Sunday 20 October 2019. #65

Hi friends! I can say that this week has been a big one in our household! It all started last Sunday with a 1st birthday party for my Granddaughter Evie. There were two other birthdays as well – my daughter Erin and husband Robert. All these birthdays are two days apart. That made it a three cake week! I made a bunny cake for Evie, a Persian Love Cake for Erin and, for Robert, I made the traditional Zuppa Inglese. The last one was put together at the last minute for dessert on Friday night so I wasn’t very fancy with the strawberries on top. It would have been a big fail on Masterchef but it still tasted fantastic!

Sunday night was spent in Emergency in Sydney with my mother. She’s all good now but it was a bit of a scare. I had a bike ride on Tuesday and Friday for coffee with friends and then, on Thursday and Friday, the children arrived for the weekend. On Saturday, we took Evie to the beach to play in the sand but she wasn’t having any of it – she really did not like the sand. She was happy to sit on the towel instead. On Saturday night we all went to a send-off for a friend’s son who is going to Antarctica for 12 months to be the resident doctor.

Today, I got to visit my girlfriend Mary who has just moved into a new place. It was lovely sitting on her deck and catching up. On the drive down, I saw a huge smoke trail into the sky but it turns out that it was from controlled back-burning. We are getting ready for a hot and dry summer so I hope that these measures help.

Knitting

My Twist of Fade sweater was my travel knitting to Wollongong on Sunday for Evie’s party. It just required about five inches of round and round stocking stitch which made it easy to work on. It was fortunate that I had this project as it also kept me company for the unplanned emergency room sitting that night. The next day I had some train and bus knitting time as well but, even with all this monogamous knitting, I’m only at just over four inches so I still require another two and a bit inches! That was Monday and I didn’t pick it up again this week as I think I may have overdosed on it. I’m a little concerned that this may be a bit larger than I had expected. It is supposed to be a loose comfortable sweater so I’m hoping it’s not going to be too loose and comfortable!

Most of my available knitting time this week has been spent on my Starflake shawl, which is the Westknit’s Mystery Knit Along for 2019. The photo at left below shows the completed first clue, sections 1 and 2 and on the right, and with less than perfect colour capture, is today’s almost finished Clue 2 (section 3). I still have six (brioche double) rows (of about 365 stitches) to go before I can start Clue 3 which dropped on Friday. Yesterday’s efforts required a few fixing ups and some tinking backs and it is nearly perfect. Okay, so I may have missed a couple of brkyobrks but I’m confident I can pick these two up on the next row! I should have started Clue 3 before the next blog.

The only other knitting I did this week (aside from a couple of rows today on my Garland top, photo at the top of this blog) was on the Lunae shawl. I hadn’t done any work on this one last week and it was a good palate cleanser from the intense work on the other two projects above. I’ve now just passed halfway on the first part of the shawl. The major work on this shawl will be on the border when I pick up stitches at the bottom edge shown here. It will be interesting to see how my yarn chicken plays out.

20191020_104042

Dyeing

I didn’t actually do any dyeing this week but the mini skeins that I dyed last week had dried and I put them together with the first two pairs that I’d dyed. I have 6 more pairs to dye but they will now have to wait a bit over a week before I’ll be able to get to them. My intent for those skeins is to dye them with speckles only using the colours of the skeins that will be either side of them. I don’t have the skeins in the final order below; I had just put them together to take a photo of them.

20191015_074509

Patchwork

I did find some time this week to try and finish the Snow Days baby quilt. I ended up stitching in the ditch on every row – or at least, almost every row. I only have two rows left which I would have finished but I noticed that I’d picked up some very light interfacing as I was turning and moving the quilt around and managed to sew it into the back. The photo below right shows where I’ve cut the interfacing away and still have some left in the stitching to remove. Then I only need to add the binding and it will be complete. I’m not sure I’m going to get that done this week as I’m only going to be home on Monday.

Sewing

I didn’t get a chance to start sewing on my Georgia dress this week but, while clearing crafting paraphernalia for the onslaught of several family members, I decided to sort some of my dressmaking fabrics. I had watched a recent episode from Stitchy Bee on which she discussed different ways to sort fabrics. She used cardboard to fold the fabric into same-sized rectangles. I used plain A4 card stock and these then fit nicely into archive boxes. I had seen this method before used for patchwork fabrics and I’m going to do that with all my patchwork stash once I move back into the new house. As it’s not starting until February, it won’t be before August probably but I don’t see the point in doing it right now and again then. The dressmaking fabric was starting to get out of hand so this worked perfectly.

20191017_133143

Acquisitions

I’ve only made one purchase this week and it was for the Carnaby dress pattern by Nina Lee. This is a shift style dress which seems to suit me and it has a neat pocket section at the bottom. It can be done in one fabric or colour blocked as per the photo below. There is also an exposed zipper on the back, which I haven’t done before. It should be a quick and easy sew, except for maybe the zipper.

Carnaby

Paraphernalia

I didn’t even get to do any spinning this week! As I said in the opening, this has been a huge week for me and there is little rest for next week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ll be in Wollongong looking after Evie while Kim is at work. I’m looking forward to spending this time with her. She seems to have grown fond of me in the last couple of weeks and I know she will be wonderful company. Then, for the rest of the week, I’m off to Canberra for the Contemporary Craft Retreat which is held annually at the Greenhills Conference Centre at Mount Stromlo with my friends Mary and Karen. This will be Karen’s and my first attendance but Mary has been several times. On Thursday, I’m going to catch up with some old colleagues and the retreat starts on Friday, finishing after lunch on Monday. The classes I’ve chosen are all paper/painting related; three of the classes will be collage and painting with Gaye Nieuwenhof and the fourth class is Book Making with Pam Annesley. I’ll be sharing a lot of these activities with you next week and the week after.

I haven’t been watching much on Netflix but have followed the Masked Singer competition on the TV. It’s is definitely not something I would have done on purpose but it has been actually very entertaining. The grand final is on tomorrow night. On the reading front, yesterday I finished my Book Club book, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, which I absolutely loved. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the amended date for Book Club on Tuesday as I’ll be in Wollongong. I have several titles lined up to read next and the book I select will come in handy with my return trip to Wollongong and on Thursday to Canberra. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 13 October 2019. #64

Hi friends! Today is my granddaughter’s first birthday party – she turns one tomorrow, which is Monday, so today is a better option for a party. It’s incredible how quickly this year has gone. The party is to be at the Botanic Gardens but I’m a little concerned with the weather. There is a Plan B, so we’ll see how this goes. I’m getting this post out as early as possible today as I’m making the birthday cake and still have to travel up to Wollongong.

The week has passed so quickly, I really have to think about what I’ve done other than crafting. Weather-wise, it has been a wet and cold week and feels like winter has returned. We need the rain but it really doesn’t need to be cold! There has been snow on the mountains which has kept the temperature down around this area. I hope the weather turns a little more spring-like soon!

On Tuesday, I rode over to Huskisson for coffee with friends and that was almost a wet ride. It did rain while we were having coffee so we moved inside. There were only a few sprinkles of rain on the way home but it was very cold. On Wednesday, it was my turn to host our crafting get-together. There were four of us for the day and it was great to catch up and relax with our chosen craft. Narelle was doing Sashiko, Lorraine and Marie were knitting Trauma Bears and then Marie moved onto another knitting project as she needed some help moving forward. I was knitting on my Starflake shawl in between providing tea, coffee and food. I also wore my newly finished Emmie top but forgot to take any photos of it. The girls thought it looked great and it felt great.

On Thursday, I went to Wollongong and looked after Evie for the day just to make sure I was up on all the details before Kim goes back to work next week. We had a wonderful day and I’m looking forward to my babysitting adventures to come! We did get out for a couple of walks and, though it was a cool and windy day, the sun did come out for most of the day. Last night, Rob and I went out to the local Golf Club with some friends for an early celebration of a few birthdays, including his which is next Friday. As I mentioned last blog, this week we have Evie on Monday, my daughter Erin on Wednesday and Rob on Friday!

Knitting

Spoiler Alert: For the first part of the week, I concentrated on my Starflake shawl MKAL which I’m really enjoying. I finished Section 1 of the first Clue and moved onto Section 2. That’s a much easier section but I did misread the pattern and ended up with the wrong number of stitches. Fortunately, I realised this early so I asked in the Ravelry group to see how many stitches there should be per section. That was on Wednesday and, on Thursday when I was babysitting in Wollongong, I left the project in the naughty corner. I picked it up again on Friday to work out how to get the stitches correct after a few helpful responses on Ravelry. That is now going to plan but, yesterday, I was distracted and did the yarn over increases where I should have been decreasing. I didn’t notice this until two rows later. I did drop down to fix it but there was too much yarn to deal with so those two long rows had to be tinked back so that I could fix it properly. Needless to say, I still haven’t finished Clue 1 and Clue 2 dropped on Friday but it may be a few days before I get to start that. I’m OK with that and I’ll get there when I get there.

The Twist of Fade has been good company this week. It’s a very vanilla knit apart from measuring where to start and stop the fade and the solid sections. I have now split for the sleeves and I just have to knit straight up on each side as it is a dropped shoulder. Rather than do this on either the front or back at a time, I’m doing both using the outside and inside of the skein. I’m only an inch into the 6.5 inches required but it should work up quite quickly. The pattern has a stepped shoulder but I thought I would leave the stitches live, instead of casting them off, and kitchener the shoulders together. Anything to avoid seaming!

20191012_102140

I haven’t done a lot on my Ranunculus sweater but did manage to add a little length to the body. I think I need to try it on again for length and when to start the ribbing. I was a little bit annoyed when I changed over skeins. I had not gone very far when I found a break in one of the plies but thought I would continue regardless. That is until not much further there was a join! I decided to go back to my join and remove the section and now there is only one join and no breaks. It did remove more yarn than I expected, which you can see in the photo below.

Spinning

I started back on the black (grey), red and white spin this week. I had dyed up 150 grams and spun the first half a few weeks back. Now that I’ve had some practice doing a chain ply, I thought I would spin the rest of the yarn before I go ahead and chain ply these two bobbins. I really didn’t get a lot of spinning time this week so, hopefully, I’ll finish this one during next week and start on the chain plying.

