Hello friends! Welcome to a bumper blog this week. I’m home again from the mini retreat we had down the coast a bit and I have plenty to talk about. I’ll talk more about the retreat later but wanted to mention the wonderful views we saw on our one day out and about. This is Narrawallee Beach and Narrawallee Inlet. It’s a lovely place and I hope to get back to the beach when the weather warms up. We had breakfast at Mollymook Beach and fed the chooks for a friend who is away at the moment. I got home on Thursday afternoon and it’s been very quiet since. Oh, and Robert went fishing last night with a friend and brought home a couple of decent snappers. I know what’s for dinner tonight!
Knitting took a back seat this past week as I was inspired by all the girls’ projects. Last week I showed you the Flax Light sweater that I started for myself from my homespun yarn. This project was the most worked on knitting project for the whole week. I’m now able to separate for the sleeves but I also have the option of adding some short rows on the back, and I think I will. That will raise the back neck a little so that it’s not sitting too low. I’m almost finished the first ball of the thicker spin so will need to add my second ball. I think the final skein that I’m currently spinning will also be on the thicker side. In contrast, the first thin spin ball that I’m alternating with is not even half way through. If I run out of the thicker spin balls, I’ll just use the thinner ones doubled to finish off. It’s been a great spin for watching the Olympics and for chatting with the girls.
I can finally share with you the latest test knit I worked on for Libby Jonson (Truly Myrtle). This is the first of the Eliza socks. I haven’t yet cast on the next sock as I was off to the retreat but will do so soon. From my photos below, there are many different colour representations. I think the foot photo is probably closest though it’s maybe a little darker. I’m using CoopKnits Socks Yeah! DK yarn, which is 75/25 wool and nylon. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting this sock – the DK yarn made them go very quickly and the cable pattern was easy to remember after my first repeat. This pattern comes with written directions and charts and I only needed the chart to remind me which round I was on. I actually ran out of yarn when I only had three more rounds to do on the final toe decrease so I think I was short by about a metre of yarn. I’ve hesitated casting on the next sock because I’m concerned about running out again and whether I should order some more but my friend Carolyn pointed out this morning that I could just finish the toe with some other DK yarn. The toes won’t be seen and I think it will look cute! Time to get the second one going now.
As I mentioned, knitting wasn’t the main focus this week so I only knit a little bit on my Spiral socks. They are handy for zoom meetings and waiting in line at Aldi for the Saturday morning specials! The other knitting worth a mention is my Dove Cottage sweater. I forgot to mention it last week but I had two sleeves partway done – both have the colourwork finished and I’m working my way up through the increase rounds. This didn’t get a look in at all this week but I thought I’d bring you up to date on it. I’ll be doing more work on these this week.
While we were out for breakfast and picking up some needed bits and pieces on Tuesday morning, I came across some cotton yarn that would be suitable to knit up the Obelia Origami bag by Mel Harrison. Janice and I thought the fade of the four colours would look great. The yarn is Sullivans Soft Crochet and Knitting Yarn in the colours Steel Blue (shown here for the first block) and then Wedgewood, Denim and Navy (shown in Acquisitions below). We did have an extra ball but I just realised that it was DK weight though incorrectly labelled 4 ply like the other yarns. The pattern calls for DK weight but the yarn we have is fingering weight. I figured that if the squares come out half the size of the required measurement then I could join four. If it’s not too much smaller then I might be able to add some rounds to make up the difference. The first fan section was quite confusing but we’ve got the hang of it now and I’m enjoying the process. I’m up to round 13 and there are 19 per block.
This week was all about the sewing machine. Our routine started with machines during the day and knitting/hand work in the evenings but after the second night we ended up spending the whole time sitting at the machines. I had two small projects cut out and I thought I would start with them. I was right about one being a small project – the other was quite complicated! The small project was a Japanese Knot bag and I had cut out a small version – the teal one at top right. The girls liked this and I walked them through their own bags, using the larger template. Marie made her own and I stitched up the other two for the Kerry and Lorraine who didn’t have their machines. The other project, that maybe took the most time, was a Triple Zipper bag that I’d cut out before Christmas, I think. The way this bag went together was quite clever but very confusing and painful, due to the number of pins needed! My issues were compounded by the fact that I didn’t have my machine feet, and I needed the zipper foot which was pretty well necessary. I stumbled through with my walking foot until the last section when I ended up using Mary’s machine. I did break her needle but it made all the difference. I had intentions to make this in leather and I think I still will – I just need to find the leather piece that I’d put in a safe place. I’d purchased Sallie Tomato zipper tape by the yard from Voodoo Rabbit fabric shop which is in Queensland. Sallie Tomato is a US brand and has great quality products. I was very impressed with these zippers. It came with three yards of zipper tape and nine zipper pulls. I actually googled how to get the pulls onto the tape and you can see me in deep concentration putting one together. It only works if you hold your mouth in a certain way, obviously! 🤣 I did make two mistakes with the bag – the first was putting an inside section in with the pocket upside down – looks good but is only for decoration. The other was putting the centre zipper opposite to the outside zippers. I’m not sure I’d get it right if I do it again as it was very complicated but I think it works just the same with the centre going one way and the other two going the other way. Marie decided to make one too, and I helped her with it but we ran out of time for her to finish it. I need to make the adjustable strap for it but I’ll be using plain black fabric as I used fat quarters for the bag.
