Sunday 21 February 2021. #135

Hello friends! This is a late post today as I’ve just returned from a weekend down the coast. This week was pretty quiet, starting with a ride to Huskisson on Monday for a catch-up breakfast. Also on Monday, the tree loppers came and started to remove the trees on the property at the end of our backyard. The owners will be building on that block in the near future and the trees need to be cleared. There is one particular tree that is growing sideways over where the fence should be. That’s why we’ve waited to do the back fence when that has been resolved. Anyway, the tree loppers left at about 2.30 pm that day and haven’t been back. We’re not sure if there is a problem – hopefully, they’ll finish the job soon! I did manage to get another ride in during the week and I paired that with a short jog on the beach, though the back didn’t enjoy it. My back issue is getting better but it’s very slow progress.

The main event this week started on Friday morning when we headed down the coast. The final destination was only an hour and a half away but we made a few stops in the journey. Firstly we stopped at Mollymook so that Robert could have a surf and I took the opportunity to have breakfast with Mary. Also, I picked up some yarn that I can use for Finn’s cardigan and some groceries. We also called in at Robert’s mum’s place which is not far from that stop. We made it to Murramarang Resort by about 11 am and there was a bit of a mix up with the check in but we had lunch on the beach there with a couple of the locals (kangaroos) while we waited. It’s a lovely resort and we should have booked an extra night or two to fully relax. I found a very large goanna in front of a cabin just up from ours. We don’t see too many of those around the east coast. Steven, Kimberley and Finn were with us so we got some real quality time with Finn. The wedding yesterday started at 3pm on the headland near the resort and we then moved to the pool bar followed by the reception in the function room. It was a great night with lots of dancing! It’s been a long time since we’ve been allowed to socialise on such a scale. The wedding was supposed to take place last May and fortunately went ahead this weekend. After a short fun stay, we had to pack up and leave this morning.

Knitting

I’ve made good progress on my Dolly cardigan test for Libby Johnson of Truly Myrtle. I am currently on the dividing for sleeves row and will then be knitting plain stocking stitch for the majority apart from some waist shaping. I’ve been alternating skeins all the way and the plain stocking stitch will make that much easier. After the colourwork, there were some more short rows which can only be done by one skein. I didn’t get a lot of knitting time on the weekend, aside from the drives to and from, though today’s return trip less as I drove half the trip back. The first photo is straight after the colourwork section and is the closest depiction of colours of the two pics.

I have almost finished the body on Finn’s Gramps cardigan. I have reached the hem ribbing which is done in a contrast colour. I was able to find a suitable colour at Ulladulla on Friday on the way through and had intended to start the ribbing but remembered that I need to go down in needle size for the ribbing. I didn’t have the size I needed with me. This will definitely not take too long to finish. I should have the body ribbing done by tomorrow and have made a start on the sleeves. The colours here are a bit blown out and are actually a bit darker in real life.

A little more progress on my Half Moon Oracle shawl with the nearly 600 stitches. The photo shows it in mid row as I was working on that on the way home this morning. I am still on the last lace section, before the i-cord bind off, but the lace pattern has just changed and I need to remove the stitch markers as I go along. The markers are right in the middle of a (sl2,k1,psso) so I need to slide a stitch over to remove the marker as I go. There are only five rows left after this one and I’ll start the bind off. I think it will be in caramel. Before we left for the weekend I was able to sew in the ends on the Lieselotte Baby blanket, and soak and block it It turned out just fine, though the centre didn’t completely block flat. I think I’ll be able to flatten it some more when it gets its first wash. I’ll be able to take this to Sydney with me tomorrow.

Spinning

I finally finished the first bobbin of my current spin and I’ve started on bobbin number two. I’ve mentioned previously that this is a mystery fibre which was gifted to me and I still strongly suspect it’s a merino/silk blend. I don’t think I’ll be getting much time to spin this week as I’ll be away for a few days, though I might get some done tonight.

Sewing

I didn’t get to finish my M7953 dress this week but I wasn’t too concerned as I’d decided not to wear it to the wedding. I think it would have been a bit too dressy for a beach wedding and the dress I ended up wearing was more suitable for lots of dancing. The dress is almost complete, apart from the hem but I’ve decided to take in the back seam a bit at the neck to cut out some gaping. I have it pinned. and may tackle that this week if I get the chance. I’m not really sure where I’ll get the opportunity to wear it!

Acquisitions

I finally received my birthday present of a new niddy noddy! This was on backorder from Aunt Jenny which is the Australian Ashford representative, and I was happy to get it. It did require assembly but it’s certainly no IKEA project. A little glue and a couple of twists and it’s ready to go. I have a bobbin that I need to wind off and it’s just been waiting for the niddy noddy. It will need to be wound off by the time I’m finished with the second bobbin of my current spin. I only have four bobbins that I like so I need to finish a project before moving onto the next one, which is a good way to be. My only other acquisition this week was a surprise fabric pack from Pitt Trading. This was a mystery monochrome remnant bundle which totalled a minimum of five metres. I did end up with a good amount of fabric and it only cost $20 – $10 for the bundle and $10 for the postage. The stripe appears to be a double knit piece, there’s a piece of woven stretch with a geometrical pattern, some stretch light satin which I would have thought to be lining fabric – does that come in stretch? There’s also some black jersey and a large piece of lace fabric. I’m sure I’ll be able to use these – I already have a couple of things in mind.

Paraphernalia

I finished listening to All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio the other day. It was an interesting read and, though it was a bit of a WWII romance theme, I enjoyed this one much more than The Champagne War. Using random number generator for the selection, I am now reading Dark Sacred Night which is book two in the Renee Ballard series by Michael Connolly. I really enjoyed the first book of the series and I think this one will be just as enjoyable. I didn’t watch much on Netflix this week, choosing instead to watch the Australian Open Tennis. The final of the Men’s Singles is on tonight and I’ll be watching that. As it’s the only game on tonight, I’ll probably watch most of it, unless it becomes a five hour marathon!

I’ve got a busy week ahead – tomorrow I’ll be heading up to Sydney where I’ll spend the night with my parents and then Tuesday I’ll be spending the day with Erin and Cooper and Shaun’s mum as she’ll be down from Queensland for the week. She’s very excited to meet Cooper and has been concerned with lockdowns that it may not happen! That afternoon I’ll head down to Wollongong for the night as Wednesday is my day with Evie. I have some gardening planned for her.

I think that’s all I have so until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

9A62A542CA7641ED9958F5ABF3D4EEFA[3774]

Sunday 14 February 2021. #134

Hello friends! Happy Valentine’s Day, wherever you may be. šŸ§” We don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day other than wish each other a happy valentine. This has been another busy week, starting with a catch up breakfast on Monday morning. Tuesday was my Evie and Finn day in Wollongong and we had a lot of fun. Evie and I played heaps with a little train set that I’d gifted and went for a big walk for coffee and babycino. Finn is interacting so much now and he’s usually smiling. That night I headed up to Sydney and spent Wednesday with Cooper. He turned three weeks yesterday so he’s still in the eat, sleep and poop phase though he’s really looking at people and things now. We had a nice walk around the area while he slept the whole way, which was the intention, after all.

When I got home on Wednesday night, Robert and I went to the local RSL Club for their pizza Wednesday. The pizzas are $15 each and that includes a drink. Sure beats cooking dinner – especially as it was Robert’s turn. On Thursday morning I went for a ride over to Huskisson and I did the same on Friday morning, though the intention then was to do some laps in the ocean pool. Unfortunately, the pool hadn’t been filled from cleaning the day before and, though it was filling, it was likely to take several hours. Yesterday was pretty miserable with rain drizzle all day so I didn’t get to go for a swim then either. We had our friends Peter and Sue join us for dinner last night and I whipped up a lasagne (recipe courtesy of Kimberley) and a pear and almond tart. I hadn’t made this tart before and it turned out very yummy, though could probably have had another ten minutes in the oven. Sorry, no pics of these! I keep forgetting.

