Sunday 1 December 2019. #71

Hello friends! This week has been a whirlwind of social events. Monday started with a ride over to Huskisson for some laps then a catch-up breakfast. On Tuesday, I met up with my friend Sue from Canberra and a couple of her friends in Berry for lunch and some shopping. It was a very hot day with storms and hot winds throughout the day. On Tuesday night I met up with some girlfriends for a surprise birthday dinner.

I met up with my girlfriend Mary in Ulladulla for lunch on Wednesday, then on Thursday Rob and I drove to Sydney to stay with our daughter Erin and her husband Shaun for a couple of days before attending my work reunion yesterday. I haven’t worked there for over 30 years but we were a very social bunch and that hasn’t changed. On Friday I had a good workout session at Shaun’s gym in Balmain, Accelerate Strength. Definitely a whirlwind week!

Knitting

Advent Knitting: I opened my first advent from the Willow and the Wisp chakra advent kit and it’s a beautiful deep red! Red is the root chakra which relates to self-awareness and survival. It’s the most stimulating of all the colours. I’m excited to start on this today. I’m doing the Outline wrap by Beata Jezek for Hedgehog fibres, which is a free pattern. I may reduce the stitch count so that I’m sure I get enough length. My other “advent” is the one I dyed myself. I’m starting that one today also, on the Olilia shawl with some modifications. This may take a little trial and error so I’ll report in next week on how it goes.

I finally finished picking up stitches along the bottom of the top section of the Lunae shawl. The first half was much harder than the second half – I think it’s the shape of the edge stitch that makes the difference in each direction. I then had to decide which colours I was going to use. I decided on the new colour which is a yellowy pale lime colour, very similar to one I’d already used and also a dark magenta that I haven’t used yet. I’ve weighed these to see how much I will need for the other mosaic stripes. The main mosaic panel on this section will be using the blue and white yarn.

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My Songbird shawl got a lot of love this week. I’ve reached the end of the pattern and have about three-quarters of the second skein left. I found that that this skein of yarn is a lighter weight than the first. I would say the first skein was a true fingering weight whereas this skein is more like a light fingering. Aside from that, it’s still knitting up nicely. I’ll keep knitting and add a few sections. I’ve stopped at this point as I will need to weigh the yarn as I go along so that there is enough left for the picot bind-off and the tassels. I finished the last garter section two rows shorter than required and am adding a small section of the garter stripe section before starting on the slanted stitch section. I also want to finish with some garter stripe and/or garter before the picot. It’s not as large as I’d like so I’m happy to keep going.

New Cast-on: I saw some cute Rose City Roller Littles socks and decided to cast them on. I had plenty of my Fibernymph Dyeworks yarn leftover. I don’t have any reliable 2.25mm needles so decided to use my normal 2.5mm and just do the second size instead of the third size. Well, that may be good for now but I’m thinking that Evie will have bigger feet by next winter and so I probably should have done a larger size. These will be a lovely gift for a little person and I’ll make Evie some others. I did try to do the heel in a contrasting yarn but found that, with the pattern as is, I had to cut the yarn three or four times to achieve the right look. In the end, I just frogged that heel turn and flap and rejoined the yarn to continue with the main stripe yarn. They are so cute though the cuff doesn’t curl as much as it shows in the pictures. It may be a good idea to start the cuff with larger needles.

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My faithful take anywhere Garland sweater also got some love. It’s the only straight vanilla knitting I have at the moment and is good when chatting and socialising. I must see how far I have to knit before separating for the sleeves so that I don’t overshoot the mark!

Sleeves are growing slowly on my Turtle Dove sweater. It’s not a project that I’ve been gravitating to in the warm weather lately. I want to try it on every so often so that I can judge the decreases on the sleeves that I’m adding. The pattern doesn’t decrease at all. Trying on is a bit of a nuisance as I need to add another needle to the body as I haven’t finished that section and one of the sleeves then needs to be put onto another needle. You can see my pic below – not fantastic quality but the sleeves are going OK. I just need to decide how much I’m going to decrease. I’ll check out some of the other projects on Ravelry.

Spinning

I have skeined up and soaked my Wren & Ollie spin, and I’m a little disappointed at the slight lack of spin in the ply, yet again. When I’m plying it feels like it’s over-spinning the yarn but I’ll need to hang onto it a little longer than I have been. It’s turned out as maybe a sport weight to light fingering weight. It finished at 546m and weighs 106 grams. Apart from that, I think this will go well as the contrasting yarn in an Andrea Mowra Stonecrop cardigan. I have the sweater pattern and I think I’d like to make it as a cardigan by steeking it. I haven’t done that yet and it’s been on my list of things to learn.

Sewing

This week I sewed up one of the Racerback dresses that I’d cut out. This is a size one and Miss Evie has worn it already. It was an easy sew but the small size made it quite fiddly on the overlocker. The larger size should be easier to put together. I also finished the little bag I made for her. I had cut it out quite large and then cut a fair bit off it. In the end, it was still a little bigger than I was intending but I think Evie is enjoying it.

Paraphernalia

This week I put together a couple of advent boxes. I gave the one on the left to my friend Mary with the mini skeins I had dyed along with some candles. The one on the right was for my daughter and I have one more to put together for this week. It was a lot of fun doing these. I have more ideas for next year.

I finished up watching the latest season of The Crown on Netflix, which I enjoyed. I’m wondering what the royals think about the show as it’s quite revealing if it’s all true. I have now started watching an Australian show called Total Control on ABC iView. I also finished listening to Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and can highly recommend it. I haven’t started my next book but I think it will be No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay. I’ve heard he writes in a similar fashion to Harlan Coben and I thoroughly enjoyed all of his books.

Today I’m having lunch in Sydney with my school friends as the socialising continues. This week is my Evie minding week and I’m looking forward to it. I’m also hoping for a quiet week for a change, to get some new house planning done. Enough of the babbling now! I’m off to get ready for lunch so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 24 November 2019. #70

Hello friends! What a fun week I’ve had. I babysat Evie on Tuesday and Wednesday and had the pleasure of joining in with her swimming lesson. That was a great experience to share with her.  On Wednesday, we had a lovely time at the park and spotting the dogs and birds on our walk. My friend, Julie, and I rode to Huskisson for coffee on Thursday morning and then I had lunch with some other friends, again at Huskisson.

On Friday, I finally took the plunge and rode to Huskisson for some laps in the saltwater pool. I’d been going to do that for a few weeks now but was concerned at the water temperature. When I realised that my friend Carol had been swimming for a couple of weeks, she reassured me that it was nice. I can confirm that and hope to keep it up a couple of times a week during the warm weather. Last night was party night when we attended a surprise birthday party for our friend Annette. It was a great night out and I may need to have a nap today to catch up on some sleep!

