Sundy 31 May 2020. #97

Hello friends! Welcome to the end of Autumn Downunder 2020. Tomorrow begins our winter though we’ve felt a bit of it already in the last week or so. I’ve not been home much this past week, firstly going to Wollongong on Tuesday to babysit on Wednesday. Evie and I had a wonderful time together. We went for a big walk around Wollongong harbour and kicked the little soccer ball around, then did a touch of shopping. I was home on Thursday but on Friday we headed up to the house and to check out some more carpet, mirrors and door handles. While we were up there, Robert caught up with a few mates and I caught up with a couple of girlfriends. It was wonderful having some social time but then there was the one and a half hour drive home again. While at my friend, Narelle’s place, I noticed all the lorikeets on her date(?) palm just outside her deck. They were feasting on the fruit and having a big squawk about it all. There were actually more birds than in my photo below but they must have flown about when I took that. On Saturday, I visited with Marie and Kerrie and we had great catchup. Things are slowly starting to take on a bit of normality but it’s probably good that it’s slow at this point. As I mentioned, the weather has been a bit cool with mostly nice sunny days since last weekend’s downpours. There was one particular night when we could not avoid turning on the pretend fire, though we didn’t need to have it on all night, once the place had warmed up.

The beaches are as beautiful as ever and the clouds have been something to look at this week.

House Update: The feature of this update is the installation of the garage door. It looks great and it will look better once the stone wall is done to the left of it. The doors have been delivered and will be installed tomorrow, the tiler is starting tomorrow and more of the inside will be getting painted. At this point, only the garage has been painted as that needed to be finished before the garage door went on.

Knitting

This week has been a knit and frog type of week. I picked up the sleeve stitches on one sleeve of my Le Pouf cardigan and knitted up a couple of fades then moved over the next sleeve. I was about 20 rounds in when I realised that I only had 60 stitches instead of 62 on that sleeve so I decided to rip them back. The two stitches would have made a difference and I am at that point with knitting that I don’t mind going back to fix things. In the not too distant past, I would have possibly decided that it would be fine. Anyhow, I’ve manage to get beyond those previously knitted rounds and further on the other sleeve. I’m just about at the elbow on the first sleeve which is where I need to start the increases.

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New Cast-on: I started on the white twin cardigan this week. This time I’m using a different pattern, namely the Leaf Lace cardigan which is free. It’s shown on Pinterest with a photo that is actually a different and paid-for pattern I’d seen on Ravelry. The picture shown on Pinterest is the blue one below and the pattern they have is the white one I had done below. It’s still a nice leaf pattern even if it’s not the same. The first two pics are the first iteration of my knit and it was just too big. It would have easily fit Evie at 19 months, I think, where I am going for about 3 months. The pattern called for 3.5mm and 3.75mm needles. I had done the blue cardigan with a similar number of starting stitches with 4.0mm so I thought I’d just use the same. That may have been OK as I thought it was just the collar garter in the smaller needles but it turns out that the whole yoke is in the smaller needles and is why mine turned out so big. Anyway, I started again with the right sized needles and the final photo is where I got to last night after a few stitch count mishaps in the pattern repeats. I like this pattern much more than the one I used for the blue cardigan so I may just start another one in the blue yarn when I see how this turns out. I am doing this without the lace pattern prescribed for the body, just having stocking stitch after the yoke pattern.

My trusty Habitation throw got some love this week as it’s very portable and no-fuss knitting. I’ve put on a couple of colour repeats since last week’s post but I’m still a good way off the centre point where I need to start the decreases for the home run.

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Spinning

I hadn’t shown a skein photo of the Ashford merino/alpaca fibre spin. This spin turned out thicker than I expected considering that I had done a two-ply. It works out that there’s 101gm finished yarn at 168m. I think that translates to worsted weight.

I have finally finished the Ixchel November batt club spin. I hadn’t posted a pic of the pink skein previously and now the final ply is complete. That was the green/yellow bobbin. The plied bobbin is a bit blurry below but it was by far the most comfortable chain ply of the three of them. I had always thought that the bobbins need to be behind me when plying, as that’s what I’d seen before and seemed to work OK with normal plies. But for chain ply, I found my body twisted too much and it was awkward and painful. With the latest ply, I put my tensioned lazy kate out to the right-hand side of me and it worked a treat. These are essentially 3 ply skeins but have come up much thinner than the two ply that I just talked about above. I obviously spun that one thicker than these. The three skeins are shown together below – the blue on the left is 103gm for 216m, the pink in the middle is 101gm for 252m – the thinnest of the lot, and the green/yellow on the right is about 100gm (forgot to weigh before I put it in for a soak) for 210m – obviously, the thickest spin of the lot and the last one spun. That makes these about a DK or light DK, though the yarn itself ranges between fingering and worsted weight. I think they’ll work nicely together, though there’s not enough for a whole jumper. I might be able to use the blue/grey merino/alpaca above with it, even though the texture is a little different. I’m thinking of using all three (plus another skein) with helical knitting, essentially doing a four stripe throughout. There is a lot of overlap of colour within the three of these so it will not be noticeably a stripe.

Sewing

I was able to cut out the Pansy Poppy and Jazz dress by Sew Over It yesterday. This will be a very quick and easy sew and I will probably do that tomorrow. I’m using some organic cotton jersey from Spotlight (see Acquisitions). It was difficult to work out the sizing as I measured Evie’s chest and then promptly forgot to write it down. I cut out the 18-24 month size which is where she should fit but I think it may be a little bit big. That doesn’t matter as she’ll grow into it and I have some more fabric to make another one, once I try this one on her this week and work out exactly which size I need for now.  I had enough leftover to cut out a pair of Acacia knickers from the scraps. Again, I am not sure which size I need for those so this will be a prototype that I can work on. You never know, it may be the right size first off!

Stitching

There was no actual stitching this week but I finally got my act together and cut out lots of circles on the Cricut that I borrowed from Kerry and Mary (bits from each). I’ll be able to do a heap more circles for the inner circle flower border on my Round the Garden quilt but I suspect that I may need to cut more. The first time I cut circles I cut out perfect rectangles of felt to use with the templates but this time I used all the bits and pieces of felt that had already been cut into. I have lots of bits and pieces with me but my full felt stash is in storage at the moment. It seems I will probably have enough to keep going for a while yet.

Acquisitions

Evie and I went shopping in Spotlight for fabric for her Pansy dresses on Wednesday. We decided on the two florals below. These have been washed and dried but not ironed. The top floral looks like it may need ironing after washing but the other one came out much better. I think it may also be the front loader washing machine. I’m used to my top loader machine which is in storage but the front loader here and the one at our previous accommodation resulted in more creases than I normally get in my top loader. The blue animal fabric took my liking because Evie is currently into all animals and the sounds they make, and I think it may make nice pyjamas. I bought the olive spot because I already have a remnant and wanted to make a Monroe turtleneck out of it but there wasn’t enough fabric. Now I think I have more than enough! Maybe more knickers?

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Paraphernalia

This week I’ve continued watching Ozark. It’s been very entertaining but I’ve only managed one episode at a time. Masterchef is still my favourite of the moment and is on all nights except Friday and Saturday. I really need to try some of the recipes that they make. I was able to download some more audio podcasts and I’ve been listening to those, including a new-to-me podcast called The Joyful Frugalista. This is an offshoot from another podcast which ceased recording. I listened to an interesting episode on shares the other day which confirmed I had little idea about this topic and I’m now much more enlightened.

This week will see more house stuff as we finalise carpets, pendants, door handles, mirrors and who knows what else. Every time I think we’ve finished making decisions, something else comes up. In the mix, we’ll be heading to Wollongong to help Steven and Kim move. It’s another opportunity to see Miss Evie too. Then we’ll have Erin and Shaun visiting for the long Queen’s birthday weekend. Some long time friends who holiday in Bawley Point will be here too and my friend Janice will be at Mary’s place. It will be very hard to see everyone but I’d like to manage that somehow.

Time to get this blog up before Sunday is actually over! It’s a bit later due to joining in with the International Virtual Knit Night Zoom this morning and then a visit from my MIL for lunch. So, until next week, I hope you are safe and well and enjoy all your opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 24 May 2020. #96

Hello friends! It’s been a busy week with the house, and finalising a lot of details but still not all done yet! There’s been nothing of interest to report this week apart from a couple of Zoom meetings. There was my usual catch up with my crafting girlfriends on Tuesday night and then, last night, I attended a surprise birthday “Webcake” for my friend Marie who was celebrating a special birthday. You can see some of the faces in the picture below – Marie was very surprised and touched. In a normal time, I know Marie would have had a celebration with all the people who attended the Webcake. I’m sure we’ll get close to back to normal at some point but I’m not expecting that too soon. The weather has turned cold but the birds are still visiting – I only managed to catch this one parrot getting into the last of the flowers. And my little friend Kermit came back to the letterbox for a short visit.

I haven’t had as many opportunities to get out onto the beaches this week due to house visits and then the weather turned quite nasty. There was a lot of rain and wind. Today is very windy but at least the sun is out amongst the storm clouds. I think we’re expecting a lot more rain tonight/tomorrow.

Corona Cooking: It seems I’ve certainly found my cooking mojo again! Last week I showed the pizza dough that was rising – once that was done I portioned it into quarters. The dough sat in these containers in the fridge for a couple of days as per the long fermentation recipe. I made three of them and I think I may have added a bit too much topping but they were very nice. The fourth pizza is on the menu for lunch today as well as some focaccia, which is ready for the oven. I had some very ripe bananas and yoghurt that was almost out of date so I did a search on Taste and found this really nice banana cake. One of these is still in the freezer. Robert has been fishing a bit and has been lucky with snapper. You can see the one we had last night which I cooked whole in my quick Thai green curry. Last but not least, I whipped up a quick pineapple upside-down cake yesterday when my MIL came for lunch. Now I can’t remember which recipe I used which is unfortunate as it was a great recipe.

House Update: We finalised the kitchen, vanity and laundry details this week, with last-minute changes, appliances and accessories. This week’s achievements in the house include the stairs being installed and the wet areas getting sealed. The stairs are out of spotted gum and look great, considering they were mostly covered up and not yet varnished. We probably won’t be able to walk on them for a bit after they are varnished. I wait excitedly for each visit to see what has been done since the last!

