my place on Tuesday night. I am trying to decide what fancy cake or tart to make as that is the custom with hosting. I also want to try a vanilla cake from RecipeTin Eats that is supposed to stay perfectly fresh for four days. I’m making Evie’s birthday cake for next Sunday and I think this one will work well. I’ll probably do that tomorrow. I’ll also be making a Zuppa Inglese for Robert and Erin’s birthday celebration on Saturday night. I’ve mentioned this cake before on the blog – I’ve made it for the past 20-odd years! So there’s going to be lots of cake making this week and again for the following two weeks for Kim and Erin’s baby showers.
I’ll be off now to do some more Slipstravaganza knitting! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!