Tuesday, December 30, 2008

chasing tails

That's what it seems i've been doing for the past few months.
The lead-up to crimbo is always mad in this house. There are birthdays as well, deadline sewing and knitting and getting stuff done in advance for the paid job.

So a quick look see at one of the latest projects and I'll be back soon with lots of goodies, from things that have been found in the PO Box to goodies scattered around the web.

This is the Fish Hat (dead or alive) from knitty. It is chasing and trying to eat a newborn sized hat. I've sat down with a calculator and worked out the maths for a newborn, 6mto 12m and a toddler size as well.
Here is the pattern for the newborn one. enjoy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

new eyes

Finally I caved and after five years updated the camera. The old one, clunky and large, was good, but not brilliant and finally stopped downloading properly.
So off I went and visited officeworks where I discovered to my delight that they price match and if they have to price match they take off an extra 5% and that also includes the cheapest on-line Australian-based price you can find.
So I got a nice little Cannon and I've had a little play. Only a little one mind you, as I'm yet to read the instructions and really discover what this little beauty can do.
So I've been rephotographing my Melbourne haul and the photo is some Jitterbug from Sunspun in blues that scream water and blue icypoles.

On the knitting front, Tomato is almost done, or potato as I've dubbed it as I suddenly realised why every thing I've knitted for myself as been oversized, despite getting the right tension. It seems that I've gone down a bit, deflated, but thankfully not at the front. There I was thinking that my bras were stretching out quicker than normal leading me to have to do them up on the tightest hooks.
A check with a tape measure revealed that I don't have a stretch issue, I have a disappearing back, cause I'm still filling the front if you know what I mean.
Which is great, that means a lot more pattern are available as I'm in that twilight zone of sizes, not much gets done over 44 and there I was thinking I was a 47.
Yes I did feel foolish, but not for long.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

warning, system going down in

10 seconds. warning system is down.

This is what we used to hear at work when our old Harris computer system was on the nod. Often the warning would bellow out of the walls after we'd started standing up and yelling at our blank screens. In those days you had to manually save, no automatic save functions on these little babies. No save by you and all was gone.

Now this warning is going off all around me, well not really but it should be.

For starters I can take photographs but for some reason I can't transport them into the computer. It just won't do it. Yes the photos are in the camera and I'd love you to see the latest Liesl, the wool from Melbourne that followed me home. The fellow is looking into replacing batteries and checking leads.

The next computer issues is more of a down and now up. We've gone wireless finally, although it did take him a week to get it installed properly.

The next thing going down is my work hours. My doctor has reduced my working hours to five hours a day, still Monday to Friday, in an attempt to find a nice happy medium that allows me to work and not be swallowing pain killers like lollies. A visit to a pain management specialist is scheduled. Which means work may react nicely and be supportive (that would be my immediate boss) or lash out like the spoilt toddler it normally behaves like (that would be the ed) and try to push me out the door.

I'm really looking forward to the reduced hours. Unfortunately it means hanging around town for an hour or so after work to wait for the children to finish school, but there is a wonderful library down the road from the school, in walking distance for the kids so they can come and meet me there. Imagine having time to read for pleasure!

And now for Bells seven random things about me:

I once lived in a place where the back yard was full of coffins and inter-continental body transporters (those are the big sardine tins). It was a goth household above a funeral parlour on Parramatta Road.

I get strange food cravings. At the moment it is all about mint and chocolate. It's not just a pregnancy thing for me, these cravings last for months or, in the case of mint, years and then suddenly it's somthing else. Tins of ready made caramel during my second pregnancy was probably the worst.

I love films. I love everything from the old B Grade monster, zombie and alien movies and have everything made by Ed Wood not to mention movies with titles that include Attack, Zombies, Vampires, I think you get the picture. Then I love films by Hayao Miyazaki which I first discovered after watching Porco Rosso (yep the pig one) late one night while breast feeding the eldest. The kids have grown up with these tales, yes both the zombies and the anime.

Both my thumbs are double jointed, I share this trait with my brother, but not my children.

I've sung all my children to sleep when they were little. Songs ranged from Drunken Sailor to the theme of Red Dwarf.

I am the Stig.

I stopped using shampoo and discovered I have really curly hair. Ringlets in fact under the canopy around my neck, I doubt I'll ever get the rest to ringlet because of all the dye I throw in there to cover the silver.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

a black hole

That's what it feels like my life has become, a black hole where time is just funnelling through.
There has been no time to just stop and smell the roses, but piles and piles of manure to wade through.
The kids have been sick; gastro and chest infections. I've been sick, work sucks the big one and people are getting shafted left right and centre and I can only see it getting worse as the rampant egos take over the place. I managed to take a chunk of flesh out of my arm when playing with Mecanno and didn't realise until the kids pointed out I was bleeding every where. That's because of the nerve damage to my arm which according to the specialist is mine for life. So long term adjustments have to be made, but as I've already found a spinning wheel I can use fairly easily, the major panic is over, now it is just a case of the big things like modifying the house and the car and looking at long term pain management strategies. Oh and I've been advised to where protective clothing when playing Mecanno.

But really that's not to bad considering what manure has been thrown at the people around me.
There's been a baby, and therefore a life of dreams, lost and another woman, my age, has been diagnosed with second stage breast cancer which had spread to her lymph glands but thank the flying spaghetti monster no further.
In both these circumstances it is hard to know what to say to the person. Really nothing you can say can convey you're sorry and having miscarried several times while some of the words of sympathy can be like a warm hug, not all are even if they are intended as such.
So to cope with this shit I've cried for the first and for the second I knitted a boob. A completely selfish act, an act that let me think that maybe I have done something to help. But I know there was a giggle mixed with the tears when my offer of giving her a perky set was passed on to her.

In other knitting there has been a Liesl done in Lion Brand Cotton (no, not cotton ease I used the dish cloth stuff) from spotties. It used less than 2 and a half balls of the stuff and I love it and can see several others in my future, particularly as it was a nine day knit and all knitting done after work and after the kids were in bed.
The mods were I ditched the original purl or garter ridges in the pattern after the first repeat for the neckline and knitted smooth all the way down to the end of the body where I did 1.5 of the normal repeats. The sleeves were to above the elbow and I did one repeat of the normal pattern on the ends.
Under the arms where you cast on stitches for the body and then pick these stitches up for the sleeve I cast on the same number of stitches on waste yarn and knitted off these for the body and then pulled the waste yarn out and picked up live stitches for the sleeves.

Next post there will be more knitting and I'll do the seven random things meme that I was tagged to do.
And maybe some pics of Melbourne because I'm heading down south and there has been a promise about visiting yarn shops, and pubs, and mills!

Friday, August 29, 2008


Fair Go Fairfax

go here to find out more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

bossed around the lady

Ages ago I finished the February Lady Sweater, a grown up version of the Zimmerman February Baby Sweater.
She was done with some Bendigo Cameo (an angora mix) in purple and was so soft and cuddly.
While this design looks better with negative ease, I did the size up from me as this is an over everything sweater for work. I have one of those offices which always seems to be frosty, even in the height of summer, so I wanted something to swing on over the top of everything else.