Knitting

This week, I’ve been working on a couple of projects only. The Turtle Dove sweater needs to be tried on and that hasn’t happened, so it’s been having a little break. I have made considerable progress on my Songbird shawl. I finished the first skein and am a few rows into the second. It’s hard to say at this point but I don’t think the pattern will use up all the second skein. I’ll wait and see because it would be easy enough to add a repeat of something but it also has tassels so that could utilise the remaining yarn by itself. I was surprised at how easy the stitch patterns were once you know what it’s supposed to look like. The first repeat of each of the two different stitches was confusing but then it was easy to remember so now I know what I need to be doing each row.

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I’ve made no progress on the Lunae shawl as I tried picking up stitches again, this time having too many. I think what I need to do now is to quarter each half so that I know how many stitches I should have in each small section. Here’s hoping that the third attempt will be successful! My vanilla knitting this week was the Garland top. It is slow but steady progress. The constant knitting in the round makes it easy for any social occasion, even while Evie is eating her lunch. She’s getting used to Nonna’s knitting now (Nonna = me).

New Cast On: (And almost finished project!) I have been thinking about some gift baby knitting and was inspired by the Hey Sister Podcast to knit up the Kimono Nur, which is a kimono jacket for babies. The newborn size is a free pattern. I thought I’d give it a try to see how it would come out for size so that I could adjust if necessary. The pattern on Ravelry costs 12.99 Euros which would be about $25 and I think that is a bit much for a baby kimono, even if it is so damn cute. For this one, I am using the Ready for Winter yarn by Bendigo Woollen Mills that I’d used for the Preparer son Arrivee cardigan for Evie. I thought I could keep this one for a winter newborn – there are a few babies coming along. The recipient of my next Kimono Nur is due in March so I was thinking they will need more a 3-6 months size for winter. I’m hoping I may be able to achieve that by going up a size in needles as the newborn one seems dense enough that the fabric should still be suitable. I have about 9 rows more to knit but 2 rows to tink back as I just noticed I should have stopped increasing 2 rows ago. Then it will need seaming up the sides and sleeves. Yes, seaming is my least favourite part of knitting.

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I had recently made a sample Bitty Baby Booty  (a free pattern) from some leftover yarn. This is the style of booty that the recipient’s mother fell in love with and it worked out nicely. I’d like to make the Kimono Nur, these Bitty Baby Booties and a Twister Bonnet to match. I think I could do the bonnet in garter stitch to match rather than the twist pattern. I will end up making the other Bitty Booty as they will be a nice gift too but there’s not enough of that yarn to make the set. You can see the little buttonhole – I’ll have to find some cute buttons for them.

It’s nearly December and I’m looking forward to using my advent minis. I dyed them over the last couple of months. In the last few days, I have been wondering what to do with them and I have decided to make the Olilia shawl with some modifications. I thought I’d look for a free pattern (or one that I already have) and I had to decide on what exactly I wanted to make. Since there are 240gm and 1020m of yarn, a shawl would be most suitable to using the majority of the yarn. The Olilia shawl fits those parameters and I do love a good crescent shape with short rows. The modifications I will make is to firstly eliminate the part where the main colour is just knit back and forwards under the single row of contrasting colour and add a couple of repeats. There are four short row sections along the left-hand side and I want to use all six speckled minis. It will likely make the crescent less symmetrical but I don’t mind that. I thought it would be good with the tonal skeins as the main colour and the speckle as the short rows on the left-hand side. This will use up more tonal yarn than the speckled yarn but I will be able to use that in the border which is made up of the contrasting yarn. That’s the plan – we’ll see how it goes.

I have just received a beautiful advent pack from Willow and the Wisp (see Acquisitions) and have been searching for a suitable pattern for those minis as well. There are 25 x 10-gram minis and, again, I wanted to use a pattern I either had or was free. In the end, I think I’ve settled on one that covers both criteria. I’ve had the Outline wrap pattern by Beata Jezek in my Ravelry library for a long time. This is a free pattern on the Hedgehog Fibres website and I’m hoping it will be suitable. The pattern calls for 1000 – 1300m and the advent kit has 1050m of yarn. I can make it narrower by using one less repeat but that is 30 stitches and I love the size that it is shown in. Unlike my own dyed minis, this advent will be a total surprise and I have no idea of what will be coming out of the little boxes each day so I think a random knit pattern like this one is perfect. I’ll just knit each until I run out and then add the next and, hopefully, I’ll be able to do that every day, along with my other advent which is every second day but twice the amount – 20-gram minis.

Outline wrap

I have decided, where possible, I’m going to use yarn that I already have and patterns that I have or are free. I have accumulated a lot of patterns and I’ll look at those first. Of course, there is likely to be something that I just can’t live without but I’d like to bust some of the stash. I’m still looking at the Le Pouf cardigan – it needs 5 skeins have identified three that are perfect and two others that I can dye to match.  The pinky beige one was used in my Elton cardigan and I think I’ll do a bit more than half grey and the rest teal, and the pale green on is one of the skeins that I dyed for the Starflake shawl to get a deep teal. This time I’ll dye it a black teal which I’ve had good results with previously. Watch this space.

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Spinning

I finally got to ply the Wren & Ollie spin and barely managed to fit it all on the bobbin. I had some yellow from the second bobbin leftover and started spinning that from an Andean bracelet but had issues continuing after restarting the next day. The bobbin wasn’t taking up the yarn even though I was spinning in the same direction so I tightened it a bit but must have tightened too much as the drive belt broke. I was able to rejoin it but have not had much luck continuing with the Andean ply. Rather than rush things, I left it aside and will get back to it properly today. You can see how I had to just take the Andean bracelet off; here’s it’s sitting patiently waiting, still attached to the bobbin. And, I just found out that a Wee Peggy can actually be used as a single drive. It was set up as a double drive so I never questioned that. I believe the two methods are quite different in execution so I may have to explore that one day. I also soaked and skeined my first EVER spin. As I mentioned last blog, this one is going into the felting cupboard. But it’s great to see how far I’ve come.

Sewing

I only got to sew for a while yesterday morning to continue with Mindi skirt I’d cut out from the same fabric as I had cut the Laura dress. I have now attached all pieces to the waistband and have to install the front exposed open-end zipper and the instructions are so brief that I’m totally confused. I did notice that there was a link at the end of the pattern to the Style Arc tutorials so tried that but it didn’t work. It appears that the site changed – the old link had a .com.au ending and they currently use the .com URL instead. So I have emailed asking if there are still tutorials available and anything that explains what I need to do now. I’m hoping for a reply tomorrow as I don’t expect a reply on the weekend.