20191012_081726

The spindle spin is going quite slowly, as is the nature of spindle spinning, I suppose. I don’t get to it every day which makes it a slower process. I finished the first half which I posted in a previous blog, and this is all I have to show for the second half of the fibre so far.

20191012_101652

Dyeing

Yesterday, I decided to do some mini skein dyeing to add to those that I had dyed previously. I ended up doing four more sets of two. My plan for these is to have six tonals/solids and then marry them in between with speckled skeins. The first two I did were teal and caramel; now I have blue, purple, red and yellow. I wanted to keep them similar with the depth of colour – hopefully, these don’t lighten too much when they are dry. I used at least three different dyes of each colour in the dyeing process, the yellow and red had four colours. I started by doing the blue with mixed up dye but the rest were done with direct application of the dye powder. I used an old pyrex dish I have for dyeing and the heat was in the microwave. I ended up adding some dye powder directly to the blue in the end, as it was much too light.

Sewing

As planned last week, I did cut out my Georgia pattern on the beautiful Art Gallery fabric that I’d purchased several months ago. It is 100% Rayon and has a beautiful almost silky feel but is very light. I hope it’s not too light! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sew at all this week but it’s ready to go for next week. I should be able to get some sewing done from Monday to Wednesday. At the moment, the best option for me to cut is on the kitchen bench but that is quite limited and I can only do a piece at a time. I normally lay it out on the floor first to see how the pieces are going to fit. I never go by the pattern layout for cutting as it wastes too much fabric. The pattern will usually have the same layout for all sizes so it’s easier to work it out myself to ensure the least waste. Also, for fabric like this, I wanted to fussy cut so that the border is in the right place on the pieces. You can see how much fabric I have left over and that photo shows how easily the fabric is creased. I may have to use some starch when I’m ironing it otherwise I may end up looking like I slept in it!

Acquisitions

I had to call in at Spotlight on Friday to buy some cupcake cases for the party today and, while I was there, I checked out the remnants bin and the specials. I bought three remnants and one other piece, the navy and ivory fabric on the left, is specifically for the Laura dress. This cotton/linen fabric was 30% off. I wasn’t able to check the pattern instructions when I purchased the fabric so I thought a little bit more is better than less. Looking at the pattern now, it requires two metres and I usually find that the amount indicated is very conservative. I think the fabric would make a nice top or pair of shorts from any leftovers.

I’m often stumped by some of the terms and abbreviations in the pattern descriptions but the fabrics, from the top, are:

  • Icon chiffon, wine – 1.90m x 114cm (this is a deep burgundy but not showing well)
  • Cotton premium cheesecloth, white – 1.15m x 112cm
  • PTD Georgette 1, black/white – 1.90m x 148cm.
  • PTD cotton linen, ikat, navy/ivory – 2.50m x 132cm.

Paraphernalia

As I mentioned earlier, this week is full of birthdays to celebrate and all the children are coming down to stay for next weekend. I have a few birthday cakes to make, starting with a bunny rabbit butter cake for Evie today. On Thursday, I’ll be making a Persian Love Cake for Erin and on Friday I’ll make a Zuppa Inglese for Robert. The latter has been a tradition for more than twenty years now and I always make it for Steven in January as well. In between all that, I have my normal fortnightly catch up breakfast on Monday morning, coffee with another group of friends on Tuesday morning and Spinners Group on Thursday! I think the week will fly by.

Thank you for joining me for this week’s life and crafting catch-up and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 6 October 2019. #63

Hello friends! This is our Labour Day long weekend for New South Wales, and a few other states. It is also traditionally (for the last few years at least) when we start our daylight savings time and the change started at 2 am this morning. That means that I will spend the next week, at least, comparing the time to what it actually is in normal time because when I was working, my body struggled to adjust. Now that I’m not getting up before 5 am I think that I won’t have any problems. The weather is consistently inconsistent, with days of 28 and 30 and, in between, we drop to 15 or so. I’ve started washing my winter woollies to put away for the warm weather and but may have been a bit premature. I’m hoping that we start warming up soon. The washing process is a long one as I only do one large item every couple of days and I’ve started storing them individually in ziplock bags to keep them from moths.

Last Sunday started with a lovely catch-up lunch with my old school friends. As the buses are less frequent on Sundays I caught an early one and enjoyed knitting while I was waiting and people watching. The flowers are definitely in bloom! The company and food were wonderful, as usual.

This week was very relaxing, starting with our fortnightly Salty Joe’s catch up. I rode my bike over and did the same on Tuesday when I met up with a few different girlfriends. Thursday was Spinners group and on Friday my girlfriend Julie and I rode over to Huskisson for a coffee at Portside. That’s where the dolphin and whale watching boats leave from and there were lots of people waiting to board. Tourist season has definitely started.

Knitting

New cast-on: As I mentioned last blog, I really enjoy the Stephen West MKALs. I’ve done two of them so far only having known about them for that long. The latest one is called the Starflake shawl and you can see the yarn I’m using. It calls for two skeins each of two contrasting colours. The story behind the colours of these yarns is detailed in the Dyeing section below. The first clue dropped on Friday (US time) but I had to wait until yesterday for the teal colour to dry and now the other colour is ready to go. I have no misconceptions that I’ll be able to get each clue done each week but we’ll see! At least it’s not going to be as big as last year’s huge shawl.

Finished object: The Rugby shawl is finally done. It is here, having been soaked, waiting for me to pin it out. I thought I could get it pinned and then finish the blog but that lace section will need lots of pins and I’m going to have to resort to the big mats for this one. You can see at the bottom of the picture where I had to use the contrast colour to finish the lace. I only realised recently that the reason it’s called a rugby shawl is that rugby jerseys are always wide stripes as per this pattern. I can see that my stripes are not that even and the final stripe was only to get to a certain number. Lucky I didn’t go any further as I only have 7 grams of the variegated skein left. The bottom border appears to be very tight even though it’s knit with an extra yarn over that’s dropped so that it doesn’t get too tight. I don’t think I’ll get that edge straight but the shawl will work anyway.

20191006_094542

Though I did do some knitting on my Tuileries and Twist of Fade, it was only minimal and they would look exactly like last week’s pictures. I focussed mainly on the Rugby shawl and, here, my Garland sweater. This sweater has a lace section of about 6 rows at the bottom, above the rib, and you can see my stitch markers which kept me on track. There is a lot of stocking stitch for me now and it is much quicker to knit without twisting stitches or knitting lace.

20191005_120106

I did make some progress on my Ranunculus sweater. I have done the 10 cm prescribed by the pattern to where you start ribbing but, when I tried it on, it just covered my bust so I’m going to keep knitting. As I used smaller needles, I think I should have probably done a few more rows before splitting for the sleeves but it fits fine. It is supposed to be cropped but I think 8 cm of ribbing below my bust would not be a good look. 🙂

20191006_105723

Spinning

I finally finished the first half of my spindle spin and here it is wound off onto an old bobbin waiting for the next half so that it can be plied. I ended up having to do this lot in two sections as it got to the point where it just kept breaking. I really need to get a light spindle but I think that may be for Christmas. This is Ashford fibre in merino and silk.

20191005_124559-2

Last week I started spinning on some fine merino for chain plying practice. I finished the single spin at Spinners group this week and have also now done the chain plying. I watched the tutorial by the Classy Squid Fiber Co. and went for it. It was very awkward to start and I could have done with at least one or two more arms but I got into a bit of a rhythm. The tutorial tells you how to fix breaks but I had to resort to tying them as the single had a lot of twist and just wanted to ply itself while I was trying to fix it. This is Another reason why a tensioned lazy kate will come in very handy. Another Christmas present, perhaps. There is plenty of twist in the ply, maybe tending towards more than necessary. I will end up dyeing this yarn for something sooner or later. In the meantime, I think I’m OK to chain ply the yarn that I have spun in red, black (grey) and white.

Dyeing

I delved through my stash this week and found these two different Knitpicks skeins – the ones shown below with the tags on. They have been in stash for so long because the colours were just not doing it for me. I was after 4 skeins for the Stephen West MKAL so I thought I would overdye these and use them. I used the veil technique with teal and spruce for the teal skeins and aztec gold and chestnut for the bronze skeins. I also added a small amount of russet to the bronze as the yellow was still showing, though the picture is showing some orange and it’s not like that in real life. The real skeins are much more golden in colour but I struggle to get the colour just right in photos. It’s obviously the lighting that changes the colours as you can see the backgrounds are all different colours though the same. I’m really happy with the results. The veil technique is where you do several layers with each not quite covering all the yarn. That way you get to see sections of the different layers. Anyway, that’s how I describe it and the results that I get. I’m sure there is a better explanation.

While I was overdyeing these skeins, I decided to start some of my mini skeins. These were natural colour when I started them so are not quite the same as the larger skeins. Again with the photo colour inaccuracy, here the bronze one looks more like the larger skeins actually turned out and the minis are more a browny colour as they didn’t start with yellow. I’ll probably continue with the minis going forward and get to an advent set or two.

Sewing

I finished my Emmie top from Seamwork this week. It was an easy sew and I think I’ll enjoy wearing it. I may even get it on today as the weather is supposed to be warming up. When I cut the pieces from the fabric I shortened the body a little bit to fit the fabric – I am 5′ 2 1/2″ so figured that the shortening would work. I then read the write up that said the model was 5′ 10″ and they extended the body length. I found the length a bit short so I made a small frill from leftover fabric. I couldn’t just add length because the bottom is curved and it would have looked tacked on. Instead, the frill is now a bit of a feature.

I really wanted to cut out a Laura dress or even a Charlie caftan but I haven’t had an opportunity to go to Officeworks to have the pattern printed. I could have printed them here but there are so many pieces to put together I thought I should probably use some fabric and a pattern that is ready waiting. So I’ve cut out the pattern pieces for the Georgia shift from Seamwork. I hope I can cut this one out today – it will be a bit fiddly as I’ll need to pattern match. I’m doing the feathers as a border at the bottom of the shift and will either do the bodice with the border or the sleeves. That’s why it’s not cut out already. Which way do I go? I think the sleeves will look better with the feathers.