Knitting

New Cast-on: On Sunday, I was inspired by my leftover pile to jump in and cast on the Le Pouf cardigan. This is a free pattern by Beata Jezek of Hedgehog Fibres and had been on my mind for several months. I had intended to use 3 good skeins of fingering weight and over-dye a couple of others until I realised that I had more than enough leftovers for a fade, as you can see below. The original line up (on the deck railing) changed a bit to what is in the tray below. I removed some brownish ones and replaced with grey, speckled and pink. The first photo there is more indicative of the colouring. You can also see my Lunae shawl which I was using as a blanket. I have just about finished the body – yep, this was all I could focus on this week. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the right colours with the photo of the cardigan body, as they are quite darker than what is shown here. I’ll have to take more photos without all the outside light. This was so very potato-chippy as I kept wanting to get to the next fade and then the next, and so on. It wasn’t a portable project after I split for the sleeves as I had to weigh the yarn as I went in order to have enough for the sleeves. It is suggested that 50% will work with the sleeves so I knitted with my scales next to me. The tray photo shows what is left for the sleeves. This project is worked with two strands of fingering which are swapped out one at a time for the marle. I almost finished the body last night while we watched both Men in Black 2 and then 3. It was quite late then and I need to try it on to make the decision.

I did get to knit some more on my Koivua sweater as this project is portable and I did spend some time in the car. The colourwork has been very enjoyable and I only have 10 more colourwork rows and a handful of rows of the main colour left on the yoke before I divide for the sleeves. I’ll be able to finish this section of colourwork with the red yarn and I’ll start the next lot with the orange yarn. I may have more than enough to finish with the orange but I’d like to introduce the caramel as well. Looking at the picture of the sweater and the charts, I think that will work.

There has been only a little progress on my Habitation throw. It came along for the drives as well as I like to share the love on my projects. It’s also a very mindless knit so I can be good company while knitting on it. So far, with this magic knot ball, I’m up to the third of twelve minis which were leftovers of an advent that I dyed up in 2018.

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Spinning

Earlier this week I finished the first bobbin of my Ashford fibre and yesterday I finished the second. The colour is very much like the balcony railing paint which I’ve always thought of as grey; the yarn is just a little bluer. I’ll be doing a traditional 2 ply on this one, probably tomorrow, and then I’ll be able to chain ply the third and final bobbin of my Ixchel fibre.

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Sewing

I didn’t do a lot of sewing this week but I did manage to get the facing and sides sewn up on my sheath dress yesterday. I tried it on this morning and it does fit, though I’m thinking it may need a little shaping. I’ll try it on again and make the adjustments necessary so that I can finish off the facings, seams and hem. It will need to come up a good few inches but I’ll need to be careful with that so that I don’t lose the effect of the kick pleat on the back.

Patchwork

This little dolly now has her very first dress. She hasn’t been quilted yet because I need to sort out her shoes which I think I’ll do as black soft velcro. I think that will be a good idea because it means she’ll be able to have different shoes. I bought some leather patch pieces and I intend to make some boots for her. I have so many ideas for clothes and shoes! Now that the first outfit is done, I have a template to work with – shorts, t-shirt, jumper, party dress, swimmers, pyjamas, slippers, party shoes. The list goes on! I need to finish off her shoes so that I can quilt it and I’ve yet to work out how I’m going to do that. I think it will have to be the old-fashioned way of taping to the floor. Lucky it’s only small as that is a killer on the knees. I don’t have any large tables here that I can clip to and I don’t have my clips either, but I do have masking tape.

Acquisitions

Berrima Patchwork has been advertising lots of fabrics on Facebook lately and I just couldn’t resist this beautiful woodland one. In real life, it is a little more vibrant than you can see here and will make a gorgeous little girl dress (or two). It could even be nice as baby boy pants, I think. I’d like to find a good pattern for that so I’ll have a look around.

Paraphernalia

I’ve been enjoying my latest novel – A Court of Thorns and Roses, though it’s a little more of a romantic novel than I expected. My favourite genre is crime/thriller and I’m pleased that there’s a bit of the thriller in this. I finished watching the second season of After Life that I had downloaded and was left wanting more episodes. It’s a bit risque, absolutely hilarious and very sad, all rolled together. I’m also watching the remaining episodes of Outlander but doing that slowly as it takes nearly  1GB of data to watch each of these Foxtel episodes. I have to be mindful of how much I use – until we move into the house and get back onto wifi!

It’s been a bit stressful this past week with the house build and I’m hoping that it will ease a bit now that the majority of decisions have been made. I hope to get the rest of the decisions out of the way as soon as I can but carpet and lighting are tricky. What I’m really looking forward to is that I get to mind Evie again this week. We’re a little further away than we were last time I minded Evie so it will require an overnight visit. I will also be able to help with the packing as they are moving to a new house the week after.

So that’s my week in a nutshell. I hope you are keeping safe and well and, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 17 May 2020. #95

Hello friends! It still seems a bit Groundhog Day-like around here though restrictions have lifted a little. I’ve spent a lot of time on house-work (the type of housework you do when you don’t have a house yet!) and have made nearly all the decisions. More on that in a bit. The weather has been getting cooler though most days have had some sun to keep the day reasonably mild. I can’t say the same for the nights and they are only going to get colder. The beach this week has gone from calm to a little wild but both are beautiful. I even got up early enough to see the sunrise on Monday. That was Shaun’s (SIL) birthday and we weren’t able to celebrate together. We’ll save it up for a get together soon.

MeMadeMay 2020: I’m not really good at taking pics for MeMadeMay ever but I have been wearing them. I got my Floozy cardigan out of the winter pile the other day and it was great. I took this pic while walking along because I thought I might forget. I didn’t really have any intention of using this pic but, yes, I did forget. The other shows a pair of my socks – I’ve needed these at night because my ankles have been cold. I’ve had track pants and slippers but the ankles have been exposed! Other than that I wore my Pietra pants and I’m not totally happy with them. They are a bit baggy so I may try to take them in a bit more. I’ve been wearing my Kettle Vally poncho most days (including today) and it’s turned into a kind of at home uniform. At least during the day – it’s light so doesn’t quite provide enough warmth at night; I’ve been wearing my Turtle Dove then. My Monroe top has been popular this week but I’ll need to take that in too – from the armholes down. It’s dropped shouldered so that width doesn’t matter so much. The next one I make will be size 1 and I may taper the bottom a bit.

Corona Cooking: I didn’t have a lot of time for extra-curricular cooking this week but I did manage to whip up a quick Pear and Frangipane tart to use up some fast ripening pears. Actually, I only used up one pear but, in hindsight, I could have easily added a second one. I used the recipe for this Nectarine Frangipane tart and use pear instead. There isn’t a rolling pin here so I used my trusty backup – any flat type bottle will do the trick! You can see it below having just done the job. I think I had the oven on a little high for blind baking (though I had nothing to “blind” it – just shoved in the oven like that). It turned out OK, just needed to remove the very top edge of the crust for some of it. If you like frangipane tarts, I can recommend this one!

House Update: Things are moving very quickly on the house and would have even been scheduled to finish early except the kitchen, vanities and laundry will be a 5-week wait. That will just mean that the finish will be as initially expected, so that’s a good thing. Finish should be mid-July – fingers are crossed for an earlier kitchen install. The kitchen, vanities and laundry have been finalised, a manufacturer decided upon and colours selected. You can see my swatches below – the top row shows the kitchen cupboards (vivid white) and a stone sample of Smartstone Astral. The middle row shows the vanities which will have a timber look Laminex along with a Ceasarstone top in Fresh Concrete. And finally, on the bottom row, is the colour scheme for the laundry doors (Chamois) and benchtops (Alluvial Stone) in Laminex. The gyprock is all in now and they were plastering when I took these pics. The sanding is due to start tomorrow. The external painting has started – the eaves in Ballast and most of the horizontal boards in Rubble. The Dune for the rest of the house hasn’t started just yet. I’ve gone for a muted look because there will be plenty of noise with the stone facade on the left of the garage and the open timber portico. The timber staircase is to be installed tomorrow as well. There should be a few update photos when I’m there on Tuesday! The only decisions left to be made now are for a dishwasher, fans and pendants and some bathroom accessories like towel rails. The dishwasher will be decided on on Tuesday when I can see in person the ones I’m looking at online. I’ve been using Choice reviews to help me with all the decisions I can get there, though some of their review items are out of date, even though the review is very current.

The three trips to the house this week meant less crafting time, especially since I drove for two of those. Regardless, it seems that I got plenty done, if most of it was only a minor step of each project.

Knitting

New Cast-on: Since it was Mother’s Day last Sunday, I had finished three jumpers and my Koivua sweater yarn had been waiting very patiently since last year, I thought I deserved to cast it on. I managed to get the first part of the colourwork done on Sunday as there are few stitches and since then I’ve managed to add a few rows here and there, while increasing, to get through half of the yoke colourwork. This is proving to be a fast knit which is just what I need right now. The worsted weight yarn I’m using is Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Dawn Heather and leftover yarn from my Nightshift shawl from last year. They are KnitPicks Provincial Tweed in, firstly, Candy Apple, which will be followed by Pumpkin Pie and then Caramel. I also have some other colours that I can use if I run out of these but I’m thinking that these will be enough. I’m enjoying doing some colourwork again as I’d been hankering for it lately.

The first Ciqala cardigan is finished. I only had to finish the cuffs and had avoided it as I thought it needed some thinking. It will now need to be blocked and have the ends sewn in. I’m thinking the cuffs may be a bit loose but that will only help when putting those little arms in there. I’m hoping to start on the sister version of this today or tomorrow.

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My Habitation throw got to a bit of a stalemate due to the lack of fingering weight leftovers in the house. I added some leftovers from my Tuileries sweater and called in at the storage shed for more supplies. I had a bag of leftovers along with this magic knot ball that I’d made from the remaining yarn from my 12 mini-skein advent of 2018. I had made an Adventurer cowl and some advent socks (seems I never added that project to my Ravelry) and still had a reasonable amount left over. Since I started on this ball, I’ve worked through the first colour and almost the second already. It will be great looking at my dyed yarn as I go along as I can’t remember offhand what they looked like.

