Sunday 29 May 2022

One Monthly Goal and a Fun Weekend

As usual, the end of month was fast approaching and I still hadn’t completed my goal for the month, so time to get stuck in and get stitching.

The perfect timing for Chooky to announce that yesterday she would be hosting another of her Zoom sewing days, this time to join her in celebrating the 10th birthday of  “The Chook Shed”, her wonderful sewing space.
I popped in and out through the day, as Mick and I had the very important job of cooking the birthday cake.  This year it was an apricot shortcake. This is a tradition that dates back pretty much for the whole time there has been Chook Shed birthday parties.  We cook the cake and get to eat it too.  Chooky only gets to see a photo. Before this photo was taken, the cake was presented to the Zoom girls, complete with sparkler.  I wasn’t able to get a photo, but it went down well.  All a bit of fun. We then had some friends visit for afternoon tea, so they helped us eat it and it was deemed to be a success.

So, what did I work on?
Firstly, I added the binding to the baby quilt that was my One Monthly Goal for May. It turned out that quite a few of the girls on Zoom were stitching down bindings.  However, I was the only one using the machine.  Not my favourite way, but as this is something that I expect will be washed lots, it will be more durable.  
Once again, I just used a free form wavy line across the quilt for the quilting. The backing is flannelette with a woodlands theme, which ties in nicely with the fabrics on the front.  It is a lovely, soft, drapy quilt.  

I know I have Monique, my big quilting machine sitting there, but until I get the tension sorted, it was easier to quilt this little one on my Janome.

It will be going to my next door neighbour to give to her grandson, who is due to be born in August.  Job done in plenty of time.

This means that my OMG has once again been reached.  I’m linking up with Elm Street Quilts.  The encouragement and accountability works so well for me.
Next, I pulled out the half square triangles that I had stitched at Scrub Stitchin’ as leaders and Enders and trimmed them down to size.  They can now sit patiently in their tin until I am ready to play with a layout and create a baby quilt from them.

Finally, it was time to dive into my stash of Civil War fabrics that I already had, as well as those in the “Stash Enhancement” from last month.  You see, Chooky has recently completed a churn dash quilt, which attracted lots of positive comments, and she has decided she wants to make another one.  A few girls mentioned that they wouldn’t mind making one as well, so now there is a stitch-a-long taking place, with 28 of us joining in.  It starts in June, with us making the blocks over four months and the fifth month is to put the quilt top together.  I am making my quilt a bit wider than the pattern, so need 41 blocks.  That means 10 blocks each month.  I’d better get some chain stitching happening.
I just love all the rich colours.  It will be a nice wintery quilt.  
I did buy the background fabric, as I didn’t have enough of any one fabric.  It was a wide back on special at Spotlight. I’m not really sure what I will use for the sashing and setting triangles. This is the best option at the moment, using the red for the sashing and the blue for the setting triangles, both from my stash.  Who knows, I may come up with something else.

We will be away for much of the time, so I wanted to get the blocks cut out, ready to stitch each month, even when we are away in our caravan. I will be taking my baby Elna Stella with me.  Mick has a solar panel on the ute, complete with an inverter to provide enough 240v power to charge batteries and the like.  We have worked out that it will be sufficient to run my sewing machine, so we could be set up in the middle of nowhere and I would be able to use my machine.  How good is that. However, I wouldn’t be able to use an iron, so would just have to finger press, use the generator or wait till we have proper 240v power.  I’ll make it work.
The weather is going to be rather cold this coming week, with snow forecast on the hills around Oberon, Blayney and Orange, so today seemed to be a good day to make a pot of soup from a pumpkin we bought from a roadside stall on our recent holiday.
 I’m not generally a fan of pumpkin soup, but really like this recipe.  While it was cooking I was browsing a recipe book from Eugowra that I was given for Christmas, which had a pesto bread recipe to accompany soup.  I don’t make bread, but it reminded me of a recipe for cheese buns that I haven’t made in years.  They go so well, served warm with soup.  This time I just made one big bun, pretty much like a damper.  Yum, it was a lovely lunch.