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Having come to an impasse with my Mindi skirt, I thought I would cut out some small people projects. I had been wanting to make another Geranium dress for Evie and, since I still had plenty of the navy and white fabric left, I have cut out a different version from that. This time I’m doing the sleeveless version (the previous had faux cap sleeves) with pleats (the previous had a gathered skirt). I have cut out some navy fabric with pink and other pops of colour for the bodice lining. I had also purchased some combed cotton jersey with a toucan pattern and some matching teal organic slub cotton jersey to make a Racerback dress which is a free pattern from Hey June Handmade. (I forgot to photograph this fabric with the remnants in Acquisitions.) This pattern starts at size 1 year right up to 8 years. It’s a very simple summer dress that would be great for those really hot days. I had purchased 1 metre of the toucan fabric and half a metre of the teal, and the pattern, especially for a 1-year-old, uses very little. So what is one to do with the remaining fabric? Yep, cut out a 3-year-old size to give as a gift. These are all ready for sewing now and the Racerback dress will go together so quickly on the overlocker.

One other project that I cut out on Friday is for a little bag for Evie. She has started carrying around mum’s purse and her little lunch bag so I thought she needs her own. I found this dog and cat remnant at Spotlight on Thursday and thought it would be perfect. It’s cotton duck fabric so a nice firmer weight and I’ve matched it with a tweet tweet fabric that I’ve had in stash forever for the lining. This will be a little bucket bag with two handles and I’m going to insert a zipper pocket on the outside. I have made these types of bags many times but I just need to figure out how to attach the zipper with its own lining.

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Painting

Last week I forgot to mention a new painting technique that I tried. I stumbled across Rinske Douna on Instagram and she has a fabulous paint pouring technique that I’m absolutely loving. Rinske is doing the 100-day project with a different paint pour for 100 days. For these pours, Rinkse is doing individual videos and is also doing 100 days of video editing. The videos are both on Instagram and YouTube where she has many more painting videos. Anyway, it’s something I’d highly recommend you check out. I tried it last week and had a ball. I even videoed myself though I didn’t really have anywhere good to put the phone to record as I was doing it on my washing machine. Essentially, this method uses acrylic paint mixed with water poured onto a canvas and surrounded by more watered down acrylic paint, mostly white, and a hairdryer is used to blow the paint around. Rinske also uses a small blow torch to create bubbles. I used a little one I had for setting the sugar shell on pannacotta. The viscosity of the paint is fluid enough so that she can also blow it to where she wants it to go. This was my first attempt. I’m going to check out different canvases to see if it’s possible to get them without the texture that you see here. I also need to set up a better, bigger area to work in. I really want to do some more!

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Acquisitions

As I mentioned earlier, I received some happy mail this week – a party in a box, actually! I ordered the Willow and the Wisp Advent Kit in July and I’ve been anticipating its arrival as I knew it was getting very close. It finally arrived and I’m really excited to start my advent knitting, but I won’t open the first box until 1 December. There are 25 individually boxed and numbered micro skeins, 3 free gifts and an introduction to Chromatherapy Guide. There were several choices of kits and I chose the Chakra pack. I don’t actually remember what the other choices were. The Chakra pack has “a selection of colours that represent the colours of the chakra”. There is a colour definition guide and I’ll be able to learn about each of the colours and the traits associated with each as I knit.

Another trip to Spotlight this week for some supplies and, as usual, I left with some remnants. Clockwise from top:

  • Rayon, Olive Bloom – 0.70m x 135cm ($2.80)
  • Cotton Voile, Dandelion – 1.15m x 135cm ($9.77)
  • Muslin, Giraffe Island, ivory – 0.75m x 135cm ($9.00)
  • Cotton Duck, Dog Gone, teal – 0..50m x 112cm ($4.50)

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Paraphernalia

I’m still enjoying listening to Where the Crawdads Sing and am getting closer to the end. It is definitely a book I’d recommend. I have so many audiobooks lined up so I imagine I’ll quickly jump to another one. I watched the last episode of The Red Shadows and was a little underwhelmed. Everything happened so fast and suddenly it was over, with little time spent on explanations. It was very reminiscent of the last season of Game of Thrones. I did enjoy it aside from that. I’ve now moved onto the latest season of The Crown on Netflix. I’m finding that series very interesting from a historical point of view. It all happened as I was growing up and was too young to know about it, aside from a vague recollection of some of the events.

This week I have a line up of events, starting with breakfast on Monday, lunch and dinner on Tuesday, lunch on Wednesday and then a work reunion in Sydney on Saturday, culminating with lunch in Sydney on Sunday. I’m also going to get into a bit of Christmas crafting – I have a stocking to finish for Evie and a Christmas Tree quilt to finish quilting and binding. I’d like that finished to hang for Christmas as this is our minimal Christmas decorating year. Our kids spend alternate Christmas Days with their in-laws so we don’t get a tree in those years. We get a fresh tree for the other years. We are fortunate to be able to spend Christmas Day with Kim’s parents so it will be wonderful to share that day with Evie. Last Christmas, Evie was 2 months old therefore this will be a very meaningful Christmas for her.

Another long post! It’s amazing how I feel that I have nothing to talk about until I start and it all comes together. If you’ve hung around to the end, thanks for sharing this all with me and now it’s time for us all to enjoy some real crafting. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 17 November 2019. #69

Hi friends! This week has flown, which seems to be the norm for my weeks lately. Monday and Tuesday were very relaxing with bike rides to Huskisson on both days. Monday was a breakfast catch up and Tuesday a weekly coffee date. On Tuesday, the weather climbed up to 38 degrees here which is highly uncommon where I am. This was caused by hot westerly winds rather than the cooling northeasterly winds we get most days. You can see the smoke that was still hanging around from the fires up north of Sydney. Most of the other days were lovely.

On Wednesday, I had a wonderful time at our monthly sewing group day. We had a great turn-up, which included three mothers. I managed to get some stitching done and we all had fun catching up. It was a great venue for our sewing day but nobody ventured into the pool. On Thursday, my friend Carol “opened up the art studio” for the day. That’s where we dabble with painting and related arts. I worked on a couple of the projects I’d started at the Contemporary Craft Retreat at the end of October.

Friday morning, Robert and I headed down to Bawley Point for the weekend with Steven, Kim and Evie. We got to mind Evie while mum and dad went to a wedding. It was a great weekend with them all but it would have been much nicer if the weather was better. We walked around the point from Gannet Beach to Murramurang Beach on Saturday afternoon and it was bitterly cold.

Knitting

There has been lots of progress on my Turtle Dove sweater. I had been knitting on regardless and realised that I’d long passed the point where the ribbed split hem would start. I had read that I needed to knit 10.5 inches but did not notice that that measurement was for the rolled hem only. I had not yet decided which hem I was going to do so it seems that the universe has decided for me. I’m happy with that! I have a little more to go on the body but I’d reached the end of the current ball of yarn so I decided to pick up the sleeves and work on those for a while.

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Last week’s confusion on stitch count on my Songbird shawl has been resolved and I’ve done quite a bit of work on it. I found later that I’d made a mistake on the first row of the slanted stitch but was too far ahead to fix it and, anyway, it’s not at all noticeable. I have learnt two new stitch patterns – the slanted stitch and a new type of slipped stitch. My handspun yarn is knitting up really well on this and I think it was a perfect choice.