Knitting

Cast On #1: I mentioned last week that I’m doing a test knit for Libby Johnson of Truly Myrtle and I cast it on on Monday night. This is a cardigan called Dolly. I showed the yarn last week – in the skeins they look pretty much the same but when I caked up the first two, I could see a very obvious difference. So I’m alternating skeins as I go, even through the colourwork. It’s a cardigan so carrying the yarn up one side is easy enough as there will be button bands. Doing the short rows on the top back section means that there’s a small chunk that is all one skein and it turns out it was the light colour. It isn’t too noticeable though, which is good. I’ve just started the colourwork section. I deliberated a lot over what colours to add. I was always going to use the teal, originally for the bobbles section but I settled on the teal for the leaves and other colourwork. I considered undyed yarn, and then a mustard for the bobbles (I talk about some I overdyed later in the Dyeing section) and, in the end, I wanted something that’s a little more subtle. You can see a red in the photo below but it’s showing much brighter than it actually is. The yarn is a burgundy colour and it will be perfect for the bobbles. This section went very quickly and I’m sure I’ll fly through the colourwork, as one tends to do. When I get to separating for the sleeves, I’ll change out one of the skeins so that I don’t finish any at the same time.

Cast On #2: On Monday night I finished the two swatches for the baby Gramps cardigans and set them to block. When I checked them on Thursday, it confirmed that I needed to go down a size on the needle. Last week I thought I’d been knitting with 4.0mm needles and considered a 3.5mm and 3.75mm needle respectively but I checked and I’d been using a 4.5mm needle. So that meant that 4.0mm would be fine for both of them. The bottom of each swatch was using 4.5mm and the tops were with 4.0mm. I cast on the navy Gramps cardigan on Thursday night and I’m a good way through the yoke section. The last two increases have confused me a bit with the stitch count up one on one front and down one on its respective sleeve. Anyway, I can fix that easily enough in the next row. I have to knit until it’s about six inches long and then split for the sleeves. This project is going very quickly, too, probably because it’s a small one. The contrasting colour is going to be a caramel brown. I don’t think I have any in stash so I’ll need to see if I can get some at Spotlight or the local yarn shop this week. The real colour is quite navy, not the royal blue colour showing in the yoke below.

I have finally finished the Lieselotte Baby blanket! The i-cord bind off seemed to go forever. You can see how it’s curling in the photo below and how the centre is puckered but that should all resolve itself with blocking. I need to sew in the ends and then I’ll give it a good soak and a good stretch out on the blocking mats. I added a couple of more repeats on the border than the pattern called for and I think I could probably have added a couple more. It will be more than big enough for a pram blanket as it is though.

In amongst all the previous knitting, I also managed to spend some time on my Half Moon Oracle shawl. I’m now onto the last lace section and working on 582 stitches each row. I think this last bit will be slow going. I’m not spending a lot of time on it but I always knit on this one when I’m on my International Virtual Knit Night zooms as I’m doing this with a few friends on there. There are another 10 rows to go on this section and then it’s finished with an i-cord bind off. Yep, another i-cord marathon! But it will be worth it for the nice finish.

Last week, I had finished a cowl test knit for Susan Distel on Ravelry. The Long Squishy Tube has now been released and it’s an easy and fun knit. I love knitting mosaic and the best part of this one was not having to sew in any ends! Except, of course, the first and last ends. It’s currently on sale for 50% off until 18th February which is a great saving. I find cowls are a lot less fussy to wear than shawls so I think this might get lots of wear this coming winter! Mind you, I do have lots and lots of shawls so I’ll still want to wear them too.

Sewing

This week I made a start on my McCall’s M7953. It’s been a long while since I last made a Big 4 pattern and cutting the pieces was fiddly on such fine paper. I had to close the doors as the breeze kept blowing the bits away. Once I had my bits cut, I went eagerly onto the cutting. So eagerly that I made a rookie error almost right off the bat. I didn’t take notice of which side of the fabric was up on the pattern layout and I cut the right front (full length piece) left front top and front facings before I realised that I should have had the right side up. I considered going with that and having the tie on the right side but I decided that would be way too weird. I’m lucky I had plenty of fabric to spare so I cut those pieces again. I find cutting the pieces to be the hardest part of sewing – maybe not the hardest, but definitely the most tedious. So I was almost finished cutting when I had to almost start again. Fortunately the back pieces were symmetrical so it didn’t matter which way it was cut. Anyway, there’s still a good amount left for a top later on, and I can use the cut pieces as well. So far I have sewn up the back seam, added the right front (after stitching the tucks) and I’ve added the left front top section and ties. I’m doing view A but I’m using the ties from view D. You can see the dress hanging up but as there are no side seams done yet, it just looks like random pieces of fabric hanging. The only really discernible pieces are the ties. The last step I got done yesterday was the facing. I’m a little annoyed with the facing as it didn’t fit very well. The pieces were cut on the bias to give them stretch but then the instructions have you putting interfacing on them. The interfacing I used was a bit stretchy but the whole point of interfacing is to hold the shape. Anyway, I manged to fudge the facing onto the dress neck opening by minimising the seams and easing it on. The photo below shows the interfaced piece and how short of the end it was. I’ll get back to that tomorrow and I think the fiddliest bits are now done. I have to follow the instructions for the dress and for the jumpsuit at the same time so that I know what to do where the ties are in case there are different instructions. I haven’t yet worked out how the dress is supposed to do up. The views without the ties have hooks and eyes so that’s clear enough but I think the inside of the dress is loose and it’s gathered in by the hook/eyes or ties. I’m sure it will all be very clear by next week.

Spinning

There’s not a lot of news on the spinning front. I only got a couple of sessions in this week and I have all but finished the first 100 grams. There is a little tuft of fibre yet to go which I couldn’t finish the other night. I’ll definitely have that done today and will get onto the next bobbin’s worth of fibre.

Dyeing

I did do a little bit of dyeing this week, mainly as I thought I wanted it for the Dolly cardigan test knit. In the end I decided against using the yarn but I am still happy with it as it is now. The colours here are really not showing very well. The original yarn is soaking on the left below but it was too canary yellow for my liking (it doesn’t look very canary does it!). So I decided to overdye it with mustard and it came out great, though you’d think that is canary yellow. It’s not quite a full skein. I decided on less of a contrast with the brown of the cardigan so this one is going back into stash for another project.

Acquisitions

Last week I purchased the Itch to Stitch Lamma hoodie when it was on the release special. As usual with Itch to Stitch patterns, there are many features. This sweatshirt has a hood or cowl option. The raglan sleeves with shoulder darts have the option of thumbhole sleeves or cuffed sleeves and there are in-seam pockets on the front. The princess seams and yoked back make for a great colour blocking option or you can make it all in the same fabric. I have this one pencilled in to make next month or maybe April as it will be cosy as the weather cools down. And I have found a few more free patterns that are very interesting too. I was introduced to these two patterns by a new-to-me podcaster, Frugalisama, who finds free and discounted patterns. They are out there, you just have to find them and it’s great when someone tells you all about them. The Mood Society has lots of free patterns and this Linden Sleepwear Set caught my eye. I have some nice satin remnants that would be perfect for these. Another free pattern that caught my eye is the Vera Knit top by Forget Me Not patterns. I hadn’t heard of this company and it turns out that they’re in New Zealand. Statement sleeves seem to be all the go at the moment and I imagine they will come onto our scene here Downunder once the weather starts the cool. The Vera top has a V neck but there is a scoop neck expansion pack that I purchased for less than $AUD3. I’ve heard that V necks are a bit tricky so it’s good to have the scoop option.

Paraphernalia

Early last week, I discovered a new series on Netflix called Firefly Lane which stars Kathrine Heigl, and I finished the lot. So far, there’s only season one but, judging by the way it finished, there will be a season two. Apparently it’s from a book of the same name by Kristin Hannah. I’ve read one and a half of her books – The Nightingale, which I enjoyed, and The Great Alone, which I abandoned half way through as I felt it was going soooo slowly. I’ll have to find something else to watch now! Last week, I let you know that I was listening to Twisted Prey by John Sandford and I finished that quite quickly. I then moved on to another book – The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan which is the first of the Cormac Reilly series. It’s the first but there appears to be a 0.5 and a 0.7 short books that precede the first one. Anyway, I didn’t find that out until I’d finished it – yes, that one’s finished also and it was a great mystery. I’m looking forward to the others in the series, which is how I found out that there are a couple of books that go before this one. I used random number generator to pick that one from my Goodreads list and I’ve again randomly picked a number for the next book that I started – All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio, a New York Times Bestselling Author. This one crosses a couple of different timelines and is keeping me intrigued.