When I was seeing how much room there is in the freezer to freeze some of the soup, I noticed a tub of crumble, so suggested Mick pick some rhubarb for rhubarb crumble tonight.  He came in with a nice big bunch and said there is heaps more.  I suggested he pick a lot, as it will only go to waste over the winter.  
I kept browsing the recipe book and came across a recipe for Rhubarb Swirl Cake, so we had to give it a try.    It was supposed to be iced, but we liked the look of it without. I generally add a drop or two of red food colouring to rhubarb to make it look a bit more appetising. I may have added just a wee bit too much this time, but it looks pretty.
It was rather lovely for afternoon tea, while still a little bit warm.  We’ll mark that recipe as a keeper.

I think the rhubarb crumble will wait for another day, with the rhubarb just being frozen, now that it has been cooked up.

If you had told me first thing this morning that I would have been doing so much cooking, I would have laughed at you, but it was a nice way to spend some time, and means we have some easy meals through the week. 

Saturday 28 May 2022

This, That and the Other

May has been a rather busy month, with a few bits and pieces that I want to catch up on here.

The start of April saw the first of our fogs, which is something that Bathurst has a lot of during the cooler months, especially as we are having such a wet season.  However, our wet has been nothing like other areas of the eastern states.  We have not had any torrential, flooding downpours, thank goodness.
Before we left for our holiday in mid April I remembered to take a photo of our street trees, as I expected them to be bare on our return, three weeks later.

Yep, a rather more wintry outlook, with just a little wispy mist in the valley over the road from our house.
We were lucky not to have any frosts until our first frost, in early May, being -3.6C was a little bit of a shock.  Mind you, this was a late start to the frosts for this part of the world. Just as well Mick had put all our frost tender plants in the green house before we went away......oh yeah, one of his favourite succulents was missed and looked rather sad.  It was immediately relocated and we think that it is still a bit alive....we hope.  We had a second frost that cold, but fortunately, it has been a bit warmer in the mornings, but the days are definitely cooling down.

As a result, all the frost tender plants have been removed or chopped back for the winter.  It looks rather bare, but better than it did.
And a random photo.  One wet morning, before daylight, I took some rubbish out to the bin and I thought the hydrangea looked so nice in the light.

The Bathurst 12 Hour car race was held a couple of weeks ago.  It is not something we are very interested in, but still a great event for the town.  Unlike the Bathurst 1000, there are more European cars.  Each year they bring the cars and drivers down to the centre of town for everyone to have a look at and meet the drivers if they wish.  The weather for the day was forecast to be very wet, however, it was dry for just that little window of time that they were on display.
You had to be a bit of a contortionist to fit into this Audi.
The driver even had to disconnect the steering wheel to get in.  It was quite a process.
The passenger was quite squished, with her knees really bent.  At least the driver was able to stretch out his legs.  I wouldn't want to needing to get out of there in a hurry.
Mercedes ended up taking out the race first, second and third.
This was a local car.

Not long after the cars left it started to rain again, so they were really lucky with their timing.

Rylstone, about an hour from home, holds its Swap Meet in the middle of May each year, and it is one we like to go along to.  We were looking forward to it this year, but the weather report looked rather dodgy, with wet weather for most of the week leading up to the event.  We decided that, rather than take the caravan over on the Saturday, we would assess the weather on Sunday and leave really early in the morning if it looked OK.

Therefore, I intended to spend the day in the sewing room, joining in with Chooky's Zoom session.

Thursday and Friday weren't as wet as predicted and Saturday was actually shaping up to be a sunny and warm day, so late in the morning, on the spur of the moment we decide to throw a few things in some tubs for a stall, and go over on Saturday after all.  Rather than take the van, we would sleep in the canopy of the ute.  Mick has set this all up, but we hadn't tested it out as yet.

When we arrived over there we were surprised at how few stalls were set up.  Obviously, many had been kept away by the weather forecast.  

Before we set up, we went for a quick walk up the street before the shops closed.  I was on a mission.
There is a rather nice wool shop over there and I wanted to buy some 40cm circular knitting needles, something I couldn't buy at Spotlight.  Happy dance.
Next it was time for afternoon tea.  We called in at the bakery.

When I worked over at Kandos for a couple of months in the mid 1990s, this bakery was famous for being wood fired.  It has only been sold in the last couple of years and these beautiful old ovens now sit idle.  The photo is a bit dodgy, as I couldn't see the oven straight on.

Back when I used to go over, the general practice was that if you had a large gathering that required a large piece of meat to be roasted, you would take it to the bakery and they baked it for you in their oven.  How cool is that. 

By the way, the afternoon's weather was beautiful.  It was tshirt weather until about five o'clock.  So nice.

As we only took the ute over, we went up to the local pub for dinner, which was delicious, and for Mick to watch the footy.  There was quite a group of us watching, with most barracking for the one team, which fortunately won.  It was a fun night.
The show grounds looked so good under the lights when we returned.  It looked like we would be in for a thick fog on the Sunday morning. Usually, the field is nearly full of stalls.  So disappointing for the organisers.
Apparently, there had been a big fog on the Saturday morning.
So here is home sweet home for the night.
Quite cozy.  It was actually surprisingly comfortable.
Here it is all packed away again.  The mattresses are tucked away under that shelf at the back.  Mick has had a lot of fun working everything out.  There is even a USB outlet to charge the phones overnight.  When we aren't using it for camping he can still use it for storage.  The other side of the canopy has the Engel fridge, two burner stove and cooking stuff, as well as a battery and inverter.  There are solar panels on the roof.  The idea is that we can use this to camp for a few days if we get somewhere we don't want  to take the caravan.

Anyway, back to the Swap Meet............

We woke up rather early on the Sunday and wandered over to the loos. We were a bit surprised that there was no fog.........there were also no stars.........

By the time we were back at the ute there was a very fine mist......

We still had our stall, but there was misty rain quite a bit and actual rain for a little while.  Despite that, we did sell quite a bit of stuff and were happy with how we went.  At about ten o'clock another shower was coming across, so we decided to pack up and head home.  Of course, it was a very short shower and cleared up after that, but we were still happy with our decision. 

After we packed up, we once again went up the street and had some morning tea and a look in a couple of shops that were closed by the time we arrived on Saturday.  A nice way to finish off the weekend before heading home.

We quite enjoy going to Swap Meets and having a stall.  It is a good little hobby.  They are rather social, with a lot of the stall holders knowing each other and you tend to see the same people at the various Swaps.  If we sell enough to pay for the weekend away, that is all we ask.  Going forward, we may venture a little further, taking the van and a few more days.  We will see.
So why was I after some circular knitting needles?

I want to knit a beanie.  Not just any beanie, but to replicate a beanie I knitted for myself about 30 years ago.  It was made from wool spun by my Dad.  When we were on holidays back in 2017 I wore it a lot and I lost it.  I must have knocked it out of the ute somewhere.  I was sad........

I've been meaning to knit another one.   You can't rush these things.
I still have quite a bit of wool spun by Dad, so pulled some out. 

I can't locate the pattern I used before, which is annoying, as I know there are two copies here.  Mine, and Mum's.  What makes it more annoying, is that I saw a copy of the book in a op shop recently and didn't buy it because I have two copies here.........

My last beanie was knitted using two needles, but this time I wanted to try it with a circular needle.  The only other time I have used a circular needle was to knit a fair isle yoke on a jumper back in my late teens, so this would be a learning curve.........

Let's watch some youtube clips to see how this is done.  Yep, I can do that.

Next, to find a suitable pattern.  I looked at quite a few and then came across one that wasn't really a pattern, as such, but worked out measurements to fit you and your tension and needles etc.  That is what I am using.  I hope it works.........

First, I had to do a tension swatch, seeing as I'm not using commercial wool.  It took a couple  of goes to find a nice feel.  Then, to see if there were any suitable needles in Mum's collection.  Yes, but they were longer.  Time to watch some further tutorials to learn how to do the magic loop.  Yep, I think I can do that.

Yep, I think I can do that.....I think I can, I think I can.......Nope, this is not working out nice at all.  I think it would be easier on some shorter needles...... That's where Rylstone came in.

Now, let's start again.  That feels much better.  The solid sections of the needles are shorter, which makes everything easier. Cast on, count the stitches, knit the first row of the band.  Knit the second row of the band, hang on, something isn't right...... Check this, check that, count the stitches....Blast.  Ten stitches too short.   Undo again.  This poor piece of wool will be wearing out with the frogging it has endured.

OK... cast on, count, count again, count again, just to be sure.  Knit first row, knit second row, phew, it finally looks like it may work.
One I had a few rows knitted it is nice and easy.  I love that I can put the work down at any time, rather than have to work to the end of a row.  I just have a little loop of embroidery thread as a stitch marker and that is working fine.

Of course, Joey has to be in on the act.  He's a great help.

When I finish the band I will be working a couple of rows of a checkerboard pattern, as per my previous beanie.  I do hope it all works out.  I'll also hunt out a photo of me wearing the original beanie many years ago.  Watch this space. 
Speaking of Joey, here he is soaking up the morning sun.  One of his favourite spots in the cooler months.

By now I'm sure you have had about enough of my blather, and I should go and get some tea on, so I will finish off.

Friday 27 May 2022

Bathurst Show

We had to make sure we were home from our holiday in time to attend the Royal Bathurst Show at the beginning of May. It is an event we always like to pop along to.  You tend to run into people you haven't seen for a while and there is always lots to see. 

It was rather lucky that we were going on the Sunday, as after a wet few days, we were lucky to have a nice blue day, albeit a little squelchy under foot.

Another reason was that I had entered a few items in the needlework section.
I was thrilled to receive a first and third for the "Machine Pieced, Commercially Quilted" section.
The champion quilt was all hand quilted.  I had seen this quilt previously and the stitches are tiny and so even.  After my little attempt on my cushion I really appreciate the time and skill involved.  Well deserved.
I also received a first and second in the "Any Other Item of Patchwork" section, and Champion of that section, which was exciting.

Having said that, it is really disappointing how low the number of entries were.  In the whole Junior Needlework section, consisting of 29 different categories, there were only three items entered, which is really sad.  Things weren't that much better in the adults section.  If it wasn't for the few quilts, there would have been a lot of blank spaces.  Also, in the quilts section, the categories are rather limited, it is only either hand or machine pieced.  There were a couple of beautiful quilts, one with applique and one with stitcheries, but as the piecing was only simple, they didn't rate a mention.  On the whole, there just doesn't seem to be the interest in entering.  There is no real monetary incentive, just the glory and a certificate.  Maybe that isn't enough incentive for many to enter.  I don't know what the answer is.  I'll just keep trying to enter to give the judges something to judge and the visitors something to look at.

One prize winning item I loved was this impressive cross stitch.  
Wow! This doesn't even show all of it. Just beautiful.

Now to have a look at what else is on show.  
There was a section in the Floral Arts to create an arrangement honouring the CWA (Country Women's Association), which is celebrating its centenary,  I think this one sums it up nicely.
You have to watch a bit of the wood chop.  We were amazed at a little bloke, with a huge handicap, beating all the bigger blokes. It goes to show that technique is as important as sheer muscle.

We caught the ute display, just before they were packing up. 
 You get the feral utes.
The whacky.
And the pristine.

No visit to the show is complete until we visit sideshow ally.
We normally visit in the evening, when everything is lit up, but it was just as colourful during the daytime with the bright blue sky in the background.
You'd never catch me on this ride in a million years.  I'd be puking everywhere.
We did enjoy going on the new ferris wheel last year, so did't feel the need this time.

Of course, no show would be complete without the fireworks.  We actually watched them from our front verandah on the Saturday night.
Just this one photo turned out well enough to post.

And that is the show for another year.  There is already a bit of a drama over next year's event, as our show is traditionally a week after the completion of the Royal Easter Show, with many of their side show people travelling to Bathurst.  Sydney has pushed its show back a week next year, to fit in with school holidays, which means we will have to push our show back a week, to fit in with the Showman's Guild people.  However, there are already two other large events happening in Bathurst on that weekend.  I'm sure they will sort something out.  As they say "The Show Must Go On".