Sunday 29 March 2020. #88

Hi friends! Welcome to another week of isolation. There was not a lot of external action this past week. On Monday I went over to Greenfields Beach with Robert and, while he was swimming the beach, I walked over to Hyams Beach and back via the Scribbly Gum track. On Tuesday, Robert swam at Huskisson so I went to get some stuff out of storage and then jogged the beach until he finished. On Friday morning, I stood in line at the supermarket before 7 am and was able to get a pack of toilet paper. We hadn’t been desperate before this so hadn’t bothered. I was also able to get some more supplies so that we don’t need to leave the house unnecessarily. Yesterday morning, I ducked quickly to Spotlight to get some crafting supplies as I was stuck with a few things. It was great because there was hardly anyone in there so it was a quick in and out visit.

Yesterday we got the news that the owners of the house that we are looking after will be back in 5 days so our stay of four and a half months was cut to one month. Fortunately, we’ll be able to go back to Bawley Point for a good session, at least. Nobody will be using it over the foreseeable future until this virus is resolved. We took our first load back to the storage shed this morning, which comprised mainly of the crafting supplies that I’d gotten out of storage. It won’t all fit in the cars for our initial trip so we’ll need to get more stuff when we can. We’ll have to come up (1.5 hour drive each way) at certain times for the house build but I think I have enough to keep me busy for the next few weeks. In the meantime, things are progressing well on the house build. I hope this virus doesn’t shut down the building.

Knitting

Finished Object: Finally I finished the little kimono cardigan that I made up. I find I’m very slow if I have to work it out in case I’m wrong but I think it looks pretty good, along with the Bitty Baby booties and the Garter Ear Flat hat. I hope the recipient get these by tomorrow or soon after.

20200324_170113

I finished the tubular bind off on my Tuileries sweater body and I now have the two sleeves at about the same length. I’ll need to try it on to see how much further they need to go. I think the sleeves need to be at least as long as the sweater body. The changes in colour are not as obvious in real life.

20200329_124247

There’s not a lot of progress on my gift Drifting Snow mitts. I only have about 5 more rows to go now as I’m starting the fingertip decreases. The thumb will take about half an hour and then I’ll be able to cast on the other one. My plan of knitting 4 fewer stitches and using 4.0mm instead of 3.75m on the hand worked well.

20200329_124500

New Cast On: I have started on a couple of baby cardigans for a boy and girl set of twins arriving in the middle of the year. I just happened to have this Baby Cashmerino yarn in my stash and it will be perfect. For the boy, I’m using the duck egg blue colourway on the Ciqala Arrowhead cardi and, for the girl, I’ll be using the cream colourway but haven’t yet decided on the yoke pattern. I’ll use the same pattern but will do the yoke differently. I’ll also have the buttons opposite, as you do for male and female items. The only modification to the pattern, and I must say it’s a big one, is that I’m re-engineering it so that it is top-down instead of bottom-up. I had already knitted this neckband and realised that the buttonhole is on the wrong side so I started it again. Unlike the last cardigan pattern I made, this one is only written for one direction.

20200329_124419

I finally finished the neverending rib sleeves on my Kettle Valley poncho. I’m so happy to now be on the incessant knit in the round for a good while. This is the perfect no-thinking knitting which is required every now and then. It was good last night when I actually wanted to knit on the twin cardigan but my brain was overloaded with what we had to pack and move to storage or with us. Knit knit knit is good for anxious minds.

20200329_124345

Spinning

The first bobbin of my Wren and Ollie rolags is done and I’ve started on my second bobbin. The wheel is not going into storage like last time as I am really enjoying an hour on this each afternoon. Robert and I watch the Millionaires Hot Seat quiz show and I have now made it officially my spinning time. I have packed some more to take with me along with some bobbins from a previous spin I have yet to ply.

Sewing

Last week I showed what I was making for #thegreatmodulesewalong and said I’d take a quick win with the Monroe Turtleneck top – a free pattern from Tessuti. I cut out the pattern on Sunday and then, on Monday, it only took me about an hour and a half to cut it out and sew it up. The cutting out proved tricky because the fabric was kind of on the bias. You can see from the photo how the ends folded into the middle are both on the diagonal. I lined up the stripes on the fabric and pattern matched at the underarm on both the front and back pieces. I am so happy with the result. It’s a very boxy top but looks great. The only thing I will say is the neck is very tight. I can get my head through (just) but I definitely agree with other makers that I’d read up on that the neck is tight. I will be making more of these but will do the neck about half an inch bigger. The other thing is that the sleeve on the pattern says Size 3. I was doing Size 2, though could even have done Size 1. I’ve only tried it on once since I made it as the weather has been beautiful. Seems that sleeve worked fine with my size. It was also the very first time I was successful using a twin needle while doing the body and sleeve hems. This time I fed the two strands into the machine at the same time whereas previously I would do them separately.

From that one, I moved onto the Audrey jacket by Seamwork. There is a step by step class on how to make this (for Seamwork members) and I have been following that. The jean jacket is something I was always hesitant to make but the class makes it easy with bite-sized pieces at a time. So far, the hardest part was doing the welt pockets. The class makes one piece at a time and, with this part, I struggled on which way things should sit on the other side. I did finally work it out. One annoying mistake I made was when I was topstitching the welt pocket I didn’t realise that I had the other piece underneath so that had to be unpicked. I thought it was tight at the time. Another issue is with buttonholes. I can’t use the topstitching thread for the zig-zag as it is too thick and jams the machine, almost breaking the needle. So I bought some normal thread in the same colour and will use that for all the buttonholes. The fronts are done apart from the fold-over for the buttons. My next step is the back. I wonder if I can get this finished before we move out on Wednesday. Maybe not but it will be the first thing when we move in. For this module, I’ll also be working on my Pietra pants and the sheath dress from the Inspirations magazine. I haven’t yet picked my skirt pattern.

Paraphernalia

The world has gone crazy so I’ve had time to watch my shows (Married at First Sight and New Amsterdam) and video podcasts. I’ve also caught up on some audio podcasts. I’ve even managed to grab some time over lunch outside each day to read my book. This week I also used Zoom Meetings for 3 different groups. Firstly, I had two sessions with the International Virtual Knit Nights, a session with a group I’m in that I set up and then a session with a new Australian Virtual Knit Night set up by Carolyn on the Gold Coast. It’s great to still be able to see people and socialise, even if it’s only virtually. We will be staying away from everyone for as long as it takes and my only regret is that I won’t see Evie for a while. That’s the hardest thing. We’ll have to do some video chats instead. – maybe this afternoon? I hope so. I hope this blog doesn’t sound as rushed as it feels to me. I really need to get back to packing everything so, until next week, I hope you are staying well and that you are enjoying lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

9A62A542CA7641ED9958F5ABF3D4EEFA[3774]

Sunday 22 March 2020. #87

Hello friends! I’m sitting on our deck while I do this blog and it’s really a beautiful day and a beautiful view. I’m not sure exactly where this past week went. Apart from a few appointments, it seemed to just disappear into the ether. Sunday afternoon was well spent with family and friends celebrating Kim’s birthday. Monday morning started with a catch up with the International Virtual Knit Night group. It’s so good to spend some time with people from all over the world and, at the moment with this global pandemic, it’s a good way to be social. The highlight for the rest of the week was probably my visit to donate blood and then last night’s dinner party where we thanked some close friends for their wonderful help when we were frantically trying to get everything out of the house. I was too busy to even take pictures! The weather certainly warmed up with three days ranging from 28 to 34 degrees and we’ll be working our way down the scale for a cold day tomorrow and most of this coming week.

My real highlight this week was seeing the progress on the house build. On Monday morning the slab was poured and on Friday afternoon the majority of the frame was up. On Thursday afternoon, Robert and I had a walk around the main level as it was just the floor and I got to see my studio on the level below as it will be, albeit with plenty of airflow. The first photo below is looking from the ensuite into the studio. There will be a large deck at the other end.