20191006_101740

Patchwork

I spent a good few hours yesterday afternoon quilting on the Snow Days baby quilt. I had to make a call on what thread I would use to quilt this and, after vacillating from pink to blue to green variegated threads, I settled on a cream/brown variegated thread. It is so much less in your face. I had to also decide what and how to quilt and settled on a stipple on the long strips and border leaving the star posts and snow days blocks free. I got all that done yesterday afternoon and I think now I will just stitch in the ditch around the snow days blocks so that they are more defined on the back of the quilt. I think this is needed as the majority of the quilt has two snow days squares slightly offset so there are large sections not quilted. That shouldn’t take too long and then I just need to bind the quilt and it’s done. I will then move onto the other baby quilt! I will be stippling that too as I know it will look good though I need more practice on other quilting patterns so that they can look better.

Paraphernalia

There was not a lot of knitting done this week but there was plenty of other crafting on the go. I got to read a lot of my Book Club book, particularly yesterday while I was quilting. The book is A Gentleman in Moscow. It’s a long book but very interesting as it covers life in Russia from fall of the Russian Empire and the takeover by the Bolsheviks, and through the decades, but it’s done from a very unusual perspective. On Netflix, I worked my way through Northern Exposure, and I am now watching The Bletchley Circle – San Fransicso. These are not mind-blowing but kept me entertained, mostly while working through the lace border of the Rugby shawl.

Today is grand final day for the Australian National Rugby League (NRL). That will be keeping Robert entertained tonight while I watch something else and probably knit. This week I’m looking forward to having some girlfriends over for some sewing, knitting, chatting or whatever on Wednesday and then, on Thursday, I get to look after Evie who is turning one on the 14th! How that time has flown. October is the start of what I call “gift season” which lasts until late January. A lot of birthdays are squished into this time with four major birthdays in October, two in November and another two in January, along with some not so major mixed in. And then there’s Christmas smack in the middle! There are a couple of major birthdays during the year but thankfully not squished in with the rest.

Now it’s time to let you get on with your day so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

 

Sunday 29 September 2019. #62

Hi y’all, today from sunny but cool Sydney! We’re still settling into Spring with temperatures ranging between mid-teens to mid-twenties during the day and the nights have been mostly very cool. Monday’s bike ride to Huskisson was very pleasant, with the sun sparkling on the water. On Tuesday, a few of us celebrated a friend’s birthday at Hyams Beach for breakfast. This started with a very enjoyable walk from Greenfield’s Beach, along the track to Chinaman’s Beach then to Hyams Beach. It was a great day for the walk, with a cool breeze keeping the walk comfortable. I also then had lunch with some other friends at Huskisson. It’s great to be able to catch up with friends in a way that I couldn’t when I was working. On Wednesday, I went to the movies to see Angel has Fallen and a final bike ride for the week on Thursday to Huskisson for an early morning coffee on the creek. It has been a very scenic week!

On Thursday, Rob and I headed to Sydney to catch up with our daughter and son-in-law, and his mother who was visiting for the weekend. Firstly, I met up with a girlfriend for a visit to the Achieve pop-up shop at Balmain and an early lunch. This was followed by some self-care and a lovely pedicure. Dinner on Friday night was very festive at a fabulous Lebanese restaurant in the city, followed by ice cream at Messina’s at Circular Quay for dessert. Saturday morning was the penance for the feast when Sharleen (Shaun’s mum) and I paid a visit to Shaun’s gym at Balmain for a solid workout. I should train like this more often! Especially considering more breakfast and lunch out again after the workout session. The flowers are blooming beautifully with amazing scents as you walk around the streets.

Knitting

Finished Object: I finally finished my Fibernymph Dyeworks socks. I only had the cuff to go and did that with a 1×1 twisted rib. I only did about 10 rows of ribbing as I don’t like a large cuff. The picture shows the socks literally hot off the needles, without ends sewn in or blocked. I wanted to take the picture before leaving for Sydney.

20190926_120634

There hasn’t been a lot of progress on the Tuileries sweater, or at least that’s how it feels. I’m in the endless stockinette section, apart from the side twisted rib sections. I’m thinking I’ll start on the sleeves soon as I want to manage the yarn equally on body and sleeves in case I run out and have to add some other yarn. In that case, I think I will colour block, as mentioned in last week’s blog.

20190929_090517

My Rugby shawl is very, very close to being finished. The lace section is about three-quarters complete and a few of the rows have been troublesome in that I hadn’t been paying enough attention. The last row I knit was done about three times as it appears I got very confused as to what row I’m up to. I think it’s right now and I’ll definitely have the shawl finished by next week. I also ran out of the red yarn on this last row and have attached the variegated yarn to finish off the border. I will be very glad when this one is finished. Hopefully, I’ll have the shawl blocking for next week’s blog.

20190929_084815

When I was at the movies on Wednesday, I made some very good progress on my Twist of Fade sweater. I’m not sure if I mentioned in previous blogs but the pattern calls for reverse stockinette but I decided to have the stockinette side for the outside instead. I’ve now reached the third skein and have faded that one in. The fade for this new skein is not as noticeable as the previous fade. The blues are very close but made be more noticeable when I get further into the different plain blue of the new skein. I had to start fading before I had planned as I need to ensure there is enough yarn for the sleeves to match. I have worked out that just under 50% of the yarn will be required for the two sleeves. I’m now prepared to dye a further skein of yarn to complete the top of the sweater if I need to. As the fade goes from pink to a speckled blue, a pale variegated blue and finishing with a more solid and darker blue, I thought a darker version of the same blue would work well to finish the sweater, if needed.

The Ranunculus sweater is proving to be a very quick knit, obviously due to the size of the needles. I have now split for the sleeves and you can see the pictures here; firstly, as a round yoke just before I split for the sleeves and now looking more like a sweater after the split. The pattern calls for no sleeves – just the cap that results from the yoke, or long sleeves. Having seen other projects for this sweater, I have decided that I would prefer to have at least a rib edge on the short sleeves. I’ll try this on when I need to make a decision as to how much to add for the sleeves. I’m now into a decent section of stockinette in the round which will be followed by more twisted rib. This is quite a cropped sweater so trying on will be necessary to work out the length I’m after. My Ravelry yarn stash tells me that I do actually have a third ball of this yarn so I’ll have to dig deeper to see where it is as I’m likely to need some more yarn if I extend the sleeves and/or the body.

The slow-moving Garland sweater has finally reached the end of the hem ribbing. This has been a very small and easy to carry project so has managed to get some action just by the fact that it has been available when I had some downtime between activities. I’ll be glad to be moving on from the twisted rib. The fact that the yarn is lace silk and the needles are large, I’ve had to modify how I do my twisted rib as it’s not been possible to put the needle into the back of the stitch without splitting the yarn. I have been putting the needle into the front of the stitch and rolling it over the other needle so that it is at the back. That is a much slower process than normal over the 288 stitches and I hope that the rest of the knitting is not as tedious.

20190929_090620

Spinning

This weeks spinning has only been some plain merino yarn in preparation for my chain plying practice. I’ve cut off 100 grams of the fibre and will spin this all on one bobbin. I don’t have a photo of what’s on the wheel as I’m not at home but this is the fibre I’m using. I don’t know exactly but it’s a very fine merino, probably about 17 or 18 microns. I’m hoping to have this done this week and have started on the chain ply before the next blog so that I can move onto the red, black and white fibre of which I’ve spun one bobbin.

20190914_081338

Patchwork

This baby quilt has now been sandwiched. I didn’t get to start quilting during this past week so that’s on the schedule for this coming week, along with another quilt (the snow days quilt). That will mean I’ll get to listen to my book for a good portion of the week.

20190925_120204

Acquisitions

This week I picked up a few more remnants at Spotlight. They are, clockwise from top:

  • PTD Double Knit stripe, black/white – 148cm x 1.0m
  • PTD Satin Floral Garden, multi -1 46cm x 1.7m (I’m thinking a summer nightdress)
  • PTD Satin Group 1 Dash, mustard – 148cm x 0.8m (Ogden cami?)

20190925_100304

Yesterday, my friend Bronwen and I visited the Achieve pop-up shop at Balmain. This is a branch of their main store at Meadowbank. The shop is now called The Sewing Basket. This store is where volunteers work alongside supported employees with disability. All the stock is donated by the community and provides a sustainable shopping solution with a wide range of vintage and rare crafting items. And that means there are so many bargains to be had! I picked up this great load for just $29 (the two photos on the left). The fabrics both appear to be a rayon or viscose blend, perhaps. The black floral is 2.5m x 115cm and the other is at least that much. That one had just arrived and had not been tagged. The attendant measured it for me but I can’t remember what I was told – I think around 3 metres. The old patterns were just $1 each (the top three) so great for the pattern stash. I also bought the Laura dress pattern from Rebecca Page. This will be a great beach cover initially, but the options of a top or longer dress are looking promising too. It should be such a quick sew.

Paraphernalia

As mentioned earlier, I saw the movie Angel has Fallen on Wednesday. It featured Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was action-packed with guns, bombs and lots of edge-of-seat suspense. As I mentioned last week, I started the Gentleman From Moscow book by Amor Towles. This book has been keeping me company during my spinning and will be a great companion also while quilting this week.

It has been a fabulous weekend but it’s not over yet. Today I’m meeting up with three old school friends for lunch, my friend Bronwen mentioned above is one of them. I’ve been friends with these three girls for a long time, since the beginning of high school though one, Jane, has been my friend since kindergarten at age 5. That’s 55 year’s we’ve been friends! And later this afternoon we’ll have a visit with Evie and her parents.

Thanks for checking in with me and my shenanigans! It’s time to make myself beautiful for my day out so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 22 September 2019. #61

Welcome to another week of Spring Downunder, though the sun has been mostly absent. We got some well-needed rain and I hope that it was received where it is most needed.

Though the week seemed to have been uneventful, I had plenty of events to keep me busy. On Monday, my old bike proved it still had it in it and we rode over to Huskisson for our fortnightly breakfast catch-up. Tuesday was earmarked for another bike ride to Huskisson but it was miserable so Robert and I went down the road for coffee with a few friends. In the afternoon I went to Huskisson pictures to see the Downton Abbey movie. Having seen all the seasons, I thoroughly enjoyed this finale. On Thursday, I had a Spinners group and you can see below where they had a tutorial on i-cords, including for cast-ons, bind-offs and up either side. I have done these before so didn’t participate other than to help. On Friday, my friend Carol had an art studio day and I again dabbled with some acrylic paints. This one is a work in progress. I certainly don’t profess to be able to paint but I must say I really enjoy using up all the paints I have leftover at the end!

