Hello friends! Here in the southern hemisphere the weather has automatically taken on an autumn feel, like Mother Nature knew it was the first of March. You can smell it in the air, and the coolness of the mornings and evenings have more of a nip about it. The warmth of the day has a different depth to it; it’s really hard to explain but I do love autumn. Last Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk along the beaches at low tide. It was such a beautiful day and the sailboats were out an about. I managed two bike rides this week and it was quite fresh as I like to go early in the morning. We are still in Daylight Savings Time here, until 4th April, so the sun is rising later. I even got to photograph a wonderful sunrise; during the summer months the sun rises before me and further south. I also made some plum jam this week. Plums were on special so I grabbed a few. The recipe I used said to use one pound of plums to 1 cup of sugar, plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. My scales can do either metric or imperial so it was easy to follow this and it turned out I had exactly one pound. That made one decent jar of jam which is plenty for us as we don’t use it often. I actually forgot to add the lemon juice but it turned out just fine. Another recipe I’d seen suggested leaving the plums in the sugar overnight, which I ended up doing. It didn’t take very long to cook – I think it was about 20 minutes all up, if that.
This week I finished off the i-cord binding on my Half Moon Oracle! It was great to finish it. You can see it here blocking. I started pinning but there was no real rhyme or reason with the border so I just spread it out nicely and left it to dry. It turned out considerably smaller than I expected but I think it will be just the right size, instead of enormous like some others.
The Dolly test knit for Truly Myrtle is coming along nicely. I’ve finished the body and I’m now about to start on the ribbing. The colours of the photos are just terrible. The hanging one is probably the closest but even that has too much red in it, whereas the other photo doesn’t have nearly enough. I hope to have the ribbing finished in a couple of days and then I’ll move on to the sleeves. I’m thinking I’ll use 9 inch circulars. I don’t normally like using them, preferring magic loop if it’s hard to keep count of the rows but I think it will be the quickest and most accurate. I’m always very tight on magic loop so that I need to go up a size.
Finn’s Gramps cardigan is nearly finished. I finished the sleeves and then I undid the bind off on the body ribbing so that I could redo it with smaller needles. It is much less flary now but still has plenty of stretch. I picked up the button band and collar stitches yesterday afternoon and I’m nearly finished the short rows for the collar. I’m really enjoying knitting this collar – I think it will be finished today! Again, the colours are not accurate – it’s darker than it’s showing here.
I’m still working on the second bobbin of my latest spin. It doesn’t have much more to go now and there’s really not much to say about it, except it’s coming along nicely.
Early this week I started the SeaChange Playsuit. I had a lot of trouble with the sewing as my tension was too tight for the satin causing it to pucker, even though it was reasonably low. I removed my walking foot (my Janome has a built in walking foot) and put on the normal sewing foot which seemed to help a bit but I ended up having to change back to the Microtex needle which I used for stretch. It was a quick and easy sew and I think it will work well as pjs. If I make another, it will be the longer playsuit, or maybe the jumpsuit. I haven’t worn it yet but it is finished. I also had enough of the satin to make some pyjama shorts, though I still need to add the waist elastic and hem the legs.
In the past, I have had a lot of trouble sewing stretch fabric due to skipped stitches. I tried several different ballpoint needles and they didn’t work. I remembered hearing about needles on one of the Love to Sew podcasts and I thought they’d said that Microtex needles can work for stretch. That solved the issue! I only have a few of those so I’ll need to stock up on them. Sometimes a needle can go for a while but other times you can break a couple in quick succession. I was able to sew up my Pattern Emporium Palazzo pants. I had the pattern printed at Officeworks the week before and printed it with all the layers in black and white. I have trouble with printing at Officworks if I remove the layers and save the document. So, I just leave them all there – you can see how hard it is to follow when there are soooo many sizes. The picture here shows the different lengths you can cut for these pants. They have culotte length, 3/4 length and full length in short, regular and tall. I chose the 3/4 length short, and the subtle flare, which is still quite dramatic! I was little concerned with the size as I chose to make these with the stripe going down which meant that the full stretch was on the vertical rather than the horizontal so I sized the waist up to 14. I didn’t need to do that as they were huge when I tried them on. I haven’t yet put the band on – I’ve chosen the yoga style, so that may gather it all in but I didn’t want gather at the top. I think I ended up down at the size 10 after taking it in twice. I think they will be very comfortable and, for a wearable toile, they will be great. There is still so much fabric leftover so I’ll be able to make something else with it. For about $20 worth of fabric, I think I’ve done very well!
I’ve also almost finished the Style Arc Hope dress. I had very little left do on this one but it was forgotten, hanging in the corner. I tacked down the facing to the seams so that it stays inside and then I added the elastic. The sleeves have elastic but I’ve also added elastic around the bodice seam to bring it in. I think it worked but I am going to unpick it and stitch the elastic back on with black thread. I think the beige sticks out more than the black would. Either that or I might try to add it to the seam allowance instead. All I have left then is to add the button at the back neck. I tried it on and it looks pretty good.
On Tuesday I had a play date at Marie’s place. We’ve been having the odd sewing day but we’re hoping to make it a bit more often/regular. I had a good think about what to take with me to work on and I picked out a couple of things from my “not far from finished” pile. These two Christmas table runners had been quilted and were waiting for the binding for a couple of years now. I only had a small piece of the brown fabric left which was just enough for the smaller one. I did have some similar brown fabric in stash that was only a little bit different so I was able to use that on the larger one. It was just enough sewing to fill the morning, in between chatting and catching up, and then I had to leave for a doctor’s appointment. I’m glad to have these done and now waiting in the Christmas box for December.
I had another playdate, yesterday, with Mary. We had set the day for working on a Tracy Verdugo class called Jump Into Abstract Painting, that I’d purchased. There are several workshops in this package; this one has four lessons and we started with the first one. This lesson covered cropping in on a larger picture and selecting small sections to represent in a simplified way. It was a lot of fun, amongst chatting and coffee and cake. I love how good the pictures look once the masking tape is removed! Kerry called in for a cuppa and a chat too.
This week I watched the rest of The Flight Attendant on Foxtel. It was definitely worth the watch. I had no idea what it was about until I started watching it. I’m also working through Seven Seconds on Netflix but it’s quite a dark show. I had started listening to A Ripple in Time by Victor Zugg and I was quite enjoying it when I got a notification that the book I’d reserved on Borrow Box was ready for me. Via Borrow Box, you get a very limited time, I think it’s two weeks, so I thought I’d better listen to that one first in case I ran out of time. I’m listening to The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, which was our Book Club book for last time. I am enjoying that one as well and I know that it will be finished well within the time allowed.
Steven, Kim, Evie and Finn arrived today with their friends who stayed for lunch. It was great to catch up with Caleb and Renee and their two kids who we haven’t seen for a little while. They’d been away together for the weekend down the coast a little bit. I will have their company until tomorrow night so I have some plans for Evie, with some crafts and gardening. Erin, Shaun and Cooper are coming down on Wednesday, staying until Sunday so it will be a great week with the grandkids! And the big kids too. 😊 I’m off now to see who needs a cuddle so, until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!