Knitting

My knitting focussed on two main projects this week, one being the Tuileries sweater. I didn’t have much left of the body to do so I tried it on and found it only needed another half an inch. Yay!! I have now started the tubular bind-off – well, I’m actually more than halfway through it. The pattern calls for separating the knit and purl stitches onto separate needles and then doing a sewn bind-off but I didn’t want to sit there and separate that many stitches when there are many tutorials on how to do it straight off the one needle. I’m using the Knitting with Suzanne Bryan tutorial on YouTube. With a tubular bind off, you need to have four times the length of the round hanging off the end and then treat each stitch individually, pulling all that yarn through each time. It’s a slow process but it does make for a great finish, though I’m not too sure the four set up rows are actually necessary. I’ll be glad to get the yarn onto the shortest sleeve now to catch up to where the longer one is. I think I’ll have enough yarn to do long sleeves.

The other knitting focus this week was the baby kimono sweater that I’d made up as I went along. I got to a design block with the fronts and finally decided that the plan I had would work. That was only after I borrowed a small garment from Kimberley to see if I was anywhere within the ballpark for size. Newborn things are soooo small that I often think they are too small but this works out at about 0-3 months or more. The garter stitch makes it very stretchy. All that is missing now are the buttons. I had bought some buttons just before we moved out of the house and put them somewhere handy but obviously not that handy as I have no idea where they are. I am probably heading into town tomorrow so I will get some more. I had already made the booties and hat and need to put buttons on the booties too. I hope to have the threads sewn in today and get the buttons sewn on tomorrow so that I can post the parcel, otherwise the baby will not get any use of it! He was born last week.

The only other item I worked on was very early in the week and it was the Drifting Snow mitts. I managed to finish the cuff but put it aside then as I want to make some alterations to the hand part. I found that my first trial mitt was a little loose so wanted to reduce the stitches by 2, perhaps. I think that would work overall but also think I’d like to go up from 3.75mm needles to 4.0mm to get a softer fabric. If I do that, I think that would cancel out the reduction of the 2 stitches so maybe I should reduce 4. I can do 2 easily on the first set up row for the thumb gusset so I’ll give that a try and maybe get rid of 2 more at thumb separation time. I’ll give it a go anyway and see how that works.

20200322_124247

Spinning

The black (grey), red and white spin is now off the bobbin and soaking. So far, the ply looks good and has tightened up since my previous plies. I think this is meant to be a beanie when it grows up and will be a gift knit.

I got the new spin going this week with the Wren and Ollie rolags that I showed you last week. I’m really enjoying this spin – I thought it would be hard to get back into a rhythm at drawing the fibre after a six-week hiatus but it’s going swimmingly. The yarn is a mixture of angelina, bamboo, merino, silk noil and tussah silk. And rolags are so easy to spin with! There’s a total of eight rolags to make up the 108gms and I’m into the second one now. The light brown looks more grey here.

Sewing

This week I finally finished my Kristy Top – apart from the single button I need to add at the neck. I am really pleased with this finish although it’s a bit tight across the bust. I have put on a couple of kilos since I cut this out mid last year and I’m hoping to change that situation. I was making this as a wearable toile using some fabric from a stash I received from a friend. Her mother had passed away and she was giving away her fabric that had been packed away for some time. I have no idea what it is – probably a light polyester; it has a lovely sheen. I hope I’ll be able to wear it as I really like it and it will be great for wearing now moving into winter. Here it is, wafting in the breeze the other day.

20200318_124125

#thegreatmodulesewalong has kept me busy this week, thinking about what I’m going to do with the fabric I have chosen and what else I needed to buy. I had settled on a navy, caramel and off-white/cream colour scheme based on a great navy top that I bought in the Christmas sales. It’s a heavier knit with longer than three-quarter sleeves so the weather has only just started to get to the temperature that I’m able to wear it. I absolutely love it and hope I can recreate it in other colours. It has centre front and back seams and has a grown on sleeve with pleats in the sleeve and the body. Very simple but looks great on.

So this is the plan: 1 topper – Audrey jacket by Seamwork (beige slub linen); 2 tops – the bought navy top and Monroe top by Tessuti (free pattern) (caramel/off white stretch); 1 dress (swapped for 3rd top) – sheath dress (Inspirations magazine) (brown patterned fabric with dark blue contrast shoulders); 2 bottoms – Pietra pants by Closet Case (toffee drill) and skirt (as yet undecided pattern) (caramel corduroy).

20200322_103848

The linen, striped stretch and patterned fabrics were from a huge stash that my mother unloaded recently. Both the linen and striped fabric have been washed (the striped fabric was actually still damp for the pic) and the rest will be washed today as soon as I run a zig-zag or overlocker on the edges so that the woven fabrics won’t fray. I intend for the Pietra pants to reach the top of my foot. I don’t think that cropped length would suit me and, being short if they don’t already reach the top of my foot, I’ll just lengthen them a bit. I have seen other photos of these made and they should turn out as I want them to. This afternoon, I think I’ll go for a quick win and cut out the Monroe top. I have my overlocker out of storage now and it’s ready to go with cream threads. When I was in town for the blood bank the other day I had the Audrey jacket, Pietra pants and Monroe top patterns printed on A0. I also purchased the toffee drill and the dark blue cotton sateen from Spotlight, along with a dress zipper, some topstitching thread and jeans buttons. Looks like I’m all set to go. I still need to decide on a skirt pattern and trace out the dress pattern. I have a roll of tracing vilene (? it’s not paper) at the storage unit and I think I know where it is. I hope the patterns will unroll enough to make them easy to cut out.

20200322_105938-2

Acquisitions

Apart from the fabric mentioned above, I took advantage of Spotlight’s sale this week with all paper patterns for $6. I have a list of patterns that I like on my phone waiting for a pattern sale to pick up a few. I started with these ones. I find that I’m more inspired by patterns when someone shows the finished item on their blog or podcast, which was the case with the top two at each side. I found these via TomKat Stitchery and the rest through the Stitch Sisters in one or more of their pattern reviews. Again, I forgot to buy a black button! Maybe tomorrow.

20200320_105625

Paraphernalia

The world is very different today than it was just a few weeks ago and everyone is trying to work out the best approach for themselves. We’ll be staying in as much as possible from now on or keeping our distance when any necessary venture into civilisation is required. I don’t intend to talk about it as I don’t think this is a forum for that discussion as it’s everywhere at the moment.

For my entertainment, I’ve listened to my A Noise Downstairs audiobook a little amongst listening to my regular podcasts. I’ve also been reading a real book – The Endless Forest by Sara Donati. This book was sitting on my bedside table for several years now, only being moved for dusting purposes. It’s the 6th book of the Into the Wilderness series and I was always going to pick it up and read it. That time has arrived as I have been reading a little each night when I go to bed and now I’m into it, look forward to these sessions. On Nine Now I have started watching New Amsterdam from Season 1 and it’s good. The main character was in The Blacklist and I like his character here better.

This week has absolutely nothing in my calendar as the course I was enrolled in was cancelled. It will be good to stay in and do some crafting and relaxing but I do intend to call in at some bathroom and tile showrooms. I need to get on top of some selections for the house and I feel confident that the showrooms in our area will be pretty vacant. I’ll be able to keep my distance where necessary.

It’s time for me to get into this sewing module so, until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and enjoying your creative pleasures!

9A62A542CA7641ED9958F5ABF3D4EEFA[3774]

Sunday 15 March 2020. #86

Hello friends! We’ve had a touch of winter this weekend. We had lovely weather last week and Friday was the most glorious Autumn day, but yesterday and today have been very cold and wet. The predicted top for today is 19 degrees Celcius (66F) with a cold wind so the apparent temperature will be a lot less than that!

My week started with Monday afternoon at the Brewery. There was a golf fundraiser for Motor Neurone disease and I joined in for the afternoon’s activities. I don’t play golf but Robert plays quite a lot. On Tuesday, some friends from Sydney joined us for lunch and it was very pleasant on the deck. I even managed an afternoon of knitting on the deck afterwards – it’s such a lovely and relaxing view. Wednesday was my Evie day and we visited the park in the morning and did some shopping in the afternoon. Now that she only has one sleep we get to do more things outside. Thursday was relaxing with some afternoon stitching on the deck, whereas Friday afternoon was spent laying on the lounge with a stomach bug from daycare that had bridged three generations. Lucky it was shortlived!

The renovations are moving along again after the rain delays from the previous week but yesterday’s rain has postponed the concrete slab pour that was scheduled. There is more rain predicted tomorrow but clearing for a couple of days after that. You can see where my studio will be, on those piers at the bottom.

