Sunday 21 March 2021. #139

Hello friends! Welcome from a wet, wild and miserable east coast of New South Wales. The weather has been mostly wet and has become quite torrential, especially in Sydney. The rain is coming down quite hard as I sit here and type. This week started with a sewing day at my place. Kerry, Narelle and Lorraine came around for the day and we shared some creative time, food and chat. I only managed one bike ride this week due to the weather and the rest of the week was spent pottering around the house, mainly in my studio. We did get out on Wednesday evening for dinner at the RSL Club. Their pizzas are great and, when it’s pizza night with pizza and drink for $15, it’s great value. We get to take home pretty much a whole pizza which is then lunch on Thursday. We seem to be averaging once a month lately. The RSL Club is situated right on the entrance of Currambene Creek and has a lovely view from the deck. The photo below is from the street to the left of the Club looking straight up the creek.

On Friday, I had some old school friends come visit for the weekend. We normally go away together once a year but missed out last year due to Covid. This year, because of the new house, the weekend away was here at my place. It’s become a tradition that I run some crafting activities or workshops and this weekend hasn’t been any different. In the past we’ve done sewing, dyeing and a whole host of other activities. This weekend we covered several different crafts and combined most into one project. More information on that later. On our weekends everyone contributes to the food and we always have more than we need. Another tradition on our weekends is a proper Spanish paella that Mari makes. It rained the whole weekend but we had plenty to occupy us! We didn’t get out of the house at all until tonight when Bron and I went for a walk as it wasn’t raining. The other two had left for home already.

Knitting

Apart from blocking Finn’s Gramps cardigan, which didn’t involve any knitting, the only thing I’ve worked on this week is on the Dolly cardigan test for Truly Myrtle. I haven’t managed a lot of knitting time over the weekend but I’m still on track. Currently, I’m about at the cuff on the long sleeves but I just want to try them on to see if I need to knit any further. There are only 44 stitches left on the sleeves so even if I have to add some more length, I should finish the sleeves by tomorrow night. Then all I need to do is the button bands, one on either side. The deadline for this is the end of this week.

Sewing

In preparation for this weekend’s school friends’ workshop, I put together the top layer of an apron so that we’d know what we had to do, rather than work it out at the last minute. The pattern we used was one I’d found on Pinterest by Suzi Quilts called the Free Modern Patchwork Apron tutorial. This was really easy to put together and only had one simple template for the armhole with the squares being cut out from measurements. This is as far as I got before the weekend. I rushed the seam and you can see that I missed by about 3mm. I don’t think anyone is going to notice!

Patchwork

Last weekend, I’d realised that I hadn’t yet started on Cooper’s play mat quilt. I have made the other grandbabies a play mat quilt each to lay on and have their tummy time and I was a a bit late starting on this one. In the end, I had a couple of coordinated fabric packs that I showed to Erin and Shaun and Shaun picked this one. I didn’t get a chance to take more photos of the fabric but next week I should have the top put together which will show all the blocks. There are lots of toy trains, cars, helicopters, dots, crosses, words, etc. on light blue, green, yellow and cream backgrounds. This block is a simple 6 1/2 inch square with 2 1/2 inch strips on top and bottom and then again on each side. I’m just going to but them all together without sashing. I’d like to have it done as soon as possible but I doubt it will be done by Wednesday when I head up to Wollongong and Sydney.