Knitting

New Cast-on: There’s something about the Spring feel at the moment that makes me want to cast on everything. I had a really good excuse this week. I wanted to take some knitting to the movies and didn’t have anything that was plain vanilla or not at a critical point. I have wanted to cast-on the Twist of Fade for some time now and had the yarn all ready for it. This is definitely very vanilla with plain knitting and a few rows of fading. It turned out not very successful for movie knitting. This pattern is for DK weight yarn and my first colour was actually a fingering weight that I held double. It would have been fine but, as I have discovered previously and should have considered, pulling fingering weight yarn from the centre of the cake does not work very well. Actually, it was a proper pain for the whole section. Note to self, next time I should wind up two separate cakes. My original plan was to divide the different colours into seven-inch sections and I remembered that I only had half the amount of the pink than the other skeins. I was concerned as to whether I’d have enough yarn for the project when I remembered that the blue skeins were 200 grams each. So I was happy then to only have a four-inch section for the pink and all its painful knitting. It just means the other sections will be eight inches. So for cinema knitting, I achieved about 4 painful rows and gave up. I have to keep enough of each colour for the sleeves to match. The cake in this photo doesn’t look very big but it’s actually half the size of my head!

New Cast-on: Did I mention Spring? 😊 Yep, yesterday morning was considerably warmer and my attention was diverted to some warm weather knitting. I have been thinking about jumping on the Ranunculus sweater bandwagon for some time and I took the leap. There are 3,481 of these projects on Ravelry so there were plenty of examples. It’s a very versatile pattern suitable for all weights and bases of yarn. I have had some Juniper Moon Farm Zooey DK in my stash for a few years now and I decided to drag it out for one of these tops for the Spring. The yarn is 60% cotton/40% linen and has a thick/thin texture. The pattern calls for 6.0 mm needles but after looking at projects done with the same yarn I decided to try the 5.0 mm instead. The pattern is for a very oversized top but I’m going for something not as big. I’ve cast on the wider neckline and also added another 10 stitches to account for the smaller needles and then increased to the correct number after the rib. The pattern should only take two skeins. I have this yarn in a bright orange, a beige and white. The beige is on another project that I must locate at some point. There are 6 skeins of the orange yarn so I thought I’d leave that for something else. I’m really happy using the white yarn and hope there is enough. I thought I’d purchased three of these so I’m thinking there’s another skein hiding somewhere. I’m not sure how I’ll finish the sleeves – the pattern is either capped sleeves (the result of the yoke) or long sleeves. I’ll be going for a short version of some type but will need to see when I get to them.

20190922_070201

I have made some steady progress on my Tuileries sweater. I’m still very much in love with this project! The different lighting is showing the colour very differently and the actual colour is something in the middle of these two photos. The hanging picture shows this sweater best. You may be able to see some curly stitches in the middle of the front where I changed skeins. The skein I changed to here was the one I used for the swatch so there were already knitted stitches. These curly stitches will smooth right out when the sweater is blocked. I do have one stitch on the back that I’d dropped and didn’t realise until I was a good way on. I picked it up to where I could but it would have been too tight to keep going. I’ve anchored it with a safety pin temporarily and will tie it off at the end. It won’t be noticeable and it doesn’t interfere with any pattern since it’s plain stockinette on the back and front.

As planned, I’ve kept to doing two lace border repeats each night on my Rugby shawl. Except for last night – last night I decided to have a night off this one. I think I must be about a third of the way into this border. The lace is not that complicated but I do find that every now and then I have counted incorrectly and have to tink back. This tinking back is dangerous for undoing k2tog and ssk. I’ve managed to drop a couple of stitches and picking them up is difficult, to say the least. On the whole, it’s going nicely but very, very slowly.

The only other project I’ve spent some time on this week is my Garland sweater. It may not look like much but these 288 stitches on 100% silk with twisted rib is slow going. I think it might be easier with pointier needles but my Chiaogoo lace needles only go up to 3.0 mm. I think the problem will only be until I’ve finished the twisted rib, but I’m only about halfway. Lucky I’m not in a hurry for this one!

20190922_072204

Dyeing

Last week I showed some top that I’d dyed black and red. I wasn’t very happy with the black so I overdyed those sections with some black food dye and at the same time had another go with red food dye. I think it did take more of both but the black is still not fantastic. I may have mentioned that I don’t have any trouble dyeing yarn with black but it appears that the pre-spun form of fibre doesn’t like it. Anyway, it turned out not too bad as you can see from the braid below. I have now started spinning this.

Last week I mentioned that I was going to try a different type of dyeing – Batik dyeing. Here is how it went. The photo below without colour is the initial wax stage. I think this stage should be done on a warm day (it was cold and miserable) or possibly with something warm underneath. Maybe doing this in the sun would be good. Anyway, the wax hardened fairly quickly as I applied it. The photo above that is after I applied the dye. The next stage was removing the wax. I’m not sure it will ever all be removed but I think I’m now at a point where the residue is acceptable. The pair of photos at bottom left shows the colours after the first attempt at removing the wax. After several hot washes with detergent, the final result is at the top, and it is showing a bit more colour than in real life. It lost a decent amount of colour. I applied the colour and wax to the underside of the fabric so that side is showing the darkest. I have plans for this piece and it will be fine for its purpose. More info on that in weeks to come. The colours are very basic as I only used those that were part of the kit. If I should choose to do this again, I think I now have some better processes.

I have some plans for more dyeing this week. There’s a new Stephen West MKAL happening next month and I’m quite partial to his KALs. Last year’s KAL was quite a slog but this one is not supposed to be quite as big. It requires 4 skeins, two different colours x 2, and tonal as it will be a high contrast design. Now to decide on colours! And I have some minis that I may dye at the same time.

Spinning

On Wednesday I finished off my Ixchel Fibre batt spin. This one is the picture on the left and is shown on the right side with her sister. The colour of the skein on the left is pretty accurate. The latest skein came out at 106 grams and 381m. It’s not my best ply so far as it is quite a loose ply in most spots. I think maybe finer yarn needs more spin when plying. It’s mostly a light fingering with some sport weight but there are a couple of spots where it’s lace weight and one spot where I’m concerned it’s actually going to stay together! I think this yarn may become a shawl and, at the moment, I’m thinking possibly the Odyssey shawl by Joji Locatelli.

The other project on my wheel this week was the black/red top that I dyed. I started this for Spinner’s group on Thursday and finished the first bobbin of half the top yesterday. It’s looking quite good even though it’s not a very black black. In the picture below it’s looking more purple but, to the naked eye, it’s a dark charcoal colour. I’m hoping to ply this by doing a chain ply. To that end, I’m going to need to practice that on something that is not so important as it will be my first time. I think I’ll spin up some of the undyed top that I used for this dye and see how I go. If it turns out OK I can then dye the yarn at that point. I still have another half of this black/red top but, due to the lack of bobbins, I’ll wait until I do the chain ply practice first.

20190922_084434

Sewing

I procrastinated a bit this week with sewing together my Emmie top. That was because I needed to use the overlocker which meant setting it up on the dining room table. In the end, yesterday I got set up and only managed to overlock the edges on all the pieces. I started off sewing the first steps – adding interfacing then stay stitching the necks on the fronts, back and interfacing. When I sewed the first seam on the overlocker I thought it wasn’t ideal as the seam is less than the 5/8″ prescribed in the pattern and there is no guide line on the machine to follow. I didn’t want to cut fabric willy nilly so decided I’d overlock all the edges then stitch the pieces together on the sewing machine. I had heard that either Helen or Caroline of the Love to Sew podcast does that. By the time I had unpicked the first overlocked edge (aaarghhh!) and got those done I decided to call it a day. I much prefer to sew in stages rather than a whole day at it and not getting it all done anyway. This was also a tactic for efficient sewing that I picked up from the Love to Sew podcast. I’m not sure I mentioned how great that podcast is. If you are into sewing garments, then it’s an absolute must listen.

20190921_110938

Patchwork

Another procrastination point for this week was the backing for one of the baby quilts I’ve made. Making the decision on how to piece the backing took the whole week but now it’s ready to be sandwiched. I would have done that yesterday but, as I do my pinning on the outdoor table, the pouring rain said I should stay inside and knit instead. Today is a glorious day so, hopefully, I’ll get that done. Fingers crossed. I think there’s a load of quilting on the agenda for this week.

20190922_073358

Acquisitions

Last week I forgot to mention a couple of patterns that I purchased. The Pietra Pants and Shorts and Charlie Kaftan patterns by Closet Case Patterns. Both of these patterns have three options. The pants have options for narrow leg, wide leg and shorts. The Charlie dress has options for short and long dresses with pleats, gathers or tie back options. There are no plans for these at the moment but I wish I could make everything in a day!

Paraphernalia

Last week I received some dividers that I’d ordered as I was fed up with my mass of threads that had decided to tangle themselves together. I think the final result is much better! Now I just need the motivation to use them.

I finished my audiobook yesterday – Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith and I’m excited to get the next book in the series. Before that, I’ll be starting the next Book Club book which is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I have a long list of books that I can’t wait to read, some new ones by Robert Crais, David Baldacci, Michael Robotham and G.M. Ford to name a few.

Of note on the screen, I mentioned that I really enjoyed Downton Abbey at the movies this week, but I also watched the latest A Star is Born on Netflix. This is the third version that I’ve watched of this movie but, apart from this 2018 version with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, there were three others. The first was 1937 with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March, then 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason and the other was 1976 with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. I wonder if it’s possible to get the original somewhere?

I have also been looking through this book (below) called Acrylic Expressions, which has some examples and tips for painting with acrylics. I think it might help with my pitiful attempts. 😁 I was going to take it with me on Friday but left the book at home. Maybe next time?

20190922_103327

Wow, so much chatter from me this week! I’ll leave you with all that and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 15 September 2019. #60

Welcome friends! I hope you had a fabulous week. It’s been another week of crafting and socialising for me. It has been quite cool, but the temperature is rising a little bit. Especially today, as we are expecting 28 degrees Celcius. I’ve started getting some new season clothing out for the up days. I’m still wearing knitwear and tracksuit pants in the evenings though. Last night’s full moon rise was quite spectacular and there was plenty of sunshine this week. The freesias are popping up around the backyard and adding a lovely scent in my kitchen.

