Sunday 9 June 2019. #46

Welcome to my little corner of the internet! It seems that I finish one blog post and it’s time to do the next. That’s what happens with the working week and I’m pleased to announce that my last working day will be on the 1st of August, only 53 days away. That’s only 37 more days I have to work. Yes, I am counting. You can see my countdown calendar below – I have it up in the entrance of one of my craft rooms. I am looking forward to a lot of “me” time, with more time for loved ones and friends. It’s unfortunate that the last work days will be across winter, with the icy problems as shown below. This week’s ice took a lot more to get off and I’ll probably have to do it every week now. I only have a couple of kilometres to drive but maybe the visibility could/should have been a little better? The last photo shows a very small section of my messy table at home, and that needs attention today. At least I know exactly where everything is – all in the same place. This weekend we have our Queen’s birthday public holiday on Monday. The current monarch enjoys her birthday in April but New South Wales has kept the June tradition from one of the old kings instead.

Yesterday was Worldwide Knit and Crochet in Public (WWKIP) Day and I joined in with the Nowra Spinners and Weavers at the Nowra Library. It was a good turn-up with several ladies bringing their spinning wheels. A few people stopped by to see what we were doing so it was definitely worthwhile. I didn’t attend last year but I know it was held outside, in the shopping centre area. That may be a good idea for the northern hemisphere but last year’s event was held in bitter windy weather. The library was very public and nice and toasty. I even got to wear my Feather and Fern for the first time.

Knitting

I’m currently working through the last episode of my You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones) KAL Leftovers Cowl. I had hoped to have this finished by today but I decided, for the last episode, I would do full colourwork patterns for each of the characters. Spoiler alert – you can see there was only one death in this episode. Anyway, I only have about three more of these sections before I reach the end so it will definitely be finished for next week’s blog.

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The Bell Sleeved top is coming along nicely now with the sleeves down to the purl section before the bell sleeved part begins. I will try it on today, to make sure, and continue on hoping to have this to wear soon. Maybe for the Sydney Quilt Show or Fiberex Event coming up in two weeks. Hmmm, that could be a good incentive.

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The Blaise shawl is on the downhill run. I haven’t given it too much love this week but a little at a time will see it finished soon enough.

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New cast on 1: Yes, that heading does tend to indicate that there is more than one – I did finish three projects last week. A couple of weeks ago I showed my finished Lanesplitter skirt and discussed how I had wanted it a bit shorter. Well, last week I cast on another one. I counted how many fewer repeats I needed to do up the side of the skirt for the length I’m after and I’ve now turned the corner to the straight part for the long rectangle. As I did last time, I thought this section looked quite short but, knowing how much I need now, I have gone with it. The first one didn’t take very long so this one should take even less time. The only difference so far is that I’ve swapped the colours A & B. The garter ridges on this one is the turquoise/red Noro yarn and the stockinette part is the grey/black.

New cast on 2: I mentioned last week that I wanted to cast on a new project for Evie and I’d ordered some yarn from Bendigo Wools to get it quickly. Unfortunately, the sale they had meant they were overwhelmed with orders so I am still waiting for it, the delivery only having commenced on Thursday. So, in the meantime, I had wanted to use some yarns that I had in my stash (very deep stash) and decided to start a Strange Brew sweater for Evie – something I’ve wanted to do anyway. I had the beautiful orange/rust Cleckheaton Country Naturals 8 ply and the Shepherd Colour4Me Prints 8 ply but decided that the main yarn I had wouldn’t do. I found the oatmeal in the Country Naturals at Spotlight the other day – the Canberra one because the Nowra one has very limited stock. I cast this on Friday night and started the colourwork yesterday before I headed over to the WWKIP day.

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New cast on 3: This one was a totally random cast-on. I’d been watching the hype on the internet for the My Boy Lollipop sweater by Nancy Ricci on the internet and was not very interested. Until I saw some of the finished projects. The fact that it only uses two balls of DK got me thinking about the two skeins of Wren & Ollie Spin DK that I had purchased last year from Skein Sisters in Sydney. The sweater has a short cap sleeved and is cropped, hence why it uses so little yarn. I figured this would be a perfect project for the Wren & Ollie and would be a quick finish. There’s nothing like a couple of quick projects when slogging through some of the large sweaters. The yarn is 100% superwash merino and I’m in love with the speckle detail. The speckles are so crisp – something I’m trying to perfect, with only little success so far. My favourite colour is a variety of teal and turquoise and this is turning out with a majority of those colours so I’m loving the fabric I’m getting. I’m using the helical method as the skeins had different saturations of white once balled up, as you can tell from the photo below. The alternating was a little confusing in the seed stitch neck border but it’s a disruptive pattern so is totally unnoticeable.

Sewing

A couple of weeks ago, I’d purchased a remnant of some blush pink scuba suede. I think I may have mentioned it as it’s a new to me fabric. The remnant was 47cm of 150cm wide fabric so I thought I’d be able to use it for a short (above the knee is short enough for me) skirt. This week I stumbled on the Mabel skirt pattern by Colette Designs which I thought would be perfect. It’s an easy sew, with no zippers or buttons, relying on the stretch of the fabric instead. I cut it out yesterday and hope to sew it together today. I have a few patterns cut out and ready to sew. I’ve just been waiting for the opportunity when I’m near my machine. This weekend has a public holiday Monday so I may be able to spend some time sewing. I’m doing version 3 which is a longer pencil-type skirt with a kick pleat and I adjusted the length of the pattern so that it uses the total length of the fabric. I was a little concerned but I even managed to eke out the waistband pieces – I had thought I may need to buy a small piece to cut those. I think the remnant only cost me $4.50 so, if it works out, it will certainly be value for money!

Stash Acquisitions

I have been looking at patterns again, mostly inspired (or enabled?) by Instagram. The Suzy dress by Athina Kakou is another one of her easy patterns, similar to the Sheona dresses I’ve made. The Instagram pic on the right below inspired me to get the Adrienne blouse pattern by the Friday Pattern Company. Another easy pattern I’m itching to put together. I tried to get these printed on A0 on Friday afternoon but it seems I may have broken the Officeworks printer! Just kidding, but it wouldn’t print them and they’ve had to call for a mechanic. The usual lady wasn’t there and I’m not sure they knew what was going on. I think I’ll try again in Canberra this week and hope they don’t have the same problem. Probably a good thing I didn’t get the patterns as I should probably work on those projects already cut out.

After a couple of visits to Spotlight this week, I now have some more fabric and patterns. The first trip was to get the Vogue V9075 and I also picked up some lovely teal and gold rayon and some knit rayon with a pale blue/teal and brown. This knit rayon should be good for the Adrienne blouse. It’s not exactly what I was looking for but should be a good wearable toile until I find the right fabric. The next trip was to buy some ballpoint machine needles and I found a couple of remnants and a 3 for $15 pattern offer. Two of the patterns are for some Evie outfits and the other, Simplicity 8551) may be perfect for the teal/gold rayon from the previous purchase. I got a lovely microfleece with bugs for Evie and a 1m piece of rayon I’ll use for something, I’m sure.

Paraphernalia

This week’s most exciting of my various digital entertainments was the release of Season three of the Handmaid’s Tale. Three episodes were released and I’m impressed at how they’ve managed to keep up the excitement in this new season. I will confess to crying through a fair amount of episode 1. I can’t wait for some more episodes, though I’m not sure of the frequency of how they are releasing them. Maybe three a week? That would be much better than one a week.

I’ve started a new audiobook, The Retreat by Mark Edwards. I think I’ll enjoy it, though I’ve barely just started it. I’ve also downloaded Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon and The Binding by Bridget Collins which are the books for the next Book Club session in August. I’m looking forward to that as I’ll be a regular in the Book Club group again. I’ve been catching up on my audio podcasts on my drives, this week to Canberra and back, and also to Wollongong and back. I’m nearly caught up with them and will be happy when I only have that week’s episodes to listen to.

Thank you for joining me while I tell you about all my makes and what’s happening in my life – I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy putting it together. I know I will certainly enjoy my extra day at home tomorrow. Until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 2 June 2019. #45

Welcome to June! This year is flying by. Here in Australia, we declare winter on the 1st of June and the temperature is certainly agreeing with that. I had my first morning with ice on the windscreen, which is very frustrating when you’re not prepared. There was hairdresser knitting on the Smocked dress (only bind off) and I got to see the beautiful view of the Shoalhaven river from Nowra Showground, which I haven’t seen for a long time. The river is the prettiest part of Nowra, by far. We also had an amazing sunset which made all the clouds in the east turn bright orange.

Knitting

Finished object 1: Finally,  I can announce that the Graphica sweater is finished! I was going to extend the neck and started doing so. I realised after a few rows that knitting stitches that are knit in the opposite direction do not line up exactly. You can see that in the photo below. So I ripped back those new rows and bound off as per the pattern. I have sewn in all the body ends but now have the same amount on each sleeve. See the picture showing the ends and the floats. Once done, this will go for a good soak.

