Hello friends! Welcome from locked down New South Wales. The whole state is now in lockdown; the new areas for seven days from 5pm yesterday. We had a wonderful sunrise this morning and it was lovely lying in bed watching the sun come up. I’ve been for a walk each day this week and have taken lots of photos. It’s hard to choose which to delete so I’ve put some here and more at the end of this blog. The weather has been wonderful with temperatures around 20 degrees Celcius and a couple of days above that. The nights have been getting down to about 5 degrees so it’s still snuggly in bed with the doona on.
Before the lockdown, I had a fairly social week, starting with breakfast on Monday morning. We weren’t able to have our normal book club on Tuesday as we were only allowed five visitors in a residential place so we met for dinner at the Husky Pub instead. The Thai yellow curried Jervis Bay mussels were very nice! On Wednesday morning, our social art group met at the beach where we sat and chatted and did some dabbling in the fresh air. On Friday, we met up with several local friends for dinner at the Golf Club. That was fortuitous in the end as we were put into lockdown on Saturday. We were able to catch up with some friends that had been away for over three months travelling around Western Australia.
I have made some progress on the Flax Light sweater I’m knitting with my handspun yarn but I’ve also spent a little time going backwards. I had reached separation for the sleeves and had separated before I remembered that I could do some short rows to raise the back neck. I am using Scoobie strings when I leave live stitches now. My friend from Austria told me about them on a recent zoom and they are great. You wedge them onto a needle and then you can pull the needle out and the stitches slide onto the scoobie string. It works best on larger needles sizes than, say, when working on fingering weight socks. Anyway, I wanted to do the short rows and I needed to go past where the stitches were on the scoobie strings. I was able to just knit straight from the string – it was a bit wobbly but worked fine. I then did the short rows but I did them with the really fine yarn. As you can’t alternate when doing short rows, there was a large section of very fine fabric. In the end, I undid that and used a skein which is between the thin and thick skeins. I’m on never-ending stocking stitch now and it’s moving along in the right direction again.
I had been sorting through my fingering (4 ply) yarn early in the week and decided I’d make Evie a jumper using some Blackwattle Alpaca Yarn in the Sweetpea range which is 60% superwash merino, 20% baby alpaca and 20% silk – the colourway is Crimson (not a lot of crimson that I can see!). Kimberley suggested the Ruffle sweater shown below in the caramel colour and there was actually a basic free pattern for it for a 3-4 year old which is what I needed. I also found a similar style in Ravelry – Rose sweater, but we are going more for the jumper look with the puffed sleeve. The pattern calls for worsted/aran weight with 6mm needles. I am using the fingering weight using two strands together which equates to a DK/worsted weight but the highest I would want to go with the needles is 4.5mm otherwise it would be a very loose fabric. The pattern is very suss as the numbers don’t seem to work. For example, I started with the 88 stitches for the cast on and realised that the neck would have been too big for me. So I looked at the other pattern and used the 66 for size 4 (the pattern uses smaller, 3.5mm needles) and it seems OK. It’s hard to work out without being able to try it on or have something to gauge off but I think I’m on the right track. Other suspect numbers are doing 22 rounds for the body after the ruffle line of stitches. Even if I was using 6mm needles I don’t think 22 rounds would be long enough. The numbers seem to be more for using chunky yarn with larger needles. I had to do a lot of calculations to get the right stitch count for the raglan increases and puffed sleeve. Anyway, this will be a good trial run and should still be very wearable. I’m looking forward to picking up the ruffle stitches but I’m not letting myself get ahead until I’ve done at least the body!
I finally got around to putting an afterthought heel into one of the baby socks. It was very difficult to cut into with the needles in as you would normally do with socks so I ended up using a needle and yarn, and even then I had picked up the wrong stitches. That was easy enough to fix up and I finished the heel. I will now do the other three socks but will need very good light for picking up the stitches, this time with needle and yarn. I’m hoping to get these into the mail tomorrow otherwise winter will be over for these baby socks. The final photo here is of my fingering weight yarn stash (or most of it). I dragged it all out of the cupboard last Monday and put the yarn into bags. It doesn’t look as fancy in the glass cupboard but at least it’s more manageable without yarn falling out every time I open it. I’ve yet to do the other shelves; maybe one of them tomorrow.