Last Sunday, I forgot to include photos of my ferry ride in Sydney. I love ferry rides so have to add some pics. On Wednesday, we started our “crafting/catch up day” which is going to be every second Wednesday of the month. This first one was at Kerry’s house with just Kerry and me but we met Mary for lunch. A few other friends were away that day. It was a lovely relaxing morning sitting on Kerry’s back deck.

On Friday, I had fun with some other friends for a crafting day of a different type. There was painting and also a form of decoupage on clothing mannequins. I dabbled in a bit of painting but it’s not my forte. I spent the day getting some texture on my canvas. It’s not fantastic but I did enjoy the process.

Yesterday, I had a catch-up lunch with some old hockey friends. We went to a lovely rustic cafe set on a farm. The food was wonderful and I loved the ambience. The catch-up was a lot of fun too!

Knitting

My Tuileries sweater has been split for sleeves and is progressing down the body now.  I am loving this project though it is a slow one. Last week I showed the purl/knit mistake on the sleeve and I managed to drop down comfortably and correct it. The twisted knits weren’t even a problem when picking up those stitches. The centre right photo shows the “before” and the top right shows the “after”. The body has a twisted rib detail on the sides to match the sleeves and it looks great! I have been alternating skeins using helical knitting and I thought I would introduce a new one at the sleeve separation – the best place to hide the join, but I came across a break in the yarn about 8 rows before so decided that would be it. I don’t think it is noticeable, either the join or the different skein though there does appear to be some light pooling on the left side of the picture. It always seems more noticeable in the photos than in real life.

The main part of the Rugby shawl is now finished and I’ve started the lace detail on the edge with the live stitches. I added an extra red section and a final variegated section to get to the right number of stitches for the lace repeat. There are 336 stitches to be consumed on the left side of the photo and the lace detail uses 8 stitches per each repeat of 16 rows. I think it’s going to take some time to get through! I’m going to try for two repeats each day. At that rate, it’s going to take about 21 days to finish. Or at least another 19.

Some time ago, I started a pair of Toe Up Baby socks with some crazy stripe yarn that I had dyed. They sat around for some time and I finally got to finish them. These are 6-months to 1-year size but seem very small. I’ll send them up to my 11-month granddaughter and see if they fit. As the weather is warming up they probably wouldn’t get much use, if at all.

The Lunae shawl got some attention this week and I’ve added everything from the top white/rust section. There are lots of ends to weave in on this one but I think the border will be picked up on that side so it will make it easier to hide the yarn. This is definitely not vanilla knitting but is not too difficult.

20190915_074121

My Fibernymph Dyeworks socks are just about at the cuff now. I think 2 more stripes then I’ll do the cuff. I was hoping to get these done this week but seems I only managed 2.5 more stripes. It’s a pity you can’t see the sparkle in the yarn. There’s enough yarn for maybe some toddler socks to match for next winter.

20190915_091626.jpg

Spinning

My Ixchel fibres spin is at the three-quarter point now. The first batt is complete and skeined up and I’ve finished the first single of the second batt. I’ll get the second one plied this week, probably before our Spinners meet up on Thursday, otherwise it will definitely be done then. The first skein had some leftover single that I plied on itself using the Andean bracelet method. This allows you to loosely wind the yarn so that it will not tangle once you find and join the end to where the other ply finished. It’s a great method to save on the leftover singles. The first skein comes in at 101 grams and 288 metres. That’s about a light DK or a heavy sport weight.

The Ashford fibre spindle spin is still moving, though slowly. I still have all this fibre to spin to finish the first half of the batt and the first single.

20190915_075358

Sewing

As per my sewing schedule that I described last week, I’ve cut out the Emmie top by Seamwork. I used a navy and white loose weave fabric remnant that I picked up at Spotlight in the last couple of months. The label said 0.90cm so didn’t think I would be able to do it but the cut was crooked and I was just able to squeeze it out of the fabric. I did take the body up half an inch in order for it to fit but I’m short so I think it will work fine. The fabric also had a section of bright yellow writing on one edge that I had to avoid. This one will definitely be put together on my overlocker as it’s very shreddy.

I finished the final hem on my Metamorphic dress but I’m a bit concerned that it shows when the floral dress is on top so it was a decision of showing then or when the brown dress is on top. This way it only shows a little bit. I think I’ll see if I can get some ribbon to stitch over it as it looks a bit untidy. I also think the shoulder straps are a bit wide for my aesthetic so I’m thinking of putting in a pleat to make it more narrow. I wasn’t able to make the straps narrower otherwise it would have probably not been possible to do the burrito method.

20190915_113343

As promised, here is a pic of my finished Adrienne blouse. It looks much better on the floor than it did on me. I’m wondering if it’s because it’s a velvet fabric as the previous one looks great. There’s a lot of fabric in those sleeves!

20190910_091947

Dyeing

Inspired by Mina’s (Knitting Expat) fibre dyes, I decided that I would do some too. I used some merino that I’ve had for some time and used Landscape dye for the black and Jacquard for the red. The red dye was a bit more successful than the black dye. I don’t have black in Jacquard so maybe I should get some. You can see the black looks good in the pan but most of it washed out to a grey. Mina’s colours are fantastic and she used food dye so I’m thinking I’ll dip the black ends into some of my Wilton black dye. I haven’t used the food dyes for ages but they worked well. There’s still a lot of red to come out of the fibre so I was going to soak it again. I just need to be careful that I don’t felt the fibre in the process or lose too much of the white. You can see it hanging on the rail in front of my washing. 😊 The reason for this colour scheme is that I’m hoping to spin yarn and knit a beanie for my friend whose mother owned the spinning wheel. When she passed away, my friend gave it to me and I am so very grateful for it. The colour is for the NRL football team he follows – the St George Dragons. They are generally red and white but have black in their colours as well. I’ll update next week on how the Wilton dye goes.

I’ve decided to try a new type of dyeing – Batik dyeing. I haven’t gotten very far yet but have the fabric and pattern prepared ready to go. I’ve watched a YouTube video to see how I’m supposed to use the Tjanting tool and I’ll be working on this tomorrow. What can go wrong! 😊

Paraphernalia

This week, I watched the Blood series on SBS On Demand. I enjoyed it and it definitely kept me guessing. My Audible book, Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, has been keeping me company when spinning on the wheel and when I’m driving. It’s a great story and I’m enjoying the narrative – it’s very well written and very descriptive without being overly descriptive and tedious. It definitely has a British flavour about it as opposed to the previous John Sandford book. They are both wonderful but very different.

This week I have breakfast dates at Huskisson on both Monday and Tuesday morning. I got my (very) old bike out the other day as I would like to ride over and back. It’s only six kilometres each way but with a big hill to finish my return. It’s unlikely that I’ll get up this hill on my first few goes but I’m happy to walk the bike up as needed. It has definitely seen better days with plenty of surface rust but appears to work fine. I’ll give it a go tomorrow and put it to the test. This way I can work in some exercise around the breakfast treat. On Thursday I have Spinners group and will either finish my current spin or start a new one. Maybe some of the new rolags I got recently or some of my older stash. I have a pack of twenty different sheep breeds in lights, mediums and darks and I may decide to get onto spinning those now that I have a reasonable ability with the wheel.

So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 8 September 2019. #59

Hello friends! What a wonderful weekend I’ve just had! I’ve just spent the weekend with some great friends and had fun shopping, eating, laughing and generally having a ball. Of course, it all came about because of Chicago. The show was fabulous – we stayed across the road from the theatre and across the other road to Chinatown. We were so close to everything – Darling Harbour, the shopping area, a myriad of restaurants, including on Friday night the Asian street food stalls. The lights at night were amazing.

The week started with a visit from Steven, Kim and Evie. They stayed until Wednesday, and it was wonderful having them there. I had a catch-up breakfast on Monday morning. We do this every second Monday and always at Salty Joe’s cafe in Huskisson. The weather has been up and down this week, a few very warm days and a few very cold days. The wind has been up again which has made the cold a lot colder!

On Thursday, I went to the Spinners and Weavers group for my second visit. They are held every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. It seems like ages since the last one – it was three weeks because August had five Thursdays. I’ve got some pics of what people were working on. The members bring lots of different crafts, of course, spinning and weaving but also needle felting, embroidery and knitting.

Knitting

I’ve made good progress on my Tuileries sweater, now nearly at the split for the sleeves. I took this project to Sydney with me but I stopped once I noticed that I had a few stitches mixed up on the twisted rib sleeve section. You can see in the bottom photo that there are about seven stitches that should have been the opposite stitch. As the apartment we were staying in didn’t have great lighting I thought I’d leave fixing these until I got home. It shouldn’t be difficult to fix, though I need to remember to pick up as twisted knit stitches. By next week, I’ll be working down the body. I have no idea whether I’ll have enough yarn to finish this, even though I have sufficient yardage by calculation. I think because I’m using smaller needles and finer yarn, that maybe it will take more? Anyway, I decided that I’ll do the sleeves and body concurrently and, if I run out, I’ll use black yarn and do it as a colour block.

Please excuse the knitting photos for this blog post – I got home late today and had to take them without my usual natural light. The Rugby shawl is now ready for me to start the applied lace border. As I didn’t have the pattern/chart with me, I thought it best to leave this one until I returned home also. I think the lace border has a 16 row repeat so I’m assuming that the number of stitches I have should be divisible by 16. I’ll work that out properly now that I have the chart to hand. Working off the phone would have been a bit difficult and I really needed only vanilla knitting while in company.

20190908_182414

My Fibernymph Dyeworks socks got the most of the attention this week and weekend. I managed to get through the heels and I am well on the way up the legs now. I would have been further along except I’d realised that the heel made the foot too long. You can see in the first photo that I had done the first heel and progressed to the Eye of Partridge heel after the green and brown stripes. I frogged the heel and those two stripes and now the sock fits perfectly. It did mean that the gusset was not completed to the number of increases that the pattern called for but it was enough to fit my foot. I enjoyed the Eye of Partridge heel but need to take a bit more notice of what rows I was on for the next time. The top heel is perfect but with the other one, I obviously got my rows 1 and 3 mixed up a few times so that stuffed up the alternated stitches. I really don’t think anyone will see it. This project was worked on in many different places, including the train station and ferry platform. In the bottom left photo you can just see the Opera House while I was waiting for my ferry.