Knitting

New Cast-on: I was thinking of making some gift mittens and went stash diving. I was really looking for some DK though couldn’t find anything exciting but came across some lovely fingering (4 ply) weight yarn. This yarn has been waiting for at least a couple of years. I only had the four balls so there’s not a lot I could do with it. It’s the Skeinz Sockmatician Moody Hues and is a blend of premium luxury natural fibres with Possum. Anyway, on Monday I cast on a Drifting Snow mitten with the brown yarn for me as a trial run. This is a free pattern by Jerry Burch. Now that I know that the pattern works, I’ll start the blue ones next which will be the gift. I also intend to make a few others as gifts in different yarns.

20200315_081739

My Ranunculus sweater II is coming along nicely. I finished the bottom ribbing with 52 grams of each of the fingering yarns left. I was very surprised at that. I’m pretty sure I’ll have plenty for the sleeves now. I have started the sleeves and, as I’m a real glutton for punishment, I am doing them two at a time with helical knitting. That means I have 4 balls hanging off each sleeve. It doesn’t make for portable knitting, that’s for sure! So far I’m coping with managing the 8 strands, not that I can change it now that I’m underway as I’d have to cut the yarn or maybe just bag up one side and work on the other side. I think it’ll be fine.

The Kettle Valley poncho has been the easy knitting for this week. I have almost finished the sleeves – I’ll try it on again to see how much more I need. I’ll be so glad to then get onto the round and round knitting in different colours – much more fun!

20200315_082331

A bit of knitting paraphernalia for this week. I have started the tassels for my Lunae shawl. This just looks like a pile of yarn offcuts but there are about 8 tassels. I may need to iron them as the yarn was a bit curly. They are only 4.5cm high, as the pattern prescribed. I also sewed in the ends of the Anna’s Summer cardigan and blocked it. Evie and I picked the buttons on Wednesday. She was very helpful, carrying them for me. I haven’t yet put them on as the cardigan is still drying.

Spinning

Finally! I finished the chain ply that has been on the wheel since January. That was as far as I got because my niddy noddy was still packed away in the storage unit. I now have my spinning box here so I’ll be able to wind off the yarn. I think this was a better ply – so far it looks good on the bobbin but I’ll have a better idea when I wind it off.

20200312_141203

I wasn’t able to do any other spinning until I got my spinning box out of storage as the only bobbin I had was the chain ply above. Now that I have the tools, I’ve picked my next spin. It was literally a lucky dip from the bottom of my WIPs and fibre box. It’s a tall packing box and it took 4 tries to get this. The first three only got me fibre that was part of a set of two. I could have just started on one of those but I would have liked to prepare the two packs together, or at least decide together how I would do them. Anyway, I haven’t spun rolags yet so I’m excited to do this. I have seen Mena (the Knitting Expat) pre-draught rolags so I now have one ready to go. It draughts out to quite a length! I think I’ll spin end to end on two separate bobbins (4 rolags on each) and then 2 ply them. I still haven’t used my new tensioned lazy kate so this will be the perfect time to use it! I have to start spinning the singles first though.

Sewing

I only managed a little bit of sewing time this week. I think it was Thursday that I put the flounce onto the sleeve and the sleeve onto the Kristy blouse. I decided to finish the hem on Friday but that wasn’t going to happen since I was sleeping on the lounge most of the day. And, for some reason, it didn’t happen yesterday either. It won’t take much to do now. I again forgot to buy the button the other day when I got Evie’s buttons.

20200315_082608

I have been hit with inspiration from a new (to me) YouTube sewing channel. TomKat Stitchery is running #thegreatmodulesewalong and on Thursday I ended up bingeing all her videos on this challenge. The challenge is due to finish on the 24th March but it’s such a great idea that I intend to jump onto the bandwagon anyway. The hashtag will remain afterwards; the end date is only for prizes and I know that rarely happens for me. The challenge is to create a module of clothes that coordinate. I have wanted to do something like this previously with other similar challenges, eg Seamwork’s Sewing Planner and their Design Your Wardrobe class, but I struggled to find a starting point. When I was at the storage space I got my dressmaking fabric stash, or what I think is the majority of it.

20200315_082802

For #thegreatmodulesewalong you make a topper (jacket), 3 tops and 2 bottoms that all coordinate. You can use a specific item from your wardrobe and/or something you’ve previously made and then add items to coordinate. The premise is that you dig into stash first then add the bits you need. I decided to go for a camel, navy and white/off white colour scheme and found several pieces I can use. I still need a solid navy piece so will find something for that. I have a navy top that I want to include in this module and I have to decide on what patterns to use. So far, I’ve decided on the Seamwork Audrey jacket in a beige linen and a dress (swapping out for a top). Using stash I can make a  from the inspiration pile I found (pic below) but I was hoping for a Pleiades dress which takes another metre of fabric. So many decisions! 

Paraphernalia

Today we’re off to Wollongong to celebrate Kim’s birthday. Erin will be there too which will be great as it’s been many weeks since we’ve caught up. It will be a lovely day as the people attending are really wonderful and we enjoy their company. Robert and Steven will be attending a football match this evening. After today, all matches will be held without spectators for some time due to Covid 19. Australia hasn’t yet gone into full lockdown but some starts tomorrow. Some events have already been cancelled. Let’s hope we see the end of this horrible virus as soon as possible.

I finished my Heavy on the Dead book this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I just started a new one – A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay. If this is like his previous book that I read, I know I will enjoy it. On Foxtel, I’m now caught up with Outlander season 5 and look forward to each week’s episodes. There are plenty of YouTube podcasts popping up each day to keep me amused though too many to watch them all! I’m a little behind on my audio podcasts though I’m working on those too.

It’s time now to get ready for our outing so, until next week, I hope you are staying healthy and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

9A62A542CA7641ED9958F5ABF3D4EEFA[3774]

Sunday, 8 March 2020. #85

Hello friends! Happy International Women’s Day! I’ve had a lot of fun this week, starting with breakfast with the girls on Monday morning and then a trip to Wollongong. I always enjoy some quality time with the kids, especially the littlest one! It also gave me the opportunity for some car knitting. Tuesday and Wednesday were relaxing days at home and Thursday we had an evening at the JB Brewery with some friends. It has a great atmosphere for a relaxing drink and some dinner. We also had a visit from what seems to be a local kangaroo. He calls around every few days for some grass on the reserve in front of us. He is definitely a big boy!

On Friday, I headed over to my girlfriend Janice’s place which is near Canberra. I took the route I used to drive weekly but, as I expected, I was greeted with a very different landscape. These photos show just a small section from my trip – there is a lot of this scenery on that road. What is heartening at the moment is all the greenery that is sprouting. The grass has grown back in a lot of places but the trees will take longer. There are sections with lots of black trees and lots of lush green new leaves.

Janice lives on a lovely property and it was touch and go for about a day as to whether we’d be able to get to her house. There’d been more rain around the state and her creek crossing was underwater. Fortunately for us, it had receded to just a few inches and we had no troubles getting through it. By today it had completely receded. The four of us were doing a microwave glass fusion class and I’ll go into that later in the blog. We got to meet her many dogs and cats, along with her lovely pigs shown here. There were also cows, a rooster and chickens but we didn’t meet them personally. Before we left today, Janice took Mary, Karen and me to check out the beautiful yarn and alpacas at Blackwattle Alpaca Yarn and Fibres. More about that later too.

Knitting

As I predicted, I did get the yoke on my Anna’s Summer cardigan finished, and then I finished the button bands. All I need to do now is sew in the ends, block it and buy/stitch on some buttons. When I joined the body and sleeves at the yoke, I was wishing I had tried to reverse engineer the cardigan so that I did it top down. The yoke section when going bottom-up is very tight and needs to be done with magic loop at the sleeve sections. I had to do about 8 or more full rows before there was enough give to remove the magic loop. Little did I know, until I got to the end of the instructions for bottom-up knitting, that there were also instructions for top-down knitting! That’s what happens when you don’t actually have the pattern on paper. I didn’t realise there was a whole other section.