But after a quick steam block when she was finished she grew and grew and grew.
So much in fact that the 3/4 sleeves ended up around my fingers, the body grew and grew and the neck line was slipping off the shoulders.

And the Cameo pilled, well more than pilled, she DREADLOCKED.

So I picked her clean, washed her, rolled her up in a towel and literally stomped on her to get as much water out as possible and spread her out to dry. Then when she was almost dry popped her into the dryer on a gentle setting to boss her around again.
And the end result is even better than when I first steam blocked her.

Yes the fabric is a bit thicker, but still as soft. The lace pattern isn't as open (definitely not as open as it was after a week or so wear when everything stretched) but it is still there and looks lovely and lacy and as you can see from the photo above, she ain't that bad at all.

And the best bit, the fabric itself doesn't seem to look like it wants to pill up any more.

Now her sleeves are back at the height I wanted, the length is shorter on the body and the neckline looks like it will stay put.

Sometimes it is worth bossy around a finished garment.

Because I loved the thrill of making something for me so much I've already cast on for Growing Roots (rav link) in some Cascade 220 heathers and Loppem in some Tapestry Craft 12 ply.

Both have stalled again as the boys are heading to Canberra and Jar needs a vest or two so I'm whipping up a heap in some cheapo Moda Vera Trifle (12 stitches for 10cm quick).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a tale of two old ladies

Tinkingbell sent out the challenge to write about our homes.

She lives in a stunning old home complete with a tower or widow's walk that I'd love to have. While jealous I'm still delighted with my houses, both haunted by lovely old ladies.

You see, I'm a lucky gal who has two; my first was my bachelor pad that did us well until there was one child when we decided to move about 500m as the crow flies to our present home.

We bought our present home the day it came on the market. It was everything we wanted. Big rooms, plenty of yard and character.
Our 'old' house had character but lacked room. It was a cottage, stand alone yes, but with two bedrooms, a lounge, an eat-in kitchen and a tiny bathroom and laundry it was getting cramped. It is a solid place with cedar skirting boards, dada boards, picture rails, the works. A beautiful fire place and a wood stove in the kitchen that made the best scones and kept the house warm in winter. But it was too small.

So off I went hunting and I found it. A large block, still in a spit of the town, in walking distance of the city's best cafes, on transport links and with almost a third of an acre block.
Best part of it was the huge hedge out the front that shielded the house from drive byes.
I'd had a stalker for several years. Nothing violent, but disconcerting all the same so the hedge sold me before I even went inside.
The place was built in the early 1990s and was cavity brick, with patterned ceilings in every room bar the back built-in veranda that became the kitchen, bathroom and dining area.

The back yard was once a formal garden but had fallen into such a state that we couldn't see the back fence. We didn't know about the two mulberry trees at the back of the yard or the fruiting mango tree less than two metres from the lounge room window either. We had lived here three years before we found that tree.
The house has patterned and coloured glass, the floorboards are wide and the place although in need of paint and in some places, paint stripper, was perfect.
The plan was to build an extension on the back with a new bathroom, kitchen and family room to go with the three bedrooms and lounge room, but of course every time I manage to undertake something big like a new mortgage, I get pregnant so while we got the plans for the extension the week Zegal was born, they are still sitting in the filing cabinet.

But unlike my old house, this place has huge rooms, massive rooms, and two of the bedrooms have working fireplaces, as does the lounge room which has been treated to a deep red paint job. We've been able to cope, but are now working towards revised plans that include more space, because while the plans we had drawn up were great for a family of four, we are now a family of five.
For me the best thing about the house is the old shed built in the 50s that I've lined and turned into my workspace.

Another funny thing about my homes is that both are never called mine by the neighbours.
My old house is old Maisies house after the woman who was born there and lived there until she was taken off to a nursing home. In that street and all through the suburb, most of the homes are still owned by the same families for the past 100 years, so Maisies house it will always be.
The same thing has happened at our new place. The block of land was bought in the late 1800s by a family who built the house. They had a daughter who was born in the house and when she married and became Mrs Roberts, she ended up back in the house raising her children and was said to have had the most incredible gardens. She died about 18 months before we bought the house, but again in our street most of the residents remember her, going to play in her gardens and being given fruit from her trees.
Even delivery blokes and taxi drivers refer to our house as Mrs Robert's and the couple who bought the place after her death swear that she used to sit on the end of their bed and tut tut at them. They used to say she didn't like gay men in her house, personally I think it was the state that they let her gardens fall into, because even when she wasn't able to garden herself she had teams of gardeners come in and do it for her. Even the front hedge was trimmed once a month, so I dread to think what she would say about the tuffs on top of it at the moment.
I think I've only seen her once, but that was when Jar was three months old and due to his tiny size when born I hadn't slept more than two hours in a stretch and was starting to dream while awake. One day I was sitting and feeding Jar when I swear an old lady sat down in the lounge and talked to me. I realised later on that it was probably not a good idea to tell the fellow about my visitor and that until I managed to get some sleep I should turn in my car keys as well.

At the old house I've had painters refuse to go back in after being shaken off ladders. I think they were trying to do a quick lick rather than a decent job and Maisie didn't like it. It often sounded like people were walking up and down the hall way in that house but the house was so nice and warm and friendly and I was never shaken off a ladder when painting myself. The only time it got really scary was when an answering machine which wasn't plugged into anything, telephone lines or power, started recording things. No I wasn't drinking at the time but Tash and I certainly raced for a bottle of something after that event, coming as it did days after our best friend died. I've still got the tape, but have no idea what was on it as it is just a mess of noise.

So this is the tale of my house and my old house, Maisie's house and Mrs Robert's house.

The photos are all from Mrs Robert's house, and this bottom one is what people see above the front door when they walk in the gate: Two old goats skulls, the perfect remedy to scare religious nutters away.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

happy sad week

As the last post pointed out, this is the season for anniversaries.
I had a birthday, a blog birthday, a wedding anniversary and this week marked the 10th anniversary of the death of my best mate whose was Foatboy's godfather, though the jury is out on whether he did renounced the devil or not.
So it has been a strange week all round.
I wrote a long post about what he was, what he meant to me, how he drove me fucking insane at times. But in the end he is-was more than mere words on a page floating around the internet so I hit delete.
Instead I'll show you the clock that moved into the house this week, a circa 1850s American oak long case clock.
If Murray had managed to avoid his black dog this clock would be one of the things I'd be catching him trying to drag out of the house during one of his ever revolving moving in and moving outs.
We worked out one drunken night that the two of us were real family, how else could you account for the fact that we moved in and out of each other's houses, nursed each other during romantic disasters and illnesses and still loved each other madly.

Next post there will be some stitching action, including Squidy, the crochet cat toy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Yes, it is almost my blogversary, or is it bloganniversary. Doesn't matter, but it is almost here. And so is another anniversary in my life, whoops, two special ones in fact.

But back to the reason for the blog.
Creating. Yes there has been plenty, but for the moment, none that can be shown. Yes I'm still-a-secret knitting. But a week off and plenty of knitting and sewing time has meant more time for other things as I don't have to deal with that pesky day job as well.