Coming Soon: My mind has moved on to another WIP that would come in very handy this winter. I started this Comfort Fade cardigan in April of 2018 after I had dyed the yarn. I thought I had the yarn in order when I took the photo below but the two turquoise ones are the wrong way around. At the time I stopped knitting because I was having trouble fading the two sleeves at the same time – mainly how I was carrying the yarn. Since then I have worked out that helical knitting is the best way to go, though the fade will be different from how Caitlin Hunter indicates in the pattern. I still think it will work so now I feel more confident about getting the sleeves done. I had done a couple of inches of sleeve but I’ll take it back to the sleeve pickup so that it’s done properly.

Spinning

This week I got to chain plying the second bobbin of my Ixchel Yarns and Fibres November batt. I’m not finding chain plying very comfortable as I seem to be drawing from behind, meaning that my right arm is behind and my body is twisted. I have another bobbin to chain ply but I needed a rest so I haven’t started on that one yet. I think I’ll try drawing the yarn from the side instead and see how that goes. I certainly got into a real pickle at one point. The plied yarn had jumped off the bobbin and tangled around the flyer. While trying to sort that out I suddenly realised that I had only managed to make it worse! I had resigned myself to the fact that this was going to have to be cut when Robert came to the rescue with his enormous experience at untangling fishing line. What a magician! Needless to say, I stepped away from the bobbin once it was done and I still need to wind it off onto the niddy noddy. Maybe today. Also shown here is the soaked and dried skein of the first bobbin but I’m yet to work out the yardage and weight. Maybe this week I’ll chain ply the third and final bobbin.

As I mentioned above, I needed a rest from chain plying so I grabbed a small pack of Ashford 30% baby alpaca and 70% of fine merino. I have 100 grams and will spin 50 grams on each of two bobbins for a traditional two-ply. It’s a lovely soft blue colour and it should work with other skeins I’ve spun up from Ashford fibre.

Crochet

My Rings of Change blanket has been keeping me warm and occupied during the evenings in front of the television. It is only cotton but the extra layer is just enough to make a difference. My Habitation throw is nowhere near big enough to do the job yet. I’ve just finished Round 69 and have 42 rounds of the pattern to go. I’m pretty sure I won’t have enough yarn to get them all done so I’ll need to keep an eye on the weight as I get closer to the end of it. I’ll be able to work it out by weight per round as I’ll need to have enough to do a finishing round – it’s likely that will be needed depending on the round I finish on. I’ve already started on 1 strand of the four in turquoise and I’m expecting to be on the second strand very soon. This yarn fades through the colours one strand at a time. The nature of this yarn means that the hook can get caught between the strands at times but I’m getting used to hooking with it.

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Sewing

Invisible zippers for the win! I added the invisible zipper to my sheath dress this week and I will not use another type of zipper again if I can help it. As I had a waist seam on the back, I needed to baste the second side of the zipper and, though it was a little fiddly getting that point basted in the exact place, it was a resounding success. The first photo is the basting and the second shows the amazing result. Once I had that done, following the great zipper installation tutorial by Aneka of Made To Sew, I finished off the back seam. I was on a roll then so picked up the facing to add to the neck and realised it was about a centimetre short on either end. The pattern I’m using is from an old Bernina Inspirations magazine which, like Burda, requires you to add your own seams. I obviously didn’t do a great job there and I had none of this fabric left. I am using the blue fabric from the contrast shoulders as the next facing. What to do, what to do! Should I cut the facing and joining on a little bit? That would mean having a seam in the facing and I didn’t really want to do that. The obvious solution was to buy some more of the fabric – I’d only bought it a couple of months ago so it was highly like that I could get it again and Spotlight is near where I had to be. So, as I speak, the fabric is drying and I’m ready to have another go at it. Once that’s done, all that is required is to finish the side seams and hem. I could have done these but I thought it would be easier to handle without the seams joined – it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

Stitching

The next lighthouse is ready for my Round the Garden quilt. To be honest, this one has not been getting a lot of attention so, fingers crossed, I hope to get on with it this week.

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Acquisitions

A trip to Spotlight is never just for what I need, as you may have gleaned from previous blogs. Apart from the blue sateen I needed for the Sheath dress, I picked up some fleece and rayon. I bought 1.5m of 148cm Sports Active Fleece in black and found a remnant of this in grey. It’s only 0.85m but I’m hoping to eke out a pair of Hudson track pants out of this, even if I have to use something else for cuffs and waistband. Maybe even colour block if I need. The other fabric is a piece of rayon in the Large Leopard colourway – must be a reference to the size of the animal as the print is not large. This piece is 0.80m of 135cm width which should make a nice light summer top. I also purchased the Pansy dress pattern by Sew Over It, London. This has sizes from 0-3 months to 6 years so I think it will be very useful.

Paraphernalia

I have been enjoying listening to A Court of Thorns and Roses this week, particularly while driving up and down the coast. I’ve alternated that with some audio podcasts that I’ve downloaded. I also got to visit my girlfriend, Mary, who lives not too far away and was able to download some Netflix shows. I have started the second season of After Life and also have Dead to Me and Ozark waiting in the wings.

As I was contemplating the content for this blog this morning, I was wondering what I would be able to talk about. It turns out that I had plenty! I’m going to head off now and make some of #notquitenigella‘s pizza dough. This recipe uses a long fermentation so it will be waiting for a couple of days before I use it. Let’s see how that goes!

I’ll be back next week, same day, same bat station. I hope you are all safe and healthy and, until next week, I hope you enjoy lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 10 May 2020. #94

Hello friends! Happy Mother’s Day to everyone celebrating today. There are a lot of countries around the world celebrating today but the UK is not one of them. I just found out today that it is because Mothering Sunday in the UK is linked to Easter, having its roots in religious celebration. My day today will be a quiet one around the house but I was able to celebrate on a minor scale yesterday with family. Following social distancing rules, we were able to catch up with Erin and Shaun briefly as they left Steven and Kim’s place. Then we had lunch with Steven, Kim and Evie and it was wonderful seeing Evie in person. She has changed so much in the past 8 weeks since we last spent time with her, and she has become very chatty, having learnt new words.

We also had a visit from our friends, Ken and Deb, on Friday and we were able to show them the beautiful beaches around here. Here are some water photos from this week. I was going to say beach photos but a couple of them are of the lake this time.

MeMadeMay 2020: I haven’t taken photos every day this week but I wore me-made for most of them. Here are a few pics of me and also Evie modelling my makes. Here I have the first pics of my Kettle Valley poncho in all its glory – it’s been getting a lot of wear; my Millie top; Evie wearing a small Strange Brew and then Anna’s Summer cardigan with her new Worlds Simplest Mittens. The last photo was this morning sitting in my “office” with my Kettle Valley poncho and Lunae shawl. It was a tad cool in the dappled sunshine.

Corona Cooking: The cooking bug continued this week and I ventured into breadmaking. I bought a pack of Laucke bread flour the week before and tried some bread rolls. That worked OK though if I’d had them further apart they may have been more successful. As they had little room to spread they weren’t great for adding meat and salad for lunch and I think I could probably have done with a bit more heat for them to rise a little more during cooking. Certainly not an expert! On Friday I tried Lorraine’s (@notquitenigella) focaccia recipe and that was a resounding success. And it was so easy, I might make it a weekly event. Lorraine decorates her focaccia with lots of colourful vegies and I may give that a try some time. The recipe calls for a lot of oil – I used about half and I think that was maybe still a bit much. I didn’t get much opportunity to take a photo before it was almost devoured. I also made a Glazed Meatloaf from Taste.com.a and Banana Bread from @notquitenigella. Both wonderful though didn’t get any pics.

House Update: Well, it’s looking like a real house inside now that they’ve added the insulation in between the wall studs. These photos are from last Tuesday and on Thursday they started painting the exterior; Friday they started on the internal gyprock walls. I can’t wait to see what it looks like tomorrow. We haven’t decided on who is making the kitchen yet though I think we’ll have to make a decision ASAP so that it can get installed when they are ready.

Knitting

This week hasn’t seen a lot of crafting due to all the house stuff. One day I drove up myself which means no knitting and being out of the house generally means no other type of crafting either.

Finished Object #1: My Tuileries sweater is finished! I was so pleased to get this one finished for several reasons. The main one is that I didn’t have to use that 3.25mm 9″ circular cable needle anymore! It is obviously a lace needle and is so sharp. Every time I used that one I would re-open up the hole in my finger. Also, it was good to finally get off twisted rib sleeve island! My daughter yesterday said I should make her a jumper (and I wasn’t sitting down at the time – it could have been ugly!) and she indicated a polo neck would be good. I really think this turtle neck would be great on her so I may be persuaded to hand it over. She hasn’t been interested before so I was very surprised. It took three days to dry because the middle day it was locked up inside. On the third day, I was able to put it out in the sun and that finished it off.

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Finished Object #2: Last week, I got a request for a pair of mittens for Miss Evie so I immediately cast on The World’s Simplest Mittens from Tin Can Knits. After having made 5 individual adult mitts, I realised that the pattern for this and the Drifting Snow mitts are exactly the same, though the Driting Snow mitts are only for adults. The size is only a variation on stitch numbers and lengths. Anyhow, how stinking cute are they? They took an afternoon and a bit of the next day to finish. I didn’t have much available to use so I thought they’d be good in the leftovers of my Ranunculus II sweater. They turned out very soft and cute! I still had leftovers of the fingering which I used up in my Habitation throw.

Finished Object #3: I finally got onto the second of my Drifting Snow mitts. I had made the first of these as a prototype before making the gift ones and I’m glad they’re now complete – apart from a few ends to sew in. They’ll be really handy as the weather is turning cold now.

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There’s only one other project that I’ve added a few rows to this week and it’s my own brioche jumper design. This one has been a low priority but I needed something that is straight knitting for the Zoom/Messenger meetings. Everything else seems to need focus so this one has been good to work on. I’m not fussed with the brioche being on a slight diagonal but I understand that this is common with brioche. I’m hoping that blocking might straighten them up a bit. That’s a fair way down the track at the moment.

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Spinning

All three bobbins of my Ixchel fibre are now spun into singles. The one on the left of the three (and the one by itself at the top) was the green/yellow spin and the one on the right of the three is the blue spin. There doesn’t appear to be any difference but we’ll see how the final skeins look. I chain plied the blue bobbin during the week and you can see it at the bottom ready to be wound off onto the niddy noddy. I think that will be a job for this afternoon.

