Hello friends! Welcome from another week of statewide lockdown. The regional areas have been extended for another week and Greater Sydney continues indefinitely at this point. Apart from a visit to the Physiotherapist on Wednesday, my external activities have been limited to my daily walks and one visit to the supermarket. It’s a great place for walking and I don’t get tired of the views. The weather has been magnificent. Mostly cold at night but warming up overall. Today, it’s supposed to be 25 degrees Celcius! Most of the pics below are early in the morning but yesterday I went for an afternoon walk instead. In the last photo, you can see that there was some backburning happening not too far from us. That photo was taken on my way up the hill of my street.
With lockdown, it seems I (and many others) transition into cooking mode. Last Sunday, I made some Mixed Berry and Rhubarb jam which turned out so good. I used some raspberries that I had in the freezer along with the remainder of a pack of frozen summer berries. I didn’t like the summer berries because it had grapes which looked horrible when thawed. Also, I’m not a fan of frozen strawberries, but they both worked great with the jam. I also made my favourite banana cake, some foccacia, a tea cake (four ingredients) and several new meals for dinner. I have posted the original banana cake recipe here some time ago but I can’t find the link online now. I made a couple of changes but only minor. I think the secret to the taste is the 2 tbsp of whisky or rum. After making it this week, I’ve been instructed to make it double next time as it barely lasted until the next day. The tea cake, as opposed to a teacake, is an old recipe using only four ingredients, one of which is cold tea, and there are several versions on the internet. I made it a good 20 or 30 years ago and rediscovered it on instagram about a year ago. Outside, Robert’s lockdown effort was to get working on the front garden, only to be stalled by the need for more sleepers and we can’t get those until after lockdown. And finally, I had a little dabble with my watercolours early this week, after being inspired by a similar design on instagram.
My first priority at the beginning of the week was to finish the two pairs of baby socks. I finished the heels on Sunday and it took a good portion of Monday to sew in the ends. Though the socks are small, there are just as many ends as there are on adult socks. With the red/purple/blue pair, I ran out of yarn on the second heel – I’m not sure how I did that as I had divided the remainder in, what I thought, equal halves for the heels. Obviously not! I then had to find something to go with the rest of the sock. I thought this little bit of purple would match quite well. I also had to find different yarn for the yellow/green/turquoise socks. The teal isn’t a perfect match but I had plenty and it seems to go just fine. I wanted to get these into the mail quickly so I put them into two envelopes and popped them into the mail on Tuesday. As they weren’t priority or tracked, they are going via snail mail and have not yet arrived at their destinations. Fingers crossed they get there soon and aren’t lost in the ether of increased mail due to the lockdown.
I have made progress on Evie’s jumper and I’m currently near the end of the sleeves. This is the mash-up of two different patterns – the Rose sweater and the Knitted Ruffle sweater. I have two photos here to show the difference of photographing with dark and light backgrounds. The dark background is showing close to the right colour whereas the light background just washes the colour out. I’m pretty sure it’s the opposite for something dark. I’ve only about an inch to go on the sleeves before I decrease to gather into a puff at the cuff. The cuff will be two inches long as per the photograph I’m following. I’m excited to get to the frill around the yoke when the sleeves are done. I’m a good girl and waited, though I am dying to get to the frill! It will look totally different then.
I haven’t done much other knitting this week but did cast on the cuff for the second Eliza DK sock that I tested for Libby Jonson of Truly Myrtle. Twice. Yes, I cast it on and knitted the cuff twice because the first time I used the larger needle instead of the smaller needle. I’m now ready to move onto the pattern after finishing the cuff for the second time last night.
There hasn’t been a lot of progress on my Obelia crochet bag but I have now started on my second square. As I mentioned last week, I’m using finer yarn and a smaller hook than the pattern prescribes but it’s not working out too much smaller. The pattern has 25cm finished blocks and mine works out at 23cm. I was concerned that the block size looked too small to make a decent sized bag so I cut out some squares to do a mock up. It turned out perfectly – it’s very deceptive. I used some census pages for the blocks as we did ours online the other week and it’s good to reuse, isn’t it? Anyway, the side of the bag, which is the diagonal line through the square, turns out to be more than 30cm long. So I have decided to add a couple of rounds on my blocks to get them to the 25cm required. I have four colours of yarn and only need three blocks so I’m going to use the fourth colour for the joining and the bag handles.
Though dressmaking wasn’t what occupied my sewing machine mostly this week, I did get to do a bit. Firstly, I finished the waistband and cuffs on the Modern Lounge pants from Brindille & Twig. I still haven’t added the elastic because I didn’t have the right size. So I’ve ordered some, with other bits and pieces, from Spotlight and it’s on it’s way. I hope the order arrives soon – it is due Wednesday to Friday as per the notification from Australia Post, but that’s not always accurate. Again, the colour is washed out on the light background; it’s showing much better in the sewing machine picture.
The rest of the sewing this week was spent making modifications to almost/already finished items. I had altered my stretch twill Hudson pants for straight legs and that didn’t work out great so I then cut them back to the pattern. While doing that, I accidently cut into the leg and I had to mend it. It’s not a great job but then something like that is hard to cover up nicely without putting a flower over it. The outside doesn’t look too bad and I’ve been wearing them anyway. Once I had sorted that, I had to finish the legs on the overlocker and then add the cuffs. I spent a good while cleaning out my overlocker and I again changed it over to black. This time, I obviously did it the right way and it worked a treat. For the cuffs, the black ribbing I have is not a good quality, having terrible recovery – it must be just straight cotton. I had a think about what I could use instead and I decided on some stretch crepe fabric that I used for my Hello Gorgeous top with the lace sleeves. I have a good remnant leftover and it worked perfectly with the stretch twill. The other modification I made was to change the polo neck on my Keep It Simple Babe top to a high round neck. It doesn’t look too high but there’s also a crew neck and a low round neck, and this one was in between. It was easy enough to do as I had leftover fabric for the band and I just cut down the neck accordingly. That will make it more wearable now and will be perfect with the twill Hudson pants. The pants are a little bit big but they are jogger style so it doesn’t matter too much. I had originally wanted to go down a size but I thought that using a woven, even though a stretch woven, might not have as much give as my fleece Hudson pants. The next pair will definitely be a size down.
The following projects are not actual sewing yet but plans for this week. I have cut out a Sandcastle Bucket hat from Waves & Wild, ready to start sewing. I just need to cut out some stabiliser/interfacing and I’m ready to go. The other sewing is a Lucy Locket Pocket bag kit that I picked up at the Sydney Quilt Show, maybe four years ago? I found it the other day when I was doing a deep dive into my patchwork WIPs. This bag should take an hour to make so I’m going to make it and send it up to Evie. I also have plans for my Paper Doll quilt – I’ve cut out some bits for clothes and I hope to send that to Evie this week too, with at least three outfits. From there, I intend to make a new outfit each week to send up. That should be good fun for lockdown and she’ll be waiting for the mail for the latest outfit. I have a list of outfits that I’ll be putting together.
This category featured big time this week. I just had to finish Cooper’s quilt as it has been progressing in dribs and drabs lately. All it needed to finish it off was the binding and peeper, and some quilted squares inside the centre squares. I started with the easy bit – the binding and the peeper were done in no time. The square quilting took a bit longer but not too much. I can’t wait to post this off tomorrow. I’ve been doing a lot of posting and I’d much rather deliver everything in person!
Our little crafting group has started a patchwork/quilting challenge. My friend Vicki suggested it so that we all get out some of those languishing WIPs and try to finish them. The premise is that we take ten works in progress and number them. Then Vicki will roll the die on the 20th of the month and whatever number comes up, we work on that project for the whole month until the next roll on the following 20th. Some projects will take more than a month but the idea is that we get as much done as possible on each project. I have photos below of my ten projects. I have many more but I stopped when I got to number ten. I only discarded three projects before I reached my final ten. I didn’t go any further as the decision would have been way too difficult. I will obviously be doing other crafts at the same time so I’ve allocated myself a dedicated 30 minutes each day to work on that month’s project. I may do more on some days but I won’t do less. Some will take more work than others but I’m excited to get going on these. Sundays are not included in the dedicated 30 minute protocol because the Blog takes up most of the day. It’s all very colourful, isn’t it!
So the first “roll of the die” was declared the other day as number 1 and this is the quilt I’m working on. It’s called the Flower Garden quilt and I purchased the kit from Craftsy about five years ago. It doesn’t appear that the pattern is still available and I can’t find a reference to this anywhere via Google. Lucky I don’t need the pattern as all the blocks were completed and even put in row order with their accompanying sashing piece. Yesterday I started my 30 minutes of Challenge and managed to get two rows together in that time. I’ll be back onto it tomorrow and I should have the other three done.
Recently I watched a YouTube episode by Kristen of The Dahlia Society and she showed all the tools she couldn’t live without. I ended up ordering some of those and this large cutting mat was one of them. This mat is 1200×900 and takes up the majority of the table in my studio. Up until now, I was using a small mat that would maybe be a quarter of this size and it was hard to cut large patterns on it. This is going to be a game changer in that respect as I won’t have to move each piece several times to cut, and will probably do most of the cutting in one go now.
This week I’ve continued with listening to my books, rather than watching shows. I finished The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan and I was going to move onto something else but I caved and went straight to her third book in the Cormac Reilly series – The Good Turn. I’m hoping that there are more books but it doesn’t appear that there will be anything soon. I then downloaded The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – I’ve read The Light Between Oceans and it was a great book. I did start The Great Alone but I wasn’t able to finish it. Let’s see how this one goes. I’m also still reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas and I think I’ll continue with that one for now. As I mentioned, I haven’t been watching anything but last night I started The Bureau on SBS On Demand. It is often recommended on Chat 10 Looks 3 and I’ve put it off because it is in French and has subtitles. I started watching it last night as I’m working on a bit of stocking stitch so I’m able to read the subtitles at the same time. The first episode has me hooked so I daresay I’ll be binging that one now. My French has started coming back to me so it could be good in that respect too.
As we are still in lockdown, social plans for this week are zero. I do have an appointment tomorrow for my second injection of AstraZeneca. I’m hoping that I don’t get the reactions as badly as I did last time – I’ve heard the second one is better than the first. 🤞 I’ll be working on lots of crafting this week; as usual, my plans are big.
Thank you for spending some time with me today! Until next week, wherever you may be, I hope you are keeping well and have lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!