I’ve finished the first section of my Lunae shawl and have started to pick up the stitches along the bottom for the second section (the top in this pic). I’m almost at the centre of the shawl and I have about half the number of stitches I need for that part. I will need to go back to the beginning or try to pick up a stitch in between each of those already there. I’ve done that with a few stitches previously but I’m not sure it will work for 70 or more stitches!

My trusty take-anywhere Garland sweater got some more love this week. I added a few rows at breakfast on Monday morning and worked on it a bit this weekend. It’s definitely a slow project and will take a lot more knitting to get to the armholes. I think I’ve done about 4 inches so far.

Spinning

I have finished spinning the second bobbin of Wren and Ollie fibre. I would have probably plied the two together but I realised all the bobbins were full. So, to free up a couple of bobbins, I used the Andean bracelet method to ply the remainder of my first drop spindle yarn. I ended up with 13.5 m of that which I will be able to use with the other three skeins. I also wound off my very first attempt at spinning which I was not able to ply as it was either way overspun or so underspun that it broke. I’ll be able to use that yarn for felting as it’s no good for anything else. At least now I have a couple of free bobbins. I also have one bobbin of my black (grey), red and white spin that needs to be chain plied. So a couple of ply sessions are on the schedule for this week. I also got to put my blending board together on Thursday as I was able to borrow a staple gun. I’ll have to dig out some fibre for blending into rolags!

Sewing

The Laura dress was a great project. I really want everyone to know how great the instructions are on Rebecca Page’s patterns! She has instructions to make the dress with an overlocker, straight stitching or French seams. I made this dress with French seams – I have sewn these before, but with side pockets and other bits and pieces, it’s sometimes hard knowing how to treat them. I started sewing it on Monday and finished it on Tuesday – finished without topstitch on the neck facing or having done the hem. This is because I don’t have a very dark navy and I’d rather not use black for the topstitch, and I was uncertain on the length as to whether to use bias tape to save on length. As it turns out, I should have done the long version and this one has ended up as a long top instead. I’m happy with that and will definitely make this again in the full length.

I also made the modification to the Georgia dress that I mentioned last week. I added a bit of elastic on each side to bring it in a little, rather than give me a maternity look. It doesn’t look a whole lot different hanging there and I haven’t had a chance to try it on yet to see if it worked. Maybe tomorrow? It’s not like it’s a major production to try it on!

Stitching

Finally! I’ve picked up my wool felt applique quilt project again. This is what I worked on at the sewing day and it’s gotten me excited again. I started with all the big bits in this section and now I’m working through the little bits. It doesn’t look like much at this point but when it’s all stitched down and quilted, it will look as it should. I still need to decide what I’m going to put in the final section of this circle.

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Painting

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve done some more work on my two painting/collage projects from the Contemporary Craft Retreat. The one on the left is using the layered tiles composition method and I think it’s at the point when I can/should call it complete. I added a little bit of colour to the white bits – it looks like a lot of colour but, in real life, it is more subtle. If I decided it’s finished I’ll add a sealant which will also give it a more finished look. The one on the right is a collage and it is using the curves composition. It was quite purple looking as the initial grey did not look grey at all. I have now, hopefully, remedied that – or it may just look dirty now. I also did a sectioned off overpaint at the top but that could be more subtle than I was going for. At least I’m enjoying it.

Acquisitions

This week I received my November batt club from Ixchel Fibres. It is absolutely gorgeous! This month’s batts were inspired by a painting from Mark Ryden who has been dubbed as “the godfather of pop surrealism”. You can see the painting at the bottom left. The batt is made up of merino, angora, cashmere, silk, shell fibre (Chitin), Flemish sheep and Angelina. The batt has a couple of daisies to add to the effect from the picture. The Angelina is gold and looks fantastic blended through all the colours. There are also some silk neps in amongst it all, which I don’t mind. You can see the dark red neps in the photo at the right. I can’t wait to spin this up but am a bit hesitant so that I don’t mess it up. I haven’t done the October batts yet either as they are just as gorgeous. Now that I have a couple of bobbins free, I can move onto my next project. I wonder which fibre I’m going to choose?

Paraphernalia

This week I was introduced to a new podcast – This Abundant Life. It’s an Australian podcast about “the secret sauce behind living a fulfilling, prosperous and joyful life”. I’ve only listened to two episodes so far but I think it will be a good one. The second episode was an interview with Mia Swainson on zero waste and sustainability, which was very interesting. There were certainly some facts that I wasn’t aware of and I think they are little known generally. I can attest to two degrees of separation here as I know the husband of one of the podcasters, having worked with him for years.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” is still keeping me company and a book I’d definitely recommend. I hope to finish it this week because I want to know what happens! I’ve watched a couple more episodes of The Red Shadows – a French production on SBS demand. I haven’t been able to watch any while I’ve been down the coast and I’m desperate to watch the next episode because of what happened at the end of the last one! That’s on the agenda for tonight.

This week I’ll be watching a variety of sewing classes that will be part of a Sewing Summit hosted by Rebecca Page. This is a free summit for the week but you can also sign up for All Access Pass which gives you lifetime access to all the classes. I don’t think I’ll be doing that but I will try to watch whatever I can next week. I will be receiving emails letting me know which classes will be shown each day and there is 24-hour access so that they can be viewed from anywhere in the world. I will be minding Evie on Tuesday and Wednesday, taking her for a make-up swimming lesson on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to that! Lunch on Thursday and a birthday party on Saturday night are also on my schedule.

Apologies for the late posting this week but I always make sure it happens sometime on Sunday. It will probably be almost Sunday everywhere by now! It’s time for us to go and enjoy something else now so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 10 November 2019. #68

Hi friends! Happy birthday to my mother-in-law, Jean, for her birthday today! We’ve certainly had some unseasonal weather this week. Wednesday turned out very hot but, since then, it’s been quite cold. It’s been snowing in certain parts of Australia, which in itself is unusual, and this has kept the temperature down in the low teens, and low single digits overnight (Celcius, of course). We had to put an extra quilt on the bed and I resorted to tracksuit pants this morning, which I’d pack away! I think today will warm up some and tomorrow and Tuesday are predicted at 30 and 33 degrees! The photos below show the front that came through on Friday.

On Monday, Julie and I went for a bike ride after my front flat was fixed. The repair got me as far as Woollamia boat ramp and to Huskisson, which is about 9 kilometres and, then when we had finished our coffee and chat, I had to call Robert to pick me up as the tyre was flat again! The tube has now been replaced and Friday’s bike ride to Huskisson was a success. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Evie and I had fun together. We watched the Melbourne Cup race (pictured here) and went to the park where it was much too hot to have fun. Yesterday I met up with a couple of old hockey friends for a lovely lunch in Nowra.

