Hello friends! Happy Valentine’s Day, wherever you may be. 🧡 We don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day other than wish each other a happy valentine. This has been another busy week, starting with a catch up breakfast on Monday morning. Tuesday was my Evie and Finn day in Wollongong and we had a lot of fun. Evie and I played heaps with a little train set that I’d gifted and went for a big walk for coffee and babycino. Finn is interacting so much now and he’s usually smiling. That night I headed up to Sydney and spent Wednesday with Cooper. He turned three weeks yesterday so he’s still in the eat, sleep and poop phase though he’s really looking at people and things now. We had a nice walk around the area while he slept the whole way, which was the intention, after all.
When I got home on Wednesday night, Robert and I went to the local RSL Club for their pizza Wednesday. The pizzas are $15 each and that includes a drink. Sure beats cooking dinner – especially as it was Robert’s turn. On Thursday morning I went for a ride over to Huskisson and I did the same on Friday morning, though the intention then was to do some laps in the ocean pool. Unfortunately, the pool hadn’t been filled from cleaning the day before and, though it was filling, it was likely to take several hours. Yesterday was pretty miserable with rain drizzle all day so I didn’t get to go for a swim then either. We had our friends Peter and Sue join us for dinner last night and I whipped up a lasagne (recipe courtesy of Kimberley) and a pear and almond tart. I hadn’t made this tart before and it turned out very yummy, though could probably have had another ten minutes in the oven. Sorry, no pics of these! I keep forgetting.
Cast On #1: I mentioned last week that I’m doing a test knit for Libby Johnson of Truly Myrtle and I cast it on on Monday night. This is a cardigan called Dolly. I showed the yarn last week – in the skeins they look pretty much the same but when I caked up the first two, I could see a very obvious difference. So I’m alternating skeins as I go, even through the colourwork. It’s a cardigan so carrying the yarn up one side is easy enough as there will be button bands. Doing the short rows on the top back section means that there’s a small chunk that is all one skein and it turns out it was the light colour. It isn’t too noticeable though, which is good. I’ve just started the colourwork section. I deliberated a lot over what colours to add. I was always going to use the teal, originally for the bobbles section but I settled on the teal for the leaves and other colourwork. I considered undyed yarn, and then a mustard for the bobbles (I talk about some I overdyed later in the Dyeing section) and, in the end, I wanted something that’s a little more subtle. You can see a red in the photo below but it’s showing much brighter than it actually is. The yarn is a burgundy colour and it will be perfect for the bobbles. This section went very quickly and I’m sure I’ll fly through the colourwork, as one tends to do. When I get to separating for the sleeves, I’ll change out one of the skeins so that I don’t finish any at the same time.
Cast On #2: On Monday night I finished the two swatches for the baby Gramps cardigans and set them to block. When I checked them on Thursday, it confirmed that I needed to go down a size on the needle. Last week I thought I’d been knitting with 4.0mm needles and considered a 3.5mm and 3.75mm needle respectively but I checked and I’d been using a 4.5mm needle. So that meant that 4.0mm would be fine for both of them. The bottom of each swatch was using 4.5mm and the tops were with 4.0mm. I cast on the navy Gramps cardigan on Thursday night and I’m a good way through the yoke section. The last two increases have confused me a bit with the stitch count up one on one front and down one on its respective sleeve. Anyway, I can fix that easily enough in the next row. I have to knit until it’s about six inches long and then split for the sleeves. This project is going very quickly, too, probably because it’s a small one. The contrasting colour is going to be a caramel brown. I don’t think I have any in stash so I’ll need to see if I can get some at Spotlight or the local yarn shop this week. The real colour is quite navy, not the royal blue colour showing in the yoke below.
I have finally finished the Lieselotte Baby blanket! The i-cord bind off seemed to go forever. You can see how it’s curling in the photo below and how the centre is puckered but that should all resolve itself with blocking. I need to sew in the ends and then I’ll give it a good soak and a good stretch out on the blocking mats. I added a couple of more repeats on the border than the pattern called for and I think I could probably have added a couple more. It will be more than big enough for a pram blanket as it is though.
In amongst all the previous knitting, I also managed to spend some time on my Half Moon Oracle shawl. I’m now onto the last lace section and working on 582 stitches each row. I think this last bit will be slow going. I’m not spending a lot of time on it but I always knit on this one when I’m on my International Virtual Knit Night zooms as I’m doing this with a few friends on there. There are another 10 rows to go on this section and then it’s finished with an i-cord bind off. Yep, another i-cord marathon! But it will be worth it for the nice finish.
Last week, I had finished a cowl test knit for Susan Distel on Ravelry. The Long Squishy Tube has now been released and it’s an easy and fun knit. I love knitting mosaic and the best part of this one was not having to sew in any ends! Except, of course, the first and last ends. It’s currently on sale for 50% off until 18th February which is a great saving. I find cowls are a lot less fussy to wear than shawls so I think this might get lots of wear this coming winter! Mind you, I do have lots and lots of shawls so I’ll still want to wear them too.