Spinning

I am now into the second half of the first batt from Ixchel Fibers. I finished the first half and started the second half while at Spinners Group on Thursday. I’m hoping to get more time this week to finish this one and maybe the second batt. It’s such beautiful lush fibre that I’m really looking forward to knitting with it. I think I’ve decided that a shawl would be lovely made with this. Maybe one of the Curious Handmade shawls that I can easily modify so that I get to use all the yarn.

Sewing

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was able to spend a bit of time sewing my latest Adrienne top. I finished it on Wednesday and wore it on Saturday night. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but I wore it anyway. I don’t actually have a picture of the full top as it is still packed away in my suitcase but I’ll post a picture next week. I’m still having trouble with skipping stitches as you can see in the pictures below. It is so frustrating – I’ll have to call my machine repair shop this week and ask them about that.

I did manage to sew one hem on my Metamorphic dress. I’ll get to the bottom dress layer this week. The linen is very shreddy, as you can see below.

20190905_161932

I have been following Seamwork’s Design Your Wardrobe program. I say following because I haven’t actually participated properly until I worked out how I wanted to participate. The program follows the concepts of setting goals and creating a mood board, creating a colour palette, planning your looks etc. I had started a mood board (or what I called my Sewing Planner) on Pinterest. Essentially, this is a collection of some of the patterns I already have. I also have a Trello database which has the majority of my patterns already there, so I used that as my mood board. I didn’t want to start looking at new patterns and get swatches for new fabric so I decided to list all the patterns on Trello that I have fabric for and to pick three from these that I want to make first. That way I’ll be working from stash.

These are the patterns I’ve chosen. The first three are the ones I decided to make now and will probably follow up with more of them later. I also have some fabric cut out and, hopefully, I’ll get working on those too.

These are the fabrics for the three initial makes. Top left is some stretch Art Gallery fabric I purchased online which will be for the Inari Tee. Top right is some gauze fabric that I purchased as a remnant from Spotlight which I’m hoping will be enough for the Emmie Top and, if there is enough, the bottom fabric will be for the Thea Pants. I’ll work out all the logistics this week.

20190908_063542

Paraphernalia

This week I finished Season 2 of Mindhunter on Netflix and wish that I could watch Season 3. At the moment Season 3 doesn’t exist but it’s obvious that there will be more. I also finished listening to my Audible book, Gathering Prey by John Sandford. As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed his book. For my next listen, I’ve lined up The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. That is a nom de plume for JK Rowling and I believe the book is excellent.

Next week I have a sewing day and lunch organised with different groups of friends and probably a brunch as well. I’m hoping to get a few things done, as usual, particularly getting into the quilting of the two baby blankets. I had a snafu in that the backing fabric for the second quilt is not big enough so I’ll need to add to it.

I’m very late today in posting this blog, so I’ll leave off here. I hope you have a wonderful week and that you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 1 September 2019. #58

Welcome to Spring Downunder and Happy Father’s Day! It’s a pity that this week has been very wintery but I believe it is only going to get better. Another quiet week on the books for me and I’m settling into a semi-routine. I know that this is not the final routine, especially since I’ll be doing some baby minding from October. On Monday, I met up with a couple of girlfriends to organise a crafting meet-up once a month. We have settled on the second Wednesday of each month, so the first will be 11 September – I’m looking forward to that! We met at a new local cafe that’s been set up inside (and outside) a double-decker bus in a garden centre. It was such a novel place but we were technically on the road to nowhere. Sorry – I couldn’t resist that.

We were out visiting friends on Wednesday afternoon so ended up at the Country Club for dinner and the raffles. Unfortunately, out of 50 meat trays and also other prizes, we got exactly zero. Other than that, my week has been spent at home and looking for items for the new house, due to start in February next year. We’ve been looking at flooring and visited several display homes to see what nice features we can consider for our house. The weather has been decidedly wet and wintery but today is putting on a fabulous spring day.

Knitting

Since finishing the Humulus and Millie sweaters, I have been working on my other projects. Firstly, the Rugby shawl. I have enjoyed the very vanilla knitting on this project and have made considerable progress. I’ve about done what the pattern says for the small size which is what I believed I had yardage for but I seem to have so much left over. It’s a pity the pattern isn’t like a Curious Handmade pattern when it tells you the percentage you are at and how much is left! I think I’ll try for yarn chicken and see how far I can push it. At this point, I’d like it to be a bit bigger.

20190901_123500

I’ve also put in a fair bit of work on the Tuileries jumper. This week I increased at 5 inches out of the total 8 inches of the neck and brought the stitch count to the number for the size I am knitting. I noticed on the projects page that other people had done the same but one that I read did not realise that increased on the pattern started at one side of a shoulder and not centre back. When I worked out how I was going to increase my stitches I also worked out a schematic of how the final increases on the turtleneck would be and I aligned them to that – it seems to have worked very well. I must say that the pattern increases are very confusing and I think are a little bit incorrect. The increases on this part and the following raglan increases are done by adding 4 stitches at four parts of the yoke. I had to align these increases so that they kept the rib pattern. As the pattern suggested, there was supposed to be either a purl or knit stitch after doing each section and there wasn’t. I was fortunate that I ended up with the correct number of stitches. I do love how it’s going, though, but it seems like I’ve done so much work and I’ve only done the turtleneck! Hopefully, it will now go much quicker as there is some plain knitting on each row amongst the rib now. You can see the ribbing coming down the sides to form the sleeves.

20190901_123542

My Fibrenymph Dyeworks socks are progressing really well now and I’m working through the gusset. I have a few more increases before I turn the heel. The yarn is sparkly but that’s not showing in this picture.

20190901_123527

New Cast On: This week, I decided to cast on the Lunae shawl with the Drover and Classer yarn that I’d purchased at Fiberex in June. I had been tossing up between patterns for a while and I know this one will be good. My concern is that there may be some yarn chicken with this project. Another concern is with the white (actually cream) yarn that I’ve added, as I’m not sure if it’s too much “in your face”. I put it down during the white section and thought about it but I’ve decided to go on – at least until the next section. I think my issue is that there is not enough blue happening yet, being the very edge of the shawl. That will increase exponentially so I’ll persist for a while.

I also have other projects nipping at my heels and I am casting on for something that’s been in my queue for about a year now. The Garland sweater is also one of my Make9 projects. I have started the cast on, but it’s going to be a tedious process. You can see that I’ve only managed the first 52 stitches out of 288. I’m using the alternating cable cast on that Caroline (Dunderknit) from Knitting Vicariously swears by. I’m not in a mad hurry so will do a section of the cast on each day or so. The project will surely go more quickly once that is done. I’m using some KnitPicks Luminance in the Benevolence colourway – a shiny deep teal, 100% silk. Another teal project, you say? Hmmm, I suppose it must be my signature colour. This is a lace weight yarn but is being knitted on 4mm needles. I have used 100% silk previously in the Ochre cardigan test knit for Ambah O’Brien and I wasn’t impressed with knitting it. Let’s see how this one goes. The pattern itself is knit in mohair but I thought it would look good in this fine silk.

My Humulus sweater has had several outings this week and I love wearing it. Please excuse the awkward selfie I’ll need to wait for some warmer weather to get Millie on – the blocking turned out great. While doing some sorting, I came across a vest I’d knitted that I was not very happy with so it has been frogged. This is a Touch merino/possum yarn and I used just over 1 ball for the vest. The two full balls will be much more useful knitted into something else.

Spinning

This week, I finished the spin that I showed last week. It is an unknown fibre that started as a braid and I split the braid into four long strands. I spun two strands onto a bobbin and then did the other two onto another bobbin. As I suspected, the final yarn came out pretty much barber-poled with not too many solid colours along the way. But, I really like the result. I ended up with 101 grams and 154.5m. I think this works out technically as an aran weight but it seems more like a worsted to DK weight. Anyway, this yarn will fit in nicely with what I have spun up already.

I’ve now started another spin with some really plush fibre that I’d received in a yarn club with Ixchel Yarns & Fibres a couple of years ago. Only one was available as part of the yarn club but I bought a second one in a destash. I don’t have the fibre details with it but it is very plush with bright green, orange and pink silk bits through it. It is spinning up beautifully. I prepped the first batt by ripping it into strips and separating those into thinner strips and then halved. You can see the basket of prepped rolls of fibre, which is all from the first bat. This was 106 grams and I have spun 53 grams onto the first bobbin, shown here. I’ll spin the second half and ply it before moving onto the second batt, probably using the same prepping. I only have 4 decent bobbins so I think I’ll need to buy some more. It would be good to be able to get a large bobbin set-up for my Wee Peggy but I don’t think that’s an option. I’ll have to look into it because I can only do about 100 grams on each bobbin.

I also started another spindle spin using some Ashford merino/silk sliver that I’d purchased while at Gerroa. I haven’t had much opportunity to work on this yet. I’ve halved the fibre, about 100 grams in total, and will spin each half separately. The colour on the left is accurate.

Sewing

As I indicated last week, I picked up my Metamorphic dress and have just about finished it. Also, as I mentioned last week, I got to the hem and walked away. I’ll have to get onto that this week to finish it off but there is no hurry as the weather will need to warm up a lot more before I can think about wearing it. There is one day that is predicted at 26 degrees this week so maybe that will be sooner than I expect! The burrito method on this is very easy once you work out what is going on.

Inspired by a girlfriend’s dress makes for her granddaughter, I purchased the Geranium dress pattern. I whipped up this gorgeous dress for my Evie. It was such an easy make and the pattern comes with different sleeves, neck and skirt choices. I went for the capped sleeve with the normal neck and gathered skirt. I used some very cute printed pinwale cord along with a contrasting piece of quilting fabric. I didn’t have quite the length required for the skirt so I lengthened the yoke by half an inch and also used a contrasting facing hem, rather than turning it up.

Another project on the machine this week was a modesty breastfeeding cover. I have whipped this one up for a young friend who is due to have their second baby soon. This item is such an easy project and works really well for mothers during the summer. There is plenty of coverage but not too much that makes it uncomfortably hot for the poor baby, and mother too. I have yet to add the strap attachment as I need to get some velcro. The strap is just slipped under the bra strap and velcroed in place and the light covering sits over the baby.