Biscuits have been made, shows have been caught up on. I've managed to watch series three of the Mighty Boosh. Oh Vince, how I love thee. How I love your hair, your clothing.

So off I go back to secret-knitting. But I'll leave you with a photograph of my second ever sock.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

secret knitting

At the moment I'm doing some secret knitting.
The secret is all to do with the Got You Covered swap over on Ravelry where each swap participant offers up two wishes: Something to cover the body, something to cover an object.
Most offered up the need for scarves or cuffs, a hat or three and arm-wrist warmers, while the objects range from hot water bottles to mp3 player covers, coffee and mug warmers and the like. It was supposed to be a smallish knit and a few goodies, to a maximum of around $30 plus postage.
A few scallywags have listed the desire for socks (!!!!) but fortunately my assigned swap parter was playing within the rules and asked for a _____. So I'm knitting away, trying to get it done by the weekend so I can get back to my Lady February Sweater which was stalled by the need to whip up a jumper for the snow.

So instead of a pic of knitting today I give you . . .

A strand of ivy. This was knitted from a jumper I recycled. It was handwash wool which was first knitted up, dyed with food colouring and then felted down.
The main part of the vine was knitted double with, from memory, eight stitches for the I-cord. The secondary tendrils were picked up from the main vine and knitted with a single yarn into a four stitch I-cord. The leaves were then knitted from the main strand.
Then I dyed it up using food colouring, using the tutorial I wrote for Yarn magazine so many years ago. What I'm going to do with I have no idea. It just hangs from the top of a book shelf.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

a quick costume change

It is done.
A jumper to wear to the snow.
Cast on after snb on Monday night. (yes I took the needles and the pattern, but forgot the wool)
Knitted like mad, finished the following Tuesday night. Seamed on the Thursday night.
Made a hat to match on the Saturday, then cast on for a deeper version of the Brangelina cap.
He's happy and now I can get back to my knitting.

Merino Spun, six balls. 6mm needles. Suggested tension was 16 stitches with 6mm. I got 14 stitches but the fabric was still dense.
About 34 inches.
Knit in the round to armholes, divided and then short row shoulders and a three needle bind off. Sleeves in the round until sleeve cap. Minimal seaming.

And in the photograph you can see evidence that Foat boy is no longer a child. We went and bought him his first pair of eight hole Docs the other week. For the past few years he has been destroying a pair of shoes in three months or less, even Blunnies and Redback boots so we took the plunge. Pretty cool for Year 6.
The worst bit is that they are the same size as I wear and he has already been caught coveting my cherry eight holes. I think however, he will be turning down the opportunity to wear my purple boots, not to mention my patent black ones.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

new clothes and less mud

(added moments after posting: Hello all who have found me via Whip Up. Hope you enjoy, and remember you can email me any time with questions)

With pants flapping at half mast I've had to spend time in the shed sewing for the youngest, and I've had to hurry up and finish a few jumpers for him too.
The pants are made from a range of cords, from thin to thick, all old material I've picked up around the place. Naturally one needs pockets to carry treasures around and each pair has several patch pockets, square and round, and all the pockets are made from contrasting vintage materials. Last year he had round patches on his knees with extra padding for those oh-no fall over moments, but this year I've turned them all into treasure carriers, but placed slightly above the knee.

The jumper is the Totem discontinued piece I've been working on. I found a bunch of Totem reduced to $1 a ball and grabbed a few colours and the result is a striped jumper. There were three balls of the tealy colour and two of the navy and the rest were one ball each. So the welts are in the navy and the stripe pattern is a doubled edged one. Every second stripe is in the teal, but the row sequence is the classic 1,3, 5, 8. Better know as the fibonacci sequence.

It's knit in the round, bottom up with set in sleeves. The sleeves have been knitted from the cap down two at once, in case I ran out of yarn, with a 3/4 cuff, perfect for youngsters who go to day care and love playing in water.
I've only to sew the sleeves in now and finish weaving in the ends.

I wrote the pattern myself, it is a rough 25 inch chest so there will be plenty of room for the boy to grow. I'll write it up properly later and stick it on the pattern page along with the stripe sequence.

In other news we are finally getting some success with the market placements. As the work slowly continues around the market areas (yes gutters are being laid), we have been able to invite potential stall holders who have been waiting patiently since late last year.

Ideally all this work would have been done months ago, particularly the clearing out of the last shed, and we could have had the 20-odd potential stalls on the reserve list from last year in. Since other markets have closed and more people have heard about the non-food side and the bent we are taking with diversity, (we have caps on the number of hand crafted stalls that produce the same product) we are getting more and more requests for permanent stalls, although if I hear one more person say "but my stuff is better-nicer-more professional-cheaper than theirs" I will scream.

Thankfully one of the other gals is a whiz with filing systems and has kept up to date all the incoming requests so people are being invited in the order of correct application, keeping in mind the diversity clause.
I've tried to sneak one or two in through early due to their financial need and had my hand spanked. Ouch. You could say I'm the softy of the trio, but luckily Jules has the ability to sniff out those who may stir up trouble. With 20 years of various markets she is a wonder to see operating she knows exactly what makes a market work.

Now I'd better go and weave in ends and finish the jumper for Jar to wear at WWKIP on Saturday, (see Ravelry for details) and then I get to pick up my February Ladies Sweater again. Yes finally I've been sucked in, it's the new clapotis.

Friday, June 06, 2008

buttons and more buttons

I am a horder, I am the granddaughter of a horder.
I've posted glimpses of her chenille, but my Nanna also had buttons, lots of buttons and I have some of them. I also have some of mine, which means a healthy load of buttons.

But the other day after playing with them I headed off to do a google to see what I could do with them.

There were lots of necklaces but nothing exactly like I wanted, so I've mixed up those tutorials to get what I wanted. Try it, it is easy.

You need:
Buttons - vintage, those with holes and those that are shanked.
24 gauge jewelry wire
Clasps and those squishy jewelry making thingos.
Pliers and wire cutters

Cut about 60cm of wire.

Arrange a row of buttons on the table in front of you, starting with the middle button and working one each side outwards.
You can pick a huge button for this middle button (the pale blue button with the red and yellow little buttons on top in the photo above) or do a beautiful layer, with smaller buttons on top of larger ones. Build out the necklace in front of you, playing with sizes and colours. It works well to make the end buttons, those that will be around the back of your neck smaller than those at the front which are placed in the middle of your design.

Take the wire and thread through the middle button from the back to the front, pulling the button down to the middle of the wire. Holding the wire tight against the back of the button, grab the threaded wire and bend it so that it is at a 90 degree angle to the wire. If you are going to have a layered button, slip on the other buttons.

Then take the wire back into the button, threading it through the other hole to the back of the button. Using pliers, pull the wire as tightly as possible so that the wire sits flush on the front of the button. (see the botton photograph to see what it should look like at the back of the button)

Now repeat this until all the buttons are placed. I usually do one from one side of the middle button, then do the button for the other side, working back and forth until all are strung.

