Hello friends! Welcome from a very fresh but sunny south coast NSW. The temperature has dropped and it’s time to start bringing out the warmer clothes. We were still at the beach last weekend – you can see Cooper giggling on the towel last Monday. They went home on Tuesday morning and I’ve been very productive since. I’ve had two walks and two bike rides and it’s just wonderful to see how the crisp autumn weather makes everything look amazing.
We did have some rain which resulted in me picking up a leech on my ankle while walking around the Scribbly Gum track the other day. As a Scout Leader, I had experience with leeches but I still just panicked and ripped it out quickly when I found it while standing in the kitchen. The methods that work best are usually salt or a lit match/lighter. I had access to both but went the panic route instead! The difference is that they inject some anti coagulant so it means you bleed for a while longer. Lucky it was only a little thing! That was on Thursday, and then I went to the blood bank and gave away more of my blood. 😊 On Friday morning, I got to ride with my friend Julie, who has been away for weeks travelling around Tasmania and we had a great catch-up coffee at Portside Cafe at Huskisson.
I’m still amazed at how photographs can make things look sooooooo different. These two pictures are of the same Gramps cardigan that I just finished for Cooper. The one on the right is completely off and the one on the left at least has the grey contrast but the main colour is actually a dark teal. Anyway, I finished knitting this lovely little cardigan and I just need to put the buttons on. I love to see the difference pre and post blocking. In the pre photo, you can see the curly bind offs and messy stitches. That all disappears with a good blocking.
I thought I’d finally decided on buttons for my Truly Myrtle Dolly cardigan this week but now seeing them in situ at home, I really don’t like them. Firstly, the colour is way off – it wasn’t like that in Spotlight the other day. And secondly, they feel awful and plasticky. Back to the drawing board. Let’s see if I still have the receipt for these as I really don’t want to even put them in my button stash.
I mentioned last week that I was going to be working on a crochet test knit for Hailey Hodge who is Graphic Knits on Ravelry. I had ordered some yarn but it only arrived on Friday and then I hadn’t even realised as I hadn’t checked the letterbox. In the meantime, I thought I would get started on it using some stranded cotton yarn that I had in stash. I made a huge mandala blanket with some yarn like this and I thought it could be good to give it a go for this project and, at least, get some hooking practice. It’s been several months since I’ve properly had a hook in my hand. I found my Clover hook pack and, luckily, the right hook was available. It seems there are three that must be hiding in WIPs somewhere. I started casting on the FSC stitches (foundation single crochet) and found that the yarn was very fiddly and the strands were a bit annoying but I think it’s mainly because I always hate the beginning row of crochet. I didn’t go further, thinking I’d wait for the new yarn, until Hailey mentioned it would be interesting to see how it looks in a fade. So, I’ve picked it up again and I’ve completed the first two rows of the pattern. It’s not looking too bad now but, as I was only have a play with it, I hadn’t actually done a swatch to see how my gauge is. I’ll get this up to the main part of the body and then I’ll be able to see if it’s worth going on with it. I do have the other yarn so I might just start on that one too, this time with a gauge swatch first. It’s relatively quick and easy once you get going so I’m not concerned that I’m a bit behind.
I got to plying my two bobbins this week and have finished it in two lots. The first lot was a very full bobbin and I had to stop and wind off onto the niddy noddy so that I could finish the rest separately. I only finished plying the second lot last night so now I’ll skein the first one and wind off the remainder. That was a total of 200 grams and I have another 300 grams to spin. I’d like to get another 100 grams single done this week but I’ll see if I can fit it into my sewing schedule!
Last week, I had cut out four projects and was thinking about cutting out a fifth – I did. In the end, I managed to get three and nearly the fourth done already. I started with the easiest – the Vera top by Forget Me Not patterns. That was a great make and I’m definitely going to make more but I’ll size down one. It’s a little bit bigger than I need but is still very wearable. I was a bit concerned about the v-neck but the pattern instructions were great and it was rather easy in the end. The bishop sleeves are gathered and I used the zig zag method with a strand of candlewicking cotton and it worked very well. I’ve gathered a few things lately and I’m totally over the double row of stitches method! I’ll have this pattern on the cutting table again soon. The fabric I used for this is a cotton linen jersey and is perfect for the weather right now.
Another finished project is my Itch to Stitch Angelia shorts. I made version A which is recommended for a muslin as it is the most basic and short version so uses up the least fabric. The fabric I used was handed on by my mother in a recent de-stash and I think it’s a poly type of suiting or something like that. It has a good bit of structure to use to compare for when I make these in some denim I have in stash. The pattern was great to follow – I hadn’t made a fly front before and I had absolutely no trouble following the instructions. The way the shorts are designed, the zipper does sit slightly to the right though, and I don’t understand why I needed to buy a 7 inch zipper and then pull out the teeth and reinstall the zipper stops to make it shorter. Anyway, that was something that I’d never done before and it was good to learn how to do it. Maybe it was to ensure that the zipper actually stops at the right point. I did the straight size 10 in these which was perfect for the waist but I think I’ll grade down to the size 8 for the hips on the next pair which will be the mid length version. That way the legs will taper a little rather than flare out. I put a jeans button on the front which was left over from a previous project.