20190901_134249

Yesterday I cut out another Adrienne blouse. If it looks OK, I’m hoping to wear this next weekend when I’m in Sydney. I’m using some stretch velvet that was on special at Spotlight. I had intended to make sure the design sat centred on my front and back but completely forgot about that when I pinned the pattern to the fabric. Let’s see what it comes out like.

20190901_132538

Acquisitions.

Another visit to Spotlight for buttons for the Geranium dress and I found some fabric for the Adrienne blouse and for the breastfeeding modesty cover. I came away with these and only one remnant.

  • Velvet Folk Floral, silver – 2.2m x 148cm.
  • Poplin in Feathers and Kitties – 2 x 0.5m x 112cm.
  • Plain stretch velvet, navy – 1.0m x 148cm.

20190901_075959

Paraphernalia.

This week I started a new book, Gathering Prey by John Sandford. It’s no.25 in the Lucas Davenport series – I love each and every one of these books and this one is just as good. I really enjoy listening to a book while I’m spinning. Mindhunter is still keeping me entertained on Netflix and I think I only have two episodes to go, maybe one. I’m going to have to find another series to watch. Chesapeake Shores has another season out so that may do until something special comes up.

Next weekend I’m off to Sydney with some girlfriends to see the musical, Chicago. I’m really looking forward to that and also some girl time catching up. We are staying in a hotel near the Capital Theatre where the musical will be. A bit of shopping and sightseeing, perhaps?

This afternoon, Steven, Kim and Evie are coming to stay for a few days. I’m very excited about having them here. I’m off to the shops now to get some groceries that I’d forgotten yesterday. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 25 August 2019. #57

Hello friends! We are now heading into the last week of winter and the weather has been up and down the thermometer. Last Sunday and Monday mornings, I enjoyed walking around Ballast Point at Birchgrove, taking in the beautiful views across Sydney Harbour. Monday lunch saw a different, but just as nice, view of Wollongong Harbour before a visit with Kim and Evie.

We have had lots of sunshine but the temperatures have vacillated between highs of 13 and 22 degrees Celcius. This was compounded by winds which made the 13 feel so much worse. One particular day, I think it was Tuesday, the winds were actually gale force and you can see that in the picture below, with the white caps and waves in Jervis Bay. The other days were beautiful. There was a fabulous bright orange moon on one night, though the photo doesn’t do it justice. Tuesday night was Book Club, which I can now attend full time again. We had a pleasant evening and have a couple of more books to read before the next get-together.

Early in the week, our neighbours removed some trees which only helped to make our view even better. You can see the before and after pictures here and some more clearing not shown in this photo. It will help with letting in the winter sunshine to warm the house. Last night, we had a pleasant evening with some friends and enjoyed a suspenseful game of Jenga. You can only use one hand when removing the blocks!

Knitting

Finished Object #1: Just in time for the end of Stash Dash, the Humulus sweater is now finished and blocked and I love it. Unfortunately, the weather is warming up but I think we’ll still have some cool days. I do need to sew in the ends but there are very few of them. The yarn was a little crispy but has come up very nicely with a good soak. I used Hillesvag Tinde Pelsulgarn that I bought from Norway last year. The main colour is Naturgra, which is a beautiful steel grey, along with Petrol for the colourwork. I still have a sweater quantity in tan and some contrasting colours left so they will become a colourwork sweater for next winter.

20190822_164749

Finished Object #2: Again adding to my Stash Dash total, the Millie sweater is now complete and it won’t be long before I can wear it. This will be perfect for the start of Spring. I nearly used up all the yarn from the two skeins, with only 9 grams of the Fiber Lily and 13 grams of the Hedgehog Sock yarn left. I joined the remains of those with a magic knot and they will go into my advent pile or toward my Kettle Valley poncho which uses lots and lots of scrap sock yarn. I had intended to knit the sleeves until one of the yarns ran out but I started the rib a little early. I felt that continuing would have made the rib on the sleeves look weird being too long. And I was kind of over the two at a time sleeve ribbing.

Now that Stash Dash is officially over, I am moving on with my other projects in current rotation. The Tuileries sweater got a little love this week while sitting waiting for a doctor’s appointment which always takes way too long. Lucky I have my knitting and podcasts to keep me occupied. With this one, I wanted the funnel neck to be not as wide as in the picture so I started with the smallest number of stitches and it is going very nicely. I’ve now done 4 inches of the neck and I’ll be increasing to the correct number shortly, to get the bottom part of the funnel to the correct size. I will need to work out what the correct number of stitches should be, since I’m using a fingering weight as opposed to the sport weight recommended in the pattern, along with smaller needles. The neck is currently larger than I thought it might be so I may be better to do the M size rather than the L that I had originally worked out.

The Rugby shawl is also moving well now. Again, I have adjusted the pattern in order to use the yarn that I have. From my original calculations when I started the project I should be nearly ready to start the applied border but it appears that I have copious amounts of yarn remaining. I was doing the small size but I’m thinking of doing the medium. I will just need to have the right number of stitches for the pattern of the applied border and, currently, my stitch count doesn’t match what the pattern indicates. The issue is whether there will be enough yarn for the applied border. That will be the solid red, selected so that the lace will show best. I am thinking that I can risk it and, if necessary, finish any of the applied border with the other yarn which is not as contrasting as I first thought it would be. Though, I must say, in the photo it’s quite obvious. I may put it on a longer cable as I have a very long one not currently being used.

20190825_101203

There’s not a great deal of progress on my socks and that’s because I suspected I was very close to starting the gusset and heel. I was working on these while I was waiting for my daughter in law and granddaughter to come home from Mother’s Group. It was convenient as it was lunchtime and I sat at a cafe with a great view and knitted while I had lunch in the sun. Having now measured the socks, I was correct and will start the gusset when I pick these up next.

20190825_101145

Finally! The buttons are on the Preparer son Arrivee and I think they are perfect. Perfect to look at but there are ten of them and they are not round. They will probably get easier to do up and undo after a few goes and the holes get bigger, as it always does. The colour in these two photos are quite different but it’s the same project. The right one is pretty much accurate. You can see how I add the buttons with the little safety pins, pinned through the holes to start with and I do them up as I go along to make sure it’s all going well. There are too many to redo if the last one is in the wrong place.

Spinning

I have now finished my second wheel spin and have moved onto a new project. For the second spin, I used some more of my own dyed fibre in red and orange to get the barber poled effect shown in the picture. This fibre yielded 51 grams and 127.5m in an average DK weight.

The spindle spin is also complete and I really love the results. Because of the amount of yarn, I plied these on the wheel which is much easier than doing it on the spindle and there is no way I’d have fit it all on the spindle anyway. As it is, on the wheel I had to stop plying and start a new bobbin as it was starting to overflow. From the first spindle amount (the three bobbins on the left), I got a worsted weight of 106 grams and 127m. The remainder of that spindle produced more worsted weight of 33 grams and 45m. My second spindle was much finer, having considerably mastered the technique and I got a nice sport weight average of 71 grams and 160m. You can see the difference in comparing the two – 106 and 71 grams and 127m and 160m respectively. In the bottom right picture, the sport weight is obviously the one on the left.

I think all these yarns would make a great Andrea Mowry style project like the Shifty sweater but her pattern uses fingering weight and my yarns vary from a sport to a worsted weight.

20190822_162256.jpg

I couldn’t wait to dive into my stash and see just what I actually had that I couldn’t remember. I chose these two fibres and I have started on the braid already. I want to start another spindle but I didn’t think either of these would be suitable – the braid because it has such a long staple and I thought it would make it very difficult and the two batts because there’s such a large amount that it would take months. I’ll dig a bit further and use a smaller amount on the spindle. After having watched copious amounts of Mina (Knitting Expat podcast) and Grace (Babbles Travelling Yarns podcast) demonstrating prep methods, I decided to split the braid (100 grams) into four long strands and spin two of these, end to end, on two bobbins. I have no idea what the content of the braid is – my friend Mary picked it up at the Fibre Festival in Maitland the year before last. As I suspected, the staple being so long made it interesting to get started and get the feel of the draw. I did manage to get into a rhythm finally and have finished the first two long strands (half the braid) on the first bobbin. The idea of spinning with this prep is to get a self-striping effect but I’m sure my spinning is not even enough to be exact and avoid barber poling. I think I will like the effect anyway. I should have the second bobbin done and both plied by next week. Watch this space.

Patchwork

I did get a fair bit of patchwork time this week. Firstly I sandwiched the Snow Days top and it is ready to quilt. I always use our outdoor table for sandwiching because I can clip the ends to it to hold it tight. The old way was to crawl around on the floor using masking tape to fix the backing firmly. I hated doing that then and I hate it even more now. This new way is very effective and so much easier. I haven’t started quilting yet as I only have one machine set up and I wanted to finish piecing before I reset the machine for quilting.

20190820_132334

My other quilt top is now complete and ready for backing. I have some fabric and will need to piece it before I can sandwich the layers. I finally decided on a suitable pattern that used the fabric that I had, though I had to piece one red block to get enough squares. I also added the blue fabric for the posts. I’ll need to make a decision for the binding and would like to use the same blue fabric but doubt very much that I have enough left to do this.

20190824_170530

Once I’ve pieced the backing for this and then the quilt backing for my dad’s nautical quilt, I’ll start a marathon quilting event. I should be able to finish a few audible books in the process.

Sewing

I’ve been itching to get back to sewing my Metamorphic dress which has been languishing for several months but I didn’t want to change the thread during the patchwork piecing. Lazy, I know. But the thread was fine for doing the gathers on the skirt tops (x 4) and matched the top dress fabric so I sewed those skirts to the tops. I have the bottom dress pinned and ready to go today. I wonder if I can get this one about finished today? I’ve usually have had enough by the time I get to the hem and here there are two quite wide hems. I’m looking forward to doing the burrito method to get the seams inside and invisible when turned inside out. That makes it perfectly reversible.

20190825_101219

Stash Dash

Stash Dash went from 24th May to 24th August this year and I signed up for the 10K finish line. I’m happy to say that I made it to the finish line with a comfortable 10,851.55 metres. I could have added my second Lanesplitter skirt too, but I never got around to sewing it up, though I had the time – how surprising! These are all the items I finished, except for my very first spindle spin The grid would only let me have this many pics and the first spindle spin is the least impressive of the lot so I left it off. I’m pretty happy with the result though I’m disappointed I never picked up my Comfort Fade cardi. Now that Stash Dash is over I can concentrate on other projects that didn’t feature because there was no way they’d be finished in time.