My Ranunculus sweater has had a lot of progress this week. Over the weekend I only worked on this project as we were busy with other crafty pursuits. I’m nearly at the end of the body, currently working through the ribbing. I mentioned last week that I had intended to do some waist shaping and I did that, removing about 16 stitches. That actually took me to the ribbing and I am now using 5.0mm needles instead of the 6.0mm prescribed. I also omitted the twisted knit rib as I had done with the neckline as I found it didn’t look great with larger knitting needles. I did the body longer and am doing the rib shorter, hoping that it’s about enough now. I’ll need the remaining yarn for the sleeves, hopefully getting full length, but I’ll take what I can get! I could have saved some yarn from the extra room in the body but I don’t want to frog back that far with mohair.

20200308_155811

Out of Hibernation: This week I needed something that was not up to a critical point. Something that could just be picked up and knitted on without having to think. All the current projects needed either trying on, picking up bands or winding up yarn so I didn’t take anything to breakfast with me on Monday to work on. On Wednesday, I got some stuff out of storage and that included a box of fibre and WIPs. Say hello to my Kettle Valley poncho, started on the 19th May 2018. I’m currently working on the sleeve cuffs – very long sleeve cuffs. Before I’d put this aside I thought I’d get the cuffs out of the way but soon got bored with that. Anyway, I’m happy to knit on those now and I’ve added some rows. At least I know I can take this anywhere, though it is a bit bigger than a pair of socks. I started this project to use up my fingering scraps and since it’s been languishing I’ve managed to stock up on a good pile, including some leftover sock blanks!

Spinning

Wee Peggy has come out of the storage shed and I have her set up. I didn’t get a lot of time to spin but I managed to continue with the chain ply that I’d abandoned a couple of weeks before we move out of the old house. I would have had more done except I wasn’t paying attention and let the yarn go over the edge of the bobbin. I was about to move it along and realised that I’d come to a grinding halt, with the yarn trapped outside the bobbin. That took a little while to negotiate and get it back to working order. I hope to finish this ply tomorrow so that I can get into a new spin.

Sewing

I made a little more progress on my Kristy top this week. I got stuck on the neckline opening where I had to unpick and redo and that took a bit of fiddling with. It’s done now but could do with better ironing. I have also joined the side, sleeve and flounce seams and I’ve hemmed the flounces. Next step I’ll attach the flounces to the sleeves and the sleeves to the armholes. It’s a bit like that song, “the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone……”. The problem with Style Arc patterns is that you’re expected to know what to do with very brief instructions. I wouldn’t recommend their patterns to beginner sewists but they do have a very large selection for those more experienced.

Workshops

What a wonderful day we had with Janice Laurent at her Stonecrest Creations studio yesterday. She is such a talented lady with so many crafty options. Just walking around her studio was mesmerising and extremely inspiring. Janice also goes to Nepal, teaching the local women how to sew so that they can become self-sufficient, and sells their beautiful jewellery where all the money goes back into helping these women. You’ll see a fabulous necklace that I purchased in the acquisitions section. In our class yesterday, we worked on microwave kiln glass fusing and had an absolute ball. Kudos to Janice for putting up with us as we are all very enthusiastic and eagerly moved from one activity to the next. The class also included morning tea and afternoon tea, the latter where we happily waited for our final items to cool down. Warning: lots of photos but I could have included many more!

You can see some of our glass pieces below. The final photo is my haul, with a couple of pairs of earrings, two pendants and some lovely bits and pieces that I intend to make a hanging window suncatcher or something like that. This class was wonderful and would suit all abilities. I’m hoping to do some of Janice’s other craft classes in the not too distant future!

 

Acquisitions

Early this week I received some bare silk/mohair that I had intended to use for my Ranunculus but my friend Mary gifted me some beige to use. I will use this yarn for future projects and dye it to match. I got this lot from Yarnarama, where I get some of my bare yarn for dyeing. Here is the beautiful necklace from Nepal. I just loved the colours in this necklace though the lighting for this picture was not ideal. I think it still shows how lovely it is. My other purchase was from today’s visit to Blackwattle Alpaca Yarn and Fibre. I bought two little alpacas – one for a little boy born just the other day, a skein of the Myrtle 8ply (100% alpaca) in a discontinued colourway – for some gift mittens I’m about to cast on, and a pack of suri fibre that I may blend with a large stash of lime green merino fibre – when I get to that.

Paraphernalia

I’m finally getting settled in this house, enough to bring back my yarn stash and a few other items. This is the majority of my yarn but there is a little bit more not shown. I have several projects lined up to start working through this lot!

20200303_112322

I finished The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides the other day and I was very impressed. When I first started it, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read it all as it seemed to be so very depressing. I am glad that I persisted as the story moved on and went through unexpected twists and turns with a very interesting ending. I’m also glad I recommended this one for our Book Club; I think it will make for engaging conversation! From that book back to one I’d started just recently – Heavy on the Dead by GM Ford. This is the latest in the Leo Waterman series that I’ve been reading for many years now. I love the fast pace and plot twists, and it’s such an easy listen. It was very entertaining for my trip to Canberra and back. Regarding the visual type of entertainment, apart from Married at First Sight, I’ve not had much opportunity this week, only managing the one episode of Outlander still. I’ll be rectifying that this week!

This week is Kimberley’s birthday and also my Evie week. I’m looking forward to catching up with the kids again and we’ll be having a family celebration next Sunday. Other than that, I will be getting into all the crafting I can manage so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

9A62A542CA7641ED9958F5ABF3D4EEFA[3774]

Sunday 1 March 2020. #84

Hello friends! For us, it is now Autumn, and life is starting to take on a more settled existence. We have taken this week to get the feel of our new temporary home and make some steps to getting into a routine. The house is beautiful, the scenery is picturesque and the weather has been kind to us for a change. As it’s been dry, the mosquitoes have reached minimum status and are generally only around at daybreak and after sunset so we’ve been able to enjoy the deck. I’ve added a couple of my own pictures to make it feel like home though I’d already packed my Evie pics so I’ll print one soon.

I spent some time this week with a couple of my favourite people – Evie and I went shopping on Wednesday to get out of the 30C+ heat and, on Thursday, I had lunch with Mary to celebrate her birthday (which was on Tuesday). I had some time to fill in on Friday between appointments so shouted myself a relaxing morning tea. Yesterday, Robert and I went for a walk around our new area and got to see some more views of the large St Georges Basin.

It’s all systems go at our block. I still occasionally say “at the house” but I should really refer to it as “the block” instead – at least until it starts looking like a house again. I intend to take some photos every Friday to keep a log of progress. Here is a couple of photos that show the groundwork activity happening. They are moving the dirt as required, digging out pier holes and forming up for the slabs going in at the front only. The rest of the house will be off the ground with engineering work. Don’t ask me for the technical terms; I’ll leave that to Robert and the builder.

Knitting

New Cast-on: I finally got to cast on my second Ranunculus sweater that I had intended as a birthday cast on. I wanted to use my only skein of Stranded Dyeworks Merino Nylon fingering and my only skein of Stranded Dyeworks Mohair Silk in Yesterday’s Bouquet that I had hand-delivered from England by Erin’s (my daughter) friend, Emily. I had procrastinated for ages with this yarn as I didn’t want to just knit it into another shawl. (On that note, I have far too many shawls! Maybe time for gifting some more.) I had knitted a Ranunculus at the end of last year, using a cotton/linen yarn, I know it doesn’t use a lot so wondered if I could add some other yarn to this precious fibre to stretch it to another Ranunculus. I wanted one in wool for the softer effect as the cotton/linen is more rustic. I actually did start this on my birthday but I wasn’t happy with the extra mohair silk I had chosen. It was burgundy and what I had in stash. I did have some navy but the Yesterday’s Bouquet colourway had some burgundy and I thought it would look good. Uh uh, it was too dark. You can see how far I got below. I added a Knitpicks Capretta fingering in the bare/natural colourway and some Debbie Bliss Angel, alternating the Yesterday’s Bouquet with each using helical knitting. My girlfriend, Mary, had some beige Angel and gave it to me. I’m loving the way this is turning out now. You can see the softer effect with the beige mohair silk.

