Sunday 16 May 2021. #147

Hello friends! Welcome from a cool south coast New South Wales. The temperature has started dropping and today is one of those crisp, sunny ones. It’s supposed to get up to 16 degrees Celcius – I suppose that doesn’t sound too cold but the current apparent temperature of 8.9 degrees certainly is! Last Sunday was a great family day. We celebrated Mothers’ Day and also Shaun’s birthday. It’s wonderful when we can all get together and the littlies are so cute! I managed three bike rides this week, which is highly unusual lately and also because I wasn’t around too much. The pelicans are always hanging around on the inlet at Huskisson and I googled what the collective noun was. There were about five listed but my favourite is squadron. It looks like we’ve had a full squadron this week. 😊

Wednesday was my Evie & Finn day and we had some fun together. Evie and I did some dot painting and had fun at the park, after our usually coffee and babycino, of course. It was a nice day but you can see the dark clouds rolling in over the ocean. Finn is scooting around the floor now; not crawling but he manages to move around and can be on the other side of room quite quickly! At five and a half months, he’s not far off working out that his legs will help.

On Thursday, I spent some time with Cooper. He is starting to be more interactive, heading towards four months old, and is spending a bit more time awake. Mum went out for lunch so I was able to give him his lunchtime feed. I drove home after that and met Robert at the brewery. The food selection for the night wasn’t great so we went to the RSL Club for dinner instead. I went for the third bike ride on Friday morning and also went to brunch with my friend Annette. On Friday evening, I was in Wollongong again, this time for a sleep over. Yesterday was swimming day so Finn and I got to watch Evie and mum in the water. We also did some craft with an Easter headband template. Evie gets very excited at the mention of craft. ❤

Knitting

I finished the latest Classic Ribbed hat on Tuesday. Technically, it was Monday but I hadn’t tied off the end until Tuesday. I was going to add a pom-pom but I wasn’t able to locate my pom-pom makers. I bought a set last year sometime before we moved into the new house and now I’m not sure where I put them! I’ll have another look today. I used some Heirloom 100% Alpaca yarn that I had in stash. I can normally remember where my yarn comes from (and there’s a fair bit of it) but these three balls are a mystery. I’m glad I’m using up the stash though! The rest of the third ball will be used for pom-pom. I used the yarn doubled with 4.5mm needles and the toddler size but obviously it turned out bigger with the thicker yarn and larger needles. This one is for Kimberley. I also started a pair of socks for Evie. I’m using the Rye Light sock pattern in the toddler size. I’m using some yarn that I’d made socks with in 2019. My mum is using those ones. Again, I can’t remember exactly what the yarn is that I used. Obviously, it’s a self-striping yarn but the rest of the information escapes me. It has some lovely sparkle too! I’m about an inch off turning the heel. Depending on how the sizing is for these, I’ll probably use the pattern for socks for Finn and Cooper next, using the baby size. The pattern actually has a garter panel on the front but I’m just knitting them in stocking stitch. The main knitting this week has been on another test knit for Truly Myrtle. Yes, another test knit! But it’s a pattern I want so I’m happy to participate. I’m not sure how much information I can reveal so I’ll just talk about the yarn. I’m using some Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply (fingering) that I had in stash. The pattern uses DK and fingering yarn. I had a pack of ten balls and it calculated at enough yardage for the pattern using it double for the DK section so I went with that. I’m not really a fan of using double strands as it’s easy to split the two without noticing if you’re not watching. I’m now not sure how I will go with the ten balls but I might be able to use some other yarn I have for the fingering section. Stay tuned for more information next week. There’s quite a tight timeline for this one so I’ve set myself a target for each day.

I also finished the baby pair of Rose City Rollers Littlies on Monday. They only needed the toes done so it was a quick finish. A friend of Erin’s has just had a baby girl and I’m going to gift them to her. I’m also gifting this baby the rompers in the photo below. My friend Mary had knitted them but not sewn them up so she gave them to me. It was easy to sew up the sides and add the buttons for the straps. I’m not a fan of sewing knitted pieces but this was an easy one. My two boys are too big for this and, anyway, I think it’s a girl pattern so it can go to the new little one too. Mary also gave me a baby’s jumper that only needs to have the sleeves sewn on and ends sewn in. I started on that during the week too. There are so many ends as it was knitted double. This should fit one of the boys nicely!

Crochet

Monday was the deadline for the crochet pattern test of the Artemisia top that I did for Hailey Hodge (Graphic Knits). It was a great project and I thoroughly enjoyed crocheting again. Here are the photos I took of the finished top and one of them actually features on the pattern page in Ravelry! It fits really well but, unfortunately, I’m not able to wear it now as it’s too cold. It will be a great one to bring out in spring. The lace pattern is so simple but very effective in the circles that it produces. I’ll have to find another crochet pattern to work on now.

Sewing

I wasn’t able to get to the sewing machine much this week but I did do some more on the McCalls 6016 shirt for Finn. It was only the cuffs and I would have done a bit more but I needed to do a buttonhole in each of the cuffs before attaching them. I was able to call in at Spotlight on Friday and got some that will be suitable. I’ll be able to get back to that tomorrow and make a start on the matching shorts. Other than that, the sewing activity was mainly planning. My next makes are going to be the York pinafore and Arden pants from Helen Closet and the Toaster sweater by Sew House Seven. I have picked out some fabrics (all from stash) that I’d like to make these with and it depends on whether there is enough. I have some pinwale cord in black and caramel for the pinafore but I’m not sure either would be enough on their own to make it. I had this pattern printed at Officeworks on Friday so I’ll be cutting it out today and will find out if I have enough. Maybe I can colour block it with both. The Arden pants are a woven jogger style and I have some pale green linen-style fabric chosen though, again, not sure it’s enough. This fabric is real deep stash, I think from my mother’s stash. I started taping this pattern together on Friday, using many A4 pages and it was annoying me which is why the York pinafore and Toaster sweater have been printed in A0. I’ll finish putting the Arden pattern together today and see if I have enough. For the Toaster sweater, I have pulled out some black and white striped double knit. There should be plenty for this but I haven’t checked it yet. There are two versions of the Toaster sweater and I wasn’t aware of that. This one is a little looser around the bottom. There is a combo pattern pack that I could have bought if I’d realised! I will be able to grade in on the one I have (#2) as I don’t like it to be as open at the bottom. So that is this week’s sewing ready to go and I have a few other patterns on my list once they’re done!

Paraphernalia

This past week I’ve mainly been listening to podcasts and my book. I finished The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. It was a very enjoyable read. I then moved onto the first of our two Book Club books, the Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. I’ve done a good bit of driving this week so I’m nearly finished. I am really enjoying the book and I’ve been listening while I’ve been knitting too. There’s only an hour and a half to go and I hope to finish it today. I have the latest Handmaid’s Tale and New Amsterdam episodes to catch up on also.

I’ve started thinking about my weeks as home and away weeks. The away weeks are when I have my Evie/Finn and Cooper days. This coming week is a home week so I’ll be able to work on my sewing projects and hopefully some spinning. I don’t have many plans at this point but I’m hoping for some social get togethers thrown in amongst the crafting.

Thanks for joining me for my weekly chat. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 9 May 2021. #146

Hello friends. Happy Mother’s Day! I know it’s Mother’s Day in the US too, though the UK celebrated in March, I think. I’ll be celebrating with my children and grandchildren today. This past week has been a bit wet. It started fine – last Sunday I may have mentioned already that I caught up with Evie and Finn. You can see Evie setting up our tea party and Finn enchanted by his latest toy. I went for a bike ride on Monday morning to our Huskisson catch-up and then the weather deteriorated quite rapidly. The picture below shows a miserable rain drenched deck outside my bedroom and it was hard to get out of bed. I had a few medical appointments and had to negotiate the rain that was going sideways because of the wind. It rained until yesterday which was a beautiful day. The weather has still been quite mild but I imagine that will change soon.

On Wednesday, I had lunch with some girlfriends at a newish restaurant in Worrigee, just outside of Nowra. The Worrigee Sports Club have turned their downstairs into a very stylish restaurant call The Growers and I can say the food was good. The meals were very large! It was unfortunate that the weather wasn’t great as it would have been lovely sitting outside with a view to the nearby green hills. The restaurant looks empty – there were a few people but it was early and filled up soon enough.

Today is Mother’s Day but we’ll also be celebrating Shaun’s birthday which falls on Tuesday. Shaun fancies a good cheesecake and I thought I’d make his favourite Oreo and white chocolate cheesecake. I also wanted to make a Salted Caramel Cheesecake so I split the difference and the cheesecake too! I was going to make a slice slab cake but I never have a rectangular plate big enough to put it on so instead I opted for my largest spring form cake tin. I covered a piece of cardboard with foil and used that as a divider to fill the first half of the cake. I think I ruined the look of it by trying to smooth the top and just blended the caramel instead. I think it will still taste good but the caramel looked so much better before I smoothed it. Once that had set, I removed the divider and added the white chocolate cheesecake part. It’s a very large cake and it will feed us all tomorrow, with plenty of leftovers, I think.

Knitting

I haven’t done a lot of knitting this week. I’ve spent a bit of time working on another Classic Ribbed hat, this time trying a larger needle and double DK yarn. I was hoping for something that would fit Evie but it’s turning into a small adult size instead. I’ll keep knitting and see if one of the girls want it or I’ll keep it for myself. I’m using some Heirloom Alpaca that I had in stash, though I don’t remember having this yarn. The 100% alpaca is very soft and squishy! I only need to knit about two inches before I start decreasing. I should be able to get that done in the car up to Wollongong today.

I also started another baby hat, this time the Mishka hat. This is a square type hat and the pattern, which is free, has two little pom poms, one in each corner. It’s done with a type of broken rib pattern and another version has a cable up the centre of it. When I’d reached the point of the first photo I nearly ripped it out back to the rib and started knitting it in plain stocking stitch but I decided to keep going. The stitch is a bit tedious and if I don’t concentrate I’ll start doing the wrong stitch. There is a plain knit round alternated with an offset rib. I’m only now just over half way so a bit more knitting to go yet. When I get to the right measurement, I’ll be binding off with a Kitchener stitch.

Crochet

This week’s focus was to finish the Artemesia crochet pattern test and I’m happy to say it’s done. Here she is blocking nicely and I’ll be taking photos tomorrow. I had enough yarn, with not much left over which is great as I wasn’t sure of that as I was going along. I’m not sure what plan B would have been had I run out before finishing. The fade went more quickly on the back as I’d use most of the red section on the front but I think it still looks good though the colour of the sleeves seem unrelated looking from the front. The sleeves didn’t take as long as I thought which was a good thing as I definitely don’t like crocheting into chain stitches. I’m also glad to be finished because of the way I had to stretch out the yarn the whole time. The yarn is made up of four fine strands and after crocheting a bit there was one that seem to be longer than the rest. I would just stretch it out as I went along, with the excess pooling near the ball. In the end, I expect all the strands were different lengths. You can see how it was in the photo. That’s not a knot – just uneven strands. Though I was very close to knots at several times!

Sewing

A few weeks back, I’d made some flannelette pyjama pants for Evie. I’d made a size three to try on for size and they were good. Kim asked if I could add a cuff to the bottom so that they don’t ride up in the cold wether. That was an easy addition and I also made up a fluffy top to go with them. The pants were a free pattern from Sew Simple Home. I made the pyjama top from a pattern that I had from Waves and Wild (previously known as Made By Jack’s Mum). The pattern is Pick n Mix, which has t-shirts and onesies in a variety of styles – round neck, button neck and envelope neck. I used the size four t-shirt pattern because I was using a thick fabric and I didn’t want it fitted. We’ll get to try it on today to see how it fits. I think a larger size would be fine as it would have good coverage at the waist – my only concern is if the neck is a little wide.

I did do a little bit of sewing on some Angelia shorts that I’d cut out in some stash denim a couple of weeks ago, but it’s not really worth a mention. Instead, I decided to start on my McCalls 6016 pattern of shirt and shorts for Finn. The measurements are quite unusual as they are S, M, L and XL for babies. I am doing the XL size as I think that should be good for next summer. The fabric I’m using for the shirt is a remnant that I received in a Nerida Hansen mystery bundle and I think the sharks are perfect for Finn. I purchased a piece of homespun in a matching blue/grey that I’ll use as the sleeve cuffs and shorts. So far it’s been an easy sew but I haven’t started the collar yet. It’s a little weird, also, doing 5/8 inch seam allowance on such a small item! If nothing else, this will be a good fit test as I have some other special fabrics to make shirts out of for Finn and Cooper if this pattern works out for sizing.

Patchwork

I finally put the block rows together for Cooper’s quilt and I’ve also pieced the backing out of the remaining fabrics. I now need to sandwich and quilt it. I should be able to get the sandwiching done tomorrow though I doubt I’d get the quilting and binding done by Tuesday night to take up on Wednesday. Let’s see how far I can get.

Paraphernalia

This past week, I caught up on the New Amsterdam and Handmaid’s Tale episodes and watched the final episode of Hillary. I also finished watching all the CB Strike episodes that are available on Foxtel. I know the fourth book has also been filmed so I’m hoping to be able to watch that soon. With nothing else that was grabbing me, I started on Deadwater Fell on SBS On Demand. I like David Tennant and I think this should be a good series to watch. I have started on a new book – The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I selected this one by random number generator. It’s been a good book though I’d mentioned last week that I was tempted to read the final book in the Cormoran Strike series. Maybe that will be the next book I choose. 😊

It’s time for me to head north for the day. I hope all the mothers out there have a great day today and are able to catch up with family! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 2 May 2021. #145

Hello friends! I’m back writing from the south coast of New South Wales. We finished off the trip to Alice Springs and I have lots of photos to share with you. Last Sunday was ANZAC Day, when we celebrate the sacrifice by so many Australians and New Zealanders during World War II and those from wars before and after, right up to the recent conflicts. Because of Covid, the service was held at one of Alice Springs’ cemeteries rather than ANZAC Hill where it is traditionally held. The first and second pictures show the beginning and the end of the service with the sunrise happening along the way. It was a pretty cold morning and the donation breakfast was very welcome afterwards, particularly the cup of tea that helped warm my shaking hands! The photos also show the fabulous clay sculptures; the main one of a soldier and busts of each of the services – airforce, navy and army. The final photo shows ANZAC Hill which we visited after the service. The sunrise is pretty spectacular when the service is held there.

To fill in some time, we then headed to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame where we found so many road transport vehicles from across the decades, from small trucks, large trucks, buses, semi-trailers, and more. Lunch was at the Golf Club and we decided not to wait around for the two-up games as we needed some rest after getting up very, very early. After a bit of R&R, we dressed up for dinner at Sporties Restaurant, which is a bit of an icon at Alice Springs.

Monday morning started with a bit of a sleep in and a relaxing cuppa before Vicki and Pam picked us up for the day’s adventure. We headed out of Alice Springs to the West MacDonnell ranges, specifically to Standley Chasm where we were booked in for a cultural tour and dot painting, along with morning tea and lunch. We started with the morning tea which consisted of freshly made scones and jam/cream. During morning tea, there was a bit of an emergency when the fire, freshly topped up with wood, flared up very high and started to burn the mantle and displays. Fast action by someone in the cafe ensured it was extinguished quickly. It was then referred to by the staff as the “smoking ceremony”. 😊 After morning tea, we were led to the Chasm by a local tour guide who explained all the different bush tucker and other relevant information. This chasm is part of a long hike called the Larapinta Trail – it’s quite a long trek and for experienced hikers only. This particular spot on the West MacDonnell Ranges is a short hike – it took us about half an hour with lots of stops and information but only took about ten minutes to walk back. On our return, we were treated to a slide display and talk about Aboriginal history. It was very interesting and I certainly discovered things that I’d never heard before. Our schooling, back in the day, barely touched on Aboriginal history. We had lunch and then were treated to a slide display on Aboriginal art history and uses, followed by our own hands on dot painting activity. It was so much fun and painting the dots was so therapeutic. We used acrylic paints and I think I’ll be having a go at some myself in the near future.

Our original plan was to head to Ellery Creek Big Hole for a swim after our day at Standley Chasm but we weren’t ready to leave until later than expected. Ellery Creek is another hour’s drive away from Alice Springs so we instead called in at Simpson’s Gap on the way back to town. It was only a short walk to the creek section and it was worth it. When we get back to the apartments, we sat outside and had some nibbles for dinner and then we were picked up again to go to the Alice Springs Quilting Association meeting. This was Vicki’s local group and it was her last night there. It was also her birthday so we brought a cake and sang to her along with all the members. Their show and tell was very interesting, including three gorgeous quilts that were made (I haven’t included photos as they were for a quilt exhibition), a demonstration on squaring up blocks and several other works. Then it was time to head back to the apartments and finish off our packing.

Tuesday was a very long day. We left the apartments at 7.00 am and I was home at 7.15 pm. Mary had a bit further to go and she drove home from Huskisson. I really liked the bougainvillea plants that I saw around Alice Springs – they are more like bushes than climbing spikey plants. I think I’ll see if I can get something like this. The trip home was uneventful but long.

On Wednesday, I was up before dawn and headed up to Wollongong for a day with Evie and Finn. On the way home that night, I called in for dinner at the Brewery where some friends were gathered. I had a big sleep in on Thursday morning and a quiet day; a bike ride on Friday morning and a big walk yesterday. I even made some green tomato pickles. We had some rogue cherry tomato bushes in the backyard and I grabbed the last of them to make a couple of jars of pickles. I hadn’t made any in years and years and it’s not that hard. I think I’ll make them again some time.

Knitting

There wasn’t a whole lot of knitting this week. I finished Finn’s Classic Ribbed hat and started and finished Cooper’s as well. I think the pattern is quite small but could be my tight tension. I’ll probably make some more but I’ll go for a bit bigger for the next ones. I made some decent progress on the Zauberball socks I cast on during the trip to Alice Springs last week. I’m just working tubes and will add afterthought heels later on.

Crochet

I did spend a good amount of time on the Artemisia top crochet pattern test and there’s not much left to do. You can see the front and then the back here – it just needs another row to go before joining at the shoulders and then the lace sleeves. I’ll be finished this in a couple of days, in good time for the 10th May deadline. It’s been a fun crochet. The fade looks weird in the photos but is not quite as obvious in real life.

Sewing

Last week, I didn’t get the chance to show my Pattern Emporium Hello Gorgeous top and Palazzo pants. You can see them here together. I wore the pants on the plane and they were so comfortable. The top is great too and I’ll be making another one very soon. I did get to finish the Aida blouse on Thursday, the day before the 30th April deadline for the #sewaprilblouse challenge. It is a great fit and I may wear it this week though I’ll need to put a camisole underneath. I just need to work out what colour will be best under this stripe.

Acquisitions

In last week’s blog I mentioned some fabric purchases I made while in Alice Springs. Here they are:

  • Two panels that I may put on canvas and hang.
  • Some beautiful silk – I am thinking possibly a Cielo top for this fabric.
  • Two lovely pieces of fabric that will be shirts for Cooper and Finn.
  • Some pieces of fabric that caught my eye. I intend to use the patterned ones to make a top for me and possibly some pyjama pants for Robert.

Paraphernalia

TVI caught up on my shows this week, watching both Unforgotten (last episode of season four) and New Amsterdam. Then I found that the Handmaid’s Tale had started and watched all three that have been aired. I can’t wait to see the rest of these! I finished listening to Lethal White by Robert Galbraith and found that the first book of this series had been made into a mini TV series, so I am watching that now. It’s good that they cast the main characters in line with how they come across in the book. The only difference I’ve found is that Cormoran Strike has a different accent with the audio book but it’s not an issue at all. I’ve started another book, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I’ve only just started it but I think it will be OK, though I feel like diving into the last Cormoran Strike book but I’ll keep that one aside for a little while.

It’s been a big day today, as we headed to Wollongong and back and I am finally getting to finish this post. I have a few things planned for this week, starting with breakfast catch up tomorrow morning and a lunch out on Wednesday. I’ll be pottering around the house for the rest of the time. We are expecting several days of rain so it will be perfect for spending some time in the studio or on the lounge. Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 25 April, 2021. #144

Hello friends! Welcome to the centre of Australia. I am currently in Alice Springs catching up with a friend who lives here. Monday started in the normal way with a breakfast catch-up and then I headed up to Wollongong. On Tuesday morning, Kim and her mum, Evie and I went to the WIN Entertainment Centre to see The Wiggles. That was much more fun than I thought it would be and we all enjoyed it, especially Evie! On Wednesday, I went for an early bike ride and then spent the day packing and getting the house ready for visitors. Kerry and Mary stayed for the night as we had an early departure in the morning to get to our 11.30 am flight.

Thursday was a long day. We got the airport in plenty of time. Lorraine drove me, Marie, Mary and Kerry. After leaving the car at the parking station, we settled in at the airport after meeting Karen. We had nearly a two hour wait but we were advised to be there two hours before the flight. The flight to Melbourne was quick and uneventful but when we disembarked and headed into the terminal for our connection, we had to stop and fill in border entry forms. That took some time because of a glitch not allowing us to do them on our phones and they had to be filled in individually by one person. We finally made it to our next gate and met up with Janice who had flown from Canberra airport. The flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs was about two and a half hours. On arrival, we had our border entry forms ready but it was a very long queue to check in with them. We caught the shuttle to our accommodation and unpacked in our respective rooms. There are five of us in a two bedroom apartment and two others in a studio. Our friend Vicki and her sister Pam met with us and we headed to Montes Bar for dinner via a Tesla taxi. That was a very smooth ride but dinner was far from smooth. The place was absolutely packed and, in the end, dinner for four of us took about one and a half hours to arrive. It was nice when it did but it would have been far more enjoyable to eat when everyone else was eating. We all slept very well that night!

Friday started with a walk to the Olive Pink Botanical Garden where we had breakfast at their cafe. We then climbed the hill behind the gardens which led to a great view of Alice Springs from above. After that, we headed to The Purple House which is a dialysis centre for the indigenous people of the area. While we were there, we heard all about how this Purple House built up far reaching centres around the outback along with mobile units, all from fund raising. It was amazing to hear how one person, Sarah Brown, was the main instigator for this amazing centre. She is the CEO working with its board of Indigenous directors. It was a very inspirational visit. After leaving, we called in at an art gallery in the centre of Alice Springs followed by a late lunch in one of the cafes. From there we visited two fabric shops – the first a patchwork shop and the second an Aboriginal fabric shop. The nine of us managed to pick up some nice bits and pieces at both the shops. Then it was time to head home and four of us walked which ended up a bit further than we expected! We had a lovely dinner at the local Golf Club watching the sun set with the light reflecting off the ranges.

Alice Springs is situated on the Todd River which is dry almost all the year and full of red dust. Yesterday, we started with breakfast again, this time at the Araluen Arts Centre. It was a relaxing morning after which we visited Central Craft, where local artisans are able to get together and rent some space to do their craft. We met some of the talented people who were there at the time and we checked out a couple of the exhibitions at the Art Centre. There was a very large metal caterpillar in the garden – it is native to the area and called a Yeperenye. We then moved on to the Telegraph Station which is where Alice Springs began before moving to where it is now. I didn’t go in as I’ve been before so Mary and I sat and knitted while the others went through all the buildings. We had another late lunch and most of us spent the afternoon sitting around relaxing before getting ready for dinner. We had a lovely meal at the Hanuman Restaurant in the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

Knitting

For the trip, I decided to cast on some vanilla socks. I still have my Shell Cottage socks which are just past the heel section but I felt that it was too fiddly with the pattern. The vanilla sock have been good to just knit on without thinking too much. I had a Crazy Zauberball in my stash for years and I’ve been wanting to make some socks with it. The yarn is irregular so I just split it into two balls. The two socks will be fraternal rather than identical but I think it will look really good. I worked the toes on the way up to the airport and then was able to just knit in the round. I’ve done a good bit on them now, as they are perfect to keep in the handbag. One of the socks has been mostly blue and black but I’m now starting to move into some of the orange/red which I’m looking forward to getting to.

I have continued with the Classic Ribbed hat for Finn. I have knitted all the body of the hat – the bottom section is turned up as a cuff. I haven’t been able to move into the decreases because I’m going to have to do that with a longer cable on magic loop and I didn’t bring one with me. It won’t take much to finish off when I’m able to.

Crochet

The crochet test is going well but I haven’t had a lot of time to crochet on it. I had some time during the second flight but, since then, we’ve been on the move a lot and it’s not a compact project. I hope to split for the armholes soon.

Sewing

I did manage a little bit of sewing before heading off to Central Australia. I finished my palazzo pants and wore them on the plane. They were very comfortable. I have started work on my #sewaprilblouse challenge but it will be touch and go as to whether I finish it by 30th April. When I get back home, I’ll be heading to Wollongong and Sydney the very next day. This is the Bernina Aida blouse and I have followed Frugalisama’s tutorial on raising the neckline and installing the neck facing. I don’t think it will take too long if I can get to it.

Acquisitions

I’ll wait until next week to show what I have purchased so that I can leave it all packed up for now. There are a few bits of material – some for shirts for Finn and Cooper and some Aboriginal fabric.

Paraphernalia

I have started listening to a new book – Lethal White by Robert Galbraith. I didn’t choose this one by random selection. I wanted something for the flight that I knew I would really enjoy and this one is definitely doing the job. I have finished watching Married at First Sight, finally, but I haven’t had the opportunity to watch anything else before we left.

Today is ANZAC Day and we are heading off to the dawn service so I’ll have more photos in next week’s blog. We don’t fly home until Tuesday morning so we still have a few adventures to keep us occupied until then! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 18 April 2021. #143

Hello friends! Welcome from a very autumn-cool south coast New South Wales. We did have a couple of very warm days but the temperature has dropped again. On Monday, I went for a bike ride and it was really cold! Ear warmers and gloves type cold – for the bike, at least. I finally got around to adding a layer to the ironing board – I like to use old wool blankets which makes it better for pressing and doesn’t leave the honeycomb mark of the board base. I am not happy with the cover that came with it so I’m going to get a new one, hopefully tomorrow. My clothesline was put up on Monday, too, and I’m happy to have somewhere better to hang sheets and towels now. Robert is going to add pavers underneath. It did warm up a bit and Tuesday turned into a beautiful hot day for our anniversary. We’ve made it to 36 years! I had another bike ride and then went lunch with some girlfriends. We went to the Pavilion, which is a new restaurant attached to Huskisson Pub and has a lovely outlook onto the pool, the Bay and Currambene Creek. It is slightly marred by the Marine Rescue building smack in the middle but you can’t help that. They haven’t put up fencing yet either so you have a nice view of striped warning tape. Lunch was lovely but it got a bit hot in the sun! Robert and I celebrated our anniversary at dinner at the same place that evening and, though the food was great – Robert said the fillet steak was the best he’d had in a long time, there were some annoying things. The main one was that they serve everything you order at once. Our entree came out with our steak and salmon. You have to order at the bar so next time, I would order the entree first then mains separately. When I said we would have the quesadilla for an entree, they should have let me know. Another little annoying thing was that they had pepper grinders but the salt (help yourself) was in little paper sachets. Anyway, the meal was great but it was all over in 45 minutes so I wasn’t late for Book Club – actually, I had to fill in time before going there.

On Wednesday morning, I headed up to Wollongong for my Evie day. We started off by playing in the back room where Evie pulled out Kim’s 200 crochet square book and started “reading” it. I will be teaching her to crochet but not for a couple of years yet. Then we had some park play, after our regular babycino, and we’ve graduated to all the big activities now. Evie is only little so I followed her up the big slippery dip climb – she made it on her own but the gaps in the railings were very large and slippery. Of course, when I got to the top, I had to get down again so Evie went first and then watched me slide down. We did that several times. 😊 After her nap we played outside with her balance bike, the Wiggles car and I showed her how to do hopscotch. That was a lot of fun. Poor Finn wasn’t feeling well so he spent the day with mum. When dad came home, I headed up to Sydney and had dinner with my mum and dad, where I spent the night. Early on Thursday morning, I headed over to Erin and Shaun’s place where I had some quality time with Cooper. He’s still going through the eat, sleep, poop phase but his sleeps were a bit erratic. On Friday I had my third bike ride for the week and in the afternoon I had a massage and facial package that I received for my birthday in January. That was an hour and a half of bliss! I called in to see my friend Lorraine afterwards to check out how 5 ladies’ suitcases will fit in her car and she gave me a pink gin to try. I don’t like gin and tonic but the pink gin was quite palatable. I mentioned in the last blog that there are seven of us heading to Alice Springs this coming week, hence the suitcase planning as five of us will be in one car.

Knitting

I haven’t done a lot of knitting this week but I did finally put the buttons on the two Gramps cardigans. They are now both with their respective recipient and the weather is getting to the stage where they’ll be well worn. I can’t wait to the see the two boys together with these cardigans and Evie wearing the cardigan I made last year which used the same navy yarn as Finn’s one. I also started a baby sized Classic Ribbed hat by Purl Soho. The one you see below is my second attempt as the first one seemed a bit too small. It’s a free pattern – for the baby size you cast on 84 stitches with 3.25mm needles. This seemed a small size of needle for 8 ply yarn and I ended up ripping it out and starting again, this time using 3.75mm. The fabric is looking nice at that gauge and will probably fit better now. The beanie knit is coming to Alice Springs with me, along with some socks that I need to drag out of WIPs.

Crochet

I’ve actually spent more time with the crochet hook this week on Hailey Hodge’s (Graphic Knits) Artemisia top pattern test. I had started using some Patons Summer Swirl yarn which is 50/50 cotton and acrylic. There are four strands together and one changes every so often to create a fade. I’d started with this yarn for practice with the lace pattern while I waited for the proper yarn to arrive. When that arrived I did a swatch as indicated in the pattern. It seemed that my treble crochets were loose as my horizontal gauge was perfect but the vertical gauge was too long. It was good practice doing the swatch so I was then able to tighten up the trebles as I proceeded on the original yarn. Hailey had mentioned that she’s interested to see how it goes with a fade so I’ll continue with this. The correct colour is probably the last, latest photo. You an see how the fade moved from the bottom to the deeper colour on the top. I have to split for front and back so the fade may prove problematic at that point. I have decided I hate crocheting into chain stitches! OMG they are so painful and that was every second row on the lace. I did get smarter with how I did them. The body rows are great for mindless crocheting but I need to watch when I do them so I can’t watch anything that is interesting to see as I won’t get much done – it’s great for listening to my book. It will also be good plane crochet and I do need to work on it to catch up to where everyone else is, so this is another project I’ll be taking with me. The only other project that I’ll take with me is the temperature cross stitch as that will be nice and portable. I didn’t get any done this week so it won’t have it’s own section in this blog.

Spinning

Sad progress on the spinning front! I did start the next bobbin but I only managed one session. When I’m on the grandbabies’ circuit week, the spinning is dropped as the lowest priority at the moment and, as I won’t be home much this week and heading to Alice Springs, it probably won’t get a look in at all.

Sewing

On Monday, I cut up another pile of sewing projects for this week. As I mentioned, it was a busy week so I haven’t managed to get much done on this pile, unlike last week’s pile. Here are five projects – starting from the top is the Nikau dress by The Sewing Revival which was carried over from last week while I got some matching fabric, the Angelia shorts by Itch to Stitch, the Hello Gorgeous top from Patten Emporium, the Palazzo pants again from Pattern Emporium and, on the bottom, the Aida blouse by Bernina (the Swiss one, I think).

With the Aida blouse, I wanted to raise the neckline a little as suggested by Frugalisama and she had a tutorial on how to do that and also how to add the neckband as the pattern instructions are very minimal. It was easy enough to do the alteration and then I had to remember to add seam allowance when I cut it out. I got that all done and it’s waiting to be put together now. Hopefully this week, in time for the #sewaprilblouse challenge. If I do manage to get it done, I’ll probably pack it for the trip.

The first project I tackled was the Nikau dress as it had been waiting since last week. I nearly started with Hello Gorgeous and the Palazzo pants as they would be a quick win but I really wanted to sink my teeth into this one. It’s a great pattern and the instructions are very good. The instructions have a link to The Sewing Revival’s video tutorial on doing the enclosed facing by burrito method. I have done a few of these now but I still have a look before I start. You can see pre and post burrito in photos three and four. The reason I didn’t start on this last week is because I needed extra fabric for the backing of the belt and the pockets. As I was sewing, I thought it might have been nice to have the facings done in the contrast as well as you can see a bit of the inside at the neckline. Anyway, this is now done except for the hem. I need to try it on for size and length but I think I may have taken a little too much off the length before cutting. So I intend to do a faced hem using the contrast fabric. This dress might make it into my suitcase too, though it will need to be ironed when unpacked. I think the fabric is plain cotton and it creases easily.

The other item I got to start were the Palazzo pants. I had purchased some stretch crepe for this and I realise it’s quite crushed. They will need a very good press but I’ll need to be careful with the temperature as I scorched a small piece that was meant for the pocket binding. Lucky it was a small piece as I have more fabric but I doubt I’d have enough for a leg piece if I scorched one of those! I made these pants a few weeks back without pockets and I really struggled with the instructions as there are so many pocket options – I think I was following the wrong type and, in the end, I just did what I thought should happen from the stage that I was at. I didn’t use a pocket bag and I think stitching around the pocket on the pants was the right way to go. It’s not like I’m going to put a lot in these pockets but they could be handy for a tissue. I only need to add the waistband and do the hem now.

Patchwork

I finally got to a bit of patchwork yesterday but I didn’t get the whole top done though I would have liked to. I had left these as we were going to have a sewing catch up on Friday but I had to cancel that due to my forgotten massage appointment. Anyway, I did get the rows done and just need to sew these together to finish the top. I hope it will be done in a short session this week so that I can sandwich and quilt it when I get back from Alice Springs.

Paraphernalia

This week, I started on a new book – The Summit, which came up with my random selection method. I’ve had The Summit by Harry Farthing for a long time and didn’t like it the first time I tried. I’m afraid I didn’t like it this time either so I canned it and I have moved on to my next random selection which is She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge. I’m up to date with watching New Amsterdam and Unforgotten and just have an episode of Married At First Sight to watch. I’ll probably watch that tonight which is also the finale, so I’ll have to watch that another night. I’ve also caught up on several podcasts that have been piling up in my list.

What a busy week it was this week! And next week will be busy too. Tomorrow I’ll head up to Wollongong, with a spot of shopping on the way, and will be going to see the Wiggles with Evie and her other grandmother on Tuesday morning. Evie will have a ball! This afternoon I’ll start packing for Alice Springs and I’ll have to finish it by Wednesday. Mary and Kerry are coming here from Ulladulla for the night so that we can leave by 6 am on Thursday. We’ll head over to Lorraine’s place and be met by Marie and head up to the airport with Lorraine driving. It will take us about three hours to get there which should be just right for the 11.30 am flight. We will be met by Karen at the airport for the first flight to Melbourne, where we will meet Janice coming from Canberra and we’ll board the final leg to Alice Springs. Vicki will be meeting us there and I think her sister, Pam, will also be there as she’s heading over from north Queensland on Tuesday. That makes nine of us in total and I think we’ll have a fantastic time! Next week’s blog may be a little different but I’ll be putting one out regardless as I haven’t missed one yet, and I don’t want to.

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

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Sunday 11 April 2021. #142

Hello friends! Welcome from a very fresh but sunny south coast NSW. The temperature has dropped and it’s time to start bringing out the warmer clothes. We were still at the beach last weekend – you can see Cooper giggling on the towel last Monday. They went home on Tuesday morning and I’ve been very productive since. I’ve had two walks and two bike rides and it’s just wonderful to see how the crisp autumn weather makes everything look amazing.

We did have some rain which resulted in me picking up a leech on my ankle while walking around the Scribbly Gum track the other day. As a Scout Leader, I had experience with leeches but I still just panicked and ripped it out quickly when I found it while standing in the kitchen. The methods that work best are usually salt or a lit match/lighter. I had access to both but went the panic route instead! The difference is that they inject some anti coagulant so it means you bleed for a while longer. Lucky it was only a little thing! That was on Thursday, and then I went to the blood bank and gave away more of my blood. 😊 On Friday morning, I got to ride with my friend Julie, who has been away for weeks travelling around Tasmania and we had a great catch-up coffee at Portside Cafe at Huskisson.

Knitting

I’m still amazed at how photographs can make things look sooooooo different. These two pictures are of the same Gramps cardigan that I just finished for Cooper. The one on the right is completely off and the one on the left at least has the grey contrast but the main colour is actually a dark teal. Anyway, I finished knitting this lovely little cardigan and I just need to put the buttons on. I love to see the difference pre and post blocking. In the pre photo, you can see the curly bind offs and messy stitches. That all disappears with a good blocking.

I thought I’d finally decided on buttons for my Truly Myrtle Dolly cardigan this week but now seeing them in situ at home, I really don’t like them. Firstly, the colour is way off – it wasn’t like that in Spotlight the other day. And secondly, they feel awful and plasticky. Back to the drawing board. Let’s see if I still have the receipt for these as I really don’t want to even put them in my button stash.

Crochet

I mentioned last week that I was going to be working on a crochet test knit for Hailey Hodge who is Graphic Knits on Ravelry. I had ordered some yarn but it only arrived on Friday and then I hadn’t even realised as I hadn’t checked the letterbox. In the meantime, I thought I would get started on it using some stranded cotton yarn that I had in stash. I made a huge mandala blanket with some yarn like this and I thought it could be good to give it a go for this project and, at least, get some hooking practice. It’s been several months since I’ve properly had a hook in my hand. I found my Clover hook pack and, luckily, the right hook was available. It seems there are three that must be hiding in WIPs somewhere. I started casting on the FSC stitches (foundation single crochet) and found that the yarn was very fiddly and the strands were a bit annoying but I think it’s mainly because I always hate the beginning row of crochet. I didn’t go further, thinking I’d wait for the new yarn, until Hailey mentioned it would be interesting to see how it looks in a fade. So, I’ve picked it up again and I’ve completed the first two rows of the pattern. It’s not looking too bad now but, as I was only have a play with it, I hadn’t actually done a swatch to see how my gauge is. I’ll get this up to the main part of the body and then I’ll be able to see if it’s worth going on with it. I do have the other yarn so I might just start on that one too, this time with a gauge swatch first. It’s relatively quick and easy once you get going so I’m not concerned that I’m a bit behind.

Spinning

I got to plying my two bobbins this week and have finished it in two lots. The first lot was a very full bobbin and I had to stop and wind off onto the niddy noddy so that I could finish the rest separately. I only finished plying the second lot last night so now I’ll skein the first one and wind off the remainder. That was a total of 200 grams and I have another 300 grams to spin. I’d like to get another 100 grams single done this week but I’ll see if I can fit it into my sewing schedule!

Sewing

Last week, I had cut out four projects and was thinking about cutting out a fifth – I did. In the end, I managed to get three and nearly the fourth done already. I started with the easiest – the Vera top by Forget Me Not patterns. That was a great make and I’m definitely going to make more but I’ll size down one. It’s a little bit bigger than I need but is still very wearable. I was a bit concerned about the v-neck but the pattern instructions were great and it was rather easy in the end. The bishop sleeves are gathered and I used the zig zag method with a strand of candlewicking cotton and it worked very well. I’ve gathered a few things lately and I’m totally over the double row of stitches method! I’ll have this pattern on the cutting table again soon. The fabric I used for this is a cotton linen jersey and is perfect for the weather right now.

Another finished project is my Itch to Stitch Angelia shorts. I made version A which is recommended for a muslin as it is the most basic and short version so uses up the least fabric. The fabric I used was handed on by my mother in a recent de-stash and I think it’s a poly type of suiting or something like that. It has a good bit of structure to use to compare for when I make these in some denim I have in stash. The pattern was great to follow – I hadn’t made a fly front before and I had absolutely no trouble following the instructions. The way the shorts are designed, the zipper does sit slightly to the right though, and I don’t understand why I needed to buy a 7 inch zipper and then pull out the teeth and reinstall the zipper stops to make it shorter. Anyway, that was something that I’d never done before and it was good to learn how to do it. Maybe it was to ensure that the zipper actually stops at the right point. I did the straight size 10 in these which was perfect for the waist but I think I’ll grade down to the size 8 for the hips on the next pair which will be the mid length version. That way the legs will taper a little rather than flare out. I put a jeans button on the front which was left over from a previous project.

The third project that is finished – I just need to sew on the buttons, is the Style Arc Marley shirt. I think I would have finished all five projects this week if it hadn’t been for this one. Style Arc have some lovely patterns but they are very lacking in instructions. The Big 4 pattern companies cop flack for minimal instructions but they are nothing like the Style Arc ones. I would only recommend these to experienced sewists. I would say that I’m at intermediate level and I had to scratch my head so many times trying to figure out what was to be done. They have drawing tutorials on their website but they don’t line up with what I needed. The collar, for instance. Their tutorial for a collar and collar stand has a collar stand the full length of the collar, not a small semi circular piece like this. I think I did it right. And then, I managed the folded hem with split seams but how to finish the front off in the same manner did my head in. It might have been easy if the line of the front was straight but it cut in at the front hemline. I did email and was pointed in the direction of a tutorial that was for a split hem for pants that was nothing like the section I was working on, and the drawings were so complicated they made no real sense to me even though I knew what to do there. In the end, I just turned up that section and stitched it down with a topstitch. The other bug bear is that you stitch down the front button placket but, at that point, you can only go so far and now I have an unstitched bit at the bottom that I’ll need to either stitch from or unpick and restitch. In the end, I really love the shirt but I feel I could have had a better finish on it if the instructions had been like other indie pattern designers. Because of the lightness of the cotton voile, I needed to add some washaway to the back when I put the buttonholes in. You can just see it showing on my trial buttonhole. I also did the darts using a tip I’ve seen a couple of times recently where you do a couple of stitches then use the tail of the thread as a line to follow to the point. Works a treat! 👌

The fourth project was a top that I copied and I’m still adjusting bits on it. I’m happy to work on other things before I get back to it. Here are some awkward photos that show my finished items. The shorts were the extra project that I had cut out. The final project, was the Nikau dress by The Sewing Revival and I needed to get some coordinating fabric to go with it. I didn’t have enough to cut the backing of the belt and a pair of pocket pieces. While I was at Spotlight this week, I picked up some cotton poplin which will work well. I didn’t measure how much I needed so I didn’t get enough to cut the belt on the straight grain. As it will be the backing, I think I can risk cutting this on the bias. And there will be plenty for the last pair of pockets I need to cut.

Stitching

I’ve only made a little progress on the temperature cross-stitches I’m doing for the grandkids’ first years. The pattern is from Apricot Polka Dot. I have been working on these only when I’m on my international zoom meeting. I am getting into a rhythm with it and I’m enjoying it when I’m working on it. You can see that the very middle sections are a bit messy but only when you get close. The rest seems to be going fine now that I remembered how it should be done.

Patchwork

I have not worked on Cooper’s quilt for a couple of weeks now – out of sight, out of mind, so I shouldn’t put things away! I have laid out all the squares and I can start putting them together. A bed waiting to be made up is perfect as a blank canvas! Hopefully, the top of this will be done this week.

Acquisitions

Well, a trip to Spotlight for necessities usually ends up with a few pieces of fabric, especially when it’s so cheap. They seem to have specials on all the time now. All but one of these fabrics that I have washed ready to work on came from the other day (the blue/pink/white was from a few months back) and another piece, a black with white spot georgette, is not shown. I really want to cut most of these out this week – I’ll see how I go. The navy stretch crepe on the left is for another pair of Pattern Emporium Palazzo pants and the pink leaf with brown background rayon spandex will be a Pattern Emporium Hello Gorgeous top. I’m thinking the Aboriginal print rayon spandex in the middle might be a PE Lounge dress – there’s only a metre of it but I love the print. The teal fabric at the front, another rayon spandex, might become the newly released Brenda dress with statement sleeves but I’d like to make a toile of it first. Tomorrow is going to be a cutting day.

Paraphernalia

Last night I finished reading The Likeness by Tana French. It was a great read and I’m not ready to move onto the next book yet! After finishing Rodham a couple of weeks ago, I’ve now watch two episodes of the Hillary (Clinton) documentary. It’s great to have that to compare with the fictionalised Rodham book. I’ll be glad to see the end of Married at First Sight tonight, or maybe tomorrow night. I’m over it now but I do want to see how it finishes. I started the latest season of New Amsterdam and I’m up to date with the latest season of Unforgotten but the latter is a weekly instalment so I have to wait for that. I have a long list of shows that I want to watch so I’ll be working my way through it.

This week, I have a few things planned. Tuesday is my anniversary but we don’t usually do a great deal – especially since it’s school holidays at the moment and Tuesday nights are not great for variety in restaurants. We’ll probably celebrate with a dinner out next week. I do have a few things happening on Tuesday, starting with a bike ride with Julie and coffee catch up with some other girls, lunch with Annette and then book club after dinner. On Wednesday, I’m heading up to Wollongong for a day with Evie and Finn and then I’ll keep going that night to Sydney to spend Thursday with Cooper. I’ve started thinking about my packing for the trip to Alice Springs the following week and I’m hoping to take a few of my makes with me.

Thank you for spending time with me here in my little corner of the web! Until next week, I hope you are all keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 4 April 2021. #141

Hello friends! Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate, otherwise happy holidays. Our Easter weekend is generally quiet, with family and, if we’re lucky, beautiful weather as we are having at the moment. This has got to be my favourite time of year. The mornings and evenings are brisk but the days can be so warm and mellow! Monday started with a bike ride and a catch up with the Huskisson pelicans – they love to congregate just across the creek. Later that morning, I was picked up by my friend Jenny and a few other friends and we went for a day out to Milton, down the coast a bit. There were eight of us all together and we started with coffee at Driftwood Cafe and a little browse through the shops, then on to Milk Haus for lunch. It was a great feed – using produce from their own garden. After lunch we went for a walk through the garden. On Tuesday, I went for another bike ride. Two days in a row has been unheard of lately!

Later on Tuesday, I headed up to Wollongong and did a bit of shopping on the way up. I spent the night up there and then the day with Evie and Finn all day Wednesday. Evie and I went to the Lagoon park where she played on the equipment, then we had a spin on her balance bike, followed by a paddle and some sandcastle making. We also had a coffee and babycino. What a big adventure! Finn was waiting for us when we got home. Erin, Shaun and Cooper arrived at my place on Wednesday so they were there waiting for me when I got home that night. The weather has been amazing and we’ve had a couple of Cooper walking naps and yesterday afternoon we went to Moona Moona Creek to give him a little dip. There were lots of people enjoying the park and paddling in the almost low tide of the creek. On the bay, there were lots of people out on their kite boards. I wonder if they get tangle up? I imagine it wouldn’t be great if they do!

This morning we went for another walk along the bay from Huskisson to Moona Moona Creek and it was stunning!