This week I made a start on my McCall’s M7953. It’s been a long while since I last made a Big 4 pattern and cutting the pieces was fiddly on such fine paper. I had to close the doors as the breeze kept blowing the bits away. Once I had my bits cut, I went eagerly onto the cutting. So eagerly that I made a rookie error almost right off the bat. I didn’t take notice of which side of the fabric was up on the pattern layout and I cut the right front (full length piece) left front top and front facings before I realised that I should have had the right side up. I considered going with that and having the tie on the right side but I decided that would be way too weird. I’m lucky I had plenty of fabric to spare so I cut those pieces again. I find cutting the pieces to be the hardest part of sewing – maybe not the hardest, but definitely the most tedious. So I was almost finished cutting when I had to almost start again. Fortunately the back pieces were symmetrical so it didn’t matter which way it was cut. Anyway, there’s still a good amount left for a top later on, and I can use the cut pieces as well. So far I have sewn up the back seam, added the right front (after stitching the tucks) and I’ve added the left front top section and ties. I’m doing view A but I’m using the ties from view D. You can see the dress hanging up but as there are no side seams done yet, it just looks like random pieces of fabric hanging. The only really discernible pieces are the ties. The last step I got done yesterday was the facing. I’m a little annoyed with the facing as it didn’t fit very well. The pieces were cut on the bias to give them stretch but then the instructions have you putting interfacing on them. The interfacing I used was a bit stretchy but the whole point of interfacing is to hold the shape. Anyway, I manged to fudge the facing onto the dress neck opening by minimising the seams and easing it on. The photo below shows the interfaced piece and how short of the end it was. I’ll get back to that tomorrow and I think the fiddliest bits are now done. I have to follow the instructions for the dress and for the jumpsuit at the same time so that I know what to do where the ties are in case there are different instructions. I haven’t yet worked out how the dress is supposed to do up. The views without the ties have hooks and eyes so that’s clear enough but I think the inside of the dress is loose and it’s gathered in by the hook/eyes or ties. I’m sure it will all be very clear by next week.
There’s not a lot of news on the spinning front. I only got a couple of sessions in this week and I have all but finished the first 100 grams. There is a little tuft of fibre yet to go which I couldn’t finish the other night. I’ll definitely have that done today and will get onto the next bobbin’s worth of fibre.
I did do a little bit of dyeing this week, mainly as I thought I wanted it for the Dolly cardigan test knit. In the end I decided against using the yarn but I am still happy with it as it is now. The colours here are really not showing very well. The original yarn is soaking on the left below but it was too canary yellow for my liking (it doesn’t look very canary does it!). So I decided to overdye it with mustard and it came out great, though you’d think that is canary yellow. It’s not quite a full skein. I decided on less of a contrast with the brown of the cardigan so this one is going back into stash for another project.
Last week I purchased the Itch to Stitch Lamma hoodie when it was on the release special. As usual with Itch to Stitch patterns, there are many features. This sweatshirt has a hood or cowl option. The raglan sleeves with shoulder darts have the option of thumbhole sleeves or cuffed sleeves and there are in-seam pockets on the front. The princess seams and yoked back make for a great colour blocking option or you can make it all in the same fabric. I have this one pencilled in to make next month or maybe April as it will be cosy as the weather cools down. And I have found a few more free patterns that are very interesting too. I was introduced to these two patterns by a new-to-me podcaster, Frugalisama, who finds free and discounted patterns. They are out there, you just have to find them and it’s great when someone tells you all about them. The Mood Society has lots of free patterns and this Linden Sleepwear Set caught my eye. I have some nice satin remnants that would be perfect for these. Another free pattern that caught my eye is the Vera Knit top by Forget Me Not patterns. I hadn’t heard of this company and it turns out that they’re in New Zealand. Statement sleeves seem to be all the go at the moment and I imagine they will come onto our scene here Downunder once the weather starts the cool. The Vera top has a V neck but there is a scoop neck expansion pack that I purchased for less than $AUD3. I’ve heard that V necks are a bit tricky so it’s good to have the scoop option.
Early last week, I discovered a new series on Netflix called Firefly Lane which stars Kathrine Heigl, and I finished the lot. So far, there’s only season one but, judging by the way it finished, there will be a season two. Apparently it’s from a book of the same name by Kristin Hannah. I’ve read one and a half of her books – The Nightingale, which I enjoyed, and The Great Alone, which I abandoned half way through as I felt it was going soooo slowly. I’ll have to find something else to watch now! Last week, I let you know that I was listening to Twisted Prey by John Sandford and I finished that quite quickly. I then moved on to another book – The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan which is the first of the Cormac Reilly series. It’s the first but there appears to be a 0.5 and a 0.7 short books that precede the first one. Anyway, I didn’t find that out until I’d finished it – yes, that one’s finished also and it was a great mystery. I’m looking forward to the others in the series, which is how I found out that there are a couple of books that go before this one. I used random number generator to pick that one from my Goodreads list and I’ve again randomly picked a number for the next book that I started – All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio, a New York Times Bestselling Author. This one crosses a couple of different timelines and is keeping me intrigued.
This week looks like it will be a quiet one. I often say that but I think I mean that I don’t need to travel anywhere and I’ll be spending more time in my studio. We have a catch up breakfast tomorrow morning and I have a doctor appointment on Thursday and the rest will evolve as I get to it. On Friday, we’ll be heading down the coast to Murramarang Resort at South Durras where we’ll be attending a wedding on Saturday. Steven, Kim and Finn will be there too; Evie will be staying with her Nanny and Pa for a couple of days. It will be a nice mini break and I’m really looking forward to it.
Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!