Happy Easter everybody! I hope that you are all having a wonderful day even though it’s not how we usually celebrate. The kids and Robert and I will be having an evening session online tonight to catch up, from three different locations up the east coast of NSW.
This week has been very quiet though we did have a couple of outings. On Monday we drove up to sort out some issues with the house and called in at the storage shed for a couple of bits and pieces. We were there over lunch and ended up getting pies from a bakery as cafes are not an option at the moment. We couldn’t sit out anywhere to eat them so we parked at the boat ramp and ate them in the car. We also visited the supermarket for some items. On Thursday we had another essential travel morning when we visited a kitchen place and discussed the kitchen and laundry cupboards as well as the vanities. That was followed by a quick visit to a tile shop. I think I have worked out where I’m headed with these now. Other than that, I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on the little deck in the sunshine. I’ve also kept my eyes open for local flowers on my walks though, as the weather is cooling, they are not very common. I was quite surprised to see many hibiscuses as I thought they were warmer weather flowers. Must be the tail end of them.
Since we arrived here I’ve managed to go for a beach run every day except for one (it was raining and I did a workout inside instead) but I have been to the beach every day at least once. Here is a week of beaches – there are only two beaches shown but they are beautiful.
I was recently inspired by Annabel Crabb to check out NotQuiteNigella and her wonderful recipes. So much that on Tuesday I made her hot cross buns recipe. This one uses a Japanese roux method and I’m not sure I quite nailed it. The buns came out perfectly for the first day but they grew heavier with each passing day. Two people just can’t eat 17 buns that quickly! The last five are going to become bread and butter pudding tonight. NotQuiteNigella has some awesome recipes and I hope to make the Dutch Curry and Rice Pumpkin soup next but I’ll need to get some more pumpkin first.
House Update: These photos are from Monday and I know there has been more progress since. The decking was about to be put down as I took the photo below so that’s done now. Most of the roof is now on and I think all windows have been installed but one which came in the wrong size. The outer cladding is being started this coming week. It’s all moving very quickly which is great but decisions need to be made now!
This week it seems I’ve been working on all the little projects, apart from a few rows on my Kettle Valley poncho. That one doesn’t look any different so I haven’t added a photo of it. I have made some progress on the Habitation throw and the stitches are increasing exponentially. That means that it will slow down. I’ve been using up leftover bits of yarn though that will have to end soon as the quantity needed is growing with each increase. I have been changing yarn after every 10 rows but I’m not sure I’ll be able to maintain that. The pattern suggests just changing yarns when you finish each but I wanted a more uniformed look.
Finished Object #1: I have finished the first pair of Drifting Snow mitts – I just need to sew in the ends and I think I will block these as they are a gift. Hopefully, they’ll be in the post on Tuesday.
Finished Object #2: The Rye Light toddler socks are finished too – again, except for the ends. I mentioned last week my preference is for toe-up socks and these are a case in point! The pattern calls for 4 inches before starting the heel flap and I thought that may be a bit much but kept to the pattern. The foot needed to be 5 inches before starting the toe and I was getting very short of yarn, of which I thought I had heaps left. Unfortunately, when I got to the end part of the sock blank there were a couple of breaks and I decided that there were too many ends to join. I tinked back to the first break and chose a contrasting yarn to use for the toe. I found out that Evie’s foot is not as long as the pattern calls for so I was able to get away with a shorter foot, though I added a couple of rows of contrast before starting the toe. If I’d been knitting in the other direction I would have been able to do shorty sock instead. I’m going to try reverse-engineering the next pair instead. Check out the almost perfect kitchener toe join! I used a YouTube tutorial from Suzanne Bryan and it’s worked the best.
I’ve almost finished the body on the little Ciqala cardigan. It took some semi-serious calculations to work out what stitches I should have to separate the sleeves but, once that was done, it was smooth sailing. I’m almost at the point of the garter hem now. Then onto reverse engineering the sleeves.
As I may have mentioned many times in the past, I hate sewing on knitting and that goes for buttons too. I finished this Anna’s Summer cardigan several weeks ago and I have only just added the buttons yesterday. It’s a gorgeous cardigan and I could even make another one, maybe without the little eyelets. I hope to get this and the socks into the mail on Tuesday too.
So, I finally got to use my tensioned lazy kate and it works a treat! I finished off this latest spin which started on the spindle. I’ve come to the conclusion that spindle spinning is way too slow for me and I finished it on the wheel a little while back. I’ve only just gotten to plying it because of all the house moves and I wanted to ply my newest spin but I had run out of the bobbins I like. The colour isn’t showing well – it’s more on the maroon side as shown in the wet hanging picture. This was an Ashford fibre pack – I’ve previously done another couple and still have a couple to do so I may use them all in the same project, individual weights permitting.
I am so close to finishing my Wren and Ollie rolag spin! I spent 2 separate hours plying yesterday and it came to dinnertime before I got it finished. There is very little left (bottom picture) but I’m almost full on the bobbin. This was 115 grams and I normally do 100 grams on each bobbin. I should be able to squeeze in the last bit! I was concerned at doing a two-ply with this but I think it’s turned out really well. I can’t wait to see it in the skein.