Not a lot of progress on my Obelia Origami bag but I did finish the first square. Finished as in what the pattern says but I’m just deciding whether I need to go a little bigger or a lot bigger. The 4ply yarn ended up at 23cm and the pattern requires 25cm. I could just add one more round of back loop double crochet as per the last two rounds but that would make a small bag. Otherwise, I could go with my original plan and do 4 of these and join them together for a single square x 3. The bag in the picture looks much bigger than it must be. I’ll have to start the next square soon. I think I’ll get 3 fabric squares at 25cm to just do a mock-up of how it should look so I can see what size you get.
On Monday I cut out a few things. I prefer to do it that way, then I can just get in and sew. One thing I cut out was the Every Day’s a Weekend Dress by Pattern Emporium. I used some French terry that I bought as large remnants from Spotlight. The pattern doesn’t recommend using the terry but Kristen of the Dahlia Sewciety had made one and I thought I’d do that too. French terry is not as easy to use as normal knits. Cutting it out was even a problem as the fabric wanted to sit skewed and it took a bit to get the knit lines straight. It curls just like normal knits but it also frays. And there was sooooo much gathering! I don’t think I’m the only one that hates gathering. I gathered the first tier the old fashioned way and used the recommended clear elastic. The old fashioned way means two lines of stitching, pulled to gather. One line didn’t want to gather so I pretty much just used one. For the second tier, I used the zig zag method which was much better but still took forever as there was so much more fabric. It’s nearly finished – I just need to hem the bottom and sleeves, and remove the gathering stitching. I tried it on as is just to see how it looks. The photos of the dress actually look better than when I saw it in the mirror. There’s sooooo much fabric! My intention is to wear it with boots on a cold winter day but for these pics I just threw on a pair of heels. I have a selection of heels that are just languishing in the cupboard these days. It’s also a bit big but if I take it in at the sides, I’ll need to remove the pockets first. I should have gone for the size 10 instead of the 12. I’ll sleep on it before finishing it off to see if I want to try taking it in a bit. It is supposed to be a relaxed fit. Maybe the Dream On dress bodice would be better for me as it is a fitted bodice. I have purchased the add-on bodice of this that I can use with the EDAW pattern.
The other projects I cut out are the Songbird duster (long cardigan) from Pattern Emporium and the Modern Lounge pants from Brindille & Twig. I only need to turn the top and add elastic and hem the pants and they are done. I had cut out the 12-18 months size and they were a good project to jump to when I stopped to think about the dress. For these pants, I’m using some leftover brushed poly that I used for my Metra Blazer recently. For the Songbird, I’m using some gorgeous textured knit in the Halloween colourway from Super Cheap Fabrics. I’ll probably get started on putting that one together tomorrow.
One other project on my sewing list is to make the Waves and Wild Sandcastle Bucket hat. It’s a free pattern I picked up a couple of months ago. I intend to put a strap with a plastic cord end for tightening. It’s supposed to be easy to make so I’m going to give it a try.
This was the fabric I ordered from Super Cheap Fabrics. The sweater knit as I mentioned previously, some floral bamboo rayon and some cotton chambray. The chambray is very light, not at all what I thought chambray was supposed to be – I thought it was just a lighter weight denim. The chambray is for a dress I want to make for Evie and, as the weather is getting warmer, the lighter fabric may be a better option anyway.
At the beginning of the week, I started a new book – Win, by Harlan Coben. It’s a spin off from the Myron Bolitar series and was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. I finished that on Friday and yesterday I started a new book. The Scholar, by Dervla McTiernan is book number two of the Cormac Reilly series but it has two short stories that come before the first book. I didn’t find them until after I’d read the first and I’m pretty sure they were written after the first book. I enjoyed all the others and this one is getting good. I didn’t watch any shows this week, preferring to listen to my books whilst sewing and knitting. But I have been keeping up with some of my usual podcasts. Now that I have the old big TV in my studio, it makes it much easier to watch them.
I won’t be getting very social this week as we are all in lockdown. I nade a quick trip to the supermarket today but have enough to keep me going for several days now. I do have a physio appointment this Wednesday and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep it. I’m going to be starting some exercises for my rehab, so I think that’s pretty essential. Thanks for joining me for my Sunday chat. Until next week, whether you are in lockdown or free to roam, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!