Finished object 2: The Sunday sweater! I thought the sleeves would never end but got there last night. This morning I even stitched down the neck but I haven’t sewn in the ends. I’m not sure this one needs blocking but most do benefit. I’ll give it a try. The picture shows the texture as quite lumpy though in real life it’s very smooth.

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Finished object 3: The Smocked dress was a quick knit. I knitted it in undyed yarn as I didn’t have any DK in a colour that I wanted for Evie. I made a couple of modifications – firstly I added increases for the bottom section, 4 stitches per round for 5 rounds, spaced about 10 rounds apart shown by the safety pins in the pic below. The second modification is that I did a frilled bottom instead of plain ribbing. I was concerned that the dress may be a bit small as I used 4mm needles instead of 4.5mm but it was a size one pattern and we have a few months to go before Evie is one. Fits beautifully!

My Bell sleeved top has now come out of hibernation as I thought it would be good train knitting for my trip today. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do much. I wanted to do the sleeves two at a time but forgot I needed 2 spare needles to set that up and I only packed one. So instead I started knitting the one sleeve, using the helical method. All was going well but I really want to try it on to make sure the sleeves don’t need decreasing. I suspect that they may – I will try it on so that I can keep going. The body hem seems to roll a lot so I hope that blocks flat.

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I have finally turned the corner on my Blaise shawl, now heading down the decrease side. That means that the rows will only be getting shorter with each repeat. I’ve progressed into the lighter teals then towards the blues. Apologies for how crumpled the project is – I think I need to move it into a larger project bag.

Episode 5 of my You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones Leftovers cowl) KAL is complete. I should have the 6th and final episode done this week but I intend to do the largest colourwork patterns for the remaining characters. Up to now, I’ve been splitting most large colourwork sections into two. In the photo below, you can see the split pattern with the orange and pale orange, then the other half in the green and purple. There are several dead characters in that section.

Sewing

Last week I hadn’t posted a picture of my second Sheona dress. This is such an easy project and so versatile. I mentioned in a previous post that I modified the neckline by adding a facing instead of a t-shirt type neckline. It worked perfectly. I’ll definitely make more of this pattern. There was no time for sewing this weekend but I’m hoping to have lots of time next weekend. There’s really not a lot to see in this pic as it’s just a plain black dress.

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Dyeing

 In Kangaroo Valley last weekend, we managed one more dye session. My friend’s daughter is obsessed with all things watermelon and wondered if we could dye yarn like a watermelon. I think we managed to get just the right look. As the yarn was already soaking when the decision was made, we went for an abstract watermelon look as, to get a real portrayal, we’d need to have wound off sections. It wasn’t hard mixing the right red, and the green is straight from the Emerald Jacquard bottle. There are even the black seeds, and the fade from the green to the white and the red to the white is just like a real cross-section of watermelon.

The only other dyeing I did was the Smocked dress on Friday. It took a few light layers to get the colour right. I would have been happy if it was lighter but the smocking and frill took several goes to take up the dye properly.

MeMadeMay 2019

The weather changed last Monday and I was able to wear some of my knitted items, not that I took too many photos. I started on Monday with my Zweig and when I got home I needed more warmth so put on my Weekender with my Strange Brew alpaca cowl. The cowl didn’t last too long as I found it was a little scratchy on my neck. I don’t have any problem with the mohair in my Adventurer cowl so I was very surprised at the feel of the alpaca. Tuesday I wore my Lush cardigan and Adventurer cowl. On Wednesday, I wore my new black Sheona and the Nightshift cowl. I only managed a photo of the cowl but there is a flat lay of what I was wearing. Thursday, my only me-made was the Baubles shawl. On Friday, I wore my original Sheona dress and on Saturday I put my Zweig on again. That is such a light, easy sweater to wear.

Spinning

During the week, I was able to get in touch with the Spinners and Weavers Guild of Nowra who meet every Saturday. That suits me well at the moment and I really needed some help to get comfortable with my wheel. So I attended their session yesterday – I met some lovely ladies there and Janet was able to give me some help as she has a Wee Peggy wheel also. I still need lots of practice but it was good to be able to get comfortable with my wheel which was what has held me back until now. Shown below is some nicely overspun merino. I really want to participate with the Spin and Make Along (SMAL) so I need to get some serious practice on the wheel. The SMAL is being co-hosted by Grace of Babbles Travelling Yarn podcast and Mina from the Knitting Expat podcast.

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Stash Dash 2019

Last week, I had my first entry to Stash Dash 2019 with 646.1 metres. This week, I have three more finished projects. Graphica = 1,227.4 m, Sunday Sweater = 825.8 m and Smocked = 303.7 m. That now gives me a total of 3,003 metres!

Stash Acquisitions

I have little to add for this segment this week, though I did partake of the Knitpicks 20% off sale and ordered several balls of Swish DK yarn. I know that I’ll be knitting several bits and pieces for Evie so stocked up in preparation. I have a few plans already; one approved project is the Preparer son Arrivee pattern (it’s French which translates to preparing for her arrival) by Kasia Lubinska. For that, I took the quicker route and ordered some Bendigo Ready for Winter yarn, in the colour Tide (I think). They are 200gm balls of a blend of mostly wool, alpaca and bamboo. At $10 a ball, that’s quite a saving. I also purchased the McCalls M6953 pattern that I’d been introduced to via Instagram. This has three hemlines – straight, scoop front and longer front, in both long and short styles. It’s definitely my style though I think I’ll wait for warmer weather and the right fabric. I also purchased small remnant of blush pink suede scuba. I’ve only recently heard of this fabric, mentioned in some of the podcasts I’ve been watching. I’m hoping it will make a nice short (above the knee) skirt for wearing with boots.

Paraphernalia

I don’t think I mentioned in my last podcast that I’d started watching After Life with Ricky Gervais. He is a very funny actor and can be very confronting but I’m drawn to his humour. This mini-series is very funny and very sad, and also very heartwarming. Warning – there is a considerable amount of swearing. The other show I started watching this week is Chernobyl. It’s a very new historic mini-series that’s currently running on Foxtel and I have to wait a few days before I can watch the next episode! It’s supposed to portray the real story of what happened there in 1986 and I can see how it could be very true. It’s very tragic and the many, many lives that were lost also included very brave people trying to save millions of lives by preventing further disaster after the initial meltdown. Very compelling, and Jared Harris is one of my favourite actors since he starred in Mad Men.

Today I finished my book The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner while I was on the train to Wollongong and then back. I thoroughly enjoyed it though I think the narration was a bit off-putting. As the story was quite compelling I didn’t find that it stopped me from listening. I’ll now have to decide which one will be next. I’m very behind in audio podcasts and have culled a few new ones that I think I can live without. The Ologies podcast I’m currently enjoying is about Mycology (mushrooms). It is certainly very interesting!

As usual, I’ve had more to talk about than I originally thought so I’d better stop rambling. Apologies for how late I’m posting but I did have an enjoyable time with my son, Steven, daughter-in-law, Kim and beautiful Evelyn. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 26 May 2019. #44

Hello from Kangaroo Valley, NSW, Australia! I’m currently away with some old school friends for a relaxing country weekend. Starting with Canberra this week, there was a lot of colour and most of it in carpet form.

We are staying at a large house called Glenmurray Country Farm Stay on a large cattle property. There’s a lot of talking, good food and crafting happening.

Knitting

Finished Object: I haven’t had a lot of time to sit and knit but I managed to finish my Lanesplitter skirt. I had to knit the band and add the elastic. Before adding the elastic I knit down the last row with the row that I’d picked up for the band. I did that to the last 6 stitches and fed the elastic through, finishing the final stitches once that was done. It was more difficult to feed the elastic through the knitted fabric as the corners were catching. I think it is a little longer than I wanted to wear with boots but will still be just fine.

I’m still working my way through the final sections of the Graphica sweater. I had done one sleeve end section with a colourwork pattern that I didn’t think suited the rest of the sweater (centre bottom picture) so I ripped that back and did a plainer section. There’s only the rib left to do on the second sleeve then I intend to pick up the provisional stitches on the neck and add more rib. Still not sure about that. I enjoyed an early morning knit in bed with this one.

I’ve only reached the end of  Episode 4 on my You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones) KAL Leftovers cowl. I don’t think I’ve knitted a stitch on it this weekend yet!

There has been some small progress on the Smocked Baby dress and the Blaise shawl. I was hoping to finish the dress this weekend and dye it. There are still close to 24 hours to so maybe that will happen. I think the dyeing may have to wait until Monday afternoon when I’m home.

Sewing

We had a good session of sewing yesterday, with three machines working hard at the table. The pic only shows two machines as the third, mine, hadn’t been set up yet. I made the Seamwork Akita top which is a very easy one piece top. It’s very comfortable but I found that the dart is a bit high and I may add a smidge more shaping at the waist. I can’t add too much otherwise it will be too hard to put on. This afternoon I’m hoping to move onto the skirt I had cut out. Last weekend, I had finished the black Sheona dress but I don’t have any photos I can share today. I’ll post those next week.