Stitching

Recently, I was talking about doing a 100 day project doing some crochet. I have been busy doing other stuff so I’ve gone a bit cold on that idea and I have now decided on another one instead. A friend of mine on my zoom knit night group started doing a temperature cross stitch which was designed by Apricot Polkadot. So I’m now going to start three of these cross stitch panels as shown below – one for the first year of each of my grandchildren. It took me a bit to come around to this design for a temperature project as it’s not very obvious where the days are but, in the end, it’s all just about colour changes so I think it will look nice anyway. There might not be a great deal of difference as Evie is October, Finn is December and Cooper is January but there should be enough to look a little different. Also, Evie and Finn’s will be on temperatures in Wollongong and Coopers on temperatures in Sydney which, again, may not be very different. I have twenty three different colours starting from 13 degrees and finishing at 36 degrees Celcius. Instead of using DMC stranded threads, I am going to use (mostly) DMC perle threads and I won’t have to bother with separating strands. I have downloaded the temperatures for Evie’s year and this is the range. Obviously, Finn’s and Cooper’s temperatures are yet to be decided but I will use the 13 degree colour for any temperature below that and the 36 degree for any above. This will be an ongoing project of more than 100 days so will be good enough to take the place of the 100 day project. I hope to get this started tomorrow and it will be a really good portable project. I haven’t done any cross stitch for many many years so I don’t have a stash of suitable fabrics. I found this Aida fabric at Spotlight and I think the 16 count will be OK.

Workshops

The first activity that my girlfriends and I enjoyed this weekend was some candle making on Saturday morning. I had ordered us the A Very Special Soy Candle Making kits from All Australian Candle Making Supplies and Kits. This kit included a kilo of soy wax, a single scent and five little milk bottles for 155gm candles. The scents we used were Coconut and Lime, French Pear and Vintage Rose. There was more wax than would fit into the bottles so we had to scramble to find some other things to fill. In the first instance, I had an ice block tray that I have used in the past to hold different coloured paints and that worked very well. Once the blocks were set it was really easy to pop them out and they’ll be great as wax melts. For the next pour, we used a couple of small heavy duty plastic bags and that worked well, again for wax melts but we’ll need to break bits off that one. For the last pour, I had another plastic bag but it wasn’t as thick as the others. That one sprung a couple of leaks so I ended up emptying it into an old glass candle container but without a wick. I may be able to melt it again and add a wick at some point. On the whole, the process went well but we did notice that there were some that had caved in areas right at the wick. I had heard that soy doesn’t set as well as paraffin wax and a mixture of both is best but it could also be that we didn’t check the temperature before pouring them off. Even though the tops may not be perfect, I think they’ll burn nicely.

I mentioned earlier that we were working on aprons this weekend and part of that activity was to carve our own stamps to use on one of the blocks. We chose a pattern from the fabric we were using and carved it on the soft rubber carving slab. It’s fantastic for making stamps – so much easier than carving on lino. On the other hand, it’s also easy to over-carve or cut off bits accidentally so you need to do it carefully. It was great fun to get into stamping again and I have lots of different types of stamps. I think I’ll get a roll of paper and do some stamping to make some individually designed wrapping paper. That could be a bit of fun!

So now to the aprons we made! I think the hardest and yet most fun part was deciding which fabrics to put together. We started with putting the four blocks together and then stitching the straps and tabs. Due to sizes of fabric pieces, we had to make some adjustments to the block sizes which made it a little tricky with lining up the template piece for the armholes but we were able to use my apron top section to cut them on each of the others. Then we put the apron onto the backing fabric and just cut out the shape at the same time as pinning the two layers together. Before sandwiching the two layers, everyone decided on what sort of pocket they would have and each apron has a different design. They all look fantastic and it’s great how different they each are. I didn’t get to finish mine yet but I’ll work on that this week.

Paraphernalia

This week I finished the 29th book in the Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford. As usual, he did not disappoint and I am looking forward to the latest book. I didn’t use the random selector for my next book as I chose to start the Book Club selection – Rodham. I’ve only just started it and it’s quite interesting so far. I think the first part of the book is supposed to be accurate with actual fact before it goes off on a totally different tangent and how her life might have turned out.

I have a couple of days to relax before my week gets a bit hectic. I will be having a day with Evie on Wednesday and heading to Sydney that night. After spending Thursday in Sydney we’ll be heading back to Wollongong on Friday. I think we’ll be home again on Saturday. This is probably the latest I’ve ever posted a blog before so I think I’ll finish up here and head to bed. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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