When I knitted the first Ranunculus, I used the normal pattern with a 5.0mm needle. For this one, I went with the prescribed 6.0mm needle so as to use less yarn and I wanted the looser fabric. There is also another pattern in the set which changes the bust measurement and I found a previous project made using the smallest of that version which looked great. The difference is only Section 5 and when I started that section I decided to try it on. The pattern pictures show the sweater as extra slouchy and the armholes are quite large, making it quite bat-wing. I don’t want that effect and realised that I should have probably just done the original pattern. After doing the first increase, I compared the two patterns and the new one has 10 more increase rows in total, whereas the original pattern only has 5 so I went with the latter as I didn’t need much more length in the yoke. In the end, I had to do more rows to get the sleeves to the right number so I only increased the sleeves as the body stitches were already more than I really needed. I tried it on this morning and it’s looking good though I think I’ll add some waist shaping. I also think I’ll use a smaller needle for the bottom rib. My original cotton/linen Ranunculus just hangs and kind of flares now and I don’t want that on this one.

This week’s crafting has been mainly knitting, specifically on the Ranunculus. I did knit a bit more on my Garland sweater though it doesn’t look any different to my previous post. I ran out of the first skein and I don’t have my skein winder out of storage yet. It’s silk so I don’t want to hand-wind it as it’s really slippery. I’ll be getting some things out of storage tomorrow. The other project I worked on was Anna’s Summer cardigan. I didn’t actually get to it until Friday night, apart from about 2 rounds at the coffee shop on Friday morning, and as it is such a dark navy (the picture doesn’t show the right colour) I was struggling to know what was going on. I abandoned it for the evening after tinking back several rows, several times. I’m increasing at the moment so it’s up to me to work out where the pattern sits with the extra stitches and that was the main problem. I did spend a good amount of time on it yesterday and was able to set the pattern in motion properly. I have about another 5cm to knit before I join it to the body to work on the yoke. We’re heading to Wollongong tomorrow so I’ll have some quality drive knitting time – I think I could get the yoke done this week and move onto the button bands.

20200301_091351

Spinning

I am sorely missing my spinning wheel as it’s been in the storage unit for four weeks and I didn’t have a chance to use it for at least two weeks before that but tomorrow I intend to get it out. I am in the middle of a chain ply so really want to get that finished as soon as I can and move onto another spinning project.

Dyeing

I am also missing my dye pots though I’ll need to work out a new way of dyeing. There’s no way I’ll do it on the kitchen stove here as you inevitably get the odd spatter or dropped grain of dye. I’ll have to check out the portable cooktops available and I may be able to do it out on the deck. That will be how I do it when I move into my new studio also so I may as well set it up now. I have a couple of skeins that I want to dye so that I can cast on a Le Pouf cardigan.

Sewing

Yesterday, I went about setting up my sewing space. I had kind of avoided that all week but wanted to get in and sew my navy Sheona top. I had cut it out before leaving the house and it being demolished – about 5 or 6 weeks ago, so really wanted to put it together. I found the navy thread, check. I found all the pattern pieces, check. I got out the instructions, check. I even found some interfacing to use for shoulder stabilisation, check. But….when I thought about the proper needle, I found I didn’t have any ballpoints in my travel kit. So, all I could do was prep the pieces by marking the notches and set it aside until either I find the ballpoints at the storage unit (I think this is unlikely as the drawers may not be accessible) or I visit spotlight and buy some more.

20200229_105123

Not to be dissuaded, I knew I had other projects ready to work on so I sorted out the sewing machine trolley bag that I’m using to store all my sewing projects and settled on putting together my Kristy top by Style Arc. I had cut this one out in winter and I can’t remember why I didn’t start on it, but I think there was something that I had to do instead and it languished. All the pieces were ready, including the interfacing pieces so I got right into it. I added all the notches and trimmed the rough edges – the fabric is so fine that it moves easily when cutting. I ironed the interfacing onto the facings and sewed the darts on both the front and sleeves. This pattern uses a different type of dart on the front, at the neckline rather than the sides, and has a small dart on the bottom of the sleeves. I have sewn the shoulders and back seams on both the top and the facing and have pinned them together. I had to make the seams on the facings a good couple of millimetres smaller to fit. And that’s where I decided to stop. I’ll get back to it this afternoon and do a little bit more, though maybe tomorrow instead as that room does heat up in the afternoons. I’m following some tips from the Love to Sew podcast, particularly one that says you don’t have to finish a whole project in one sitting, just doing a few steps at each sitting is a good way to get things done and seems to be how I like to roll with all my projects.

Paraphernalia

I binge-watched the rest of The Stranger series on Netflix and I wasn’t disappointed. I had read the book several years ago but had forgotten enough of it to still be surprised as it progressed through the whole series. Last night I started watching the latest season of Outlander and I’d been waiting with anticipation for this one. I think they are weekly so will watch the second tonight and see if I have to wait for another week.

Next weekend, I will be heading to Murrumbateman, which is near Canberra, for a girl’s weekend. We will be doing a Microwave Kiln Glass Fusing class. I don’t know much about it at the moment but I’m sure I can let you know in next week’s blog. I think it’s something like tiny beads of glass that are fused together inside a little kiln that works in a microwave. The class will be fun but I’m really looking forward to catching up with the girls as a group.

Microwave glass

It’s a beautiful day here today, one of the best days of Autumn with a large dose of summer, so I think I’ll get out on the deck and enjoy it before it gets too hot. With some crafting, of course! Until next week, I hope you are enjoying your weather and I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

9A62A542CA7641ED9958F5ABF3D4EEFA[3774]

Sunday 23 February 2020. #83

Hello friends! Welcome from Erowal Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales. Today we moved into our permanent temporary accommodation as our house is built. We are house-sitting for some friends who set out today on a trip around Australia. We’ve gone from riverfront to basin/lakefront. These photos show the sunrise yesterday to this afternoon’s view.

It’s been a quiet week but I did get to spend some time with friends and family. Coffee on Monday morning followed by a fabulous massage and facial that I was gifted for my birthday. On Wednesday I spent the day at my friend Narelle’s place for a sewing day. On Friday, my friend Carol opened her studio for a fun day with acrylics. On Saturday, I had lunch with my bestie, Mary, and then spent the afternoon with Kim, Steven & Evie and their friends as they were staying down the coast for the weekend. The place they were staying in had this fabulous “patchwork” staircase that has given me some ideas for my new house. Today was a big day of packing and finally unpacking, which is why this post is so late this week.

Knitting

I had intended this week to do a heap of tassels for the shawls I’d just finished but that didn’t happen. Instead, I was totally immersed in my Tuileries sweater and spent most of my time knitting on this. Last week I’d started the first sleeve and now I have moved onto the next sleeve, getting more than half of that done, and I’ve also made some progress on the body.

20200223_081856

New Cast-on: On Thursday I was able to start on a new cardigan for Miss Evie. I’d been given some yarn by Evie’s Nanny and I was able to add a few extra balls to make the cardigan. It was quite a decision as to which one I was going to make and I found that the majority of girl toddler cardigans only had a button at the neckband. I was after a more classic cardigan style with buttons up the front and finally settled on Anna’s Summer cardigan by PetiteKnit. This cardigan is knit in one piece starting from the bottom of the body. I managed to do the body in two days and I’ve now also cast on the sleeves. I want to do these two at a time so you can see how I did the rib sections of each separately and I now have them ready on the one circular needle to knit on. Once the sleeves are done to the underarm, they are all put on the same needle and the yoke is finished. The neck and button bands are done last. The yarn I’m using is a Spotlight 100% wool line. The pattern is for DK weight, which this is but it is tending to a heavy DK or light Worsted. The suggested needles are 3.50mm but I like the fabric I’m getting with 3.75mm as I think it would have been a much firmer fabric with the smaller needles. I’m doing the 2-3 year size and it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit big as she’ll grow into it. I think the 1-2 size would have given too limited a timeframe that it would be wearable.

Patchwork

This week, I finally got to finish the quilting on my Wendy Williams “Oh Christmas Tree” quilt. The top of this was finished over two years ago and it’s taken this long to get it together. It was so close to being finished for the Christmas just gone but I ran out of time. It looks good in the photo but still needs a firm pressing which I’m able to do now. I just need to add a rod pocket to the top and the bottom and it will be ready for its debut next Christmas in plenty of time. You can see how my machine was set up at Fisherman’s Paradise. I will have a different set up now and will get that sorted during the week.