Crochet

This category is finally making a reappearance! I rescued my Rings of Change out of the storage unit because I felt like doing some crochet. It’s quite large and I had to lay it out in front of the garage and take the photo from the deck above. The left-hand photo shows where I was up to when it came out of storage and the right is where I am now. I’ve done about 3 rounds – they are quite long now so it’s slow going. You can see the edge on the later picture has more of the pink around it. I’m using  My Melody yarn by Wolltraum which is 50% cotton/50% acrylic. For the first part of this project I started from the outside aqua on the cake moving through a mauve, then purple, pink and finally red. When I realised I had lots more to do I thought I’d order another one, though I could well have stopped there. When I joined the second ball I started from the red in the centre of the cake which is the colour I was up to. There are four rows of crocodile stitch in the red section and that used up heaps of the yarn. Without actually weighing it, I’d say there’s at least three-quarters of the full cake left to use. I’m almost finished Round 65 and there is a total of 111 rounds. I don’t know if I’ll have enough for all of it so I’ll finish at the last full round. The rows I’ve been working on are quite dense and it’s been a challenge to get the stitch count correct. I’m fortunate that I’m a good fudger and I think I’m now totally correct.

Stitching

I only spent a little time on my Round the Garden this week. I finished off the lighthouse (I hope a good press makes it look straight!) and did a couple of bees. I have also started putting together some of the houses so I should be able to pin the next section in hopefully this week. I will have to make the next lighthouse before I can do that though, so that will be the next step.

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Paraphernalia

I have been mainly watching free-to-air TV at the moment with Masterchef keeping me entertained. There’s not a whole lot that’s great on TV at the moment. I finished the book I was reading last week, Buried Deep by Margot Hunt. It was very short – only a bit over 4 hours so I think it was one of the freebies from Audible that I’d downloaded a little while back. It was a good and quick “read”. From that one, I moved onto A Court of Thorns and Roses by Susan J Moss, which has been well-reviewed by so many people. I finally took the plunge and it’s shaping up into a great read already. I was hesitant to fall down that rabbit hole because there are many books in this series but I think I was ready for it.

I have no plans for this week apart from house stuff which will require some visits both to the house and to businesses for finalising all the bits and pieces. Now that restrictions are lifting we may be able to think about some get-togethers. Currently, two people are able to visit another home and there’s little else. From next Friday, that number will go up to 5 people within a house and 10 people in cafes and restaurants which will be able to open again. It will be a slow journey but it’s the safest way. I hope that people follow the rules, but these rules are so confusing with the Federal Government saying one thing and then leaving it up to the State Premiers who are all lifting restrictions at different rates.

I hope all the mothers out there are having (or had) a great Mother’s Day and that everyone is healthy and safe. I’ll be back next week, as usual. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying all your opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 3 May 2020. #93

Hello friends! Welcome to May – how the year is flying, but also going very slowly. The weather has turned decidedly colder and holds the promise of a very cold winter. It’s still Autumn here but is starting to blend with winter already. The majority of the week has been quite blustery but, as I sit here in my (deck) office, the wind has calmed and the sun is peeking out of the clouds every so often; enough to make the temperature out here bearable. Here are this week’s beach views – not a lot of sunshine in them!

I have again been Corona Cooking this week. I blame all the Instagram profiles I’m following for making all the things look amazing! Firstly, inspired by Lorraine of #notquitenigella, I made this Mug Cake from Taste.com.au. I was after one that wasn’t chocolate and Robert doesn’t particularly like orange so I went hunting. This Golden Syrup Microwave Mug Cake was very nice though I didn’t add any golden syrup or ice cream on top. The next bake was of Arnott’s Scotch Finger biscuits. I discovered this week that Arnotts are releasing recipes for some of their biscuits – #baketogether. I missed the one last week for Monte Carlo biscuits but may still give those a go at some point. The Scotch Finger biscuits came out very short so I think it needs more flour. I’ll add a bit more next time – there will be a next time. They were very easy to make but hard to flatten out in the tin, though I think that would be better with more flour so that it doesn’t stick to everything. And finally, last night, while Robert was crumbing one of his freshly caught squids for an entree, I made Recipe Tin’s Broccoli Chicken Fritters. They were so yummy but I would leave out the garlic next time. It might be because I finely chopped it (not having a garlic crusher here with me) and it made it a bit bitter, tasting a bit burnt like.

May is also MeMadeMay month, so it’s time for some awkward selfies. Generally, people participating in this rotate their wardrobe so that they are wearing their own makes each day for the month, or whatever they can manage. Personally, most of my stuff is still packed away and most of that is knitwear with a couple of summer dresses. I will need to get some knitwear out of storage for the cold weather but could probably manage with the few bits I have with me. On Friday, I wore my Monroe top by Tessuti, along with the Audrey jacket by Seamwork. Both of these were made for my first #thegreatmodulesewalong. They are both a bit big and swamp me a bit but they are very comfortable. Yesterday’s MeMade was my Turtle Dove sweater by Espace Tricot. I finished this a couple of months ago and it’s not been cold enough to wear until now. I also have this on today.

House Update: There’s little to update this week and no photos that show much progress. Little bits are happening at the moment. We’ve had only one thing that has been affected by this pandemic and it’s the stone panelling that we were going to have in the front entry and foyer. The product we were going to use is made in China and would be a long wait as it’s not stored here. Instead, we’ve chosen a different stone which is installed as tiles. The sample I have photographed is not really showing correctly but is supposed to look like the snapshot on the right. The bathroom fittings will be installed this week and the plasterboard will go up also. We’ve chosen the exterior paint colours and the exterior will be painted very soon so that they can remove and return the scaffolding. We are still looking at kitchens, laundry, vanities, cooktops and stove, to mention but a few items we need.

Knitting

Finished Object #1: This has been a week of finishing. I have decided to consider the Kettle Valley poncho finished, without adding the dark red to the edges of the sleeves. It was hanging around so I called it finally and sewed in the edges, then blocked it. You can see it here as it is drying. If it’s dry tomorrow, I think I’ll wear it and try to take some photos to show what it looks like. As it’s fingering weight (4 ply) it drapes nicely, from the elbows down, which is where the ribbing starts on the sleeves.

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Finished Object #2: The latest Drifting Snow mitts are also finished. I did the thumbs on Monday but I haven’t yet posted this gift to its recipient. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Finished Object #3: My Ranunculus II is also finished. This is another one that I’ll be wearing for MeMadeMay. It’s such a cosy knit and the colours came out very soft, which is what I was going for. I used Stranded Dyeworks’ Yesterday’s Bouquet in a fingering weight and mohair, each held with a plain undyed mohair and fingering. I did the plain finish on the sleeves with the rib instead of the diagonal cuff line. I would have liked to have done that but the short rows wouldn’t work with the helical knitting of the two different yarns. I also decreased as the sleeves grew rather than leaving them to gather at the cuff with an i-cord bind off.

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My Tuileries sweater is an almost finished object! I could probably have finished it last night but it meant trying it on during the movie we were watching; instead, I chose to spin. One sleeve is probably done – depending on the length when I try it on today. I have removed the second yarn (helical knitting again) and did that when I was at the underarm, beginning of row section so that it wouldn’t be obvious. If it needs more length now it will only be a few rows and I can do that with just the one yarn. Once I’ve bound that off, I’ll finish off the other sleeve in the same way. The bottom of the body was a tubular bind off using 2 set-up rows and I’m not fussed with the look. I think I’ll do the sleeves with the tubular but not doing the set-up rows. I’m sure I’ve done it that way before but there aren’t many stitches if I need to rip it back. This MadTosh yarn has gone a long way and it seems I have a reasonable amount of leftover yarn, out of the 4 skeins I started with.

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Now that all of these are done (or all but) I can think of moving onto my next pieces. This afternoon I’ll be casting on some toddler mittens for Miss Evie. Kim is hoping she’ll wear them but we’re not overly confident. I also have my Comfort Fade Cardi that has been waiting patiently so I’ll be picking that up again. I got stuck with the fade on the sleeves which ended up with the cardi getting put into the too hard basket. I have since worked out a better method so I’m looking forward to getting this one done. I am also going to start my Koivua sweater by Caitlin Hunter. I have been very good at waiting until these other projects were done! I also brought my Rings of Change crochet project home from the storage unit. I’m feeling the urge for some crochet. And I haven’t forgotten the Ciqala cardigans that I’m doing. I’ll be working on those this week too. No photos of these items today but I imagine there will be plenty next week. I would love to start my Le Pouf cardigan but that means dyeing and I don’t think I can do that here.

Spinning

This is the third bobbin of my Ixchel Yarns and Fibres November batt club. I got 2 packs of this which added to just over 300gms. Once I’ve finished this bobbin I’ll be chain plying each of them separately. You can see the first two bobbins down below – the peachy/pink one, and the other was the majority of the blue fibre. It doesn’t look a whole lot different to the current green/yellow spin as there’s a fair bit of overlap. I didn’t want to separate every little piece of each colour as I think that would have separated all the different fibres in these batts. Once plied, I would think you’ll be able to see the difference in the two skeins but it doesn’t really matter if they look the same.

Sewing

I have now finished my Pietra pants – the third item in my #thegreatmodulesewalong. The dress has had to wait in the wings due to the wrong invisible zipper part that I received. You’ll see in Acquisitions that I now have the right one. These pants turned out to be so easy once I got started. The only hiccup I had was that the pocket was shorter than it should be. I had shortened each piece in the rise by 2cm and did that to the pocket as well, where it indicated to shorten or lengthen. In the end, it worked out fine, just the pocket is 1cm shorter which is unnoticeable. The other issue I had was that they swam on me. I tried them on when the sides were joined and even joined the inner leg seam before the pattern indicated so that I could make sure. I ended up taking a good half to three-quarter inch off each side seam. From the measurements on the pattern, I worked out that I was a 12 in the waist and a 10 in the hip, so I graded the pattern to fit. I didn’t need to worry about the waist as it’s a smaller measurement than the hip and, being elastic, the waist was already at hip measurement otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get them over the hip. They fit quite well, though maybe still a little bigger than they need to be so when I make another pair, I’ll start with a straight size 8. Pattern sizes are never the same which is why you go off the measurements. In this case, it didn’t come out to the finished sizes indicated.

Stitching

I didn’t do a lot of stitching on my Round the Garden quilt this week, only doing a bit yesterday afternoon when I added the doorknobs. I only need to add a bee and finish the top of the lighthouse for this first quarter to be done and I’ve got the next quarter pieces ready to cut out and add to the quilt. You can see the freezer paper pieces ironed onto the felt. I’ll be cutting these out this afternoon. I now also have the Cricut machine from my friends Mary and Kerry so that I can cut out lots more circles.

