Sunday 27 June 2021. #153

Hello friends! Welcome from a sunny and cold south coast of New South Wales and a state that’s in various stages of lockdown – particularly the major cities. This is due to the new Covid Delta strain that is working its way quickly through the population. With any luck, this lockdown should nip it in the bud so that we can soon get back to normal life. This is as locked down as we have been since the major episode last year. Anyhow, it’s been an interesting week. On Monday I started with a breakfast catch up at Huskisson. It was an off week for our catch ups but we decided to have one and it’s probably a good thing because tomorrow’s one is now cancelled. I spent the rest of the day in the studio sewing and on the lounge knitting. The weather had not improved much from the day before. You can see the heavy clouds and rain below. On Tuesday, I had to have a blood test for an operation I’m having this week and I thought I would ride over to Sanctuary Point for that, rather than to Huskisson as I usually do. It’s not much further to Sanctuary Point but there are two big hills each way and the view is just traffic and houses. The ride to Huskisson is very scenic so much more pleasant (and easier 😊). On Wednesday, I spent the day with Evie and Finn in Wollongong and we had a lovely time. Evie and I played with bubbles and went for a walk to the park which included our regular coffee and ‘cino. The cafe we like to go to was closed as the owners were on holidays, so we dropped in at the Bowling Club instead. I didn’t go to Sydney on Thursday because of things heating up regarding Covid but the visit to Wollongong ensured that I’m now in lockdown anyway. On Thursday I was able to go for a bike ride to Huskisson and the rest of the day was also spent sewing in the studio and knitting on the lounge.

The moon was full the other night and it has been a very large orange globe as it rises. Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t show how magnificent it was. On Friday, my mother-in-law ended up in hospital with a virus so Robert went to take her home and stayed the night with her. I took the opportunity to visit my bestie, Mary, and had a sleepover at her place. It was lovely catching up. Mary lives about 45 minutes away so I can’t just nip over like if she lived around the corner, which is where I wish she was. After leaving her place yesterday, Robert and I went into Nowra to take advantage of the end of financial year sales. We bought a new television – the Samsung Frame. We decided on that one because it will look great on the wall as a piece of artwork when we’re not watching TV. The photo shows where the old TV is and where the new one will be hung. The old one is 45 inches and the new one is 65 inches. Because of all the windows facing the view and the kitchen on the opposite side, there are few places to put artwork so this will be perfect.

Knitting

WIP Diving: I finally got the opportunity to bring out a WIP. It’s not a very old one but it has been waiting since about November last year. This is the Dove Cottage sweater and I really was enjoying knitting on it but I put my hand up to do a test knit and I’ve been doing tests right up to a couple of weeks ago. The first two pics show where I was up to when it was cast aside. I like to take pics with different backgrounds to see how close I can get to the right colour. These two aren’t to bad but the one on the dark carpet is showing it better. The next photo shows where I’m up to now, having finished the colourwork. I had started knitting using the wrong colour yarn, thinking automatically that you start with the main colour. The revelation that I should have started with the grey yarn didn’t come along until I was about halfway to where it was abandoned and I had to make the decision whether to start again. Looking at the pattern, I realised that the sleeves start with the main colour and that I could invert the colours there to get the same effect. The pattern prescribes doing the front, back and sleeves flat and piecing together but I am knitting the body in the round and I’ll separate when I get to the sleeve point. It is a straight front and back for a drop shoulder so that makes it very easy. I’ll be doing the sleeves in the round too and will only have to sew them into the body. The neck is done once the shoulders are joined and you have to cast off stitches on each row to get the neck shape. Instead of casting off the stitches that will only need to be picked up again afterwards, I think I’ll leave the them on some waste yarn and then knit from them when I do the neck. I also think I’ll kitchener the shoulders rather than have a seam there. It’s all to make it more easy to complete. Fingers crossed it all works. I’ve stopped knitting on the body and will start one of the sleeves on a 9 inch circular. I’m going to have a stay in hospital from Wednesday and the body on this will make good mindless knitting for when I’m up to it.