Stitching

Last week I’d made lots of circle flowers for my Round the Garden quilt – also by Wendy Williams. I made some more and enjoyed stitching on these this week, firstly while watching a couple of my podcasts (very limited data but I needed some entertainment!) and then more stitching at the sewing day with the girls. I even started adding some teeny circles yesterday to fill some of the gaps. This section also needs some stitching to look like grass. I’m glad I’ve been able to move on with this and it looks like I’ve managed to fill nearly half of the circle border. I’m going to need lots more circles to get the section filled and will cut those on one of my friends’ Sizzix or Cricut machines.

Painting

As I mentioned at the beginning, my friend Carol opened her studio this week. We had decided to do one of the Wow Art Daily Challenges. These challenges take you from a blank canvas to a great acrylic painting, step by step on how to add the different colours and textures. There is no talking, just the demonstration and we learnt that there are times that you need to let the paint dry though it’s not indicated. I was happy with my painting, bottom right, but I ended up with a bit of a mess in the autumn foliage section as I had a little too much paint and had not let it dry before adding more. I can address some of that when I get to it next as it will be well dry by then. We are already planning on doing some more challenges soon.

Paraphernalia

I have been enjoying my latest book, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I was a little concerned at the beginning as it seemed to be a bit depressing but it has moved into the meat of the book and I’m looking forward to each next chapter. At one point, I thought I knew which way it was going but, no, it’s definitely given lots more options now. I also watched the first episode of The Stranger on Netflix. This is a production from a book of the same name by Harlan Coben that I read a while back. I remember reading the book but I don’t remember what happened so I’m looking forward to the next episodes. I think all of Harlan Coben’s books are fantastic and I’d love it if they made a series out of all the Myron Bolitar books at some stage. Now that I’m back on wifi, I’m looking forward to watching the latest season of Outlander, Grace and Frankie and The Witcher!

It’s very dark outside, which is so unusual as I always do the blog first thing on Sundays. I think it’s time I need to sign off and I look forward to chatting again soon! So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 16 February 2020. #82

Hello friends! Welcome from Fisherman’s Paradise on the south coast of New South Wales. We’re in the middle of our stay here, moving out next weekend to our long term accommodation while the house is being built. It has been a relaxing week as there is not a lot to do around here but enjoy the peace and quiet. And the boat ramp. We are on a creek that flows into Lake Conjola. The first part of the week was very wet, and the boat ramp was underwater with only the floating jetty visible but with no access. You can see in the photos the difference when the water receded.

This area was in the thick of the fires a few weeks ago and has now been submerged in the floods that happened in the last couple of weeks. You can see the burnt bush in the photos but it’s so heartening to see all the fresh green coming from the black trees that seemed to be just burnt sticks. The first photo shows the view from our back deck with the water flooded into the area between the creek and this row of houses. The second last photo shows the same view with the water receded.

The rains caused a flood at Lake Conjola where many houses that had been through the bushfires now had water through them. To fix this problem, the local council organised to have the lake opened up to the ocean though it was so full it probably would have happened anyway within the next 24 hours. We were lucky to witness this when we did a little scout around the area. As usual, the south coast has some wonderful coastal views. The rain has seen a host of mushrooms popping up around the area but also lots of mosquitos which love me. That has not been as welcome!

As I mentioned, it’s been a relaxing week. You can see my favourite position, usually with knitting but also with some stitching. I went to Wollongong for a day with my beautiful granddaughter and we went for a play at the Discovery Space because the weather dictated indoor activity. You can see her here, off to save the world! My friend Mary and I were able to catch up briefly on Thursday but she came for a visit on Friday and we had a lovely afternoon chatting with our knitting.

And finally, Project New House is continuing nicely, despite the heavy rain we’ve had. You can see here the initial picture, progress with the demolition and, finally, the cleared block. There is only one retaining wall remaining and that is on purpose. The pipes on there will be removed.

Knitting

This week has been big on finishing. I have essentially finished my Lunae shawl but won’t claim it just yet as I need to add tassels. I think there are 41 tassels to add so they will take a little while! It will be a good opportunity to use all the different colours that are in this project. I worked out early in the piece that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to do the contrasts on the large border so I got a couple of more balls of yarn. Different colours as I wasn’t able to find the same ones. They are all Drover and Classer yarns except for the white which is some off-the-shelf yarn from Lincraft that I had in my stash. I didn’t realise, in the change of colours, that I had actually gone from warm colours to cool colours but I don’t think it has ruined the project. There were lots of ends to sew in and, contrary to my usual practice, I actually sewed them in immediately. Well, it actually took a couple of days but I didn’t leave the shawl languishing for weeks before doing it. And I even blocked it! I’ve often been asked what the benefits of blocking are and this project is a great example. Top pic is unblocked, bottom pic is blocked. The ends may have been straighter if I’d blocked them out beyond the ends of the blocking mats that I used.

Last week I finished the Songbird shawl and I have remembered that it needs tassels. I have blocked it and this is another example of the benefits of blocking. I posted the top left pic last week and you can see how nice and flat it is sitting now. Seems like today may be a tassel making day! At least this one only has 3.

Another finishing episode with my Olilia shawl. It had been waiting for me to sew in the ends which I did finally get done. Another blocked project and it’s looking great. This one doesn’t need tassels so is finished-finished but I claimed it as finished last month. It was quite difficult to take the final photo as I really had to get up high over it for it to fit in the screen. The picot border is still a bit curly as I didn’t have my individual blocking pins to use. I hindsight, I probably could have used normal pins. I have one more project to sew ends in and block (my Outline advent shawl) and will hopefully get that done this week to clear all the backlog of finishing.

Finished Object: My Mina’s Vanilla socks using my Inversibles yarn from Fibernymph Dyeworks are now finished! I’m glad to have these done but won’t be wearing them for a while. With these, I did a German short row heel and I’m not sold on that type of heel. You can see from the photo that the short row section is a bit loose even though I tried to keep the stitches tight while knitting. I think I’ll stick with a heel and gusset in future, though I’ll need to work out which one. I have some leftover yarn so I may be able to get a pair of little ones out of it. I was sitting on the jetty knitting these the other day when the sun came out.

I finally got back to my Tuileries sweater and I’m loving it all over again. This one was put aside mainly because of advent knitting and also because I was figuring out how the yarn blend was going to go. I wanted to start on the sleeves with the yarn I’d used for the yoke. I only have four balls of this MadTosh Merino Light one of a kind and they all have a little different colouring. I’ve been using the helical method to resolve the colour differences and continued this with the sleeves. I did about 6 inches on one sleeve and have now moved that yarn over to the other sleeve and will do the same amount on the other sleeve. I intend to use all four balls but need to ensure I have enough length on the sleeves before finishing the body. The helical knitting means I now have 4 balls attached to the project. I also don’t want to cut the body yarn to do the sleeves so I may just add that yarn from the centre of the balls when I get this sleeve to the same point as the other one. I’m technically on sleeve island and doing a twisted rib so it seems to be going very slowly. Having said that, it’s all I want to knit on at the moment!

20200216_100941

The last project I worked on this week is my Garland sweater. I took this and the socks to Wollongong for babysitting. I wanted some easy knitting, and I never only take one project. Just in case something stops me from progressing on one of them, I would have another to work on. I’m still on mindless body stockinette but I’ll have to check how much further I need to do before separating for the sleeves. I don’t think it will be too much longer. It’s looking very crushed as that’s how it is in the plastic bag that’s it’s been stored in. I think it can now progress to a proper project bag.

20200216_100319

Patchwork

It’s taken all week but I finally finished putting the rows together on this little minkey quilt. I seemed to get interrupted each time I sat to do this one. It wasn’t too bad putting the rows together but still had to use lots of pins. I’m glad I’ve cleared this off my sewing machine so now I can move onto another project. This will now need to be backed and I think I’ll use some pretty flannelette that I have. It’s in storage so it won’t happen just yet. I don’t have any other minkey fabric and I’d rather not use that as backing anyway because I think it needs something that has some structure, without any stretch.

20200215_130825

Stitching

My Round the Garden quilt came out to play this week. I worked on several more flowers for the inner border. I’m going to need to cut a lot more circles to get this done! This is the sum total of the large circles I had left. This afternoon may be a good time to put these onto the quilt.

