Thursday, 3 September 2020

Coping with the new normal

I notice with some embarassment that my last post was 3 months ago and I can only blame the uncertainty of the times, the fact that I've just not had the motivation to weave and also the reports I've read on other blogs about the challenges with the updated Blogger

So what have I been doing?

Feverishly checking coronavirus news updates, especially as the numbers started to rise in Victoria to the point where we are now in Stage 4 lock down, basically confined to our homes except for essential shopping, medical care, exercise (1 hour per day) and caring for others. We have to stay within 5 km/3 miles of home and if we do go out, mask wearing is mandatory.  So the first thing I did was make another 31 masks for me and for family and friends. 

I think I'm up to about 55 in total and I haven't had to buy anything.  They don't take much fabric and I can't see any discernable size reduction in the stash

I finished the shawl I had started in the last post.  It turned out well even though it was just plain weave. I've had no opportunity to wear it as we're not allowed to go anywhere

I've also been doing some spinning, starting with some rose fibre roving.


Once it was spun I realised that it would work with some rose/cotton yarn and decided to go with an overshot pattern.  I started using it as a single but wasn't happy with the way it looked. 

I knew full well that the hand spun pattern yarn wasn't really thick enough but rather than fix it, I found other projects.  Maybe I was waiting for the yarn to spontaneously become thicker but strangely nothing happened.  Eventually common sense prevailed , I undid the first few inches, and Navaho plied the pattern weft.  It's working well now although I'm not quite sure whether it will end up as a scarf or a runner, probably depends on how it ends up once it's finished. 

There's enough warp for 2 but probably not enough of the handspun weft so the second one will have to be different

I had a braid of indigo dyed sock blend - superwash wool with nylon. There were some undyed areas and I wanted to blend the blue and the white. I spun it finely with the intention of making a 3 ply sock yarn. The colours blended nicely and it ended up finer and softer than I expected, probably a bit too fine and soft to wear well as a sock and too nice to be hidden inside a shoe. I moved on to Plan B which was a scarf or cowl. I found Lyn Dell's's Corona Cowl on Ravelry.  The cowl was based on a Barbara Walker lace called 'Corona', from the days when it still had its original meaning of 'crown'. Once I read Lyn's description - poking pointy sticks into something called Corona - I was hooked and very happy with the final result. 

As I expected it was too soft and pretty to hide in a shoe.  There was enough left over to make another and I used a pattern from an old Mon Tricot book - must have been old, I only paid $4.95 for it.

Work has been on and off depending on the restrictions.  We were almost back to normal in June but as the numbers stated to rise and more restrictions were added business fell away again.  We are classed as essential under Stage 4 but only for emergencies such as a sore painful eye, loss of vision or broken glasses and while wearing a face mask and shield.  As well as that we have to constantly sanitise everything. I've had to buy 'hospital strength' disinfectant and have a suspicion that there's been a bit of price gouging going on. It's a challenge working around the protective equipment and trying to see through the foggy glasses as well as equipment that's equally foggy.  Every day brings a new challenge but we're still seeing people with problems and just have to manage as well as we can

Towards the end of the first lockdown I was beginning to get fitter, walking longer distances and exploring parts of the local walking trails I hadn't seen before. Then I developed a sore knee - my physio thinks it's the result of too much walking.  I'm doing the exercises and gradually getting back to walking.  While it's officially still winter, there are definite signs of spring.  The wattles are coming out,

it makes up in the vast numbers of the tiny flowers.  

The smaller coot chick is now a strapping adolescent and the larger one almost indistiguishable from the adults, so my earlier concerns about them making it through the winter were unfounded.  I was down at the pond looking for the coots recently when something else swam past. It looked like a small animal, perhaps an otter, to me and also to a man who was watching as well. His partner was sure it was a duck.  We don't have otters in Australia and I couldn't believe that it could be a platypus so close to the city.  Once I got home I did a little homework and realised that it was probably a Rakali or native water rat, sometimes called the Australian otter.  I'd never seen one in the wild but now I'm looking for it every time I visit the pond.

Clearly life doesn't stop for the coots I've been watching.  I noticed the other day that one of them was busy building a nest of reeds in the middle of the pond, must be time to lay more eggs.  While I had been worried about the last lot of chicks making it through the winter, the coots must know what they are doing if they are building their nest in the middle of the pond where they would be safe from most predators.

While I'm on the subject of birds, one of the attractions a couple of hours from Melbourne is the nightly penguin parade where the little penguins come ashore every night.  With the lock down, no visitors are allowed so they're now live streaming it every night.  Obviously it's better if you can go there but it's much warmer watching from the comfort of home and they are very cute.  I love the way a few will come out of the water, look to see how many others there are and if it's not a penguin's idea of a quorum, they go back into the water until a few more are ready to walk up the beach.  

See it here:

Not sure what all the fuss was abut with the new Blogger, it didn't seem too bad to me apart from spaces but then I like to be fussy about layout

Til next time



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