Finished Object: #1 I finished my Woven Cable headband early in the week. I only needed one more repeat and then I did a three needle bind off. I haven’t cut the yarn yet because I wanted to try it on and, when I did, it was perfect. The only thing I don’t particularly like is that the bind off has a ridge on the outside. If I undo that bind off, I can do it with right sides together so that it’s not as obvious. The only reason I haven’t done it yet is because I think it won’t be noticed. But it might if I’m wearing my hair up, so I think I’ll redo it. The other nearly finished objects are my sock blank baby socks. I have finished the tubes but just need to cast off – I’m deciding which cast off I’ll use. Then I need to add the heels. They shouldn’t take too long at all so I hope to get them done in the next day or two.

Finished Object #2: The Flax Light sweater gift is finished! I only had the neckband to do and that didn’t take much time at all. Early in the week I was able to block it and the puckering from the garter panel did almost disappear. On Thursday, I parcelled it up and dropped it off at the post office, on it’s way to Erin’s place. And by Friday night, it had been received and was even on its recipient. You can see that it’s a really good fit. He is only fifteen months old but is filling out this size 2-4 years! Lucky I picked that size. The colour is a little bit darker in real life and is what I would call petrol.

New Cast On: I really enjoyed knitting the gift Flax Light jumper and I’m now doing the second one, with a third planned. I had mentioned to Erin that I was sending the other Flax to her to pass on but she’d forgotten by the time it arrived, even though it was only the next day. She was excited to get the jumper thinking it was for Cooper and loved the colour. Until I reminded her. But that was enough for me to decide to go ahead with this next one. I had recently purchased two lots of yarn at our local yarn shop which was closing down (it’s not closing down anymore! Yay!) for Finn and Cooper. I hadn’t decided which colour to do for which grandson but one of the colours was almost identical to the first Flax so that one is going to be for Cooper. The other colour is a charcoal and I think it will be great for Finn. I worked on this the last two nights and frogged it both times. The first time I decided that the needles were going to be too big and the second time I had twisted the cast on so that it was turning into a useless mobius (figure eight) – showing on the left below. Finally, third time lucky became a reality this morning as I was reknitting this on my IVKN Zoom meeting. The yarn I’m using is Heirloom Merino Magic 8 Ply (DK). The Flax Light pattern is for fingering weight yarn and the previous Flax was Malli Merino Wool 4 ply (fingering) but I thought it was more like a DK weight. The jumper turned out perfect. After starting this new Flax using the worsted pattern but a slightly smaller needle to compensate for the lighter DK, I thought the fabric was not right and I compared this DK to the fingering of the other yarn. They were pretty much exactly the same. So, I’ve now decided to go back to the Flax Light pattern and knit it the same as the previous one. Then I’ll do the same for the charcoal one. This will also be good hospital knitting.

Crochet

The Owl Obsession blanket is coming along very well. I managed to get the four circles blocks surrounded with the main yarn in one night. Moving onto the owls, I discovered that they were going to take a bit more work and only managed to get two of the owls done in the rest of the week! Though the pattern is the same for both, the owl head makes the start of this block critical so that the owl sits upright on the blanket. That is compounded by the fact that I didn’t do the owls exactly as per the pattern so I need to start in a different spot. It’s not a problem but it means that I have to figure out where the 10 stitch octagon side sits between the ears. Now that I’ve done the two, I think the rest will be somewhat easier and I hope to have them done before I go to hospital on Wednesday. The final picture shows how the blocks will sit together. I’ll also need to do the little side fill in sections, and the eyes and beaks. The whole thing is then surrounded by a border. Little by little, I’m chipping away at this. The cream sections look a bit puckered by they’ll block out fine once it’s all joined together.

Sewing

I did get some time at my sewing machine this week, starting with putting together my Unwind sweater by Pattern Emporium. This was cut out and ready for me to start sewing, and it was an easy project, even with the hood. The only hiccup I had was doing the buttonholes for the hood cord. I’m not sure if you can see properly but both the buttonholes stopped working half way through. I did do a sample and it was fine but, of course, when you need to do the real thing it’s not always going to work out. I did manage to do a bit of a touch up with zig zag to fix them up and they don’t look too bad. I still need to buy some cording to go around the hood. The fabric I used was from Minerva – I’d received it in February this year. It’s a very fine French Terry and feels just wonderful. Actions shots to come soon.