My next spin is waiting in the wings. I have been thinking about how to spin this 300+ grams and I think I’ve settled on the way forward. As I can only do 100 grams on each bobbin I think I’ll divide it into three sections. There seem to be three main colours – pink, blue and yellow-green, so I’ll pull strips and group them like that and hopefully will end up with three 100-ish grams of each colour. This fibre from Ixchel Yarns and Fibres is so lush! It’s made up of merino, angora, cashmere, silk, shell fibre (Chitin), Flemish sheep and Angelina. Don’t ask me what Chitin is, but I’ll have to google it.
Finally reaching the end of my Audrey jacket and I’ve come to a slight standstill. All I had left to do was the buttonholes – tick, and add the jeans buttons – where do I find a hammer? I’ll have to see if there’s a hammer in the garage here. I’m hoping my brother-in-law has one in there and then it will be all finished! I do have a couple of threads that need tying off and I’d like to catch the top inside corner of the pocket bag to the side seam. I learned two things about buttonholes while doing this – 1) they are very easy to do with my Janome buttonhole attachment, and 2) unpicking a buttonhole is not as scary as I thought. I had a couple of issues where I bumped the reversing lever that sits against the buttonhole attachment which caused the machine to go into reverse before it was supposed to. It wasn’t hard to remove the stitching and start it again, times two. I tried it on for the very first time yesterday and it fits fine with room to add a jumper. For a lightweight jacket though I could probably have done a size down. There’s no problem having a jean jacket a little bit bigger. The pieces went together perfectly except for the cuffs. I found that there was extra fabric in the sleeve and turned the inside opening over one more hem which made it the right length to fit the cuff pieces. I’m looking forward to moving onto my next item for #thegreatmodulesewalong which is my Sheath dress.
I’ve had my eye on a Paper Doll Quilt project for some time now and I decided that it’s a perfect isolation project. I ended up going with this one, though I think there may be others. The pattern came as a pdf (115MB!) and it was only the doll/quilt. I thought they may have included some clothes patterns but I should be able to make some of those easily enough. One thing that has me frustrated while the house is being built is having all my supplies buried. I have some stuff accessible but I couldn’t have it all accessible. It’s just every now and then – like this time, I know I’d be able to just get my hands on whatever I need. In this case, I needed fabric for the background and the border. I found I had some fabric for the doll and a couple of other bits and pieces but I ordered some things from Spotlight. The doll is sewn together and inverted but I didn’t want to use the fabric I was using for the “skin” colour for the backing as that may have been a bit thick. When I ordered the wadding, background and border fabric I forgot that I wanted some lawn to use as the backing of the pieces. Fortunately, I found that there was a fabric shop open when I was in Ulladulla and was able to grab some. Spotlight is too far away for a quick visit at the moment.
Anyway – the pattern. It’s quite comprehensive, though I’m still confused about the pocket, but I had an issue printing it because it’s been done only for US Letter size. That meant that the right sides of the pages were not printed. I had to guess the gap in between for the body and the head. I think it worked out in the end. So now that I have a body and a head, I’ll move onto the underwear and velcro fixtures, and maybe some clothes, until the rest of the fabric arrives.
Early this week I decided it was high time I moved on with my Round the Garden quilt. I had come to a stalemate with the circles – I’ve run out of some sizes and I can’t freehand cut now that a third of them are perfectly cut. I’ll need to wait until the isolation is over to borrow the cutting machine. I also need to decide what will go into the final sector of the centre circle. I have something in mind and need to explore it further. I felt I needed a change and, as I’d had most of these bits ready waiting, I thought I would start on those. I’m really enjoying sitting in the afternoon sun on the deck, listening to my book and stitching on these. I had to do the lighthouse on the left before I could put them on – the lighthouses mark each quarter circumference so that I can space out the bits in between. I still have some embroidery that I’ll need to do once these bits are on but I’ll do that once all the pins are removed. I hope to be starting on the pieces for the next quarter by the next blog.
Life is a little different at the moment. Since we’ve had to move (again) we’ve had very little data to work with. Today I upgraded my data plan so that I could enjoy some of what I had been enjoying previously though I will still need to be a bit careful. It’s amazing what you can take for granted! I’ve been watching the downloaded episodes of Grace and Frankie and having a bit of a giggle. I finished the Linwood Barclay novel, A Noise Downstairs, yesterday and though I enjoyed it, I don’t think it was as good as the last one I’d read. I have barely started Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. It’s written in a different style to a normal novel, the story being told by many people from each perspective. I’ve heard it’s an excellent book so I’m looking forward to getting into it. I’ve abandoned all my normal podcasts but may selectively start to watch a few now that I have more data.
Wow, so much content this week! I have enjoyed the extra crafting time but I’m finding I need several breaks and the walks on the beach fit the bill nicely. I have been very saddened by what this pandemic is doing around the northern hemisphere. I feel very grateful that Australia is keeping the numbers down but I’m also fearful that moving into winter will spark a new wave. I hope everyone is keeping well. Until next week, I hope you enjoy all the opportunities for your creative pleasures!