Acquisitions

As I mentioned earlier, I ended up with the wrong invisible zipper foot for my Janome MC6600P so I didn’t put the zipper into the dress. I now have the right one. You’d think, after all this time I’ve had this Janome and my other older Janome that I’d know the size of the shank. Well, I have a better idea now at least what they are talking about. It must be the 5mm or maybe 7mm. I also bought a set of patterns from Sew Over It, London. I was looking for a skirt pattern to make with the corduroy that I have for my #thegreatmodulesewalong and I stumbled over this set. It has 5 patterns with different views so that make more patterns. There’s a pair of jeans, a knit top & dress, a shirt & shirt dress, a waterfall cardigan and a skirt. I’ve already printed and cut out the skirt pattern and I’m thinking about how I’m going to grade the skirt waist with the pocket. Something to cut out this week, I think.

Paraphernalia

This week started as another week in isolation. I started listening to three books. The first I realised I’d already listened to – I was going to the bottom of the list and it wasn’t marked as read. The other one, I’m not sure about and I wasn’t in the mood for it. So I went from the top and picked the first one that was already downloaded. I am now enjoying Buried Deep by Margot Hunt. On Tuesday night I had an online book club and also joined my girlfriends for a chat. I didn’t wake up early enough on Wednesday to join in with the International Virtual Knit Night unfortunately but was able to spend a little time yesterday afternoon with the Australian Virtual Knit girls.

On Friday, restrictions were lifted so that two people from the same family group could visit a household. I got to visit my friend Mary yesterday. I also saw my friend Kerry over the fence there as she lives next door and it was great to say hello face to face. Of course, we are still required to distance ourselves. I’m hoping people are sensible so as to avoid another peak.

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day and I will be going up to Wollongong to visit with Steven, Kim & Evie. I imagine it will still be the single-family group with single-family group situation. If restrictions are lifted further maybe Erin & Shaun could come down from Sydney to join us.

As I continued with this blog, the sun has come out and it’s a gorgeous Autumn day. I haven’t been for any exercise yet today and I think it’s time for a walk. Restrictions are changing all over the world so, until next week, I hope you are able to get some personal contact and enjoy lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 26 April 2020. #92

Hello friends! Happy ANZAC Day for yesterday. This year, the celebrations were very different. Originally a day of remembrance for those Australians and New Zealanders who served in the Gallipoli campaign during World War I, this day now honours all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died and those that are serving. Normally everyone gathers in groups to watch the ceremonies, held both at dawn and then at 10 am at memorials all over Australia and New Zealand. The second ceremony is held following a march in all cities and most larger towns. This year there was no march and the ceremonies were few, watched on television or listened to on the radio. TV campaigns promoted a “light up the dawn” for everyone to stand in their driveways or at their gates with candles. You can see the photo below of our little ceremony where Rob and I listened to the ceremony on the radio and watched the sunrise. Though we were the only ones in our section of the street, it was wonderful to see on TV and social media how so many celebrated in a similar way.

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ANZAC Day for us

Here are some of my weekly beach photos taken either on my morning run or afternoon walk. We were also visited by a flock of galahs and it seems the postman left a frog this time!

Isolation days are being filled with cooking across the world and I’ve been joining in. This week I tried a Teabread recipe from homebody_diaries (in her highlights). I’m pretty sure I made this a long long time ago and I had forgotten that it existed. It uses 4 ingredients – self-raising flour, sugar, tea and dried fruit, and it becomes a great fruitcake – great for morning tea or just any time. The biscuits are all ANZAC biscuits. These were originally made to send to soldiers in WWI as the sugar content ensured they lasted a long time. These were all variations from a recipe on Taste but I wasn’t impressed with them. After making these I saw that notquitenigella had posted her recipe. Kim and Erin both made them and they seemed to be a success.

House update: All the electrics are being installed now along with the air conditioning. Also, the downstairs deck off my studio is now finished. It will be great for all the wet activities – felting, dyeing, etc. and just sitting outside crafting. The view down there is only of the backyard so I’ll probably be sitting on the upstairs deck more often. This week I had to make three trips up to do house stuff as we need to finalise so many things. We are talking to kitchen installers and looking at all the fittings required for bathrooms, laundry and kitchen. Tiles and floorboards have been selected, but not the carpet yet. So many decisions to be made!

Knitting

I was able to get some knitting done on two of the three trips up to the house (the third I drove up alone) and I managed to almost finish my Kettle Valley poncho. This could be the finished state but I think I’ll add a few rows on each sleeve in the same yarn that I did the body and neck ribs. It probably doesn’t need it as it’s all scrappy anyway but I kind of feel like I have to do it. It should only take a short amount of time to do, then I’ll block it. The increase stitches on the yoke are a bit puckery but I’m hoping that blocking will settle that. I may be wearing this next week as the weather is cooling, particularly at night, though we’ve had a few hot days too.

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Moving onto something a little move conventional, my Ranunculus II is in rotation again. I only have the sleeves to do and it will be finished. There’s probably 5 inches left to do on the sleeves and I think I’ll have yarn leftover. I’m thinking I might undo the bottom rib and add a few more rows – it doesn’t really need it so I’ll see once I bind off the sleeves and try it on properly. It’s amazing what you can get from adding a natural skein to a patterned skein. There is mohair but I’m thinking of the two yarns held together as one only. This pattern is very economical.

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My next pair of Drifting Snow mitts are all but done, needing only the thumbs. The thumbs take almost no time to do so I’ll probably do that this afternoon. The colour is not showing accurately here because in real life it’s a much darker purple, some parts almost black. These are another gift pair so they’ll probably be in the post tomorrow or Tuesday. The yarn for these is Blackwattle Alpaca Yarn and Fibre Myrtle 8 ply (DK) – 100% alpaca.

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Some time ago I saw a post on Ravelry where someone was knitting 10 socks (5 pairs) all at once. It made me think it was a great idea – if you can do two, you can do as many as you like. I have decided to try this method with more Drifting Snow mitts that I wanted to make – again for gifts. So here you can see that I have 10 mitts on this circular needle and I was in serious need of yarn management. I have since organised the yarn but it’s not staying where it should while I’m knitting on it, though it is still manageable. What is not as easy as I thought it would be is the actual knitting. When knitting two at a time, you need to pull the cable through for each row and, with that many stitches on the needle, it’s quite a chore. I got several rows done last night and it is getting easier so I’ll see how it goes – I can always take a few off if I need to and do them separately.

Spinning

I was hoping to have the next bobbin of my November batt club from Ixchel Fibres and Yarns done by now. I’m very close but not quite there. I did finish the blue-ish section early in the week and I’m enjoying this pink/peach section. The blue doesn’t look so blue with all the other bits spun in it but it will look different to the green/yellow section when I get to that. The pink/peach is so yummy looking – it looks like fairy floss or some sort of candy cream! This will be finished by tomorrow and then I’ll get onto the third and final section of this fibre. I’m already thinking of how I can use these together. I have only just over 300 grams so I may need to add something else unless I make a shawl or something like my Ranunculus that doesn’t use a lot. I think I’d prefer to use this in a cardigan or jumper. The colours don’t really lend themselves to a colourwork pattern as there is not a great deal of contrast so maybe the 3 skeins with helical knitting will look good. Let’s see how bobbin number 3 turns out.

Sewing

I didn’t get many opportunities to machine sew this week though early on I added the shoulder panels to the Sheath dress that I’m making as part of #thegreatmodulesewalong. This part is technically the sleeve and I had to finish and hem the arm end before attaching each one to the front and back dress sections. You can see how the piping then finishes off the rest of the sleeve hole. As per directions, I then sewed the back seam together from where the zipper goes to the split pleat at the bottom. The next step is to add the invisible zipper so prior to diving in, as usual, I watched a YouTube video on how to install invisible zippers. The tutorial by Made To Sew is excellent. The first thing she says is to not join the bottom of the back seam so I’ll be unpicking that. I also realised that my standard zipper foot will not cut the mustard for sewing invisible zippers so I ordered one on Thursday for my Janome. The mail is a bit slow at the moment so I didn’t expect to have it on Friday (which could have happened once upon a time) so I’ve shelved this dress until that arrives. Hopefully by Tuesday and I can dive into my first invisible zipper installation.

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The only other sewing tasks I did were very “admin” in nature. The first pic below shows how I fixed the waistband on a pair of my leggings. These are ready-made leggings and the waistband was just caught in 3 places. That didn’t hold out so I have now stitched the band down properly and they feel so much better to wear. I had been meaning to do that for some time but once it warmed up last spring they were just put away. The other picture shows me cutting out the Acacia underpants pattern from Megan Neilsen Patterns. This is a free pattern if you sign up for their newsletter. Lots of people have been making underwear lately, particularly knickers as they are a great way to use up stretch fabric scraps. The pattern also includes a stretch guide as different fabrics have different amounts of stretch. I haven’t yet looked at the guide but I know I have some scraps that have totally different stretch amounts. So far I’ve only cut out the pattern as I don’t have the scraps to hand and I purchased some lingerie elastic when I was near Spotlight the other day. These are so simple to make – I watched Whitney’s TomKat Stitchery tutorial the other day and Jayne from Loopy Mabel’s Closet has one as well. The only other sewing “task” I performed was to add some of the interfacings onto the Pietra pants facing pieces. I am missing one piece of the pattern for the pocket facing so I may need to print that piece off if I can’t find it. This was my way of taking the first step on these pants, which I have already cut out for #thegreatmodulesewalong module.

Patchwork

My Paper Doll quilt project is moving along nicely now. I wish I had a name for this girl but I’ll leave that to Evie when she gets this. I only had to sew on the hair (in 3 sections) and add the underwear. On that, I’ve added some velcro at the waist and on the shoulders. The pattern actually uses velcro fabric but I wasn’t able to find any that would be easy to get. I think this will work with the other part of the velcro attached to the clothes. Next step is to sandwich this with the wadding and backing and quilt it. I’ll also start making some clothes. I haven’t decided what to do with the shoes – the pattern says to sew them onto the doll but I was wondering if I could work out how to make it so that she can have different shoes. I have an idea that may work. Watch this space.