You don't have to have buttons all the way around, you can stop when you like.

Finish off with a loop and clasp at the back.

If you are using shanked buttons thread the wire through, then bend back and go through again, pulling the wire tight. Then bend back again, pulling the wire tight but made sure it lays on the other side of the shank. It's like a wire figure of eight and it holds the button firmly in place, it won't swing around on the wire and will also sit properly on the necklace.

Bracelets are the same, but I don't bother with working from the middle, I just pop the first button on, leaving a 5cm tail for the clasp.

You will always want to add quite a few extra centimetres to the wire compared to the finished necklace or bracelet length as all that going up through buttons and around and around shanks uses up wire.

Now enjoy. If you click here you will find another Nanna inspired tutorial.

AND OPPS: As we lost internets for a while here at home, Zgal has decided to stretch out the bangle competition (work out a great selling name for her knitting needle bangles and you could win one of three bangles, posted anywhere). So leave a comment or send me an email with some funky names for the bangles. So far there have been some rippers but it is my duty as a mother to present her with an eye popping list that will keep her quiet for a few hours while she works through it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

mum i need a costume for tomorrow

Well it wasn't that bad, I had a few days notice that I had to make a lizard costume for a play. Not just any lizard, a blue tongue lizard.

So I headed into the shed and last night pulled out some olive chenille and made pants, a shirt (forget buttons I needed quick velcro action), a head piece and webbed mittens. Add a few eyes and a blue tongue to the head piece and Zgal become a blue tongue lizard.

Just in case the audience can't see the blue chenille, she is sucking on a blueberry lollipop to turn her own tongue blue for tonight's performance.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

too busy

Too many things, not enough hours. Extra training, negotiations are about to start again, MRIs are booked in, material has been cut out by patient partner, wool has been hidden, one-handed spinning has been achieved.
Sleep is desperately needed.

How do I know I need sleep. Just look at the sentences above. Disjointed, stupid and over the top. I hate reading writing like that, but unfortunately that seems to be the way my brain is firing.

To make it clearer I've been spending hours doing more occupational health and safety training as per the workcover act of, forgotten whoops. I've been looking at our upcoming wage negotiations, which means constant trips around the place, phone hook ups, google groups, complaining staff and miffed off misers.

The fella has been patiently cutting out material for the winter range and for the youngest who has had one of those growth spurts that leaves all his long pants hovering between knees and ankles. I'm also late in getting the winter stock ready for the stall. Summer it is all chenille, winter means cords and barkcloth and heavy linens, screen prints and vintage patch pockets. Regular customers have been asking and while there is already a pile sewn, the fellow needs to cut out more for me.

The one-handed spinning is due to a new addition to the house, a Wee Peggy made by John Rappard not Ashford. It's a sweet creature of the nicest disposition. I can spin that wheel with my left arm and I've master drawing out roving and fleece, the latter with less consistency, with one hand, using my right to only steady things. So my gimpy arm has been overcome again, it has once again been defeated by determination and another outgoing of funds. The MRI is to assess the full damage of said gimpy arm but after another specialist's opinion I'm up the creek so to speak and expect to be reduced in stature before the year is out by the removal of a disc.

Pic above is deep deep purple roving waiting to be plyed.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


We are drowning in vintage knitting needle bangles here thanks to the constant requests from a certain young lady to make more.

We have so many. Even if we were a house of centipedes we would still have some sitting on the bench unworn.

So it's time to share the bounty.

Miss Zgal has decided that we must have a competition to give some away and she is going to start selling them too.

Her idea was a limbo competition, but after explaining the issue of getting everyone to the same location at the same time would be a nightmare and would cut into her pocket money account, she decided on a different theme.

She wants you to think of a name for her new store. Yes the enterprising dear is going to sell her bangles at a craft market but she realises she needs a name. As I've already appropriated Zephyrama for the clothing business we run, she needs one for her own 'stuff'.

So you friends and lurkers you have a month to leave a comment with your ideas for Miss Zgal's new business venture. She will sit down and read all the names and pick three finalists and a winner. I'll then contact you for a postal addie and she will handpick a bangle and send it your way.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

b'day gal

There is a birthday in the house. And she's excited cause she is seven on the seventh.
And as usual the princess in the middle has been spoilt. Wrapped up ready to be opened after cake tonight is some Meccano. She already has her new DS Lite on charge and will no doubt be opening more presents from T (uncle) and grandparents tonight.

And then there is the bowling party on Saturday. Spoilt, yes, is there anything I can do to tame her Dad, no.

You may notice a lone top front tooth in this pic, well she managed to wiggle it so much that she lost it the day before.

"Guess what Mummy, I'm a song, it's All I Want For Christmas Is My"

you can sing the rest.

As for knitting, almost finished the daycare jumper for the fella and the Jet cardi I have been knitting in secret for the Zgal will be finished for the party. Hopefully.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

study in brown

As I spent most of the past few days in trains and at conferences I decided some mindless knitting was in order.
I'd already cast on and had done the 3k2p rib for this jumper for Jar, so I took this with me.
It almost disappears into the unpolished floor boards, it's a mix of earthy browns, with the occasional flash of yellow or red.
This is my standard, oversized pattern for Jar, done in the round, divide for front and back, short row shoulders and a three needle bind off. The sleeves are knit from the top down, firstly because I'm worried about running out of yarn, and secondly I want to finish these just after the elbow.
You see the Jar has a habit of getting sleeves wet, then off comes his jumper at daycare.
The yarn is an old Sirdar candytwist which is 57% wool, 38% courtelle and 5% nylon and fingers crossed no one will be felting this one.
I picked up five 50gm balls from an opshop and it's knitted into a nice fabric on 4mm needles, tight enough not to catch on anything but loose enough to be soft, well as soft as the courtelle can be.
I'm doing both sleeves at the same time with two balls, one the last full ball, the other a half ball and the way it is knitting I'll cuff it at the end of the partial ball and use the rest of the other ball for the crew neck.
Fingers, or needles crossed, I'll finish the sleeves tonight and knock over the neck and seam in the sleeves tomorrow night at knitting.

My trip to the big smoke wasn't just knitting or work, I did manage to head to the Town Hall pub in Newtown. Once again I've discovered another part of my history has been gentrified. No longer can you hose out the pub, there is carpet and it looks and smells clean.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

red shoe day

I've always had a shoe problem.
Not as bad as Rose Red, but a problem still.

For years it was suede pointy shoes, ohhh big silver buckles like the flat points I was married in. And there is my 20 year, whoops, make that almost 30, fascination with Docs. Purple, cherry, black, patent, boots, shoes, I have them all.
And then there were the heels.

But now with a gimpy neck and arm, if I wear bad shoes I end up with a massive head ache.
So about two years ago the search was on. I tried them all. I spent a fortune on different 'sensible' shoes to no avail.

Until I went here and discovered clown shoes.
I have brown suede, black suede, oil coloured and red parchment ones. The kids even have sandals. I love them, I wear them everywhere. In kitchens, in the garden, at home, at work. With or without handknitted socks. I've plunged into thigh high flood waters to get a child home safely and my shoes have survived.

And last week I got some new ones.
Pretty lolly red ones and deep red with a black floral swirl pattern. Oh oh, I love my new red shoes.

Next, purple and berry coloured ones.

Sorry about the photo, totally crap, new camera for my birthday?
And now the time for decisions has come, which colour will I wear tomorrow as I'm heading down to the BIG SMOKE.
Which means a meet up with some lovely Rav girls, including Bex who tipped me off about the gothic snb, the wonderful Spiraling, Webgoddess, Tango-lovin Miss Fee and I'm not sure how many others.

And Spiraling has hinted at Thai for dinner.

Oh I love how my baby-eating work that takes me to Sydney.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

more nostagia - the nanna-list

After the wonderful time spent bending knitting needles into bangles, an activity that has been done quiet a few times in the past few days, my Zgal wants to know what else I used to do with my nanna.

It wasn't just my nanna that I did things with, there was also time spent with Grandma and other elderly women who taught me a huge range of things, from french seaming for babies clothing to how to get pastry just right to how best to peg out clothing.

It was all fun back then, but lessons were learnt so I've decided to try and work out a nanna-list of activities to do with my daughter.

I'm not going to do water colours with her and I don't have a massive art studio complete with a wheel and kiln, but I do have a french knitting 'thingo'. For years I've been looking through op shops trying to find old wooden spools with a hole in the centre big enough for french knitting. Of course I couldn't find one with a big enough hole, but then I realised that my french knitting was probably done with the left overs from the dresses she used to knit for herself and her daughters which was of course, 4ply, fingering or finer.

When the craft show swung into town and the wood turners had a bit of a show there too and I found a hand carved french knitting spool (could that be what it is called) so next on the nanna-list is to learn to french knit properly. She has already done french knitting at school over paddlepop sticks stuck to toilet rolls.

Also on the nanna-list similar to the knitting needles, is melting a record to make bowls.
I remember doing this as well with nanna who then turned them into pots for plants, cacti if I remember correctly.

So I'm going to go through my huge vinyl collection to work out what can be donated to the nanna-list. The Dead Kennedys, Kraft Work and my rare Nina and Frederick records will not be given the oven treatment, but I do have some first rate shockers (Tiffany anyone) that were bought to be spun at drunken parties.

So what did you used to do as a child with older people, what else can I include on the nanna-list.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

what my nanna did

Often during school holidays I'd go and spent time with my Nanna, the one that taught me first to hook then knit.
She also showed me how to paint with water colours properly and to throw a pot, glaze it and how it was 'baked'. Along the way she also taught me to embroider and read music and some where during one of those school holidays we made knitting needle bangles.

How long ago I have no idea, just like how she made them. So I scratched that empty head of mine and gathered together some old plastic knitting needles, my oblong (now is n't that a word from my childhood) fish steamer which I use for dying wool and some tweezers and Zgal and I set to work.

So here is how you do it. Boil the water, throw in the needles, give them about five minutes at a rolling boil, grab a needle out with a pair of tweezers and then quickly wrap around a tin or a bottle, plunge into cold water and you have a bangle. If it doesn't work properly, just throw it back into the water again to soften and then have another go.

Yes the needles are hot, but wear gloves to do this, and no, you don't put marks on the needles when handling them, they are soft, but not that soft.

So we made 17 using needles that were in a tin in the kitchen. Yes there are needles all through the house, and I can see some more school holiday bangles being made.

ADDED: We have a competition, do you want a bangle, just go here to read the details and post a comment or send me an email!!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

when i go out

This post was going to be all about the knitting I've been doing, the sewing. But there really hasn't been much of that lately. I've been under the gun to squeeze several week's worth of work into my days as I'm off on holidays for a fortnight, which of course means covering as much of my work for that time off. It isn't written down anywhere that I have to do it, let's just say it is expected.

Often it is best to do it, rather than leaving it for relief people, because when I have I end up spending the first week back ringing and saying sorry for the messes that they have created.

But something has been happening when I've been out of the house, the boys decided to cook.
You see the fellow is a marvelous cook. He'll look at a recipe and without physically doing it, he knows what he can change, how he can improve it, and he is usually right.
Yesterday he set about making his famous chocolate mousse cake, which involves fresh eggs from our girls, sugar, cream and plenty of dark, dark chocolate.
It is a favourite in the house and goes down a treat. But the best part of cooking with Dad is the licking of the big bowl and the saucepan in which he melts the chocolate.

Yes Jar Jar loves cooking with his dad. He doesn't really like the showering afterwards to get it out of his hair and from his ears and nostrils.

Monday, March 31, 2008

westozcaat is super

Here is a quick few pics from the bag swap parcel which turned up today.
My stalker was westozcaat from Western Australia and I was very lucky as the gal had been overseas jaunting around.
So I ended up with a camel and wool woven bag from Egypt and a range of goodies from the US, and the most INSANE knitted Vegemite label along with some felt and a strap and notions so that I can sew it into my own bag.
Now I'd like to quote Kate:

So the front is done and blocked, felt, strap webbing bought but only one problem remains - I cannot sew. At all. So I am passing on the pasts as a 'bag making' kit - so you can tailor it to your size and fancy

Whoot! How exciting. So I've renamed tomorrow Vegemite Day as I'm taking the day off to play.
Also in the package were food dye, buttons and badges, an itty hot water bottle with a skull cover which is MINE MINE MINE, not to be stolen by my daughter. And stitch markers and a tape measure and vintage patterns.
I'll detail everything with pics tomorrow (oh there was beautiful chocolate but it didn't make it home)as I'm racing out the door to stitch and bitch to show off the vegemite.

It is so cool!!!!!

Thanks Kate! (and I'll post links and all that stuff as well tomorrow)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

little visitors

There have been plenty of visitors lately, some welcome and some not so.
Before someone left little white paw prints all through the house from the back door to the front, there were a few other callers.

Yes our friends Gastro and Flu decided to come and stay and bug us, which is why there hasn't been much action here lately.

But at least having those extra visitors in the house made us realise that we have to do something quickly about the one bathroom issue with this house. So plans are being sent back to the drawing board and hopefully by the end of the year we will have more space.

You see our house is big, well the rooms are HUGE, but there are just three bedrooms and a massive lounge room, a central hall and a closed in back veranda that serves as a kitchen and dining room with the other end turned into a bathroom.

Fine for when we moved in as a family with one child, and the plans we had drawn up were perfect for two children and were finished off the week I had the second child but were left rolled up in a desk somewhere.
So now with three children, we have to look at the plans again and work out just what we need.
We need a bedroom for each child. Simple. We need a two story 'shed' with downstairs for the normal function of a shed, in other words to store the car and the power tools with upstairs for my sewing and hiding from the family. The bottom of the shed will also contain a separate laundry and a shower and toilet as I have a huge hate of laundries in the house. Once you have the luxury of an separate laundry even if it is falling down you realise the benefits of having that drier and noisy machine outside.

The house will have a rejigged bathroom with a separate shower and bath, and a massive hallway in the new part with cupboards on BOTH sides and a large family dining area and a covered, deep and wide veranda and a study. Not to mention a kitchen that contains an oven that works, tiles that stay on the wall and maybe some room to swing a cat.

So the next few months are plotting and planning. Plotting the new house, planning how I can make the transition from full-time to part-time work in an effort to slow down the nerve damage to my arm, because if a girl is getting a new shed, she wants to be able to enjoy it.

The other pic is a quick quilt top made from chenille. Simple and only small squares so I could cut out the material without help and anyway, chenille hides wonky seams perfectly.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

craft fair

For the first time ever the craft fair rolled into our town and it was a case of craft that my mother calls menopausal craft. The stuff that you do when you temporarily loose your mind. While not necessarily confined or an absolute of menopause, menopausal craft summed up what was on offer at the craft fair.

For sure I was looking at it all through the eyes of a knitter or sewer, not the eyes of a quilter, embellisher, scrap booker, button freak, fabric cloth fairy-witch doll maker, but a lot was just YUCK. And the life-like baby dolls that women were carrying and patting all the while while wearing branded nappy bags. Oh the horror. The Horror.

But there there were some lovely finds. Some Jolly Jumbuck sock yarn in Black Rainbow, which should really be called licorice all sorts, and some bright silks and we got to see Prudence Mapstone at her stall as well.

I also got to meet some Sydney bloggers, Spiraling (including the hairy part of the team) and Vintagegrrl.

And little Zgal scored big time from Spiraling, a beautiful pink and black woven scarf, the first woven piece made by Spiraling on her rigid loom, so it is doubly special! Of course it went on straight away and then was used to wave a big goodbye when the Spiraling Landy rolled out of town. Now the scarf will probably be worn to bed tonight.

Yes it is a HUGE hit. Above is a pic of the Zgal with her scarf and below a close-up of the scarf with her beautiful lizard brooch which I finally bought for her from the antique centre cafe, down the road from home where she got to meet Spiraling and her Gentleman. Zgal has been looking at the lizard brooch for years and I almost bought it for her last year for her birthday. But with this year's birthday fast approaching and she has been an absolute treasure lately, I agreed to buy it for her. Sometimes motherhood is fun.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

when bags get dirty

You just make some more. I had to spend a few days in Sydney which mean lugging around reports and paperwork so I had to sew another bag. It's a simple bag, with a zip pocket on the outside that fits A4 folders, while inside is huge and roomy with plenty of room to stash a handbag and socks, not to mention all the other stuff I lugg around.
I gave it handles and an adjustable shoulder strap as well. It's nice and solid and stands up by itself.
The outside is bright printed cord from spotties, the inside is a thick thick 70s vintage swirly brown curtain material. I'm kicking myself that I didn't put in a reversible zip as the way I put it together means it is reversible.
Oh well, next time.

The other bags is a matching shoulder handbag and wrist clutch, once again made from vintage curtain material. Like the work bag, these can be thrown in the washing machine and they are fantastic. The shoulder bag is reversible, but this one has the same lining as the outside, the next one I make will feature different linings. I saw on Etsy a bag using jute that was the handle and so I headed to the shed, drew a few shapes and this is what I came up with. On the sides there are pleats to 'tighten' the top of the bag and give it more room inside. The bottom is also shaped so it is a roomy bag as well. I love these wrist clutches, easy to make and the zip is a heavy duty 70s number, it ain't going to break.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

roller derby

It seems that I have been going around and around in circles, having to put my elbows out to defend my patch, similar to roller derby, (go Jacinta) but definitely without the fun.
So things have slipped a bit, but I have managed to do a few things.
Like tax, well at least the 04-05 one, with the rest to be done on Friday, with the fella, so he will finally find out exactly how much I earn and it also means that the 04 05 return will be the last one I can just spend.
Well I used to use some of it wisely and splurge the rest, but now most will have to be spent wisely. Oh I hate this grown up thing.

But in other news, knitting is going well, almost finished a cardigan for myself although I'm no where near finishing any socks that were part of my Southern Summer of Socks mission.

The patonyle red and black socks are going along well and as I have several looong train trips ahead of me in the next week, not to mention day-long training sessions (yawn) I'm hoping to complete the pair by the end of the week.

Now I better head off and deal with the other taxes, then I have an order for some pants and I then have to start packing up the rest of the Teaspoon Awards that have to be sent out. Warning: Never give kids sticky tape. It creates a mess and much screeching when stuck in hair.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

red black

Here is some red black and a touch of purple patonyle that I dyed awhile ago.
It's come out nice and dark and is knitting beautifully into Groovy Socks, that favourite pattern from Sock Pixie.
It's a simple one row lace pattern, followed by a knit row. Simple and quick to grow.
Instead of dragging the last remaining sleeve to the markets to finish off, I took the balled up patonyle and cast on. But the day was so busy I only managed two inches of sock.

The plan is to drag it around with me this week to finish off at least one sock.
Rav details of the pattern here.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

raining again

Rain. Again. More. Lots more.
Which means I'm in the house, cause it is too wet to head outdoors to the laundry, plug in the power to the shed and then bolt to the other side of the yard to get to the shed.
Well that's my excuse.
So I'm planning an afternoon of knitting to finish a work cardigan, just one sleeve to finish and then the dreaded sewing together.

So rather than sit down and be disciplined I thought I'd better show what some of the shed work has been lately.

While most of the work has been orders lately, for fun I've done a few things for some special little people and as two of the pieces are in the house I thought I'd better post them.
The first is a little skirt made from 1960s cotton bedsheets. The sheets were bought years apart but match perfectly and neither looks like they have had much wear. Throw on a bit of red ric rak and viola, a swishy skirt. There is another swishy skirt that is hiding in the shed made from dainty flowered material, again matching but in different colours which will be sent with the orange and black skirt.

Then that yellow and black check stuff is an old chenille blanket sewn into a pair of longish shorts, complete with a drawstring for several year's wear. It will be sent to the same place as the swishy skirts, along with another 'boy' thing.

Then there was the tea cosy, which was finished a fortnight ago, but with all the rain it took days, and no joshing here, for the gum nuts and leaves to dry out.
It is so wet all the books are curling up, the windows are slimey and wet and my hair, well best not talk about my hair in this weather.

Monday, January 28, 2008


As I mentioned last post, a parcel has disappeared and an angel tea cosy swap parcel has to be put together.
Now I already had a few warrssshhhh (there is always a voice in my head that says this word in a funny way) cloths at the ready and a basic, shamrock stitch cosy ready to embellish.

Well, unfortunately KatieV's kitchen is green and yellow, so the lovely bright red cloths are out, but thankfully I have some nice thick and bright yellow cotton ready to whip into shape tonight.

Now when it came to topping the cosy I immediately thought of some thing Red Dwarfish as KatieV is a fan, she is also a fan of Dr Who and Torchwood, which means her television viewing habits are of the highest quality.
Then I remembered she was trying to find the pattern of the babies beanie from Kath and Kim with wattle on the top.

Bonza (hey it's the Oz day public holiday give me a break) thought I as I started digging for appropriate greens. I didn't have anything suitable for the leaves or the wattle, but I still had some cream left over from the teapot which is hand wash only so I set about knocking over plenty of leaves and bobble-like things of my own invention to be dyed and felted.

Then when trying to see if there is any 'nice' yarn that I could include as a treat as there isn't time to get anything sent I went to her stash and project pages to look at the colours and types of fibres and weights she used.

Damn and blast and all that. There on the bottom of the projects was a pompom topped green tea cosy. Yep, she had already done a 'wattle' tea cosy.

But never fear, she has one style of wattle, there are many, many more and a quick dive into the fellas locked reference bookcase and I started looking at the various flora of Australia.

So she will be getting some of my special bobble wattle, leaves and if I can pull it off gum nuts as well.
Luckily in my wandering I found a stash of Lopi in a range of single ball colours that the fella brought back from Canberra during one of his guilty i've-left-her-once-again-with-the-kids-on-her-own wool buying trips so I have brown at the ready.

So tonight I'll be playing around and what was going to be a Noice tea cosy is heading down the May Gibbs street.

And I finally got around to taking a few pics, the little one is the other colours left for the travelling Tofutsies sock that Viv from ecoyarns has passed onto the Knit and Yarners to have fun with. A travelling sock comprises of little balls and each knitter grabs a colour, does two at a time and their own stitch pattern. When the ball ends, the sock is passed onto the next knitter who starts the new colour and their own preferred pattern until the toe is grafted.

And the pic at the beginning of the post is one of, um, several, coughsplutter, skeins that ended up in the post box this week.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

snailalia post

The post office has been the major focus of the week. Lots of little red and white cards in the post office box.

There was a swag of five ply discontinued wool from Tapestry and Craft. Kris from T&C rang me and it was a strange conversation. Firstly I was in the iron lift of doom at work and the voice on the line was dropping in and out but I distinctly heard the word Zephyrama. Now the number she had rung thru on was the craft mafia mobile so at first I thought it was a store or order call from a customer, but no, the lift doors opened, I managed to get into some air and it all became clear. It was Kris spookin' Ravelry people by using their avatar names and she was calling to make a change in the colours. So I ended up with a pretty purple.

Another postie parcel was a new lot of clothing labels, I can't believe how many we have gone through, and then there was six skeins of beauty, a couple of books, Porco Rosso and Japanese Godzilla movies.

Then there was a special parcel post marked December 20 from SA with a few fantastic children's sewing patterns from the 1960s. I knew these had been sent and despite the time lapse wasn't too worried until I realised it had been more than a month since the lovely and blogless Gigi popped them in the post box.

There have been a few late postal problems this week, so I'm hoping that my Dec 20 arrival will help send Miss Ks latest round of uni text books her way (also posted in late December and needed as she is doing it online and forgoing the traditional summer uni break) and that the Tea Cosy Swap for KatieV also manages to get to her.

The special tea cosy, made to match her green and yellow accented kitchen was posted three weeks ago from Tassie, but considering the five weeks for my parcel to make it, there is still hope.

Or maybe I'm just a little bit more laid back than others? Anyway I have gone into overdrive to finish the angel tea cosy package and I'm not giving away any spoilers.

In other news, well there isn't much, other than the fella's car getting stuck in reverse, well it was until Uncle T gave it a clout, and now it's stuck in forward. Thankfully he is in Brisvegas most of this week, then Perth the following so we won't feel the pinch of being down a car while it is getting fixed.

We will be borrowing a car for the time he is in town but would my father hand over an exotic look-at-me car, no, so I'll end up with one of the cars I learnt to drive on all those years ago, a long wheel base Landrover 110, the first one sold in Australia to be precise. And cause the fella has Landy issues, I get to drive it.

The first time the fella jumped into the Landy he stalled it and you just don't want to ask about the time he tried to reverse a trailer at the dump. Well okay, imagine a bloke stuffing up reversing a trailer at the dump with all the dump guys watching. Then having to get his heavily pregnant missus to climb out, waddle around and climb up into the drivers seat and shift that Landy quick smart. No, we don't talk about the Fella and the Landy.

Oh and for those in the big smoke, I need some ideas of decent places to eat around here. I'll be down for a two day and night gabfest because boss hunting season is about to start. The agenda looks insane with no chance of escaping around the corner to York street and the yarn delights of T&C, but I'm hoping that if I get up early enough I may be able to indulge in a decent breakfast. So what's good around there for pre-9am feasts?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

rik rac a go go

There are layers of pink, red, purple and more pink and red floating around the shed, and yards and yards of rik rac.

But I can't post photos until I do a blue and green combo, then I can artistically fold them up and arrange them on a pristine white background and take artsy fartsy photographs of them. Giving a hint, but not really revealing them.

But an uncluttered space in my house and a clean, white background is as rare as rockhorse shit. So that won't be happening, rather it will be a jumble of colour with lego, pencils and crayons and dragons in the background.

The other thing I've been doing is the bag swap, but once again I can't show pics in case my partner comes a stalking.
Let's say at the moment it is big, but will be smaller. Oh all right, it's going to be felted and I can't wait to knock it over as I'm going to tweak the pattern and knock one over for myself up an upcoming flying two-day visit to the big smoke. I have to be in meetings all the time, so I want a bag that can sneak in my sock knitting.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

new bags

The weather has been miserable lately, cold and wet, then steamy hot and wet, which has meant boring times inside.
I can't show any knitting at the moment because all I've been working on is a bag for the Ravelry bag swap and just in case the person I'm going to spoil wanders this way, I'm not going to be posting any pics.
Once it is done and gone I'll post with pics and a brief recipe. It is a pattern I've been thinking about for a while, not the super bag, but a simple version and so far so good.

In other crafting news I've been working on the kids' library bags for this year, doing a range of different kiddy style motifs. They are washable, calico and strong and we have about 40-odd bags waiting for designs to sell at the craft market.

So if anyone can think of cute motifs that are simple to draw comment away. The idea is that the drawings look like the kids themselves have done them and we can easily add the child's name to the bag.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Noropup two

Well the noropup is progressing slowly as I've started on a bag for the Australian Bag Swap. This is going to be felted and I'm incorporating one of the design components that I'm going to use in my new bag. I haven't seen anyone doing this type of 'thingo' yet, but I have to admit I haven't checked out many felted bags lately.

But because it is a secret pal thingo, no pics, nor any hints, other than the size it is going to be, it's going to take a long time.

In other news, no news. Well no news from Wales. I expect Mum landed safely but my Father has failed to pass this information along. But as yet, he hasn't turned up on the doorstep which is a good thing as neither has my brother so I'm taking it that the two of them are still getting on.

I've managed to catch up on some blog reading and yes, I finally organised a reader so I can see straight away which of my favourites has updated.

Now it seems that people are doing either New Year's lists or past year's lists. What they want to do, and what they did do.

I can't stick to resolutions, already broken the non buying one, so I think I'd best stick to past year's and I'll mix it up with a few facts about me after reading so many plastered on blogs in the lead up to swaps so:

Last year I had another book published.
Last year my children grew so much I spent a lot of time lengthening pants (made originally by me).
Last year I won a professional award which came with a stack of loot that cleared a few bills, like the credit card that I don't have, similar to that non stash.
I want a fast car.
Last year I was elected to my profession's national board comprising of 24 people which involves guiding the profession into the new age of the internet. (pity they are only just catching up)
Last year I started and then stopped belly dancing.
When my best friend died I ended up doing the eulogy at his funeral on my birthday. I still haven't forgiven him.
Last year I told a school principal he was unprofessional but in rude language and in front of other parents.
I have pulled-caused an illegal strike.
Last year my 12 year old car clocked 100,000, yes the first time around.
Last year my house got rather wet but my shed didn't.
I'm the first woman where I work to return to work fulltime. I was the first to do so and still the only one, despite having had three children. In the 150 years the firm has operated I'm still the first. I find that appalling.
Last year I was nominated for this year's Who's Who Australian Edition and Women's Edition and NSW State Edition.
Last year I spent about 10 hours a week doing physio in the shed, holding my head to the right and back, to try and relieve pain from a huge c5c6 injury. The best way to keep this position for any length of time is to turn on the sewing machine and sew long seams.
I once got drunk with Jeff Buckley, he just got drunker.
Both my thumbs are doubled jointed, I've passed on this wonderful attribute to my youngest child.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Despite having a single waving lace sock and a retro rib sock both crying out for partners, I've ended up casting on what many have dubbed the noropup.

Well this time it is toe up, two on two, with one Addi lace and one Knit Picks needle and I have to say, the Knit Picks is pointier than the Addi. But never mind, the different coloured needles make it easier.

Now the thing about this Noro is that it is extremely fine, so fine in fact that when I tugged tight to avoid ladders the bastard snapped on me, leaving a tiny tail. But ha, I wasn't defeated, no Noro is going to knock me over. Instead a quick weave and decent thump down on the table as punishment and noropup started behaving again.

Other than that, not much has happened, I'm back in the office and it's a drag behaving like a grown up.

And my grandmother seems fine. Mum flew over with the news that she would need a stiff tailwind if she wanted to see her mother alive, but half way through her flight we got the call her that her heart rate was normal again (it was around 40) and she had stopped rambling and was drinking and eating properly. Seems like she had an infection that knocked her around enough to go to hospital and then made her sound like a senile old duck.

But it doesn't look like she'll be going back home, rather she will be transferred back to the local infirmary and my mum and my uncle will be looking at care options.

Friday, January 04, 2008

a three hour drive to get to a real yarn store

I finally managed to gather together most of the sock yarn purchases from the past couple of weeks.
A lot of the yarns bought were ones I've read about and seen on blogs but had never touched in person.
While some are happy to buy without touching, squishing and yes, sniffing, I'm not, particularly considering the cost of the yarn and then the postage on top.

I can't just go to a yarn store and buy sock yarn. Patonyle yes, but it's an hour round trip at least. I've had people tell me to stop being upset about Patonyle being discontinued as there are so many lovely hand dyed sock yarns available in yarn stores.
There might be where they live, but it is a three plus hour drive to get to the closest store that stocks anything coming close to a hand dyed yarn. In fact that same store would also be the closest store that is a yarn store, not a quilt, beading, fabric, clothing store, that has put up a stand of ACS in the corner.

But my lust for sock yarn and my need to try other yarns without wasting money on unfortunate purchases has been solved. A lot of this yarn (barring the Ranco and knittery) was bought via Ravelry in the trades and swaps, which means heavily discounted and decent postage costs from overseas. Yes I can have some Jitterbug socks for less than a pair of Patonyle, ditto for the KPPM, Cherry Tree Hill, Wildfoote and that's all delivered to my door I don't have a huge drive on my hands either.

So now I'll begin the process of finding out if I like these particular yarns, if they stand up to the various reviews around the place.
So in this little pile of merino goodness are two hanks of Jitterbug (bottom aqua and left side pinks and red). The KPPM is in the tuxedo colourway on the bottom left, then there is some Brown Sheep lime green, some purple variegated Knit Picks and some Skacel stretch. Hidden somewhere else is a heap of Regia and I also bought more Knittery and three Rancos in a brick red, variegated purple and solid grey. The top is already caked and ready to be cast on Cherry Tree Hill which I don't mind at all, having already scored some a few years ago.

Now if I like any of these previously exotic I won't have any qualms in handing over cash at online stores, but I have to try them first and this is an easy and cheap way to do it. So far none of the deals have gone sour, I've trusted the seller and all has been good.

And then there is the Noro sock yarn. Yes it is scratchy and feels tough and seems incredibly thin, despite this extreme closeup making the yarn look plump.

But before I start knitting there are a few other pairs that have to be finished.

In other sock news, I no longer have to the 20th to finish my grandmother's socks. Yesterday my mother had 'the call' and had to scramble to get the first available flight to Manchester. The earliest is this Monday, so I doubt I can finish anything by then and I do hope grandma manages to hang on, the mind is sharp as a tack even thou she is in her 90s, but the body is old.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


As one swap draws to a close over on Ravelry with the Australian Knitters Group, another is preparing to open.

But because of issues about the overt chattiness of some members on the board (and I'm waving my hand up in the air, I don't mind a bit of chat, I really like the idea of community) there have been a few last minute issues.

The whole chattiness thing was starting to get an us versus them style aggression happening. In the red corner was those that meet together in person against the blue corner, those who don't have the ability to join a regular in-person knitting group, who don't get that opportunity to chat or chit or drink with other knitters.

Many blows completely missed their intended point, leaving many observers bewildered particularly when one or two members were asserting that forums or boards should not be used as a social platform. Really there are points good and bad on both sides, it just seems that compassion or an ability to interpret or communicate effectively are lacking.

In my workplace there is always a bit of a stoush going on, not strange considering the number of alpha style personalities my industry attracts. You know the type of incident, they want, expect or believe something should be done a certain way because that is the way they want it, regardless of the ideas, ability or needs of others. In a lot of cases the initial argument or direction is the best one, it's just the approach or attack style they employ to get their message across that puts the majority offside.

Water off a ducks back usually for me, but when faced with more than 40 personal mails this morning regarding swaps it really cut into my knitting time.

Some wanted to withdraw their nomination for the teaspoon awards as they didn't want to be seen supporting anyone of a certain location-based group. Interestingly these requests have come from people who are the occasional poster, those with a quiet presence on the board, the one's one lot of posters were saying that the other vocal group would scare away.

And then for the next swap there have been a slew of requests not to be partnered at all with certain posters. However, from a quick glance the names put forwards as no-goers for partners (ones to be avoided) didn't seem to stick their hands up at all.

End result, for the first swap, I'm not pulling back on any nominations, they will stand as is. Acknowledgment is due to some people because of the effort that they put in. For the next swap it's not an issue due to the type of people who have signed up.

In other words it's all good, but I wonder how many times the same boxing match will be held. I have a feeling that there are some seasoned boxers in the ring.