Knitting

Finished Object #1: The Starflake shawl is now completely finished with ends sewn in and it has been blocked! I really enjoyed making this shawl and it didn’t take as long as Stephen West’s Texture Time from last year. His patterns, particularly his MKALs, have plenty to keep you from getting bored as you move from one section to the next. It didn’t use up as much yarn as I had expected, though I must admit I thought I was going to have a lot more left when I got to the final stage. I still have 48 grams left of each yarn – how’s that for a balanced colour scheme? I started with 100 grams of each. I would like to use this leftover yarn to possibly make the Water For Elephants socks but it doesn’t say how much yarn is used in the pattern description. I usually use just about 50-60 grams in total for socks but this is colourwork so uses up more than normal. The other option I have is to make the Dottie mittens and there would be enough yardage.

Finished Object #2: Hot off the needles last night was the Ranunculus top. I haven’t yet sewn in any ends or blocked it – does one block cotton/linen? I think so. I know that the yarn tends to soften with use and washing so blocking should be a good thing. I’m looking forward to wearing this very soon! I think it may go nicely with the Mindi skirt I’ve cut out. I used 5.0 mm needles rather than the 6.0 mm recommended as I didn’t want the top to be as oversized as the pattern is intended. I had look at other projects (and there are many of them!) and also added a cuff to the sleeve cap. Otherwise, the sleeves would have been finished raw without anything added. I know that others had wished they’d done this. I only used 2 balls of the yarn and have very little of the second one left.

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The Turtle Dove sweater that I cast on for the #BlameDunderknitAlong is motoring on nicely! I have split for the sleeves, literally just this morning before working on my blog. It was one of the projects (this and the Ranunculus) that I took to Wollongong with me. You can see me having a break with my Turtle Dove whilst Evie was having a nap. I started the neck with 64 stitches rather than the 60 for my size and I used the 6.0 mm needles prescribed for that part. With hindsight, I think I would go straight to the 7.0 mm needles that are used for the body, instead of starting with the smaller size. The neck feels fine but I would have preferred a more funnel-type neck. Though I started with stitches for the larger sizes I only increased the yoke the number of times for the smallest size. As shown below, I am knitting with the 7.0 mm needle tip on the right side but replaced the left with the 6.0 mm needle. This is making sliding the stitches much easier. The 7.0 mm needle has quite a difference from the very narrow cable to the full 7.0 mm diameter and it was harder to slide the stitches, therefore making progress slower. As long as you have the correct needle on the right, it doesn’t really matter what is on the left. The progress marker shows where I was last week when I posted. I am going to try to remember to move these after each post.

New Cast On: Last week I mentioned another project I wanted to cast on for the #blamedunderknitalong, using my handspun. In the end, I did decide to go ahead with the Songbird shawl. The first part was very easy with garter stitch and then garter ridges but now that I’ve moved into the slanted stitch section I have come to a grinding halt. The first repeat worked out just fine. The second repeat has already been tinked back twice – the first time because I forgot two rows of the repeat, and now I’m having trouble getting the right number at the end of the repeat. I had put it aside so that I can study the pattern a bit more closely and work out exactly where I’m going wrong, but I haven’t done that yet. It’s on the to-do list for today. I hope I can work it out because it’s really going to be easy when I do. It’s only a four-row repeat, after all, so how hard can it be!

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I only added a row or two on my Garland sweater. This project is so compact at this stage that I like to have it when I can’t take my larger projects. It is a lace (2 ply) silk yarn so very light and thin and fits easily in my front bike pouch. On Monday I had left early for my bike ride meet up to see how the flat tyre repair would hold up, so thought I’d sit and wait with my knitting. As I mentioned at the beginning, the repair held up for about 9 kilometres only.

Scheduled for Frogging: Though I’ve done a lot of work on my Twist of Fade I have decided that it is going to be way too big for me. It has been in time-out for the past couple of weeks while I’ve mulled over its fate. I first thought I’d rip it back to the ribbing as that is the right size. The issue is that the increase after the ribbing is huge, adding another quarter of the stitches which adds about 9 inches. Now I feel like I don’t want to reknit it. I was thinking of doing the Le Pouf cardigan shown below and, though it’s fingering (4 ply) yarn held double, the idea of it is to change one strand to blend into the next so it may not be good for the yarn I’m frogging. I may have some other single skeins I can use for the Le Pouf fade. This DK yarn may now wait until next autumn unless I get inspired in the meantime.

Spinning

I have continued with the Wren and Ollie spin that I started last week. I finished the first bobbin which used two and a half of the mini batts. You can see the finished bobbin below with the yarn I still need to use. The last section of the finished bobbin is the other half of the mini batt next to it and that will be the end of the second bobbin too. I started the second bobbin with the lightest colour, the majority of which was white with some light yellow. When plied together, the darkest colour will be barber poled with the lightest colour. The darkest blue has spun up with more of the turquoise showing than the dark blue. I’m looking forward to seeing the final result with this and hope to have it finished by next week’s post.

Sewing

Last week may have been “quilting week” but this week has turned into “dressmaking week”. I finished my Georgia dress from Seamwork and it was quite an easy sew. Though I have finished it, I intend to do a slight modification. The dress fits perfectly at the top but is quite voluminous from the bust down which, on me, gives more of a maternity look. I am going to add a small piece of elastic at each side to bring it in under the bust which will get rid of the maternity vibe. It’s an easy sew as there is no zipper or buttons, hence the reason for the voluminousness of it. Yep, that is actually a word. The fabric is an Art Gallery rayon which is beautiful but, as I previously mentioned, very very fine. You can see the slats of the privacy screen through it.

Moving on from the Georgia dress, I’ve now cut out the Laura dress from Rebecca Page and there was enough fabric to cut out the Mindi skirt from Style Arc. And there is maybe another half a metre of the fabric leftover. I’ll be able to use that for something else using some white for colour blocking. The fabric is a cotton/linen blend that I purchased from Spotlight a few weeks back. I love the feel of the fabric but the selvedges were a nightmare. I didn’t notice that when I bought it so I think the edges shrank when I washed the fabric. After I cut the first piece of the dress pattern I had to cut both selvedges off so that I could carry on. You can see the two selvedges below but I’m not sure how well the puckering is showing. I think that goes to show that it’s best to wash the fabric before cutting it out. Though it’s not really a stripe, I cut the dress with the pattern striping down and the skirt with the pattern going sideways. I now have these two ready to go for this week. The Rebecca Page pattern has amazing instructions on how to sew it using French seams but the Style Arc pattern has a brief list of the steps required and assumes you know what you are doing. I’m hoping that I’ll know what to do with the exposed open-ended zipper! It’s always easier to understand instructions when you are actually doing them.