Stitching

Definitely slow progress on my Round the Garden quilt but it is slow stitching. I am still working on the top outer quarter of the quilt, finishing off a couple of trees and bushes that are embroidered. I have also traced the next couple of section pieces onto the freezer paper ready for ironing onto the felt which will be the next step. That is, after I finish off the top of the lighthouse in that corner. It’s so enjoyable sitting on the deck listening to my book and stitching on this.

Acquisitions

When we were checking out the flooring and tiles at showrooms near Spotlight, I ducked in to get the remaining buttons for my Seamwork Audrey jacket. I actually got the wrong ones – red copper instead of the bronze ones so I had to change them when I took the flooring samples back. At this point, I had decided that I needed some lingerie elastic and I even took advantage of the 40% fabric sale. Here you see I got some rayon/spandex knit in the Big Cat colourway to make another Tessuti Monroe top. I think I have heaps and may also get something else out of this, at least some knickers! I also got a remnant of some cotton linen jersey in the olive Sketch Spot colourway. There’s only 0.75m of that so I am not sure yet what it will grow up to be. And you can see my knicker elastic there too. It should last me a little while, especially if I don’t particularly like making knickers!

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Paraphernalia

I was able to join in with a few Zoom meetings in the past week. Tuesday night I caught up with some friends, on Wednesday morning I joined the International Virtual Knit Night and yesterday afternoon I chatted with the Australia Virtual Knit Night girls. I am limiting myself to half an hour on each of these due to data limitations. It’s not ideal as I’d prefer much more time but a little bit is definitely better than none!

I finished listening to the latest Jack Reacher novel – Blue Moon by Lee Child. As usual, this book took me for a wild ride and it was thoroughly enjoyable. My next book is the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. I can’t remember where I got this recommendation but it sounded good. So far, I have only listened to about an hour therefore I can’t make a call on that yet. Again, due to data limitations, I’ve only watched the odd podcast, being very selective on which ones I pick.

This week I’ll again be participating in a few Zoom meetings and on Tuesday we are booked in to finalise some bathroom fittings and fixtures, like taps, toilets and bath. We’re not up to choosing vanities yet as I may be getting those through the kitchen people. I say “booked in” because not many places allow you to just walk in at the moment due to limits of customers allowed inside. You have to make appointments. Tuesday night will be a Book Club Messenger video chat which will be very interesting and, again, for about half an hour only. I really need to join as the books we are talking about were my selections.

I know that a lot of places overseas are starting to lift restrictions and there is a great deal of talk about that here too. That both excites and scares me! I so wish to get back to normal but I’m concerned about a spike in numbers once people are gathering again – I imagine there will be a lot of people taking advantage of the lifting of restrictions. I suppose we will have to be diligent about washing hands and not touching faces. It’s time now for me to move onto other things, like researching induction cooktops, ovens and dishwashers, and all the other things so, until next week, I hope you are all safe and healthy and you are enjoying all the opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 19 April 2020. #91

Hello friends! Welcome to my new normal. On Thursday, it was two weeks since we moved in here at Bawley and on Friday I realised that it takes me two weeks to get into a new routine. After four moves in 8 weeks, I have worked that out. The first three moves were in three weeks so there was no routine for those three weeks. Each place has been different and that is why I’ve needed a new routine each time. Here, I have found that my favourite place is sitting on the little deck listening to the birds and getting some well-needed vitamin D. I’m not sure how long that will last as the temperature is dropping – as long as the sun shines, it shouldn’t be a problem as this little corner (I now call it my office) has the sun most of the day. I have been starting the day with breakfast in “my office”, while I work out what I’ll do for the day – after my beach run, that is. The new normal also includes Zoom a few times a week and only since I’ve upped my data limit on my phone. It’s not unlimited, which is what we had at home, so I need to time these Zoom meetings. I found an hour takes more than a GB. I’m working on a limit of about 1 GB per day. You can see our family Zoom and also my group of close friends that craft together. I also have two Virtual Knit Night Zoom groups that I’ll be getting back into now too.

I’ve had a couple of different beach views this week but mainly the two just near me. On Tuesday we had to go up to the house for more detail decisions. We stopped on the way back, firstly for a walk out to the point at Cunjarong, then for some groceries and lunch. Again, we had pies for lunch this time while looking out at Dolphin Point. I am certainly looking forward to cafes reopening!

I have been enjoying all the cooking posts on Instagram and have now made two things from #notquitenigella. The first were the hot cross buns before Easter and yesterday I made Lorraine’s Dutch Curry and Rice Pumpkin Soup. It was really yummy though I should have rinsed the rice as she directed. It turned out a little bit more glutinous than it should be but I just added more water to thin it out a bit. I’m also inspired by the recipes from The Recipe Tin and may explore some of those too. I think this COVID 19 #stayathome situation has more people cooking these days.

The house continues to progress at a very good rate. Most of the outside walls are on and the roof is finished. We have to decide on pretty much everything now as it will start going together all at once. We have to finalise lighting details on Tuesday so that is another trip up to the house and we’ll take that opportunity to look at tiles, bathroom fittings, etc. I have decided on an induction cooktop so I’ll need to pick kitchen appliances too!

Knitting

After getting a couple of finished projects into the mail this week I pretty much focussed on getting my Kettle Valley poncho finished. I reached the point where I think the body ribbing should start and finished binding that off last night. I’ve now picked up the neck stitches and I’m working on the collar ribbing. It’s very hard to see how this will look from the picture below but I’ll put some modelled pics on once it’s finished. I think it may be a bit bigger than it should be but, as it’s supposed to be oversized, I think it will be OK. It’s going to be a cosy lounging item so it won’t matter that it’s a bit big. I ran out of the blue on the sleeves so I’ve done the body and neck ribbing in a magenta yarn that I’d dyed at some point. I think I’ll add a few rounds on the edge of the sleeve ribbing to match.

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The only other knitting this week has been on the Ciqala cardigan sleeves. Now that I’ve worked out where the decreases should be, as I’m doing this all backwards, it won’t take long to finish. Then I’ll start on the next one in the cream yarn. That one shouldn’t take anywhere near as long as I have it all worked out now.

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Coming up: I was going to cast on my next pair of Drifting Snow mittens the other day using some Blackwattle Myrtle 8 ply (100% alpaca) but I remembered that I hadn’t caked up the skein. Lucky I have my swift and ball winder with me! The only problem was that I couldn’t find anywhere I could set them up. In the end, they fit nicely on the handrail in “my outdoor office” and it was such a beautiful day that I skeined up that yarn and some more silk for my Garland top that has been waiting patiently for some caked yarn. The other project that will be making its debut probably this week is the Koivua sweater by Boyland Knitworks (aka Caitlin Hunter). I have had this yarn waiting since last year and I was recently inspired by my friend #manakori_creations who has just finished hers. The main yarn is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Tweed in the Down Heather colourway and the contrast is some leftover KnitPicks Provincial Tweed from the Nightshift Shawl that I finished last year. I think I will continue with my Ranunculus II before casting this on as I only have to finish the sleeves. With that and my Kettle Valley poncho finished I’ll have some vacant spots in my WIP line up!

Spinning

The Wren and Ollie Rolags are now finished and skeined up ready for my handspun pile. I haven’t yet worked out yardage so I’ll get that done this week. It’s a reasonably loose ply but fortunately not too loose.

This load of Ashford fibre has finally been plied and skeined. This one started out as a spindle spin but I finished it on my wheel. Again, I haven’t worked out yardage yet but it will go nicely with a few other similar Ashford skeins I have in different colours. I’m thinking it may be good for a Stonecrop cardigan. I have the sweater pattern but was thinking I’d steek it for a cardigan instead.

My next spin is now underway. I mentioned last week that this November club fibre from Ixchel Fibres and Yarns would be next. I wanted to split the 300+ grams into three main colourways and it kind of worked, as you can see in the photo below. The blue seems to be spinning up with not too much blue but it’s looking great. I only have a small amount left of that one to go and then I’ll start on either the pink/peach or the green/yellow lot. I intend to chain ply these – not my most comfortable way of plying but I reckon 300 grams of it should make me better at it!

Sewing

The Audrey jacket is now finished! Well, kind of – I need two more buttons and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get them so, for now, this is finished. It wasn’t hard to put the buttons on but I did have a blowout on one. Robert suggested I shouldn’t be hammering on the little wooden outdoor table (with an old tea towel underneath, of course) and suggested doing it on the concrete. The instruction video showed using a piece of timber underneath and it seems the concrete was just too hard. I only had the right number of buttons so that was one less and I had lost one of the little lugs that secure the buttons from the back, making two less. I think I lost it at the last place we were staying so couldn’t even look for it. I will still be able to wear it without these two buttons. The sleeves are a bit long but, for a wearable muslin, it’s pretty good. I would feel comfortable making another one of these.

I had been putting off my next sewing project until I’d finished the jacket so I have now moved onto that one – the Sheath dress from an old Inspirations Magazine. The name of the dress is just a generic one, meaning a straight up and down type dress though it sounds much more exotic. It has contrast shoulder panels (not shown here) with piping in between. I had bought some bias binding for the piping and then decided I wouldn’t bother with it. That is until I realised that the piping is an integral part of the construction. Lucky I had this bias binding, otherwise I would have made some. The piping starts at the neck on both the front and back next to the shoulder panel and is joined by the side seams, finishing off the sleeve holes. I had already traced the pattern last week so it just needed cutting. The fabric I had wasn’t wide enough to do the front and the back pieces in one strip each so I decided to cut the back into two sections with, essentially, a waist seam. Now that I think about it, I might have been able to do it if I’d moved the front to the other end of the fabric. It doesn’t really matter as it will still work like this. I have cut the facing and shoulder panels out of the contrasting blue fabric. It should be easy to put together – so far I’ve only done step one which is adding the binding. I have some leftovers so maybe a little girl dress is on the cards.

I hadn’t intended to cut out the Pietra pants just yet but I needed some brown fabric for the Paper Doll quilt (update down below) so I wanted to see if I had any of this fabric leftover. As it turns out I had enough from a couple of small offcuts and still about half a metre of extra fabric. I had to grade this pattern from a 12 waist down to a 10 hip and that was slowing me down. As I needed the fabric, I forced myself to go for it, not having graded previously. Looking at it incessantly wasn’t going to make it easier so I went for the cut. I had also shortened the rise by 2cms and that was confusing in itself, as it meant doing that on almost all the pieces. I hope to start on this one later in the week as the dress should be pretty quick.