The last project that I worked on was a Pattern Emporium Hello Gorgeous Puff Sleeve tee that I’d cut out several weeks ago. I had made a short puff sleeve version with a high round neck in April and this version is with half length sleeves in lace and a low round neck in stretch crepe from Spotlight. As I’d made it previously I knew this one would fit. The lace was hard to sew as it just wanted to gather. In one respect this was good as I needed to gather the top of the sleeve so that’s how I did it. It didn’t gather as much as was required but I just put in a few pleats to get it to fit. To sew the sleeve seam, I ended up using some soluble stabiliser otherwise it would have been a mess. That worked well and I just used zig zag on the edge before washing the stabiliser out. I’m very happy with the result but I’ll have to wait until the weather warms up a little. The lace lets in the cold on the arms.
Patchwork was the main craft worked on by all the girls. I had been a bit slack with my patchwork lately – out of sight, out of mind, so this was a good opportunity to get things done. First off, I started with my Paper Doll blanket. She just needed sandwiching, quilting and binding. I got the sandwiching and quilting done at the retreat and I bound her yesterday. I still need to add a little piece of velcro to her hair (for bows, etc) and to her hand (handbags?). I’m now moving onto clothes for her. So far, I’ve only got one little dress and I have plans for so many other items of clothing.
The other patchwork project that has been languishing was Cooper’s quilt. Mary’s table was perfect for sandwiching and it took virtually no time to get that done. I hadn’t decided how I was going to quilt it but in the end I settled on stippling on all the background strips around the small squares. I finished that and I’m now deciding on what to do with the small squares. I’m thinking of just doing a stitched square inside – maybe two squares a quarter inch apart. I have a fat quarter of orange that came with the pack that I want to do a peeper with but I’m not sure where it has gone. And I’m not sure yet what I’ll use to bind it with. There isn’t any of the pack left but the binding won’t show much – so as long as the colour matches that will work fine.
Mary and Kerry’s homes were perfect for a mini retreat. In the end we spent most of the time at Mary’s where our machines were set up. There was even a TV where Vicki, Lorraine and I were able to watch the hockey. Mary’s studio has two rooms well set up for all our needs, and we were all able to be together which is the most fun. Here are some photos of our shenanigans. We’re hopeful that next year we’ll be able to go to Gerroa as we normally do but the Narrawallee retreat has been great and could become a regular on the calendar. We’re already planning other events, as we’ve decided we need at least a long weekend once every three months.
I did purchase a few balls of wool for baby projects (not shown) but other than that I bought these items. There are two beautiful jersey fabrics. One is a fairy pattern for Miss Evie – maybe a summer nightie? And some cute fox material for the boys, maybe t-shirts. I already mentioned the cotton yarn I bought for the crocheted Obelia origami bag. We had purchased 5 balls but one ended up being the wrong weight. You can see the photo below – two are both Navy but they looked different colours – it must have been the dye lot for the different weights. But the label is the same as all the others.
I haven’t been watching shows this week, what with the retreat and the Olympics, but I have listened to a book. Yesterday I finished The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. I decided on this book as it was one of the Book Club selections and I have Book Club on Tuesday this coming week. I really enjoyed it and missed it when it was finished. I’m not sure what I’ll read next but I’ll decide on something this afternoon. The Olympics are finishing today so my viewing will get back to normal but I’m not sure what shows there are to watch. I’m also thinking of getting Disney Plus, for a trial at least.
I’ll be hanging around the house again this week, apart from maybe a social coffee and Book Club. I can’t go see the children and grandchildren due to the lockdown which continues so I have to resort to video chats. They work well but are nothing like a good hug. It’s time now for me to curl up on the lounge with some knitting. What are you working on? Thanks for joining me for my weekly chat. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!