This week looks like it will be a quiet one. I often say that but I think I mean that I don’t need to travel anywhere and I’ll be spending more time in my studio. We have a catch up breakfast tomorrow morning and I have a doctor appointment on Thursday and the rest will evolve as I get to it. On Friday, we’ll be heading down the coast to Murramarang Resort at South Durras where we’ll be attending a wedding on Saturday. Steven, Kim and Finn will be there too; Evie will be staying with her Nanny and Pa for a couple of days. It will be a nice mini break and I’m really looking forward to it.

Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 7 February 2021. #133

Hello friends! Welcome to February. The weather hasn’t been fantastic but we have had some lovely days. I started this week waiting at the cafe in Huskisson for our catch-up breakfast but ended up having a quiet one on my own. There were many who weren’t able to come but one would never know who was coming. The system has changed now, on my request, so that we have a Whatsapp group and can see everyone’s response. I wouldn’t mind but I did have a couple of things that I could have done instead. On Tuesday, I headed up to Sydney to spend a couple of days with Erin, Shaun and Cooper. It was a lovely time and Cooper was very well behaved for a new baby, being only a week and a half old. We had some quality time together but all he does at the moment is eat (I can’t help with that), sleep (I can watch him while mum sleeps) and dirty nappies (I can definitely help with that). I did get out for a walk on Wednesday afternoon and took some pics of the area. I really like walking around there as it’s such a beautiful and interesting spot.

I came home on Thursday morning via IKEA and managed to pick up many bits and pieces. On Friday morning, I got my bike out for the first time since a couple of weeks before Christmas and rode over to Huskisson. It has been very busy on the track with all the tourists over January so I waited till they all went home. I also did ten laps in the ocean pool before riding back. On Saturday morning I was at Aldi early to pick up an office chair. I already have one of them that I use in my studio, rolling from one end of the desk to the other along the three machines and over to the table. I wanted one for the study but I wasn’t about to give up my studio chair. There were plenty to go around and I also picked up one for Mary. I’ve also been doing some planning of projects this week.

Knitting

I finished my cowl test knit with a kitchener stitch to join up the two ends of the tube. The photos show different colours, mainly due to the different times I took them – I think the closest colours are in the photo where I’m wearing it. The sewn kitchener stitch was a little tricky as I had two circles, rather than two flat rows. It turned out fine except where I dropped a stitch. I was several stitches away when I realised and unsewing the stitches was not something I wanted to attempt, with the “knit off, purl on, purl off, knit on” backwards too scary a thought. I was able to pick up the stitch and sew it in easily enough. It just meant that I had an extra stitch at the end and I worked the last two stitches together. My kitchener looks great on the front side of the cowl but seems a bit tight on the back – at the beginning and end of the kitchener, but you won’t be able to see it. It’s not cowl weather here so I took this photo to show how it sits. I think it will be great for winter.

The Lieselotte Baby blanket is nearly finished. I have done as many rounds of the border as I think I need, having added an extra six rounds plus a plain knit round. I will now do an i-cord bind off but didn’t start it last night as I wanted to check on YouTube how to do it in the round. I remembered that you had to cast on three stitches before starting the bind off and there’s a way to graft the end so that it joins nicely. I found the tutorial that I had used previously, one by Bronwyn the Brave Designs. I’ll start the bind off tonight but, with over 600 stitches, I’m not sure I’ll finish it tonight. The border stitch was easy and had a good rhythm that didn’t slow the knitting down much.

I’ve grouped together three other projects because I’ve only done a little on each. Firstly, I started a couple of swatches for the Gramps cardigan that I’ll be making for Finn and Cooper. Finn will be getting navy with another colour and Cooper will be getting the dark teal with another colour. The actual colours are darker than the photo shows. The contrast colour is for the bands and collar. I particularly wanted to do a swatch because I’m going to use this DK instead of Worsted weight. Using the recommended needle size of 4.0mm, they have both turned out looser than I want, the navy yarn more than the other. I’ll give the navy a go with 3.5mm and may try the teal with 3.75. I’ll then need to recalculate the gauge so that I can pick the size that correlates with the stitch gauge I get. Another project that got a couple of rounds done is my Shell Cottage socks. I’m almost finished the gusset increases and thought it would be a good small project to have in line waiting for Aldi to open yesterday. In the end I only managed a round and a half. Lastly, I managed a few rows on my Half Moon Oracle shawl during my Zoom with the International Virtual Knit Night group this morning. I like to work on this one for the Zoom meetings as there are a few of us that are doing it together. I think I may be doing a couple of extra rows because the pattern is confusing. It gives the four rows for the brioche (2 rows x 2 colours) and then says to repeat four times in total. I think she means knit the four rows, four times in total but I’m repeating them four times instead. It won’t make a difference to the shawl as there are no increases. I’ve only got three rows to do before I start the second last section, which will be lace again. I think I’ll use the dark teal again for the next section and finish with the caramel.

Crochet

In the last week or so, I’ve noticed on Facebook how people have been gearing up for the #100dayproject2021 and I was thinking of joining in. It actually started on 1st February but after worrying that I’d missed it, I realised that you can actually start on any day. You can do absolutely anything for the 100 day project and a lot that I see are small art projects. I decided I would like to crochet a granny square a day for 100 days but, as you can see from below, I’m not ready to start yet. I found this lovely square but have changed the hook size already and still I’m not sure it’s right but it is close. Also, I’m not sure about the yarn I’m using. I know I won’t have enough but I think I can get more if I need it. I was hoping to use cotton (which this is) and I wanted to use yarn from my stash. I tried a third square and made a very obvious mistake but I’d already cut the yarn when I noticed it. If I go ahead, I’ll need to undo it and probably add a little bit and have a join in there. The square takes 5 grams and these are 50 gram balls. From these four I’d get 40 – I have another pack in beiges so that would be another 40 so I’ll be short of my 100. Another criteria I had was that it’s a one colour square. This square is pretty but too lacy around the outside so I have no idea how they would be joined to each other. I’ll see what other squares I can use – there are so many of them on Ravelry.

Sewing

This week’s sewing project was the Rookie Wrap Skirt by The Sewing Revival. This was a quick sew and it only took me a couple of hours on a couple of days. I started it Monday and finished it Friday. I’ve had this on my list for a while and had a couple of selections of fabric but in the end I decided to make a wearable toile and used some fabric that my mother had given me when getting rid of her stash. There were two pieces of fabric, different but coordinated, and I had more of one than the other. In the end, I was able to get all the pieces out of these fabrics, with the lining made up of the pieces left after I cut out the main fabric. The pattern for the back of the skirt is one piece but for the lining I cut two and joined it. One of the front pieces and half the back is made up of the left over border section plus the non border section. I had joined that one horizontally and you can see in the third phot that the bottom sections match but the tops are different. It didn’t matter because it’s on the inside. I had originally thought it was a reversible skirt and, though it isn’t, I think it wouldn’t take much to make it reversible. All I have left to do now is add a button and a hook and eye. I think I might wear this tomorrow if I can find something to wear on top.

Another project that I’ve had on my list for some time is a onesie from the Pick n Mix T-shirt pattern from Made by Jack’s Mum. This is a real mix and match pattern – it has a normal t-shirt, a button shoulder t-shirt and an envelope t-shirt. Then it has an option for a snap crotch bodysuit, and short and long sleeves. I had printed this pattern off way before Finn was born and printed the 0-3 months. When I got it out yesterday, I thought it was 3-6 months. Finn is now two months old and very long so this one won’t be for him but should fit Cooper, and will be a good toile for when I do the larger size. I also cut out a baby hat to match. This Baby Knit hat is a free pattern simpliby Sweet Red Poppy and you can do a single knot top or a double knot top. I’ve cut the 3-6 months of this one to see how it goes for size. The pattern instructions have it lined but I’ve seen them without the lining and you won’t see the inside anyway. I think the lined one might be better for when it’s a bit cooler.