Lined up for my next make is the Charlie Caftan by Closet Case. I’ve been wanting to do this one since I bought the pattern and fabric recently, at about the same time. The fabric is, I think, a rayon that I purchase at the Sewing Basket pop up shop in Balmain, and I think the large flowers will be perfect for this design. The Sewing Basket is a charity organisation that sells crafting goods that have been donated. The pattern comes with 3 views and I’m going to make View B with the ties shown in View C. View C (maxi length) also has the larger caftan-type sleeves but I think I’m going to do the smaller sleeves, though I don’t mind how the larger ones look in the picture below. The front panel is an interesting construction as the two front panels are from shoulder to hem, with a section jutting out for the pleats or gathering. I found a great tutorial done by Sew Sew Live where she has done three separate tutorials for different versions of this dress. I’ve watched the first one and it’s definitely taken away a lot of the mystery of how to put this one together.

Acquisitions

My two most dangerous hobbies are watching podcasts and visiting Spotlight. They both enable me and here are my latest acquisitions. The first, shown both folded and opened up a bit, is some new Art Gallery fabric from Bebeloush Designs. I was watching the Stitch Sisters’ Fabric Haul where Nikki had purchased this in the Bloomsbury Botanist’s Essay colourway and I just had to have it. I’ll need to decide what I’ll be making out of this but would look wonderful as a Charlie Caftan! Also, I went to Spotlight to get an open-end zipper and, of course, checked out the remnants. This is what came home with me, from top left:

  1. Rayon, Big Flower, Navy/Multi – 1.00m x 135cm. ($6.00)
  2. Needle Out Velvet, Musk – 0.95m x 148cm. ($7.50)
  3. Denim 7.5 oz Ctn, Light Blue – 1.50m x 144cm. ($10.50)

The denim is actually in two pieces from a mannequin display but for that price is a bargain. The velvet has a corduroy pattern, so I imagine that’s what “needle out” means.

Paraphernalia

I’ve been working on a couple of advent calendars with some little gift boxes I purchased a little while ago. These will hold mini skeins and maybe some of the other bits and pieces. They are almost too small for the mini skeins but I’m able to just squeeze them in!

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I have started my new book “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. It’s the latest book for our book club and it’s proving to be a good book so far. My friend Julie said it was fantastic and I’d heard this elsewhere. I can see how it’s building up to be a very good book. My Audible app tells me I have 7h 47m left of the 12h 12m total. I’ve started watching The Red Shadows on SBS On Demand. It’s a French series with subtitles and it’s going quite well so far. I’m able to knit something vanilla while I’m watching otherwise, it has to be in English.

This week is going to be very relaxing – I have breakfast catch-up tomorrow morning and coffee with other friends on Tuesday. That’s two bike rides to Huskisson. On Wednesday, I’ll be at Huskisson again for a sewing day at my friend Lorraine’s place. She has a pool so I’m hoping for some nice weather! Tuesday is supposed to be 33 degrees and Wednesday only 23 degrees. Hmm, depending on what I’m taking to work on I may be able to ride over then too! And I’m at Huskisson again on Thursday for a facial and massage package that I was gifted by my wonderful school friends, Bronwen, Jane and Mari, for my retirement. On Friday, Rob and I are heading to Bawley Point for the weekend with Steven, Kim & Evie – I’m really looking forward to that! Let’s hope for some good weather then for some fun time on the beach.

Again, I think I’ve babbled on enough so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 3 November 2019. #67

Hello friends! Welcome to November and a beautiful spring day here in the southern hemisphere. The weather is finally behaving in accordance with general spring rules with some temperatures up near the summer level. It has been quite windy though, and we’ve also felt the impact of the fires up north near Port Macquarie which is over 450 km away. The photo below shows how the smoke is hiding the other side of the bay and the sun is a hazy orb. On Sunday and Monday, I was still in Canberra, participating in two more workshops. I got to wear my Millie sweater, shown below in an awkward pic at breakfast on Sunday morning. There are better photos shown later in the Workshops section. On Monday morning I managed to find a way down to the Cotter River which is part of the catchment feeding into the Cotter Dam. It was misty as it was about 3 degrees Celcius but the day did warm up.

I had one successful bike ride this week, the second ended in a walk home from where I meet Julie to start. We ended up having coffee at Vincentia and then I walked home as she proceeded on a ride alone. You can see a happy pic of me just before I realised my front tyre was flat. Yesterday, I participated in a spinning display at a small church fete. It was a very quiet morning as it was a small affair but I did get some spinning done. Last night I caught up with a few girlfriends for dinner at our local Mexican restaurant while our husbands were away on a golf weekend.

Knitting

I’m still plodding along on my Starflake shawl/Westknits MKAL. I did get a fair bit done but, at 600 stitches of knitting per row, it’s taking FOR.E.VER! I have 4 more rows to knit and then an i-cord bind of which will take forever too. Until now, I have followed the pattern as instructed but I’ve made one modification to this last section. Rather than have the border all one colour, I chose to make the one non-garter row in the contrasting main colour in the style of the other lace rows, though the colours were reversed there. I can’t wait to get this shawl blocking as it is quite stunning. Unfortunately, you can’t really tell from the pics below. Last week, I showed the shawl on two cables and still wasn’t able to spread it out properly. This week I haven’t bothered adding more cables for the photo but all will be revealed next week. I hope. My calculations indicate there are still 4,200 stitches to go!

The body of my Ranunculus top has grown and I’m not far off starting the ribbing. I have an extra-long cable on it at the moment so will be trying it on today to see how much more length I need.

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New Cast-on: Caroline said I could! Friday 1st November was the start of the 2019 Blame Dunderknit Along. In this Make Along, Caroline, better known as Dunderknit of the Knitting Vicariously Podcast, has offered to help enable everyone and absolve us of any blame. This yarn has been in my stash for several months now, waiting to be cast on as the Turtle Dove by Espace Tricot. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry and I had hoped to make it during winter. As that didn’t happen, I thought it would be a good candidate for this make along as it uses bulky (12 ply) yarn and 7.0 mm needles. I haven’t spent much time on it and it’s already a good way into the yoke. The yarn I’m using is the Knitpicks Wonderfluff in the Wellies Heather colourway. This yarn is 70% baby alpaca/7% merino/23% nylon and is so light and fluffy. It is quite obviously black but could rate more like a very dark charcoal with the slight heathered look of it. It’s the same yarn I used for the Sunday sweater I made earlier this year.

I’ve made some more progress on my Lunae shawl with only the two end sections and one small colourwork section to go. As the number of stitches is decreasing every second row, it will only get quicker. It will need some serious blocking once it’s finished as the star stitch pattern is quite tight and draws in at the sides. As I’ve mentioned, I may be struggling with yarn chicken so I decided to get some more yarn that I can use – not the same colours as they aren’t available, but something that goes with the colour palette. I think I have enough of the blue and white, so more for the colourwork sections. I talk more about this in the Acquisitons section.

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Planned knitting: As part of the #BlameDunderknitalong2019, I thought I would knit up some of my handspun yarn, specifically the Ixchel batt that I spun up recently. I have caked up one skein in anticipation and I think I have settled on the Songbird shawl. The aim of the #BlameDunderknitalong2019 is to cast on anything and everything that you’ve been itching to start and I have really wanted to get onto this one.