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Patchwork

This project could fall into many categories but the ultimate result is a “patchwork” quilt so I’m going with it here. The Paper Doll quilt is coming along nicely. I had the body ready last week but was waiting for the background fabric before I could go much further. I made the underwear and, using the scraps from Pietra pants fabric, I made the hair. I originally was going to use wool felt for the hair but I didn’t have enough brown to cut all the pieces, hence the search for brown fabric. The pattern uses velcro type fabric for the underwear but I wasn’t able to get any of that. Instead, I’m going to add a strip of the soft velcro across the waist and shoulders, using the hook side of the velcro on the clothes. All the doll pieces are ready and I have the background fabric so it’s just a matter of stitching on each layer now. My workbench for laying out and pinning is the in-house ironing board which is small and rocky but it’s doing the job! The top of the quilt will be done this week and I hope to start quilting the background before next Sunday. I won’t be quilting on the actual doll so that section won’t be quilted on the backing. Maybe I’ll do some hand quilting on those sections so that they’re not too big.

Stitching

There has been progress on my Round the Garden quilt and I’m still enjoying it. I’ve not quite finished the quarter outer border as I had intended by now but I’m very close. I was distracted by the left quadrant that I hadn’t finished and it’s nearly done now as well. I am adding the embroidery in between and around the houses. I’ll start the next section soon or maybe fill that last little wedge that is not done yet.

Acquisitions

Thank goodness for mail orders. I received my Spotlight order on Friday and it appears that they were quite generous. Yes, you are seeing double, because they sent double! This is the wadding, backing and border for the Paper Doll quilt and the pink isn’t exactly what I thought I was getting – it’s a bit hard to tell when ordering from a thumbnail pic. It is suitable though and I’m not going to be able to get anything else just yet so I’m going with it.

Paraphernalia

It didn’t take me very long to finish listening to “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood even though it was over 13 hours worth. I really didn’t want to “put it down” and listened at every opportunity. This book is basically the finale of The Handmaid’s Tale and, though the ending was quite tidy, it kept me engaged the whole way. I also enjoyed the different style which was basically the story narrated in diary form by different characters. Since finishing that one I’ve now started a new book – Blue Moon by Lee Child. This is the latest novel in the “Jack Reacher” series and promises to be a good palate cleanser. I’ve started watching some podcasts again but I’m being very selective due to my limited data allowance. Last night, we were lucky enough to see The King’s Speech on free-to-air TV and it was great. It’s rare to get something as good as that but I’ll keep my eye out for some more gems from now.

This week promises to be more of the same, which I think is the situation for everyone at the moment. I am looking forward to restrictions being lifted but at the same time not wanting this to happen before it’s the right time. I’m particularly looking forward to hugging all my family and friends – it’s times like these when you realise that all this is normally taken for granted. I hope everyone is keeping well and sane and, until next week, I hope you are enjoying the many opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 12 April 2020. #90

Happy Easter everybody! I hope that you are all having a wonderful day even though it’s not how we usually celebrate. The kids and Robert and I will be having an evening session online tonight to catch up, from three different locations up the east coast of NSW.

This week has been very quiet though we did have a couple of outings. On Monday we drove up to sort out some issues with the house and called in at the storage shed for a couple of bits and pieces. We were there over lunch and ended up getting pies from a bakery as cafes are not an option at the moment. We couldn’t sit out anywhere to eat them so we parked at the boat ramp and ate them in the car. We also visited the supermarket for some items. On Thursday we had another essential travel morning when we visited a kitchen place and discussed the kitchen and laundry cupboards as well as the vanities. That was followed by a quick visit to a tile shop. I think I have worked out where I’m headed with these now. Other than that, I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on the little deck in the sunshine. I’ve also kept my eyes open for local flowers on my walks though, as the weather is cooling, they are not very common. I was quite surprised to see many hibiscuses as I thought they were warmer weather flowers. Must be the tail end of them.

Since we arrived here I’ve managed to go for a beach run every day except for one (it was raining and I did a workout inside instead) but I have been to the beach every day at least once. Here is a week of beaches – there are only two beaches shown but they are beautiful.

I was recently inspired by Annabel Crabb to check out NotQuiteNigella and her wonderful recipes. So much that on Tuesday I made her hot cross buns recipe. This one uses a Japanese roux method and I’m not sure I quite nailed it. The buns came out perfectly for the first day but they grew heavier with each passing day. Two people just can’t eat 17 buns that quickly! The last five are going to become bread and butter pudding tonight. NotQuiteNigella has some awesome recipes and I hope to make the Dutch Curry and Rice Pumpkin soup next but I’ll need to get some more pumpkin first.

House Update: These photos are from Monday and I know there has been more progress since. The decking was about to be put down as I took the photo below so that’s done now. Most of the roof is now on and I think all windows have been installed but one which came in the wrong size. The outer cladding is being started this coming week. It’s all moving very quickly which is great but decisions need to be made now!

Knitting

This week it seems I’ve been working on all the little projects, apart from a few rows on my Kettle Valley poncho. That one doesn’t look any different so I haven’t added a photo of it. I have made some progress on the Habitation throw and the stitches are increasing exponentially. That means that it will slow down. I’ve been using up leftover bits of yarn though that will have to end soon as the quantity needed is growing with each increase. I have been changing yarn after every 10 rows but I’m not sure I’ll be able to maintain that. The pattern suggests just changing yarns when you finish each but I wanted a more uniformed look.

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Finished Object #1: I have finished the first pair of Drifting Snow mitts – I just need to sew in the ends and I think I will block these as they are a gift. Hopefully, they’ll be in the post on Tuesday.

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Finished Object #2: The Rye Light toddler socks are finished too – again, except for the ends. I mentioned last week my preference is for toe-up socks and these are a case in point! The pattern calls for 4 inches before starting the heel flap and I thought that may be a bit much but kept to the pattern. The foot needed to be 5 inches before starting the toe and I was getting very short of yarn, of which I thought I had heaps left. Unfortunately, when I got to the end part of the sock blank there were a couple of breaks and I decided that there were too many ends to join. I tinked back to the first break and chose a contrasting yarn to use for the toe. I found out that Evie’s foot is not as long as the pattern calls for so I was able to get away with a shorter foot, though I added a couple of rows of contrast before starting the toe. If I’d been knitting in the other direction I would have been able to do shorty sock instead. I’m going to try reverse-engineering the next pair instead. Check out the almost perfect kitchener toe join! I used a YouTube tutorial from Suzanne Bryan and it’s worked the best.

I’ve almost finished the body on the little Ciqala cardigan. It took some semi-serious calculations to work out what stitches I should have to separate the sleeves but, once that was done, it was smooth sailing. I’m almost at the point of the garter hem now. Then onto reverse engineering the sleeves.

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As I may have mentioned many times in the past, I hate sewing on knitting and that goes for buttons too. I finished this Anna’s Summer cardigan several weeks ago and I have only just added the buttons yesterday. It’s a gorgeous cardigan and I could even make another one, maybe without the little eyelets. I hope to get this and the socks into the mail on Tuesday too.

Spinning

So, I finally got to use my tensioned lazy kate and it works a treat! I finished off this latest spin which started on the spindle. I’ve come to the conclusion that spindle spinning is way too slow for me and I finished it on the wheel a little while back. I’ve only just gotten to plying it because of all the house moves and I wanted to ply my newest spin but I had run out of the bobbins I like. The colour isn’t showing well – it’s more on the maroon side as shown in the wet hanging picture. This was an Ashford fibre pack – I’ve previously done another couple and still have a couple to do so I may use them all in the same project, individual weights permitting.

I am so close to finishing my Wren and Ollie rolag spin! I spent 2 separate hours plying yesterday and it came to dinnertime before I got it finished. There is very little left (bottom picture) but I’m almost full on the bobbin. This was 115 grams and I normally do 100 grams on each bobbin. I should be able to squeeze in the last bit! I was concerned at doing a two-ply with this but I think it’s turned out really well. I can’t wait to see it in the skein.

My next spin is waiting in the wings. I have been thinking about how to spin this 300+ grams and I think I’ve settled on the way forward. As I can only do 100 grams on each bobbin I think I’ll divide it into three sections. There seem to be three main colours – pink, blue and yellow-green, so I’ll pull strips and group them like that and hopefully will end up with three 100-ish grams of each colour. This fibre from Ixchel Yarns and Fibres is so lush! It’s made up of merino, angora, cashmere, silk, shell fibre (Chitin), Flemish sheep and Angelina. Don’t ask me what Chitin is, but I’ll have to google it.

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Sewing

Finally reaching the end of my Audrey jacket and I’ve come to a slight standstill. All I had left to do was the buttonholes – tick, and add the jeans buttons – where do I find a hammer? I’ll have to see if there’s a hammer in the garage here. I’m hoping my brother-in-law has one in there and then it will be all finished! I do have a couple of threads that need tying off and I’d like to catch the top inside corner of the pocket bag to the side seam. I learned two things about buttonholes while doing this – 1) they are very easy to do with my Janome buttonhole attachment, and 2) unpicking a buttonhole is not as scary as I thought. I had a couple of issues where I bumped the reversing lever that sits against the buttonhole attachment which caused the machine to go into reverse before it was supposed to. It wasn’t hard to remove the stitching and start it again, times two. I tried it on for the very first time yesterday and it fits fine with room to add a jumper. For a lightweight jacket though I could probably have done a size down. There’s no problem having a jean jacket a little bit bigger. The pieces went together perfectly except for the cuffs. I found that there was extra fabric in the sleeve and turned the inside opening over one more hem which made it the right length to fit the cuff pieces. I’m looking forward to moving onto my next item for #thegreatmodulesewalong which is my Sheath dress.

Patchwork

I’ve had my eye on a Paper Doll Quilt project for some time now and I decided that it’s a perfect isolation project. I ended up going with this one, though I think there may be others. The pattern came as a pdf (115MB!) and it was only the doll/quilt. I thought they may have included some clothes patterns but I should be able to make some of those easily enough. One thing that has me frustrated while the house is being built is having all my supplies buried. I have some stuff accessible but I couldn’t have it all accessible. It’s just every now and then – like this time, I know I’d be able to just get my hands on whatever I need. In this case, I needed fabric for the background and the border. I found I had some fabric for the doll and a couple of other bits and pieces but I ordered some things from Spotlight. The doll is sewn together and inverted but I didn’t want to use the fabric I was using for the “skin” colour for the backing as that may have been a bit thick. When I ordered the wadding, background and border fabric I forgot that I wanted some lawn to use as the backing of the pieces. Fortunately, I found that there was a fabric shop open when I was in Ulladulla and was able to grab some. Spotlight is too far away for a quick visit at the moment. 