PhotoGrid_1566699162805

Paraphernalia

I finally got to watch the last episode of Season 3 of Handmaid’s Tale and it didn’t disappoint. It will definitely have another season to go which will see all the loose ends tied up. The latest series I’ve started watching is called Mindhunter and it has been keeping me very entertained. This is set in the late 1970s and two FBI agents interview serial killers to solve open cases. One of the main characters is an Australian, Anna Torv, who also starred in the Australian series Secret City. I’m still listening to The Binding by Bridget Collins and it has turned into an interesting read. Next for Book Club is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. My Audible library has several books waiting for me that I’m excited to get to.

I have another quiet week coming up with one or two coffee dates. I have decided that I’m missing some socialisation since finishing work and hope to organise some regular events to fill that gap. But I will have plenty of time for crafting again and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 18 August 2019. #56

Hello! This Sunday I’m posting from sunny but hazy Sydney. We are moving through winter quite quickly now and, for us down under, it will be Spring in exactly 14 days. I’m not expecting it to get very warm too quickly though today is supposed to be about 23 degrees Celcius!

This week has been very relaxing as I try to settle into a routine. I have managed to get a few things done but I also found that I have been knitting less, getting into different activities during the days. I am moving back into my exercise routine and had three lovely mornings running along one of our local beaches. I say running but it’s more like a shuffle as I get back to where I was previously. It’s amazing how good I feel after a session on the beach. You can see the lovely views I get to take in while I’m out there.

On Friday night, we went to our local Golf Club for a birthday celebration – there were four birthdays we celebrated but one was a special 60th.

Yesterday was an early start and I had a lovely visit with my son and his wife and, especially, baby Evie. We had such fun playing together before I finished my journey to Sydney. On the way through to my mum and dad’s place, I made a couple of stops. Firstly to Skein Sisters as I needed a new cable for my Chiaogoo interchangeables and then to the button shop in Newtown – All Buttons Great and Small for some buttons for my Preparer son Arrivee cardigan. I think I have the right ones now but it was still hard to match anything.

During the afternoon with my mum and dad, I went for a walk up the main street to see what was happening in my old neighborhood. I took some pics of the local old buildings that I was happy to see are being looked after and maintained for posterity. I also walked through the local markets that I’d forgotten were on every Saturday. These markets have been famous for a long time, attracting visitors from far and wide.

Knitting

I have continued to concentrate on the same four projects this week, but mainly 2 of these. Firstly, I’m making reasonable ground on my Humulus sweater. I picked up the sleeves and started knitting with a larger size needle. I remember on my Feather and Fern that knitting the sleeves two at a time made them very tight. I knitted the Humulus body with 4.0 mm and am using 4.5 mm needles on the sleeves. The stitches seem to blend with the other stitches so I think it’s working well. I’m hoping to have this finished for Stash Dash, which ends at midnight on the 24th. I think that gives me a little bit more time as that means 25th August here – I’ll just need to check what time exactly.

20190818_071753

The other main project this week was my Millie sweater. This one is also on sleeve island but, unlike the Humulus, the decision to use larger needles was not a good idea. I think this is because of the difference in the weight of the yarn. The fingering weight was already using a whopping 4.5 mm needles so using 5.0 mm tipped it over the scale of being a very loose stitch. I got several rows into the sleeves when I finally made the call to rip them out and start again with the 4.5 mm needles. To avoid the tightness from knitting two at a time, I decided to decrease to the second size rather than the first so that there are more stitches. I am all but finished the sleeves but just had to call it a night last night. Once the smallest ball is finished, then I will be done. The first photo shows how I’d split the balls for two at a time and helical knitting. I managed some TV knitting with this one while watching the Cady Jax podcast. You may be able to see how the stitches look very messy in the top section of the middle picture.

The only other knitting project I’ve worked on this week is my socks. That is because they are portable and I needed portable knitting. The first was when I was waiting at the doctor’s office for two hours and the second when I had breakfast in town after an annual fasting blood test. I managed to find a toe-up pattern that uses a heel flap – it’s the How I Roll socks that I already had in my library. I probably have another inch or so to do before I start the heel. I like how the stripes are moving along and it’s quite addictive to get to the next colour all the time.

I haven’t done much on my Tuileries pullover, mainly to get the Humulus and Millie done for Stash Dash, so it’s not worth showing what will look the same as last week. I did, however, get out one of my languishing WIPs. I’ve had it in mind to make another shawl but thought that it would be good to finish my Rugby shawl before starting any others. I only spent some time working out where I was, what needles I had stolen from the project and I knitted 2 rows to get the feel of it. It’s a very simple pattern but has a beautiful applied border. This will be in my knitting rotation starting next week.

20190818_064229

Spinning

I really got into my spinning wheel this week. I started with some fibre that I had dyed some time ago, more specifically for using when felting. I’m pretty sure that it is merino as I don’t think I’ve had much else. I do have a stash of Corriedale but I’m not sure what I will do with it as it is a very short staple and not smooth. This could be improved with blending so I’ll give that a go at some point. With this merino, I decided to use my carding combs to prep them into fauxlags and this worked very well. I spun up all the blue fluff and then started a new spindle with some rusty orange. I then managed to ply the two together. It is purposefully barber-poled as I thought it would be a good exercise to see how the plying went. I find that plying is awkward because the lazy kate doesn’t have any tension and the yarn is plying itself together as it rolls loosely off the bobbins. I’m seriously thinking about getting a tensioned lazy kate to help with this. This spin will help add 139.5 m to my Stash Dash total. The meterage for spinning is worked out at the length x 3, one length for each of the single spins and one length for the plying.

I went to my first local Spinners and Weavers group on Thursday. This one is called The Wool Road Spinners and Weavers for my local area and the ladies are lovely. I actually knew one of the ladies there, though not very well but having a common friend made it like we’d known each other well. It was a great first class to go to because they had a talk about using and caring for our wheels. It helped consolidate some of the information that I’ve assimilated from YouTube and books. At this meeting, I started on some more of my own dyed merino fibre and I hope for that and one other amount to be spun together for another amount for Stash Dash. I should be able to get them done this week. The wheel is sooooo much faster than the spindle.

I’m still working on my spindle spin and have very little left to do. I know that the wheel is much faster but there is definitely something therapeutic in spindle spinning. I’ve been using the half-hour of the Million Dollar Hot Seat before dinner to spin each weekday. I only have five more bits to spin so that will be a maximum of five more days. Then I will ply the whole lot – the first two spindles which is probably about 150 grams and this latest twos spindle’s worth which will be up close to 100 grams. Again, I hope for these to add to my Stash Dash total.

20190818_071736

Patchwork

Last week, I mentioned that I’d found some cut patchwork pieces and decided to use them for a baby quilt. The pieces were 9 x 20 inch and 3 x 20 inch but, without a pattern, I was at a loss. I started by stitching the skinny bits onto the wider bits and then cut them into blocks. That was fine, but I needed to take some sides off to join them with other blocks and also to get the fabric pieces to match. It took some working out to get a pattern that looked decent and, in the end, I went with an L shape getting smaller to the other diagonal. Is that description confusing? You can see the blocks laid out on our spare bed. The photos probably aren’t very clear either as there are only three strips sewn up. The sashing can’t be finalised until I add another fabric as what I have left can’t be used as posts because they would butt up against themselves. I’ll have to dig into stash to see if I can add something there.

The Snow Days quilt now has a backing. I purchased this fabric from Spotlight the other day and had to piece a bit down one side to get to the size to fit. I have scheduled the sandwiching of the quilt for next week so then I can start quilting it. That is something I’ll need to work out too – how am I going to quilt this?

20190816_130755

I didn’t get to any stitching on my Round The Garden quilt or any dressmaking-type sewing this week. I have come to realise that I may not actually be able to do absolutely everything I want to do now that I’m retired. My list of projects and activities are way too long, especially with some socialising thrown in!

Acquisitions

As I mentioned, I purchased some fabric from Spotlight for the Snow Days baby quilt backing and a trip to Spotlight would not be normal if I didn’t leave with some remnants! This week’s remnant additions are, clockwise from top left:

  • PTD Sateen Dual Spot, rust – 127 cm x 2 m
  • Animal Print Jaguar, multi – 112 cm x 1.45 m
  • PTD Cotton Drill M/Reaux Spots, black – 114 cm x 0.9 m
  • Eclipse Crepe, Black – 147cm x 0.85 m

20190818_064452

I called in at Skein Sisters on my way to Sydney yesterday as I needed a cable for my Chiaogoo interchangeables. It seems that the size I need is always on another project. While I was there, I found the beautiful Julie Asselin yarns that I hadn’t actually seen in person. Of course, I didn’t leave without a couple of those in my possession. I picked up some Leizu Fingering in the Folk colourway (left) and Fall River (right). These are 90% superwash merino and 10% silk. I think these could be good candidates for the Stephen West Exploration Station shawl that I’ve been wanting to make for some time now. I’m pretty sure I have a few other candidates possibly hiding in my stash to go with them. I’ll definitely check that out when I’m home. Otherwise, I know that they will be very good for something sooner or later.

20190818_101811

Paraphernalia

I haven’t watched the finale of the Handmaid’s Tale yet and I’m keeping that for when I get home on Monday. I did finish watching the final season of Suits, though I’m not sure that it’s actually the final but I can’t imagine that Meghan Markle will be featuring in any future seasons. I finished the book I was listening to – Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really liked the main character and the storyline did keep me guessing. That was a Book Club book and we have another one, The Binding by Bridget Collins, that I have just started. This one is totally different from the previous one being more of a magical type genre, but that’s my initial impression. It may be nothing like that. We have our next Book Club meeting on Tuesday night so I hope I can get this one finished by then.

I think this coming week will be another relaxing one, once I’m home tomorrow. I’ll be spending today with my daughter, then tomorrow morning will have a quick visit with my parents and then on to Wollongong on my way home for a visit with Kim and Evie. Apart from Book Club, I’ll also be catching up with a couple of girlfriends on Wednesday afternoon.

There are lots of crafting plans for me for the coming week and I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO