Hello friends! It still seems a bit Groundhog Day-like around here though restrictions have lifted a little. I’ve spent a lot of time on house-work (the type of housework you do when you don’t have a house yet!) and have made nearly all the decisions. More on that in a bit. The weather has been getting cooler though most days have had some sun to keep the day reasonably mild. I can’t say the same for the nights and they are only going to get colder. The beach this week has gone from calm to a little wild but both are beautiful. I even got up early enough to see the sunrise on Monday. That was Shaun’s (SIL) birthday and we weren’t able to celebrate together. We’ll save it up for a get together soon.
MeMadeMay 2020: I’m not really good at taking pics for MeMadeMay ever but I have been wearing them. I got my Floozy cardigan out of the winter pile the other day and it was great. I took this pic while walking along because I thought I might forget. I didn’t really have any intention of using this pic but, yes, I did forget. The other shows a pair of my socks – I’ve needed these at night because my ankles have been cold. I’ve had track pants and slippers but the ankles have been exposed! Other than that I wore my Pietra pants and I’m not totally happy with them. They are a bit baggy so I may try to take them in a bit more. I’ve been wearing my Kettle Vally poncho most days (including today) and it’s turned into a kind of at home uniform. At least during the day – it’s light so doesn’t quite provide enough warmth at night; I’ve been wearing my Turtle Dove then. My Monroe top has been popular this week but I’ll need to take that in too – from the armholes down. It’s dropped shouldered so that width doesn’t matter so much. The next one I make will be size 1 and I may taper the bottom a bit.
Corona Cooking: I didn’t have a lot of time for extra-curricular cooking this week but I did manage to whip up a quick Pear and Frangipane tart to use up some fast ripening pears. Actually, I only used up one pear but, in hindsight, I could have easily added a second one. I used the recipe for this Nectarine Frangipane tart and use pear instead. There isn’t a rolling pin here so I used my trusty backup – any flat type bottle will do the trick! You can see it below having just done the job. I think I had the oven on a little high for blind baking (though I had nothing to “blind” it – just shoved in the oven like that). It turned out OK, just needed to remove the very top edge of the crust for some of it. If you like frangipane tarts, I can recommend this one!
House Update: Things are moving very quickly on the house and would have even been scheduled to finish early except the kitchen, vanities and laundry will be a 5-week wait. That will just mean that the finish will be as initially expected, so that’s a good thing. Finish should be mid-July – fingers are crossed for an earlier kitchen install. The kitchen, vanities and laundry have been finalised, a manufacturer decided upon and colours selected. You can see my swatches below – the top row shows the kitchen cupboards (vivid white) and a stone sample of Smartstone Astral. The middle row shows the vanities which will have a timber look Laminex along with a Ceasarstone top in Fresh Concrete. And finally, on the bottom row, is the colour scheme for the laundry doors (Chamois) and benchtops (Alluvial Stone) in Laminex. The gyprock is all in now and they were plastering when I took these pics. The sanding is due to start tomorrow. The external painting has started – the eaves in Ballast and most of the horizontal boards in Rubble. The Dune for the rest of the house hasn’t started just yet. I’ve gone for a muted look because there will be plenty of noise with the stone facade on the left of the garage and the open timber portico. The timber staircase is to be installed tomorrow as well. There should be a few update photos when I’m there on Tuesday! The only decisions left to be made now are for a dishwasher, fans and pendants and some bathroom accessories like towel rails. The dishwasher will be decided on on Tuesday when I can see in person the ones I’m looking at online. I’ve been using Choice reviews to help me with all the decisions I can get there, though some of their review items are out of date, even though the review is very current.
The three trips to the house this week meant less crafting time, especially since I drove for two of those. Regardless, it seems that I got plenty done, if most of it was only a minor step of each project.
New Cast-on: Since it was Mother’s Day last Sunday, I had finished three jumpers and my Koivua sweater yarn had been waiting very patiently since last year, I thought I deserved to cast it on. I managed to get the first part of the colourwork done on Sunday as there are few stitches and since then I’ve managed to add a few rows here and there, while increasing, to get through half of the yoke colourwork. This is proving to be a fast knit which is just what I need right now. The worsted weight yarn I’m using is Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Dawn Heather and leftover yarn from my Nightshift shawl from last year. They are KnitPicks Provincial Tweed in, firstly, Candy Apple, which will be followed by Pumpkin Pie and then Caramel. I also have some other colours that I can use if I run out of these but I’m thinking that these will be enough. I’m enjoying doing some colourwork again as I’d been hankering for it lately.
The first Ciqala cardigan is finished. I only had to finish the cuffs and had avoided it as I thought it needed some thinking. It will now need to be blocked and have the ends sewn in. I’m thinking the cuffs may be a bit loose but that will only help when putting those little arms in there. I’m hoping to start on the sister version of this today or tomorrow.
My Habitation throw got to a bit of a stalemate due to the lack of fingering weight leftovers in the house. I added some leftovers from my Tuileries sweater and called in at the storage shed for more supplies. I had a bag of leftovers along with this magic knot ball that I’d made from the remaining yarn from my 12 mini-skein advent of 2018. I had made an Adventurer cowl and some advent socks (seems I never added that project to my Ravelry) and still had a reasonable amount left over. Since I started on this ball, I’ve worked through the first colour and almost the second already. It will be great looking at my dyed yarn as I go along as I can’t remember offhand what they looked like.
Coming Soon: My mind has moved on to another WIP that would come in very handy this winter. I started this Comfort Fade cardigan in April of 2018 after I had dyed the yarn. I thought I had the yarn in order when I took the photo below but the two turquoise ones are the wrong way around. At the time I stopped knitting because I was having trouble fading the two sleeves at the same time – mainly how I was carrying the yarn. Since then I have worked out that helical knitting is the best way to go, though the fade will be different from how Caitlin Hunter indicates in the pattern. I still think it will work so now I feel more confident about getting the sleeves done. I had done a couple of inches of sleeve but I’ll take it back to the sleeve pickup so that it’s done properly.
This week I got to chain plying the second bobbin of my Ixchel Yarns and Fibres November batt. I’m not finding chain plying very comfortable as I seem to be drawing from behind, meaning that my right arm is behind and my body is twisted. I have another bobbin to chain ply but I needed a rest so I haven’t started on that one yet. I think I’ll try drawing the yarn from the side instead and see how that goes. I certainly got into a real pickle at one point. The plied yarn had jumped off the bobbin and tangled around the flyer. While trying to sort that out I suddenly realised that I had only managed to make it worse! I had resigned myself to the fact that this was going to have to be cut when Robert came to the rescue with his enormous experience at untangling fishing line. What a magician! Needless to say, I stepped away from the bobbin once it was done and I still need to wind it off onto the niddy noddy. Maybe today. Also shown here is the soaked and dried skein of the first bobbin but I’m yet to work out the yardage and weight. Maybe this week I’ll chain ply the third and final bobbin.
As I mentioned above, I needed a rest from chain plying so I grabbed a small pack of Ashford 30% baby alpaca and 70% of fine merino. I have 100 grams and will spin 50 grams on each of two bobbins for a traditional two-ply. It’s a lovely soft blue colour and it should work with other skeins I’ve spun up from Ashford fibre.
My Rings of Change blanket has been keeping me warm and occupied during the evenings in front of the television. It is only cotton but the extra layer is just enough to make a difference. My Habitation throw is nowhere near big enough to do the job yet. I’ve just finished Round 69 and have 42 rounds of the pattern to go. I’m pretty sure I won’t have enough yarn to get them all done so I’ll need to keep an eye on the weight as I get closer to the end of it. I’ll be able to work it out by weight per round as I’ll need to have enough to do a finishing round – it’s likely that will be needed depending on the round I finish on. I’ve already started on 1 strand of the four in turquoise and I’m expecting to be on the second strand very soon. This yarn fades through the colours one strand at a time. The nature of this yarn means that the hook can get caught between the strands at times but I’m getting used to hooking with it.
Invisible zippers for the win! I added the invisible zipper to my sheath dress this week and I will not use another type of zipper again if I can help it. As I had a waist seam on the back, I needed to baste the second side of the zipper and, though it was a little fiddly getting that point basted in the exact place, it was a resounding success. The first photo is the basting and the second shows the amazing result. Once I had that done, following the great zipper installation tutorial by Aneka of Made To Sew, I finished off the back seam. I was on a roll then so picked up the facing to add to the neck and realised it was about a centimetre short on either end. The pattern I’m using is from an old Bernina Inspirations magazine which, like Burda, requires you to add your own seams. I obviously didn’t do a great job there and I had none of this fabric left. I am using the blue fabric from the contrast shoulders as the next facing. What to do, what to do! Should I cut the facing and joining on a little bit? That would mean having a seam in the facing and I didn’t really want to do that. The obvious solution was to buy some more of the fabric – I’d only bought it a couple of months ago so it was highly like that I could get it again and Spotlight is near where I had to be. So, as I speak, the fabric is drying and I’m ready to have another go at it. Once that’s done, all that is required is to finish the side seams and hem. I could have done these but I thought it would be easier to handle without the seams joined – it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.
The next lighthouse is ready for my Round the Garden quilt. To be honest, this one has not been getting a lot of attention so, fingers crossed, I hope to get on with it this week.
A trip to Spotlight is never just for what I need, as you may have gleaned from previous blogs. Apart from the blue sateen I needed for the Sheath dress, I picked up some fleece and rayon. I bought 1.5m of 148cm Sports Active Fleece in black and found a remnant of this in grey. It’s only 0.85m but I’m hoping to eke out a pair of Hudson track pants out of this, even if I have to use something else for cuffs and waistband. Maybe even colour block if I need. The other fabric is a piece of rayon in the Large Leopard colourway – must be a reference to the size of the animal as the print is not large. This piece is 0.80m of 135cm width which should make a nice light summer top. I also purchased the Pansy dress pattern by Sew Over It, London. This has sizes from 0-3 months to 6 years so I think it will be very useful.
I have been enjoying listening to A Court of Thorns and Roses this week, particularly while driving up and down the coast. I’ve alternated that with some audio podcasts that I’ve downloaded. I also got to visit my girlfriend, Mary, who lives not too far away and was able to download some Netflix shows. I have started the second season of After Life and also have Dead to Me and Ozark waiting in the wings.
As I was contemplating the content for this blog this morning, I was wondering what I would be able to talk about. It turns out that I had plenty! I’m going to head off now and make some of #notquitenigella‘s pizza dough. This recipe uses a long fermentation so it will be waiting for a couple of days before I use it. Let’s see how that goes!
I’ll be back next week, same day, same bat station. I hope you are all safe and healthy and, until next week, I hope you enjoy lots of opportunities for your creative pleasures!