Anyway – the pattern. It’s quite comprehensive, though I’m still confused about the pocket, but I had an issue printing it because it’s been done only for US Letter size. That meant that the right sides of the pages were not printed. I had to guess the gap in between for the body and the head. I think it worked out in the end. So now that I have a body and a head, I’ll move onto the underwear and velcro fixtures, and maybe some clothes, until the rest of the fabric arrives.

Stitching

Early this week I decided it was high time I moved on with my Round the Garden quilt. I had come to a stalemate with the circles – I’ve run out of some sizes and I can’t freehand cut now that a third of them are perfectly cut. I’ll need to wait until the isolation is over to borrow the cutting machine. I also need to decide what will go into the final sector of the centre circle. I have something in mind and need to explore it further. I felt I needed a change and, as I’d had most of these bits ready waiting, I thought I would start on those. I’m really enjoying sitting in the afternoon sun on the deck, listening to my book and stitching on these. I had to do the lighthouse on the left before I could put them on – the lighthouses mark each quarter circumference so that I can space out the bits in between. I still have some embroidery that I’ll need to do once these bits are on but I’ll do that once all the pins are removed. I hope to be starting on the pieces for the next quarter by the next blog.

Paraphernalia

Life is a little different at the moment. Since we’ve had to move (again) we’ve had very little data to work with. Today I upgraded my data plan so that I could enjoy some of what I had been enjoying previously though I will still need to be a bit careful. It’s amazing what you can take for granted! I’ve been watching the downloaded episodes of Grace and Frankie and having a bit of a giggle. I finished the Linwood Barclay novel, A Noise Downstairs, yesterday and though I enjoyed it, I don’t think it was as good as the last one I’d read. I have barely started Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. It’s written in a different style to a normal novel, the story being told by many people from each perspective. I’ve heard it’s an excellent book so I’m looking forward to getting into it. I’ve abandoned all my normal podcasts but may selectively start to watch a few now that I have more data.

Wow, so much content this week! I have enjoyed the extra crafting time but I’m finding I need several breaks and the walks on the beach fit the bill nicely. I have been very saddened by what this pandemic is doing around the northern hemisphere. I feel very grateful that Australia is keeping the numbers down but I’m also fearful that moving into winter will spark a new wave. I hope everyone is keeping well. Until next week, I hope you enjoy all the opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 5 April 2020. #89

Hello friends! Welcome back to Bawley Point. We relocated this week and are settling into this house again after our 4th move in 8 weeks. Though we are a fair distance from the house build it’s a fantastic spot to spend our social distancing time. The beach is around the corner and it’s a beautiful one – as most beaches on the south coast are!

We had stayed just over a month at our last place with a planned total of four and a half months. Unfortunately, the COVID19 social distancing rules curtailed our friends’ trip and they had to come home. I had unpacked a lot of my fabric, yarn and other bits and pieces with a view to settling in with it. So the Easter bunnies were packed up for the trip and most of my stuff went back into the storage shed. I’m not sure if the bunnies are going to get to their recipients! I did get to bake a cake before we left – an almond yoghurt cake with a layer of apples in the middle – kind of made up based on a recipe. I have set up my new-new sewing space and I have been using it. There are lots of birds around here and yesterday we were visited by two beautiful king parrots. One is front on and the other is showing the blue of its tail feathers.

I’ve started getting out for a jog again, yesterday and today, and it’s definitely been worth it. It’s so much easier to get out onto the beach while we’re here. Daylight Savings ended for us yesterday and I love sunlight in the early mornings. The mornings have been so dark lately and the return of this early light is going to disappear as the next couple of months move into winter.

The house build is progressing well despite the social distancing requirement. Builders are allowed to work 7 days a week at the moment as long as they social distance on the site. (Captions with each photo) The roof was due to start yesterday but I’m not sure if it rained there or not. The cladding is ready to go on too, so the house will look very different when we next see it! I have to go and look at tiles next. I think those shops are still open.

Knitting

My Kettle Valley poncho was my go-to knitting before the move. Working round and round in stockinette was about all I could manage while thinking of what we needed to get done in just a few days. And there was less time to sit and knit. You can see how the bottom of the poncho is growing. It will be loose and flowy as it’s very wide!

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I did get some work done on the Ciqala cardigan. Working this pattern backwards used up considerable brain space so I only really worked on it early in the week. I was so focussed on getting the pattern and increases correct, tinking back every couple of rows till I got it right, that I missed a buttonhole. That’s when I put it aside and focussed on the move. I have marked where the buttonhole needs to be and will drop down to add it this afternoon. I also forgot to use garter stitch for the button band after the collar and dropped down 6 rows to change 7 knit stitches into purls on both sides of the cardigan. You can see the before and after pics. These two pics are showing in the correct colour – the full photo is much too baby blue. There are 8 stitches in the button band but I wasn’t confident to drop down on the edge stitch and it’s not noticeable. I don’t have long now before I need to split for the sleeves.

During my last session on the International Virtual Knit Nights (IVKN) Zoom meeting last Monday (we don’t have wifi here at Bawley Point) I knitted up the hand of the Drifting Snow mitt. Again, when I got to the decreasing this was also put aside for after the move. Yesterday, I finished the hand and the thumb and then moved on to the next mitt, once I found the 3.25mm 9″ circular needle, which was where it was supposed to be! I obviously didn’t have a mummy look first up which made me look everywhere else. The changes I made in the pattern worked well and I have notes to follow for this next mitt. I’ll add those to the Ravelry project page at some point.

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New Cast-on #1: While rummaging through my fingering yarn leftovers in my Kettle Valley poncho bag I had decided that I wanted to make some toddler socks with a couple of the leftover sock blanks that I have. I thought it best to do that before the remaining yarn is put into the poncho so I cast on the Rye Light socks by Tin Can Knits. These socks have a garter panel up the front but I decided to knit them vanilla for this time. I just want to find a basic toddler pattern that I like. These have a heel flap and are knit from the top down. I normally prefer toe-up socks but I’m happy to do them either way. Doing them toe-up, you can decide how long the leg will be without running out of yarn. The other way, you have to have plenty of yarn to finish the foot.

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New Cast-on #2: I have cast on the Habitation throw by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. Helen offered this pattern up for free to keep people happy and occupied during the social distancing. I have been eying off this pattern since she released it – needless to say, I grabbed it. It’s an easy knit and the perfect pattern for advent minis or leftover fingering yarn. There will be plenty of fingering yarn left after my Kettle Valley poncho is finished so I couldn’t wait to cast this on. The pattern uses an i-cord edge but it’s different to how I normally do it – a chance to learn something new.

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Spinning

I’m down to the last rolag of this Wren & Ollie fibre now. I have been getting my hour each weekday watching The Millionaire Hot Seat, though I’m a bit annoyed that they are showing repeats most days. I’m looking forward to getting this yarn plied as I think it will be pretty. I’m thinking a two-ply will work just fine even if they don’t perfectly align. It may be a bit barber poled but should still look good.

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Sewing

I didn’t realise how much I have gotten done on my Audrey jacket until I looked back at the pics for this week. This is how it looks now. It needs the waistband and cuffs, then the buttonholes and button, and it will be done.

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I have enjoyed following the steps on the Seamwork class for this project. It has made this much easier than I expected. It’s a great way of “eating the elephant” one bite at a time. Some days I do one class, then others I may get two or three smaller ones done. These pics show my bites for this week.

On Friday I spent the day setting up the sewing area and didn’t want to start yet so I thought it a good opportunity to get my next sewing project traced. I’m using a pattern from Inspiration magazine by Bernina from 2014. The Sheath dress is a very simple pattern that uses only 4 pattern pieces. It has contrast shoulder sections otherwise the pattern would only have had three pieces. Once the Audrey jacket is complete I’ll be cutting this one out. It is the next piece (#4) for my #thegreatmodulesewalong module. I haven’t cut out the pattern for the Pietra pants yet as I need to grade them from a 12 waist to a 10 hip. As most of the many pieces are through this section it has put me off a bit so, again, I’ll go for the quick win with the Sheath dress and then work on the pants. I still want to make the corduroy skirt for the module but I haven’t worked out which one yet.

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Acquisitions

I found some jeans that I really like and they were 30% off for their introductory price. The Eddystone Jeans by Itch to Stitch tick all my boxes – it says they are high-rise but looking at the picture not too high-rise, not too skinny jeans and look fairly simple. TomKat Stitchery tested this pattern and I liked how hers looked. She also likes using this pattern company which is new to me. I’ll give them a go and see how they fit. This project is not imminent but definitely on the list. I have some stonewashed denim and I’ll have to see if there is enough.

Paraphernalia

During my IVKN session on Monday, Phil mentioned that someone (sorry, didn’t get the name) had set up a system of working on each of their WIPs for 12 hours straight in turn to get them done. I think that’s a great idea but 12 hours is a bit much for me. I like to work on several things each day so I think what will work for me is 1 hour at a time. I have a few small things I want to finish and send off so I think they will qualify for the 1 hour and anything else I’ll do for half an hour, just to keep them on a roll. When I was working, I would set myself a schedule for each night on what I want to work on and for how long, depending on their priority so this is sort of the same thing but now I don’t have a limited time for my crafting.

It will be a real holiday now that we are here. The house is small, so takes less time to clean, and I don’t have two bed and breakfast rooms to look after anymore. That will give me plenty of time to do my crafting, along with resting and getting some opportunities for outside exercise. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t have wifi here, just Robert’s accumulated mobile data. Once we get through a bit of that I’m going to organise some sort of mobile wifi. I’m not sure how long we’ll be here but it will be for at least 2 months. Before leaving last week I downloaded some shows from Netflix. I downloaded a season each of The Witcher, The Blacklist and Grace and Frankie. Since arriving here I have been working through The Blacklist. I also have some podcasts left to listen to, though new ones won’t automatically download now. I do have several books downloaded on my phone so they will be keeping me company as well.

I really didn’t think I had much to chat about this week but, as usual, I ended up with plenty! It’s time now to get back to my relaxing social isolation so, until next week, I hope you are all well and are spending plenty of time on your creative pleasures!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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