Spinning

It took a couple of weeks but I finally finished the black(grey)/red/white spin from some merino top that I dyed. I wanted to do this one with a chain ply to maintain the integrity of the stripe. To that end, I spun up about 100 grams of the plain merino that I’d use to dye the black/red/white and chain plied it reasonably successfully (photo on the right). I think the undyed chain ply was a bit overplied but still OK. I chain plied the dyed single and it turned out quite good. This is going to be a gift beanie if it turns out OK. I need to decide on the beanie now.

As there was nothing on the wheel, I had to choose what to spin at the church fete yesterday. I settled on a lovely pack of Wren & Ollie mini batts (115gm). As shown below, this included 5 mini batts in a gradient. I started with the dark blue and you can see that on the bobbin on the wheel. The photo showing the mini batt before spinning doesn’t show how much teal and yellow there is but you can see it clearly on the bobbin. I haven’t yet decided how to ply this one. Initially, I was going to chain ply but I don’t think I’ll be able to get the 5 mini batts onto one bobbin. I’m now thinking of doing half on one bobbin and the second half on another and plying as a barber pole. I think that would look really good. The colourway is Zing and the fibre includes both tussah silk and silk noil, bamboo, merino and a good amount of angelina fibre. I started spinning from the whole mini batt but I found this amount awkward so I divided the batt into 3. For the middle batt, I’ll need to split in half so I’ll do that one into four. I find it much easier to spin skinny and long sections of fibre. I also learnt yesterday that you get a much softer spin if you draw back while drafting the fibre, rather than pulling forward so I’m practising that.

I was wondering how I would keep track of what each skein of my handspun is and all the relevant details. Of course, I have all of my handspun skeins on Ravelry but I needed something attached to them to give me a quick summary of what I was looking at. So, I ordered some tags from labelsandribbons.com.au. I’m not sure yet that I have all the information but it’s a good start.

Workshops

Sunday – The Appreciation of Neutrals with Gaye Nieuwenhof: For this class, we used “humble materials such as calico, muslin, brown paper, magazine papers, charcoal, ink, coffee and tea staining, string, embroidery cotton and white ceiling paint to magic into being some organic tactile pieces.  These can be further deconstructed and reconstructed to realize your vision.” And that is exactly what we did. I really enjoyed working with neutrals but found it difficult at first not to want to reach for colour. As with the class we did on Friday, this one was very busy as we worked on several pieces at a time which allowed us to wait for some to dry. Photos of Karen and me are care of Gaye’s posts on Facebook.

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Monday – Monotype Magic with Gaye Nieuwenhof: In this class, we explored printmaking using rolling and cutting machines such as the Cricut and Fiskars ones. These help provide the pressure onto the ink and item used as a resist. For these prints, we ventured outside to find several plants to use and you can see below the results. The main photo shows the original print (top right and bottom three left) and the others are the ghost print when a fresh piece of paper is rolled through for a second go.

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Dyeing

This week has been dye-heavy! I finished dyeing the minis for the advent and you can see the set of 12 here. Each solid/tonal mini has a speckled mini to tie in the colours before and after it. I had a lot of fun doing these and can’t wait until the 1st of December to start on them. Last year, I dyed 12 also but did these as the 12 days of Christmas, starting on the 13th December. I found it a bit stressful to get each section done in a day. This time, I think one every second day from the 1st will be better, allowing 2 days per mini. I haven’t decided on which pattern to use this year but I’m looking at Ambah O’Brien’s latest advent project, the ADVENTuring scarf/wrap. With only 12 skeins it will be the scarf. Last year, I did her Adventurer cowl.

On Thursday, I decided to dye up some skeins I had leftover from some dyeing I did with my school girlfriends when we were away at Kangaroo Valley in May. And while I was at it, I dragged out my remaining sock blanks and final mini skein. From this session, I now have three repeatable colourways. From left on the top row, I’ve called them Rusty Boats, Blue Lagoon (finished colours shown at the bottom) and Spring Bouquet. So now I have two 100gm skeins of 100% merino DK in Rusty Boats, a 100gm sock blank in Blue Lagoon, two 100gm skeins of 100% fingering weight in Spring Bouquet and an 80gm sock blank in Spring Bouquet with a coordinated 20gm mini for cuffs, heels and toes. I took them to the church fete but this was not the right place for them. I am thinking of maybe a market stall or maybe I’ll just use them myself because I love them all!

This photo shows the week’s dyeing results in one lot, apart from the handspun skein further down.

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I had some dye stock leftover so I thought I would use it up on my chain ply handspun yarn and it turned out beautifully. I’m looking forward to knitting this up for some project though I have no idea what yet. There are only 186 metres in the skein so it would be good for a beanie at least.

Patchwork

Finally! The Snow Days quilt is finished. Sigh….. The sigh is only because I seem to need several machines to do all that I want and I only have room for one at the moment and I don’t like changing settings too often. I’m really happy with the result. Since I last posted, I had to remove the interfacing that I’d accidentally attached to the back, stitch in the ditch in these areas, stitch in the ditch on three more rows, cut and piece the binding and, lastly, attach the binding. It’s now ready to go to its recipient. I still have two other quilts to finish off and would like to do a couple of others, though the recipients may be too old when I get them all finished.

Acquisitions

As I mentioned earlier, I may need some more yarn for the Lunae shawl. The yarn I’m using is Drover and Classer and it’s not always available in all colours, or that’s how it seems. I chose three yarns from Mulberry and Flax – ordered Wednesday and arrived on Friday! Wow!! The three yarns are a mix of 8 ply (DK) and 5 ply (sport) and all would work but I’m either going to use the Faded Rose from Cowgirlblues or the Paddock from Drover and Classer. The latter is showing a bit yellow in the picture and is actually more green – not lime or olive, but something in between. I also received a mini of 50% alpaca/50% merino 5 ply – Quokka tails from Great Southern Yarn in the Stormy Sea Wave colourway. Thanks M&F!

I had also purchased some fabric from Spotlight on my way to the Retreat the week before that I forgot to show. I was there purchasing art items for the Retreat and, of course, I had to check out the remnants. They also had a 40% discount on all dressmaking fabrics – it was hard to decide but I only wanted to buy one. I ended up with:

  • Organic cotton in a honeycomb pattern – 2.0m
  • Sateen Spot, mustard/white – 0.6m x 127cm (remnant)

I want to make a skirt with the spot remnant and found the Mindi skirt by Style Arc. I like the idea of the open-end zipper but I’ll make the first one without pockets as they have zippers on them and I don’t think I need them here.

