Project bag victory!

I got my sewing machine back on Saturday morning.  Its been fully repaired – the spool holders are back in place and the bobbin cover has been replaced.  On Sunday morning, I set up my dining area as a sewing zone and set about re-finishing my project bag.

Here’s the result…

Image of the finished project bag

The finished project bag.

I was extra careful (still rather gun shy from my previous experience).  I used some washi tape on the machine to mark my seam line and used some iron on interfacing on the linen to give it some body and make it easier for me to control.  I had no difficulty this time around finishing it off.  I’m looking forward to my next sewing project (probably Colette’s Sorbetto)

It’s been a busy weekend.  In addition to picking up the machine on Saturday, I had to make a trip to the post office to pick up the coat I left behind in Melbourne (oops) and then met up with my sister and we went to the Luna Cinema in Leederville to see the documentary, Iris (about Iris Apfel).  We loved it. Then we had a bit of lunch before heading back to Lu’s place for tea on their back deck.  A lovely afternoon.

Sunday we had a leisurely morning and afternoon before heading off to Ellenbrook to catch with Joel’s sister and her family.  We had a lovely dinner at a local indian restaurant and I finished up the evening listening to music with my teenage niece.

Today is a public holiday in Western Australia, I’ve dropped off Joel at work (the university does not observe this holiday).  Once I kissed him goodbye, I took a long walk around the campus – it was a lovely time of day to take in the grounds.  Here is a picture of a rather pretty flower that caught my eye as I was walking back to the car.

Image of Pretty purple flower

Pretty purple flower in the grounds of UWA.

Returning to Perth and the life domesticus

Hello again, finishing up the travelogue and showing my current WIP today.

So after The Craft Sessions, I returned the hire car and traveled to Melbourne for a couple of days of sightseeing and (if I hadn’t emptied my purse completely) a little shopping.

Whilst I was there I saw the David Bowie Is exhibition at the ACMI (Monday) which was just fantastic.  At The Craft Sessions, someone told me I was too young to know his work :) made my day!! – I’ve been feeling my age just lately.

Messy study picture

My study after “hurricane unpack” passed through.

Then on Tuesday I went to the National Gallery of Victoria and saw a wonderful exhibition of works from the Hermitage Museum.  Some gorgeous pieces there.  The audio tour was excellent.  I really feel I learnt a lot and want to read more about Catherine the Great (the focus of the exhibit).

Tuesday night I traveled home – the next day devastation met the eye in all rooms of the house – I had done the worst thing you can possibly do when returning home after a week away – opened the suitcase and just let it explode out all over the house.  Here’s the effect on my little study…

So Wednesday morning, I started to restore order – did the unpacking, washing and tidying.  You can see in the picture I had unpicked the disastrous finishing on the project bag and it was ready for putting back together when I was able.

I got out my sewing machine (inherited from my mum) and prepared to do the necessary work.  It was at this point that this poor project met with another check, Mum’s machine needed some repairs – the rubber that held the spool holders in place had rotted and the spool holders had fallen into the machine! As is my wont I had a little whinge on Facebook and Instagram but then after sulking took the machine in for repairs on Thursday.  The repair place was excellent – I haven’t got the machine back yet, but when I do, the spool holders will be functional again and they will replace the bobbin cover that was chipped and caught fabric every now and again (I’d become a bit phobic of sewing because of this) – I’d been assured in the past that the cover could not be replaced by another repair place but it turns out Mum’s machine can be made to be like new.  Huzzah!

Work in Progress - Playground shawl

Playground Shawl in progress

Whilst all this was going on, I had also managed to pick up a cold on the plane home.  This morning (Sunday) I have lost my voice and Dr K is delighted (and enjoying a quiet sleep in).

Here’s a snap of my current WIP  the Playground Shawl pattern by Justyna Lorkowska which is available as a free pattern on Justyna’s blog.  The yarn is the called for Caterpillar Green shawl stripes ball in Concrete and Tulips.  The yarn has been in my stash for a while and I hadn’t made and specific plans for it – then Justyna started sharing her progress on Instagram and I knew I had found my pattern for the yarn. I’m really liking how this is turning out – it’s so pretty and colourful.  This yarn is difficult to get (I honestly am surprised I lucked out when I did – I’ve not been able to snag more since – not that I’ve tried that hard, I don’t like to get up late at night).

new garden addition

Blue wren garden stake among the daisies

Finishing up, I also want to share this pic of the blue wren garden stake I picked up at Alowyn Gardens last week.  I’ve put it in among our daisies.  He’s so cute.  He also looked great among the red geraniums but has settled in the daisies for now.

A Victorian Getaway (part 2): The Craft Sessions

Location for the Craft Sessions - Yarra Valley Conference Centre.

Location for the Craft Sessions – Yarra Valley Conference Centre.

The hastag for this weekend was #thecraftsessions2015 – do check it out on Instagram – so much inspiration.

So,to pick up from my last post,  Friday afternoon I checked in at The Craft Sessions, placed my suitcase in my room and attended my first class – Knitting your first sock.  This was such a fun class – the teacher, Ophelie Lechat was very patient with us and took us through all the steps.  My little sock was finished right up to the toe at the end of the class and I had practiced the kitchener stitch to close the toe on a swatch. I finished the sock in my hotel room in Melbourne after the weekend was over.  (This was actually my 4th finished sock – but my first formal class in knitting).  I am a self taught knitter.

Finished sock from "My first sock class".

Finished sock from “My first sock class”.

We had a wonderful comradely dinner Friday evening and sat up late (for me – I’m usually in bed by 9pm). My fears of feeling lonely were unfounded, everyone seemed very friendly.

Saturday morning, my roommate sprang out of bed and headed to Yoga – I just couldn’t face it so, I ambled towards the hall for breakfast after lying in for an extra half an hour.  Then it was time to head off to my next class – Introduction to spinning.

Set up for the spinning class.

Set up for the spinning class.

This 3 hour class was a fun introduction to the craft of spinning.  In the class materials, the ladies (a mother and daughter team, Judy and Kate James) had included some different fibres (so stroke-able) and a guide to fibres, prepping fibre and contact information for spinning groups.  During the class, I had an opportunity to prepare fibre using carding brushes (surprisingly fun), look at different put ups of fibre and practice plying on an espinner.  Then during the second part of the class – I had a go on a spinning wheel (actually two wheels).  This was fun, but believe me, I am not a spinner yet – a lot practice will be required. I have lots of difficulty keeping the wheel spinning in the correct direction and produced a short piece of overspun unhappy yarn during class.  What the class achieved for me was demystifying the process and made me less afraid have a go.

Shopping haul

Shopping haul from the mini market (missing a few items that I went back for).

After lunch (SOOOUP – yuuummm!) we had some free time.  I sat in the dining hall on the sofa’s knitting away on my Playground Shawl (no Ravelry project page yet – boo, badly disciplined knitter) till the mini market opened.  The market was so fun.  There were stalls from Sunspun and Stitch 56 and a group stall from the teachers.  So much loveliness.  I had a ball looking at all the offerings.  I bought a strange mix of things that spoke to me.

I returned to the dining hall to knit some more (maybe 1/2 an hour) then rushed back to the market when it was revealed a book I had on my wish-list was available on the Sunspun stall.  Then rushed back once more when I realised I had no souvenir yarn.  This is pretty typical Cathy shopping behaviour. I don’t really have a LYS so it was fun to see and touch the yarn before purchase.

Dinner that night was another fun meal.

Serene Cathy K

Me – enjoying a moment of serenity before going into our embroidery class Sunday morning.

Sunday morning I eschewed the yoga again and slept in for an extra half hour.  Bliss. Enjoyed breakfast and then headed off for a little walk around the grounds and took a couple of pictures including the one at the top of the post and this one which I took whilst sitting by the fire-pit outside the classroom for my final class – Embroidery: 101 project bag with Melissa Wastney.  I felt so peaceful and happy at that particular moment. So much joy.

This class was just lovely.  I found the embroidery instructions straightforward and Melissa was fabulous (quite different from my previous instructors in embroidery) she was just so patient, kind, and non judgemental.  I enjoyed this class so much.

Resulting embroidery from the embroidery class.

Resulting embroidery from the embroidery class.

After lunch, I finished up my embroidery – here’s a less than perfect image of the finished work.

Then the wheels fell off a bit.  I don’t really track my hormone levels so was ambushed by my feelings when I had difficulty finishing the bag.  Even when I’m not experiencing PMT I don’t take failure well, but with PMT – the unstoppable tears are just the worst.  Intellectually, I knew I could just unpick it at home and repair it but my heart just couldn’t take the disappointment (it didn’t help that our classroom was the meeting point for everyone at the end of the sessions so people kept pouring in).  Irrational tears make me so embarrassed.

Anyway that sad little end didn’t detract from what I consider to be one of the best experiences I have had as a crafter.  I met some lovely people at the sessions who were encouraging, interesting and so willing to accept another into their groups.  The teachers and organisers were the best and the staff at the Yarra Valley Conference Centre are to be commended too.  I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to have been part of the weekend.

* The shawl I am wearing in the serenity pic is “Brickless” by Martina Behm.  More information can be found on my Ravelry page.

** It’s probably time I talked to my doctor about these mood swings – I do find them a bit difficult to predict/manage.  Usually, it is the people at work or poor old Dr K who have to witness the dissolution (although it is more likely for them to be inexplicable doldrums).

A Victorian Getaway (part one): exploring the Yarra Valley.

Wombat pat and play session

Me and Shadow the Wombat enjoying a “magic moment”.

Last Wednesday morning at a very early hour I took a flight to the other side of Australia to visit the eastern states, Victoria to be precise.  I was off to The Craft Sessions!

After hours of internal debate about transportation, I ended up hiring a car and driving from the airport and staying a couple of days in the area to acclimatise/adjust to the two hour time difference/calm the heck down and then met up with the group on Friday.

I had two days to entertain myself – on Thursday, I visited The Healesville Sanctuary (an Australian Animal Zoo – completely fabulous).  I held a wombat in my lap and learned that this specific creature was really into natural fibres, she tried my shawl, cardigan and coat and found them all irresistible. I also enjoyed a “magic moment” with some kangaroos.  I also spent some time in Healesville town itself – nice place: I bought a lovely dress and enjoyed a visit to their craft store.  There are a couple more photos of me playing with the wombat and some kangaroos plus some others of the animals and grounds at Healesville Sanctuary here.

On Friday I drove into Healesville again (I had a massive headache and needed some pills) then took off for a drive up into the hills – gorgeous scenery; tiny bendy roads I was a bit frightened to pull off and take photos – not much of an emergency strip. After I did a loop and ended back up in Healesville (oops) I drove on to The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icecreamery for a delicious interlude (The Hop for Hope Roos in the grounds of YVCI were gorgeous!), followed by a walk around Alowyn Gardens – beautiful garden (even at the end of winter) followed by a cup of tea.  Images from The Chocolaterie and The Gardens are viewable on Flickr (link to my albums).

Then at 2pm, it was time to go and check in at The Craft Sessions.  More about that in the next post.

*** The shawl I am wearing in this photograph is Ashburn by Melanie Berg (MarilynD).  I knit this last year using Plucky Knitter Bello Yarn (a cashmere/merino blend).  More details: Ravelry: Cathy’s 2nd Ashburn. If you are curious, here’s the first one I made: Ravelry: Cathy’s 1st Ashburn.

Has it really been three years? Wow.

Well blimey, when I went to start writing this post I saw that I last updated this blog 3 years ago.  Goodness Gracious, I had no idea it had been that long.

On the shelf - yarn and a little Dino I found one morning on my way to work.

On the shelf – yarn and a little Dino I found one morning on my way to work.

Since we last met; I have learned to knit, tried crochet (not too seriously) and very occasionally picked up some cross stitch.  Otherwise nothing much has changed: it’s still me, Joel (Dr K), Felix and Tripitaka living in the marvellous Villa Maylandia in Western Australia, we work, we come home, we eat, we might pursue our separate interests for brief moments and then we sleep.

Cross stitch is currently taking a back seat to other creative endeavours. I’m thinking that I will rename this blog (yes, again) because I no longer focus just on cross stitch during my moments of craftiness.   Knitting seems to have taken the place of cross stitch in my heart for the moment, but I am a fickle person and something else shiny will come along and distract me.  More on that in a moment – this is the obligatory hello world post.  Hello?  Anyone still have me on their RSS reader?


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