Paraphernalia

Last week I’d started a new book but have put that one aside now for a book that I’ve nominated for our Book Club. The book I chose was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. This book won the Goodreads Choice award for 2019 and was reviewed highly by Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb on their Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast. I hope it’s as good as they say because I really should have read it before nominating it. I didn’t have that much time the last couple of months. I have finished the latest episodes of When Calls the Heart as I had downloaded them from Netflix but I’ve been watching Married at First Sight when it’s shown on Sundays through to Wednesdays. It’s one of those shows that gets you in but wouldn’t be missed if you never watch it. I’ll be so glad when I get back onto wifi next week!

This week will be another relaxing one; even more relaxing as I don’t need to go to Wollongong. I’ll have plenty of time for crafting but I’ll also have some socialising time with breakfast tomorrow morning and a sewing day on Wednesday. I’m also looking forward to a massage and facial tomorrow that I was gifted for my birthday.

Time to get on with the day now so I’ll sign off here. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 9 February 2020. #81

Hi friends! Welcome to a very wet south coast of New South Wales. We’ve been staying at a beach town called Bawley Point and were lucky enough to get some good weather for the first part of this week. Today we move to another little town, this one called Fisherman’s Paradise and is situated on a river. Maybe a little kayaking could be on the cards but it appears that this week is going to be very wet. Maybe some inside activities instead. I have plenty with me!

We moved out of our old house last Sunday night after a huge day getting everything out. There’s not much room left in the storage unit. It took much longer than anticipated and we didn’t leave till about 10pm, arriving at our accommodation at Bawley Point not too far from midnight. On Monday, we both spent the day recovering from the sore muscles we’d worked up with the move. It was both mentally and physically exhausting. But what a place to relax! The walks on the rocks at the point are very relaxing and the rockpools are fun to inspect.

The weather declined a little each day but I was able to go to the beach until Thursday. The very strong northeasterly winds brought in the bluebottles. I didn’t have the energy to get fully into the water earlier in the week as there was a strong shore dump and the decline in the weather didn’t improve my desire to get fully wet. I did walk along the shore and soaked my legs in the refreshing salt water. On Friday, we had to make a quick trip to Sydney and the rain had set in overnight. We made a very good decision in only driving to Wollongong and then getting the train to Sydney as it would take us very close to where we had to go. It made the very wet trip much more relaxing. We spent the night in Wollongong on Friday night and drove back on Saturday morning.

On our way back, we called in to see how the house demolition was going. They have been at it very quickly and the place is down to the floor level already. The photos show the progress from Monday to Friday. Demolition is expected to be completed by next Friday, along with some excavation. I’m hoping the predicted daily deluge is not going to hamper progress too much. The rain is very welcome otherwise and it seems that the major Currowan fire has now been declared completely extinguished. While at Vincentia, we stopped for a coffee and watched the rain come down!

Knitting

My knitting has resumed and I’ve had a very relaxing week of it. I’ve been enjoying working on the Lunae shawl. The mosaic stitch pattern has been a delight to knit, especially once I worked out how to keep track of where I’m up to. I took a snip of the chart and loaded it into Paint where I could “rule” out the rows I’d completed. I say “rule” in quotations because it was actually freehand with the mouse and very uneven but it did the job. I’ve now finished the main chart and only have a small chart left to go. In total, 16 rows left which include the bind off. I’m hoping that it may be done tonight while I’m watching TV.

Finished object: The Songbird shawl is now finished! I didn’t have a lot left to go and it was great car knitting on the way up to Wollongong on Friday, and back on Saturday. It finished with a picot edging that I expected to take longer than it did. The picot was to be a 4 stitch bind off but I went for 5 stitches instead, like the picot I did on my Olilea shawl. I figured that would use less yarn and go faster. I was conscious that I still have to make tassels and needed to leave enough yarn. I doubt that I’ll make this shape of shawl again. It’s not my favourite style as the start of the knit it takes forever to get any width and you’re left with a very long skinny bit. I think crescent shawls are my favourite shape. It will need a good blocking, which will hopefully get done this week.

The other project I’ve been working on this week has been my Mina’s Vanilla socks.using my Fibernymph Dyeworks inversibles yarn. I have now added both heels and I’m working my way up the leg. One could say that I’m on the last leg of this project. Sorry, pun fully intended! It was great for knitting on the train from Wollongong to Sydney and back. I didn’t have a small bag or plastic bag to put the socks in as they were in with my Songbird shawl’s bag. The socks were fine in my handbag (Mary Poppins style, with everything including the kitchen sink!) until I removed them on Friday night. I had dropped at least a dozen stitches and it was hard to pick them up. After several attempts with the circular needle, which was all I had with me, I decided I was only making it worse and waited until I got to the house when I could use my trusty little crochet hook. It looked like such a mess that I’m now surprised at the fact that it’s not even slightly noticeable!

I did manage to block my Turtle Dove, though it’s been so steamy that it’s taken several days to dry. All ends are sewn in and I just need to wait until the weather cools before I can wear it. I think it will be a fantastic staple in my wardrobe. The lighting in the garage was not great and this pic makes it look like it’s brown, rather than a very dark, almost black charcoal.

20200205_115235

Patchwork

Though we were only staying at Bawley Point for a week, I did end up getting out the sewing machine and diving into a little project that’s been on the list for some time. I’ve had a pack of minky fabric for a few years now and thought that it’s time to use it. There were 8 pieces that I squared up to 13.75 inches each and then cut them into four. Minky is such a soft plush fabric and is also stretchy. I have heard that this fabric is such a pain to sew together and maybe that’s why I hesitated for so long. I was thinking that I might use some tear-away paper to assist when I discovered that it is only stretchy in one direction. So, when I laid out the squares, I made sure (or thought I did) to have one stretchy side match up with a non-stretchy side. This worked fine if I used several pins. You can see how I laid them out initially and then how they ended up after the individual rows were sewn. I need the rows to be offset as well for when I sew them and realised that one row was wrong. It still works OK as it has been rearranged as I wasn’t going to unpick. I will sew these rows together this week. The zig-zag patterned piece was not straight on the fabric and I couldn’t straighten it or I would have lost too much fabric and would then have been on the diagonal, leaving two stretchy sides. As it is, I got the measurement wrong on the pink and white spot fabric so only got 2 pieces. Lucky I only needed 30.

Paraphernalia

During my packing experience, I uncovered some of my first few successful knitted items. These three are circa 1985 as I know that the yarn for two of them, the plain cream and the grey, was purchased in New Zealand on my honeymoon. I’m also pretty sure that the cream one was knitted completely on my honeymoon – we had a hire car and drove around the south island for 2 weeks. Robert drove which meant I could knit to my heart’s content. They have held up very well considering they were just tied into a normal plastic bag (not airtight). The cream one had one tiny hole but also had some age stains. I have kept the grey one for now.

I finished my book, The Godmother, and did enjoy it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d not been so distracted with the move and opportunities to listen to it were so far apart, that the book was quite disjointed. The ending was excellent. I have moved onto my next book which is Heavy on the Dead by G.M. Ford. It’s a light, fast-moving detective story which is part of the Leo Waterman series that I’ve been reading for many years now. I was intending to listen to a different book but it hadn’t been download. This one will be nice and entertaining for the next week. As there is no wifi for the next couple of weeks, I took the opportunity to download some episodes from Netflix when we were in Wollongong. I downloaded the latest season of When Calls the Heart. I’m thinking that something light is best at the moment. In the meantime, I have been watching the start of the latest Married at First Sight season. Very light and entertaining, and a good laugh at times. Sometimes quite cringe-worthy!

We have two more weeks of living out of suitcases and a final car packing before we move into our temporary accommodation for the build. Those two weeks should be quite relaxing and we will be a little closer to home. We’ll be able to call in and check out the progress. Time to finish packing the cars and move on to our next stop so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 2 February 2020. #80

Hello friends! What a week this has been. I thought our packing was hard work until we got to this week. Today we leave our old house after living here for 29 years. I can’t say I’m really sad about it because it was a renovation to start with but now we’ll have our own designed home to live in.