The third project that is finished – I just need to sew on the buttons, is the Style Arc Marley shirt. I think I would have finished all five projects this week if it hadn’t been for this one. Style Arc have some lovely patterns but they are very lacking in instructions. The Big 4 pattern companies cop flack for minimal instructions but they are nothing like the Style Arc ones. I would only recommend these to experienced sewists. I would say that I’m at intermediate level and I had to scratch my head so many times trying to figure out what was to be done. They have drawing tutorials on their website but they don’t line up with what I needed. The collar, for instance. Their tutorial for a collar and collar stand has a collar stand the full length of the collar, not a small semi circular piece like this. I think I did it right. And then, I managed the folded hem with split seams but how to finish the front off in the same manner did my head in. It might have been easy if the line of the front was straight but it cut in at the front hemline. I did email and was pointed in the direction of a tutorial that was for a split hem for pants that was nothing like the section I was working on, and the drawings were so complicated they made no real sense to me even though I knew what to do there. In the end, I just turned up that section and stitched it down with a topstitch. The other bug bear is that you stitch down the front button placket but, at that point, you can only go so far and now I have an unstitched bit at the bottom that I’ll need to either stitch from or unpick and restitch. In the end, I really love the shirt but I feel I could have had a better finish on it if the instructions had been like other indie pattern designers. Because of the lightness of the cotton voile, I needed to add some washaway to the back when I put the buttonholes in. You can just see it showing on my trial buttonhole. I also did the darts using a tip I’ve seen a couple of times recently where you do a couple of stitches then use the tail of the thread as a line to follow to the point. Works a treat! 👌
The fourth project was a top that I copied and I’m still adjusting bits on it. I’m happy to work on other things before I get back to it. Here are some awkward photos that show my finished items. The shorts were the extra project that I had cut out. The final project, was the Nikau dress by The Sewing Revival and I needed to get some coordinating fabric to go with it. I didn’t have enough to cut the backing of the belt and a pair of pocket pieces. While I was at Spotlight this week, I picked up some cotton poplin which will work well. I didn’t measure how much I needed so I didn’t get enough to cut the belt on the straight grain. As it will be the backing, I think I can risk cutting this on the bias. And there will be plenty for the last pair of pockets I need to cut.
I’ve only made a little progress on the temperature cross-stitches I’m doing for the grandkids’ first years. The pattern is from Apricot Polka Dot. I have been working on these only when I’m on my international zoom meeting. I am getting into a rhythm with it and I’m enjoying it when I’m working on it. You can see that the very middle sections are a bit messy but only when you get close. The rest seems to be going fine now that I remembered how it should be done.
I have not worked on Cooper’s quilt for a couple of weeks now – out of sight, out of mind, so I shouldn’t put things away! I have laid out all the squares and I can start putting them together. A bed waiting to be made up is perfect as a blank canvas! Hopefully, the top of this will be done this week.
Well, a trip to Spotlight for necessities usually ends up with a few pieces of fabric, especially when it’s so cheap. They seem to have specials on all the time now. All but one of these fabrics that I have washed ready to work on came from the other day (the blue/pink/white was from a few months back) and another piece, a black with white spot georgette, is not shown. I really want to cut most of these out this week – I’ll see how I go. The navy stretch crepe on the left is for another pair of Pattern Emporium Palazzo pants and the pink leaf with brown background rayon spandex will be a Pattern Emporium Hello Gorgeous top. I’m thinking the Aboriginal print rayon spandex in the middle might be a PE Lounge dress – there’s only a metre of it but I love the print. The teal fabric at the front, another rayon spandex, might become the newly released Brenda dress with statement sleeves but I’d like to make a toile of it first. Tomorrow is going to be a cutting day.
Last night I finished reading The Likeness by Tana French. It was a great read and I’m not ready to move onto the next book yet! After finishing Rodham a couple of weeks ago, I’ve now watch two episodes of the Hillary (Clinton) documentary. It’s great to have that to compare with the fictionalised Rodham book. I’ll be glad to see the end of Married at First Sight tonight, or maybe tomorrow night. I’m over it now but I do want to see how it finishes. I started the latest season of New Amsterdam and I’m up to date with the latest season of Unforgotten but the latter is a weekly instalment so I have to wait for that. I have a long list of shows that I want to watch so I’ll be working my way through it.
This week, I have a few things planned. Tuesday is my anniversary but we don’t usually do a great deal – especially since it’s school holidays at the moment and Tuesday nights are not great for variety in restaurants. We’ll probably celebrate with a dinner out next week. I do have a few things happening on Tuesday, starting with a bike ride with Julie and coffee catch up with some other girls, lunch with Annette and then book club after dinner. On Wednesday, I’m heading up to Wollongong for a day with Evie and Finn and then I’ll keep going that night to Sydney to spend Thursday with Cooper. I’ve started thinking about my packing for the trip to Alice Springs the following week and I’m hoping to take a few of my makes with me.
Thank you for spending time with me here in my little corner of the web! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!