I mentioned last week that when I cut out the Unwind sweater, I used the rest of the fabric to cut out a Be Creative sweater from Ellie & Mac. I was also able to put most of this together too. I cut out the cowl neck version and it’s the cowl neck that is all that’s left to put on this. I’d had to cut the top back bodice section in two pieces but that worked out fine. It was very easy to put together, just very small for stitching the cuffs on but I managed it OK. If this fits the grandboys, I’ll cut out another one using some other fabric. I’ll get this one finished tomorrow and try to get some pics while I’m wearing the Unwind too.

I have a couple of other projects cut out and ready to go. Firstly, I have the Over It Alls from Waves and Wild (formerly Made by Jack’s Mum). This is a reversible overall and I’m using some cute dragon cotton(?) spandex for the outside and some teal rayon spandex for the cuffs and other side. I’m not putting pockets on this one. The other project I have ready to go is the Hudson pants by True Bias. This pattern was very popular in the past year since it was released and has been on my list since then. I finally got the pattern in a sale recently. I am using some black fleece from Spotlight. I had wanted to make them from some grey fleece that I have but there’s not enough. As I’ve got some leftover of the black, I’m thinking of using that with the grey for a colour block sweatshirt. That might need to wait just a little while. I would like to have these two done in the next couple of days – let’s see how I go. It’s not like I’m allowed to go anywhere!

Artistry

The Index Card a Day challenge is moving on a little faster than I am but I’m still participating. I’m currently in the second week but the challenge is now about day 29. Below I have (from left) the bonus from week one which was a one staple collage – I used food pics from a Coles magazine I had on hand, day 08 = umbrella, day 09 = ampersand (it appears I did mine back to front), day 10 = ribbon. I’ll keep plodding along with these at my own pace. It’s not like I don’t do anything else with my spare time. 😊

Acquisitions

Only one acquisition this week and it was a lovely gift from my friend Sue from Sydney. She knew I was going into hospital and sent these two lovely skeins to brighten my hospital stay a bit. I will definitely be taking one of them with me. I think it will be the Hodgepodge yarn as I’ve found a beanie pattern that I want to make. It’s 8 ply (DK) 70% merino, 10% silk, 20% nylon and, comparing it to the Heirloom 8 ply, is a little thicker and more true to an 8 ply/DK weight. The colourway is Seaspray. I’ve been wanting to make a 2×2 rib baby beanie and I think I’ll be able to do that with the Two by Two pattern by Anne Gagnon. It’s a free pattern and is only in adult sizes but I think I’ll be able to adjust the stitches for a smaller size. The other yarn is a beautiful Qing Fibre Yak Single. This is 120 grams Super-wash, 480m fingering weight yarn made up of 65% merino, 20% silk, 15% yak in the Liberty colourway. It is beautiful and I think I’ll be making a shawl with this. I’ve picked out the Candlelit shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. This shawl is from her Essential Shawls Collection which has been in my Ravelry Library since July 2018 and I’ve only made one of the six in the collection.

Paraphernalia

This past week’s entertainment has been dominated by Australian Ninja Warrior, which has started its latest season, and the fifth Cormoran Strike book. Ninja Warrior was on Sunday through to Wednesday nights and I really enjoy watching it. The rest of the time I just wanted to listen to the book. It was the longest book I’ve listened to but that was good as I just wanted it to continue. I hope there are further books in this series but I don’t see anything written about that.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m due to have an operation on Wednesday for a spinal fusion and decompression. It’s very necessary and I’m looking forward to it inasmuch as it will be a relief afterwards. I have several projects to take with me, though not expecting to finish them all. I’ll be there for at least five days and I don’t think I’ll be able to have visitors so I’m making sure I have a good variety of things to work on. Due to the Covid situation in Sydney, we’ll be driving up directly on Wednesday instead of staying overnight locally, and I won’t know what time the operation will be until Tuesday. I’m hoping I don’t need to be there at 7.00 am as that will mean leaving here at 3.30 am. 🤞

Next week’s blog may have less content but I’m hoping I’ll still be able to get something out so as to not break my record of weekly posting. Until then, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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