Dyeing

Another crafting session yesterday was teaching a couple of my friends how to dye. Mari did a colour stripe dye and had to wind off yarn into 5 sections for individual dyeing. The hardest part was picking the colours

My other friend, Bronwen, wanted a grey set of yarns, from pale grey to almost black. That was a successful dye session.

Stash Dash

I have my first finished project for Stash Dash – the Lanesplitter skirt. I finished that on 25 May, with the waistband section. That is 656.1 metres for my first entry! The Dash started on 24 May but I haven’t seen the rules video yet so I’ll need that to get started properly.

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MeMadeMay 2019

Efforts for MeMadeMay this week have not been great. I’ve worn my Adventurer Cowl but little else. On Friday, I wore my Floozy (old picture) and got to wear my Sharman Cocoon (shown below). I had packed lots of knitwear but the weekend has been so unseasonably warm that I haven’t worn any.

Paraphernalia

Something I forgot to mention last week is that I had my old overlocker/serger serviced. I’m looking forward to using that for my sewing projects. I didn’t bring it with me this weekend as I had enough to transport and I’m not sure about using it yet. It’s a very old Singer machine that belonged to my mother and hasn’t been used for over 20 years. I was assured that it was definitely worth having serviced as it was originally a very good machine. The plastic is looking a bit yellow but, if it works, I’m not worried about that.

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I think it’s time I stopped rambling and I need to get back to my crafting in this lovely house so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 19 May 2019. #43

Welcome to election weekend in Australia, and it appears that nothing has changed. My week has been pretty normal with my regular Canberra trip. Monday started with my catch-up breakfast and we are still sitting outside. We’ve only been inside once so far but I don’t imagine we’ll be able to do it for too much longer. My view this week consisted of lots of Autumn leaves. I have taken several pics and, though they look good, they don’t have the same effect as in real life. It’s so very pretty at the moment. We haven’t yet had a frost and I think that’s likely to change soon too.

Knitting

I’m still focusing on a few projects at the moment but I am also starting to pick up some that have been waiting patiently. The Graphica sweater has progressed though not as quickly as I’d hoped. The pressure is off now because I didn’t meet the 15 May deadline for the Colorwork KAL. I also got my 9” circulars mixed up and it appears I used the 3.75mm one for the green/orange section instead of the 3.5mm. It didn’t look different compared to the previous section so I went ahead and used the same needle for the rest. The curve of the sleeve divide makes the sections look like they are not lined up with the body but I have kept the same row count. There is only one section left now and the ribbing. This last section is longer than the corresponding colour of the body and I’m not yet sure if I’ll be doing it all in those two colours or if I’ll reintroduce the beginning colours again. After all, the ribbing does use the blue from those colours. I’m leaving it until I get to the same point as the body and will try it on to make the decision. I’m hoping to be finished the sleeves this week and will pick up the provisional stitches on the neck to increase the ribbing for, hopefully, a funnel-type neck. Will it all be done by the next blog?

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The Sunday Sweater was again my go-to knit for Episode 5 of Game of Thrones. There’s always so much happening in those episodes that knitting that requires any thinking is totally out of the question. Mind you, I had to increase twice during that episode and measure several times so that I knew when to increase. Fortunately, that wasn’t too taxing on the brain. I only have just over 15cm to go before 8 rows of rib and bind off so my intention is to finish this one this week too. Because I’m increasing at a set measurement each time the rows are getting longer and the normally quick sleeve row is now taking much more time.

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I have frogged the garter section of the sleeves on the Pop Baby cardi and am working to extend them by about 2.5 inches. There was a decrease near the end of the sleeve so I had to frog back to that. It should be finished this weekend so I can block out the curly stitches.

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The Smocked dress is coming along nicely and I’ve divided for the sleeves. At the moment, I’m just working down the length of the dress which is just round and round stocking stitch. There are no increases during the length of the dress but there were a few at the smocked area which will give some more fullness and also the smocking stitches not being smocked will give more width. I’m not sure I like the idea of the buttons behind the left back shoulder and, if I’d realised before I was well into it, I probably would have centred the button panel.

Progress on my Game of Thrones (You Win or You Die) KAL is constant but I haven’t caught up yet. This is actually a good thing. I should be about up to episode 5 when I watch the final (6th) episode on Tuesday night. I keep my GoT viewing for when I’m in Canberra. Because I need to confirm who actually died, I’m happy to be behind. There are often surprises in this show! I’m about mid-episode 4 below and the bottom right picture shows episode 3 complete.

My Blaise shawl also got some love this week. I am currently moving from greens into teals and I am nearing the centre of the shawl. Depending on how much grey yarn I have left I may add one more repeat before starting the decreases. From where I am now, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that. I should know by next week.

I was able to take some “action shots” of my Ochre Cardigan the other day to submit to the test group. As I’ve been away so much, I had to do it while in Canberra for work. Not shown in the photo are my pyjama pants, which I cropped out. This looks just like the picture of the pattern but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the fronts of the cardigan sitting on the outside of my boobs, preferring the cardigan to meet in the middle. It’s more a shrug type top than a cardigan. It’s not a cold weather outfit so I’ll see how much wear I get out of it next summer. I’d probably wear this with more of a tank top but that was all that I had with me at the time.

My Sharman Cocoon has been waiting patiently to have all its many ends sewn in. Now that the weather is cooling very quickly I’ve been more motivated to get this done. I had a good session yesterday and it won’t take long to get the rest done. I’ll give it a good soak and block once I’ve finished and it will hopefully be ready to take away with me next weekend. It will be a cosy shrug to sit around the fire in on my weekend to Kangaroo Valley, where it should be pretty cold.

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Sewing

I had a full day at home yesterday and was looking forward to getting some sewing done. Well, that didn’t happen because I spent most of the day cutting out fabric. I wanted to get back to my Sydney and Metamorphic dresses but realised this week that I need a couple of items that are wearable now instead of summer dresses. Firstly, I dug out the Inspiration magazines that my friend Cathie had given me. There are several items in those that I want to make but I’m starting with a pencil skirt using some Japanese fabric that I’ve been waiting to use. The pattern doesn’t include seams which I find is very easy to get wrong, and cut without the seams. This pattern only uses two pieces plus a couple of facing pieces so shouldn’t be a problem. I had to trace the pattern and couldn’t find my tracing vilene. In the end, I used some fusible interfacing which is almost the same but I can’t iron it – not that I’ll ever need to. I think I’ve decided to add a lining – it’s much more comfortable when wearing stockings as the fabric doesn’t grab onto them. I haven’t cut the facings or lining yet as I was still deciding. I realised that I didn’t have a zipper in black so that will need to wait until I’m able to purchase one tomorrow. I do actually have one but the zipper pull is missing so it’s not an option and it’s not an invisible one.

On Friday, I purchased some black rayon double knit and yesterday cut out another Sheona dress by Athina Kakou. That’s what I’ll be sewing today. I’d purchased a long cardigan (yes, I’m not knitting it!) and thought it would work really well with a plain black dress and my tan suede boots. I’d had plans to knit something to replace a cardigan that I’d retired but that’s not likely to be finished for this winter. Also, I needed something so that I could wear with my boots as that particular colour is lacking in my wardrobe. The boots will also go with the skirt (above). I’ve made a modification to this Sheona for a faced neckline rather than a neckband and I also made a modification as I trimmed the pattern to where I thought it should have been. I now don’t think that but it should work with a slightly more boat neck instead. I also cut the dress down to the size 10 as previously I’d made the 12 and had to take it in down the sides. This should remove some of the extra fabric under the sleeves as shown in my picture below right, which would have required removing the sleeves to do a proper job of taking in. I think it is still very wearable.

Since I was on a cutting roll, I decided to also cut out the Kristy top by Style Arc. I had some fabric I was gifted from my friend Debbie’s mother’s old stash. I really “ummed” and “ahhed” about this one as I’m concerned about pattern matching. I finally decided that it would never be possible so I cut it out anyway. The fabric is a black and green stripe, shown best on the facing piece at the top right of the picture. This could be a good top for work. Depending on whether I finish the Sheona today, I  may start on this one too.

Stash Acquisitions

When I purchased the rayon double knit for the Sheona on Friday at Spotlight, I also picked up a few remnants. I always have a look to see what’s worthwhile. There’s not usually much there. I purchased a 1.75m piece of Combed Cotton Jersey in the Latte colour, a 0.9cm piece of a dusty navy colour Wool Blend Suiting, and a 0.8cm piece of Stretch Denim in Indigo. I almost cut out a Neenah (Seamwork) pattern to make a jersey polo top with either this Latte or some white that I purchased recently. By that time, I’d had enough of cutting. The denim may grow up to be a Moss skirt (Grainline Studio) and I’ve no idea what I’ll do with the suiting. It says 112-145cm – if it is closer to 145cm I will have enough for a skirt.

MeMadeMay 2019

So this week’s MeMadeMay is pretty basic which shows what I need to make, and got me onto my fabric cutting spree. Sunday – Floozy cardigan, Monday – Sheona, Tuesday – Baubles shawl, Wednesday – Marled Magic shawl (pic), Thursday – Lush cardigan (pic) and Adventurer Cowl, Friday – Lush again, Saturday – it was too warm for knitwear and too cold for my only me-made summer dress. I only took two photos all week. My Marled Magic Shawl, which was a mystery KAL by Stephen West, is one of my favourites. It’s actually a shlanket, it’s so big.

Future plans: One of the things that I’ve worked out is that, for work, I would prefer to wear cowls. I find that shawls just seem to drop here and there but the cowl stays where it’s put! If I find some suitable yarn in my stash, I may start the Radost cowl. This should be a pretty quick knit.

Radost cowl

Stash Dash 2019

There’s a challenge held on Ravelry called Stash Dash which has been running for a few years. Until now, I didn’t really have much idea of what it was. There doesn’t appear to be a link to this year’s Dash but last year’s guidelines are here. I will post a link next week a the Dash starts on the 24th May and goes all the way to some time in August. The aim of this is to try to achieve a set meterage of yarn used, either knitted, crocheted or spun. Not sure about weaving but that’s possible. From my understanding, you can nominate how much you think you’ll get done and the interesting part is that you can use your WIPs, including the meterage for the part already done, as long as you have some work yet to finish. The conversation at the moment is whether sewing up and adding buttons or zippers count for the whole project. Looking at my unfinished and languishing projects, I have quite a few that would count. I think I’ll use this as an opportunity to get them finished. Obviously, that doesn’t mean I won’t start a new project or two! The contenders are the Sunday Sweater, Blaise shawl, Lanesplitter skirt, my Brioche Yoke sweater, Graphica sweater, Humulus sweater, Bell Sleeved top, Inka the Little Llama Security blanket, Kettle Valley Poncho, Comfort Fade Cardi, Rings of Change blanket and my long-languishing Levenwick jacket. Oh, and of course my Game of Thrones KAL.

Paraphernalia

I’m currently excited for the 6 June Handmade’s Tale Season 3 premiere. This is just in time to take over from my Game of Thrones. On Netflix, I have finished watching all the Vikings and The Blacklist episodes available and have moved on to the new Shetland episodes. I’m also watching the second season of Secret City on Foxtel. I have added After Life on Netflix, starring Ricky Gervais to my list. I’m really looking forward to that one and am keeping it for when I’m caught up with my random episodes.

I gave up on listening to the book The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane and have started listening to The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner. The former was too slow and quiet sounding and just didn’t keep me interested. The latter is certainly no Pulitzer Prize winner but is much more exciting and I listened for two hours straight on my return from Canberra this week – totally unheard of.

Coming up next week, I have a long weekend away with my old school friends. We do a weekend away at a different place at the end of May each year. This year, we are heading to Kangaroo Valley which is up towards the Southern Highlands. I’ll be taking them through some yarn dyeing and we may even do some sewing, amongst some local sightseeing and food consumption. Of course, I’ll have my bag of projects to knit on during some down times.

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

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

 

Sunday 12 May 2019. #42

Happy Mothers Day! I know that we share this day with the US, but the UK celebrated in March, I think. I’ve had a hectic couple of weeks living out of a suitcase, coming home just long enough to change out with clean clothes. This weekend I’ve been in Sydney for several celebrations – our son in law’s birthday, our daughter’s delayed 30th birthday party and today celebrating mother’s day in Wollongong with our son, his family and his in-laws. We had a girl’s day out yesterday starting with a makeup session at Myer, then lunch and to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s been such a great weekend.

Knitting.

Finished Object: Knitting is the only craft I managed this week and I didn’t get anywhere near as much time as I normally do. I was on a deadline to get the Ochre cardigan finished and I managed it easily enough. You can see it now blocking. The skein I used on the sleeves is a bit darker than the rest but not as noticeable in real life. I wanted to alternate skeins but, when I started on the sleeves, I was doing two at a time and didn’t want to complicate it further. I didn’t get more than a couple of rows done before I decided that was not going to work well for silk. I should have then started the helicle knitting but didn’t give it another thought. Maybe some action shots next week.

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My Graphica sweater is moving along but not as quickly as I thought. I spent a little more time on the Ochre cardigan than I’d planned and it took up my Graphica time. This means I won’t get it done by Wednesday which is the end of the 2019 Colorwork KAL. That’s OK. I know it will be done soon after that which is good as the weather is cooling very quickly.

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The You Win or You Die (Game of Thrones) KAL is ongoing but I’m a little further behind on my Leftovers cowl now. I’m about halfway through Episode 3 (on the right) and probably won’t be started on Episode 4 before I watch Episode 5! That’s OK, I’m still enjoying it so much and now, with no deadlines, I’ll be able to get more of it done.

You may remember the Pop cardigan as a finished object but it’s too small. I have cut into the body bind off and added about 2.5 inches. I’m just starting the latest bind off and will do the sleeves next, adding about the same amount. It will need another block because you can see the curly stitches from where I frogged back the garter edge. This will be finished, again, next weekend.

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New Cast On: This is the Smocked dress by Jenny Wiebe (Vangy Knits). This project is one on my Make9 for 2019. It’s not the final colour but I wanted to start it before I could dye anything so went for it in the undyed yarn. I intend to dye the dress as a finished project. It’s a cute smocked front, puff short sleeves dress and will look great on Miss Evie.

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The Lanesplitter skirt is also currently blocking waiting for me to sew up the sides and add the waist rib band. Maybe this week?

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Me-Made May

I managed to wear me-made most of this week but didn’t take all the photos. It started last Sunday with the purple and caramel Ellie sweater which I made back in August 2017 from Touch Yarns Possum Merino 8 ply. That was disappointing as I realised when wearing it that there was a moth hole right on the front chest area. That’s now been put aside for repairs. I wore my Sheona dress (not shown), my Adventurer Cowl, my Elton cardi with my Nightshift shawl and my Riyito sweater in one of my very early self dyed yarns. Today I wore my Floozy cardigan but, because it was so warm, it didn’t make it into any of the photos taken today.

As I’m posting so late today, I thought I’d include our Mothers’ Day pics. Evie is all rugged up ready for the walk to her Nanny’s home and the view from Nanny’s home with the wonderful pre-lunch nibbles. It was such a beautiful day.

My living out of a suitcase continues for this week as I’ll be taking out the old and putting in some new items. Next weekend will be one for relaxing as I won’t even leave the house. I want to get back to my Sydney and Metamorphic dresses and some other crafts. Maybe even some dyeing! Hopefully a little more variety in the next blog. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 5 May 2019. #41

Greetings! I’ve just returned home from a little town down the coast from where I live, called Lake Conjola. I was with some girlfriends and we’ve taken the opportunity while our husbands were away playing golf to have a relaxing lake/beachside break. This week started with my fortnightly girlfriend catch-up breakfast (with my Lanesplitter Skirt) and a lovely sunset through the clouds and trees. On Tuesday morning I had a very foggy 2-hour drive to Canberra but was happy that the weather there was very mild for this time of year. The leaves are starting to turn and there are beautiful colours showing up everywhere in Canberra. We don’t get such a grand display here on the coast.

This weekend was absolutely glorious with lovely weather until this morning when there was some rain. We enjoyed the scenery sitting next to the lake and walking out to the beach and headland. There was much competition with several games including Finskas – a very interesting game where you throw a cylinder of timber to a pile of several numbered cylinders and add you score with those numbers as the cylinders move around the playing area; we played bocce – a version of lawn bowls where you throw the balls rather than roll them; cards against humanity – a fill-in-the-blank game using words and statements that are quite offensive (no seriousness here!); Uno – a fun children’s card game but very competitively played by adults; Twister – a very tricky game for us ladies getting to a certain age! We had a couple of kayaks but I didn’t get out on one this time.

Knitting

This week’s blog is all about the knitting. I only worked on a few projects this week, being away for work and then away for play. The Lanesplitter skirt kept my hands occupied during this week’s nail biter Game of Thrones episode. It’s a great “no thinking required” project and all my many other projects currently require considerable concentration. I finished decreasing into the corner of the rectangle and it is now ready to block. The pattern indicates that there will be a bias that needs blocking out. I now need to sew up the sides and pick up stitches for the top rib band which is then turned under with elastic inserted.

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Though I didn’t take it with me this weekend, I mainly focussed on the Ochre Cardigan during the week in order to meet the 13th May deadline. I finished off the collar after sorting out the serious yarn barf and then picked up for the sleeves. I had every intention of knitting them two at a time until I got to the lace but the 100% silk really doesn’t suit two at a time. It’s much too slippery so I left one side on a cable and started going round and round with my 3.75mm 9 inch circular instead. That worked very well. After a few inches, I started on the other sleeve as I was making sure that the ball I was using would be enough for both sides. A couple of the skeins I’m using were considerably darker than the other three and I used the darkest in the body lace. It is darker in that there is more of the purple colour and it is darker than that in the rest of the cardigan. It seems to suit well in the lace. The sleeves are a bit darker than the body though not a lot and I’ll use the remainder of the darkest for the lace here too. The photo was taken after taking the cardigan out of the bag it had been sitting in for the weekend so is very crinkled. I intend to finish the sleeves this week. Looking at the photo, it seems that the pooling is more noticeable on the smaller number of stitches on the sleeve. I hadn’t noticed it in real life.

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The Sunday Sweater is also growing some sleeves and they are an easy to knit project which was suitable for the weekend away. I only have to increase every 5 cms. The two at a time is going OK for this project as I wasn’t sure how the large needles would work. I tend to have a couple of tight stitches along the joins but they are much better than loose ones which look like a ladder.

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I haven’t yet caught up with my You Win or You Die KAL for Game of Thrones. I have now finished episodes one and two, seen below left and episode two on the right. I am hoping that this week I’ll catch up on episode 3. It’s certainly a very fun project and I’m loving how it looks!

Me Made May 2019

Each year, the Me Made May challenge occurs on Instagram. I’ve decided to participate via my blog instead, and participate when I can. The original challenge was to wear something every day but I’m still building up my me-made wardrobe. Awkward selfies warning! Wednesday was May 1st (May Day) and I started with my Sheona at work. Thursday I wore my Lush cardigan which goes really well with my Nine West brocade shoes. On Friday, I worked from home and then headed down the coast wearing my floozy cardigan with my jeans and on Saturday I got to wear my Zweig for the very first time, but only in the evening as it was too warm for knitwear during the day.

Stash Acquisitions

A few weeks ago, I was enabled into buying some yarn from Fibernymph Dyeworks. It’s very hard to watch podcasts and resist the temptation! Obviously, there was no resisting this time and I ordered 2 sets of sock yarn. It took some time for me to get them as they arrived at work while I was not there for 2 weeks! It was such a lovely surprise to finally get them as I had actually forgotten they were there. They are gorgeous! The left is a set of Inversibles in turquoise and dark brown. One is a majority of turquoise and a bit of brown; the other is the inverse. The pair on the right is a set of 7 alternating stripes and a mini for heels and toes. The yellow is showing too yellow in the picture and is more of a yellow-lime colour. Both sets are on the Bedazzled base, 75% merino, 20% nylon, 5% stellina so they are sparkly. I’m going to have to do lots more sock knitting as my sock kits are starting to pile up. That’s a possibility as I’m almost at sweater overload and, really, how many sweaters can one person wear?

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The only other purchase is some Knitpicks bare yarn; the majority is Swish DK and three skeins of Swish fingering. These are for an upcoming weekend away with some old friends and I’ll be teaching them some dyeing. We’ll also be doing some dressmaking so it will be quite a teaching weekend.

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Paraphernalia

As I alluded earlier, this week’s Game of Thrones episode was epic. It’s so hard to wait a week to see each of them. Other than that, I was watching Season 2 of Cardinal – a detective show set in snowy Canada. I thoroughly enjoyed Season 1 and hadn’t realised that the next season and another had been aired. Unfortunately, once I had watched the first three episodes I couldn’t watch the fourth as it seems that SBS removed it from their on-demand list. Hopefully, they’ll come back again soon. I finished watching Peaky Blinders and started on Season 2 of Secret City on Foxtel. I still haven’t started my book as I’ve been catching up on podcasts. I have now worked out how to have them automatically downloaded so that I don’t need to remember where I’m up to and add them to a playlist.

Next week will be another hectic weekend as I’m off to Sydney to see the matinee show of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the tickets for which were my birthday present in January.  After that, we will be attending our daughter’s delayed 30th birthday party and it’s also her husband’s birthday. To top off the weekend, we’ll be having a Mothers’ Day lunch with our son and daughter-in-law (and baby Evelyn) at Kim’s parents’ place. That should be a wonderful afternoon. A very eventful weekend coming up! I should be able to get a fair bit of knitting done as I’ll be a passenger during the drive up and down.

So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

 

Sunday 28 April 2019. #40

Hello everyone! I’ve had such a relaxing week off this week. It all began last Sunday visiting friends at the next town along the coast – Hyams Beach. It’s pretty famous around the world for the whitest sands, though you can’t see that from the picture below (top left, view from their cottage). The secret is that our beaches have the same white sands but I won’t give that away! I also managed one early morning run on the beach which only exacerbated a sore back. No more running this week though it’s not the running that does it. I did see some lovely sunrises, one where the fog totally obliterated Beecroft and Point Perpendicular out over the bay.

It was such a relaxing week that I even manage some bed knitting most mornings! Wednesday was hairdresser day and I always have some knitting with me. Thursday was ANZAC Day – I was going to attend the dawn service but my back decided otherwise. I wanted to make some ANZAC biscuits but didn’t have any golden syrup in the cupboard so I made them on Friday instead. There are three choices for these biscuits – soft and chewy, thin and crispy, dark and crunchy. I went for the latter but ended up with a mixture as the outside was crunchy but the inside was a bit chewy. I think I should have flattened them a bit thinner in the middle but we got the best of both worlds. These biscuits are quite a tradition for Australians, and I suppose for New Zealanders too. The biscuits were sent by wives and women’s groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. Friday night we had a Chinese meal at the local Golf Club for 2 birthdays – it’s a great way for the group to get together monthly. And, finally, last night we had friends from Sydney over for dinner and a great catch up. So relaxing and full of fun!

Knitting

Well, it seems that an endless sea of sleeve islands is ahead for me. Starting with my Graphica sweater. I’ve finished the body and started the right sleeve. The first pattern is finished – I’ll put this onto another cable and do the same for the other side before I move on to the next pattern. I’m using a Chiaogoo Red 9 inch circular and it’s like re-learning how to do colourwork! The needles are only 2 inches long so my left hand is struggling to tension the yarn. I think I must use the normal left needle as a stabiliser. You can see the elastic band I’m using as a stitch stopper. I wonder if Chiaogoo has these. I think this sleeve island should move quite well as I’ll work on a pattern at a time.

Sleeve island number 2 will be my Ochre cardigan test. I’m currently finishing the band after having done the lace, but I’ve hit a snag – or several snags. I was pulling from the centre of the ball and ended up with massive yarn barf. I spent a good hour unravelling as I don’t want to cut and have a join right in the middle of the band. I’ve nearly fixed it but still have a little bit of unravelling to go. There are only 2 rows and the bind off left for the band and then it’s sleeve island. They are only three quarter length sleeves so shouldn’t take too long. D-Day is 13th May so I have two weeks to get them done.

Sleeve island number three will be my Sunday sweater. I only bound off this morning so will move onto the sleeves very soon. I used Lori’s Twisty Bind Off as this was highly recommended by Carolyn of Dunderknit (Knitting Vicariously). This method seems to be very true to its name but it took me a few minutes to figure out how to start off. The bind off has you twisting the right needle right around in both directions and the tutorial uses a sample square. My needle was firmly implanted in the stitches on the right-hand side so there was no way I could twist it. I did finally have a light bulb moment realising that I should remove the needle and use it separately. I put it on another cable and again realised that was silly as there was this wayward cable flying around each time I twisted so finally removed that and was cooking with gas (as we say down here). The twisting motion is quite tiring for the right shoulder but it worked really well.

Sleeve island number 4 is my Bell Sleeved top. I’ve bound off on the body of this sweater and need to move onto the sleeves now. Considering I’m using DK instead of worsted, I ended up on only the second size and it’s still a little loose. The silk/merino blend and weight should ensure it will drop rather than stretch any further sideways.

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Now for some sleeve relief! I’ve really been enjoying my You Win or You Die Game of Thrones KAL project, the Leftovers Cowl. In the pictures below, Episode 1 is at top left and I’ve only managed about a quarter of Episode 2 so far. I didn’t decide on the final project until mid last week so I’ve had some catching up to do. I have 33 characters and I am expecting some to disappear soon. The bottom picture shows where I’m up to with Episode 2 – the grey purl stitch yarn is the episode divider. I started with quite a narrow tube and decided that I needed to add another repeat to make it more comfortable knitting. You can see where that happens in the right side picture but this won’t be noticeable once the cowl is wrapped around the neck. I’ll just have to decrease these stitches when I get to the end so that I’m able to join onto the beginning provisional cast on.

I have only made minor progress on my Blaise shawl, moving through the greens. I’m only about three or four colours away from the widest part of the shawl and I’m concerned it will not be very wide at all. I have weighed the grey yarn (that’s the most limited one) and if I’ve used less than half when I get to halfway, then I’ll add a colour or two. I don’t think I’ll have a lot but there may be one or two repeats in it.

The Lanesplitter skirt has moved into the final leg, so to speak. I’ve reached the measurement for the width of my skirt and have turned up the side. The measurement required is the widest part – obviously the hips. This should go very quickly now as you decrease two stitches every two rows. I’d like to wear this next week, so we’ll see how I go. I have to actually sew up the sides so that may mean it never gets worn! And, I nearly forgot, I have to knit the waistband too.

I was able to start using my own dyed self-striping/self-patterning yarn this week. I had to wind it by hand in the first instance and started a second ball once I got to 50 grams. It’s supposed to be a 100-gram skein but I ended up with 60 grams for the second ball. I’m not complaining but I should have weighed it in the first instance and I may have divided them evenly. Once they were balled up, I caked them up, that way I can also pull from the centre. The balls/cakes look quite pretty. I started first off with a pair of socks for me and decided on top down for some reason. I usually start from the toe. As I had suspected, I had not dyed each section long enough. The pattern is not very noticeable on my socks so thought I’d also make some baby socks which does show the patterning much better though they are only thin stripes. I’m doing all four concurrently pulling the baby socks from the centre of the balls and my socks from the outside. I was doing alright but seem to have tangled myself in moving them all a few times. There should be plenty of yarn for each pair though toe up may have been a better option for mine as I could knit till the yarn is finished. I may restart them as I haven’t done a lot yet. For the baby socks, I’m using the Toe Up Baby Socks pattern.

Crochet

Inka the Little Llama has finally made an appearance. I sewed in the ends on the bobbles and have made the head. It doesn’t look like very much at the moment. Ears and arms are next, then the embellishments. If I try for a little section here and there, it should be finished in a week or two – not promising anything!

Sewing

Last Monday, my friend Mary came over for a sewing day. We cut out and started sewing our Sydney dresses by Style Arc. The hard part was cutting out the pattern, pinning and cutting the fabric. That took the whole morning. We did manage to get a good way into the dress but Mary had to leave before we could finish. I continued for a bit afterwards but ran out of cotton! What a rookie error. How could I expect a small reel of thread to last the whole dress? I must say that Style Arc is not a pattern company for beginners. The instructions are very rudimentary – the instructions only say to sew this bit or join that bit, expecting that you know how to do it. There was some very minor explanation included for one or two bits but, I repeat, very minor. Anyway, I’ve finished the bodice and was just joining the bodice to the bottom part of the dress when I ran out of thread. I also have the hem band to put on. I could have driven into Nowra to get the thread but I didn’t think that driving for an hour return trip during the school holidays was worth it just for a reel of cotton. I’ll be able to call in after work tomorrow and pick that up. The fabric we used is a cotton/linen blend from Spotlight so it’s very affordable, especially with a 40% sale but it is so thin! I’m hoping it’s not see-through when worn. It may require some sort of undergarment – we’ll see how it goes.

As I was at an impasse with the Sydney dress, I thought I’d move onto the Metamorphic dress by Sew Liberated. The instructions for this dress are very comprehensive and well illustrated. This will be much more complicated to put together as it is essentially two dresses together. I have found a YouTube video which shows how to do the “Burrito Method” – I’ve looked at the instructions but I can’t get my head around what is actually happening there so the video will be crucial. I’m not close to that point yet. This is a good contender for doing a few steps at a time so I started with the pockets, shown below. There are front pockets on the top layer and side pockets for the bottom layer. I did forget to wash the fabric before I started so I hope it doesn’t end up too small after the first wash! I purchased the fabric at The Fabric Store in Sydney and it wasn’t cheap. I can’t remember if it’s pure linen or a blend but it does seem a little more substantial than the fabric I have for the Sydney dress.

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Acquisitions.

I am so impressed with the softness of my Sunday sweater in the KnitPicks Wonderfluff yarn that I ordered more. The plan for this Wellies Heather colourway is a Turtle Dove sweater. I had intended for the camel yarn I’d purchased to be for the Turtle Dove but cast on the Sunday Sweater instead. I decided on a black Turtle Dove because I have a hole in my wardrobe for a plain black sweater. I’m liking the funnel type necks at the moment and I think that would be great with items such as my Lanesplitter skirt and black boots. I’m not going to start it yet but, like the Sunday sweater, it’s a quick knit with large needles so maybe it will be done to wear this winter. The yarn is 70% baby alpaca, 7% merino, 23% nylon.

Paraphernalia

Aside from my small weekly dose of Game of Thrones, this week I finished watching Secret City – the Netflix show set in Canberra. From that, I moved on to the latest season of Peaky Blinders which is keeping me riveted most nights. I also watched a lovely movie on Netflix called About Time which is from the creators of Love Actually. Definitely a feel-good movie! I still haven’t started a new audiobook as I’ve been occupied with my audio podcasts.

I’ll be easing myself into work on Monday with a catch-up breakfast and I’m not looking forward to Canberra as the temperatures are plummeting. On the coast here, we’re already in single digits at night so I’m expecting some frosts in Canberra. Next weekend, I’ll be away down the coast at Lake Conjola with some girlfriends while our husbands are on a golf weekend so that will be relaxing – some bushwalks, maybe some kayaking and a lot of sitting around chatting, games, eating and drinking. I shall also be knitting and likely the only one. So, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

My Creative Obsession Logo Concepts FINAL-MCO

Sunday 21 April 2019. #39

Happy Easter! I hope everybody has the benefit of a few days off like we do. It’s often raining on the Easter long weekend but we’ve had glorious weather this year. This week was not very hectic for me as I didn’t have to go to Canberra. It was wonderful spending the week working locally and going home each night after work. Monday started with a catch-up breakfast with my girlfriends. We had to sit inside this time as it was quite cold! I got to wear my Sheona dress to work that day and it’s a great easy work outfit. It’s been a full moon for the last couple of nights and the days have had a huge sun shining brightly. We’re eking out the last warm days before we have to start rugging up. Yesterday, we went up to Wollongong see our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter – you can see Evelyn enjoying her pureed apples while we were having a meal out at the local club before the boys went to the football.

Knitting

I’ve been focusing on a few projects only this week. My Graphica sweater got a lot of love and I was able to knit on it last night and in the car on the way home today. It’s getting so big I’ve had to put it in my large Finch Bucket Tote. I only have three and a half rows left before the rib and that will go really quickly in comparison. I’m looking forward to getting onto the sleeves. I intend to use a nine-inch circular needle and work on one sleeve and one pattern at a time. I’ll do the first section on one sleeve, then do that on the other, and so on. I’m still thinking of a polo-type neck when it’s all done and I’m looking forward to giving it a good soak and block to even up those stitches, though it still looks quite good at this point.

Another project I’ve been focused on this week is my Ochre cardigan test for Ambah O’Brien. I worked on this on the drive to Wollongong yesterday and reached the lace section on the bottom of the body. I would have started that too except that I forgot that I need a smaller needle for the lace part. I’ll be starting on that today. This project needs to be done by 13th May so I’ll be spending a good amount of time on it each day until it’s done. I’m glad that the sleeves are just longer than elbow length!

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My Sunday Sweater doesn’t look so much like a funnel now. I managed an hour of work on this most nights and the body has just grown. I only need to do another couple of inches and start the bottom rib. It’s funny how certain projects are connected to what you are watching. This one will remind me of the Tin Star series 1 – that was a good show. I also knit on this while watching the first episode of Game of Thrones – the round and round plain knitting doesn’t require any concentration at all!

Speaking of Game of Thrones, the first episode airing meant that I cast on for the You Win or You Die KAL. My original plan was to do the Poly Chevron cowl, which you can see at the top below, but I really didn’t like how it was working out. The yarn is Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in sport weight and is quite toothy. I was thinking of abandoning my plans altogether until I saw the pattern that one of the other KAL members was using. That was the Leftovers Cowl and I thought I’d give it a go. The yarn certainly lends itself to colourwork and it’s looking fantastic. I still have some catching up to do but I think I’ll continue on with this. As I mentioned above in the Sunday Sweater section, I knitted on that while I was watching as having something too complicated meant I wasn’t watching the show. Plain knitting was perfect and I was able to note down when each character appeared and that’s how I’m knitting the cowl. Each section uses two colours and I’m using the two colours of the characters as they appeared in each episode. As someone dies off, the colour is discontinued for each next episode. I have had to make some minor order adjustment. Below you can see that Arya and Daenerys were the first to appear (pink and yellow), then Jon Snow and The Hound but they are both a different very dark blue and the pattern would not be visible. So I moved Gendry before The Hound, and so on. The colourwork has small sections and large sections but I’m breaking up the larger sections so that they are only rows of 4 or 5, for the first few episodes at least. By the time I get to the last episode I will do the larger sections as per pattern as there will be fewer characters.

There’s been a little progress on my Blaise shawl. You can see the little alpaca progress marker showing where I left off last week and I’ve progressed into the greens. I’ve also started sewing in the ends as I go along. I don’t normally do that and hate getting to the end when there are so many ends to sew in. This time they’ll be done before I finish!

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Finished Objects: This week I made a couple of matching accessories for the Pop cardigan that I finished last week. Namely, the Garter Ear Flap hat by Purl Soho and the Teeny-tiny Knit mitts by We Knit Together. The mitts may never get used but I couldn’t resist them. I have to revert the Pop Cardigan back to “incomplete” status as I need to add length to the sleeves and the body could benefit with a little more length. I made the 9 to 12 months size as Evelyn is 6 months old but it’s too short. The body fits as she is a skinny minny but I’d hate to be following this size for a baby who isn’t!

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Sewing

I haven’t had an opportunity to get to my sewing machine this week but I have a playdate planned tomorrow with my girlfriend. We’re going to sew the Sydney dress by Style Arc, both doing one each. You can see the pattern is ready to cut out and the fabrics have been washed. I don’t normally pre-wash my fabrics but this is a linen/cotton blend and I can imagine that it will shrink. Mary is using the green fabric and I have the brick red fabric. This project should be complete within the day so I’m hoping we can do a photo shoot of us both wearing our dresses.

Dyeing

Last Sunday, I finished off the final section of my self-striping, self-patterning sock yarn with a speckled natural section. You can see the final colour sections all together now.  I’m hoping to wind up the yarn today into 2 x 50 gram balls ready for two at a time socks. I’m excited to see how this yarn will look knitted up! I may have to cast it on soon though there are plenty I need to get done first.

Acquisitions

This week I purchased the Inari Tee dress by Named Clothing. I was hoping the Sheona dress was what I was looking for to recreate a purchased shift dress that I love but it’s not quite right. The Sheona turned out fabulously as a work dress but I think this pattern may be closer to what I was initially looking for.

Inari Tee

I also found a fabric store in Australia that stocks the beautiful Art Gallery dress fabrics – Bebeloush Designs. I went looking because the Inari Tee that hooked me was made from some Art Gallery knit in the striped/floral shown below. There wasn’t any in stock in the knit fabric but I managed to get some in rayon. I have a few top patterns that will look great in this fabric. I purchased the blue floral (Sprayed Bloom) in the knit for the Inari Tee and the rayon in Feather Trail (a border fabric) will probably grow up to be a Seamwork Georgia Dress.

Paraphernalia

I have a free crafting week ahead of me and I’m so looking forward to it. I’m starting tomorrow (Monday) with my sewing playdate as I mentioned earlier. I’m also going to crack out the spinning wheel on Tuesday. I’m a bit hesitant at doing this as I have no idea whether the wheel is set up correctly. I have spun a little bit on it but someone in a facebook group that I belong to mentioned I need to adjust something as I have a double drive wheel. I have the original instructions/manual so I’ll have a look at it. I haven’t found any YouTube videos on setting up a Wee Peggy wheel but the Ashford site has the manual which is very old and very basic. I’m sure I can send them an email and ask questions if I need. I have been assured that the Wee Peggy is a good wheel to have. I’ve prepared myself by watching my Craftsy (now Bluprint) class Foundations of Spinning by Amy King – all that is left to do is to take the jump. You can see my very first bobbin still sitting where I left it over a year ago, I think.

The rest of the week will be filled with knitting, dyeing, stitching, sewing and whatever I can get my hands on. This Thursday we will commemorate ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) Day when we reflect on all Defence Force personnel, past and present, and the sacrifices they’ve made. The 25th April marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during WWI.

And I’ve found another new podcast – Desert Island Discs. I’ve only listened to one episode but I think the premise for this podcast is to interview famous people and ask them which songs they would have on a desert island. I’ve only listened to one interview, the one with Ricky Gervais of The Office. It was a discussion of his life and he was also asked other “desert island” questions at the end. It was a very entertaining interview and it has made me want to watch The Office, though I’ve resisted for so long. I watched a great series on SBS On Demand called Tin Star, starring Tim Roth – highly recommend it, and started watching Secret City on Netflix, which is set in Canberra and shows lots of familiar places. I don’t watch too many Australian shows as they don’t rate very well to those from the UK and US, predominantly. But this one seems to be quite well done. I haven’t started my new book – it’s a bit hard sometimes after finishing a good one.

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Tonight I’ll be at a barbecue with some friends from Wollongong who are staying in nearby Hyams Beach. That will be a fun night and I now need to get my act together to make a chocolate cake to take along. So until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 14 April 2019. #38

Welcome! This week started with an evening spent with my old book club. I haven’t been able to attend for a couple of years because they are normally held on Tuesdays but, being a Monday, I was able to finally join in again. It was so good to catch up with everyone. Daylight Saving finished last weekend and it was lovely to see the sunrise before I went to work, for a change. The weather on Monday hit 32 degrees Celcius at home and then in Canberra, on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, it got down to less than 2 degrees. You can see the light ice film on my car and I had to wear my Summer knitted items – my Adventurer cowl and my Baubles shawl. More awkward selfies!

I was given a gift of some lovely Easter flowers by my offsider at work before she proceeded on leave. That was so very thoughtful and I love having flowers at home. I don’t do it often these days as I’m mostly not there to appreciate them. On Friday, I had to have some work done on my car so I was able to get some unscheduled waiting knitting done. Yesterday was my 34th wedding anniversary and my husband and I celebrated with a special dinner out. I’m so amazed at how young we look on our wedding day. During the day, I caught the train up to Wollongong to visit my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. We had a nice walk and brunch out on a very nice Autumn day near Wollongong harbour. I even got to catch up with a girlfriend who happened to get onto the same train. I caught a very early train as you can tell by the long shadows.

Knitting

This week, I managed to get some waiting time on my Bell Sleeved top. I had an appointment and had not changed my watch after the end of daylight savings last Sunday so I was an hour early – of course, I was also little earlier as I don’t ever get somewhere too close to the right time. I like a decent buffer. I also worked on this during my waiting time when my car was getting a recall fixed. It doesn’t look much different from last week but is considerably longer. I tried it on yesterday and decided maybe an inch more before I do the garter edging. I will be onto the sleeves by next blog.

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Some more progress on my Graphica sweater but it’s slow going, of course, with all the other projects. A little bit at a time will get me there eventually. This is one of the projects I had with me in Canberra.

For my Book Club session on Monday night, I wanted some vanilla knitting. I finally decided on the Brioche Yoke sweater as everything else was either not vanilla or needed to be tried on (eg Bell Sleeved top). This project is not high in priority but was perfect for vanilla knitting. I’m doing helicle knitting to alternate skeins and it’s a very mindless process, until you hit the next yarn and need to back up three stitches.

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Finished Object: Finally, I got to the end of the sleeve ribbing on my Zweig! I have sewn in a few threads but need to finish them off and block it. It fits lovely though I sometimes think I need another inch or so on the length. I was concerned about the puffy sleeve and tight cuff but they look much more pronounced when not being worn. I mentioned in an earlier blog about my design modification (read mistake) which makes my sweater unique amongst the literally thousands of Zweigs out there (3,916 listed on Ravelry). I read the little cable pattern incorrectly and ended up with an “o” rather than an “x”. The yarn I used was Wren and Ollie Sock in the Seven Seas and Smitten Kitten colourways. Action shots to come soon as sweater weather is very close. 

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There are a few more inches of progress on my Lanesplitter skirt and I only need about 5 inches more before I start decreasing. I thought this project would go more quickly but I suppose it’s not getting too much action time.

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I’ve made some progress on my Ochre Cardigan test knitting. It’s coming along nicely and managed to spend some time on it, including my train trip returning from Wollongong. I’m not far away from finishing the yoke section. Here is also a picture of Ambah O’Brien’s Ochre cardigan which shows what it should look like.

The other project that kept me company on the train yesterday was my Sunday Sweater. I got to split for the sleeves and I’ve since tried it on. It fits so nicely and the yarn is so soft and smooshy! I sent my girlfriend the photo below and she dared me to post it on the blog. There’s no shame in enjoying some nice yarn! The yarn is Knitpicks Wonderfluff and we’ve both ordered some for other projects. It’s 70% Alpaca, 23% Nylon/Polyamide and 7% merino. This project is now on the vanilla list for round and round mindless knitting. It’s hard to photograph as it tends to look like a funnel. The neck will be turned inside and stitched down later but I wish I’d thought to do it while I was knitting the final row and I could have caught the stitches at the same time.

Progress continues on my Blaise shawl. This is another Ambah O’Brien project – she’s an awesome Australian designer. I really like moving to the next colour so that makes it very potato chippy. I worked out a good way to transport the yarn in order – this way I can take the next one off and they stay in order.

I have my yarn ready for the Game of Thrones KAL that’s starting this weekend with the launch of the latest and last season. The KAL is called “You Win or You Die”. I have decided on the Poly Chevron Cowl for this project and have organised the yarn per character, as in the photo. I’ll be doing two rows per character as they appear, using their allocated colour and a pattern that I’ve allocated for each house. That can be stockinette, garter, lace, rib, etc. I have also purchased a light grey yarn as the episode dividers so I suppose that I’ll have to have a different pattern for that. I hope I haven’t complicated it too much – I like to set arbitrary challenges.

Sewing

I haven’t had much opportunity this week to get to my sewing machine. I would normally do that on Saturday but I had my trip to Wollongong instead this week. Last Sunday, I did try a hack on my Sheona dress, adding a frill to the bottom of a sleeve but the fabric is a bit stiff – it would look fine if it was a bit drapier. Today, I’ll be unpicking that – two rows of stitching as I had stitched the seam down as well to see if it sat better. I’ll also unpick the cuffs on the extra long sleeves of my Blackwood cardigan, so I’ll be able to finish those two. The Sheona also needs to be taken in a smidge at both sides. I’m hoping to be able to cut out my Metamorphic pattern and maybe pin that, ready for sewing next week.

My girlfriend bought the Style Arc Sydney dress pattern so we’ve decided to have a Sew Along to make this. It will be fun sewing together and working out what needs to be done. It’s obviously a dress for next Spring but there’s no time like the present for a fun project.

Sydney dress

Dyeing

Last week’s dyeing session turned out a bit too orange. My intent was for orange with pops of red so I redyed some red into that section yesterday. It seems to have worked a bit better. Today I intend to finish off that last white bit with some sprinkled colours.

Stash Acquisitions

I joined the Seamwork group a while back and keep forgetting to have a look at it. This week I did and realised I had 7 pattern credits. I found three patterns that I really like and downloaded them. The Neenah will be good as a skivvy that I’d like to make. The Anise jacket will be on my list to make very soon and the Georgia dress will be scheduled for spring. I will have to find the right fabric for this awesome jacket. It may require a trip to The Remnant Warehouse in Sydney. I have already had the patterns printed so I’m ready to go during my week off.

Seamwork

Paraphernalia

This week is going to be a short work week as we will have the Good Friday holiday. That is also the day I start some leave so won’t be back at work for over a week! I’m so looking forward to pottering around the house and catching up on some projects that I’ve not had proper time for. Today I’m excited because it’s the day when the final season of Game of Throne airs! At least in the US; I will have to wait till tomorrow, but with the time difference it won’t be that much later.

I have been catching up on all my audible podcasts this week so haven’t yet started a new novel. From my list of audible books, I have lined up the Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane which is a #1 New York Times bestseller. This is the blurb: “A powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond of family.” I’ll also have to download Becoming by Michelle Obama as that is my book club book for this session. They meet every two months and it’s easier to finish the book closer to the time as it makes for better discussion. I’ve heard nothing but praise about that book and, apparently, the audible book read by Michelle herself is supposed to be great.

I have a feeling this week may drag on as I’ll be looking forward to my week off. I’ll have plenty to keep me company outside of work so, until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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Sunday 7 April 2019. #37

Hello! How was your week? Welcome to April – it seems that these months are flying by! I hope you made it safely through April Fools’ Day. My week and April Fools’ Day started with a breakfast catchup at Huskisson with some girlfriends and finished with lunch and knitting session at Ulladulla with my bestie. Other than that, it was a normal work week. The weather has been very mild Autumn weather, with today heading for 29 degress C and tomorrow 31!

Knitting

This week, my packing for Canberra was not very well planned. Firstly, I took the wrong size needles for the Pop cardigan, forgot the smaller needle for the Zweig ribbing and forgot the shorter cable for the Sunday Sweater! That did mean that I worked more on the two projects I did have with me that I was able to work on.

I really wanted to get my Zweig finished this weekend. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t able to get much work done on it while I was in Canberra. I did do the last few pattern rows and tried it on again, deciding that it was now ready for the ribbing. Then it was set aside until Thursday night, and I’ve been working on it each night. I need to do 5 inches of ribbing on each sleeve and I think it’s going to kill me! What you see in the picture is just over 2 inches and that was at least 3 hours of work. So, this weekend’s finish has now moved to next weekend.

My Lanesplitter skirt got a lot of love this week and it’s a very easy and potato chippy knit. I love how the colours on each of the skeins are changing and working together. I can’t wait to get to the next colour change. I am over half way with about 10 inches left to do before I start the decrease to straighten up the other end.

The Cabled Cardigan was another that was abandoned while I was in Canberra this week and it wasn’t because of needle/cable problems. I had miscalculated and it appears I’ve knitted too far. I wasn’t up to doing the maths at the time so it was put into time out. I’ll have to recalculate it today. That’s what happens when you change a pattern and then don’t read it correctly!

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I restarted my Sunday Sweater with the larger needles and got to the first increase row when I realised I’d left the shorter cable at home. I didn’t want to continue with magic loop as it does change the stitch slightly at each end. I decided to wait until I got home on Thursday and got into the main part of the yoke. This is another of those potato chippy knits where you want to get to the next increase. The collar will be stitched down on the inside. It’s moving quite quickly because of the large needles and should work up quickly even when I split for the sleeves and it’s at the not so potato chippy part.

I’m well into the next section of Graphica. I didn’t get to work on this one much but it seems to progress well with only a little love. After this section (only 6 rows left to go) there are 3 patterns left before I start the ribbing.

Finished object: I finished the Pop cardigan on Friday night and I’ll sew in the ends and block today. I’m hoping it will fit! It looks so small. It didn’t take much yarn as I have about 44 of the 50 grams left of the third ball. Maybe I’ll make a matching hat. And I need to find buttons. It’s very squishy so should be a warm cardi.

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The Bell Sleeved top didn’t see much action this week so there is only a little progress and not much to say at all!

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I finally started the Blaise shawl that I mentioned last week for the Colourwork KAL 15. I was undecided about whether to use 36 colours or only 30. I vacillated a couple of times and ended up with the 36 colours as that would use less of each colour. The texture is fantastic and I’m really enjoying this. I have three months to finish this project so I wasn’t concerned with knitting on it too much but I want to get to the next colour and the next, and so on! I’m limiting myself to one or two colours a day (the rows are still very short). The top picture is the front side, the wrong side in the bottom picture is just as nice. And, yes, I’ll have lots of ends to sew in. Sigh…. The third picture has the order of the yarns.

Another KAL I’m taking on is the Game of Thrones Season 8 Make-a-long. Yes, I need another project like a hole in my head but how could I pass up a GoT KAL? I say, really? The essence of this KAL is that you use a different colour to represent each character in the final season and only use that colour as long as the character lives. Going on past GoT experience, there’ll probably be a colour or two dropping off in each episode! The pattern can be anything you want and that makes it difficult to choose. I really like the look of the Navigate shawl but I’m not sure I’ll have enough yarn for each character. I think the best option would be to do a simple cowl like the Poly Chevron cowl (shown below). That pattern is for a tube so I would only knit half of it flat instead, similar to the Adventurer cowl I did for the Advent minis. A cowl would be good because, if it’s short (lots of people dying) then it won’t matter and if it’s longer (nobody dying) then it can be wrapped twice. And it will obviously be more colourful than the picture shows. I have until next weekend to make the decision as the new season airs Sunday night US time. I’ll watch it on Monday night, or maybe Tuesday as it will be a good one for while I’m in Canberra.

And, yes, another new cast on. Obviously, I do have holes in my head! Ambah O’Brien (also designed the Blaise shawl) called for test knitters for her latest pattern, the Ochre cardigan. I found I don’t like doing test knits because of the pressure but this is a small cardigan and the deadline is not until May 13. I think it’s the perfect project for the Malabrigo silk yarn that I’ve had for a while, trying to decide what to make with it. I’m not sure if I can show the actual picture of the cardigan yet but here is my yarn and my swatch. The yarn is Malabrigo Mora which is 100% silk. It will certainly have a lot of drape.

These new projects just mean that the priority will change. I will still work on the low priorities but they may need to take turns on the schedule between all the deadline knits. The Pop cardi is finished and I hope that the Cabled cardi and Zweig will also be complete by next weekend.

Sewing

My Sheona dress fabric was cut out and ready for me yesterday. The hardest part is pinning on the neckline and it still only took about an hour to sew together. I haven’t yet done the hems on the dress and sleeves as I’m deciding whether I should take it in at the sides a little bit. The hem will have to come up a fair bit too. I had a little issue with the sleeves. I fussy cut them so that they matched and completely forgot to flip the pattern for the second one. There wasn’t enough fabric left to cut a whole other sleeve so I decided to go with it. The difference on these is minimal and I didn’t notice anything when I tried it on. If there is a problem, I could remove them and do short sleeves instead. They do match quite nicely.

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Next week I hope to cut out my Metamorphic dress. As it’s essentially two dresses together, it will take more time to both cut out and sew together.

Dyeing

I got to do some dyeing yesterday on my self-striping/self-patterning sock yarn. I tried to cheat and, as I’ve found every other time, it doesn’t work. I should do one colour at a time and wait for each to dry but I started doing two colours at the same time and then I didn’t wait until it was completely dry when I added the rest of the purple. It’s not that bad as it appears to fade from one colour to the next. I have two or three sections left to do. One will be random yellow, orange and red, one will be natural with speckles and, if there is any left to dye, I will do another small section of a solid colour.

Paraphernalia

This week I started binge watching Seasons 6 and 7 of the Game of Thrones to get myself re-acquainted with where Season 7 finished. I like it just as much this time as last time. I’m up to episode 4 of Season 7 so will certainly be finished before the new season airs. Next month will be MeMadeMay where you wear your me-made items and share on Instagram with others participating. The challenge is to wear your own made items as much as you can – some do it every day. Last year I didn’t participate because I didn’t have a lot but this year I’ll have lots to share. It’s also good that most of my me-mades are knitwear and May should be quite cool here.

This next week doesn’t hold anything much out of the ordinary until Saturday when my husband and I will be celebrating our 34th anniversary. I’d say that’s worth going out to dinner for! So until next week, I hope you have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!

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