I mentioned at the beginning that I’d been doing some planning this week. I went through my Big 4 patterns and found one that I would like to make. It’s the Simplicity 2927 that I’d picked up second hand at the The Sewing Basket last year. Or it may have been the year before! It was new and unopened though the packet was a little rough around the edges. I went through several fabrics before settling on this one. It’s a dark blue with an almost batik type motif on it. I have plenty to make this. I almost picked one of two Vogue patterns before settling on this but they were both lined and I hadn’t made one of their patterns before to get a feel for their sizing. The Big 4 patterns generally have a lot of ease. I didn’t want to use all that fabric if it didn’t fit. I would like to try a Vogue pattern that doesn’t use lining first. In my planning, I put down a few months as headings and added some patterns that I want to make. There are a couple of cold weather items so I’ve put them down for April but I ended up adding too many to February. These are all summer items which is why I want to make them now. I have crossed off the first one – the Rookie Wrap skirt. I purchased some fabric at Spotlight the other day and I’ll talk more about it later but when I came across this McCall’s pattern (M7953) yesterday, it got me really inspired to make it. So that is being cut out this afternoon or tomorrow. It’s one of their easy patterns though it looks pretty fancy. I’ve decided on View A, which has the shorter skirt and sleeves but I think I’ll do the tie waist as in View D. I’m really excited about this and, if it looks good, I can wear it to a wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. The tiger stripe fabric is perfect and I have plenty of it – there will be plenty left over for a top of some sort too.

Patchwork

While I was at spotlight the other day, I purchased some smooth webbing to use for the ties on the Santa sacks I made at Christmas. These are now getting packed away for next Christmas.

Dyeing

I have put my hand up to do another test knit for Libby Johnson (Truly Myrtle) and needed some yarn. So out come the dyeing tools and I’ve dyed four skeins of KnitPicks Swish fingering. The only colour that is correct below is the one in the pan. The brown came out redder than I wanted (and darker actually). I have since overdyed it with some grey to tone it down though you can’t really tell from the photo at the end. It’s almost dry so I’ll be caking up the skeins tonight. The test knit is for a cardigan with slip stitch colourwork in the yoke. It’s not a secret test so I’ll be able to show my progress. I’m going to use a dark teal and a yet to be decided colour with this yarn – it doesn’t use much in the colourwork. I need to get the swatch started tomorrow so that I can cast on the project. I like Libby’s patterns and I like cardigans so I’m glad to be doing this. The cowl is finished and the baby blanket is all but finished so I’ll be able to concentrate on two cardigans at a time – 1 x Gramps and 1 x Libby’s Dolly test.

Workshops

Last week I mentioned that I had attended another Pinot and Picasso painting class and here are the photos. It was a great afternoon out with the girls. The very first photo is the one we were copying. My finished result is shown near the bottom next to my previous artwork, Frida Kahlo. My Cleopatra’s neck is a little bit too long but, on the whole, I’m quite happy with the result. There is talk that we may do Marilyn Monroe at some time in the future.

Acquisitions

I called in at Spotlight on Thursday to get some webbing for the Santa sacks and elastic for my Hope dress and found that they were having a clearance on dress fabric. Everything was $10 a metre or less and if you took the whole end of the bolt it was half price. I got the fabric below:

  • The first shown is a Prince of Wales houndstooth. It’s either wool or wool blend. I have another piece very similar though the print is slightly different. I only managed to get 1.5m of this but it only cost me $4.50.
  • The next one is a silky satin. The colour is more an olive brown in real life. I got 4.8m of this costing $14.40.
  • The third is also a satin in a tiger stripe and it’s washed and ready to cut out as I mentioned above. There is 3.5m which cost me $10.50.

It’s very economical to buy fabric in this type of sale. I have some ideas for all of these! I really need to write down the composition information from the bolt as what you get on the receipt is very basic.

Paraphernalia

Wow! That was a lot to talk about and I didn’t even mention the spinning – it doesn’t look much different to last week. This week I finished watching Unforgotten season 2 and season 3. I was watching this on Foxtel and I though that season 2 didn’t end properly. When I checked it out, it appears that they had episode 5 as both 5 and 6. I checked it three times. I did find that ABC iView was showing season 2 so I got to watch the finale, after I’d already started season 3. It’s a great show and I can’t wait for season 4 which they started filming at the end of 2020. I finished listening to The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne and really enjoyed it. After that, I thought I’d take the next book I had on the list which was a Lucas Davenport series book – Twisted Prey. This is the 28th novel in the series by John Sandford and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. I have 34 audible books waiting for me to read and I think I’ll work through them by picking a random number after I finish each.

This week I’m heading up to Wollongong on Tuesday to spend the day with Evie and Finn and I’ll go up to Sydney afterwards to see Cooper on Wednesday. I have a breakfast catch up tomorrow morning and then I’m going to do some collage and painting with Mary. Plus all my projects in and around all of that, of course! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 31 January 2021. #132

Hello friends! Welcome to the end of January. It’s amazing how quickly it went. This week was quite social and very family oriented. I only managed one trip to the beach this week and it was very early on Monday. So early that the sun hadn’t gotten high enough to get over the point at the beach I was at. Since then, the weather hasn’t been great – we’ve had a lot more rain. On Monday night, we had dinner at Swan Lake, a bit further down the coast, with our friends Peter and Sue. Sue is another avid knitter so we talked a lot about yarny stuff, grandkids and knitting while we did. Then on Tuesday I headed up to Sydney to meet my new grandson, Cooper who came home from hospital that day. On Wednesday, I spent the day with Evie and Finn. Evie and I got to do some painting together and Finn has changed so much in the week and a half since I’d seen him! He’s so alert now and interacting.

On Thursday morning, some of the local girls had breakfast at Paperbark Camp’s restaurant, The Gunya. It was a set meal, starting with fruit, fruit juice, chia pudding, coffee/tea, and then a choice of two main meals. I had the camp breakfast which was bacon, sourdough, tomato, mushrooms, spinach and eggs done how you like. The other option was smoked salmon with eggs and a sauce. It was a lovely breakfast and it was nice to try a different place for a change. Yesterday, Robert and I headed up to Sydney as he hadn’t yet met Cooper. It was lovely spending the day with Erin, Shaun and Cooper and then we had coffee at my mum and dad’s place before heading down to Wollongong for the night. We had a nice stay with Steven, Kim, Evie and Finn and headed home this morning as they were heading to Sydney to meet the new baby.

Knitting

I have finished the main knitting on the Long Squishy Cowl that I’m testing for Susan Distel, a designer on Ravelry. I only have to graft the two ends together, which I’ll do tomorrow with kitchener stitch. It’s due now and I managed to get most of it done quickly once I had received my 5.5mm tips and the matching cable. The first photo shows parts one and two and you can see that part two has a tighter tension for the initial section, on the left. That’s when I was using the DPNs and I was obviously knitting tightly. I think it was actually necessary as the DPNs are quite heavy at that size and could easily slip out if you weren’t careful. Anyway, it was a fun, quick and easy knit and I’ll have finished photos next week.

I only put a couple of rows on my Half Moon Oracle shawl as I had to finish the cowl and I needed to work on the Lieselotte Baby blanket. I didn’t bother with photos of the shawl as it would look the same as last week. The Lieselotte is coming along nicely as I’ve now started on the border pattern. It’s a small faux cable where you just carry a slipped stitch over a couple of stitches and add a yarn over in the next row. I’m enjoying knitting on this part as it’s giving some relief to the constant stocking stitch in the round. You can see the puffy centre of the blanket below but that will block out once it’s all done and stretched out. I have used this formula previously on the Twinkle Twinkle Baby blanket and I know that it works fine. There are 23 rows to the border but I know I can add a few more if I need to. It’s hard to work out exactly how large this is but it’s meant to be a pram blanket so doesn’t need to be huge.

I have some plans for upcoming cast-ons, namely two Gramps cardigans by TinCan Knits for Finnick and Cooper and a Trellis Stitch jacket for Evie. As soon as I’m done with the projects above, I’ll be casting them on. That should be in the next couple of weeks.

Sewing

With the arrival of another baby, I got to making some more burp cloths. I had made one a few weeks back for Kim and Finnick and this week I made them another one, along with two for Erin and Cooper. These are very easy to make and are very handy to have. The first one I made in the size that the pattern came in which was able to be cut from a fat quarter. Since then, Kim showed me a bigger one so I just enlarged the pattern by 20% to get these three. You need more than a fat quarter for these but it works well with a narrow full width strip.

On Friday, I got stuck into my Hope dress by Style Arc. I had put the bodice together and also the facing but that was as far as I’d gotten. When I wanted to move on with it I couldn’t find the facing that was ready to put on the bodice and I searched everywhere. Anyway, it’s only a small piece so I cut out the pieces again and put it together again. I added the facing, sewed the side seams and sleeve seams, sewed the skirt side seams, gathered the skirt top and added it to the bodice. I finished the sleeve hems and the skirt hem. All that is left to do is to add the elastic to the sleeve hems and I don’t have any I can use. I’ll have to make a trip to Spotlight and get some. I have tried it on and it does just fit across the bust but I think I’ll need to add some elastic to the waist to bring it in a little. Anything that hangs from the bust on me looks like maternity wear so I need to add some shape. That will give it some waist definition and I hope it looks better. I may also need to take some length off, but I’ll see about that when I try it on after adding the elastic. It’s supposed to be long and flowy so I’ll make that call later. By the way, I found the original facing yesterday when I pulled out my Half Moon Oracle – it had been caught up in that!

Spinning

As I wasn’t home much, I only managed a little spinning this week but progress is good regardless of how little it is. I’m only about half way through the first 100 grams and I have another 4 of them to go.

Acquisitions

Mary gave me a voucher from Skein Sisters for my birthday and I decided to use their 10% discount voucher for the month of January. I settled on some Coop Knits Socks Yeah! which is fingering weight in 75% fine superwash merino and 25% nylon. The colours I chose, from left, are: Acinolite, Chryso, Lapis, Chalcedony and Sphene. In choosing these skeins, I thought they would work well for an Exploration Station shawl by Stephen West. I have been wanting to make one of these ever since it was released a few years ago and I think now is the time. Obviously, this won’t be cast on until the Half Moon Oracle shawl is complete. I have another skein that I intend to use with these – a Pineapple Yarn’s Lani Sock in the Spiced Rum colourway. I’ll show them all together when I am ready to cast on. Thank you Mary!

Paraphernalia

This afternoon I attended another painting class by Pinot and Picasso and this one was of Cleopatra. Like the last one I did for Frida Kahlo, it was a lot of fun and I attended with five girlfriends. I will have more info on that in next week’s blog. I finished The Champagne War by Fiona McIntosh and, though it’s something I wouldn’t normally read, I did kind of enjoy it. I’ve now started listening to The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne. I think it will be a decent read, from what I can tell early in the book. I have re-instated my Goodreads account as I have been having trouble with my Audible list. I have old books listed that are showing as not read and it can get confusing. With Goodreads, I’ll be able to keep track. I have so many audiobooks to read! I can’t seem to settle on any series on Netflix, Foxtel or SBS On Demand since Bridgerton but I am still drip feeding on Unforgotten on Foxtel as there is only one episode of Season 2 a week at the moment. I think I have only one or two episodes to go and I really look forward to Wednesdays.

This week, I’ll be heading back up to Sydney to spend a couple of days with Erin, Shaun and Cooper. That will take a bit chunk out of the middle of the week so I intend to spend as much time in my studio while I’m home. It’s getting quite late now so I’ll close here and get this post up. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 24 January 2021. #131

Hello friends! January is taking a long time yet how are we almost at the end already? This week started with my birthday on Monday but the highlight of the week has to be the birth of my new grandson, Cooper. I haven’t been able to meet Cooper in person yet due to the restrictions at the hospital which don’t allow visitors but I will see him on Tuesday when they are home. I will have pictures next week. On my birthday, I had breakfast with my Monday fortnight breakfast friends and then morning tea with some other friends. I didn’t get a swim in as the wind was very strong but I did have a lovely walk along a couple of the beaches before going to dinner with Robert and his mother. There are very few restaurants open on a Monday night so we ended up at the Huskisson Pub along with lots of tourists.

On Wednesday, I spent the morning with Mary doing some collage and painting (more info later) and then we had lunch. Thursday and Friday were beach days though, when I say that, it’s only for a maximum of an hour in the morning and that includes the walk to and from the beach. I like to get there early before the real heat of the day. The rest of the days were spent in the studio – I’ve been moving a few things around again. Yesterday, I attended a fabulous candle-making workshop which I will talk about in detail further down the blog. I did go for a swim this morning as well; nice an early as today was forecast to be 38 degrees Celcius. I’m not sure it got there but it was pretty hot.

Last week, I forgot to show that our side fence was finished. We are still waiting for the trees on the back block’s boundary to be removed before we can do that fence. The other work that has started on the house is the small garden we’re putting in at the front. Robert has started to put the sleepers in but has been held up from proceeding temporarily due to some minor surgery on his back and shoulder to remove a couple of skin cancers.

Knitting

My Half Moon Oracle shawl is progressing nicely even though I haven’t been spending all my time on it. I have now finished the lace section number five and progressed onto the next brioche section, number six. There are only a total of 28 brioche rows here which, in length, equates to about 14 rows due to working each row twice. Then there is another short lace section and it is finished with an i-cord bind off. I am totally loving the colours and how they play together. It will be the perfect shawl to wear with my Tuileries pullover that I finished at the end of last winter and is yet to be worn. The caramel yarn is from that project.

Most of my knitting has been on the Lieselotte baby blanket and each round is getting slower due to the number of stitches. I now have about 610 stitches to work around. I was thinking of starting on the border pattern but have decided to go around a little bit more first. Maybe another six rounds which is where I need to be with the number of stitches for the pattern repeat. I’m itching to start on the pattern. I think it will block out to a reasonable size – it’s currently about 30 inches along each side, without blocking. The other project I’ve been working on has been the Long Squishy tube test knit. I didn’t do much at all this week until Thursday when I was able to use my newly acquired Chiaogoo cable and 5.5mm tips. Then I zoomed through the slip stitch section and am currently half way through the third section which uses the 5.0mm tips that I already had. I think the DPNs were causing me to be a bit tight with the tension though it won’t really be noticeable. This needs to be finished this week so will be getting plenty of love now.

Spinning

I’m not sure how long it has been since I last did any spinning but I know it was well before Christmas. I finally decided to pull out something to do. I have almost finished a project but I didn’t want to continue on that without having spun for so long, so I though a new project would be best to get my hand back at how I was spinning. I thought it would take a little practice to get going again but I’m spinning just fine now. I am getting a new niddy noddy for my birthday – it’s currently on its way to me, so I’ll be able to get the singles off once they are done since my old niddy noddy fell apart. It was very old and I inherited it with the spinning wheel. I’m not sure what this fibre is but I think it’s a merino/silk blend. This was a gift from my friend Janice who had decided that she didn’t need unspun fibre in her life. I’m happy to take it off her hands as it is beautiful. The bump weighed in at 495 grams so it will make a nice amount of yarn for a jumper or cardigan.

Sewing

I haven’t done a lot of dressmaking this week. I did fix up the button band on my Harvest top and I’ve added the buttonholes. I haven’t put the buttons on yet but I’m not really enthused because it turned out a bit too big. It’s a nice top but I may have to find someone who is a little bigger than me who wants it. I did a couple of seams on the bodice of my Hope dress but, again, the enthusiasm is waning as I think it might be a little small due to the French seams. I don’t think I needed to do them and I’m now moving forward with just overlocking instead. I’ll see how it turns out because I can’t try it on yet until I do the side and sleeve seams. If it is too small I may be able to cut out another bodice as I have plenty of fabric leftover, and the skirt part is gathered so won’t be a problem as my hips are smaller than the relative measurement.

Patchwork

The two Santa sacks that I’d made for Evie and Finn for Christmas have been waiting patiently at my machine and I got around to doing the blanket stitch around the E and F on them. I did them by machine as I’d intended and now all that’s required is the cording for the ties. I had intended to call in at Spotlight yesterday to get some and completely forgot. I’ll get that this week and I’ll then put them away until next Christmas.

Painting

I mentioned earlier that Mary and I spent the morning on Wednesday doing some collage and painting together. We followed an online art journalling class by Laly Mille called New Beginnings. Mary had previously done one of her classes and I was really impressed by how fun it looked. Laly is a mixed media artist and has several free classes available to help inspire wannabes like me. šŸ˜Š There are four free classes in her New Beginnings series and the one we did is the first one called Gratitude. The finished product doesn’t appear to be about gratitude but there’s plenty buried at the bottom of it. We’ll be doing another one soon.

Workshops

Yesterday I participated in a candle-making class with a group of friends at Willowvale Road Candles in Gerringong. This is about a 45 minute drive for me so is reasonably close. We had a fantastic day! Caroline was a wonderful instructor and she started us off on individual grazing boxes and champagne while we admired the view from the verandah. The class was very professional and everything was prepared and set out in a very pleasing way. Firstly, we learnt all about candles, and it’s amazing what you don’t actually know! We then moved onto the class and we made three candles in beautiful glass containers; a large one, a medium one and a small one. There was a very large array of scents to use and you can also combine them too. I did my large one in lemon myrtle, my medium one using clove, orange and cedar leaf and, for the small one, I combined cinnamon buns with black rose and oudh. I’d never heard of oudh and couldn’t describe it for you so here is what Mr Google tells me: “TheĀ fragranceĀ is comprised of many diverse aspects. It is simultaneously pungent, yet very pleasing, invoking warm, smoky notes with tinges of dampened wood. Although subtlety blended with touches of floral and fruit, the predominantĀ scentĀ is musky and sensual”. After the candles were done, we each made up some diffuser scent. I chose the fragrance called Christmas bush. Once we were finished with the class we were treated to afternoon tea which consisted of a cupcake and slice, the rest of the champagne and coffee/tea. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and Caroline wasn’t able to get rid of us until nearly 5pm! I highly recommend her classes as they are so professional and she’s a lovely person to spend time with. She’ll be offering other classes so I’m keeping my eye out to see what I can do next – I’m hoping for a soap class. šŸ¤ž

Paraphernalia

I have finished watching Bridgerton and I’m disappointed that there are no more episodes coming soon enough! It was a great show and look forward to the next season – I am assuming there will be one. I am still listening to The Champagne War and I’m almost enjoying it. I think it’s very soapy but it’s not so bad that I’ll not finish it. I’m also reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin while I’m at the beach. It definitely has great tips for making good habits or breaking bad habits. I watched The Good Liar with Helen Mirren on Netflix the other day and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. No spoilers! I’m kind of lost with series at the moment, not feeling any that I want to watch. I even finished Virgin River for want of something better to grab me.

This week I’ll be spending time with all my grandchildren and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be meeting Cooper on Tuesday and then spending the day with Evie and Finn on Wednesday. There is an Australia Day get together happening on Tuesday but I think spending the day with Cooper, Erin and Shaun is a much better option. On Thursday, I’ll be having breakfast at a local restaurant called The Gunya which is at Paperbark Camp. It’s a very fancy tented bush camp. And plenty of crafting throughout all that!

Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 17 January 2021. #130

Hello friends! This week has been full of fun, starting with a couple of days of beach weather. On Wednesday, I went to spend the day with Evie and we did some birthday shopping for her daddy and had a pool party. It was a good way of keeping cool on a hot afternoon. That evening, Robert and I had dinner and drinks at the brewery with our friends, Ken and Deb. On Thursday, I had a fun day with my friend, Lorraine, at her place with some sewing, lunch and a swim in her pool. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos! On Friday, I spent most of the day doing housework and getting ready for Steven, Kim and the kids’ arrival later that night. I also made a Zuppa Inglese birthday cake. It seems not long ago that I was telling you that – October for our other big birthday grouping. The kids visited to celebrate Steven’s and my birthdays coming up this week. We had a lovely day yesterday at the beach, then Chinese lunch at the Golf Club followed by afternoon tea birthday cake. They all left this morning and I’ve been relaxing today, starting with a visit to the beach. I went to a different beach today, just to the left of our normal beach, because of the southerly blowing and I didn’t even get into the water as it was quite fresh in and out.

Knitting

I finished the Bitty Baby booties on Wednesday this week and Evie and I took them to the post office. Erin has received them and she really likes them. I have also made a little progress on the Lieselotte baby blanket though not as much as I would have liked. I just need to keep going round and round for some time yet!

I have made some progress on the Long Squishy Tube test but, again, not as much as I’d hoped. I had ordered a set of 5.5mm tips which arrived on Wednesday but then I realised that this size of tips, and sizes above, require a different cable with larger connectors. I will ring and order some of those tomorrow in probably three different sizes. That way I’ll have the right cable if I need to use these tips on another project or maybe some other tips. In the meantime, I’ve been struggling along with the DPNs. It’s not horrible but a bit painful and definitely slower going. I had hoped to be at the end of this section by now but I’m only about half way. I’ll try to catch up this week when I get the cables. I will continue with a repeat or two each day until then.

The Half Moon Oracle shawl is moving more slowly now since the last increase as there are now 294 stitches. I’ve mainly been working on this while on my International Virtual Knit Night zoom chats but have also picked it up a couple of other times. I have another 13 rows to do before I moved onto the next section which I think is more brioche.

Sewing

Last Sunday, I got the urge to cut out the Hope dress by Style Arc. For this, I decided to use some patterned chiffon that I purchased on special from Super Cheap Fabrics. I think I paid under $3.00 a metre for this so it’s very economical. It is a bit see through but I intend to wear a black slip underneath. The chiffon is quite slippery and I have decided to do French seams to encase the edges and avoid fraying. I cut out the size 10 which would be fine but I probably should have cut out size 12 as the seams are only 1cm. It’s challenging to do French seams on a 1cm seam, especially with such a fine, slippery fabric. Anyway, I have been doing teeny seams and it seems to be working but I’m concerned that the seams might be a little larger than the 1cm allowed. It is a loose and flowing style so I’m hoping that it’s OK. I’ve only done four seams so far – the front and back bodice pieces to the sleeves. I’ll probably do a bit more this week so I’ll see how far I can get. There are not many steps on this pattern. I have to add the facing and sew up the sizes and sleeves. Then it’s only a matter of gathering the skirt and attaching. I was thinking of applying elastic instead of gathering and that will bring the bodice in under the bust a little. That may not be necessary as the fabric is so drapey. I find that dresses on me without shaping under the bust tend to have a maternity look about them. For the hem, I could do a rolled hem but I haven’t done that before. I think I’ll be happy to add a normal hem to give a bit more weight to the bottom and it would probably be too long on me otherwise.

Patchwork

On Monday and Tuesday, I finished off the Superman quilt I was making for Finn as a play mat. I only had a little quilting to do on Monday and then on Tuesday I worked on the binding and added a “peeper” in red. I found some fabric in stash in the right colour for the binding and used the red fat quarter that was part of the original fat quarter pack for the peeper. When I had sandwiched the quilt I went a little crooked and the white border was beyond the backing by about half an inch only on one end of one side. To remedy this I trimmed that side and was wondering if I should only trim the opposite side when I realised that I had trimmed a good side. So I trimmed all sides by half an inch. This only reduced it to a two and a half inch finished border which is fine for this size quilt. I added the peeper at the same time as the binding which, at first, was a bit fiddly though I soon got into a rhythm with it. I took it up and gave it to Finn on Wednesday and he thinks it’s great! So does his sister who joined him for a test run.

Paraphernalia

I managed to watch a few shows this past week though I was hopping from one to another as I found it hard to concentrate on any one in particular. I’ve been watching Virgin River on and off and that was good for having on while I was sewing. I watched a bit more of Ozark, another episode of Unforgotten (that’s coming out each week) and have also started Bridgerton, which has grabbed my attention.

Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating another solar return and will be spending the day with friends and family. I’ll be catching up with friends for breakfast, then other friends for morning tea. My mother-in-law is visiting for a couple of nights so we’ll be going out for dinner. I’m catching up with Mary on Wednesday for a day of painting and knitting. On Saturday, there is a group of us that will be attending a candle-making class and that should be fun. It will be great to catch up as a group again. Erin is due to have her baby on Thursday so I’ll be waiting for a call. Unfortunately, restrictions are still on so that we won’t be able to visit while she’s in hospital and have to wait until she and the baby go home.

Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 10 January 2021. #129

Hello friends! Welcome to a beautiful summer day here on the south coast of New South Wales. The weather has been on and off but the better days are starting to be in the majority now. I’ve been to the beach most days this week and it’s amazing how good it feels in the sun and the saltwater. I haven’t done much this week apart from a few medical appointments and the beach. And, of course, time in my studio working on projects.

There has been some activity around the house this week. The fence is finally being installed and, though they’ve been working all week, it is still not finished. There was a bit of rock that they needed to get through for the posts so that slowed things down a bit. Along with rain on several days. The fence is being installed between our property and the one on the side but we are not having the back fence put in just yet. The owner of the property at our back is having some trees removed and they are on the border so it’s best to wait and have the back fence put in when that’s completed. I think the trees are being removed this coming week so we’ll then schedule the last part of the fence.

Knitting

I’ve made considerable progress on the Lieselotte baby blanket this week. Apart from the four corners, it’s just stocking stitch in the round so it’s been easy to knit on. It’s hard to show the square shape whilst it’s scrunched onto a cable but you can get the idea from the last photo where I put in a couple of more cables so that I could spread it out. I’m onto my 3rd cable at the moment and I’m about to change to the next size as you can see it is really getting bunched up. I’m only on my second ball at the moment and I have another seven. I don’t see using all of them but I’ll work that out when I get a lot further into it.

In comparison, I haven’t made a lot of progress on my Long Squishy Tube cowl test knit now that I’ve reached the slip stitch section. This is because I had to go up from 5.0mm to 5.5mm needles and all I have is DPNs. It has been working but it feels like I have more fingers than I need! I am doing a little at a time waiting for some 5.5mm tips that I have ordered. I could only get 4″ tips so I’m hoping they won’t be too long for knitting in the round on this small tube. I’m liking the pattern that I’m getting as I go through my coloured balls. I have plenty of the orange and blue so will do more of those colours than the caramel and green. I hope the tips arrive in the next day or two.

And then there is my Half Moon Oracle shawl – I am so loving the brioche on this! I think I need to have a brioche project on the go all the time. šŸ˜„ I am about to finish the brioche section and I will be starting the next lace bit in the caramel. I’m looking forward to adding more of that colour. There’s more brioche after that and I’m probably going to change the colour B to colour C so that I have the turquoise and caramel together this time. From there, there will be another lace section and I’ll decide which colour it will be when I get to it. The pattern calls for colour C which is my turquoise. In the photo below, I was watching a YouTube video on Hong Kong seams whilst knitting on this.

Erin’s baby is due in ten days and we are all excited, waiting to hear some news as it could be any time! She asked me for a pair of Bitty Baby booties like I’d made for her friend, Ash, so I whipped these up yesterday. I only need to stitch them down now and add two buttons so I hope to get that done this afternoon to pop into tomorrow’s post. I believe they may be for the “Welcome Baby” photo.

I finally got around to blocking my Slipstravaganza shawl! It is HUGE! Which is normal for Stephen West’s shawls. It is really amazing what a difference blocking makes. In the middle photo, you can hardly see the colours in the honeycomb and diamond pattern sections and the blocking has opened them right up. I still have a few ends to sew in though the majority have been done already. This shawl will definitely be in rotation next winter.

Sewing

My new Janome has been set up for free motion quilting on the Superman quilt this week so I have moved onto the old Janome to work on this Harvest top by Pattern Runway. This is a free pattern available through Peppermint Magazine. I am making this as a wearable muslin but it’s probably become much more complicated than the normal project would be because I used some lacy fabric. The sticker on the fabric said Charlotte lace when I purchased this remnant from Spotlight and I was hoping for some inspiration as to how to use it. I thought the three section design would be good to feature the fabric. I had to fussy cut the top and bottom pieces so that the fronts and backs would match and I used some good quality homespun for the centre bits and sleeve cuffs. I think it’s homespun or it could be some quilters muslin as it’s softer than normal homespun fabric. I had to make a few modifications. Firstly the bottom section of the top is supposed to be a doubled up piece of fabric but I wanted to use the lace edging without a hem. For this I just needed to cut a half horizontal piece. The pattern also has a front neck facing and back neck facing/button band but I didn’t want the big facing around the neck. Instead, I cut a bias strip which I attached and folded over the seam before folding and stitching in place. That produced a small quarter inch seam without raw edges. I then had to work out what to do for the back. Instead of the button band facing I decided to add a doubled up piece of homespun on each side for the button band which also enclosed the raw edges at the back opening. I’m yet to try it on at this point so I’m not sure if it’s maybe longer than I’d like. Also for the fit. I removed one inch on either side of the back opening which I think is what I needed to remove for the different button bands. I can make any adjustments I need to before adding the buttons. I need to unpick and re-stitch the bottom of the right button band as it is longer than the other – it looks like the lace may have stretched a bit when I was adding the band. I didn’t actually measure it, just cutting it off when I reached the end. I think the top would be really easy and straightforward to make if I didn’t need to make so many modifications and I have some fabric that I would like to use for it. I should have more photos of this one next week – hopefully some action photos too.

The old Janome really got a workout this week. I also hemmed around three different muslins. I showed the fabric last week and got stuck into that to get them away to Erin. The mail was really quick as she received them in two days! You can see below that the Crazy Sock Lady was keeping me company whilst sewing these.

Paraphernalia

The Superman quilt is still in the machine and I forgot to take photos but that is getting close to finishing. I have been listening to my book, The Champagne War, whilst quilting. Other than that, I’ve finished The Fall on SBS On Demand and I’m now watching the second season of Unforgotten on Foxtel. I’ve also been physically reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. That has been my beach entertainment. I have a quick swim then set the alarm for half an hour while I read. I don’t want to be in the sun for too long so that’s a good beach session for me. My YouTube podcasts have settled to a normal state after the plethora of Vlogmases and I’ve even had time to catch up on some audio podcasts. I listened to a good episode of Dr. Chatterjee’s when he interviewed James Clear on Making Habits Stick. It’s kind of topical at this time of year.

I have another quiet week ahead of me apart from a trip to Wollongong on Wednesday to see my beautiful grandchildren. I have missed my little sidekick, Evie, as I haven’t seen her since just after Christmas apart from one video chat. I’m looking forward to some fun with her. I’m also looking forward to some Finnick cuddles! I’ve see photos each day and he is changing so quickly. He’s fully connecting now and I can’t wait to see him.

I know the Covid situation around the world is still making people miserable but, until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 3rd January 2021. #128

Hello friends! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Welcome to 2021 and here’s hoping that it’s a great year for everyone. Many have been wishing 2020 away because of Covid but I know that it will take more than a date to fix the problem and I think it will take some time in 2021 for things to get better. I have had a quiet transition into the new year. The family stayed until early this week and I enjoyed my quality time with the big kids and the little kids. The little kids melt my heart! We enjoyed some more deck meals but not as much as we would have liked. The weather has been very wet and there was only one day that you could actually call summer. Evie helped remove all the ornaments from the Christmas tree and we had a little fun with the tree skirt before it was packed away. I was in bed by 11.30 on new year’s eve and didn’t hang around to see the fireworks on the TV, choosing instead to rest up. I’ve had a lot of washing to get through since everyone left and the weather hasn’t been the best. I try to avoid using the dryer if I can help it. The Christmas stockings made for colourful laundry!

Zoe from the Ewe Sew You podcast suggested a live stream for an Oracle shawl cast on party for our IVKN group while going from 2020 to 2021 where she is in the UK. (More about the cast on later.) She also asked if anyone would like to be a guest on the live stream and I thought it would be a bit of fun to try out some vlogging. We started at 10 pm UK time which was 9 am my time so it was perfect for me. We had a great time, with some other members of IVKN joining in on chat while we were live. This was Zoe’s first time using the StreamYard platform and there was a little hiccup when she tried to switch the camera to the live broadcast of the London fireworks. That totally crashed her computer and I had to muddle on by myself for several minutes. It was a little awkward as I was only a guest but I had to keep chatting for those watching. Finally, Zoe managed to get back on and I no longer felt like the imposter who had hijacked the vlog! I’m not sure if I’ll ever do any YouTube videos but it was a good experience. Maybe I will give it a try one day. The photo is during the set up of the stream.

Knitting

It’s really all about the knitting this week! The weather and general lethargy has made it my go to crafting. First up, I finished off the stripes on my 25 stripe sock yarn. As I mentioned last week, the socks are long enough to make into two so I kept knitting through the last stripes that were actually meant for heels and cuffs. Being longer, I ended up with a couple of longer stripes though they won’t be noticeable, particularly because they’ll be inside the shoe. I also ended up with one extra long stripe as when I wound off my skein for dyeing, I finished at 24 and had to add another one for 25. I kitchenered the toe but I haven’t sewn the ends in yet because I’ll do that when they are separated so that I can get to the inside. These socks are now going to wait until I meet up with Mary and her socks and we’ll afterthought separate them and add the cuffs. Then the heels.

I managed to finish the Cabled Baby blanket on new year’s eve. I knew it wouldn’t take long once I picked up the second side’s stitches. It’s very squishy and stretched out easily enough for blocking and I hope that it will keep its blocked shape when it’s dry. I had spun the blanket in the machine so it wasn’t very wet when I blocked it out so I’m thinking I may wet it again when it’s dry, before I remove the pins. I thought the stitches my improve where I dropped down to fix a cable that was the wrong way but the stitches still don’t look great. I think it will be unnoticeable when it’s being used.

I have made some progress on the Shell Cottage socks. I had stalled when trying to work out how to the do the gusset and heel flap backwards but I worked out the gusset easily enough. I have also found a free pattern via the Little Big Knits podcast that does the gusset and heel flap from toe up. She’s used it and it is just what I want – its’ the Toe Up Socks with a Difference by Wendy D Johnson. I won’t be doing too much on this for this month as I have some commitments now. Maybe a little bit here and there.

New Cast On #1: Yesterday I cast on another baby blanket. This time I’m doing the Lieselotte shawl by Beatrice Perron Dahlin. This came up in my blanket search but it’s actually a triangular shawl. As this pattern was the one chosen by Erin, I decided to go ahead with it and make it the full square. That was easy enough as I’ve done one like that previously – the Twinkle Twinkle Baby blanket by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. That pattern included an eyelet each four rows and I just ignored that. To cast on in the round, I used the Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast On YouTube video by KnitFreedom. It’s a really easy process, though I remember it took me a few goes last time; this time I had no problem. I followed the pattern for the Twinkle Twinkle blanket for the first seven rows then I realised that the Lieselotte had a different method for the side borders of each quadrant. The Lieselotte uses Left and Right Lifted increases (LLI and LRI) on each side of three stitches so I moved into that pattern though I wasn’t very happy with the result. I found the sides of the three stitches to be messy with that type of increase and noticed that on the projects on Ravelry too. Instead, I am now doing Knit Front & Back (kfb) and it’s a lot nicer. So now I do kfb on the stitch before the three and kfb on the third stitch. The kfb adds a purl stitch as the increased stitch, therefore I’m getting that on each side of the three stitches. It was a bit of a confusing cast on but now I’m able to just knit easily. The premise of the square is that you need to increase at each end of each quadrant in every second round and I was finding that it was getting more confusing to know which round I was on as the stitches increased so now I have a red globe stitch marker (shown on the first picture) which I put on at the beginning of round when I’m increasing then I take it off for the next round. I think that will be better than making a mark on a piece of paper or even clicking a counter on KnitCompanion. I’ll see how that works. I am enjoying this and I just want to keep knitting. I have scheduled at least an hour on this each day. When I have more than one project that need to be finished, I like to set a daily amount so that I can get through them.

New Cast On #2: There were a few of my friends on the International Virtual Knit Nights zoom group who indicated that they wanted to start the Oracle shawl by Voolenvine and someone suggested an informal KAL. Since I’ve had the pattern for the Half Moon Oracle shawl in my library for the last couple of years, I decided to jump onto the bandwagon. The Half Moon version is just half of the Oracle shawl. I would like to do the full version but I can’t imagine using the shawl doubled, therefore I had purchased the half version. This semi circular shawl is my favourite shawl style so it was a no brainer. I then had to stash dive to find the yarn I wanted to use. I looked at many versions but then I found some leftovers that I love, some teal Wren and Ollie sock yarn in the Seven Seas colourway from my Zweig sweater and some Mad Tosh Merino Light one of a kind colourway from my Tuileries sweater, and thought they would be perfect together. Then it remained to find one more yarn to go with it. I found a skein of KnitPicks Hawthorne fingering in the Aquatic Speckle colourway that I’d never liked and thought it was time to overdye it and use it. More on the dyeing later in the blog. The final decision was then to work out which order I should use the yarn. I went through all the variations with three skeins and settled on the caramel as A, the dark teal as B and the overdyed yarn as C. I think C is the one that stands out the least and, being bright, I thought that might be the best option.

New Cast On #3: Yep, I know! Mad, really but I said I would so I will. Susan Distel is a member of the Ozzie Fibreholics group that I belong to on Facebook and she was asking for test knitters for a cowl that she has named The Long Squishy Tube cowl. It’s in worsted weight with 5.0mm and 5.5mm needles so would be a quick easy knit, especially if you didn’t have anything else on the needles. Anyway, I volunteered and found some leftover KnitPicks Tweed yarn that I used for my Nightshift shawl by Andrea Mowry. This doesn’t need to be finished until the end of January so I reckon I’ll be able to do it. I’ve scheduled half an hour each day on this one and will see how that goes.

Sewing

I have carried on a new year’s day tradition that was passed down by my mother and that is to wear something new on the 1st of January. The premise for this is that you will have new clothes for the rest of the year, or something like that. I always have something new, even it if it’s only a new pair of knickers but this time I had nothing! So, what do I do? I spent a relaxing new year’s eve putting together a simple top by The Assembly Line. The pattern is free and is actually for pyjamas but I’d been thinking about doing a drapey top from the top on the pattern for a while. So I did. I used a remnant of poly crepe that I’d picked up from Spotlight recently. It was a very quick and easy project and it’s great. For the next one, and I do think I will do another, I will go down a size as the medium is a bit too drapey. And I also intend to make some pjs out from the pattern too. You can see that I’m wearing this top in the photo near the beginning of the blog, during the live stream on new year’s day.

Dyeing

I enjoyed a small dyeing session this week too. I mentioned earlier that I needed a third yarn for the Half Moon Oracle cast on and this is what I used. The first two photos were taken of the same skein of yarn within minutes and within a metre. It shows how different the colours show in pictures. The first was on my sofa lounge in the studio and the second on a pine blanket box in front of the sofa. Anyway, the colour was something between the two, hence the reason for taking it in different places, as I couldn’t get it right. I used Landscape Ice for the new colour and it turned out great. I did have to do another dye dip as I had tied the ends too tightly onto the skein, leaving undyed sections. It came out tonal as I had intended and I’m really happy with the result.

Workshops

Yesterday, I attended a painting workshop with my friend Annette. She had wanted to do the Frida Kahlo class and, though it wasn’t exactly what I would have chosen, I joined in with her. Turns out I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are lots of the sip and paint classes popping up everywhere at the moment. This one is Pinot and Picasso and is in Nowra, a half hour drive from where we live. We took some wine and nibbles and had a wonderful afternoon. There were 16 in the class and it was amazing how different everyone’s painting turned out, though all very similar. The photo with only two paintings alone in it were those of the teacher. The one above was what we were working on and the bottom one was what she did during the class. There is a heap of variation between the two. And you can see mine and Annette’s are similar but different also. I am now booked in for another class doing Cleopatra after my friend Carol said she was doing it and asked if I wanted to, along with Mary and maybe other friends too. I don’t want to do too many of these classes but the two portraits might look good together.