Paraphernalia

Last week I mentioned that I’d started the Robert Crais book Wanted (Elvis Cole series) and I finished it the other day. I also finished the latest one called A Dangerous Man. I have been home alone for the weekend and I binge listened to the second one! It’s so convenient to listen to books as you can do almost anything else at the same time. I’m up to date with Peaky Blinders on Netflix – it’s not fair only having 6 episodes for a season! Nothing else on Netflix is calling me at the moment.

On Tuesday this week is Melbourne Cup Day, with the race known as the “horserace that stops the nation”. It’s an excuse for people to dress up in finery and hats and join in with the hype of the race, at the race in Melbourne or at any other place in Australia. I’ll be enjoying the race with Evie on Tuesday as it’s my turn for babysitting this week. I’m sure we can find some horsey activities to entertain us. My dressmaking projects have been waiting patiently while my machine has been set up for quilting. I think this week will be focussed on this sort of sewing, aside from Tuesday and Wednesday when I’m in Wollongong. I haven’t had the opportunity to get to my Georgia dress from Seamwork – all cut and ready to go so I will start there. I may even print the Mindi skirt pattern and get that cut out too. Along with the usually knitting along the way.

When I started today’s blog, I didn’t realise how much I had to talk about! It’s high time for me to stop talking and start sewing so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 27 October 2019. #66

Hello friends! And a happy birthday to my Dad who turned 87 today. This week has been a busy one and I’ve not had very much time for crafting. That has changed as I’m currently at the Contemporary Crafting Retreat at the Greenhills Conference Center, just outside of Canberra, near the Stromlo Observatory. Monday was the only day I spent at home because Tuesday and Wednesday I was in Wollongong looking after Evie. I’ll be doing that for two days every fortnight and we are having some wonderful quality time together. She’s such a happy child. On Tuesday, I called into a shopping centre in Nowra on my way to Wollongong and I can’t believe they already have their Christmas decorations up! Surely we need to get October out of the way? Evie and I had a couple of walks during our days together, mostly to the shops but on Wednesday we had a big walk around Wollongong Harbour. As we were heading home from the shops I passed the Sip Studio which has wine and paint. That sounds like a very fun and interesting concept that we may need to adopt for our paint days.

I left for Canberra on Thursday to catch up with some friends before the Retreat. Lunch was at Tulips Cafe at Pialligo and, when I left to move onto my next social engagement, I found a beautiful peacock had decided to hang about on my bonnet. I spent the afternoon with other friends and the evening with my sister-in-law and her husband. Another social engagement first thing on Friday morning and then I had some time to fill in. That was done with an early lunch and a visit to the Stromlo Observatory. The weather was very hot both Thursday and early Friday but turned nasty when I got up the mountain. I filled in a little time at the observatory grounds but it was very unpleasant so decided to head straight to the Retreat. I met up with my friends Mary and Karen there.

The Greenhills Conference Centre is a great venue for crafting retreats. Next time, though, something soft over the bunk bed mattress could be a good idea.

Knitting

I didn’t have much opportunity for knitting this week but did work on my Starflake Shawl Westknits MKAL. Clue 4 dropped on Friday but I’m still only in the beginning stages of Clue 3. I think I’ll get more time this evening after today’s class to work on this. I finished the brioche section and have moved into a large lace section. It’s not a hard pattern but I do need to count on certain rows which means I can’t really do it in a social situation. I had to cake up the second skeins for each colour and had some issues. As all the bedrooms were occupied last weekend, I had to move my swift and ball winder. When I replaced them, I had lost a couple of the little rubber feet under the ball winder which made the base move up and down and was sending the winder revolving in a strange fashion. I think I’ve fixed it but I still need to replace the missing rubber bits.

The only other knitting I got to do this week, apart from two rows tonight on my Ranunculus, is on the Lunae shawl. I’m still working on the decrease end of the first part of the shawl, though there wasn’t a lot done since last I blogged about this one.

Workshops

The Contemporary Craft Retreat has been held at the Greenhills Conference Centre annually since 2011 on the last weekend of October. We started on Friday and we finish with a class on Monday.

Friday – An Abstract a Day with Gaye Nieuwenhof: This class started at 1.30 pm with the first session finishing at 5.30 pm for a dinner break, and the second session from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm. We had a great day working on colour and composition with four samples, each growing in size. They are shown below in the order we did them and the two on the right are not finished. The one on the right is still in the skeleton building phase. We may get some opportunities tomorrow or the next day as I have the same tutor then. From left to right, the compositions styles are Golden Section, Constellation, Curves and Overlapping Frames. The day was very full-on but fun and we learnt so much. Gaye’s teaching style is great because you have several projects going at one time so that you can allow each to dry whilst working on others.

Saturday – Book Making, Cover to Cover with Pam Annesley: This class was much more relaxing but still a great class with finished products. Everyone ended the day with one book and Karen and I managed to get two done. It’s such a simple process once you know what to do. For the cover of the first book, I used some paint samples I made a couple of years ago. I always knew I’d have some use for them. The paper used for the signatures inside was from an A4 210 gsm sketch pad. The second book, the teal one on the right, required some artistic input. The cover is made from heavy card with a textured paint covering made by gluing tissue onto it and then painting over the top. The same signature paper was used.

Acquisitions

A couple of months ago, I signed up for the October/November/December Ixchel Bat Club. This arrived this week along with a couple of braids that I ordered about a week or so ago. I ordered a double dose of the Batt Club and you can see the one I’ve opened up in all its glory below. As the card states, they are made up of superfine merino, Tencel, angora, cashmere, bison, angelina and silk. I’m really looking forward to spinning these up but I will really need to think about how I’ll do it. The two braids are merino and silk.

Paraphernalia

I started a new book this week and went back to an old favourite. Robert Craise started the Elvis Cole series a long time ago and I have been waiting for more. There are actually two new ones now available so I’ve gone for the next in the series – The Wanted. I really love these books as they are full of excitement but the main character has a great sense of humour. On Netflix, Peaky Blinders has been keeping me company but, again, there’s not been a lot of time this week for that either.

Today I’ll be working on some more painting/collage work focussed on neutrals and tomorrow will be monotype printmaking. I’m really looking forward to trying out these new crafts. Apart from our spinners group attending a fete-type event at the local Baptist Church next Saturday, there is not much happening during the week ahead. That means I’ll be able to catch up on some dyeing and sewing that I’ve been itching to get to, along with a few other bits and pieces. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 20 October 2019. #65

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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Dyeing

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

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Patchwork

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

Sewing

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

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Acquisitions

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

Carnaby

Paraphernalia

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

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

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 13 October 2019. #64

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

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

Spinning

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

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

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Dyeing

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

Sewing

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

Acquisitions

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

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

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

Paraphernalia

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

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

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 6 October 2019. #63

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

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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

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Spinning

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

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

Dyeing

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

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

Sewing

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

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

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Patchwork

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

Paraphernalia

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

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

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

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

 

Sunday 29 September 2019. #62

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

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

Knitting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Spinning

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

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Patchwork

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

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Acquisitions

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

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

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

Paraphernalia

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

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

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

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