Every day has included packing from first thing in the morning to at least 4.30 in the afternoon. Packing, loading, moving to the storage space, repeat. Aside from that, Monday evening we had a drink at the Brewery to celebrate a friend receiving the Order of Australia Medal. We had a visit by a Longicorn beetle. They are at least 4 times bigger than the normal beetles we get around here! I babysat Evie on Wednesday and we went to the pool for a swim. On Thursday night, we had dinner with our friends for which we’ll be house sitting. We got the lie of the land and had dinner looking out at a wonderful sunset. Instead of sunrises we’ll be seeing sunsets for a while. On Friday morning, I got up before the sun and was soon greeted by a very red sky. The second photo shows the sun in the sky but doesn’t show how orange it was. The final three photos were yesterday. The first shows the state of our main entrance area this week. Everything from other rooms had to come through here and it looked like nothing had changed all week. The other rooms are very empty now. Finally, after working hard packing and moving in 38 degrees, we were able to have a cooling swim. You can see the bruises on my legs, mainly from hoisting boxes!

The storage space is filling up nicely but it will be pretty packed today when the rest goes in. There are heaps of stuff from the pantry, laundry and bathroom, along with outdoor chairs and bikes, and more! We will still be able to access at least all the items closest to the front where we’ve put our winter clothes, my crafting supplies and other items. I’ll post the final photo next week. That outdoor table frame was only draining as it still had some water to get out. It’s now sitting at the top right of the picture, above the lounges and three bed heads and ends.

Knitting

Finished Object: This is going to be a very short blog this week as I have done very little. Actually, Thursday, Friday and Saturday did not see a stitch made! That’s a very unusual situation but we had to meet the deadline and there was still so much to do. Early in the week and on Wednesday, I spent a bit of time knitting on the body of my Turtle Dove and was able to bind off while Evie slept. I did try it on a few times, even though the temperatures were in the high 30s, and I finished it with the simple rolled hem option. It’s a bit wonky at the moment but I think blocking will fix that. Hopefully, I get the chance to do some blocking this week. It’s not urgent, though, as the temperature will have to drop some 15 or more degrees before I’ll be able to wear it!

The only other project I worked on this week was my Lunae shawl. My evening knitting has been done in front of the Australian Open watching some very entertaining tennis. You can see the pattern is taking shape now, though it is slow progress with so many stitches.

As I mentioned, not a lot of content this week and I’ve been missing my crafting. I’ll be able to do plenty of knitting tonight, though, when we settle in at Robert’s sister’s holiday house down the coast. We’ll be here for this week, moving next Sunday to a friend’s holiday house for 2 weeks. I have packed plenty of knitting, sewing and some spinning to keep me amused for the next three weeks before we move into our long term temporary accommodation and watch the new house grow. This week, I’ve managed to work through a few podcasts and some of my book but nothing else. I’m certainly looking forward to the rest next week, especially for my back which has really not enjoyed the lifting and standing and bending! So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 26 January 2020. #79

Hello friends. Happy Australia Day!! Today I celebrated with friends, something that has become an annual event hosted by our friends Pam and Rod. We are so lucky to live in such a wonderful country.

The week began on Sunday in Sydney with a relaxing day at home with my daughter, Erin. The boys were at Shaun’s golf competition and the girls took the time to chill. I had a lovely walk in the afternoon through the beautiful area around the Harbour near Balmain.

The rest of the week was constant packing and moving, relieved only by two days when I was babysitting Evie. I took Evie to the Discovery Space at Wollongong Uni which she enjoys. It was my first visit and it was a difficult place to find but I know where it is now! They have so many wonderful learning experiences; different settings for children to learn in. In the photo below, Evie is heading off at full speed with the junior-sized trolley to go “shopping”. There are all sorts of small items they can shop for and a till to pay for it all. They also have a puppet theatre, a train station and so many other great interactive experiences. On Thursday, we had a huge hail storm which was quite frightening, though I can’t imagine how much worse it was in Canberra with their golf ball-sized hailstones! That did so much damage to cars and property. I was fortunate that our hail was small as my car was out in the middle of it all. The storm was followed by an amazing rainbow.

We finally had access to our storage space on Monday and you can see the first load and then after Thursday’s load, which was followed by a well deserved cold drink at the brewery. It was 41 degrees Celcius that day and I know it didn’t drop very much during that night.

Yesterday was another hot day, though only in the mid-30s and we had some very helpful friends come and assist with moving all our big furniture and appliances. Many hands certainly make light work, and it was all moved by midday. That doesn’t mean the work is over! Now that the big stuff is gone, the rest of the minor items will be easier to move and it should be easier to fill the storage space in the most economical way as it is getting close to full.

We did another load over to the storage space today before we went to our Australia Day party and saw so many people celebrating at Moona Moona Creek. There was little space left for any new arrivals and the kids were lined up on the bridge to jump into the water. There was nowhere to stop the car but I managed to take a few snaps as we were driving along the bridge.

Last Sunday I had some spare time and actually sat down to think about goals for 2020. I have had some goals floating around in my head and decided I would like to put them down on paper so that they don’t get lost/forgotten. I have set some personal goals and focussed on Knitting and Sewing as they are my main crafting categories. One general crafting goal that I’ve set is to work on at least one craft each week that is not sewing or knitting.

This week’s crafting content will be quite short as there was not much time for a lot of it.

Knitting

There was plenty of progress on my Turtle Dove sweater despite the temperatures. I had to try it on several times for sleeve length, including the 41-degree day.  That took a super effort and I didn’t leave it on for very long! The pattern has three quarter length sleeves but I went for the full length. I may have gone a little longer than necessary but it will be nice and cosy. I don’t have too long to knit on the body now and I’m hoping to get it done by Friday so that it qualifies as a finished object for the #blamedunderknitalong. The temperatures are going to be high again so trying it on will be a chore.

20200126_080732

I’m almost up to the heel on my Mina’s Vanilla socks. I have a template that I made for my dad and it works for my foot as well as he has small feet. The pattern has a German short row heel and has an option for a mini heel flap adjustment. I think I’ll just go for the heel without the adjustment.

20200126_080929

The only other project I worked on this week was my Lunae shawl. It probably looks very similar to what I posted last week but I did add a few more rows. I’m struggling to follow the lines on the chart as it’s a wide chart and it’s hard to mark where you’re up to. The good thing is that the pattern is easy to remember once you get a few repeats into the row and it’s just reversed on the second half. I know that the Knit Companion app is supposed to be really good on apple devices but I haven’t been able to work it out on my android.

My knitting goals for 2020 are, in no particular order:

  1. Follow my 20in20 list in the Fibernymph Dyeworks challenge. This shouldn’t be too difficult as the lists can be updated and changed every three months. That makes it more manageable and allows for change of mind or something new and exciting, either in patterns or yarn.
  2. Shop stash yarn and patterns. This may seem like I’m going against number (1) above but I think they actually go hand in hand. The 20in20 is actually to use stash yarn and stash patterns but I don’t want to limit myself to that exclusively, just minimise new purchases.
  3. Clear WIPs. This is self-explanatory though I will not be focussing exclusively on WIPs but clearing one or more at a time as I work through my 20in20. I like to have a variety of projects on the go as I find it minimises project fatigue. Also, some WIPs are actually on my 20in20 list.

Sewing

I have set my sewing goals but they come with a caveat. As I’m moving into very, very temporary accommodation, very temporary accommodation and finally temporary accommodation, some of my goals will be dependent on my ability to set up my sewing area. Obviously, my best set up will be after I move into my new home. My goals are as follows:

  1. Clear WIPs. I have several sewing WIPs and I want to finish them off.
  2. Shop stash fabric and patterns. I have accumulated a sizeable fabric and pattern stash and I’m looking forward to using what I can.
  3. #Make3in3. This is a new challenge that is more achievable than the #Make9 challenge. You set yourself three things that you want to make and try to get them done in three months. If you don’t, you can let any ride for the next 3 months or change up the ones that don’t appeal anymore. It also allows for that shiny new project that you really need to make.
  4. Sew 15 minutes a day (min). This is dependent on being home, and on how I’m set up for that particular stage of my accommodation journey.

Unfortunately, no sewing happened this week but I have my WIPs ready to pack and they’ll be travelling with me.

Paraphernalia

I’ve been far too busy to listen to my book this week aside from my trip up to Wollongong. I did manage a few episodes of Call the Midwife but more often I’ve watched the Australian Open tennis. I’m looking forward to the next season of Outlander which starts about the 15th of February but I won’t be on wifi at that time. I hope that we can sort out some wifi when we move into our permanent temporary accommodation. This week’s post has been more chatting than crafting so I think it’s time to close. I hope I get more opportunities for my knitting this week but it will be all systems go to get everything out of the house so that we can leave next Sunday. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO